Author Topic: storing grain  (Read 20598 times)

Offline SharpsRifle

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storing grain
« on: September 22, 2013, 04:42:14 PM »
OKAY, I'm tired of having to order grain all the time.
I am going to start keeping a stock of quite a few grains and hops in stock.
I'll have enough at home to brew several batches of some of my favorites plus an assortment of other interesting and useful grains.

That brings me to storage.
I'm figuring on using some buckets and some of those plastic totes they  sell everywhere.
I know that other people are using the totes, they can be stacked and I already use some to store brew hardware.

My question is for anyone else using totes.
What size do you use for a full 50 or 55 pound bag of grain?
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Offline RiverBrewer

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Re: storing grain
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2013, 05:28:12 PM »
I have used plastic totes, but after a mouse attack last winter, I am going to pick up a couple of large metal galvanized garbage cans. I do vacuum seal my smaller quantities of specialty grains.
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Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: storing grain
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2013, 05:52:10 PM »
Honestly, I just tie off the bags the stuff came in with rope, or sew them shut with dental floss.   Never had an issue.  55# bags of base grain rarely last me more than a year (I try to keep one each of pale and pilsner), and I've got cats to keep the stuff safe from mice.  Specialty grains are stored in freezer bags, but not in the freezer. I'll buy wheat and crystal in 10# bags, the rest by the pound. This is all whole grain. I wouldn't try that with anything crushed.  The day before I brew is when I do my grind, and I taste everything before it goes into the mill.  So far so good.

Though I must say that those bags are unwieldy.  I might switch to buckets or totes.  Or not. Probably not. I'm too lazy and cheap.

« Last Edit: September 22, 2013, 05:58:06 PM by Maine Homebrewer »
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Offline Rep

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Re: storing grain
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2013, 05:59:53 PM »
Tired of having to order grain all the time.  And now you want to order it in bulk.

You just moved your hobby to another plane.  IE, when some people move to full boil batches they notice a difference, when some decide to be more precise with their fermentation temperature control it moves them to a different level. 

Purchasing ingredients in bulk is very similar.  Not only will it be more convenient for you to brew, you will be able to do so whenever you want as you will have what you need on hand and ready.

Now, to answer your question.  I purchase a roll of 55 gallon leaf bags from my local Fleet Farm or Home Depot.  I then use them as a liner in a plastic tub.  You can purchase them anywhere way cheap.  My bag of grain goes into a leaf bag which goes into a plastic tub and is stored in a dry basement.

That's it.  Done.

Now, if you want to know the power of bulk purchasing read on.

This is what I do.

I have determined four beers that I want to have on hand.  These are my house beers.  I have figured out that I want to brew each at least two times a year.

From there it is easy to know how much base grain I need for each 15 gallon batch.  I also know what specialty grains I need for each style.  I now calculate how many pounds of base grain and, how many pounds of specialty grain I need to brew my house brands at capacity.

I belong to a local home brew club.  As such I get a 10% discount at Midwest Brewery, Northern Brewery, and my two local supply shops, Wind River and Beverage Artisan. 

Once a year, our club will purchase grain in bulk.  We are a small club but we are able to pick up two pallets of grain based on what we brew.  I purchased the base grain I need for the year at $ .62 a pound.  I also bought ten pounds of DME for $ 1.84 a pound to make yeast starters.

This time of the year is a good time to purchase your hops.  I happen to be in charge of the twice a year hop purchases for my club.  I certainly do not mind having Cascade on hand at $ .62 an Oz. 

I just brewed an Octoberfest at 15 gallons.  Unfortunately I must still purchase my water, but I do harvest my yeast.  Total cost of that batch including fuel and yeast starter came to $63.02.

Good decision on purchasing more than you need.

BTW - It took me years to develop the capacity, gathering the storage items on a budget, developing the brewery rotation, long term planning and the coordination among my friends in the brew club.  It's a hobby.  Enjoy.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2013, 06:04:03 PM by Rep »

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: storing grain
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2013, 06:22:23 PM »
Quote
This time of the year is a good time to purchase your hops.

Oh yeah. I get my hops by the pound from hops direct dot com.  They are in freezer bags in the freezer.  A pound for under twenty bucks beats a few bucks an ounce.  Though you are committed to that variety being that you've got sixteen ounces of the stuff. It helps to have friends to horse-trade with. Or a club that isn't an inconvenient distance away.
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Offline Rep

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Re: storing grain
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2013, 08:14:23 PM »
Quote
This time of the year is a good time to purchase your hops.

Oh yeah. I get my hops by the pound from hops direct dot com.  They are in freezer bags in the freezer.  A pound for under twenty bucks beats a few bucks an ounce.  Though you are committed to that variety being that you've got sixteen ounces of the stuff. It helps to have friends to horse-trade with. Or a club that isn't an inconvenient distance away.

Craigslist being our friend, a vacuum sealer is easy to obtain.

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: storing grain
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2013, 09:03:04 PM »
I belong to a local home brew club.  As such I get a 10% discount at Midwest Brewery, Northern Brewery, and my two local supply shops, Wind River and Beverage Artisan. 

I also bought ten pounds of DME for $ 1.84 a pound to make yeast starters.

Local, yea, I am with you.   Are you saying Midwest and NB give a 10% discount to any local club members??   How do you get that discount?

And where did you get DME at less than half of retail?   that's cheap!

Offline SharpsRifle

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Re: storing grain
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2013, 10:47:37 PM »
Tired of having to order grain all the time.  And now you want to order it in bulk.

You just moved your hobby to another plane.  IE, when some people move to full boil batches they notice a difference, when some decide to be more precise with their fermentation temperature control it moves them to a different level. 

It's an easy obvious step for me.
I live fairly rural and it's 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours to a brew store for me.
They NEVER have squat in stock, despite the fact that one of them wants to be a big time online dealer.
In late spring I wanted to brew a Hefe.   I went to three brew stores, all hours from my house and all different days after work, I got one that tried to sell me some sort of rice extract as a substitute for rice hulls.  I told them that I they don't know how to brew, don't try to pull one over on customers by selling them some random thing that isn't what they need.
I got another that said they were out of wheat because it's popular this time of year.  I suggested that since it has a heck of a shelf life, maybe they should order more since it seems to be in demand.

Fast forward and Friday evening I called to a store three hours away to make sure they have the specific mead yeast I want.  They assure me that they have it and I can get it the next day.
I show up and no white labs but they have other stuff to they can sell me.   I explain that I didn't come three hours to get whatever they had on hand.
I'm simply done with these stores.   

That plus it's nice to have whatever I want on hand and make it when I want.   
I will still have to order yeast but I simply need to keep supplies of everything that stores well on hand.

As for the bags for storage, my only issue with that is how nice the totes stack and store. 
I'm a single dad so without a wife around I'm able to use a room in my house for the bar, fermenting room, brewing equipment storage, and since it has a nice glass door going out onto the concrete patio it is a great place to brew!
I want to be able to store the grain near the action but more neatly than a bunch of bags on the floor.
I've got a seal-a-meal for hops and for especially aromatic malts such as peated malt.  For things like peated malt I figure I can make a bunch of 4 oz bags.  Hops may even get broke down to the exact amount of the additions for specific beers. 
A little more work at the front side but one less thing to worry about on brew day. ( although I'm sure I'll check the weight on brew day)
 
I like beer
It makes me a jolly good fellow
I like beer
it helps me unwind and some times it makes me feel mellow
I like beer
whiskeys too rough, champagne costs too much and vodka puts my mouth in gear

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: storing grain
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2013, 12:10:06 AM »
I buy 50# bags of base malt.  I have a 15"x17"x24" high plastic bin with a flip top lid and a rubber seal on the lid.  I use it for uncrushed base malt.  I put a trash can liner in it (probably not necessary) and twist tie it shut after squeezing most of the air out of it.  I grind my base grain on a corona mill as I need it.  I have rubber made containers in smaller sizes for specialty grains.

I'm one of the lucky ones with a great homebrew store close by, with great prices and lots of stock.  I've never had them be out of stock on anything I need.  Yet, I still only purchase the specialty grains that I'm going to use up in 3 months or so.  I only have the store crush what I'm going to use in the next three weeks.  Everything else I crush myself.

Crushed grain I try to use up in three weeks time.  Uncrushed seems to keep much longer (6+ months).  I almost always use up my grains within 3 months of purchase.

Hops I try to purchase as needed.  However, I will purchase fuggles in 1 pound bags and divide into seal-a-meal 1 ounce pouches.  I make a lot of English beers, so I use a lot of fuggles.  I've went through 2 pounds of fuggles since March!

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Offline Rep

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Re: storing grain
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2013, 08:04:56 AM »
I belong to a local home brew club.  As such I get a 10% discount at Midwest Brewery, Northern Brewery, and my two local supply shops, Wind River and Beverage Artisan. 

I also bought ten pounds of DME for $ 1.84 a pound to make yeast starters.

Local, yea, I am with you.   Are you saying Midwest and NB give a 10% discount to any local club members??   How do you get that discount?

And where did you get DME at less than half of retail?   that's cheap!

I personally do not shop at Midwest so I have not asked for the discount but the club did make arrangements years ago.  Both Wind River and Northern give me that discount when I stop in at their stores.  Artisan Beverage is a small shop and I do not ask for the discount.

That DME was added to the club's grain purchase.  I bought ten lbs and wish I had done more.  Where are you located Malt?

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: storing grain
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2013, 08:18:22 AM »
Ah, they are your local store.   We have a large store near Charlotte, but I'm on the opposite side of town, so it's an hour and 60-mile-long round-trip.   Two gallons of gas later and I'm nearly at the typical shipping charge, and I can shop from my computer.    I really miss the flat-rate $8 shipping that most online stores had not too long ago. 

Offline Rep

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Re: storing grain
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2013, 12:38:21 PM »
Ah, they are your local store.   We have a large store near Charlotte, but I'm on the opposite side of town, so it's an hour and 60-mile-long round-trip.   Two gallons of gas later and I'm nearly at the typical shipping charge, and I can shop from my computer.    I really miss the flat-rate $8 shipping that most online stores had not too long ago.

Yes, I am very fortunate.  I have a whole bunch of stores.  Whenever I travel I  pass close to one or the other.  A special trip would be ten miles to Wind River.

Offline SharpsRifle

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Re: storing grain
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2013, 08:13:49 PM »
Yes, I am very fortunate.  I have a whole bunch of stores.  Whenever I travel I  pass close to one or the other.  A special trip would be ten miles to Wind River.

You are lucky.   I need to plan a trip to a brew store as what my Saturday is.
If I had stores around like you, I wouldn't bother with much surplus of brew supplies around the house.
I like beer
It makes me a jolly good fellow
I like beer
it helps me unwind and some times it makes me feel mellow
I like beer
whiskeys too rough, champagne costs too much and vodka puts my mouth in gear

Offline gevans

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Re: storing grain
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2013, 06:35:47 AM »
I have been purchasing in bulk for over a year now, not only is it convenient, it is much, much cheaper - like .30 to .50 a pound.  I am not going to trust my grains to bags and things that mice and bugs can get into.  I buy Vittle Vaults for the big bag stuff and purchase 'Snap-Ware' for the 10 lb amounts.  I have not tried them yet, but Gamma Seal makes nice lids for $10 you can put on 5 gallon pails and turn them into Vittle Vaults.  My last Vittle Vault cost me $42 shipped, Snap Ware I have found on sale locally at Meijer for $10 for two.  There are cheaper alternatives until you lose a bag of grain IMO.

Offline merfizle

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Re: storing grain
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2013, 07:05:54 AM »
I use a typical home depot bucket along with those universal gamma lids.  I label with masking tape and the buckets stack nicely. 

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