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What is the best way to keep ingredients? How long will they keep?
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,082
    I really need to start buying what I can in bulk to save money and to give me a reason to brew more often "I have nearly everything for this beer already, I might as well just stop at the LHBS" like that has ever worked...

    So vacuum baggies are the hot ticket. But what then? Freezer?
    Specifically I'm concerned about specialty grains and hops. Base grains and specialty grains can be kept in the freezer? My basement is too warm in the summer and to keep grain in even in airtight buckets.

    How long should I expect hops (pellets or whole) to keep in the freezer?
    What about uncrushed grains?
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679 Accepted Answer
    i have always operated under what i had heard from others, which is....

    uncrushed grains at temps lower than 80 or so and kept dry are good for at least a year.
    crushed grain, same conditions, 1.5 months at least.

    pellets are more stable than whole cones.
    hop stability is variety dependant, some last much longer than others. but generally at least 6 months in the freezer will have no impact. i keep my hops (whole leaf) in the freezer for up to a year with no noticable drop in AA's, but i am using what i thought were highly stable varieties like citra, cascade, chinook, etc...

    and then good 'ol DME and LME will still be usable long after the zombie apocolypse assuming the keep the dme dry.

    you can keep the grains in the freezer, but i never do as i think it is overkill.
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    I vacuum pack both my hops and my specialty grains, I keep the hops in the freezer for up to a year, and I still have some older hops from two years ago that haven't gone cheesy or lost much bitterness.

    My specialty grain I pack and store in a Rubbermaid bin in my brew closet, some of these are hitting two or three years old and again when I use them in a beer, tasting the grains to be sure they are still good, haven't had any that tasted old, stale, or less flavorful than when I taste fresh grains.

    I leave a length of bag beyond what I actually need so when I cut the bag to measure what I need I still have enough bag remaining to reseal and put back in my tub, just remember to label the bags, I have 5 lbs of something that I don't know what it is, could be c-40, could be dark Munich, could be home toasted, mabe vienna, I don't really know... I need to mash a small amount and see if the color rings a bell.
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,336
    i store specialty grains in little airtight rubbermaid containers in the garage. base grain is just kept dry in a rubermaid tub. hops are all vacuum packed and stored in the fridge. everything seems to keep a long time that way for me.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,082
    All of this is very reassuring. My basement gets up to about 70 in the peak of summer. I'll have to plan around that maybe otherwise I think I'm a vacuum bagger and a grain mill away from bulk!
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,336
    my garage gets much warmer than 70 degrees.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,082
    Oh right garage. Then I'm probably fine. Sealed will be the key for me on base grains. But I won't have a ton at a time so it shouldn't be a big deal. I'm thinking buy one bag for a 10 gallon batch and I'll have 1/2 or 2/3 of a sack left over till the next brew.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 46,572
    Lakewood said:

    i store specialty grains in little airtight rubbermaid containers in the garage. base grain is just kept dry in a rubermaid tub. hops are all vacuum packed and stored in the fridge. everything seems to keep a long time that way for me.



    Lakewood said:

    my garage gets much warmer than 70 degrees.



    this and this.

    i keep my specialty grains in these kind of jars. they're air tight enough.

    image
    "Oh, you were serious? I was drunk."-C_B
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    as long as your not on lake's brewing schedule of once every 5 years, it sounds like a solid plan.
  • BenvarineBenvarine
    Posts: 1,606
    I have always wondered about air tight containers, Rubbermaid, etc. You trap air inside when you close, is that an issue? I like the vacuum bags, but don't have those. Probably a good investment it sounds. Thoughts on the little bit of air in the containers?
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 46,572
    Benvarine said:

    I have always wondered about air tight containers, Rubbermaid, etc. You trap air inside when you close, is that an issue? I like the vacuum bags, but don't have those. Probably a good investment it sounds. Thoughts on the little bit of air in the containers?



    hasn't been an issue so far. and some of my specialty stuff/base grain sits around for a good long while.
    "Oh, you were serious? I was drunk."-C_B
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,336
    Benvarine said:

    I have always wondered about air tight containers, Rubbermaid, etc. You trap air inside when you close, is that an issue? I like the vacuum bags, but don't have those. Probably a good investment it sounds. Thoughts on the little bit of air in the containers?



    As long as you are not opening them repeatedly, it shouldn't be a problem. The little bit of water vapor and oxygen will get absorbed and do it damage, but once its done its done. If you open and close it frequently then you have an issue.

    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,336

    as long as your not on lake's brewing schedule of once every 5 years, it sounds like a solid plan.



    Ha. I'll probably get a brew in this year...
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    my specialty grain is just in plastic bags that i twist shut again and hold closed with binder clips. i have a vaccuum sealer, but i think its overkill for grain.
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 46,572
    i like my bins for the specialty stuff, you can fit about 2 pounds in one container. and they stack well.

    bags work fine, but when you have a bunch of different grains, it makes it a little bit of a hassle to sort through the bags.
    "Oh, you were serious? I was drunk."-C_B
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    yeah, but when you only have 1/2 pound of grain in a 2 pound container, its just more air than i like.
    the bags cinch down nicely.
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 46,572
    side point-i often have mice in my garage, the bins and smaller jars keep them out fairly well. they love to tear into bags. it's not that they couldn't chew into the containers, but it keeps enough of the food scent contained so that they don't bother.
    "Oh, you were serious? I was drunk."-C_B
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,336 Accepted Answer

    side point-i often have mice in my garage, the bins and smaller jars keep them out fairly well. they love to tear into bags. it's not that they couldn't chew into the containers, but it keeps enough of the food scent contained so that they don't bother.



    unfortunately this is the case a my house as well.

    i use these and they have kept the varmints away
    image
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny