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How long do ingredients last?

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Starting to order on line now. Me and a friend will both be dipping into the supply 'stash' so they could go rather quickly if we don't order bulk, but I would rather pay bulk prices and have the convenience of having it on hand. I was wondering how long some of the following last...

1) Whole hops in the fridge and vaccum sealing the left overs after each use.

2) Liquid malt extract in the fridge (I know there is a question to aging here as opposed to dry hops which from what I read, last as long as a Twinkee)

3) Yeast in the fridge (still in manuafacturer packing)

4) Yeast in the fridge (after bottling from the primary slurry)

5) Specialty grains (do they need to be refrigerated at all to increase 'shelf life'?)

6) I think this one is the same as DME but I'll ask... priming sugars (in or out of the fridge?)

Darn, two fridges at my house already and this hobby is gonna make me get yet another... I LOVE IT :D
 
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DyerNeedOfBeer
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Hmmm, this thread get buried? Sure would like to hear some opinions on this matter. I would greatly benefiet from mass quantity purchase and storage since I am no where near a local HBS. This is the kind of info I have not run across in the several books I have purchased but I would think that some experienced home brewers would know.

And to add one question... who sells the 'freshest' hops (currently using whole hops if available), whether this be a namebrand or a specific supply house?

Thanks...
 

bikebryan

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DyerNeedOfBeer said:
Starting to order on line now. Me and a friend will both be dipping into the supply 'stash' so they could go rather quickly if we don't order bulk, but I would rather pay bulk prices and have the convenience of having it on hand. I was wondering how long some of the following last...

1) Whole hops in the fridge and vaccum sealing the left overs after each use.

2) Liquid malt extract in the fridge (I know there is a question to aging here as opposed to dry hops which from what I read, last as long as a Twinkee)

3) Yeast in the fridge (still in manuafacturer packing)

4) Yeast in the fridge (after bottling from the primary slurry)

5) Specialty grains (do they need to be refrigerated at all to increase 'shelf life'?)

6) I think this one is the same as DME but I'll ask... priming sugars (in or out of the fridge?)

Darn, two fridges at my house already and this hobby is gonna make me get yet another... I LOVE IT :D
At the local brewpug, they keep their hops (pellets) in plastic containers in a refrigerator. Now granted, they use a higher volume than a homebrewer, but they don't vacuum store them, they just use plastic tupperwear-style flip-top containers.

The few places I've seen with bulk amounts of LME don't refrigerate them. Gad, as thick as LME is I'd hate to see what happens when it is refrigerated! Can't help you with DME as I've never used it. There is no need to refrigerate bottling (corn) sugar though.

Yeast, if liquid, should be kept refigerated - at least according to all the literature I've read.

I don't see any reason to refigerate specialty grains. I would recommend keeping it secured in some sort of bin, to help protect it from bugs and rodents. If you keep sacks of it laying around, the bugs, mice and rats will eventually get into it, eat some, and leave you some little presents in the mix.
 

Janx

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DyerNeedOfBeer said:
1) Whole hops in the fridge and vaccum sealing the left overs after each use.
A long time...especially with the vacuum seal. Mine actually live in the freezer and stay very fresh for months. Dunno if I've ever tried longer than that.
DyerNeedOfBeer said:
2) Liquid malt extract in the fridge (I know there is a question to aging here as opposed to dry hops which from what I read, last as long as a Twinkee)
No need to refrigerate, but LME does not store particularly well. Colloidal reactions are constantly occuring that darken the malt in the can. So you'll find it increasingly difficult to control the color of your beer. In any event, DME stores forever, and is better in every way. I'd recommend DME instead of LME. Cheaper shipping too.
DyerNeedOfBeer said:
3) Yeast in the fridge (still in manuafacturer packing)
Dry - a loooooooooooong time. Liquid - also a long time. It will be good at least to its expiration date. After that, you can still get em going with a starter. They may be a little slower though.
DyerNeedOfBeer said:
4) Yeast in the fridge (after bottling from the primary slurry)
Again, quite a long time...months anyway.
DyerNeedOfBeer said:
5) Specialty grains (do they need to be refrigerated at all to increase 'shelf life'?)
Nope. They want to be kept dry and cool. They'll last a good long time if they aren't in a humid place. A sealed bucket is a good storage vessel.
DyerNeedOfBeer said:
6) I think this one is the same as DME but I'll ask... priming sugars (in or out of the fridge?)
Out of the fridge, and they'll last forever if kept dry.

Cheers! :D
 

uglygoat

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how about crushed grains?

a couple weeks ago i left a bag of crushed grains in the fridge for a week in just a brown paper sack, but they seemd to smell alright once i mashed em... i'll know how they turned out in a few weeks, the yeast liked em anyhoo.... :)
 

Janx

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Yeah I'm not sure about crushed. I've read they don't store as well, but I have bought sacks of pre-crushed grains and used them over the course of 4-6 weeks with no problem.

My guess is they will more readily absorb moisture and go stale, but I really don't know. It seems unlikely that they would last as long as whole grains. I'd store them at room temp dry, but I don't know if an airtight container in the fridge would be better. Humidity is the biggie to avoid.

I imagine they last at least a couple of weeks no matter what.
 

todd_k

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I have a mini-mash kit that I am not really prepared to take on yet. (I lack the extra equipment). I have the LME in a dark closet and the grain and hops in the fridge. All of the ingredients came in 1 sealed bag (except the LME) which I haven't opened yet. How long can i wait to make this batch? About how much more $ do I have to spend to upgrade my equipment to be able to make a mini mash? My only brewpot is 5.5 gal, I do have another 3 gal pot.
 

david_42

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Crushed grains are good for a month or so, if they are kept cool , dry and well sealed.
Hops are best kept frozen. They'll be good for a year or more. Some of the noble hops are actually better off in the fridge as a little oxidation adds to the basic character.

HF- I do mini-mashes with a really large grain bag. I put the bag in my kettle and add the grain and mash-in water. When the mash is done, I add the rest of the water at about 180F, stir the grain for five minutes and remove the bag and grains. Mix in the extract and turn the heat back on. I've had extremely good results doing this.
 

todd_k

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david_42 said:
HF- I do mini-mashes with a really large grain bag. I put the bag in my kettle and add the grain and mash-in water. When the mash is done, I add the rest of the water at about 180F, stir the grain for five minutes and remove the bag and grains. Mix in the extract and turn the heat back on. I've had extremely good results doing this.
So basically just get a bigger grain bag, maintain the temp for the hour or whatever the required time is, pour the rest of the water over the grain bag, stir it up, take the grain bag out and continue as if it were an extract kit? Is a 5 1/2 gal pot big enough for this, can I still do a partial boil?
 
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