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What's the purpose of Dark DME?

I realize the question is kind of open ended but for the sake of extract brewing what does darker DME really add. Aren’t you better off using a lighter DME and steeping darker malts/caramels to get color and flavor? It seems it’s easier to control the fermentability of the wort this way.

The reason I ask, I had ordered 9 lbs of Light DME for my next brew, and NB accidentally sent me 9lbs of Dark DME. I called and they said since it’s a food product they aren’t allowed to accept a return. They sent out the Light DME so now I have 9 lbs of Dark DME to figure out what to do with.

I do have a RIS I’m planning but the recipe I started (and most the others I’ve read) use Light DME. So it makes me wonder, other than adding some color and decreasing the fermentability of your wort, what purpose does Dark DME serve?

It’s probably 25 years since I’ve extract brewed, but I used to use dark DME frequenly and it made very good beer.

For whatever it’s worth, I can say also that I certainly never experienced decreased fermentability using dark DME. Actually, there were times when I wished it did have decreased fermentability. That’s one of the things that ultimately factored (at least somewhat) into my decision to go all grain: having more control over that aspect of the process.

In any case, don’t be afraid to experiment with it…it can make some pretty darned good beer (back in the late 70s and early 80s, I used to make an aromatic and hoppy dark ale with it that was one of my favorites).

Normally you can’t find out what the grain bill is for the various extracts. That is the biggest downfall for anything other than lite/extra lite extracts.

[quote=“The Professor”]It’s probably 25 years since I’ve extract brewed, but I used to use dark DME frequenly and it made very good beer.

For whatever it’s worth, I can say also that I certainly never experienced decreased fermentability using dark DME. Actually, there were times when I wished it did have decreased fermentability. That’s one of the things that ultimately factored (at least somewhat) into my decision to go all grain: having more control over that aspect of the process.

In any case, don’t be afraid to experiment with it…it can make some pretty darned good beer (back in the late 70s and early 80s, I used to make an aromatic and hoppy dark ale with it that was one of my favorites).[/quote]
An early black ipa?

[quote=“Rookie L A”][quote=“The Professor”][size=75]It’s probably 25 years since I’ve extract brewed, but I used to use dark DME frequenly and it made very good beer.

For whatever it’s worth, I can say also that I certainly never experienced decreased fermentability using dark DME. Actually, there were times when I wished it did have decreased fermentability. That’s one of the things that ultimately factored (at least somewhat) into my decision to go all grain: having more control over that aspect of the process.

In any case, don’t be afraid to experiment with it…it can make some pretty darned good beer (back in the late 70s and early 80s, I used to make an aromatic and hoppy dark ale with it that was one of my favorites).[/size][/quote]
An early black ipa?[/quote]

I suppose, although I never viewed it hat way and never called it by that silly name. 8)
But yes, I first made my hoppy dark probably sometime around 1977 and it was a favorite in my extract days. To be clear, even back then the idea of a dark, hoppy ale was not anything new (no matter what anyone tries to tell you).

A related thought came to me as I read this. Faced with a busy week, I thought of whipping up a quick extract batch, wanting a red or amber. I was on the verge of just using amber LME and hops…but I don’t have experience with it, lacked confidence in it as a “stand alone”…so went with a proven specialty grain/extract red recipe (using gold LME.) So it will cost me the time and effort to steep the grains.

So are those darker LME’s and DME’s meant to stand alone without specialty grains?

It’s been years since I brewed with extracts, but my memory is that almost every beer that featured some specialty grain additions came out with a “fresher” flavor than by using extract alone. Might have been that I just wasn’t getting the freshest extract and the addition of grain somewhat made up for that, but I doubt it. The store I bought from had a huge turnover; hard to imagine anything sitting for too long on the shelf there.

This is both true and untrue.

Briess (who I believe makes NB’s repackaged LME), lists the ingredients for all of their extracts. For example, their dark extract is made from two-row, Munich, Caramel 60L, and black patent malts.

What they don’t tell you is the percentage of each malt that they use in their formula.

It gives you a basic idea of what you’re putting into the beer, but not exact amounts.

In the OP’s case, I’d look into brewing some sort of Black IPA with the dark extract. You could probably just use the dark extract, and a solid hop schedule. Do some searches for a good recipe.

The purpose is to be able to make a dark beer using only extract, no specialty grains.

I think that sums it up quite accurately.
I’ve also used dark DME in making bread. Makes a dark rye to die for!

No shit - How much did you use per loaf?

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