Dry Malt vs Malt Syrup

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

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Dry Malt vs Malt Syrup

Postby yooper » Mon Jan 07, 2002 5:48 pm

Since I am pretty new to this stuff and since I already have gotten some great help here I have another question.

What would the difference be between using a dry malt extract vs using a malt extract syrup? Some recipes call for just the extract syrup. Some recipes call for using just the dry malt extract. some recipes call for using a combination of the two. What benefits do each have and what shortcomings do each have?

Thanks for your input.
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Matter of Preference

Postby l48shark » Mon Jan 07, 2002 6:28 pm

Yooper,
I used dry malt extract (DME) first in kits and switched to syrup when I started formulating my own recipes. I immediately liked the syrup better because I hated the way the dry malt would float on top of the water and would be difficult to mix and scrape off the sides of the brewpot, etc. The syrup sinks straight to the bottom and mixes well, but you have to be sure to remove the heat first to avoid scorching. I also like the way the syrup seems less likely to froth at the top of the pot. But this is all rather subjective, so I thought I would try to find an intelligent answer to your question. The following is from the FAQ section of the William's Brewing website (www.williamsbrewing.com):
<snip>
Malt extract is available in two forms, syrup and dry. Both are capable of producing excellent beers. Syrup malt extract is generally less expensive per pound, and more varieties are available, making it the first choice of most brewers. It is subjected to less heat during processing than dry malt extract, and can make a lighter colored beer if an excellent quality lighter grade is selected. Dry Malt Extract, on the other hand, is easier to measure out than syrup, and is 20% stronger per pound than syrup malt extract, because it does not contain water.
<snip>
That said, try both and draw your own conclusions.
Cheers,
Ford
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Many Reasons

Postby BillyBock » Mon Jan 07, 2002 8:25 pm

Yooper,
Ford's right, it's mostly a matter of preference. I'm the opposite of Ford--I can't stand the way syrup sinks to the bottom, I'd rather deal with the way DME floats on the top until it dissolves (scorched extract is one less thing for me to worry about). The main reason I like to use DME is that it's simpler to dispense and I can store unused portions. Even though I brew all-grain recipes, I keep some DME on hand if I need to make a minor adjustment to the brew's original gravity due to human errors on my part. Some brewers use a combination. When formulating a syrup recipe, they might calculate they need 2.75 cans (as an example). Rather than buying 3 cans of syrup and tossing out a portion of the last can (which would be difficult to measure), you can buy 2 cans of syrup and make the difference up with DME. Since DME is stronger than syrup you won't need as much. Additionally, blending various extracts (whether syrup or DME, or both) will give your brews some extra complexity in the flavor department since not all extracts are created equal--the manufacturers will undoubtedly use differing grain bills and mashing profiles to produce their products. In the end, it'll come down to your personal preferences. So, like Ford said, try both, individually and/or combined, and see what suits you.
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By the way...

Postby l48shark » Tue Jan 08, 2002 6:13 pm

I forgot to mention this helpful syrup tip: Make sure you briefly soak your bag/can of syrup in hot water before opening it and adding it to the boil. This will effect its viscosity and will help you get most of the extract out more easily.
-Ford
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