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Old 08-31-2011, 03:55 PM   #1
kraypd
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Default Anybody Ever Hand Carried Malted Grain Back from Europe?

I am lucky enough to be going on a business trip to Munich in late Sept

There is a supplier I know of that carries Dinkel (Spelt) Malt, specifically geared for brewing, which is something I haven't seen in the US. I have been thinking about bringing an empty suitcase, buying a 55lb sack and hand carrying back.

Has anyone tried this before or is anyone aware of customs regulations on malted grains? I don't want to go through the effort only to have it confiscated?

Best,

Paul

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Old 08-31-2011, 04:28 PM   #2
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Check the Customs web site. Agricultural products. Wild guess on my part is that they'll snag it from you.

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Old 08-31-2011, 05:56 PM   #3
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Agreed - they will probably seize it. Usually they only allow highly factory processed foods like tinned or canned goods. I am one who has tried to bring back things from Germany to the US and has been caught every time.

There are so many rules that the customs folks usually have to research the more bizarre restrictions, so you could probably just call up a local official and check with them. In my experience getting caught at customs is nerve-racking but the folks are nice enough about it and I've never been penalized - although now i ALWAYS get searched at customs every time

Things that they did allow:
Candy
Mustard
Remoulade (even though it contains animal products)

Things they did not:
Honey
Dried Sausage
Fresh Sausage
Cooked Ham

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Old 08-31-2011, 07:26 PM   #4
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http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/va...restricted.xml
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:36 PM   #5
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55lb sack, I think you would get some really raised eyebrows with that... they will be saying how does he make drugs from this!

If it was vacuumed sealed and labelled, that looked like it came from a factory it would be different than a large sack of what seems to be viable grain (you, everyone else on this forum and I know it is not viable but the customs official doesn't, how can he verify that is if malted?)

Then it is not the grain that would be a problem but the fact it could contain a legion of pestilence (fungal, insects etc etc)that they think could be hijacking a ride. I'm guessing 99% failure rate with your attempt to get it into the country.

P.S. if you are ever going to Australia don't even think about doing anything like that Aussie custom officials are specifically chosen not to have a sense of humor, be allergic to lubricant and have a fascination with causing pain and embarrassment, along with the strictest quarantine rules of any country.

Clem

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Old 09-01-2011, 12:07 AM   #6
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Yea best route is to purchase then ship. If its worth it this much to you, then it should be worth you paying ridiculous shipping rates and not loose it in customs.

Edit: I may add that I work along side CBP at Atlanta Airport, and depending on the person who would screen you, it wouldn't go well.

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Old 09-01-2011, 12:18 AM   #7
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I actually called the USDA APHIS today and the guy was really helpful. He thinks its allowed if it is malted (probably marked in German so proof might be a challenge). The guide calls for Inspect and Release which I would guess would look for the critters.

The reason for the 55lb sack is to ensure that it is in the original packing which I hope is marked as malted. That is the minimum size I can see (actually in kg). Breaking it into custom smaller packages would invalidate any proof as to what I was carrying.

The guy on the phone gave me the section/reference page of the USDA guide to refer to and suggested I call in advance to the agents in ATL. If I get a good response from my phone call and have a name to drop at the airport....I may give it a try.

I will post with the results...hopefully it won't inspire a body cavity search...

Paul

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Old 09-01-2011, 12:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraypd View Post
I will post with the results...hopefully it won't inspire a body cavity search...

Paul
I hope they are not allergic to lubricant
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Old 10-04-2011, 01:28 AM   #9
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Default Made It!!

Well I gave it a try. Last week I visited the a Malt facility in Bavaria and picked up my 55lb (25kg) sack of Dinkel Malt. I received a great tour of the facility and had a wonderful experience.

I had done my homework by calling the USDA and got directed to the Seeds Not Intended for Planting Manual used by the inspectors. I made sure to have a full copy of the printed manual with me with the page earmarked.

Spelt is a derivative of Wheat so it fell under that classification and for Germany it was listed as an inspect and release category. I also carried a description of Spelt which showed that it was a wheat derivative.

At around 60 lbs my suitcase was overweight but with a business class ticket and a strong frequent flyer record with the airline - no charge (this was key).

I made sure to check the box on the customs form indicating that I was carrying seed, food, etc... which raised some question. The passport control officer asked and when he was told it was malt for brewing he commented that he makes wine and his dad was a home-brewer.

At the USDA inspection area there were definitely some eyebrows and skeptical looks by the officers. However, when I showed the inspection agent the manual and other documentation, he took a look at the grain and indicated that it was fine to proceed. I get the impression that 99.99% of the shift for these agents are people trying to sneak some sausage or rogue fruit into the country unnoticed which I think puts them in a defensive mood as most people probably try to argue with them.

So now I can say to all that this can be done. I would not recommend doing this unless there is a really unique malt and can not be found in the homebrew supply houses. Definitely do your homework as the regulations vary by malt type and country of origin.

I now have mine vacuum sealed and stored. Need to get a brew day scheduled in the next few weeks.

Paul

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Old 10-04-2011, 10:46 AM   #10
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Good stuff man. I dont think I'd ever go that far for some grain, but more power to you. I hope it makes DELICIOUS beer. Going to the airport just on its own is a pain in the ace, but trying to bring 55lbs of grain through customs would put me over the edge.

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