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Old 01-03-2013, 03:09 AM   #1
Jan 2013
Posts: 5
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I have several 50# bags of grain left over from when I quit homebrewing. They were unopened and stored in rubbermaid totes. No evidence of rodents or bugs. I am back to the hobby and would like to use the grain.

The starch component of the grains is probably OK. I'm more concerned about the enzyme side of things. When I'm brewing I can either:
- do nothing, and hope the starch conversion goes OK
- add some amylase (or other) enzyme to assist with the starch conversion
- blend the grain with new grain, presumably having sufficient enzymes to do the starch conversion.

I'd like to hear what other people have done when brewing with old grain.


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Old 01-03-2013, 12:41 PM   #2
ilikeguns's Avatar
Jan 2012
, NY
Posts: 257
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I have no experience with old grain, but you could always make a test mash/starter to get some hard numbers.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:47 PM   #3
pigroaster's Avatar
May 2008
, Ontario
Posts: 234
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Take a sample and chew it. If it tastes good mix 45 % old with 55% new malted grain and it will covert fine. If it tastes off. Dispose it!

It should make good not spectacular beer!

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Old 01-03-2013, 12:59 PM   #4
Apr 2011
Saugatuck, MI
Posts: 248
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Or you could do it Chicha style and chew and spit to make sure you incorporate the enzymes...just saying.

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Old 01-03-2013, 01:17 PM   #5
Dog House Brew
Dog House Brew's Avatar
Jun 2008
Posts: 1,063
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When I got sick and couldn't brew, I used 4 year old bags of grain, and to be honest, I couldn't tell any difference. I made a small batch of cream ale to see. I just blended my old grain with new grain 50-50 until it was gone. I couldn't tell by taste, but it made me feel better when I blended it.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:33 PM   #6
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May 2006
Adams, MA
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I used some older grain on a recent batch (maybe two years old, bags were opened but the grain was unmilled). I don't think I ever got full conversion. Atrocious efficiency, and the batch has been in primary for several months and never come close to clearing up. I doubt it's ever going to make it to the keg. Doesn't mean that your grain is shot, too, but I'd do something small first - maybe do a test batch of something cheap (like an English mild, or a small APA) that wouldn't waste a lot of hops or specialty malts if the base grain is no good.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:06 PM   #7
Jan 2013
Posts: 5
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Thanks for the responses. It'll be a shame to have to dump all that MO. I'll try the chew/50-50 approach. If the results aren't any good I'll toss the brew and the grain.

Interestingly I found a foil vacuum packed bag of hops. I have no idea why I would have saved that. The vacuum of course had let go and the hops were mummified.

The only rodent damage I've found so far is to a bag of maltodextrin.

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Old 01-03-2013, 05:43 PM   #8
May 2009
Camp Hill, PA
Posts: 580
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I used some 3 year old grain recently for a few batches. Beer came out great.

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Old 01-03-2013, 06:07 PM   #9
GotPushrods's Avatar
Jul 2012
Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 580
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I still haven't gotten around to brewing a real test batch, but my recently-found 6-year-old malt converted, smelled, and tasted (wort) fine.


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