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When did you stop extract brewing?

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dnr

dnr

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I don’t think there’s anything wrong with knowledge, understanding and learning. Anybody can go as far down the rabbit hole as they like. : ) More understanding is only going to help you.

I’m just making the point that for the majority of us this is a hobby. As much as we want to compare ourselves to professional brewers - we’re not. I’ve been brewing off and on for almost 30 years. I brew all grain. Occasionally I brew extract. I used to own a homebrew shop and teach brewing classes. And with everything I know I’m never going to be a professional brewer for a working brewery. Not gonna happen.

When one does something for a living it becomes a whole nother matter than when its a hobby for fun. Reminds me of when I used to bowl and how that hobby was completely ruined for me by all the guys who wanted to be pro bowlers and took it WAY too seriously. Everybody averages 210 or more and they hand out a dozen 300 rings now every season. I haven’t bowled now for about 10 years and I don’t miss it.

Agreed, no professional brewers are using extract just like Ace of Cakes is not using a box mix. Absolutely.

But when its a hobby and we’re doing it for ourselves for fun or for our own recreation and to make something for ourselves that we enjoy then we don’t need to be super knowlegable and understand every aspect as deeply as the professionals do. Water chemistry alone is about a bachelor degree course.

If something makes your day easier, quicker, or less stressful and you can still get satisfactory results then there’s nothing wrong with that. If you want to persue it further and learn more and go way deeper then there’s nothing wrong with that either. This hobby can be as complex as you want to go or as simple as you want to make it.

Use extract, don’t use extract - its your choice. But nobody should call anybody else names or look down on anybody else because they choose to brew one method or another. That’s what I was responding to in the original post. : )
I appreciate all fully respect your post. I was more asking about honing one's craft. @Harleybrew32 mentioned their method being the issue. I was likening your comment to what they were saying. Not that it's cheating perse, but a less time-consuming way of getting a desirable result.

I don't think badly of anyone brewing extract. I brew Extract. I just purchased 36 lb of LME because it's convenient and cost effective for my budget.
I just wanted to get an idea of when it is time to advance in this hobby, if at all. I'm happy this board exists. My wife read through a few posts and said she likes this community and therefore, my hobby.
...And I like that because it means more beer!


I more meant that if I understand the chemistry and physics (science) behind a good mashed potato,I might make a boxed mashed potato REALLY well.
i didn't understand alpha acids until I bought my own hops and tried my own recipe. Brew kits didn't explain that to me. Biotransformation is something I've done research on and now I know why to/not to dry hop a high krausen.

I just like to learn and want to advance my knowledge as much as possible.
 

Harleybrew32

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thats what is great about this hobby, you can brew the way you want and learn as much as you want.
if you want to learn more and get more technical by all means brew on and advance on.
this is a very good board for getting great advice and help.
its a bonus if the wifey likes your hobby too.
cheers
 

Bobby_M

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Here’s a different way of thinking:

- I buy meat from the butcher. I didn’t raise the animals or butcher them myself. So is it “cheating” every time I have a hamburger or a hot dog or a philly cheese steak sandwich?
- I buy vegetables from the supermarket. I didn’t plant them or grow them myself. So it is “cheating” every time I eat a salad?
- I found these fantastic instant mashed potatoes that come in an envelope, are ready in 5 minutes and everybody I know who’s had them say they can’t tell them from scratch. So is it “cheating” when I eat these?

Even with brewing, none of us is self-sufficent. Who grows and malts all their own barley? Who grows all their own hops and if they did, how would they know the alpha acid to use them unless they owned a laboratory?

I don’t change my own oil. I pay somebody to cut my grass. I do make instant iced tea. And I like it. My wife makes cakes from a box mix. Just made one for our daughter’s birthday. And it was good. Used store bought canned frosting too.

Using extract is just paying someone else to do some of the work and make life easier for you. None of us has a problem with any of these other areas of life where people are all paying others to do the exact same thing.

I’m just wrapping up a 7 hour brew day to make 3 gallons of English Barleywine from grain. Had I used extract, I probably could have been done in 3 hours.
I never used the word cheating so I would appreciate if you didn't put words into my fingers. I was answering the OP's question from my own perspective.
I stopped using extract about 6 batches into it. It was just a matter of principal for me. The manufacturer makes a batch of wort from grain and then removes most of the water so they can ship it and sell it to you. Then you put the water back. It's not exactly the same but it seems a lot like instant iced tea mix. I know some people like the tea they get from that product but I'm more of a brew your own type.
Your analogy of paying people to do something for you isn't the same as my analogy. A butcher breaking an animal down and selling you a steak is like a malster malting grain that a farmer harvested. Of course we're not talking about cutting grass or changing oil here. No one is trying to claim that cutting your own grass is a purists form of lawn maintenance and that those who pay someone else to do it are posers. Paying someone to cut your grass or change oil is most analogous to buying a six pack of commercial beer.

As far as being a homebrewer is concerned, brewing with extract is a form of short cutting. That is a fact with no implication of inferiority.

Malt extract is a form of "instant wort" which correlates very closely to instant iced tea. Yes, there is a definite difference in end results between steeped tea and instant tea. I don't begrudge anyone from using any product if they like the result.

I personally like the beers I make using 100% grain. It is very rare that I have a beer that I like that I later found out was brewed with extract. Read carefully. I am not saying that good beers cannot be made with extract. I am not saying that all grain is instantly a better beer either. It's my own personal preference and observation.
 

AzOr

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Good advice here.
You shouldn’t let cost be a barrier. BIAB is simple and the price of admission is only the bag as long as you already have a big pot.
Check CL, there’s always someone getting out of the hobby and is selling their equipment at low prices.

The cost of extracts is significantly higher than grains. Plus you have more options when it comes to recipes.

When I was extract brewing I’d always come across recipes that didn’t have an extract equivalent. That was frustrating.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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I’d always come across recipes that didn’t have an extract equivalent.
OK, I'm curious (and perhaps hoping for some interesting discussion): What styles were you looking at (or brewing) where you were not finding "extract equivalent" recipes?
 

Bobby_M

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OK, I'm curious (and perhaps hoping for some interesting discussion): What styles were you looking at (or brewing) where you were not finding "extract equivalent" recipes?
You didnt ask me but I do have a few examples.

Belgian wit (specifically an authentic Celis or Hoegarten clone)
Rauchbier
Gradzidski/Gratzer
American Light Lager
Cream Ale.

You can kind of do some of them with extract but you wouldnt fool anyone that really knew the style.
 

hout17

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I doubt I will ever stop extract brewing. While I'm moving to do all grain I know there will be times when I want to cut my brew day down and still getting something tasty in the fermenter.
 

AzOr

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You didnt ask me but I do have a few examples.

Belgian wit (specifically an authentic Celis or Hoegarten clone)
Rauchbier
Gradzidski/Gratzer
American Light Lager
Cream Ale.

You can kind of do some of them with extract but you wouldnt fool anyone that really knew the style.
Thank you. Beat me to it.

I just made a Gratzer. It was interesting and good but probably won't make it in my regular rotation.

I could never get my extract pilsners to turn out very good. Besides the color even. Although I made quite a few Rocky Racoons (I think that's the name) that were really good.

I don't have anything against extract brewing. In fact, Orfy's mild is a good example of a beer that turns out great either way.

I'm set up for all grain so it doesn't make sense for me to do even occasional extracts but if I were limited in space or had to brew indoors I wouldn't hesitate to make extract beers.
 

Froyd

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I'm never letting go of extract. I love my 1.5h brew days: 1/2h to get to boil, 1/2h boil, 15min cleaning and 15 min cleaning = 2 weeks later , tasty simple pale ale in my belly.

I do like my AG weekend brewing too, especially on a nice sunny day with the house empty, and I like messing with mash temps (I tend to like more malt sweetness in my beer), but not having to learn about milling and mashing and sparging allowed me to obsess about other areas of my brewing, mostly fermentation. I moved to a using a fermentation chamber and doing controlled ramps well before adding AG to my toolbelt. My advice is take it a bit at the time and focus on what interests you more.

By the way, I know you are stocked with LME, but I find DME easier and less likely to taste stale.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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I stopped using extract about 6 batches into it. It was just a matter of principal for me.
OK, I'm curious (and perhaps hoping for some interesting discussion): What styles were you looking at (or brewing) where you were not finding "extract equivalent" recipes?
You didnt ask me but I do have a few examples.

Belgian wit (specifically an authentic Celis or Hoegarten clone)
Rauchbier
Gradzidski/Gratzer
American Light Lager
Cream Ale.

You can kind of do some of them with extract but you wouldnt fool anyone that really knew the style.
I was thinking more along the lines of brewing an enjoyable beer (using malt extract) within the style.
 

RM-MN

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i thought I had stopped brewing extract some ten years ago but I now have 2 cans of extract to brew with due to the local supply of 2 row to be completely out when I stopped in.
 

Bobby_M

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I was thinking more along the lines of brewing an enjoyable beer (using malt extract) within the style.
Enjoyable is definitely subjective. I can be more clear by saying there is no way to brew the styles I listed using extracts that would result in a beer I would consider accurate representations of those styles. Maybe/Probably they would make drinkable beer but my involvement in the hobby is about making the best possible beer I can and when it's in a specific style then I also want stylistic accuracy. I'm not belittling others for not having those goals just in case that is assumed.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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So I did a few minutes of web searching this morning. Found a number of kit providers that offer
Rauchbier or Gradzidski (partial mash) kits. Found at least one smoked malt with a DP of 90 (so perhaps self-converting). Found a couple of articles on how I could smoke my own malt.

At the moment, Rauchbier and Gradzidski are styles that I haven't tried. But it looks to me like home brewers are brewing them with extract. As for kits, offering a kit for sale doesn't mean it actually sells - but something thought there was demand for one and was willing to "take a chance" that it would sell.

my involvement in the hobby is about making the best possible beer I can and when it's in a specific style then I also want stylistic accuracy.
Good to know.
 
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