Starters LMEvsDME

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Feb 23, 2009
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I made my first starter last week for my second brew batch. I am doing extract kits, I just used some of the LME from my kit, 1/2cup to one qt of water.
I have been doing some more reading on the subject since then and see that DME is recomended.
A couple of questions
I see it is recommended to use the same malt extract as the type of beer that you are making to keep the yeastes happy. So I quess my question is how much DME do you keep on hand,what types and how well does it keep after opening. Or do you buy it just before you get ready to brew and just buy what you need then by type.
Or is it just fine to keep using some of the LME from the kits.
Or do you just keep a light and dark on hand and don't worry somuch about specific types.
Or am I getting to indepth on this to early in my brewing. First batch in secondary and second batch in fermenter and third batch will be brewed this weekend.


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May 10, 2008
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Springfield, MA
I keep a couple pounds of light DME on hand for starters, since it's light it really won't effect any style too much. It keeps well and is much easier than liquid to handle especially in the small exact quantities needed. Store in a cool dry place and it should last a long time.


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Feb 17, 2009
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Alexandria, VA, USA
DME stores much better than LME. Keep it in an airtight container and it'll last a few months, easily.

I never use LME anymore.

I buy the lightest possible DME in 50-lb bags and use it as the base in everything. That way I'm working from the same base palette, and I can use specialty grains as needed to darken things up.

Various colors of malt extracts are just the same base plus some specialty to darken them up; what they use to darken things varies a little from brand to brand, so going with the straight base (which actually usually has a little carapils in it too) gives you more control.. For instance, with the brand I use (Briess) their amber = base + caramel 60 + munich; their dark is the same + black malt.

By sticking with the light extract + specialty grains, I'm more sure that my recipes will turn out pretty close if I switch to another brand of DME that might use slightly different grains in their medium/dark versions.

Wheat and other non-barley beers are the obvious exception (use wheat DME or whatever for those).