When I first started brewing I came across a recipe that called for 3.3 lbs of pale LME (late addition)… I understood that LME came in a can, but I had no idea what the “late addition” part meant…

… and when you don’t quite understand instructions or the recipe, you tend to feel like you’ll ruin the beer….

But, a late addition is nothing more than adding your malt extract 10 to 15 minutes before the end of the boil… In other words, you add it late in the boil and I assume that’s how it got the name “late addition”…

So, here are the…

… TOP 3 Reasons Why You Would Want To DO a Late Addition…

Reason #1 Keeps the color of your beer lighter…

So this may not be a concern when brewing a stout, but when you get to light colored beers, you’ll be looking for every possible way to keep the color as low as possible…

When your wort is highly concentrated with malt extract, the sugars tend to caramelize faster, which browns their color and ultimately darken up your beer…

Reason #2 Avoids caramel flavors from developing…

This goes hand in hand with the color of your beer… when your sugars darken up, the flavor of your beer changes due to the caramelization of sugars…

You may also get melanoidins which is similar to caramelization… the point here is, that the flavor of your beer will be slightly different than what you had planned if you are putting together your own recipe…

Reason #3 Promotes good head formation…

This is a double edge sword… doing a late addition will help your beers pour with a nice thick foam on top…

That’s the good side…

The bad side to this is that it will also make your beers a little more cloudy… but, that is not to worry if you plan ahead and condition your beer properly to allow suspended yeast and haze producing proteins to drop and clear the beer…

Needless to say… I have pretty adopted this approach as my primary way of brewing with extract, with a few exceptions… It is not necessarily better, it’s just different and it has advantages and disadvantages… I cover this topic in more detail in my home brew training program…

Another reason why others may do late additions is hop utilization… I haven’t seen this as making a great impact and need to test it more before I can say that it has a major impact… I do calculate hop additions based on Tinseth’s formula which accounts for this, but like I said it’s not the main reason why I would do late additions…

For now let’s talk about using either DME or LME for late additions…

Is one better than the other?

Well, truth is, I don’t think that one is better than the other although LME is more commonly used than DME… one reason I’ve found for this to be true is that DME seems to foam up on contact with hot wort or water… LME on the other hand dissolves easier considering, it is mostly liquid…

The problem with LME, however, is that it tends to drop all the way to the bottom of the pot and if you don’t stir when you add it, it will scorch and burn…

So as long as you are aware of both issues you can use either and plan ahead… if you are adding DME, take your pot off the heat and let it cool down a bit and then add the DME… you don’t need to let it cool down more than half a minute or a minute in most cases, but just gauge if it’s safe to add the malt extract by adding a little bit at a time…

If you are using LME, just be sure to stir shortly after adding the malt extract…

Do you use Late Additions in your recipes?


    2 replies to "How To Do A Late Addition (LME)"

    • Calvin

      I can think of a 4th reason. Lower gravity in the boil kettle gives you better Alpha Acid isomerization so you can use less hops to get the same IBU.

      • Jorge

        Yes! Good one…

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