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ToddMic 12-10-2010 07:23 PM

Ingredients shelf life
Does anyone have a list/idea of what type of shelf life we are talking with most ingredients used in basic easy brewing?

Everything from dry/wet yeast, hops, malted stuff, barley.. ect.

If there is some crazy stuff used in brewing for advanced brewmasters - it probably won't be in my cabinet (for awhile)

Do most people keep a brew pantry of assorted ingredients so they don't have to go buy it everytime?

I can if that is what it takes - but it would be cool to keep a stash for experimenting.

Bensiff 12-10-2010 07:37 PM

crushed barley, 8-12 months in ideal conditions...much less normally
uncrushed a few years if you keep it air tight...probably if you pack it in mylar with O2 absorbers and leave it in a basement you would get 10 years
hops 1+ (really depends on how cold and how little oxygen gets to it)
wet yeast, ASAP...I figure 2 months is pushing it
dry yeast IDK, a few years at least

I have 100+lb of grain currently and 10+ of hops...yeast I do not store as its much easier for me to go and buy a pack and make a starter than deal with agar plates

Skarekrough 12-10-2010 08:12 PM

A few months ago I was given a shopping bag of all the fixins' for a Russian Imperial Stout Batch.

I replaced the Malt Extract and the yeast and brewed it up.

Went into the secondary a few days ago and it looks fine. Tastes great too!

dvdanny 12-10-2010 08:24 PM

I've kept hops frozen in the freezer over a year and have had luck with the results. I put the plastic baggies in a sandwich bag then wrap everything in aluminum foil then place that in a ziploc freezer bag (double zips and the thicker plastic is suppose to keep oxygen out).

I always have some of the darker roasted grains around because i can only buy them in 1/2# increments at my LHBS and sometimes i need less then that. They've kept nicely for over a month and i had an unopened bag of flaked wheat (both LHBS i go to will seal heat seal the grain for me) that was stored over a year and made a fine hefe.

ToddMic 12-10-2010 08:40 PM

Thanks for all the responses and sounds like I'll do some shopping here soon when the first batch is finished.

Anything besides liquid yeast that you buy only when you are going to use it soon?

Calder 12-10-2010 10:47 PM

I buy hops from Hops Direct; several lbs at a time because it's a lot cheaper. Keep in vacuum bags (the ziploc vacuum bags) in the freezer. You want to use them as fresh as possible, but at freezer temps they will keep for a few years without too much problem. I use pellets rather than leaf, I think pellets store better.

I buy LME from my LHBS. Buy in bulk, 33 lbs for $60. I do partial mash, so one container will last quite a few brews.

I get most of my grains from Rebel Brewer. They don't have fixed shipping rates, but their prices are lower than others to offset that. Generally get about 60 lbs at a time to maximixe the shipping amount to minimize the shipping costs. I currently have around 100 lbs of grain.

Dry yeast lives forever at fridge temps (lose about 4% viability per year).

Liquid yeast will still be viable after a year. You will need to make a starter because there will be a lot less live yeast than in a new pack. I wash yeast so have several types available to me at any time.

Buying in bulk makes it much cheaper in the long run, and allows you to brew almost anything you want without much planning. But it does commit you to making a lot of beer in the future. Every 6 months I go and figure what are my oldest ingredients and design a beer around it. I recently brewed an IPA with 11 ozs of hops to clear out some old Northern Brewer, Goldings, and Fuggles hops. Tasted pretty good when I racked to secondary for dry hopping.

ajf 12-11-2010 12:59 AM

Uncrushed grain malt - at least 6 months. This would apply to specialty malts, but base malts would last at least 1 year. You need to store these at less than 80F and with low humidity. I don't think you would have humidity problems.
Crushed grain malt - not very long at all. I would use it as quickly a possible, and wouldn't try keeping it more than 1 month. (This is a guess, because I don't buy crushed malt.)
DME. If you keep it dry, it is fine for at least 1 year, and probably longer.
LME. Use it as quickly as possible. It degrades quickly in storage. (I never use it.)
Hops. I buy hops once per year, bag them in foodsaver bags, and keep them in the freezer.


jfr1111 12-11-2010 02:44 PM

I have grain that was crushed three months ago. Kept in airtight platic bags in an airtight plastic tub. I have tasted all of my varietes last week and none are stale and the husks are still as dry and crisp as they ever were.

We all eat cereal and flour wich has been sitting for months in cupboards, I don't get why grain would go bad faster, unless you leave it in a high humidity environement.

Bensiff 12-12-2010 04:37 PM

Also, while I'm generally cheap and will spend $10 bucks on tools and 5 hours of my life so that I can make my own $5 piece of brewing equipment, I didn't waste my time on storage. I coughed up the cash and bought Vittle Vaults for my bulk grains. The rest go into two air tight 5 gallon buckets...roasted grains in one bucket, the rest in the other. The advantage of the air tight containers as far as I see is that it keeps odors down so you don't end up feeding the local rodent population. However, as far as being air tight is concerned, there is oxygen in the air so its not like it is keeping it out unless you toss in O2 absorbers (which would create a vaccuum and crush the container)...like jfr1111 said, food can sit on the shelf for months and taste fine, your malt can too.

Oh yeah, and Food Savers are outstanding for hops, buy them by the pound from Hops Direct or similar and then repackage them with the Food Saver.

Hope that gives you some more ideas

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