Has anyone tried brewing beer without using malt extract? It seems the question has been asked thousands of times, but the answers always center around "It wouldn't be beer" or "trust me don't try it". That's the same as not having an answer. There is proof that beer has been being made for at least 3800 years (1800 BC), and it's estimated possibly 8000 years. Only in the last 100 years could you go into a store and buy DME or LME, so almost every beer ever made was made without it (and in regions where barley wasn't common). So if you have a recipe, I'd love trying a batch that doesn't taste like a Crisp, Malty, and Hoppy assembly project.
Yes you can make beer without malt extracts. Here are the terms and process in simple answer.
Malt Extracts are a concentrated sugar extracted from grains. Barley, rye and wheat usually.
To extract sugars directly from malted grain and not use an extract is called All-Grain brewing. Grain (malted barley, rye or wheat) are milled and mixed with water then held at specific temperatures for a time this is called a Mash. This is done in a vessel called a Mash Tun. The resulting sugar water called Wort is then transfered to the boil kettle. At this point the brew process is the same as using malt extracts.
There is a simplified all-grain method that uses a bag instead of a Mash run. This is called Brew In A Bag (BIAB).
You can make alcohol from any fermentable sugar. But it's technically not beer unless at least 50% of the fermentable comes from barley, rye or wheat. This is using the BJCP guidlines as to what is beer. Bravarian law does not allow anything but grain, hops, yeast, water.