Fresh ingredients vs mail order

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Slipgate

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I needed to make a batch of IPA and did not have time to order a kit so I took my recipe to the local beer hobby store and got all the ingredients there. I've been making this kit for 2 years with no modifications. They crushed the grains on the spot and all of the hops came from the refrigerator.

I made the batch as usual but when I was drinking it I kept commenting that it was the best ever. As clear as any store bought beer, PERFECT color and outstanding flavor.

It is only after I made this same recipe again the next time from a kit and just started drinking it last week that I realized what a huge difference the previous "fresh" batch had been. I had really wanted to bottle some and enter it in a contest. The beer was exactly perfect and there was absolutely nothing that I wanted to change with it. I had achieved perfection!

The locally aquired ingredients were about $10 more than the kit, but what a no brainer, I will now buy everything from my local store!

Has anyone else experience this??
 

Bobby_M

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What makes you think the ingredients at your LHBS are any fresher than mail order places? I think it would exactly the opposite. Places like AHS, Northernbrewer, B3, Midwest, Williams etc more inventory at 10x the rate of a local store. Your guy may have pulled hops out of the fridge but they were probably in there for 3 months.
 
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If you're making better beer then congrats on having a nice HBS, but like Bobby_M said, the big online guys have such a high turn around rate that their ingredients are fresh.
And as far as hops go, they're a plant, They're picked once a year and stored and sold. You're HBS is selling the same hops the online guys are selling.
 

Revvy

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It really depends on your shop, and I guess your geographic region, there's a huge amount of homebrewers in Michigan, and at least 10 places in metro detroit that carries stuff..Heck I've got three places within 5 miles of me as it is...if it is a high volume shop with high turnover of ingredients, then you are going to get the freshest ingredients. If it a low volume store, the stuff is going to sit for awhile. Especially kits. I'm lucky in the Detroit area we have a couple stores that are high traffic/high volume (like Cap N Corks)

It also depends on how they store stuff as well, some places don't keep their yeast and hops cold either.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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+1 REV. No offense to any of the online buyers here, but there is no way in hell I will ever trust any of you to shipp me your freshest grains. My local guy supplies only the highest end grains has a great storage facility/system, great hop selection at good prices, super fresh everything and I look him in the eye every time I buy. I most definitely count him as a major source for the enduring quality of my beer.
 

Boondoggie

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+1 REV. No offense to any of the online buyers here, but there is no way in hell I will ever trust any of you to shipp me your freshest grains. My local guy supplies only the highest end grains has a great storage facility/system, great hop selection at good prices, super fresh everything and I look him in the eye every time I buy. I most definitely count him as a major source for the enduring quality of my beer.
Well, the LHBS can be the most honest stand up guy in the world, but if he doesn't have high product turnover...

Heck the OLDEST stock in a high traffic online store may be newer than the freshest stuff at a really knowledgeable LHBS that doesn't see a lot of volume.
 

Marko73

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+1 to Revvy. It really is a case by case basis with your LHBS. I have 2 or 3 close by to me and one has a great reputation and a ton of turnover while some of the other ones have dust sitting on their ingredient kits and brown hops in the freezer. I think you are pretty lucky though. A lot of folks in this group don't have access to a good LHBS and have to solely rely on the mail order folks, which may not be bad, but they just don't ahve the option.
 

david_42

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If you like the results, stick with it. I've never had a problem with an online kit. I buy local for my own recipes. As it's a 90 minute drive each way to a good shop, I tend to buy for 2-3 batches at once.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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If you like the results, stick with it. I've never had a problem with an online kit. I buy local for my own recipes. As it's a 90 minute drive each way to a good shop, I tend to buy for 2-3 batches at once.
This is the crux. I have 5 shops within 30 minutes of my house. 2 of them are incredibly good with high turnover, knowledgeable staff, and a personal touch within 20 minutes. Yes we in Wisconsin are lucky brewers. :ban:
 

llazy_llama

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I don't have an LHBS. My closest one is 6 hours away, and they focus on wine. I like to think I get pretty fresh ingredients from Midwest and AHS, because my beer comes out pretty tasty. Maybe it's just ignorance on my part though, because I don't have an LHBS next door like you guys do. :(

/jealous
 

Revvy

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I don't have an LHBS. My closest one is 6 hours away, and they focus on wine. I like to think I get pretty fresh ingredients from Midwest and AHS, because my beer comes out pretty tasty. Maybe it's just ignorance on my part though, because I don't have an LHBS next door like you guys do. :(

/jealous
Neener neener neener...I can walk to one of them....:D

Often I get my grain, then walk over to Buschemi's for a sub, cross the street and go sit by the water, eat my lunch and head home and brew...
 

TurboBrew

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Man I wish I could walk to a brewpub. Oh wait I can...



:mug:
Not the best I've seen, but It's getting there. Now all I need is a bar....

Back to the topic at hand though...I just ordered my first recipe from midwest and I actually found the ingredients to be fresher from midwest than my LHBS. But then again, they dont keep their grain in the fridge.
 

Sumo

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I guess the one question we should ask is does your online kit come precrushed? How long does the shipping take? If he is doing the saver shipping and it takes a week to get to him then that might be a different story. If he is going into the LHBS and crushing the grain and then using it right away he might notice a difference.

I own a barley crusher and nothing is better then mashing fresh milled grains n flour. I think it makes a difference using fresh on the spot milled grains.

So yes using the LHBS can give you a fresher tasting beer in that respect. (Thats my opinion only) I have no facts except my own sense of taste and smell.
 
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Slipgate

Slipgate

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The grain in the kits comes already crushed, it takes 3-4 days to get it and I usually make it the next weekend. So if I get it on a tuesday, it could sit for 4 more days. I'd guess 1 week is the average time the crushed grains sit before I use them. Now when I buy it, they crush it right then and I make it that day.
 

Edcculus

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I've started ordering all my grain from Brewmaster's Warehouse. I have a barley crusher, so its cheaper buying in bulk from them than buying the overpriced grain at my LHBS. I love to support them, but I get much better prices and even customer service online.

When I lived in Clemson, I bought all my grain and hops from my LHBS. It happened to also be a brewery (Thomas Creek). He sells grain and hops to homebrewers out of his stock. Man that was great.
 

Brewmasters Warehouse

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We crush all of our grains freshly before packaging an order. We send out grains in a air tight heavy duty plastic bag to make sure what you get is fresh. We are not one of the "Big Boys" but we go through grains quickly, since so many of our customers are all grain HBTers. I would say our grains are as fresh as anywhere.


Ed
 

blackwaterbrewer

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i have only one real place to get brewing stuff from here in the virginia beach area, so i buy all of my stuff from them in hopes that doing so will keep them in business. it would suck if they closed, and also, they are really nice and helpful people. it may be dumb, but i'd rather give them my $$ than someone i don't know and don't trust. as for the original poster, could it be psychosematic?? ( sorry, my wife is a therapist. :)
 
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Slipgate

Slipgate

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i have only one real place to get brewing stuff from here in the virginia beach area, so i buy all of my stuff from them in hopes that doing so will keep them in business. it would suck if they closed, and also, they are really nice and helpful people. it may be dumb, but i'd rather give them my $$ than someone i don't know and don't trust. as for the original poster, could it be psychosematic?? ( sorry, my wife is a therapist. :)
Ha! Nope I don't think so. I commented throughout that entire keg and just now (3 weeks later) realized why that one might have been so good since finishing it and starting the next keg. The beer was also CRYSTAL clear, I mean like a store bought one. I've never created a beer so clear. And PERFECT lace! Probably a combination of fresh ingredients and I just did everything perfect on that batch. I wish I could have saved some! :(
I just remembered that I was so impressed that I did get some video of it, I'll have to see how it came out and post it.
 
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Slipgate

Slipgate

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OK here is a video - it is crystal clear, it looks a little cloudy in the movie but you can read through it.

Clear Beer
 

beerocd

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We crush all of our grains freshly before packaging an order.
Ed
:off: Ah CR4P!, just saw that.(my fault) I did look around for a check box or something and since I didn't see it going into the cart I figured it would default to whole. Oh well, gonna have to step up the brew schedule to get rid of them. At least I didn't order a year supply like The Pol.

:off: Ordered from both BMW and AHS on Saturday. Both shipped Monday.

-OCD
 

HSM

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I guess the one question we should ask is does your online kit come precrushed? How long does the shipping take? If he is doing the saver shipping and it takes a week to get to him then that might be a different story. If he is going into the LHBS and crushing the grain and then using it right away he might notice a difference.

I own a barley crusher and nothing is better then mashing fresh milled grains n flour. I think it makes a difference using fresh on the spot milled grains.

So yes using the LHBS can give you a fresher tasting beer in that respect. (Thats my opinion only) I have no facts except my own sense of taste and smell.
Agreed on the fresh crushed grain. Sort of like coffee and pepper, it's just better when fresh crushed.
 
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