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Old 12-14-2009, 04:38 PM   #1
gunnyg
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Default Good Piece On Extract Brewing...

MALT EXTRACT: PRIDE and PREJUDICE

http://www.maltproducts.com/news.malt.extract.html

Malt extract offers excellent quality and versatility and is perfect in some setting. So how did it get a bad rap?
By Michael Mandelbaum as published in the September - October issue of "The New Brewer" Magazine for Micro and Pub Brewers

Just about any product we use today has been processed in one way or another. We accept that fact because the people who are doing the processing - whether they're pasteurizing milk, weaving fabrics, or turning cows into steaks - do what they do better than we could. They have more know-how. And experience. And equipment. They do it less expensively than we could, more consistently and better.

Brewers, too, have traditionally depended on others to produce the ingredients and equipment they need to make beer. Though there was time when individual brewers grew their own grain, cultivated their own yeast, pumped their own water, and stoked their own stoves, that degree of self-sufficiency isn't possible today, and if it were, it wouldn't make good business sense. Brewers buy their grain, yeast, water and energy from specialists who produce such things better and less expensively. This gives brewers time to brew beer, which their suppliers and others buy from them.

Doesn't it make equal sense to brew with extract? "There's no doubt in my mind that brewers can make some great commercial beers using malt extract," said Mike O'Brien, marketing director of the Michigan-based Pico Brewing Systems. "Most brewers refuse to believe it, but their disbelief is an intolerance not based on science."

That brewing with extract has an image problem is no news to the brewing industry. Whether that image is warranted, however, is another issue. "There's a sort of "instant-coffee-versus-home-ground-coffee" mentality," O'Brien said about using malt extract. "But that mentality is based on half-truths and innuendo. It certainly doesn't hold true with the new methods of extract production."

Basically, there arc five reasons why brewing with extract makes sense:
(Excerpt Only--Continued Link Below...)
http://www.maltproducts.com/news.malt.extract.html

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Old 12-14-2009, 06:05 PM   #2
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Thanks, that was a good (and educational) read. I had no idea there were breweries out there that used all extract procedures.

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Old 12-14-2009, 06:10 PM   #3
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I didn't know that, either.
One of the brewpubs mentioned by the article in Rochester...I had visited a few times when I lived there.

Also, several from other forums have mentioned local BPs in their area who produce extract beer; in one case, he said they didn't advertise it as such.
I guess only the homebrewers among their customers would know what that meant anyway.

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Old 12-14-2009, 06:21 PM   #4
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I don't argue that it is well written and has some valid points, it's a just your run of the mill white paper marketing tool. It's over exaggerating the negative view people have for extract brewing. I don't think you'll find an intelligent, reasonable grain brewer that would tell you you should never use extract and that extract is inherently inferior to grain in all respects.

To prove the marketing propaganda of this article, take his 5 bullet points:
* extract producers invest in the best technology and quality control;
* the wide variety of extracts makes production of specialty brews easy, economical and consistent;
* extract brewing saves space, solves spent grain disposal headaches, and eliminates the need for expensive equipment purchases and upkeep;
* exotic, imported extracts are instantly available without the inconvenience and problems associated with importing whole grain; and
* with care, extract brewing means no bad batches, no equipment downtime, and the insurance of quick-wort matches in emergency situations.

I can't really argue his first point, I'm sure they do - as they should. He says extract brewing is economical, that's just a lie; I can brew an AG for 2-3x less the cost of an equivalent extract brew. He completely over exaggerates the cost and upkeep of AG equipment. I clean it out at the end of the day and I'm done, so I have to rinse out a few extra containers and throw out my grain, is that REALLY as a big of an inconvenience as he makes it out to be? I don't know what all these exotic, imported extracts are but I have no trouble finding the exact grain that I want, whatever the country of origin is. Maybe I don't brew 'exoctically' enough. My LHBS carries a few types of dry extracts, a decent spread of canned extract kits, and a couple of barrels of fresh extract for getting exactly how much you need. His last bullet point can just as easily be written:
* with care, all grain brewing means no bad batches, no equipment downtime...
I'm not actually sure what he was getting at with the 'quick-wort matches in emergency situations'.

Anyway, I don't mean this post to be a knock on extract brewing, just pointing out that just because it's on the interwebz, you can't take it as gospel. This article is written by someone with an obvious bias, and he didn't seem to try to hide all that well, like most white papers should. Also, look at the site it's posted on... you really expect to find an article on that site about how awesome grain brewing is without extract?

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Last edited by Gremlyn; 12-14-2009 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:25 PM   #5
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It's like a picnic--take what you like and leave the rest...

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Old 12-17-2009, 03:21 PM   #6
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I think it depends on the extract. Personally, I steer clear of canned extracts. I don't like the "canned" taste they impart. The AHS liquid extract is great, and DME is good too.

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Old 12-17-2009, 03:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gremlyn1 View Post
He says extract brewing is economical, that's just a lie; I can brew an AG for 2-3x less the cost of an equivalent extract brew. He completely over exaggerates the cost and upkeep of AG equipment. I clean it out at the end of the day and I'm done, so I have to rinse out a few extra containers and throw out my grain, is that REALLY as a big of an inconvenience as he makes it out to be?
His selling point for the "economical" part was that it takes half the time of AG. Not an issue for most AG homebrewers, who do it for fun. But in a brewpub environment (which is what the article was really geared towards) that means less hours to brewing which means less wages. Also, less clean up and less equipment. So, in some situations, I'm sure it could work out to be more economical.

But yeah - it was just an advertising piece. Lots of spelling mistakes in it too.
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Old 12-23-2009, 09:07 AM   #8
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Ha, yeah, I caught those spelling mistakes too - they seemed to be concentrated in one paragraph (maybe missed by spell check).

Anywho....Commercially produced products are always looking for a way to make their results consistent, and certainly extracts would do a large part in homogenizing the batch since the syrup was made from umpteen-hundred pounds of malted grains at a time.

I've always wondered just how many micro-breweries employ this method of brewing. I'm betting there is a lot, and as the other member above mentioned, most people wouldn't know the difference.

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