Skip to main content

How to Convert Between Grain, LME, and DME

While all-grain brewing is generally less-expensive and often produces much better results than extract brewing, there are plenty of times where you simply want to produce a drinkable beer and don't want to put the time and effort into an all-grain batch.  When this happens, you'll want to convert an all-grain recipe to extract.  Similarly, there may be extract recipes that sound good, but you want to reduce the cost and improve on the quality.  In those cases, you'll want to convert the extract back to an equivalent of whole grain.

Grain to/from Malt Extract Conversion

Conversion from extract to grain or vice-versa is the most difficult. That's not because it involves complex math, but because extract manufacturers don't share the recipe for their extract wort.  That means you won't know for certain which grains were used or in what amounts.  All you can really do in these cases is approximate.  BYO Magazine suggests that you can use specialty grains to closely approximate any malt extract on the market.

For light malt extract, the basic conversion is:

  • Look at the specifications for the light malt extract.  Find the points per pound figure.  This will usually be 36 (1.036).
  • Look at the specifications for the two-row malt grain.  Identify its points per pound figure.  
  • If your brewhouse efficiency is 75% (which is common), your yield is 75% of the figure in the previous bullet.
  • Multiply the weight of extract by the ratio of points from extract over points from grain.
For example, for 9 pounds of light malt extract (at 36 points) converts to 2-row pale malt grain (36 points x 75% efficiency = 27 points) as below:
9 pounds malt extract x (36 points extract / 27 points grain) = 12 pounds of grain
Thus, you'll need 12 pounds of 2-row malt to equal 9 pounds of extract, at a 75% efficiency.

To go the other direction, you would modify the calculation:
12 pounds 2-row x (27 points grain / 36 points extract) = 9 pounds of extract
If you're looking at a more complex extract like Amber, Dark, or Wheat, you have a lot more work to do.  The BYO Magazine article linked above explains the process better than I can.  It boils down to examining the manufacturer's specifications for the extract and inferring what you can from it about the grains they used to make it.

Convert DME to LME, LME to DME

The main difference between DME and LME is the amount of water.  Water content in LME tends to be around 20%.  In DME, it's essentially zero.  

To do the conversion, 1 pound of a DME is approximately 1.2 pounds of an LME.  

To go the other way around, 1 pound of LME is equal to 0.8 pounds of DME.

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Brewing with The Grainfather, Part 1 - Mashing and Sparging

(Important note:  This article series is based on the US version of the product.  Prices are expressed in US dollars, measurements of temperature and volume are in US units unless otherwise noted.)

iMake's The Grainfather is an all-in-one RIMS brewing system designed to be used indoors with household electric current.  It includes the kettle, grain basket, recirculation tube, pump, electronic temperature controller, instruction book, and counterflow chiller.  It does not include a mash paddle, fermenter, cleaning supplies, or pretty much anything else.  The price is around $800-900 depending on where you shop and the discounts offered.

The Grainfather handles mashing, boiling, recirculating, sparging (to a degree), and chilling of the wort.  You'll still need a fermentation vessel of some sort and some other supplies we'll discuss later.

Grainfather Assembly and Initial Cleaning

Assembly of The Grainfather in my experience was pretty easy overall.  There were a couple of s…

Things I've Learned Brewing with The Grainfather, Part 2

In the last post, I shared an overview of The Grainfather, recommended equipment to use with it, and an overview of the brewing process.  In this installment, I'm going to talk specifically about mashing and sparging. Having brewed over a dozen batches with it, I'm finally becoming very comfortable with the device, the mash process, and how to get what I want out of it. I don't consider myself a "master" of it yet, though.

For those who have never done all-grain brewing, I want to provide a quick overview of the mash process itself.

Mashing - With or Without The Grainfather
The goal of mashing is to turn the starches in the grain into sugars. More specifically, you want to turn the starches into a mix of fermentable and unfermentable sugars that provide the flavor profile associated with the beer you are brewing. A sweeter beer might warrant more unfermentable sugars. A more dry beer will demand few unfermentable sugars.

To a great extent, controlling the amount o…

Brewing with The Grainfather, Part 3 - Cleaning and Overall Thoughts

In Part 1 of this series, I introduced The Grainfather and discussed how to use it for mashing and sparging.  In Part 2, we talked about boiling and chilling the wort with The Grainfather and its included counterflow chiller.  In this final segment, we'll discuss cleanup and overall thoughts about the device and its usage.

Cleanup

Once you've pumped the wort from The Grainfather into your fermenter and pitched your yeast, you're well on your way to a delicious batch of homebrew.  Unfortunately, you've still got some cleanup work to do.

The cleanup process in my experience will take 20-30 minutes.  It involves the following tasks:

Removing and discarding the grain from The Grainfather's grain basketCleaning the grain basket, kettle, recirculation tube, and wort chillerCleaning all the other implements used in brewing (scale, scoops, mash paddle, etc.) At the end of the brewing process, there will be hops bags (if you used them), grain and other residue, and usually so…