Malt extract tends to get a bad rap. Some assume brewing with grains will automatically create better beer, which isn’t necessarily the case.
Sure you have more control over the brewing process and access to additional ingredients when undertaking the mash, but that is not to say that delicious, award-winning beers aren’t made with extract. Just take a look at past National Homebrew Competition winners.
Much of this stigma surrounding extract may stem from the fact that it is the standard entry-level brewing process. But, perhaps the beer you deemed sub-par was not due to malt extract, but rather amateur brewing processes or malt extract past its prime.
The point is, malt extract does not automatically knock a homebrew down a notch below mashed brews. In fact, many grain brewers use extracts for starter wort, to hit an undershot gravity, or compensate for fermentables in a high gravity batch.
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