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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Extract vs. Grain
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:30 AM   #1
BrewJoeMaster
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Default Extract vs. Grain

Hello. I have not yet made my first batch of Homebrew. As a new brewer, is it ok to start brewing with grains, or should I start with a malt extract? Does beer made only from extract (liquid or dried) taste as good as a beer made from malt and grains?


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Old 01-11-2012, 07:48 AM   #2
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Extract batches are much better if all ingredients are very fresh. For your first one Try extract with some steeping grains. Start off simple.


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Old 01-11-2012, 07:55 AM   #3
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I brewed for 22 years using extract and specialty grains, and the last 1 1/2 years partial mash and all-grain. Start simple, then go as far and as fast as you feel comfortable. You can make great world-class beers using extract. You have more control over the ingredients with grain. All-grain is cheaper per serving, but takes more time.
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:42 AM   #4
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the initial difference is going to be budget/time. As you get better at brewing you will appreciate more and more the ability to control every aspect of your grain bill with full mash rather than extract. For a beginner though see how you do with extract; you will still be saving money, not to mention time, and you will get a more consistent final product than you would with all grain.
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:52 PM   #5
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Yes, extract beers can taste just as good as any beer out there. I'd say start with extract and continue with it until you have the main brewing processes down - sanitation, measuring, timing, cooling, fermentation etc. Once you have the routine down and you have a few good extract beers under your belt then make the jump. I brewed for almost a year doing extract with steeping grains and made many excellent beers. I've gone AG for a few months now and am extremely happy I did. But AG requires additional steps and care that could be a bit much for some newcomers that might get disheartened easily. You need more equipment, you need to get a bit of experience hitting and maintaining your mash temps, sparge water temp, etc.

Honestly though, it's all really super simple and until extract came along all new brewers started with AG. And with today's software and brewing apps for smartphones we have the brewing calculators to help us do all that easily. But again, if you don't want to be overwhelmed start off more simply and do extract for a bit.


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Old 01-11-2012, 03:55 PM   #6
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It depends on your level of comfort. Brewing with grain is not hard, but there is more to know. Most people start with an extract kit because it is prepackaged and comes with simple instructions. Then they start adding equipment and eventually go all grain and add the equipment to make that more convenient.

However, there is a LOT of information on how to brew All Grain using the Brew In A Bag method. It's pretty much the same equipment you would need to make an extract batch, with the addition of a 5 gallon paint trainer bag (they usually come in a set of two and each can be reused many times if you are not too rough with them).

The only thing about All Grain that might be an issue is whether you can boil that much wort. With All Grain you can't start with a thick wort and add top-off water. However much you plan on having at the end is what you will be boiling and then some.

If you are really interested in it, then I suggest reading up on that method and you can actually start on the stovetop if you don't have a large enough burner elsewhere. But you will have to scale your recipes down in size.

If you have a turkery fryer or other external burner, or a stove burner large enough to do it, you can do 5 gall recipes.

Lots of people do 1/2 batches. It's doable in a smaller space, or inside on a stove, and allows you to make more different beers.
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:20 AM   #7
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Thanks for your imput. I will start with brewing extracts, and move up from there.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:23 AM   #8
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I jumped right into AG, but I spend about 200 hours researching and another 40 building my rig. I'd recommend watching the countless videos on YouTube and this forum. You learn a ton. I would also recommend having an experienced AG brewer to shadow you on your first batch. Basically its not all that hard just take your time and go step by step and don't get ahead of yourself.

Good luck with whatever path you choose. Look at it this way, you be drinking far less commercial "beers".
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:28 AM   #9
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Give it a go!!! U will still learn as u go thru your steps anyways and find out that no matter how many hours u research something is going to need adaptation. Hav fun and great choice to home brew!!!
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Old 01-16-2012, 06:49 PM   #10
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I just completed my first batch of all grain beer. I went over to my buds house last weekend to watch him brew a extract batch. I got all my ingredients locally But had to wait for the yeast by mail. I made a scottish stout off of beer smith. I thought that the grain was pretty easy but I read and researched on the process before I started.


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