Difference Between LME & DME

This is a question we see and get quite often, so I thought would be good just to break it down so you know what the difference is and what would work best for you if you are wanting to make your own recipe.

The main noticeable difference between this is obvious, one is liquid, and one is powder. Now you will use them a little bit differently.

LME is pretty simple to use, it’s just like brewing with your Hopped Malt Extract but it offers a little more versatility since it is unhoped. You are able to do a hop boil with LME. You just want to make sure that it is fully mixed before you do your boil and note that boiling LME will cause it to darken a little bit.

When using a DME there are a few things you will want to know. The fist is that if you dump the DME into boiling water it will get gummy and clump together, so you always want to add your DME as your water is coming up to a boil to help prevent this. You will also want to add a little at a time, just dumping the whole bag in can create some issues when trying to mix it up.

Also, if you are using DME for your hop boil, you will want to make sure that you are waiting for the hot-break before you add in your hops. You will want to keep mixing the DME as it boils to keep the foam from rising too high and spilling over your pot. Once you hit the hot-break you will see the foam subside and it will just look like a regular boil. So, make sure to pay attention when doing this, if you have ever had a boil over, then you know that it is a sticky mess that is a pain to clean!

Pro Tip for you, if you keep a spray bottle of clean water handy you can spray the foam when it gets to high and it will help keep it down.

That is the difference in how you use each one, a few other differences between the two are..

Color affect, using DME will usually help preserve the lighter color in your beer. So if you are wanting to brew a light lager, pilsner, pale ale etc, you may want to go with a DME in this instance.

LME is much easier to use, so if you are new to brewing or just want to get in a quick easy brew go with the LME.

As far as flavor goes there have been some that said LME creates a more pleasant flavor in your beer vs DME.

DME is more concentrated, so it can kick up your ABV with less.

In the end it just comes down to your personally preference and what you are brewing and the process that you feel like doing or recipe you want to create.