If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen someone puff up his chest and slag extract brewing, I’d be able to afford a whole carload of hazy IPA 4-packs. If you close your eyes, I guarantee you can hear the crabby old brewer complaining that “extract brewing is cheating,” “extract brewing isn’t real brewing,” etc. Please pass me a few more nickels.
Here’s the thing: The majority of homebrewers—even in this day and age of brew-in-a-bag, astonishing and endless varieties of grain, and easy mashing techniques—use extract. Why? Because not everyone has the time, the energy, or the inclination to spend hours on a brew day mashing grain, but they still want to make beer. So who are we to turn up our noses at their happy passion for creating?
The reason most of our experiences with extract beers have been “dodgy” is that many of those brewers are on their first attempts. Just think how many things you got wrong in your first batches. In truth, I’ve known veteran brewers who continue after decades to use extract because it fits their lifestyle better. You know I’m not telling you about them if their beer isn’t great.