How to Tell if Grains are Bad?

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secinarot

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I have quite a variety of leftover pre-crushed grains that I bought from NB back in December. I have been meaning to use some of them up in an Imperial Stout recipe but have been unable to find the time to brew for the past month! I read some other threads on this board about storage of grains. My question is how do I know if they have gone stale? I tasted them and I don't pick up any flavors that I would classify as stale, however I've never tried tasting grains before so I have no point of reference as to what fresh grains taste like.

Is there anyway that I can tell if these are good enough to use? Where I am planning to do a Stout will that mask any subtle stale flavors that a lighter beer may otherwise show through?
 
Does the age affect the grain's ability to be converted into sugars or just produce off flavors?

In the future I'm thinking I will buy the specialty grains uncrushed. However I don't have a grain mill. Will a rolling pin work on small amounts of specialty grains (i.e. less than a pound each)?
 
Does the age affect the grain's ability to be converted into sugars or just produce off flavors?

In the future I'm thinking I will buy the specialty grains uncrushed. However I don't have a grain mill. Will a rolling pin work on small amounts of specialty grains (i.e. less than a pound each)?

yep, I usually just use a wine bottle.

It could certainly affect the enzymes and make for poor conversion. It could also taste "stale" and bland.
 
Well I think for a couple of bucks worth of grains I won't take the chance to ruin the whole batch. I think I'll just pitch them out.
 
Chew on a grain or two. Its flavor will tell you right away.

If you stored them in an air tight container chances are they're alright.

If stored on a counter in a garage chances are they'll taste like oil, dust, gas fumes, etc. But it just may be the flavor you've been looking for...Gasoline Alley...:D
 
Does the age affect the grain's ability to be converted into sugars or just produce off flavors?

In the future I'm thinking I will buy the specialty grains uncrushed. However I don't have a grain mill. Will a rolling pin work on small amounts of specialty grains (i.e. less than a pound each)?

Not really if stored properly. I made a heavy blond using grains that were 2 years old, stored in my garage (no cars, just stuff). Dry and protected from insects and vermin, but exposed to two Texas Summers. See link below.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/new-year-new-beer-95872/

So far, everyone who has tasted it has enjoyed it immensely. Unmilled malt can last a long time and still make very good beer.
 
Chew on a grain or two. Its flavor will tell you right away.

If you stored them in an air tight container chances are they're alright.
I did taste all of them, but the problem is I don't have a point of reference in that I have never tasted fresh grains before. I didn't pick up any flavors that I would consider really bad, but they definitely didn't taste "fresh" if I compare it with say cereal or other grain products that I am familiar with. I had them stored in the basement (around 55 deg) double bagged in plastic inside a rubbermaid bin. Also they were pre-crushed.
 
I agree with your earlier statement to pitch them and get new so you don't have sub-par beer. I'm sure it would still taste OK but I bet it would taste even better with fresh grain.
 

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