Whats the differance between LME an DME, other then one is dry?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by bluefishjim, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. bluefishjim

    bluefishjim New Member

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    Is there a difference in the "chemical" make up between the two? I am an extract with grains brewer, most recipes call for both LME and DME, why not just use one or the other?
     
  2. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    DME keeps longer and is easier to work with. Easier to measure and seal back up. And it's less prone to dropping to the bottom of the kettle and burning
     
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  3. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Does still beg the question though....why have LME in a recipe at all!?
    (answer would interest me too!)
     
  4. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    #4 BOB357, Nov 8, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
    Both are made by mashing grains, so are as alike as the grains used in the mash. Where they differ is in the process used to concentrate the fermentables they contain. LME is boiled under a partial vacuum while DME is sprayed into hot air to dehydrate and form a powder.

    DME stores better than LME and can be used to produce lighter colored beers. A good color comparison would be likening the DME to a Pilsner malt and the LME to a Pale Ale malt. If course this refers to the lightest variations of each.

    I think the use of both comes from kit suppliers trying to keep the prices of kits a little lower and also make them look like they're more complex. There are some kit suppliers that have gone to including only DME in their kits.

    Over the past 10 years or so, as home brewing has evolved, and information become more readily available, there has been a swing by many extract brewers to using only the lightest available DME due to it's being comparatively neutral in both color and flavor. This allows the brewer to begin with a relatively clean slate to build flavors and color on either steeping or doing a partial mash with specialty malts. So the DME is like a base malt in an all grain brew.
     
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  5. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    When you consider the price difference and points per gallon of each, LME is still a little less expensive. Also, maybe some of us old brewers got used to brewing with it and it's a habit. Gotta say though, if I still did extract brewing it'd be Ultra Light DME only.
     
  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    One is dry. The other one ages more quickly, turns brown, develops oxidized flavors and generally produces a worse beer. But if you can get your LME fresh, it works just as well as DME and is cheaper. When I do extract, I use DME, it's a superior product unless the LME is very fresh.
     
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  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    The only reason I can think of is cost.
     
  8. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    Dme gives you more sugar per pound since the liquid has some water in it. As said earlier it also keeps longer. The cost is higher though so I imagine the reason for having both in a recipe is usually cost. Only other reason I could think of is if they have one as a plain extract and the other is something special like rye or wheat extract and they only have it available in one form.
     
  9. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    LME can get a bad flavor some times, it's either old or a bad batch and its thick and that drops to the bottom even when you think you've mixed it well, I reached my hand down to the bottom once right before boiling and found a 1/2" of goop stuck to everything then after the boil it was still there
     
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  10. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    I believe the reason you see both DME and LME in a recipe is that LME tends to come packaged in fewer fixed sizes so to make up a specific OG in a recipe it is easier to get most of the way there with an off the shelf package of LME and make up the difference with easier to handle DME.
     
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  11. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    You did what? OUCH!!:eek:
     
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  12. KC

    KC Active Member

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    I think LME is easier to work with. DME clumps into a rock in any kind of humidity, and the powder easily goes airborne turning anything it touches into a sticky mess. Several pounds of LME can be heated up in a separate container so that it's more easily soluble when added, and doesn't drop the boiling temperature too far or for too long.
     
  13. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I prefer to work with DME, preferring the cleanup and bit of additional stirring to the flaws of LME, but it's an individual preference.
     
  14. KC

    KC Active Member

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    I don't brew with either, I cook with them so it's a totally different set of preferences.
     
  15. Beer_Pirate

    Beer_Pirate Active Member

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    Bit of a derailment here, but what can you use them for in cooking? I love new recipes.
     
  16. KC

    KC Active Member

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    In general, DME can be used in place of granulated sugar, and LME for honey, syrup, or molasses. DME makes outstanding pancakes.
     
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  17. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Mmmmmm, I might now have a reason to buy a can! :D
     
  18. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Semantics, but I agree.
     
  19. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    LME is yummy over ice cream as well. Might have to try some DME in bread recipes, replacing the sugar.... Maltose isn't as sweet as sucrose so it would affect the flavor.
     
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  20. ChicoBrewer

    ChicoBrewer Well-Known Member

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    I think the other difference is that you can get more flavor and color profiles from lme.
     

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