Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: oscarvan on December 08, 2010, 04:29:57 AM

Title: About being fresh.....
Post by: oscarvan on December 08, 2010, 04:29:57 AM
The calculator in the back of my head figures the first glass of home brew I had was about 20 dollars.....lol. And yes, that will go down as I brew more. Kegging right off the bat didn't help there.

So anyway, AG is right around the corner, and research reveals that 50# bags are a LOT better deal than the by the pound approach.

BUT, quality is important. So the question is, how long does the grain keep?
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: chezteth on December 08, 2010, 04:37:09 AM
I have usually heard that grain will keep about a year if properly stored (perhaps longer).  You can try a few grains and if they taste ok then they should be ok to use.  Purchasiing 50lb bags is definitely the way to go especially for base grains and if you brew often enough.  I purchase 50lb bags of base malt but still buy smaller amounts of specialty grains just so I don't have to worry about them getting used up quickly enough.
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: denny on December 08, 2010, 04:44:54 AM
I keep open bags of grain in big Rubbermaid bins.  A year is no problem.
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: corkybstewart on December 08, 2010, 05:44:51 AM
Keep it cool and dry, keep the bugs and mice out of it and a year is no problem for unmilled grain.  If you have to buy it milled use it fast.
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: euge on December 08, 2010, 06:29:32 AM
Those sacks of grain will produce weevils after a while if they sit around. Lots of weevils. Especially when it warms up. Anyway it doesn't affect the brew much but they can spread throughout your house if their population explodes. Keep your grain airtight. Depending on the strength of your brews you ought to get upwards of three 10 gallon batches out of a sack. Seeing your incipient enthusiasm for brewing that probably won't be a problem.  :D

Also, your grain behaves a lot like flour, so if it isn't sealed up good then humidity can throw your weight off some but it really affects how the malt feeds through the rollers in your grain mill.



Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: jaybeerman on December 08, 2010, 07:08:33 AM
Those sacks of grain will produce weevils after a while if they sit around. Lots of weevils. Especially when it warms up. Anyway it doesn't affect the brew much but they can spread throughout your house if their population explodes. Keep your grain airtight. Depending on the strength of your brews you ought to get upwards of three 10 gallon batches out of a sack. Seeing your incipient enthusiasm for brewing that probably won't be a problem.  :D
Also, your grain behaves a lot like flour, so if it isn't sealed up good then humidity can throw your weight off some but it really affects how the malt feeds through the rollers in your grain mill.

Weevils wobble but they won't...oh maybe that was weebles.  I think weevils are a regional thing.  I had never heard of them till a gal told me that I’d get weevils in my sacks of rice; the bags were opened but the tops were rolled up.  She was from Louisiana.  Anyhow otherwise I completely agree that the grain should be kept tight and free of moisture. 
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: oscarvan on December 08, 2010, 02:06:29 PM
OK, air tight storage it is. There's a place in town that deals in used pallets, barrels etc. I'll go see if they have something with a sealing lid.
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: narvin on December 08, 2010, 02:17:26 PM


Weevils wobble but they won't...oh maybe that was weebles.  I think weevils are a regional thing.  I had never heard of them till a gal told me that I’d get weevils in my sacks of rice; the bags were opened but the tops were rolled up.  She was from Louisiana.  Anyhow otherwise I completely agree that the grain should be kept tight and free of moisture. 

Grain weevil eggs are in all grain, as far as I know.  If you keep it cool and dry, they won't hatch.
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: oscarvan on December 08, 2010, 02:22:49 PM
Hmmm, the cool part can be a problem in summer...... Now I need a grain fridge?  :o :o :o
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: SiameseMoose on December 08, 2010, 02:25:45 PM
Weevil eggs, aka grain bugs, are in all bags of malt. To eliminate or kill them would require expensive and/or chemical treatment of the grain that you really don't want. The eggs will not hatch if the grain stays cool. I have heard below 74°, but I don't know that number to be accurate. If they hatch, purging the container with CO2 will kill them, although it usually requires several treatments. In the end, RDWHAB, as they won't affect your beer. As Mary Ann Gruber, the retired head maltster for Briess once said, "Grain bugs do not contribute significantly to chill haze."
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: narvin on December 08, 2010, 02:28:35 PM
Hmmm, the cool part can be a problem in summer...... Now I need a grain fridge?  :o :o :o

I wouldn't worry about going that far   ;)
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: bluesman on December 08, 2010, 02:31:52 PM
Hmmm, the cool part can be a problem in summer...... Now I need a grain fridge?  :o :o :o

I have been storing sacks of grain in my garage in rubbermaid totes for years without any grain weevils.
Granted it would be best to keep the grain cool but I haven't seen any weevils in my grain and my garage gets up into the 90's during the peak of summer.

I think the best approach is to keep the grain in a container where it will remain dry and safe from rodents and other pests.

Here's a pic of a weevil infestation.

(http://www.springhalen.dk/kornsnudebiller.JPG)
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: kerneldustjacket on December 08, 2010, 02:32:35 PM
If you store the grain in anything that might be mistaken as a garbage bin I suggest you CLEARLY label it as "NOT TRASH, BREWING GRAIN."

A friend had a new 30 gallon rubbermaid container that held his grain. He had visitors for the weekend once; weeks later he hunted down an odd odor in his man-cave...yep, you guessed it, someone had put a bag of garbage in his grain bin. And there was loads of food scraps in it...visitors can eat a lot, don't ya know!

(I don't think there were any adverse effects to his grain, but why risk it?)
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: oscarvan on December 08, 2010, 02:38:32 PM
Here's a pic of a weevil infestation.

Give a whole new meaning to the phrase "Protein rest....."

Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: tubercle on December 08, 2010, 03:03:55 PM
Tubercle keeps his bag in a 35 gallon cardboard drum with a lid (grain is kept in the bag, not poured out).
Had a few instances of weevils and at the first sign of them scoop the grain into gallon zip bags and put in the freezer. Very rare occurrence though.
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: Mark G on December 08, 2010, 03:06:52 PM
Home Depot sells buckets and gasketed lids. I believe for less than 3-4 bucks total. Two will hold a 50/55 lb sack of grain. As long as you keep the grain dry, it lasts a long time. Although I can't really say I've gone past maybe 6 months since I go through them pretty quickly.
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: Tim McManus on December 08, 2010, 04:38:12 PM
I had a mite or weevil infestation in my kitchen pantry.  The bugs I had attack breadcrumbs and flour.  I was told by a friend that putting a stick of Wriggly's Spearmint gum, unwrapped, into the pantry would get rid of the bugs.  It worked using 3-4 sticks of gum equally spaced in the pantry.  Now I put a stick of gum in the garbage cans we use to store our grain.  I've never had a problem with bugs since.
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: Dave King on December 08, 2010, 08:29:49 PM
Our club did a bulk buy about 8 mo. ago, and I somehow ended up with a lot of Crystal malt, 25L, 45L, and 65L.  It's not milled.  I'm figuring it'll last me for another year, maybe 1.5 years, so that'll be 2 to 2.5 years old, in total.  It's in storage bins in our basement, no mice should get in, but they aren't sealed.  I run a dehumidifier in summer months, so the RH should be no more than 50%, and usually much less, like 20 to 40%.  Any thoughts about the affect on taste?  Thanks,     
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: denny on December 08, 2010, 08:34:56 PM
Dave, I do something similar.  A friend and I will split a bag of crystal 60.  It takes a couple years to use it all and it seems to keep fine for that length of time.
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: Dave King on December 08, 2010, 09:21:32 PM
Thanks Denny, I figured it would be OK, but nature's success is with the dry grain laying on frozen earth until spring, or inefficiently eaten, so some full grains end up in animal poop, waiting for spring to warm and dampen it.  Anyway, it normally wouldn't need to wait more than about 6 mo. 

I didn't mention, my basement near Syracuse NY is 55F now, and being partly exposed, it drifts from a minimum of about 50F in Feb. to about 75 in August.  I could refrigerate at least some of it in the summer, but it probably won't all fit.  Thanks again, and I agree, my brews are in the 1.060's to 1.070's.    :)
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: Slowbrew on December 08, 2010, 09:37:27 PM
I'm the lazy carefree guy in this crowd apparently.   :o

I have had full bags sitting on the floor of my basement (no containers) for up to 16 months without critters of any kind becoming a problem.  I've never noticed any drop in quality over time either. 

My basement is a walkout and the floor is bare concrete.  The temp hangs around 55F to 65F all year long.  I might just be lucky (that would be a first) but as long as it's cool and dry it should be fine.

Paul
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: Dave King on December 08, 2010, 11:01:35 PM
I'm in agreement with the "relax theory," in fact, a big part of my recent brewing investigations, are based on determining what to sweat, and what to let go.  I've been at it since 1994, and I'm not great, but I do OK. 

You can't get too geeked out on everything, or the fun leaks out.  Thanks for the info on your experiences, Paul, Denny. 
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: CASK1 on December 09, 2010, 04:22:10 PM
Those sacks of grain will produce weevils after a while if they sit around. Lots of weevils. Especially when it warms up. Anyway it doesn't affect the brew much but they can spread throughout your house if their population explodes. Keep your grain airtight. Depending on the strength of your brews you ought to get upwards of three 10 gallon batches out of a sack. Seeing your incipient enthusiasm for brewing that probably won't be a problem.  :D

Also, your grain behaves a lot like flour, so if it isn't sealed up good then humidity can throw your weight off some but it really affects how the malt feeds through the rollers in your grain mill.


I've read and it has been my experience that the weevils and eggs can be killed by putting the grain in a freezer for a week or so. It may not be practical for a 50# sack, but it does seem to work.
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: redbeerman on December 09, 2010, 05:39:16 PM
I keep open bags of grain in big Rubbermaid bins.  A year is no problem.

Me too. Although they usually don't last a year. ;)
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: blatz on December 09, 2010, 09:17:46 PM
Home Depot sells buckets and gasketed lids. I believe for less than 3-4 bucks total. Two will hold a 50/55 lb sack of grain. As long as you keep the grain dry, it lasts a long time. Although I can't really say I've gone past maybe 6 months since I go through them pretty quickly.

or make friends with the bakery dept at your grocery store - most of the ones here ship icing in 5gal food grade buckets with gaskets and _throw_them_away afterward. 

my buddy's girlfriend is a baker and she brought me a few a week until I had more than I needed.

just a thought.
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: ipaguy on December 10, 2010, 12:58:27 AM
You can always take a grain storage tip from the folks worried about black helicopters:  Air-tight plastic buckets purged with nitrogen or CO2.
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: dano14041 on December 10, 2010, 01:15:24 AM
You can always take a grain storage tip from the folks worried about black helicopters:  Air-tight plastic buckets purged with nitrogen or CO2.

But the black helicopters are out to get us!  ;)

I have been thinking of getting some of these: http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2753804 (http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2753804)
Just don't mix it up with the dog food or you might have Kibbles n Bit Ale.  ;D
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: beveragebob on December 10, 2010, 08:37:49 AM
Then there are these stack-able, completely air and water tight :

http://www.chicompany.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=261_335_297&products_id=1657
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: bluesman on December 10, 2010, 01:10:23 PM
Then there are these stack-able, completely air and water tight :

http://www.chicompany.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=261_335_297&products_id=1657

I think these would work well in my garage. I will put them on my list which keeps getting longer.
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: oscarvan on December 10, 2010, 03:46:44 PM
They're cool but not cheap. I think I will go with some $7 Home Despot tubs for now.....
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: SiameseMoose on December 10, 2010, 08:46:05 PM
I'll throw in my ultra-conservative 2 cents: I don't believe those hardware store buckets are food-grade plastics. My grain is in food-grade buckets only. Plus, they were free from a restaurant.
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: hike20 on December 10, 2010, 08:49:29 PM
I use these:
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=24749&catid=574 (http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=24749&catid=574)

http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=24495&catid=626 (http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=24495&catid=626)

http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=24116&catid=626 (http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=24116&catid=626)

They're probably overkill but they are air and water tight, pretty easy to open, durable, and not as expensive (especially the last two).


Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: narvin on December 10, 2010, 09:44:05 PM
Then there are these stack-able, completely air and water tight :

http://www.chicompany.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=261_335_297&products_id=1657

I ferment in the square ones, and just to nitpick, the gamma seal is not airtight enough under pressure to provide bubble to the airlock.  But since "completely airtight" is unnecessary for grain storage (and primary fermentation), it will still work fine.
Title: Re: About being fresh.....
Post by: tschmidlin on December 11, 2010, 07:06:38 AM
I've been eying these, anyone using them?

http://beprepared.com/category.asp_Q_c_E_444_A_name_E_Gamma%2520Seals

Speaking of helicopters  . . . :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAHSb5WwADU