Author Topic: You can brew award-winning beer with extracts.  (Read 1709 times)

Offline Steve Ruch

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You can brew award-winning beer with extracts.
« on: September 10, 2021, 01:40:17 pm »
Homebrewer of the year's recipe was extract.
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Offline denny

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Re: You can brew award-winning beer with extracts.
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2021, 02:07:50 pm »
I don't know why people think you can't make great beer with extract.  Like all grain, it's about getting good quality ingredients and knowing what to do with them.
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Offline tommymorris

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You can brew award-winning beer with extracts.
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2021, 02:25:35 pm »
I used William’s Brewing American Lager LME as 100% of the fermentables in a pre-prohibition lager last year. I could not tell it was an extract beer.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2021, 02:27:13 pm by tommymorris »

Offline erockrph

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Re: You can brew award-winning beer with extracts.
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2021, 02:32:01 pm »
You can certainly brew some geat beer with extract. It's like any other ingredient, if you have a good quality ingredient and know how to utilize it well in a particular recipe/process, then you will get good results. The only reason I prefer all-grain is that I like to set all the dials myself. I still use extract without hesitation for SMaSH test batches and the occasional APA, IPA or Porter if I'm short on time and want to get something into the pipeline quickly.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: You can brew award-winning beer with extracts.
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2021, 02:35:16 pm »
I used William’s Brewing American Lager LME as 100% of the fermentables in a pre-prohibition lager last year. I could not tell it was an extract beer.
I brewed a Helles with a Mr Beer American Lager kit plus some fresh Sterling at the end of the boil, and it was way, way better than I had expected. I always check the clearance at the big box stores after Christmas to see if there's a good deal to be had.
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Offline fredthecat

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Re: You can brew award-winning beer with extracts.
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2021, 02:38:18 pm »
I'm trying to leverage certain styles of beer that I think can "handle extract" as i think of it over beers I do all-grain or partial-mash with several lbs of grain (thats partial mash, right? - more like a smaller mash)

by handle i mean, there is some powerful aspect of the flavour to "cover up" the relative blandness of extract (go ahead and argue with me, but I think extract ends up blander than even a 2row recipe). the covering factors could be tons of hops, bitterness, lots of roasted or speciality malts or a flavourful yeast.

i continue to do all-grain if I really want to try/use certain flavourful base grains, ie. maris otter/munich (i can only get pils/light/amber/dark DME/LME here) and I believe that I can get better attenuation using all-grain or mostly grain with only some DME added for gravity.

I'm currently fermenting an extract beer that I added about 5% dextrose to, to see if I can hit a certain lower FG i want though.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2021, 02:40:23 pm by fredthecat »

Offline erockrph

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Re: You can brew award-winning beer with extracts.
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2021, 02:46:17 pm »
I'm trying to leverage certain styles of beer that I think can "handle extract" as i think of it over beers I do all-grain or partial-mash with several lbs of grain (thats partial mash, right? - more like a smaller mash)

by handle i mean, there is some powerful aspect of the flavour to "cover up" the relative blandness of extract (go ahead and argue with me, but I think extract ends up blander than even a 2row recipe). the covering factors could be tons of hops, bitterness, lots of roasted or speciality malts or a flavourful yeast.

i continue to do all-grain if I really want to try/use certain flavourful base grains, ie. maris otter/munich (i can only get pils/light/amber/dark DME/LME here) and I believe that I can get better attenuation using all-grain or mostly grain with only some DME added for gravity.

I'm currently fermenting an extract beer that I added about 5% dextrose to, to see if I can hit a certain lower FG i want though.

I agree that there are certain styles that, as an all-grain brewer, I'd be fine with using extract, and others I probably wouldn't. If I'm looking to brew a beer that is dominated by base malt flavor, then extract is definitely not my first choice. That's not to say that you can't make an excellent beer with it, but I know the flavors of the base malts I commonly use and what they bring to a beer, and they are my first choice for sure. But for many hoppy and roasty styles you can certainly use extract and most drinkers wouldn't know better.
Eric B.

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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: You can brew award-winning beer with extracts.
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2021, 03:47:43 pm »
I remember asking a club member about his grist composition and mash regimen on his First place entry at a contest and he looked at me and laughed- “well, it was an extract brew, so you’d have to ask the extract maker”!  I stopped thinking that there was something inferior with extract brewing right then and there.
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Online Bob357

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Re: You can brew award-winning beer with extracts.
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2021, 04:01:58 pm »
I switched to extract brewing for the most part several months ago, due to physical limitations, and haven't seen any decline in the quality of my beers. For the most part, I stick to APAs and IPAs and use William's extracts exclusively. They have a good selection of quality LME and very reasonable pricing.
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Offline Iliff Ave

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Re: You can brew award-winning beer with extracts.
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2021, 06:46:22 pm »
Homebrewer of the year's recipe was extract.
What style of beer?
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Offline BrewnWKopperKat

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Re: You can brew award-winning beer with extracts.
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2021, 06:56:34 pm »
Homebrewer of the year's recipe was extract.
What style of beer?
1B American Lager.  Zymurgy, Sept 2021,  p 44.

There may be more to the recipe than just "extract".  Look at the yeast selection / process.   Look at the "water chemistry". 
« Last Edit: September 10, 2021, 07:05:39 pm by BrewnWKopperKat »

Offline BrewBama

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Re: You can brew award-winning beer with extracts.
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2021, 07:07:55 pm »
Homebrewer of the year's recipe was extract.
I think that’s awesome.



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Offline BrewNerd

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Re: You can brew award-winning beer with extracts.
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2021, 10:06:47 am »
As many have stated, good beer comes from good ingredients + brewer talent.

I've found that I can screw up just about anything no matter how fresh the ingredients are. I'm cool like that.

Not to start a scuffle but the phrase "pretty good for an extract beer" is a bit of a low-key insult. Admittedly it is a bit more difficult to ensure freshness with something so processed as a LME but still.. ouch.


A good beer is just that, a good beer. I aggressively agree with what everyone has already said.

Offline fredthecat

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Re: You can brew award-winning beer with extracts.
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2021, 11:27:54 am »
As many have stated, good beer comes from good ingredients + brewer talent.

I've found that I can screw up just about anything no matter how fresh the ingredients are. I'm cool like that.

Not to start a scuffle but the phrase "pretty good for an extract beer" is a bit of a low-key insult. Admittedly it is a bit more difficult to ensure freshness with something so processed as a LME but still.. ouch.


I actually liked LME when I used it. But there is always that fear of "stale" LME and the rumoured flavour issues it causes.

I have so far only had really good experiences with LME, and tbh I think it provides a stronger flavour than light DME. But I use DME because it's just so easy to keep around for starters and knowing that it definitely won't go off.

I've only done maybe ~10 brews ever with LME, but once poured it myself from a nearly empty tank at my LHBS, so it couldn't have been the super freshest. I think all the claims people had about "extract twang" and LME staleness issues are holdovers from the early days of homebrewing when LME might have been sitting for many, many months in less than prime conditions. I would definitely use it again if I desired to.

Offline denny

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Re: You can brew award-winning beer with extracts.
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2021, 11:30:02 am »
As many have stated, good beer comes from good ingredients + brewer talent.

I've found that I can screw up just about anything no matter how fresh the ingredients are. I'm cool like that.

Not to start a scuffle but the phrase "pretty good for an extract beer" is a bit of a low-key insult. Admittedly it is a bit more difficult to ensure freshness with something so processed as a LME but still.. ouch.


I actually liked LME when I used it. But there is always that fear of "stale" LME and the rumoured flavour issues it causes.

I have so far only had really good experiences with LME, and tbh I think it provides a stronger flavour than light DME. But I use DME because it's just so easy to keep around for starters and knowing that it definitely won't go off.

I've only done maybe ~10 brews ever with LME, but once poured it myself from a nearly empty tank at my LHBS, so it couldn't have been the super freshest. I think all the claims people had about "extract twang" and LME staleness issues are holdovers from the early days of homebrewing when LME might have been sitting for many, many months in less than prime conditions. I would definitely use it again if I desired to.

I guarantee you that it still exists.  All depends on where you get your LME
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