I got a couple emails from some of the blog readers about using dextrins. These are some of my favorite sugars to work with. They provide most of the flavor and texture of the beer and it really is what makes many different styles of beer possible to be brewed.

Dextrins are for the most part unfermentable sugars while malts that come from DME have mostly fermentable sugars and that’s what makes most of the difference when it comes to brewing beer and how you go about choosing the ingredients you want.

***QUESTION***
Jorge,

I’ve been reading your blog and I have to say I’ve learned so much. Thanks for sharing all this info bro. I had to shoot you an email because I was brewing a cream stout and the recipe had me add .75 lbs of malto-dextrin at the beginning of the boil. This is not my first stout, but it is barely my 5th batch of beer so I’m still getting acquainted with all the ingredients.

I brewed a stout on my second batch and I remember it had me add malto-dextrin with 15 minutes left in the boil. I somehow confused the old recipe with the new one and added the malto-dextrin towards the end of the boil instead of the beginning like the new recipe says.

Is my beer going to be OK?

I’m wondering if the recipe is wrong since I just picked it up from one of the home brewing forums. How is that going to affect my beer?

Thanks,
Pete F.
Madison, WI

>>>MY COMMENTS:

Pete,

Ah, the good ole and often misunderstood maltodextrin… Here’s the deal, maltodextrin is a sugar so complex and refined it has lost pretty much all proteins which means you don’t really need to boil it to prevent haze or flavor stability problems. The only thing that will affect your beer is that any DMS found in the malt will stay there and may change the flavor profile slightly. This doesn’t mean it is going to mess up your beer, so I wouldn’t sweat it.

The only time this may be an issue is when you use wheat derived maltodextrin which does have some proteins just because wheat has many more proteins than barley. If you are brewing a stout though, you shouldn’t be using wheat derived malts anyway so again, I wouldn’t sweat it.

Also, do yourself a huge favor and start taking notes while you brew. I use a log where I write down my recipe and the basic procedure before I start to brew. Then while I brew I keep track of everything that I do so I don’t miss any steps. I used to forget to take samples for my Gravity Reading and this log as well as a checklist have not only helped me remember, it has improved my brewing much faster.

This is possibly the best advice I can give any brewer looking to really kick their skills up a notch…

**QUESTION***
Hi Jorge! I used your strategy to substitute my booster pack with DME and it worked like magic. Beer was not watered down like before and the taste is much better. This worked great for the pale ale and the brown ale.

Is there a difference for lager or wheat beers?

Charles
Garner, NC

>>>MY COMMENTS

Isn’t it amazing how a simple ingredient can have such an effect on beer… There really isn’t much difference when you are brewing lagers only you might want to stick to light or extra light DME. Darker DME is made by adding specialty grains, which I guess you can use if you are in a rush and don’t want to steep your own grains. I personally prefer to steep my own grains and give beer the color I want by choosing the amount and type of specialty grains I choose.

When you are brewing a wheat beer you want to use wheat DME.

DME is the basic ingredient in all beers and it’s the malt that needs to be boiled. All the other malts that contain dextrins, don’t really need to be boiled, although there are some benefits to doing so and there are some really cool tricks to change the flavor profile of your beer depending on how you boil.


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