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I typically use LME for my wort, with no prblems, but this time I am trying a slightly bigger beer and want to add DME to boost the OG.

The one time I tried adding DME to my wort, I just dumped it into the boil pot 2 minutes before knockoff, and it clumped so badly that I spent 20 minutes (without flame) breaking everything up so it could dissolve. Threw off my timing, but everything was okay in the end.

My question is, should I dissolve it in cooler water (in a separate pot to avoid the sudden clump - seemed to clump in contact with the steam)?

Is there a different/easier way to deal with DME?

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I take it out of the bag and put it in a bowl or something to pour from. Then I pour slowly while stirring. Minimal clumpage.

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  • As it turns out, I boiled up a small amount of water in a separate pot and removed the heat. After it stopped boiling a bit, I slowly added the DME. Had very minor clumping around the cut in the bag, which would have been nonexistent if I had transferred it to a bowl first. – Josh Golbert Aug 31 '14 at 18:17
  • Let me add to @DennyConn's answer: it is better if you use glass, ceramic, or similar bowl that you can immerse in boiling water. Transfer the DME to the bowl in batches, and stir in slowly as he recommends. Don't forget to kill the flame or take kettle off heat to minimize chances of a boilover! Repeat until all of your DME is in. The bowl will likely be covered in sticky "cotton candy". Now you can swish the bowl around in the wort to get all of the DME in. This is cleaner, and less wasteful. – Chino Brews Sep 2 '14 at 15:41
  • Well, I use a plastic bowl and have no problem immersing it for a short time. – Denny Conn Sep 2 '14 at 15:58
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DME is very easy to work with when adding to cool water. It's a pain to add to hot wort (like a late addition) as the heat makes it clump. If you are adding it to wort (like from steeping grains), it's easiest to add it to a separate container with cool water and stirred first. In the end, the yeast will eat the clumps, but it makes it near impossible to get an accurate starting gravity reading if you have a bunch of clumps. For late additions added directly to the boil, I'd recommend LME. If you are doing a knockout addition, and you also plan to top up (like a stove-top, partial boil), then you can add the dme to some of the cold top up water first, then add it to the kettle.

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I use DME for bottle priming, and occasionally I will add some to my wort. To avoid clumping, I place the desired amount of DME into a sanitized plastic bottle, add some hot water and cap. The DME gradually dissolves, but I give the bottle a few shakes if I wish to speed up the dissolving process. When fully dissolved, I pour contents of bottle into fermenter or bottling bucket.

Here are some guidance notes from Coopers (I use their LDME): "To avoid clumping, place into the fermenter first, add 1-2 litres of hot water and swirl the contents until dissolved (do not stir with a spoon). Once dissolved, add Coopers beer kit and other fermentable sugars as desired and mix as usual)." This is why I use hot rather than cold water.

Why "do not stir with a spoon"? I don't know, but I observe this instruction and encounter no clumping or other problems.

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  • Do not use a spoon because it might stick to it... – Philippe Mar 23 '17 at 19:44

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