Storing Milled Grain

Post #1 made 3 years ago
Hi

I'm on my 3rd mini-BIAB and for each one I've been ordering the exact grain bill, having it milled and posted to me.
The issue with this is that the postage is costing as much as the grain.

I don't want to spend $250 on a grain mill and buy and store unmilled grain so I'd like to buy a certain number of milled grain bills and go and make the trip to pick it up and then have them ready to go for the next X brews.

My question therefore is:
- How long can you store milled grain for?
- What happens if you store it for longer? Is there really a limit, would there be a noticeable difference?
- What is the best way/place to store it? The grain currently comes in a plastic sealed bag so assume just stick it in a cool, dark place?

Thanks

Post #2 made 3 years ago
Chesl73, once the Grain is Milled, it will Oxidize and lose Flavor.

BUT, If you can put the Grains in Sealable (ziplock) Bags or Better 'Vacuum sealed' bags.

Then the Grains will not dry out or continue to Oxidize.

They should last 3 to 6 months.

For better storage, you can Freeze the sealed bags, for up to a Year, or possible more.

This process works very well for Hops too.
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Post #3 made 3 years ago
I can't offer much advice in the way of storing milled grain as I buy unmilled grain in bulk. I preserve it in air-tight containers (really large zipper-lock type plastic bags) stored in large plastic bins. For what it's worth, you don't have to spend a lot of money on a mill, this one does just fine and you should be able to find one at a local brew shop for a very reasonable price: http://www.amazon.com/Weston-Cereal-and ... orona+mill Armed with your own mill you can then buy grain in bulk and not worry so much about storage issues (I store grain for a year or longer without an appreciable loss of quality).

I started with one of these bargain mills and then spent a bunch of money on a fancy roller mill only to discover that the expensive mill did not make better beer. As with all things BIAB, K.I.S.S.

I am sure others here with experience storing milled grain will offer their advice soon, stay tuned......

---Todd
WWBBD?
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Post #4 made 3 years ago
Personally, I don't think you should buy pre-milled grains although a few others have disagreed with me on this and do buy and store them.

I think if you are doing mini-BIAB's and your home brew shop is prepared to grind such low quantities, look at the postage as a labour cost that you are saving. I'm amazed at the lengths some home brew shops go to for us brewers. There is basically no profit in crushing and packaging 2.5kgs of grain.

I think look at the next month and plan those home brews if you can (I always forget something!) and then do a monthly order. The postage will be less, you'll be forced to think and won't have to do the drive which will cost money in petrol.

I don't think it is wise to buy a lot of grain, crushed or not, early in any one's brewing career. I don't think I am that stupid a brewer but I have often thrown out grain as I became uninterested in a style, had unexpected time demands etc and then the grain just got old.

If you are really tight on money, find out what parcel sizes your supplier uses. I'm guessing that you are using Gain and Grape. Ring them and see if they are using 3kg or 5kg Aust Post bags etc and plan your order accordingly.

Make sense?
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Post #5 made 3 years ago
Chesl73,
I am in a similar predicament as yourself. My experience has been, and I base this as being on both sides of the fence, both consuming and storing milled grain and processing orders for customers.
As PP has suggested, I think, and my experience has been, milled and vac sealed grain recipes, such as from MHB and his successor in Newcastle, Steve, Brewman. Keep for up to 6 months.
Find out what freight process your supplier uses and the cost to maximum weight, size optimum is.
For example, fast way send locally( from port Macquarie to Kiama) up to 25kg for about $5 to $10.
So it make sense to order 4 or 5, 4 to 5 kg brews, which last me about 2 to 3 months, well inside the "safe" storage period for well packaged milled grain. This makes the freight to brew ratio minimal.
Go to it is my advice
Lemon
    • SVA Brewer With Over 100 Brews From Australia

Post #6 made 3 years ago
PistolPatch wrote:
If you are really tight on money, find out what parcel sizes your supplier uses. I'm guessing that you are using Gain and Grape. Ring them and see if they are using 3kg or 5kg Aust Post bags etc and plan your order accordingly.

Make sense?
Thanks Lemon and PP, Grain and grape per Kg grain pricing appears to me to be over priced. In my case this doesn't equate to a lot of money but if I can buy it somewhere else a dollar per Kg cheaper then I will do. That's just me, tight arse! I've so far been going to national home brew up in QLD and having them post it.

I'll do as suggested I think, i.e., I'll have a chat with the shop and see the optimum order weights for a given postage. As PP guessed, I'm only brewing about 9L VIF (note PP I'm even using the right terminology ;) ) as I want to learn more by doing smaller, frequent batches. So my grain bill is around 2.1Kg or so. I'm looking at doing a batch every 3 weeks so I'll look to pre order 3 batches I think and see what postage I can get for that.

Cheers

Edit - I've just looked at some initial prices in grain and grape and they are very expensive.
Briess pale ale malt for example is 7 AUD per Kg whereas on national brew is only 4.25 a Kg. That is a massive difference
Last edited by chesl73 on 30 Nov 2015, 10:06, edited 1 time in total.

Post #7 made 3 years ago
[quote="you don't have to spend a lot of money on a mill, this one does just fine and you should be able to find one at a local brew shop for a very reasonable price: http://www.amazon.com/Weston-Cereal-and ... orona+mill Armed with your own mill you can then buy grain in bulk and not worry so much about storage issues (I store grain for a year or longer without an appreciable loss of quality).

I have one I am using at the moment that's hooked up to a portable drill, I find it great for BIAB and I love it.
I live over a 100kms from the big metropolitan suppliers and was finding the freight getting stuff here horrendous, now when I go to Melbourne I just ring through my bulk grain order (un-milled) and pick it up on my way out, saves heaps.
I used to spill more than I drink these days!

Post #8 made 3 years ago
alanem wrote:[quote="you don't have to spend a lot of money on a mill, this one does just fine and you should be able to find one at a local brew shop for a very reasonable price: http://www.amazon.com/Weston-Cereal-and" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... orona+mill Armed with your own mill you can then buy grain in bulk and not worry so much about storage issues (I store grain for a year or longer without an appreciable loss of quality).

I have one I am using at the moment that's hooked up to a portable drill, I find it great for BIAB and I love it.
I live over a 100kms from the big metropolitan suppliers and was finding the freight getting stuff here horrendous, now when I go to Melbourne I just ring through my bulk grain order (un-milled) and pick it up on my way out, saves heaps.
Yes, I've thought about a grain mill. Any recommendations on a reasonably priced one that will do the job (that I can get in here in Victoria/Melbourne?).
Last edited by chesl73 on 30 Nov 2015, 19:03, edited 1 time in total.

Post #10 made 3 years ago
Yes, I've thought about a grain mill. Any recommendations on a reasonably priced one that will do the job (that I can get in here in Victoria/Melbourne?).[/quote]

I got mine off ebay, I'm not sure who the supplier was but I think it cost me about 70 bucks, but back then roller mills were a lot more expensive than they are now.
really, for a few dollars more I would seriously look at the 2 roller as suggested by bundy considering what you save in grain freight will pay for the mill in no time.
Last edited by alanem on 02 Dec 2015, 05:28, edited 1 time in total.
I used to spill more than I drink these days!

Post #12 made 3 years ago
chesl73 wrote: My question therefore is:
- How long can you store milled grain for?
- What happens if you store it for longer? Is there really a limit, would there be a noticeable difference?
- What is the best way/place to store it? The grain currently comes in a plastic sealed bag so assume just stick it in a cool, dark place?

Thanks
I just buy it milled, I'm just charged $1 for the milling. Money is way too tight to mention, why I started home brewing in the first place. When I can afford a mill at home, I will, but my practice is...

Buy 5 brews worth of goodies. Why 5? Brews are around 5kg of grain for a 19litre keg and bags of grain are 25kg, grain is cheaper at bulk levels (plus petrol difference for less trips etc). I don't use overcomplicated recipes, one main grain and then some speciality be it torrified wheat for head or crystal malt etc.

On purchase, I brew 1 of the 5 lots. The rest goes into a big plastic bucket that is MOUSEPROOF and kept in a dark room of the house.

I'm finishing a 19L keg every 10 days to 2 weeks, so I have milled grain stored for up to 2 months. Maybe it's a diminishing returns thing where I don't notice a progressive deteriation in batches, but I don't notice any difference going to the new lot of 25kg and a new brew. Perfect world, yep I'd be milling on demand.

I don't smoke, my tastebuds are good - I worked retailing at a pretty exclusive fromagerie (it was terrible, had to know the stock, therefore had to keep "Tasting") and had a 100% identification on a blind test of 10 wines at one competition. I don't think it is that big of an issue for 2-3 months of storage provided that rodents/insects don't get into it (or my beagle - who loves to eat malted grain) and presumbably that it doesn't get wet which would lead to big issues.

I'll use a cooking analogy. I use about 25g or 1oz worth of flour for a sauce, be it white sauce (béchamel) or whatever, the flour even when just bought might be days from being milled or months and sitting on a pallet at 0 degrees or 40 degrees. Out of a 1kg bag of flour, it takes a few months for most households to go through 1kg of flour unless they are using sizable quantities in bread etc, there isn't that much of a degradation made in month 1 vs month 2 or 3 (at least, a noticeable one in a carbonara or lasagne that you would attribute to the flour) - I've never heard the critics ever have a go at anyone for using old flour.

I'm not saying that there is no difference, perfect world you would mill on demand.

Addendum. I don't keep brewing records anymore, so there is no objectivity in this in that, I can't compare og and fg of brews over time. But beer to me is about the product and not the numbers. So in short, milled grain can be happily stored for a few months, any deterioration is miniscule and scarecely observable as the malt (while hugely important) comes 3rd in importance on the palate to hops and the effect of yeast (strain, temperature used and consequences such as esters, alcohol readings etc) - so a few degrees of diminished grain goodness might be notable by itself but is only a fraction of a fraction of the overall beer.
Last edited by DanIAm on 22 Dec 2015, 00:27, edited 1 time in total.

Storing Milled Grain

Post #13 made 3 years ago
It would also depend on how the grain was packaged. If it was vacuum sealed it would stay fresher for longer than if not.

Not sure the flour analogy is the best example as grain is the primary ingredient in beer even if it only ranks third in importance of flavour.

When I buy grain in bulk it works out less than $2 per kilo and a hand mill cost about $100. Most places I have seen than sell milled grain it is more like double that price. Even if it isn't quite double it would take less than 6 months to be well ahead.

The downside is ending up with about 25 different kinds of grain in the shed!

The beauty of brewing is there are dozens of different ways to make good beer and everyone can find a process that suits them.

Post #14 made 3 years ago
As Contrarian, said The Vacuum seal grains last Much Longer.

I have learned that Pale Grains from many Malters, are used about 2 Kg(5 pounds)/Batch, So I bought a few 22Kg/50# bags of Pale grains and Baged about 20 Vacuum Bags of the Pale Grains, per Bag, and used them in about a year.

I did not see any Difference, batch to batch, over that time.

Check http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/ho ... en/1090768 for ideas.

JMHO FWIW.
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Post #15 made 3 years ago
Contrarian wrote:It would also depend on how the grain was packaged. If it was vacuum sealed it would stay fresher for longer than if not.

Not sure the flour analogy is the best example as grain is the primary ingredient in beer even if it only ranks third in importance of flavour.

When I buy grain in bulk it works out less than $2 per kilo and a hand mill cost about $100. Most places I have seen than sell milled grain it is more like double that price. Even if it isn't quite double it would take less than 6 months to be well ahead.

The downside is ending up with about 25 different kinds of grain in the shed!

The beauty of brewing is there are dozens of different ways to make good beer and everyone can find a process that suits them.
I get charged $1 for milling a whole 25kg bag. A different brew shop and a different price and it would absolutely change the economics.

I'll substitute sauce for bread, where the grain is more significant than in beer (which is watered down grain), how often have you ever speculated on how long it's been since it came from the flour mill (1 week, 3 months?), I bet never, it is other factors that are of interest (how long since baked, whole grain or bleached, wheat/oat etc).

I haven't done any science for years, but I would suspect that the process of kilning malted grain, while done to stop the malting process and retard yeast/bacterial action by driving out the water, it will be substantively oxidising the malt.
Last edited by DanIAm on 22 Dec 2015, 05:52, edited 1 time in total.

Post #16 made 3 years ago
Dan, the Vacuum packing device will, lower the Water vapor in the Grains as it is Vacuumed.

If you can freeze the Grains, the Moisture content (MC), will be Locked and the Cold will stop any Fungus, Yeast, Virus, Bacteria from growing.

It also works very well for Flour, and if the bread, is frozen BEFORE it is Baked, it last for Months.

Check the Expiration of those Tubes of Frozen Dinner biscuits, and Croissants.
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Storing Milled Grain

Post #18 made 3 years ago
Bread is a much better analogy and there doesn't seem to be a massive degradation over time.

In terms of cost I was referring more to the difference between purchasing grain through a bulk but rather than the cost of milling. In my experience there is a significant difference in the sack price but if you don't have a local group that buy in bulk together than that won't help you much.

Post #19 made 3 years ago
Buying In Bulk saves $$$$$.

Measuring a standard amount into a vacuum Bag, and sealing it and Freezing it, can help brew Beer for 6 or More Months.

BTDT, YMMV
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