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Bulk ordering woes

I just got “access” to a little-known bulk ordering co-op recently, and I visited the operation about a week ago. Although the mailing list is very impressive and the prices, even more, the set-up, communication, and ordering are cumbersome, at best… So, in my quest to save some money, I pondered if the hassle of ordering from this local fella would actually be worth it. The biggest savings would come from bulk grain. I can get a 55# bag for 65-cents a pound. So, my questions to you are - buying that much grain had better have multiple uses, so what kind would you order? A 2-row or 6-row, perhaps? --AND-- How would I store the remainder? I was thinking I could freeze it, but how long would it last?

Thanks for any help!

Depends on what you want to use to brew. Basic 2row, MO, Pale Malt, Pilsner, wheat…

Store unopened bags in a cool, dry place. The grain will be fine for a year or more.

Check with your local Asian resturants. They probably get soy sause in 5g pails. I have a couple that have 0 odor in them. May have to pay $1-2. Donut shops may also have pails that jelly filling came in.

Check with the Co-Op to see if you can get on a “split bag” list to pick up some Crystal, chocolate and other speciality grains. Get these in 5-10lb amounts depending on how much your are brewing.

I found 2g pails at the regional gas station, Casey’s General Store, that had frosting in them. They fit 10lb nicely. Free.

I buy my base malts in bulk because I use large quantities of them all the time. As for storing them, the idea is to keep them dry. So airtight containers are best. You can use any dry food storage containers, or plastic Homer buckets that you can get from any hardware store. Again the most important thing when storing grain is to keep it dry. Where are you planning on storing your grain? If it is in a garage, you will have to worry about mice they love grain.

I store my grain in metal trash cans in the garage-it’s cool and dry, and the cans keep mice out. The grain will last at least a year as long as it is dry and fairly cool (the garage never gets above 70F in the summer, and gets down in the 35-45F range in the winter. I have found that having the grain on hand is a good motivation to brew more frequently, and so far have not had a bag for more than 9 months or so. I’m trying to convince a friend to go in on some grain with me so I can have more variety on hand and make it worthwhile to drive a couple of hours to buy bulk grain.

Good information; thanks for the replies. Storing - since my assumption - freezing - was incorrect, the idea of storing it in the garage in a metal trashcan is enticing. Meine fraulein already expresses her disgust with how the basement looks; adding trashcans full of grain might likely force my brewing equipment AND ME to find a new storage location!!

I store mine in the bag inside a Rubbermaid 32 gallon trash can iin my basement, haven’t had any issues yet with moisture. I keep my specialty grain in smaller bags there as well.

I use home depot orange buckets with the gasketed lid.

I use a type of airtight pet food container called a “Vittles Vault.” Mine are designed for 35 lbs of pet food, but they fit 50 lbs of malt fine. When I have had foreign 25 kg (55 lbs) sacks, the vittles vaults were slightly too small for the full bags.

Additionally, I ferment in a much larger vittles vault and it works great for 10-12 gallon batches.

+1 to orange home depot buckets w/lid. Bucket and lid together cost somewhere around $3. And the lid has a really tight seal. I always buy my base malts in bulk now. And getting in on group buys is a great money saver. I’m getting 2-Row, Pilsner, Wheat and sometimes Vienna and Pale Malt anywhere from 50¢ - 60¢ per pound. If the grain is kept dry (again, Homer buckets are great) it will last a while. At least a year if not more.

Having bulk grain on hand is definitely a money saver. At a minimum a bag of pils and a bag of 2-row will help you brew a lot of styles. I also keep pale ale malt, Vienna, Munich, and malted and unmalted wheat. I even bought a sack of 40L crystal this last time. I keep the sacks in rubbermaid tote containers. I’ve had some sacks for a year and they are not stale, keep the sack opening wrapped over and set something on it to hold it down. I like the totes because they hold one sack and thats about all I care to wrassle around.

I wouldn’t freeze because every time you take the malt out it will cause condensation and this will make the grain go stale faster than a cool, dry environment.

I like having 2-row (for IPAs), a british malt like Marris Otter or Golden Promise for ESBs stouts and porters, and Pils malt for lagers and belgian ales.

I buy all my main malts in bulk. (2-row, MO, Vienna, Munich and Pilsner). I store them in trash compactor bags. They’re just the right size, sturdy, cheap and they adjust to the contents. Our basement stays cool & dry and I’ve used up to 2 year old grain with the great results. The other grains are stored in frosting buckets from the walmart bakery. They sell them for a buck here. They need a good cleaning and do smell like frosting for a while but it goes away and the aroma has never transferred to the grains. Cheers, and happy brewing.

I’ll have to check out the trash compactor bags, good idea.

Vanilla frosting flavored malt, could be a beautiful thing.

I just got a sack of 2 row about 20 lbs of various crystal,aromatic etc and about 2lbs of hops. I have a seal a meal, so I weighed out the 2 row into 5 lb bags and the crystal ,specialty grains and hops I weighed out into batch size weights and sealed those as well. I store my grains in a big rubbermaid container and my hops in the freezer in ny basement.

I like the seal-a-meal idea, in fact I have the vacuum type, but the bags are expensive.

[quote=“tom sawyer”]Having bulk grain on hand is definitely a money saver. At a minimum a bag of pils and a bag of 2-row will help you brew a lot of styles. I also keep pale ale malt, Vienna, Munich, and malted and unmalted wheat. I even bought a sack of 40L crystal this last time. I keep the sacks in rubbermaid tote containers. I’ve had some sacks for a year and they are not stale, keep the sack opening wrapped over and set something on it to hold it down. I like the totes because they hold one sack and thats about all I care to wrassle around.

I wouldn’t freeze because every time you take the malt out it will cause condensation and this will make the grain go stale faster than a cool, dry environment.[/quote]
+1. I keep bulk grain in the original sack and store in a rubbermaid tote. I’ll always chew up a bit to make sure it tastes right before brewing.

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