I've had some good beer, and I have some good, smooth beer. A beer that feels very soft when you drink it. What makes a beer smooth? And can this be done with extract brewing?
I'm not sure what you mean by smooth. Easy drinking, and not bitter? Or "clean" flavored? Or lager-like, which I think of as "crisp"?
Can you name a commercial beer or two that has the flavor that you're thinking of? That can help us to figure out what you might be looking for.
I'm not talking about smooth in flavor, more how it feels on your tongue. I had a beer called Dragon's Milk from New Holland brewery. Very smooth. I would also consider Guiness a smooth beer.
A little chloride from either table salt or calcium chloride can give a beer some roundness.
lower carbonation will help
In Dragon's Milk, it is primarily tannin from oak aging.
I've heard that Yakima Magnums will make your lager so smooth, it's like a laxative.
I'm not sure what you mean but I'd say balanced recipie/process and a clean finish. I think that could be done with extract.
i think you are talking about "mouthfeel" perhaps. Try a 1/2 pound of carapils (dextrine) for 5 gallons which wont affect the flavor so much but adds in my mind smoothness.
Sometimes, just a little time is all that's needed. A good stout, for example, benefits from time in the bottle, in my experience anyway.