First dumb question of 2015

I was just wondering for all the guys doing all grain; do you ever “regress” and brew an extract batch? I’ve been brewing all grain (BIAB) for about a year now and was actually thinking about some old extract brews that were pretty good. I’m just really cramped for time lately with other commitments and don’t have a full day to devote to brewing. My keezer is empty and that’s pretty sad :frowning:

My club recently did an all extract competition. Mine won first place. But it still “tasted like extract”, much to the chagrin of some folks that claim extract is every bit as good as all-grain. The fact is, there are some styles very well suited to extract brewing, and there are others that aren’t. We brewed an ESB. We figured, ESB, with specialty grains, that should be a good one, right? Yeah, it was good. But not great.

You can usually get away with doing really dark beers as extracts and they can taste as good as AG. Like a porter or a stout. Anything where specialty grains take up a large portion of the flavor of the recipe. With lighter styles your grain flavor is coming from mostly base malt and you can taste the difference between light extract and light malt. At least I can.

If you have a recipe and thought it was good brew it. Doesn’t matter what we think. Maybe your taste has changed, only one way to find out.

There were a couple recipes that I had difficulty brewing after I went AG - the extract versions were better. But rather than doing the smart thing and just going extract with those, I instead put a lot of effort into making the AG versions better. In the end, it worked out, but I did suffer through some less-than-stellar batches in the process.

Mattnaik is right though, strongly flavored recipes work well for extract. Light lagers, not so much.

I actually did an extract batch on Sunday, first one in probably 15 years or more. It was Malliard Pils malt extract and 5 gallons of maple sap (boiled down from 15). It is churning away in the fermenter right now with some US05. I am anxious to see how it turns out. I don’t agree that you have to go with a “dark” recipe when using malt extract, a friend of mine started brewing a couple years ago and made NB’s Cream Ale recipe. I would have never guessed it was an extract batch and was impressed with how good it turned out. With that said, years ago when home brewing wasn’t as popular and inventory didn’t turn over as quickly you could identify an extract batch in many cases. But (as NB promotes) the extracts sold today are often fresher and that would be key as with anything that involves food. YMMV.

My semi local BOP makes some killer beers from extract. Kinda crazy to think a bunch of drunk buddies at a bachelor party that are complete novices can make better beer than many homebrewers that have been at it a while… Brewing AG doesn’t automatically make your beer better than extract. There are 2 keys to good extract beers: Full wort boil and fresh extract. (floyd beat me to it) With these, you can make some tasty beer.

Like you, I am lucky to brew myself and time is precious. I am on dialing in an abbreviated AG process and am well under 3 hours. There are some radicals that are pushing the envelope even harder and are near 2. I am talking wort in the fermentor, gear cleaned, and put away… Overnight/lunch mashing are not for me but there are some great ideas and different approaches out there. For me, the keys are, simultaneous processes, 30m mash, getting run offs into a heated kettle ASAP, and a good chiller. In addition, by brewing opportunities are ill timed. For this, I keep plenty of stock in house so I can pull the trigger at a moment’s notice. I can elaborate if need be.

Last fall I felt I had lost my “brewing mojo” after several failed all grain recipes I tried. I went back and did a couple of extract kits just to get something halfway drinkable in the house. Might do it again here in a few weeks after I get settled in my new place. Than again I may also play with some smaller BIAB test batches I have been kicking around.

I switched to all grain, but I do extracts as well. Only because I knock out an extract from start to finish very quickly. Much less cleanup. A quicker process. And I was always happy with my extract brews. So I do both on a regular basis.

Thanks guys. That was interesting on the Cream Ale …I brewed a batch of all grain and it was good, not great…I think I’ll try that and the Nut Brown from NB. I’m just so damned busy lately. Maybe when I retire I’ll have more time.

Hah! Don’t count on it. :cheers:

I’m switching to BIAB and until I make an All-Grain can’t say I know what the “Extract Twang” is yet. One thing that does disappoint me is that NB always makes the exclusive and limited release recipes as extract.

I don’t see the point of brewing an extract batch after you go AG, unless you really can’t spare a bit of extra time to mill, mash and sparge.

I’ve been doing AG for almost 2 years now, but one recipe that I’ll probably stick with the extract version is NB’s Caribou Slobber. Wicked Good!

A 5-gallon extract batch can be made on most kitchen stoves when the weather is worse than the brewer is willing to tolerate.

It’s kind of along the same lines as a pro baseball player who gets together with friends from time to time to play softball in the park. Or like a person who retires and goes back to work part time just so that they can be with people. Or the soldier who gets out of the army but stays in for national guard.

It’s kind of along the same lines as a pro baseball player who gets together with friends from time to time to play softball in the park. Or like a person who retires and goes back to work part time just so that they can be with people. Or the soldier who gets out of the army but stays in for national guard.[/quote]
…or like a professional chef who makes SPAM sandwiches every now and then at home, because it takes them back to when they were a kid.

Sorry, this is one thing I’m not the least bit sentimental about. Maybe because I only brewed a couple extract batches before jumping into AG.

There’s nothing wrong with extract brewing if you follow good brewing practices. NB’s Nut Brown Ale is a fantastic extract beer, as are the NB Cream Ale, Dead Ringer, Jamil’s Evil Twin, Kama Citra Session IPA and T-Can and Bearcat’s Wheaten Beatdown. I’ve done all except Dead Ringer and the Nut Brown as both extract and all grain, and other than the color the differences were very subtle. I’ve also done a side-by-side comparison of extract Dead Ringer and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, and again, the only real difference was color. The bottom line is to do what works for you.

With AG, I think unless you’ve researched your water and got pH within range you might be better off with extract as this work has been done for you. AG has a learning curve…

Going back the OP, AG should not take “all day”. 60m mashes are bunk, 90m boils bunk, mashout bunk, fly sparge bunk, etc… Not saying you can’t take your time if you have it, but rethink your process and maybe you will find time. Although I do think AG ultimately makes better beer, I am mostly attracted to it for the cost.

From the handful of videos I’ve watched, it seems that the all grain brew process is more complicated and time consuming than extract brewing. And requires more space for brewing and storage.