Grain storage?

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Konadog

Bird Call Brewing
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I've just started buying bulk grains and don't want to end up loosing it to bugs. Is it a good idea to freeze your grain before placing it in storage (buckets with Gamma lids) to kill off anything, or am I worrying about nothing?
 
Do you have reason to suspect your grains are infested? If not, I wouldn't worry.
 
I don't think the grain will last more than 3 months. I thought that all grain came with a bug or two and I didn't want to open it up next week and find out the whole family and friends plan was in place.

Like I said, this is the first time I've stored grain and just wanted to hear if it was something to worry about. With grain prices going up, I might even store a bit more.
 
Just give it a try in some clean buckets with lids that seal relatively well. I don't think you need to go overboard for just three months worth.

Most storage recommendations are to keep it dry and between 50 - 70°F. Not sure I'd freeze it, but I do keep leftover malt in my refrigerator.

Might be a good question for you to ask the maltster (not the vendor) of the malts you buy. Most have a website and contact info posted.
 
I thought that all grain came with a bug or two and I didn't want to open it up next week and find out the whole family and friends plan was in place.

In all my years of brewing, I have never noticed any bugs/critters in my bulk grain. These days I store them in buckets, but before that I folded over the grain bag and clipped it shut. It often takes me a year or more to use up some full sacks of grain.
 
Bugs are not going to infest dry grain. If you have a bug problem, they are the least of your worries. And the grain bugs that we are talking about are probably not an issue in your area anyway, unless you are on or close to a farm.
 
And even if you did get bugs, weevils or whatever, if they made it into the fermenter, then they'd just become trub on the bottom!

The boil should have sanitized them and the alcohol during the ferment makes everything okay! Doesn't it? :drunk:
 
I use Vittles Vaults too and never had a problem with bugs. About 4 years ago I got a real good deal on some grains (mostly rye), some of it was infected with bugs. I put the grains in a space bag and that killed the bugs. The bugs did not affect the beer I made with it. I just got some grits from Walmart that had bugs. The packaging for grits is pretty lame compared to what grains come in so I would think you should not have any problems with bugs with reasonly fresh grains. The space bag killed the bugs in the grits.
 
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exBEERiment | Impact Using Old Crushed Malt Has On Altbier | Brülosophy (probably fall 2018)

A common recommendation when it comes to grain is to use it as soon after it’s milled as possible, as exposing the innards of malt purportedly expedites the staling process. A web search for “crushed malt shelf life” returns myriad hits suggesting once malt has been milled, the brewer has a window of about 2 to 4 weeks to use it before they’re assured poor results.

Despite my inability to find any real consensus on what exactly stale malt flavor is, ...

| PURPOSE |
To evaluate the differences between a beer where the malt was milled 6 months prior to being used and the same beer where the malt was milled immediately before use.

| RESULTS |

A total of 26 people of varying levels of experience participated in this xBmt. Each participant was served 2 samples of the beer made with malt milled 6 months prior to being used and 1 sample of the beer made with freshly milled malt then asked to identify the sample that was unique. While 14 tasters [...] would have had to correctly identify the unique sample in order to [...], only 11 [...] made the correct selection

| DISCUSSION |

It’s not uncommon to hear from a homebrewer who picked up the ingredients for a batch only to have plans suddenly change and their brew day postponed, typically leading to questions about what to do with their milled grain. A valid concern for the quality conscious that’s often met with a recommendation to brew with it within 4-6 weeks in order to avoid problems.

The idea that milling grain reduces its shelf-life is rampant in brewing circles, [...]
 
The kilning temps of even pale malts will be high enough to kill any inherent insects, eggs, etc. So the only worry is to keep outside bugs from getting in. Store in tight containers in a cool place. Vittles Vaults, Gamma buckets, etc.

I've brewed numerous times with malts I've stored that way for 2 years, without any noticeable stale flavors.
 
I’ve posted this numerous times, but it nears repeating-

I’m a grain farmer. I’ve spent the last 46 years growing, handling, and storing cereal grains. There is no part of the supply chain, from planting to harvesting to storing on the farm to transporting to a merchandiser or processor to additional storage, processing, more storage, more transporting, more storage and, finally, more transportation to the LHBS or to your door in a brown van, that is hermetically sealed. Grain is exposed to the ambient air throughout its entire existence. And, it’s probably at least a year, possibly up to two years, old before it comes into your possession. After all that, treating it with TLC for the few days, weeks, or months before you brew with it seems kind of silly. Don‘t be silly…
 
Look my post above was in jest, obviously, but I fully agree with @grampamark above. Stop worrying about stuff that doesn't matter. IMO no beer is vegan because there's some form of bug or beetle in there, at some stage of the process anyway. I've brewed beers with no weevils in them (I also worried about them at some stage) and then I learned that I can't get away from them, and so I just embraced them. Beers still taste the same, if not better due to a bit more experience in the process.

By the way, my weevils are 99% of the time collected in the flour at the bottom of the buckets I use to store my grain in. I simply don't use that tablespoon of flour and the flour with the weevils are tossed on the lawn when I brew. Done.
 
I've always stored a variety of 15 - 20 different specialty grains (1 - 4 lbs each) in small airtight containers until ready to mill/use. A couple of air-tight pet food containers for my base grains. Never saw a single bug.

Recently, I was gifted about 450 lbs (<-- not a typo) of specialty grains from a homebrew supply that had closed that I have mostly stored in plastic bags and some overflow in some Rubbermaid containers. These Rubbermaid's didn't seal like I wanted them to, but I didn't worry about it. A couple weeks into having these grains, I went to grab some C10 (Rubbermaid container) and could barely see the grains through the bugs. Same with the C60, just not nearly as bad - both Rubbermaid. They didn't touch the chocolate though - must be BMC weevils. I spent the next hour checking the rest of the stock that was in plastic bags, twisted, and knotted, then placed in storage totes... No bugs.

If it was just a few, I would have laughed at the little idiots as they went through the mill, the mash, and the boil, but the C10 was too far gone to use. I did use what I needed of the C60 then froze the rest for a few days to kill anything else.
 
I've just started buying bulk grains and don't want to end up loosing it to bugs. Is it a good idea to freeze your grain before placing it in storage (buckets with Gamma lids) to kill off anything, or am I worrying about nothing?
I use the vittle vaults and the lowes foodsafe buckets with gamma lids. Both are equally good. vittle vaults are bigger, so prefer them. I store a lot of grain in garage in them. No worries!

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Do you mean the lesser of two weevils?

On a serious note apparently you can sprinkle diatomaceous earth on things you consume to keep the beasties away. Haven't had a problem with grain but have with rolled oats.
 
I have four Vittles Vaults with 2 row, Belgian pilsner, Maris Otter and the fourth one kind of rotates but currently has Viking Xtra pale malt. Never had any bug issues or issues with stale malt.
 
Do you mean the lesser of two weevils?

On a serious note apparently you can sprinkle diatomaceous earth on things you consume to keep the beasties away. Haven't had a problem with grain but have with rolled oats.
I would not use diatomaceous earth. Yes, that is what it is intended for, but if used incorrectly, ie too much, when you add this malt to water, you are making clay. I have rejected malt samples because of excessive DE used. Also, this only works if the bugs are active, DE causes the bugs to get scratched up as they crawl around and they die from dehydration with body fluids leaking from the scratches. If you want to kill bugs without really changing the grain, you would be better off flooding the sealed container with CO2 and give it a few days, kills the bugs but does not add anything to the grain.
 
I would not use diatomaceous earth. Yes, that is what it is intended for, but if used incorrectly, ie too much, when you add this malt to water, you are making clay. I have rejected malt samples because of excessive DE used. Also, this only works if the bugs are active, DE causes the bugs to get scratched up as they crawl around and they die from dehydration with body fluids leaking from the scratches. If you want to kill bugs without really changing the grain, you would be better off flooding the sealed container with CO2 and give it a few days, kills the bugs but does not add anything to the grain.
Interesting. I genuinely wondered about that. I only recently read that DE is in every grain or bread that we eat. Some people also seem to eat it to control internal parasites which seems absurd. I am about to start using it in the garden.
 
I load my bulk grain bag in a Space Bag then in a medium trash container. Have never noticed bugs or their leavings. Hot and humid as bad it comes here in Fla.
 
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