Author Topic: 3 Year Old Grain?  (Read 510 times)

Offline Kwitty

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3 Year Old Grain?
« on: May 05, 2019, 05:44:30 PM »
   Long story short... I slowed way down on my brewing after my 2nd kid was born. Right before I bought sacks of 2 row, Pilsen, and Maris Otter. I used very little before the slow down and have most of it still. It has been stored in food grade buckets with Gamma lids between 65° & 72°F the whole time. The grain is roughly 3 years old now. I'm finally getting ready to brew again! My concern is the condition of the grain. I thought of mixing it in my recipes with fresh grain to ensure I'd have plenty of enzymes but I don't know if that's wise. I will add that the grain smells and tastes ok, but I get so little time to brew anymore I'd hate to waste my time. I am on a budget and hate to waste grain. Anyone have experience?

Offline BrewBama

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3 Year Old Grain?
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2019, 06:10:22 PM »
Here’s a similar circumstance: How long is it advisable to store grains?

I recommend the Hot Steep Method to test a small sample to determine whether or not you get any stale or otherwise off flavors.

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« Last Edit: May 05, 2019, 06:15:03 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline coolman26

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Re: 3 Year Old Grain?
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2019, 06:41:05 PM »
You could test it, but in my experience, rock on. I bought 5 sacks 2 months before having emergency surgery. It was almost 5 years later before I was able to brew. The grain was stored in its original bag in an upstairs bedroom. It did have climate control. I sent Saison, Kolsch, and Triple to the NHC in 17. One advanced and the other 2 scored 38 and 35 without advancing. Not one judge said anything about being stale or anything grain related. I would bang out batches as long as the grain isn’t chewy. I had no issues with OG or FG. Many times grain is 2 years old before we even get it. Would I purposely age my grain for that authentic 1966 flavor, no I wouldn’t. I’m not one to get my britches wadded up over much either. Brew a batch to make sure, but I’m betting it will be just fine.

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Offline kramerog

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Re: 3 Year Old Grain?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2019, 02:07:21 PM »
If your first beer is an IPA, your grain could have mouse droppings and nobody might now the difference in the IPA.  If it is pilsener, well might want to try that hop steep test first.

You kept your grain in a gamma lid bucket so that is pretty ideal.  People have had success using old grains stored in open bags.

Since this is your first brew in a long time, you'll probably make 100 mistakes and the beer will still turn out fine.  RDWHAHB

Offline Mardoo

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3 Year Old Grain?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2019, 11:32:35 PM »
I’ve had a couple chances to test 3 year old base and specialty malts (stored airtight in a similar temperature range to OP) against identical, but fresh, malts from the same maltster. My perception was that some subtleties were lost. On the whole, the same flavour elements were there, but a bit of extra zing, oomph, what have you, had faded.

My guess has been that unless one’s brewing practices are highly refined - like, to the degree of genuine LODO brewing - the vast majority of people would never notice the difference.  I haven’t run trials to test that guess.

I’d say you’d be fine brewing with the grain for personal use.

Offline Robert

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Re: 3 Year Old Grain?
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2019, 12:07:36 AM »
I agree you're probably in the clear.  Base malt + Gamma lids = best case scenario for successful long term storage.   Specialty malts would lose much more character, having more to lose; I'd be wary of those. (Crystal and roast can actually get somewhat unpleasant with age.)  If you're on a budget and want to avoid waste, brew a batch.  If you're happy with it, great.  If you're not happy with it, then consider which you feel is more of a waste, spending your time, effort and other materials on making beer you're not happy with, or cutting your losses and ditching the grain.  If the stored grain is not up to your standard,  and you will no longer have regular opportunity to brew, then in the future, buy grain one brew's worth at a time.  You'll pay more per pound, but waste nothing.  And please share how it turns out, this will be useful, if anecdotal, information. 
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Offline goose

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Re: 3 Year Old Grain?
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2019, 12:55:44 PM »
I agree with Rob, you are probably OK because of your storage methods.  You mentioned that the grain tasted OK.  I have posted this before. Was it crunchy when you chewed it or was it a bit pasty?  If crunchy you are most likely OK to brew with it.  If it is a pasty when you chew it, it has probably gone slack.

I had some Simpson's malt that was over a year old that was stored in the original plastic lined bag that was tied with a string at the top, like feed mills used to do in the old days (I know, I am showing my age here).  I stored it in a metal trash can in the brewery and although this is not the best storage method, it was fine.

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Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: 3 Year Old Grain?
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2019, 11:59:51 PM »
I recently did a brown ale and used some crystal 80 that was vacuum sealed three years ago. I opened the package to give a taste and it was as crunchy as new  and tasted fine.
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