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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: weazletoe on August 26, 2010, 07:45:57 PM

Title: How long will my grain last?
Post by: weazletoe on August 26, 2010, 07:45:57 PM
  Well, look who just finally posted in a beer thread again! And, not because i'm brewing.  :'(  Appears I won't be able to brew for a while now. I had all the grain for 12 gal of wheat. I bought it back in Ohio, around April or so. It's been kept, unmilled, in a grain sack, inside my mash tun. been sitting in a storage shed for a couple months in Ohio, now it's in a shed here in Idaho. Will it still be good for a while, or should I count it a loss? Way thongs are going, I won't be brewing for awhile. The movers left my kegs, and CO2 bottles in Ohio. So, I have no way to keg, and no place rally to store bottles, even I did buy some.
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: bluesman on August 26, 2010, 08:01:52 PM
If stored cool, dry and air tight it should last for at least a year maybe two before it starts to go south.
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: MDixon on August 26, 2010, 10:02:00 PM
Incorrect - if store as described it will last at least a decade and perhaps more without any notable degradation in your final product.
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: treaves on August 27, 2010, 12:33:32 AM
Last time I checked, a decade would match 'at least a year'.  So on what grounds is he incorrect?

Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: weazletoe on August 27, 2010, 12:55:59 AM
Sweet! I appreciate it. I was sure I  ::)would last a good while, but the way things have been going for me lately, who knows.  :-\
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: bluesman on August 27, 2010, 01:04:33 AM
Incorrect - if store as described it will last at least a decade and perhaps more without any notable degradation in your final product.

Sorry MDixon but you are incorrect. 

I certainly wouldn't even consider using grains that are ten years old.

Weaz....Here's a link showing some sound advice in regards to malted barley shelf life that I basically stated in my initial post.

http://www.byo.com/stories/recipes/article/indices/38-ingredients/1394-shelf-life-storing-your-ingredients
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: thcipriani on August 27, 2010, 02:16:48 AM
I think these stackable vittle vaults would be the ideal way to store grain over long periods:

http://www.chicompany.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=297&products_id=1658

I'm thinking one of these should hold 50lbs. - plus they would make the grain storage look more organized than a few half empty 50lb sacks in a Rubbermaid trash can (which is what I'm currently using).
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: sbc on August 27, 2010, 01:10:00 PM
I would go with the stackable 60 rather than the 40. I have the regular 50's that I keep base grains in and love them. The 50 holds a whole bag of grain. Got mine thru walmart. Price is about the same but walmart does not carry the stackables. Prices a little higher at US Plastics
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: MDixon on August 27, 2010, 01:30:54 PM
So the incorrect part was "before it starts to go south" as far as me being incorrect, the article really proves (and almost says) nothing with just a single comment and zero cited references (FWIW the comment was Uncrushed grain will store for a year in these conditions)

The second post said the proper way to store - cool, dry and air tight - IME uncrushed and properly stored grains will last more than a decade without degradation in the final product (seems like a repeat, don't it).

Let's look at what could go wrong. Of course there's all the free radical ideology, but I've really only heard issues associated with 60L Crystal and then only with regard to shelf stability in the finished product and not due to the age of the Crystal 60, only due to the crystal itself. So moisture - where can moisture enter from? The air, so airtight and dry eliminates that issue. The second issue would be larvae hatching and cool will take care of that. Otherwise there are not too many items with base and specialty malted/roasted grains to have happen.

Use this as an example. I purchase Protein Powder in bulk. I asked the manufacturer why only a 2 year shelf life. He indicated it was for FDA reasons and if the powder remained at it's dry moisture content it would be at least 2 decades before the protein would even begin to degrade and it could be longer.

So blue - if ya got some cited peer reviewed references which aren't just magazine bylines, lemme know... ;)

FWIW - those interested in technical information regarding brewing might enjoy perusing/downloading papers from this site
http://www.scientificsocieties.org/jib/contents/pastissues.htm
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: bluesman on August 27, 2010, 01:49:35 PM
I'm not sure if Weaz was looking to research the shelf life of grain so much as he was just wanting to know if his grain will be good to use once he gets his brewery up and running within the next several months....at least that's the hope. 

So using grain that has been stored for a decade is not only out of the relm of what he was really asking but also rediculous to even consider using IMHO.  I have never brewed beer with ten year old grain nor do I have the desire to do so but I would definitely not recommend using grain that old.

Freshness of all ingredients is key to brewing quality beer.  I try to keep my inventory such that I turnover all of my ingredients within a year maybe two.  ;)
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: MDixon on August 27, 2010, 02:00:42 PM
Certainly that's your prerogative to not use grain which has been properly stored for that length of time, but to recommend against something without valid proof of why just doesn't make sense. I've used grains that old (and older) and have given them away to be used by others and no one has noticed any issues with flavor components nor shelf stability.

My MO is to keep beers around far longer than they should be, so if an issue were to arise I'd certainly know.
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: bluesman on August 27, 2010, 02:14:28 PM
Certainly that's your prerogative to not use grain which has been properly stored for that length of time, but to recommend against something without valid proof of why just doesn't make sense. I've used grains that old (and older) and have given them away to be used by others and no one has noticed any issues with flavor components nor shelf stability.

My MO is to keep beers around far longer than they should be, so if an issue were to arise I'd certainly know.


It's a two way street.  I certainly can't show valid proof that ten year old grain will produce good or bad beer nor do I desire to but neither can you.  Let's not go down this road.  You and I disagree.  Let's just leave it at that.

Weaz can use his better judgement.
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: MDixon on August 27, 2010, 05:45:10 PM
As far as fresh grain, what is fresh?  When was it malted and when does the 1 year clock start to tick? Assuming it was harvested in August it then has to reach the maltster and be dried down, then stored for a month and a half, then soaked for a few days, germinated for 5 days or so, then kilned and processed some more before being shipped. So let's say it's out the door in November from overseas (pure conjecture - if anyone really knows when, let me know). If you want a sack next October it's already a year old...

- -

Ahh, but I can show some proof...box of ribbons in the garage...but I'm fine to agree to disagree.

When your properly stored grain hits two years in age send it to me and I'll add it to my collection...  ;)


Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: bluesman on August 27, 2010, 05:53:49 PM

When your properly stored grain hits two years in age send it to me and I'll add it to my collection...  ;)


I would if I had any that ever lasted that long... I turnover my inventory annually in the worst case.   ;)
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: euge on August 27, 2010, 06:07:00 PM
Regardless you'll probably have an army of weevils propagating in there. ;D I hate them with a passion but they don't affect the finished product.
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: bluesman on August 27, 2010, 06:39:02 PM
You could make a Wee Weevil?   Ahhhh....extra protein!

Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: MDixon on August 27, 2010, 07:05:58 PM
I actually had weevils at one time (gosh they suck) and threw the grain away before I knew better. Since then I separate the grain into gallon zips (4lbs ea) and then put those into other mice proof containers and store in the crawl space under the house. I have not had any additional bugs past that one experience and my thinking is if they ever do hatch it will probably not affect every zip. Back around 1999 we bought out a guys homebrewing stuff which is what started my accumulation of old grain. He said he hadn't brewed in 3-5 years and by now I may have used all his grains up, but there could be something lurking I haven't finished up.
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: bluesman on August 27, 2010, 07:12:47 PM
Pesky little devils....

(http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/21/122521-004-E6EC7489.jpg)

Wheat weevils (Sitophilus granarius), also known as grain weevils or granary weevils, occur all over the world and are a common pest in many places. They can cause significant damage to harvested grains that are being stored and may drastically decrease yields. The females lay many eggs and the larvae eat the inside of the grain kernels.

Adult wheat weevils are about 3-5mm length with elongate snouts and chewing mouthparts.
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 27, 2010, 07:30:55 PM
Google tells me weevil eggs won't hatch below 48F, but even if you store your grain higher you can cut down on weevils if you package with oxygen scavengers (http://www.frontiersurvival.net/item--Oxygen-Absorbers-for-Food-Storage--FR97-600.html)
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: MrNate on August 27, 2010, 07:42:15 PM
I've also heard that if you can store in an airtight container where the normal atmosphere has been displaced by CO2, the eggs will not hatch. Have not tried it yet, though.
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 27, 2010, 07:43:46 PM
Whether they hatch or not, the weevils will die pretty quickly with no O2.
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: MrNate on August 27, 2010, 09:40:30 PM
Right, but the point being that if you do it right away, you don't have dead adult weevils in your grain, just the eggs. You know, for those faint-hearted sissies who don't like eating (or brewing with) bugs.

Again, not personally tested because I haven't run into weevil problems yet.
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: bluesman on August 27, 2010, 09:44:41 PM
On the subject of Wheat weevils...

Female wheat weevils can lay between 36 and 254 eggs and usually one egg is deposited in each grain kernel.  All larval stages and the pupal stage occur within the grain.  The larvae feed inside the grain until pupation, after which they bore a hole out of the grain and emerge. They are rarely seen outside of the grain kernel.  The life cycle takes about 5 weeks in the summer, but may take up to 20 weeks in cooler temperatures.  Adults can live for up to 8 months after emerging.

Sanitation and inspection are the keys to prevent the infestation. Store grains in containers with tight lids in a refrigerator or a freezer and purchase in small quantities. If any suspicion has arisen, carefully examine the grains for adult insects or holes in the grain kernels. Another method is to immerse them in water. If they float to the surface, it is a good indication of infestation. Even if identified early, disposal may be the only effective solution.



Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 27, 2010, 10:15:28 PM
Right, but the point being that if you do it right away, you don't have dead adult weevils in your grain, just the eggs. You know, for those faint-hearted sissies who don't like eating (or brewing with) bugs.

Again, not personally tested because I haven't run into weevil problems yet.
I get your point, but they'd be dead larva, not adults.  And really, it's just some extra protein, they might be delicious if done right.  Grasshoppers are great cooked over a bic lighter.
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: denny on August 27, 2010, 10:39:13 PM
Grasshoppers are great cooked over a bic lighter.

I'll keep that in mind should you ever invite me over for dinner.
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: dean on August 28, 2010, 12:33:50 AM
Incorrect - if store as described it will last at least a decade and perhaps more without any notable degradation in your final product.

+1, add a little Co2 before setting the lid and Bingo.  Another choice is mylar bags and oxygen absorbers and you'll get more than ten.  ;)
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: MrNate on August 28, 2010, 01:15:06 AM
Right, but the point being that if you do it right away, you don't have dead adult weevils in your grain, just the eggs. You know, for those faint-hearted sissies who don't like eating (or brewing with) bugs.

Again, not personally tested because I haven't run into weevil problems yet.
I get your point, but they'd be dead larva, not adults.  And really, it's just some extra protein, they might be delicious if done right.  Grasshoppers are great cooked over a bic lighter.

Larvae or unhatched eggs?
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: bluesman on August 28, 2010, 02:19:20 AM
Incorrect - if store as described it will last at least a decade and perhaps more without any notable degradation in your final product.

+1, add a little Co2 before setting the lid and Bingo.  Another choice is mylar bags and oxygen absorbers and you'll get more than ten.  ;)



That's all she wrote.  :(




(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_ODUGlGhaapI/Suf2FnDWjHI/AAAAAAAAOhE/AGG2lu4POxI/s400/One+more+weevil.JPG)
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 28, 2010, 04:36:34 AM
Larvae or unhatched eggs?
It's tough to follow, but I thought we were talking about hatched eggs, so larva.  :)
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: beveragebob on August 29, 2010, 03:10:12 AM
I've personally had some of my malts for over 10 years and they are fine. I bought a sack of Gambrinus Honey Malt back in '98. Kept it dry and sealed in a rubbermaid tote and it is fine. I had some 3 yo aromatic malt that when the weather got warmer, I started noticing mealys so, I dropped the temp to 0F in the chest freezer and kept the sack in there for over a week. Two months later stored in my hot garage in a rm tote in a sealed garbage bag with a twisty to close it and it is fine. Besides base malts, I've noticed over the years mealys LOVE 40L crystal and aromatic malt. I think the higher the glassiness of the malt the less likely they are to infiltrate. These are just my observations and I have not done any scientific research but, in my 17 years of brewing, that's what I've noticed.
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: weazletoe on August 31, 2010, 09:11:32 PM
[
Weaz can use his better judgement.



LMAO!!! Now there's an oxymoron if I ever heard one!!!!!!  ;D
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: bluesman on August 31, 2010, 09:55:21 PM
[
Weaz can use his better judgement.



LMAO!!! Now there's an oxymoron if I ever heard one!!!!!!  ;D

Funny.    8)
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: Steve on September 09, 2010, 07:33:03 PM
I think these stackable vittle vaults would be the ideal way to store grain over long periods:

http://www.chicompany.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=297&products_id=1658

I'm thinking one of these should hold 50lbs. - plus they would make the grain storage look more organized than a few half empty 50lb sacks in a Rubbermaid trash can (which is what I'm currently using).

I'd go with the 60 to store a whole 55# sack o'grain and have room to scoop.
Title: Re: How long will my grain last?
Post by: skyler on September 14, 2010, 05:49:18 AM
I just kegged a chocolate stout I made with grains that were milled, then stores in a paper bag for 4 months... and the final product is excellent. The grains were kept at room temperature the whole time (generally around 65-75F). I am starting to think grains can go a pretty long haul before they taste off - that, or I was just lucky.