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I am buying some malt extract for my next brew. Im tempted by cheap DME as its a third of the price of the specialist LME specified by the recipe. How much of a difference would that make to the final brew?

EDIT: Cheap DME link is http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005KRFNS2/ SE seems to overwrite .co.uk to .com for amazon.

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Your DME link is broken. –  baka Oct 23 '11 at 13:32

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Fresh, good quality ingredients will always make a better tasting beer. That doesn't always mean that the more expensive item is better. A 5-year old jug of LME is probably going to make a crappy tasting beer, even if it's 4 times the price of the DME.

Dry malt extract has a much longer storage life, so depending on the turnover at your homebrew shop, the DME could be a better choice, though you may need to supplement with steeping grains or a minimash, if the LME that's called for has a more complex flavor profile (i.e. based on your LME link, use extra light DME and get some Carapils to steep).

Fresh, the LME will be easier to deal with, though, since you wouldn't have to worry with the steeping grain.

Note: I would recommend purchasing your DME or LME from companies that specialise in creating brewing ingredients (Muntons, Weyermann, etc.), because their processes will be targeted at producing good flavors in beer.

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Thanks for your answer. How did you know Carapils would be the right grain to steep with? Can you like to a resource i can use in future? –  Tom Squires Oct 23 '11 at 18:26
    
DME is easier to work with than LME on most all accounts. What does steeping grains have to do with it? LME and DME all come in similar "styles" pale, amber, dark etc etc. –  brewchez Oct 23 '11 at 18:55
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@Tom Squires: I read the information on the LME product page that you linked, which said that they use Carapils. –  baka Oct 23 '11 at 19:25
    
@brewchez: I have seen a few LMEs that appear to use more complex mixtures than the DME that I generally work with. –  baka Oct 23 '11 at 19:26

The brand and even batch within brand (if the brand is not consistent) can indeed make quite a difference in the final product. Ray Daniels, author of many brewing books, suggests an experiment where everything stays the same except the extract. I've never done that experiment, but he suggests that it can make a big difference (I think that was in the 101 ideas book).

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I work for Patagonia Malt Malting house. We do produce malt extract that we sell to the food industry. this market is by far the larger on malt extract. You have to be careful on the composition of the malt extract. cheap malt extract usually use lots of adjuncts on their process (similar to low cost beer) so it will impact directly taste of beer. Another two key parameters is color and fermentability.

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