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General Category => Extract/Partial Mash Brewing => Topic started by: fredthecat on October 08, 2021, 09:12:32 am

Title: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: fredthecat on October 08, 2021, 09:12:32 am
I previously used LME from a LHBS, and I thought it made decent beer.

I switched to an online provider about 1.5 years ago that has very cheaply priced breiss DME. I like to do extract brews on occasion to make some basic beer.

i've had various perceived issues with DME in the distant past (in asia - DME from china, i believe was not intended for brewing beer leaving extremely high FGs, like ~50% attenutation) and more recent past - lack of attenuation compared to my all-grain process.

to minimize the lack of attenuation, i thought I would make some DME brews in the ~1.045 range over the past year.

in spring I did an all-grain vienna lager with s-189 that turned out awesome. used that yeast for a DME pale lager.

the DME pale lager was extremely flat tasting, as in just lacking even a little sharpness that get when drinking beer, very bland. it took a while to grudgingly drink through the bottles.

i chocked it up to using 100% RO water and that it was lacking minerals, even though people say the extract has sufficient minerals.

used DME as the main fermentable in a porter after that and it tasted quite good. none of this flat/blandness.

just did a belgian pale ale with 3/4lb crystal cold steeped and the rest pale DME. IBUs at ~34. it is the same problem as the lager. it just tastes flat/lacking any kind of bite of flavour. i can't think of a comparison with a commercial beer, but this is bugging me now.


i have never had this issue with all-grain or with LME or a dark DME beer.

I know that my water profile tends to be better for darker beers ie. more minerals rather than less.

any thoughts on this?

I'm probably going to switch back to LME, as I never had an issue with it.


Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: BrewnWKopperKat on October 08, 2021, 10:18:10 am
any thoughts on this?
Complete recipes, including brand of DME/LME and mineral content of source water, would be helpful to more quickly troubleshoot this. 

Quote
people say the extract has sufficient minerals.
Extract has minerals. Beyond that, ...

How to Brew, 4e (2017) talks about adding small-ish amounts of CaS04 or CaCl to extract-based recipes and Brewing Engineering, (2014) has additional information and suggestions.  I've used some of the more detailed information in Brewing Engineering to help dial in flavor additions of CaCl / CaS04 in a couple of recipes (adding minerals 'in the glass' is another useful technique). 

Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: denny on October 08, 2021, 10:47:51 am
Maybe you should base your purchase on quality rather than price.  Try a different DME.
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: Bob357 on October 08, 2021, 11:06:40 am
When you choose price over quality, you get what you pay for.
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: fredthecat on October 08, 2021, 12:22:05 pm

Complete recipes, including brand of DME/LME and mineral content of source water, would be helpful to more quickly troubleshoot this. 

the issue is especially when I do all or nearly all DME brews, ie. no specialty grains/mini-mashing.

so you can imagine the fermentables are 100% light DME for each one. both had several oz of hops and IBUs over 30.

the RO water was mineral free. so essentially whatever minerals were in the DME i figured.

the most recent one was tap water from here with i think 1/2 flat tsp each gypsum and CaCl added

tap water is
ph = 7.95
alkalinity = 73
(CaCO3) "Hardness" 90 mg/l =
Potassium 0.925 mg/L
Magnesium 7 mg/L
Iron 0.01 mg/L
chloride 9.5 mg/l
calcium 24.4 mg/l
sodium 8.6 mg/L
sulphate 24 mg/l
zinc 2 ug/L

Carbonate = CaCO3 / 100 x 2 x 61 = 109.8



Maybe you should base your purchase on quality rather than price.  Try a different DME.

condescending and unhelpful denny.

it's breiss DME. it's a very widely used DME in original packaging.

the generic brand LME had an acceptable/good taste in the beer made from it over several batches.

Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: fredthecat on October 08, 2021, 12:26:00 pm
Unfortunately, Briess extract products have higher than typical sodium content because their water supply is ion-exchange softened and contains a LOT of sodium. I've spoken with them about this, but they feel it is economically unfeasible for them to make a change. I think they should switch to RO for mashing their brewery related products. Hopefully they will make that change someday.

now this is interesting.
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: RC on October 08, 2021, 01:06:47 pm
I have only ever used Briess DME for my extract beers, and some have won awards, including an extract American lager. Never insipid or flat or thin. In fact, just the opposite. If anything, my DME beers have been unpleasantly thick. I have always assumed it's just extremely dextrinous, but maybe higher sodium has something to do with it also.
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: denny on October 08, 2021, 01:58:43 pm
Sorry, not intended to be condescending.
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: BrewnWKopperKat on October 08, 2021, 03:03:22 pm
Unfortunately, Briess extract products have higher than typical sodium content because their water supply is ion-exchange softened and contains a LOT of sodium. I've spoken with them about this, but they feel it is economically unfeasible for them to make a change. I think they should switch to RO for mashing their brewery related products. Hopefully they will make that change someday.

now this is interesting.
There's also information at the Bru'n Water web site and inside the free version of the spreadsheet.
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: ynotbrusum on October 08, 2021, 03:22:24 pm
I am sure it is not common anymore, but when I was doing a lot of extract brewing back many years ago (when the freshness of extract, especially LME, was sometimes questionable), I would have beers finish at a few points higher than my all grain batches.  I assumed it was due to step mashes and more complete conversion of the mashed wort, as compared to the LME wort which was converted by the LME provider.  This was especially noticeable in lighter colored ales that I brewed.  So, they were more often cloying, rather than insipid (as in thinner, anyway).

FWIW, I found that using distilled or RO water for extract batches worked best, but I suppose I should have looked into adding back some salts on those beers, too, to see if the flavor profile improves.
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: BrewnWKopperKat on October 08, 2021, 03:53:24 pm

Complete recipes, including brand of DME/LME and mineral content of source water, would be helpful to more quickly troubleshoot this. 

the issue is especially when I do all or nearly all DME brews, ie. no specialty grains/mini-mashing.

so you can imagine the fermentables are 100% light DME for each one. both had several oz of hops and IBUs over 30


Respectfully, without a complete recipe (hop amounts, AA%, timings; yeast), I need to drop out of this portion of the discussion. 
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: fredthecat on October 08, 2021, 03:53:43 pm
Sorry, not intended to be condescending.

Thanks for the reply. Understood.  :)
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: fredthecat on October 08, 2021, 04:04:36 pm


I have only ever used Briess DME for my extract beers, and some have won awards, including an extract American lager. Never insipid or flat or thin. In fact, just the opposite. If anything, my DME beers have been unpleasantly thick. I have always assumed it's just extremely dextrinous, but maybe higher sodium has something to do with it also.

interesting, and i don't think its an issue with Briess because, they are probably one of if not the biggest malt supplier in North America.

I just can't really figure what it could be. It's too bad I feel like I can't even describe the issue well other than "lacking any punch at all/limp/insipid/flat flavour". They are easy to chug down but the flavour is not good.


Practically, it's more a note for myself, not a big issue. But I will simply have to stop brewing with DME and switch back to LME. No real price difference, but I thought it was going to be nice to be able to make 2-6 SRM extract beers if desired.

To clarify my stance on cost as well. I do not skimp on ingredients at all. I'm making a 10% ~120 IBU imp. stout in a few months, whiskey, wood, etc involved. But I always assess bang for buck and find places to increase efficiency in this regard.


Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: neuse on October 09, 2021, 09:26:45 am
It seems to be often assumed that extract will have the appropriate salts for the style intended. But I checked with Williams Brewing about salts added for their extract production. It turned out that theirs is mashed with the municipal water, with no brewing salts added. I imagine the same is true of some other brands. Some added salts may be needed.
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: BrewnWKopperKat on October 09, 2021, 02:15:14 pm
But I checked with Williams Brewing about salts added for their extract production. It turned out that theirs is mashed with the municipal water, with no brewing salts added. I imagine the same is true of some other brands. Some added salts may be needed.
Thanks for the information about Williams extracts.  I've read a similar comment about another brand of extract. 
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: denny on October 09, 2021, 02:18:46 pm
It seems to be often assumed that extract will have the appropriate salts for the style intended. But I checked with Williams Brewing about salts added for their extract production. It turned out that theirs is mashed with the municipal water, with no brewing salts added. I imagine the same is true of some other brands. Some added salts may be needed.

No, of course not for the style. They have no idea what style you're making.   Just to be able to mash properly.  But then you have no idea what they used and what the mineral load of the extract might be.
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: BrewnWKopperKat on October 09, 2021, 04:32:02 pm
but I suppose I should have looked into adding back some salts on those beers, too, to see if the flavor profile improves.

Over the last couple of years, across a couple of forums, people have talked about approaches to "dial in" flavor additions of minerals.  Generally, the approach was to add known amounts of minerals to a glass of beer, then adding the findings back to the recipe.  I've found that the approach(es) work - and the 'best' additions for a specific recipe are brand specific. 
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: BrewnWKopperKat on October 09, 2021, 05:09:37 pm
but I thought it was going to be nice to be able to make 2-6 SRM extract beers if desired.
There's a recipe in Zymurgy magazine, Sept 2021, on p 44 (Category 1, American Pale Beer) that may be of interest.
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: fredthecat on October 09, 2021, 11:27:06 pm
but I thought it was going to be nice to be able to make 2-6 SRM extract beers if desired.
There's a recipe in Zymurgy magazine, Sept 2021, on p 44 (Category 1, American Pale Beer) that may be of interest.


look, no offense, but is english your first language? if not, youre not coming across clearly. idk what to say to your posts dude.
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: BrewnWKopperKat on October 10, 2021, 06:42:22 am
but I thought it was going to be nice to be able to make 2-6 SRM extract beers if desired.
There's a recipe in Zymurgy magazine, Sept 2021, on p 44 (Category 1, American Pale Beer) that may be of interest.
look, no offense, but is english your first language? if not, youre not coming across clearly. idk what to say to your posts dude.
It's a recipe for an American Lager that placed first in its category in the 2021 National Homebrewers Competition.  DME + rice solids.  SRM of 4. 

I've seen similar recipes (not award winning at the moment ;) ) that use other fermentable ingredients to slightly lower the color of DME-based recipes. And I've made a couple of my own recipes using these ingredients.

So light colored DME-based recipes are both practical to make and occasionally award willing. 


Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: ynotbrusum on October 10, 2021, 06:49:03 am
The owner of the LHBS that is nearest to me won many medals including NHC with extract beers.  So,yeah, they can be great and true to style.
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: fredthecat on October 10, 2021, 09:37:41 am
but I thought it was going to be nice to be able to make 2-6 SRM extract beers if desired.
There's a recipe in Zymurgy magazine, Sept 2021, on p 44 (Category 1, American Pale Beer) that may be of interest.
look, no offense, but is english your first language? if not, youre not coming across clearly. idk what to say to your posts dude.
It's a recipe for an American Lager that placed first in its category in the 2021 National Homebrewers Competition.  DME + rice solids.  SRM of 4. 

I've seen similar recipes (not award winning at the moment ;) ) that use other fermentable ingredients to slightly lower the color of DME-based recipes. And I've made a couple of my own recipes using these ingredients.

So light colored DME-based recipes are both practical to make and occasionally award willing.

im not saying at all that all DME has issues.

im trying to clear up the issues with DME that i know im having.
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: BrewnWKopperKat on October 10, 2021, 10:10:44 am
but I thought it was going to be nice to be able to make 2-6 SRM extract beers if desired.
There's a recipe in Zymurgy magazine, Sept 2021, on p 44 (Category 1, American Pale Beer) that may be of interest.
look, no offense, but is english your first language? if not, youre not coming across clearly. idk what to say to your posts dude.
It's a recipe for an American Lager that placed first in its category in the 2021 National Homebrewers Competition.  DME + rice solids.  SRM of 4. 

I've seen similar recipes (not award winning at the moment ;) ) that use other fermentable ingredients to slightly lower the color of DME-based recipes. And I've made a couple of my own recipes using these ingredients.

So light colored DME-based recipes are both practical to make and occasionally award willing.

im not saying at all that all DME has issues.

im trying to clear up the issues with DME that i know im having.

Early on in this topic/thread/subject, I offered to take a look at complete recipes where you encountered issues. 

The offer is still open. 

Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: fredthecat on October 10, 2021, 11:21:31 am

Early on in this topic/thread/subject, I offered to take a look at complete recipes where you encountered issues. 

The offer is still open.

i explained in the first post, 100% DME fermentables, ~33 IBU or so, ~1.045 OG. multiple brews have this issue. you requested AA%, hop amounts, yeast.

hallertau and EKG hops separately for each brew, im sure you can guess the AA in those, significant amounts, ie total 4-6oz per brew, yeast 1 was S-189 and yeast 2 was WLP550.

please, go ahead and diagnose now that you have the certainly related info of AA and amount of hops for an issue that is 100% the fact i used DME. considering i've never had this complaint before in any LME or all-grain brew.

Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: denny on October 10, 2021, 11:27:09 am
Have you had this issue with other DME?  Entirely possible it's simply the way that extractis made.
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: fredthecat on October 10, 2021, 01:14:48 pm
Have you had this issue with other DME?  Entirely possible it's simply the way that extractis made.

I've always used LME in the past.

I don't truthfully know the cause. But I suspect its a mix of causes. I have made brews that are pale that were half LME/half DME with no specialty grains (reason was that the DME was wheat, LME was cheaper and I liked the quality but was not available in wheat.) and tasted very good. I made a belgian single this way that was one of my favourite brews.

The factors I believe are the combination of a lack of flavour of the pilsen/golden light DME i used and a low carbonation. I didn't mention but I targeted only about 1.7 vols for the most recent and about the same for the previous one that had an issue.

maybe exacerbated by some mineral imbalance I am not aware of. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/threads/ion-additions-from-briess-pilsner-dme.186443/


I sampled one last night, and was already pretty drunk but it just wasn't that great and still had the issue, 3 weeks in bottle now.

This isn't a brewing-ending issue for me at all, I do about 50% of my beers all-grain, 25% partial mash and 25% all-extract.


Solution for me, barring someone who has had this issue or can explain it is:

1. stop making pale, all-DME brews.
2. switch back to using LME for brews that are supposed to be fairly pale and accept the slight increase in SRM for an overall better flavour.
3. continue using DME in partial-mash brews or ones with strong specialty grain additions ie. a lb of black malt and a 1lb of crystal on top of a DME base.




the reason for me making this thread was to crowdsource a solution or answer and perhaps warn people of a potential issue (though apparently it isnt one for most)

Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: denny on October 10, 2021, 01:31:01 pm
4. Use different DME
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: BrewnWKopperKat on October 11, 2021, 05:01:12 am
From the water profile,
[...]
alkalinity = 73
[...]
alkalinity may be a factor:
Quote
How much alkalinity is high? [...]  alkalinity greater than 50 ppm can be considered high for extract brewing because you are rehydrating a dehydrated wort that already has minerals and alkalinity in it. The alkalinity in your water will add to what’s already there.
https://beerandbrewing.com/brewing-water/

Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: fredthecat on October 11, 2021, 08:42:10 am
From the water profile,
[...]
alkalinity = 73
[...]
alkalinity may be a factor:
Quote
How much alkalinity is high? [...]  alkalinity greater than 50 ppm can be considered high for extract brewing because you are rehydrating a dehydrated wort that already has minerals and alkalinity in it. The alkalinity in your water will add to what’s already there.
https://beerandbrewing.com/brewing-water/

that's a good answer. thank you.

i think i can see potential in this answer. and checking my notes again the first of the two beers i said had an issue in fact was about 2/3rds tap water 1/3 RO water. looking even further back, the extract beer that was very good tasting was made with 100% RO water.

The main way I could figure this out though would be to try a new DME batch.

Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: neuse on October 11, 2021, 03:20:52 pm
[Quote: The main way I could figure this out though would be to try a new DME batch.]
Go for it - for science.
Title: Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
Post by: BrewNerd on October 13, 2021, 08:43:31 am
Try a different DME.

This has probably been the biggest eye opener to me. I tend to stick with one thing and run it into the ground, wondering why I can't get a different result. Realizing that not all "identical" ingredients are actually identical.