Grains to keep on hand?

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RobW944

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Hey all,

I recently upgraded equipment and moved from doing extract only kits to all grain recipes. So far I’ve just been purchasing the grains I need for recipes as needed, but I’d like to get some storage containers and start storing and milling my own grains to be able to experiment with tweaking recipes and making something that’s my own. I mainly brew IPA’s, pale ales, porters and stouts for now. What are some staple grains I’d want to keep on hand for these types of beers?
 

Immocles

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2-row.
I buy 2-row by the 55lb bag. A full sack lasts me just under a year on average. For your porters and stouts, you might want a bit of Maris Otter or Golden promise. Im cheap so I stick to 2-row in most occasions, but I wish I would splurge for a sack of GP. I do a smash with it about once a year and its a noticeably tastier base malt. I tend to use Vienna in my blonde and pale ales, as well. I use a lot of biscuit and crystal 40L, but YMMV. You'll want some chocolate malt for porters, and roasted barley and flaked barley for your stouts, too. You will probably settle into your own recipes after some trial and error, but I have made some tasty pale ales and IPAs using just 2 row and a bit of crystal malt. One can brew a lot of recipes and styles with a base malt, some Vienna malt, a mid range crystal malt, chocolate malt, and a roast malt.
 

Beerstein

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2-row.
I buy 2-row by the 55lb bag. A full sack lasts me just under a year on average. For your porters and stouts, you might want a bit of Maris Otter or Golden promise. Im cheap so I stick to 2-row in most occasions, but I wish I would splurge for a sack of GP. I do a smash with it about once a year and its a noticeably tastier base malt. I tend to use Vienna in my blonde and pale ales, as well. I use a lot of biscuit and crystal 40L, but YMMV. You'll want some chocolate malt for porters, and roasted barley and flaked barley for your stouts, too. You will probably settle into your own recipes after some trial and error, but I have made some tasty pale ales and IPAs using just 2 row and a bit of crystal malt. One can brew a lot of recipes and styles with a base malt, some Vienna malt, a mid range crystal malt, chocolate malt, and a roast malt.

This. What Immocles said. I usually stock a 55lb bag of munich to mix with standard 2 row for “tastier” grain forward brews
 
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RobW944

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2-row.
I buy 2-row by the 55lb bag. A full sack lasts me just under a year on average. For your porters and stouts, you might want a bit of Maris Otter or Golden promise. Im cheap so I stick to 2-row in most occasions, but I wish I would splurge for a sack of GP. I do a smash with it about once a year and its a noticeably tastier base malt. I tend to use Vienna in my blonde and pale ales, as well. I use a lot of biscuit and crystal 40L, but YMMV. You'll want some chocolate malt for porters, and roasted barley and flaked barley for your stouts, too. You will probably settle into your own recipes after some trial and error, but I have made some tasty pale ales and IPAs using just 2 row and a bit of crystal malt. One can brew a lot of recipes and styles with a base malt, some Vienna malt, a mid range crystal malt, chocolate malt, and a roast malt.
Awesome info, thank you!
 

Golddiggie

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I buy base malt (Maris Otter) by the sack. Last time I purchased four of them, placing them into sealed containers. For other malts, I simply get enough to brew at least a few recipes at a time. Or somewhere in the 5-10# increments each purchase. My LHBS has pretty much everything I want/use for my recipes. Which means if I miscalculate, I can go and get more. It typically means the brew day gets moved (often brewing on Sunday, when they're closed). I have broken down the other malts into 1# or 2# bags, so it's easier to keep track.

I would recommend getting hops in large enough packages to save as well. You can often get them in 1/2#, 1# or even 5# bags. Figure out how much you think you'll use in the coming 6 (or 12) months and get that. I have plenty of the hops I use most in the freezer now. Yes, keep them in the freezer so they last longer. Do NOT freeze your malts.
 
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I mainly brew IPA’s, pale ales, porters and stouts for now. What are some staple grains I’d want to keep on hand for these types of beers?
Here are the grains I keep on hand for brewing IPAs, APAs, ambers, and browns:
  • a two row brewers malt,
  • smaller amounts other base malts: pale ale, munich
  • character malts: biscuit / victory, special roast, golden naked oats
  • "American" crystal: 40L, 60L, 80L
  • "British" crystal: light, medium, dark
  • Roasted malts: Chocolate (pale, 350L), Midnight Wheat
The blog over at Beer Simple has an article (link) that may be of interest. The blog appears to be dormant, but there are a number of interesting articles from the mid to late 2010s that I found useful.
 

madscientist451

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What I always like to have around:
With chocolate malt, I keep pale chocolate on hand.
For stouts and porters, some roasted barley and black patent or de-husked roasted barley.
Midnight wheat
Victory malt
Crystal malts from 10 to 120
Carapils
I actually have about 3-4 times as much around as I listed above, but I pared it down for simplicity.
 

Golddiggie

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I keep two chocolate malts ('normal' and pale) plus a coffee malt, victory malt, honey malt (might not restock that when it's gone, getting it for specific recipes as needed) and flaked barley on top of MO. I also have the cherry wood smoked malt and peat smoked malt on hand since they're used for two of my popular recipes.
 

Pablo 54

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In all openness, I do not brew IPA's however I think it is reasonable to assume the malt kept on hand for almost all brewing styles is generally the same.
  1. IREKS Pilsner
  2. Malteurop Wheat
  3. Munich & Vienna Malts (Depends on the time of year I'm brewing)
  4. Melanoidin (Weyerman)
  5. Caramel Munich 60L (Briess)
  6. Caramel Malt 20L (Briess)
  7. Carafa III
  8. Flaked Corn
  9. White Enriched Long Grain Rice (Riceland)
I buy 6-row in recipe amounts when I brew cream ales or want to torture myself with a triple decoction.
 

mashpaddled

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Unless you intend to brew a small set of styles over and over with similar recipes I wouldn't buy large volumes of anything but base malt. For American styles a basic pale malt is what you want. If you can buy a full bag without shipping that's going to be cheapest. For anything else I'd either buy on the fly or in much smaller increments. I wouldn't buy a sack of a particular specialty malt unless you know you really like it and intend to use it a lot. If you brew a lot of hoppy beers maybe a sack of C40 might make sense.
 

Golddiggie

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I've found that darker malts stale over time, even when kept in sealed bags. So I'm leaning toward buying just-in-time except for base malt.
I vacuum pack most of my additional malts. I picked up a new vacuum packer from LEM with this in mind. Since the FoodSaver I was using didn't like the rapid repeated use I was giving it. The LEM can handle 500 consecutive seal actions without rest. Active fan(s) in the unit helps things out. Worth every dollar I spent on it (and some). Especially since it can accept 14" wide bags.
 

sibelman

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I vacuum pack most of my additional malts. I picked up a new vacuum packer from LEM with this in mind. Since the FoodSaver I was using didn't like the rapid repeated use I was giving it. The LEM can handle 500 consecutive seal actions without rest. Active fan(s) in the unit helps things out. Worth every dollar I spent on it (and some). Especially since it can accept 14" wide bags.
Glad that's working for you, @Golddiggie. My Goodwill vacuum sealer worked well for the hops I grew at my old place. But I'm still inclined to buy malt only for immediate need except for base malt - a sack every quarter, give or take. I'm going to my LHBS anyway for yeast, so may as well buy darker malts as needed. I just tossed almost a pound of Carafa 'cuz it smelled rancid - not what I want in my beer!
 

OakIslandBrewery

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Hey all,

I recently upgraded equipment and moved from doing extract only kits to all grain recipes. So far I’ve just been purchasing the grains I need for recipes as needed, but I’d like to get some storage containers and start storing and milling my own grains to be able to experiment with tweaking recipes and making something that’s my own. I mainly brew IPA’s, pale ales, porters and stouts for now. What are some staple grains I’d want to keep on hand for these types of beers?
When you settle in on recipes you like to repeat and recipes that have the same base grains then I'd buy those in bulk to save some cash. I'll buy bags of base grain then store them in plastic buckets with gamma seal spin off tops. For the other grains in the recipe I'll buy them as needed. Something like a chocolate malt you don't want to buy in bulk, just buy what you need for each recipe. Still I have leftovers that are in smaller bags, I'll store them in a gamma sealed bucket. Just make sure everything is labeled so you know what you have in inventory. Those gamma seal tops can be found on Amazon, I got mine through Sam's Club.
 
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