I recently brewed a batch with Williams Brewing American Lager liquid malt extract. Bottom line up front, I found the LME to be high quality and taste good with no apparent loss in quality when compared to all grain. As expected the brewday was fast and easy. I will use Williams LME again, but I am not giving up all grain just yet.
My grain bill was 6 lbs. of Williams Brewing American Lager LME and 0.22 lbs. (100 grams) Briess Pilsen DME. The DME was from pouring a 1 liter yeast starter into the batch. I mention the starter because it was a 4.5 gallon batch that I tipped and spilled 2.5 gallons of before pitching the yeast. So the starter was technically way oversized and may contribute some to the flavor.
The beer is quite good. The LME has zero extract twang or anything close. I used gelatin. The beer is super clear with about 3-4 SRM. Just a guess on the color. All I really know is the color is very light as expected. I added all the LME to the water before boiling. Any darkening from the boil was minor.
6 lbs. LME made 4.5 gallons of 1053 wort which equates to 39.75 PPG which is good for LME. I forgot to weigh the LME so I am not sure if I had exactly 6 lbs. or some slightly different amount. The finish gravity was 1008.
The finished beer tastes like a slightly bigger, but still light American Lager. I used Omega Mexican Lager yeast and a healthy dose of Edelweiss hops (32 IBU w/ 60, 15 and 5 minute additions).
The LME ships in a thick walled plastic bag. The bag is quite sturdy. I squeezed as much of the LME into the wort as I could and then rinsed the bag 3 times with hot 180F wort. The thick walled bag made that pretty easy. I got 99.9% of the LME into the kettle.
Before this experiment I had dreams of mixing and matching multiple varieties of William’s LME in the same way you would build an all grain malt bill. I kept the LME in the fridge. That made it difficult to pour. If using 100% of a bag warming it up before use seems smart. But, if you were only planning to use part of a bag I think you would want to avoid temp cycling it. So, mixing varieties of LME is possible but not nearly as easy as weighing out amounts of various grains.
PS. The Williams American Lager LME is 70% American 2-row Pilsner malt and 30% flaked corn. They have a separate German Pilsner LME if you want a more continental Pilsner flavor.