DME vs LME

Grains, malts, hops, yeast, water and other ingredients used to brew. Recipe reviews and suggestions.

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DME vs LME

Postby Eddie O. » Fri Feb 01, 2008 9:35 am

Hi all, I am pretty new to hombrewing (only 5 batches so far) and I am trying to learn as much as possible. This beertools has been a great help thus far. I am planning an Irish Red as my next batch and I am trying to figure out what is the difference between using LME and DME. Does one have more sugars? What seperates the two. Thanks for the help.
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LME and DME

Postby slothrob » Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:27 pm

Pound per pound DME has more sugar, just because it doesn't have water in it.

Essentially they are roughly equivalent in other respects, though different types and brands have different flavors and fermentability. DME has a longer shelf-life than LME, so many brewers prefer to buy DME unless they know that their source of LME is fresh.
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Which one is better to use

Postby Eddie O. » Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:31 pm

Thanks for the response.

My next question is which one do I decide to use? And why?

Thanks once again.
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Re: Which one is better to use

Postby slothrob » Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:47 pm

After deciding the freshness issue, most people just go with what they like.

DME gives you more flexibility on gravity because you can just weigh out what you want instead of being stuck with a bottle or can of LME that you need to use all at once. On the other hand, it's kind of messy to use as it tends to fly around and make everything sticky. A lot of people will use 1 or 2 bottles/cans of LME then use DME to hit their desired O.G.

I used to like Munton's DME, before I switched to all-grain, as it seems to ferment to a reasonable low gravity and has a decent flavor. I always used extra-light and used specialty grains to get my color and flavor. I ended up doing some partial mashes to allow me to use things like Oatmeal and Munich Malt and found it easier to just go the whole way. You can, however get Munich and Pilsner extracts, usually liquid, instead of having to use grain. Wheat DME seems like a particularly good extract when compared to the all-grain equivalent.

LME is best if you get it from a bulk contained that is transferred into bottles, as it will pick up less damage from the can. Old LME can become very dark (if a light colored beer is important to you) and take on a slightly tangy flavor that shows up in the beer. I've had decent luck with the canned extract from places with a good turnover, but a lot of people have had problems with the canned extract being old. I guess it depends a lot on your source.
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