General Category > Extract/Partial Mash Brewing

Dark Malt extract

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OK... I'm an all grain brewer, and when I did do extract, I always bought pale or wheat extracts and used crystal and other darker malts for color and flavor contributions.  I always went with the greater amount of control on my part.  Now I won 6.6 lbs of Northwestern/Breiss dark liquid malt extract and I would like to try using it for something besides making starters.  The Breiss web page tells me they use Pale Malt, Munich, and Black malt in the product, but emails to Briess failed to get anything beyond a spec sheet as far as relative proportions or flavor expectations. 

Does anyone out there use Dark Malt extract?  My LHBS tells me some people buy it, but he has no clue what their using it for.  I'm thinking of using it to just boost the gravity a bit in a Baltic Porter, but would love to hear from someone familiar with the product. 

I've used it before as an addition to Amber extract- about 50%. The beer was really tasty as an 100% extract recipe. Better than my steeping efforts at the time.

I'm a partial mash brewer, and frequently use either a dark dry DME or straight LDME in about a 1:2 ratio with a light or superlight malt for red ales, browns, and porters. It adds nice body, color and flavor.

I never recommend it to people in my shop. The color has too many variables as well as it is different from company to company. I would always use grains for your color and body. You will get more out of it and have greater control too.

Back to my original post, I won the stuff in the raffle at a homebrew contest.  I was simply trying to figure out how to use this particular product in beer, rather than just as a fermentable for starters.  I have received numerous opinions over the years that Dark LME "isn't good for much besides starters", and have never bought it.  In fact I had a couple of cans (again free) that sat unused until they were thrown away a few years back.  I simply wanted some advice from someone who has used the stuff on how they used it and what they thought the flavor contribution might be like. 

I added one 3.3# package to a (12g ~1.058) batch of smoked porter to boost the gravity slightly.  I kept the percentage of LME low, so I suspect flavor contributions will be minimal.  I will likely make a similar gravity stout and again use the second package in that. 

For what its worth, it might be a worthwhile experiment for those extract brewers out there to prepare otherwise identical recipies of beer using Pale, Amber, and Dark LME from a single supplier to determine exactly how the flavors differ. 


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