Intro to Brewing Beer: Extract or All-Grain? (Pt. 4 of 8)

By Chris Lindsey


This is the first decision you’ll make as a homebrewer. These are the two basic methods of making beer at home – either use malt extract or malted barley (all-grain). Here’s a good analogy comparing the two methods:

Say you want to make spaghetti, you have two options for pasta sauce: Buy pre-made sauce in a jar (extract brewing), or make your own sauce from scratch (all-grain brewing). Sauce in a jar is simpler and easier, but you’re limited to what you can buy off the shelf. Making your own sauce allows you to make whatever you want, but it takes more time and effort. Overall both options will produce spaghetti; it’s more of a matter of time & effort versus quality & creative freedom.

Most homebrewers, including myself, began with extract brewing. All-grain brewing requires an extra step called mashing which requires a little more equipment and know-how. I recommend starting with extract brewing since it’s simpler. Once you get the hang of brewing then upgrade your process to all-grain if you choose. After a year and a half of extract brewing I decided to switch to all-grain so I could have more control over the finished beer. My beer has improved with the switch so I feel the extra time and effort of all-grain brewing is worth it.

Part 1: Why I Brew Beer
Part 2: 4 Common Questions
Part 3: Step-by-Step Guide To Getting Started
Part 4: You are here. Awesome!
Part 5: Five Keys to Consistency
Part 6: Bottling or Kegging
Part 7: My Best Brewing Resources
Part 8: Beer Alternatives


Legal Stuff: Of course, we should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid =).

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