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Grain Storage

After a few years of working kitted recipes, I’ve been going out on my own more-and-more, but still buying grain by the pound from our host. I think I’ve gotten to the point where I can be a bit smarter about my purchases and buy ingredients in more bulk quanitities. - at least base malts, and possibly hops.

So what’s the best way to store quantities unmilled grains? And how long do they keep?

Finally I have a pretty dry basement, but ants and spiders have been spotted. Is it worth considering getting one of those pet food storage containers for bulk grain? like this.
http://www.petsmart.com/dog/bowls-feeders/vittle-vault-pet-food-container-zid36-6702/cat-36-catid-100010?var_id=36-6702&_t=pfm%3Dcategory
or what do you use?

I use a dog food bin. Mine looks like a tall kitchen garbage can but has a gasketed lid. I forgot where I got it as it was many years ago. I use this for my two-row or Maris Otter. I wish I had two or three of them. It fits a 55-pound sack. I actually keep the grains in the original sack for extra protection then place the entire sack into the bin and keep the top rolled up inside in addition to putting the lid on. Kept in a cool basement or the like, the grains can keep pretty fresh for at least a year if not two.

My specialty malts, I double-bag and keep them on the side for easy access. I have some specialty malts that are a few years old. If they go stale I throw them out. They really shouldn’t last more than a year stored like this, but if they still taste halfway decent, I keep them anyway. At some point I really need to brew a “kitchen sink” beer to use some up, as I’ve got a few ounces of like 25 different kinds of malt. Maybe someday I’ll get smarter and just start buying them by the half pound and design recipes to use them by the half pound so that I won’t have leftovers so often.

Ants and spiders won’t hurt anything. But mice will. And my dog on occasion has busted open a box and eaten some grain. Dang mammals.

my brewing partner has a few of these, which are nice (easy-grip screw-on/off lid, stackable), but they don’t hold a full sack.

http://www.chewy.com/dog/gamma2-vittles ... 7Aod1jQAwQ

[quote=“Pietro”]my brewing partner has a few of these, which are nice (easy-grip screw-on/off lid, stackable), but they don’t hold a full sack.

http://www.chewy.com/dog/gamma2-vittles ... 7Aod1jQAwQ[/quote]

They make the vittles vaults in 50 pound sizes as well, of which I have one for my 2 row. I have a 50 pound sack of 2 row on the way, so we’ll see if it actually fits. In addition, I have several five gallon buckets that are fitted with the same lids the vittles vaults use. I store smaller amounts of base malts and all my specialty grains in them. They’re stackable and they work well.

Edit: I just checked online. They make the vittles vaults in 80 pound sizes as well…

+1 on the vittle vault. I have 2 of them. The 50 pound one will hold a full 55 lb sack of grain.

http://www.amazon.com/Vittles-Vault-50- ... ttle+vault

It would seem that it would be far cheaper to get a few ale pails. They have snap on lids and if you get the tops that are not yet drilled out it should work fine. Or, you could get some home depot 5 gallon pails with lid for even cheaper I think. I think the tops of those are snap on seal as well. Should keep out all the critters and be somewhat air tight as well.

Yeah, I think it just depends on the individual situation. The nice thing about the vittles vaults is, they’re square, so if you have two or three they fit together nicely and take up a lot less space than round containers holding the same volume do. And, they’re sized to hold a greater volume than standard buckets. Like I said earlier, I use a combination of vittles vaults and five gallon buckets, but I hate fighting the standard lids, so I replaced them with the threaded lids. It’s much nicer to simply twist a lid off rather than spending time (and fingernails) prying the standard ones off.

MAny people buy containers which kind of defeats the purpose of buying bulk grain (to save money). I use 5-7 gallon buckets with lids (old fermenters) or the Utz pretzel containers. They work great and keep all the critters and humidity out. No picture readily available but I have enough to hold about 600 pounds of grain.

Maybe using buckets is more cost effective. I don’t know. I don’t know how many buckets it takes to hold 50-55 lbs of grain. One vittle vault holds that much.

Savings on the first sack of grain, vs by the pound at LHBS, more than compensates for the cost of the container.

The key is having something that keeps out mice, insects and humidity. If you do that, the grains will keep indefinitely.

I use old 6 gallon grape juice buckets (the ones that they sell grape juice to wine makers in). Gasketed airtight lids. Each will hold about 30 - 40 lbs of grain, depending on which grain. For specialty malts, I plastic bag them and keep all the bags in one of my buckets.

I store my grain in a plastic tub with a DampRid pack. Lesson learned the hard way: read the label so you do NOT get the SCENTED stuff!

[quote=“MullerBrau”]MAny people buy containers which kind of defeats the purpose of buying bulk grain (to save money). I use 5-7 gallon buckets with lids (old fermenters) or the Utz pretzel containers. They work great and keep all the critters and humidity out. No picture readily available but I have enough to hold about 600 pounds of grain.[/quote]Found the picture of my grain.

I use five gallon buckets with gamma seal lids that I bought at Menards. The lids have a full gasket and seal tight. A fifty pound sack will just about fit. I don’t think the standard lids will keep air out well enough for long term storage.

[quote=“BrewingRover”]I use five gallon buckets with gamma seal lids that I bought at Menards. The lids have a full gasket and seal tight. A fifty pound sack will just about fit. I don’t think the standard lids will keep air out well enough for long term storage.[/quote]I think you meant that a 50 pound sack will fit in two 5-gallon buckets. I sometimes use them when I buy in bulk and they hold 25# each.

:oops: Right, you need two buckets for a sack.

I use home depot buckets. 2 per sack. I have had grain for over a year in them with no off flavors or aromas. At 2 years, the grain had developed a very musty basement smell – like the rest of my basement. I did make beer with it, and the beer came out fine, even when I started with musty smelling grain. Note, I said tasted fine, not great. Fortunately, life lets me brew more often now, so I don’t worry about the grain getting musty.

Steel trash can lined with contractor grade trash bags holds roughly 2.5 sacks of grain (mice can’t chew through steel as well as they can a five gallon bucket). I also have rubbermaid totes that hold specialty grains in ziplock bags.

I live in a very arid place so humidity spoilage has never been a problem for me.

Great idea, which I started to do. :cheers:

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