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What does the term light and ultralight mean in the context of malt extract? What actually happens to Dry Malt Extract to make it light and ultralight?

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It has to do with color, which matters when you are making beer, and not for most other uses of malt extract.

The color (or lack therof) is from the malted grain being roasted or "kilned" to various time&temperature profiles in the making of the liquid malt extract, which is then dried to make dry malt extract.

Very dark malts have flavors associated with carmelization and roasting. There's not a lot of difference in flavor between the various grades of "pale" in my experience, but my beer-making doesn't tend that way so I might not be the best judge of any subtle flavor difference in grades of pale malt. At that end of the scale it seems to be mostly about what shade of yellow beer you get.

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  • In my opinion, there is zero dependable difference in taste between light and extra-light DME.
    – Sneftel
    Apr 2 at 8:50

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