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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: fmader on January 16, 2013, 02:18:27 AM

Title: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: fmader on January 16, 2013, 02:18:27 AM
What is the shelf life of unmilled grain? For instance...a 50 pound bag of Briess 2 row in it's original package. What about if it is shrink wrapped?
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 16, 2013, 02:49:07 AM
I just made soils with Weyerann, and noticed a best by date in 2014. This bag was 2012 harvest. will find the more specific best by date tomorrow.
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: amh0001 on January 16, 2013, 03:00:12 AM
I think that unmilled grain stored properly IE dry and away from oxygen can go 6 months to a year. Specialty grains about double that. This is just my guess from remembering podcasts I've listen to.

And another question: If you do have old grain (stored property just for an extra year perhaps) and you use it are you just going to have less efficiency or will it actually lead to off flavors?
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: fmader on January 16, 2013, 03:08:34 AM
We bought 200 pounds in...I'm pretty sure September/Octoberish. We bought that much because we thought that the price of grain would go up since we all suffered from the drought in 2012. It will more than likely be used by the end, if not, the middle of the summer. It is stored high and dry. It is not vacuum sealed or anything but just in the original package. I usually do 5 gallon brews, but have the capability of doing 10 gallons. I would do more 10 gallons if the grain would go bad in this time period.
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: brew1314rw on January 16, 2013, 03:25:24 AM
I was given some 2 row from an old brewer that was knocking on 4-5 years old.  I tried not to accept it but declining was too rude the way it all went down so I accepted.  I thought it would be horrible so I made a quick and straight-forward pale ale from it.  It surprisingly tasted fine, not great but nothing bad.  I would not suggest letting grain sit that long but it can be passable.  I would add a little here and there on beers with more character and I never had anyone (homebrewers or non-homebrewers) notice anything. If you don't get weevels in it and keep it cool and dry you should be fine for a while.  If you are brewing beers that are more delicate I would think you may want to be more careful as your grain gets older.  A year old should be nothing to worry about if kept properly.
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: Jimmy K on January 16, 2013, 03:30:43 AM
I think that unmilled grain stored properly IE dry and away from oxygen can go 6 months to a year. Specialty grains about double that. This is just my guess from remembering podcasts I've listen to.
Dry is important, but the big bags (or giant hoppers) grain is stored in are not oxygen-proof either.  I've also heard it mentioned that barley is harvested once per year, so the shelf life must be at least one year. It is likely much longer is treated right.

I suspect that mold and insects are the most likely damage from storage, followed by some staling.
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: fmader on January 16, 2013, 03:39:45 AM
I didn't mention above, but price was the reason why we bought that amount. We figured it would be a lower barley harvest and the price would soar....simple economics of supply and demand. It seems that most of you so far think that a year is good. It will be gone by then!
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: bluesman on January 16, 2013, 03:41:08 AM
Keeping your grain dry (most important), cool, dark and in an airtight container are the best options to assure a longer shelf life for your grain.

I use Rubbermaid containers but Vittle Vaults are also great. I also store the grain in the sack that it is supplied with.
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: fmader on January 16, 2013, 04:04:58 AM
Keeping your grain dry (most important), cool, dark and in an airtight container are the best options to assure a longer shelf life for your grain.

I use Rubbermaid containers but Vittle Vaults are also great. I also store the grain in the sack that it is supplied with.

I like it...I will probably invest in a Rubbermaid container or two. I store my specialty grains in a in Ziplock bags then in a sealed bucket.
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: swampale on January 16, 2013, 10:44:47 AM
I just tossed a batch that was definitely bad from old grain. My Carastan and Munich were 15 months past their BB date. I should never of bought them by the sack. The pale ale was supposed to have a srm of around 5, but looked like 10. The taste was stale and just bad. I now buy specialty grains in small amounts and vacuum seal them.
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: micsager on January 16, 2013, 04:12:39 PM
In listening to an old episode of Brewstrong, they had a guy from Briess on the show, and he indicated if kept dry and dark, unmilled grain can last a couple years.  What surprised me is when he said even milled grain is fine for a month or so.  I generally mill my grain the day before brewing.

He indicated the key was to keep it DRY.  Moisture is the enemy. 
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: redbeerman on January 16, 2013, 04:46:37 PM
In listening to an old episode of Brewstrong, they had a guy from Briess on the show, and he indicated if kept dry and dark, unmilled grain can last a couple years.  What surprised me is when he said even milled grain is fine for a month or so.  I generally mill my grain the day before brewing.

He indicated the key was to keep it DRY.  Moisture is the enemy.

This is true.  My basement is bone dry and my bags of grain last easily a year and a half or more.
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: anje on January 16, 2013, 04:49:06 PM
Just a guess here, but I'd expect that your enzymes would be the first thing to suffer as it ages, assuming good storage conditions. Perhaps mixing old and new malt would help older stuff convert?
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: ynotbrusum on January 16, 2013, 10:58:50 PM
To be safe, I better get brewing with those malts I have that are a few months old!

 :P
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 16, 2013, 11:28:36 PM
On the bag of Weyermann Pils I mentioned early above, it was bought in Nov 2012. The best by is 17 Jan 2014. I assume it was the 2012 crop. So there are some dates you can think about.
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: micsager on January 17, 2013, 06:11:30 PM
FWIW-

On the Briess website, they give info on all their grains.  All the ones I checked said "slight flavor loss at 18 months. 

Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: Jimmy K on January 17, 2013, 07:36:18 PM
Just a guess here, but I'd expect that your enzymes would be the first thing to suffer as it ages, assuming good storage conditions. Perhaps mixing old and new malt would help older stuff convert?
Good thought. I'm sure there are staling reactions that occur, but the enzymes must degrade too. Moisture probably doesn't help them either.
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: fmader on January 18, 2013, 01:55:11 AM
Ok, I got some 10 gallon ziploc bags and a couple of these.....

(http://i1306.photobucket.com/albums/s564/Frank_Mader/Brewing/IMG_0073_zps7dd0d6f8.jpg)
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: garc_mall on January 18, 2013, 02:55:25 AM
You seem to have taken home a woman as well... I hope she likes beer.  8)
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: erockrph on January 18, 2013, 04:46:58 AM
Dang, my totes did not include any ladies. Screw you Target - I want a refund!
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: garc_mall on January 18, 2013, 04:48:01 AM
Dang, my totes did not include any ladies. Screw you Target - I want a refund!

They cost a lot more than $10  :o
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: redbeerman on January 18, 2013, 12:58:20 PM
Dang, my totes did not include any ladies. Screw you Target - I want a refund!

They cost a lot more than $10  :o

+1000000 ;)
Title: Re: Shelf Life of Grain
Post by: MDixon on January 18, 2013, 02:05:50 PM
I've never seen a drop off of flavor or a problem with grains that are, shall we say, well aged.

If time permits I hope to bring a beer or two to Philly. If mine make the cut for the club you can be the judge if old grains (properly stored) make good beer.