Liquid malt extract (LME)

 

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Brewing from liquid malt extract (LME) or dry malt extract (DME) is called "extract" brewing while brewing straight from grain is called "all-grain" brewing.

To be able to correctly brew any style of beer imaginable, and to have ultimate control over the finished product, beer must be made straight from grain instead of from LME or DME. Our Electric Brewery setup is an all-grain brewing setup, but the boil kettle may still be used to produce extract beers.

Brewers who use LME or DME only worry about the boil step of brewing (though some specialty grains can be steeped too). The brewer has no control over the mashing step - it is completely skipped as the wort has been pre-made for them. While the quality of LME and DME available to brewers has increased over the years, there will always be more types of grain available to all-grain brewers than types of LME/DME available to extract brewers as only a small percentage of base malts are offered as LME or DME. 

On a per-batch basis, brewing all-grain costs considerably less than brewing with LME or DME as the latter require additional steps to produce the product. LME is made by dehydrating (usually unhopped) wort down to about 20 percent water. What is left is a goopy, molasses-like syrup. DME goes through an additional dehydration step which reduces the water content down to about 2 percent.

 

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