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relim82

Shelf life of 5 gallon kits (crushed grains)

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I'm looking into ordering a few kits from Midwest Supplies, and was just wondering... How long can you have one of these sit before you brew it up? I'd have to have the grains crushed before they send it, and just figured I'd ask before I order 4-5 different ingredient kits. Also, what is the best way to store the kits until I use them?

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I order uncrushed grains and do them myself. When crushed I would try to use them up within a couple weeks, month is pushing it. I find the kits that come crushed lacking.

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how would you go about crushing them? I have an herb grinder, but its basically like a tobacco grinder? lol

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"FrozenInTime" post=330101 said:

I order uncrushed grains and do them myself. When crushed I would try to use them up within a couple weeks, month is pushing it. I find the kits that come crushed lacking.


I will agree with FIT a little, but I don't have a good way of crushing so I order them crushed. I try not to buy too many kits ahead, then just make another order.

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You would have to buy a grain crusher, they are not cheap, usually a bit over $100. I have the grinder attachment on my kitchen Aide, paid bout $130 for it.

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"relim82" post=330061 said:

I'm looking into ordering a few kits from Midwest Supplies, and was just wondering... How long can you have one of these sit before you brew it up? I'd have to have the grains crushed before they send it, and just figured I'd ask before I order 4-5 different ingredient kits. Also, what is the best way to store the kits until I use them?


I quite often buy 4 or 5 kits too, but with the amount of fermenters I have I can brew them in under a month. As far as storage, I put the yeast and hops in the fridge when I get them and The grains sit in the boxes, but I also have wondered if I should also put the grains in the fridge, I don't know that one.

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My grains stay in the basement around 54 degrees. If I don't use them within a couple weeks, I throw them in the freezer. But think of this, we used to fill up our grain silos and leave them there for the winter. We kept some heat on them to dry them out, if we did not, they would get moldy from dampness. Even so, we would get some mold to an extent.

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If you are going to all grain a crusher is a must. Crushed grains only last a week before going stale. You never know when the kit was actually ground. Even if they were ground the day they were shipped the grain is on the verge of being stale when you get it. It is like coffee made with beans that you grind and canned, bagged or whatevered does not taste as fresh

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I'm always somewhat leery of buying these boxed kits. I see a bunch of them on the shelf at the LHBS, and I wonder how long they've been there. Crushed grains, as well as yeast and hops at room temperature, always make me leery. I figure I can find a recipe, have them crushed fresh, and get better results. But that's just my opinion... YMMV...

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"haerbob3" post=330159 said:

If you are going to all grain a crusher is a must. Crushed grains only last a week before going stale. You never know when the kit was actually ground. Even if they were ground the day they were shipped the grain is on the verge of being stale when you get it. It is like coffee made with beans that you grind and canned, bagged or whatevered does not taste as fresh


Now this is what I love about this forum, little tidbits you might have wondered about, but didn't know for sure. I ASSumed they would crush them just before they shipped them, but I guess you couldn't know that for sure. I'm talking about getting them from a on-line store like the the OP said he was going to do, not from a LHBS

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While I agree that the brew quality is best when fresh ground, IMO crushed grains will be fine if used within a month. I know NB and Midwest crush the grain before shipping. If your buying an off the shelf kit at LHBS, it might be different. In the past when I brewed extract with steeping grains that were crushed, I never had a problem in the finished product. But I do agree that for the best possible results its better to crush it your self or have the LHBS do it for you the day or before you plan to brew. Palmer, Zainasheff and Papazian all agree that crushed grains will be fine for at least a month and even longer before brewing if its stored in a sealed bag at cooler, dry temps. I prefer to mill it myself so I don't have to worry about it. For extract brews with steeping grains it much less of a concern than base malts. 2 row and other base malts will lose thier diastic power after a while if they sit to long crushed. I would recommend not oredering more than you can brew within 6 weeks for steeping grains. Base malts, brew within 4 weeks at maximum.

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"berryman" post=330169 said:

"haerbob3" post=330159 said:

If you are going to all grain a crusher is a must. Crushed grains only last a week before going stale. You never know when the kit was actually ground. Even if they were ground the day they were shipped the grain is on the verge of being stale when you get it. It is like coffee made with beans that you grind and canned, bagged or whatevered does not taste as fresh


Now this is what I love about this forum, little tidbits you might have wondered about, but didn't know for sure. I ASSumed they would crush them just before they shipped them, but I guess you couldn't know that for sure. I'm talking about getting them from a on-line store like the the OP said he was going to do, not from a LHBS

I know from going to Rebel that they have the 'Red Beaver' kits on their site sitting on a shelf in their warehouse. Also, I know from going to All Seasons that they have the 'Brewers Best' kits on their site sitting on a shelf in their store. I may be incorrect, but I would guess that the same holds true at Northern, Austin, etc. as well...

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Brewers Best kits can be hit and miss. I actually called NB and Midwest. They told me they mill there grain into sealed bags when they process the order. They guarantee freshness on there own kits. I can't say the same about Brewers Best or other kits that are third party. I use NB because the ingredients are always fresh. Probably the best I've found. Plus I love how they package everything. I've never had to pay for an ice pack for yeast and never had a bad fermentation or subpar results when using there ingredients. I trust them more than most LHBS's. JMO.

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If you're just crushing a little bit of steeping grains, let's say enough for a MB batch, then you can crush with a rolling pin. Just put the grains in a plastic bag and roll over it. You could also use a can to roll and crush away.

You can store hops in the freezer and they will last longer.

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I don't have a mill at home, but simply go to the LHBS, where they can certainly mill for you. That's why I like the local stores, as I know that they've just been milled fresh. I wish my Whole Foods had the complete HBS inside of it like some I've seen... that would be uber-convenient...

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"berryman" post=330112 said:

As far as storage, I put the yeast and hops in the fridge when I get them and The grains sit in the boxes, but I also have wondered if I should also put the grains in the fridge, I don't know that one.

It's more important to keep your crushed grains sealed and dry than cold. Putting them in the fridge could promote condensation. No bueno.

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"BigFloyd" post=330306 said:

"berryman" post=330112 said:

As far as storage, I put the yeast and hops in the fridge when I get them and The grains sit in the boxes, but I also have wondered if I should also put the grains in the fridge, I don't know that one.

It's more important to keep your crushed grains sealed and dry than cold. Putting them in the fridge could promote condensation. No bueno.

I agree. Putting grains in the fridge or freezer can lead to condensation in the sealed bags. I used to do this until I experienced it first hand. I just store in my basement with a dehumidifier running in the same room.

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I'm too spoiled now I email my ingredients list to Joe Bair at Princeton Homebrew and he'll usually have it ready for me to pickup with 4-6 hours. Like a five star chef who goes to the market daily to take back the freshest ingredients for his meals I like to know I'm getting brewing ingredients, especially liquid yeast, that's so fresh I'd want to slap them. Hell I even lend a hand unloading the trailer truck deliveries sometimes when the store's too busy. Those are the best days when we get to talking, he's got about 25 years more brewing experience than I do, but we're both about equal with our beer drinking experience.

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That would be sweet screwy! I would love to have someone local to discuss/learn about brewing from. I envy you.

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"Screwy Brewer" post=330364 said:

I'm too spoiled now I email my ingredients list to Joe Bair at Princeton Homebrew and he'll usually have it ready for me to pickup with 4-6 hours. Like a five star chef who goes to the market daily to take back the freshest ingredients for his meals I like to know I'm getting brewing ingredients, especially liquid yeast, that's so fresh I'd want to slap them. Hell I even lend a hand unloading the trailer truck deliveries sometimes when the store's too busy. Those are the best days when we get to talking, he's got about 25 years more brewing experience than I do, but we're both about equal with our beer drinking experience.

You are the wind beneath my wings.

No, really, you are. :charlie:

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UH OH... I think I have two problems...
I put my leftover carapils in a ziplock in the butter compartment with my hops and yeast. I should be using them soon though, I have 2 more LBKs on the way.

We went to Austin Home Brew Thursday and my brother was going to get a 5 gallon extract kit for one of their recipes. While I was off getting an autosiphon, bottle capper etc. he decided to get it as a mini-mash (those grains are unopened in a tupperware container in my brew closet).
I am still waiting on my first two Mr. Beer batches to come out of the LBKs and now I guess I need a crash course in mini-mash brewing before the grains are ruined. Can you guys please point me to the best posts for that? The instructions seem pretty straight forward but I do consider myself a noobie, this isn't something I would have jumped into so soon.
I am not set up for five gallon batches so I will have to divide everything in half and brew two separate batches.
(I am not even going to ask him why we got home with a lager yeast, I am trying to be patient and RDWHAHB)
Thanks.

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For what it's worth, I've let some grains and LME go over 3 months on the shelf at room temperature before using them in a brew. I've also had LME, hops, and yeast in the fridge for over 6 months before using. Brews turned out fine. Would they have been better with fresher ingredients? Probably. But I still thought the final produce was great. A number of factors come into play in storage. Air. Moisture. Temperature. Etc. The fresher the better.

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