when are hops/grain too old?

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The Govna

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I extract brew with specialty grains and I have a tendency to save all my extras. Is there any way to tell if grain or hops are too old? I always seal them well and put them in the fridge/freezer, I just don’t know how to tell if they’re past their prime. Any thoughts?
 

WBC

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If you take some grain from the freezer and bring it to room temp (spoonfull) just pop a few kernals in your mouth, chew and taste them. They should taste good, not stale. The same can be said for hops. If the hops are in oxygen barrier bags then they should be good but if they are in regular sealed plastic then they loose most of their flavor and aroma and their bittering oil becomes like nasty cheese....... ugh. Let's face it, everything in beer is a parishable and only lasts so long.
 

Bob

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Judgment can only come from skilled, experienced use of your senses. As WBC wrote, examine them with all your senses. For training purposes, it helps to have fresh examples near to hand for calibration purposes. If I were you, I'd take your samples down to your LHBS and ask to compare. If the chaps there are cool, they'll let you do this. Perhaps, if the chaps need some convincing, wrangle some of your local homebrew club members to join you in a bit of seminar.

All I'm saying is, you have to know without a doubt what good ingredients look/taste/smell/feel like before you can make a judgement. That's something incredibly difficult to describe verbally.

Cheers,

Bob
 
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The Govna

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Thanks for the input. I ended up tasting a bunch of my old grain. Some of it was VERY dry and bland, even though it was a chocolate malt. I'm assuming that because it was missing the bitterness I expect from that roast, it was bad. However, I found some other grain that still had some flavor and was not as dry. So, I'm going to try using that.

Thanks again for the help.
 

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