Author Topic: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews  (Read 637 times)

Offline fredthecat

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flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
« on: October 08, 2021, 03:12:32 pm »
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.



Offline BrewnWKopperKat

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Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2021, 04:18:10 pm »
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). 


Offline denny

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Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2021, 04:47:51 pm »
Maybe you should base your purchase on quality rather than price.  Try a different DME.
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Offline Bob357

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Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2021, 05:06:40 pm »
When you choose price over quality, you get what you pay for.
Beer is my bucket list,

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Offline fredthecat

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Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2021, 06:22:05 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.


Offline fredthecat

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Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2021, 06:26:00 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.

Online RC

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Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2021, 07:06:47 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.

Offline denny

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Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2021, 07:58:43 pm »
Sorry, not intended to be condescending.
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Offline BrewnWKopperKat

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Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2021, 09:03:22 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.

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2021, 09:22:24 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.
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Offline BrewnWKopperKat

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Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2021, 09:53:24 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. 

Offline fredthecat

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Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2021, 09:53:43 pm »
Sorry, not intended to be condescending.

Thanks for the reply. Understood.  :)

Offline fredthecat

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Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2021, 10:04:36 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.



Offline neuse

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Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2021, 03:26:45 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.

Offline BrewnWKopperKat

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Re: flat(?)/insipid tasting DME pale brews
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2021, 08:15:14 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.