If you’re a fan of crafting your own beer, then you’ll know; the quality is as good as your ingredients. Hence, in addition to purchasing the good stuff, you also need to know how to store it properly, too.
Since grains are incredibly nutritious, a lot of insects and microorganisms love to feast on them. Thus, making sure you are properly looking after your grain is essential.
Generally, grains represent a considerable investment due to their versatility. You’ll be glad to know that looking after your wheat, malted barley, and other grains is super simple.
The first step is to ensure you’re purchasing your grains as you go. Unless you have a large-scale business and are fermenting beer daily, then you can take it down a notch.
The best practice to take is simply to source your required grain when you’re going to use it. Bulk amounts of grain can often take up a lot of space, not to mention they are hard to move!
If you’re looking for how to store your milled grains, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we have outlined everything you need to know about storing your grain.
How Does Time Affect Grain?
Grains are known for their resilience and are chiefly responsible for allowing humanity to thrive since you could harvest rye, and barley, or rye, then safely store them during the winter months.
However, this doesn’t mean that grain is invisible, some detrimental factors include:
Moisture – this provides the ideal environment for bacteria and mold.
Rodents and insects – If there is access to your grain storage, expect insects. Plus, rodents will chew on everything, so keep an eye out for these pests.
Although, the main issue here is weevils. These are similar to beetles and are also known as flour bugs.
These are harmless for humans and animals, however, they feed on your grain, while breeding, laying eggs, and pooping all over – this isn’t something you want in your creations.
Heat – If you notice your grains are humid, you’ll have to throw them out straight away. Generally, mold can be even more harmful than insects.
In addition to these factors, grains also can absorb odors straight from the environment. This is something you may want to consider as it could taint your recipe or beer with horrible scents.
As such, you want to avoid storing your grains with cleaning products or other chemicals at all times.
When To Mill Your Grains?
If you’re ready to use your grain on the very same day you have milled them, then by all means; do so! However, for most brewers, this isn’t the reality.
Thus, instead, purchase milled grains as opposed to milling their own at home.
How Long Can You Keep Unmilled Grain?
When stored at room temperature, unmilled grains are able to last at least six months. When placed in the refrigerators, nine months, and when frozen, up to 12 months.
There are some home-brewing professionals who claim that grains can last decades. However, some suppliers, such as Maltweks claim that whole kernel grains can only last 180 days.
Storing Your Grains
Temperature is essential when storing your grains. You should aim to keep your grains at a comfortable temperature of between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit – here, the optimum temperature is 64 degrees Fahrenheit.
The ideal location would be a dark, well-ventilated basement. Although, just be aware of the humidity levels here.
The ways in which you store your grains could be considered more important than the methods you use to keep them.
For instance, it’s important to transfer your grains from large bags into sealed trash cans or airtight containers.
Plus, you’ll want to remove as much air room as possible to reduce the amount of exposure to oxygen.
Moreover, keep these containers at least ten inches away from the ground, this ensures that no rodents are able to get to them and chew through the plastic containers.
When looking at grains, the ones that are used in smaller amounts and less frequently, can be kept in gallon Ziploc bags for convenience. Plus, you can even have enough space in your freezer to store them.
However, your storage requirements are based on your current climate. For instance, those who live in hotter climates will find it harder to deal with hot and humid temperatures.
Therefore, adjusting your grain needs here is important.
How Long Can You Keep Milled Grain?
Once you mill your grains, their shelf-life becomes instantly shorter.
When stored at room temperature, milled barley will last up to three months. When refrigerated, this is increased to four months, and when frozen, six months.
This rule applies to other similar products, including corn, rice, and wheat. The only exception to this rule is oats which tend to be more fragile and require the usage of a month or so sooner in these cases.
As you can see, both milled and unmilled grains are able to last a considerable amount of time. However, it is easy to see why some people may want to use them as soon as possible.
For many hobbyist home brewers, you may not have access to conditioned refrigeration rooms or industrial-sized freezers to store your grains. Therefore, it is better to use them sooner rather than later.
As long as you keep your grains free from any detrimental factors – like the ones mentioned above – then you should have some healthy grains to use.
If you’re looking to make the most out of your milled grains, then knowing how to store them properly and how long they last are important.
Not only can inadequate storage affect the overall quality of your grains, but could lead to pest infestations and mold, something nobody wants.
Hopefully, this guide has informed you on how long milled grain lasts and how to store them.