Shelf life of grains and hops.

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Snood

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Hi Folks.

I las brewed about 9 months ago. I took a break as I moved country and for most of the time, have been unemployed so havent really had the spare cash to brew.

I'm now preparing for my first brew of the year and have taken my ingredients out of storage. For most of the time the ingredients have been kept in a cool and dry attic (very cool indeed at this time of year in Sweden). Some of the packs of grains have past their labeled expiry date (by between 2 and 6 months past) and the hops are all still in date although they have been stored in poorly closed up bags.

So, is it okay to use some of the "expired" grains, things like carafa and black malt. and will the hops still be good to use, they're whole leaf hops as opposed to pellets.

Feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Paul
 

RM-MN

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I they are whole grains and not crushed you have no worries at all. Farmers store grains for longer than that to get the price point that they want with no ill effects.

Crushed grains have more of their goodies exposed to the air but even then in cool dry conditions they should be fine. Give them the smell test and if they smell like grain they should be fine.
 

unionrdr

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I've stored grains in sealed bags for several weeks with no ill effects. But several months...I agree to smell'em 1st. As long as the hops are in a cool dry place,they should still be pretty good. It seems to me the lambic brewers like using old hops. So there's an idea to contemplate.
 

doctorRobert

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Grains should be fine. As long as they still look normal and no animals ate them.

Hops, probably have lost quite a bit, since they are whole leaf hops they dont hold up a lot. But that really depends on variety. If they smell good, use them at the end of the boil, but you might want to get new bittering hops.
 

Calder

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If kept cool and dry, the grains will keep OK for years.

Hops will deteriorate, and should be kept vacuum packed and in the freezer. Google a 'hop aging calculator' to see understand how much alpha acid loss they have. When using a calculator, the 'Stability %' is a standard number for the hop type.

For example: Centennial hops (10% AA) will only have 6% AA after 9 months if stored in plastic bag at 50 F. At 60 F it goes down to 5% (or 50% loss of bittering effectiveness).

The sun can really raise the temperature in attics. My attic gets well above 100 F during summer. I have a fan in the attic set to go off if the temp gets above 105 F, and it pretty much never stops during the summer months.
 

david_42

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Crushed grains tend to absorb water and become stale. You can check them by chewing a few kernels. If they taste okay (black malt will taste like charcoal, caramels will be slightly sweet), use them.

Bad hops have a cheesy smell. Note that older hops lose bittering ability.
 
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