All About The Grains We Use For Brewing


The grain is the backbone of every beer. It’s what gives beer much of its flavor and appearance. And it provides the simple sugars which will turn into alcohol after fermentation. Grain’s protein can take credit for head retention. Also, the cloudiness in a Hefeweizen and the silky mouth-feel of your favorite stout. Grain also provides starches that leave excess sweetness. It can add aromas ranging from bread-like, toffee, to chocolate or coffee.

Here are a few of the basic types of grains and the styles of beer they’re best for:
  • BARLEY: Several of the core stones of beer are barley. You can convert it by taking a bath in warm water into brew-ready malt. It allows the grain to produce enzymes. It turns proteins and starches into fermentable sugars. The yeast can feast later on for alcohol production. Top billing on the grain bill is typically reserved for barley malts when brewing due mainly to an evolutionary advantage. Barley contains husks. It keeps the mash (the grains steeped in boiling water) loose and permits drainage of the wort. Then the broth becomes beer. Brewers also mix the lead grain barley with a plethora of fermentable grain. It is a support for flavors such as rye and wheat.
  • UNMALTED BARLEY: This imparts beer a dark, grainy flavor, the main feature of styles like a dry stout. Unmalted barley tends to preserve the head, but it can make a beer hazier than smog from Los Angeles.
  • WHEAT: It helps to build a broader body and mouth-feel and a foamy head as thick and robust as Cool Whip. It is rich in proteins. A significant proportion of wheat will give rise to a smooth, hazy brew like a hefeweizen or a witbier. Wheat has a mild tartness to offer.
  • BASE MALTS: These make up the majority of the bill of grain. Workhorse or base malts are usually lighter in color. It includes much of the proteins, fermentable sugars, and minerals. Those are necessary to make beer.
  • SPECIALTY MALTS: These auxiliary grains are perfect for boosting, and enhancing core stability. It adds color, scent, and flavor, such as coffee, chocolate, biscuit, and caramel. Achieve exclusive flavor profiles and features, when specialty grains are a blend. Known varieties include crystal (or caramel) malts. It is explicitly stewed to create crystalline sugar structures within the hull of the grain. They are adding sugar to beer. Roasted malts, kilned or roasted at extreme temperatures to express other flavor features. A similar transition occurs in coffee beans. You can achieve robust flavors (stouts, schwarzbier, bocks, and black IPAs)  when you have roasted dark malts.
  • CORN: When used in beer, corn offers a smooth flavor, which is very neutral. To lighten the base of a beer, to reduce haziness, and to balance the flavor, you should use corn.
  • OATS: Used in conjunction with barley. Oats create a creamy, full-bodied brew that’s as smooth as satin. Stouts are a natural fit.
  • RICE: Rice provides little or no distinguishable flavor as a beer ingredient. Instead, the grain helps to develop snappy flavors and a dry flavor and lighten the body of a beer.
  • RYE: Working in crye can sharpen flavors. It adds complexity, crispness, and subtle spiciness as well as dry out a beer. You could also kiln grain to produce a caramel or chocolate flavor. It’s a major fault. Rye is hull-less. It can cause it to blend and transform into the concrete. By using large percentages of the grain during the brewing process.

How Long Can Grains Be Stored?

You’ve ever asked how long whole grains would last. Or how to store any of your grains? Or how do I prolong the shelf life or any of your grains? We’ll answer the question today.

The first thing to consider is, what are the cultural factors that affect the grain’s shelf life? In our experience, roughly in order of potential impact, they are:

  • Moisture
  • Heat
  • Air
  • Critters

All four are controllable by you.

Since each grain has a different fat content, its shelf life varies. In particular, observe specific thumb rules:

Whole Intact Grains.

The shelf life of intact whole grains (wheat berries or brown rice) is better than flours. It is because they are in sealed containers. Intact grains kept on a cold, dry pantry shelf for up to 6 months or in the freezer for up to one year.

Whole Grain Flours and Meals.

In general, whole grain flours spoil faster than intact grains. They have broken down their protective bran layer as the oxygen can enter all portions of the grain. If stored in sealed containers, most whole grain flours and meals are kept on a cold. Dry pantry shelf for 1 to 3 months or in the freezer for 2 to 6 months.

How long will your grains remain fresh at home will largely rely on? How much of their shelf life at the factory and the store has already been used up before you bring them home? It means that absolute assurances are not sure-fire.

Here are some guidelines culled from a variety of experts that may help:
BARLEYPantry: 6 months
Freezer: 1 year
Pantry: 2 months
Freezer: 4 months
BuckwheatPantry: 2 months
Freezer: 4 months
Pantry: 1 month
Freezer: 2 months
WheatPantry: 6 months
Freezer: 1 year
Pantry: 3 months
Freezer: 6 months
RyePantry: 6 months
Freezer: 1 year
Pantry: 3 months
Freezer: 6 months
CornPantry: 6 months
Freezer: 1 year
Pantry: 3 months
Freezer: 6 months
RicePantry: 6 months
Freezer: 1 year
Pantry: 3 months
Freezer: 6 months
OatsPantry: 4 months
Freezer: 8 months
Pantry: 2 months
Freezer: 4 months
MilletPantry: 2 months
Freezer: 4 months
Pantry: 1 month
Freezer: 2 months
Sorghum Pantry: 4 months
Freezer: 8 months
Pantry: 2 months
Freezer: 4 months

Buying Tips

It is also a good idea to label the date of every food item you keep when you add it to your food storage. It helps you to change your food stores, and use the oldest products first. Buy well packed, sealed grains. Check the expiration or “sell by” date and choose the newest one. When you buy whole grains from bulk bins, make sure that the retailer’s turnover is high. Make sure that only the freshest grains are accessible. Once you buy, you’ll want to know how long the grain has left on the store’s shelves. Grains will either look and smell sweet or no fragrance. When you sense a musty or musky scent, the grains have reached their limit and you should not get it.

How To Properly Store Grains: Long Term

Buying your grains from your local store is an easy task. But once we get them home, what’s the best and safest way to keep whole grains fresh and full of proper nutrients? When you are considering storing grain in your emergency food shop, you need to know the basics. Including the collection and proper storage of grains with maximum shelf life. Experts recommend avoiding brown rice and barley (pot and pearl). After 4 to 6 months, the manufacturing process will cause them to go wrong.

Step By Steps:
  • Prepare Grain Bins.
  • Store Quality Grain.
  • Dry To The Right Moisture Content.
  • Improve Aeration.
  • Control The Temperature.
  • Keep Cool In Summer.
  • Check Grain Frequently.
  • Watch For Insects.
Here Are The Tips & General Guidelines:
  • Soft Grains: These include oats (hulled, pearled, pulled), quinoa, and rye. These have an estimated shelf life of 8 years if properly stored. But there could be an extension to as long as 20 years.
  • Hard Grains:  Including, buckwheat, corn, flax, millet, Kamut, wheat (durum, hard red, hard white, light, and special bake), spelt, and triticale. These have an estimated shelf life of 10 to 12 years if properly stored.
However, there could be an extension of 30 years at best.
  • Choose containers of high quality. Whole grains are enemies against fire, air, and moisture. All other grains should keep in a sealed container with tight lids or clasps.
  • Rodents can be a problem too, as well as bugs and any animal that may touch it. To avoid future issues, sealing it with a container is the right insurance in my books.
The type of container is a matter of preference:
  • Buckets are one of the most basic and popular options out there and for a good reason. They are generally easy to source, well made, and cheap. Make sure to pair it with gamma seal lids to keep it airtight and secure.
  • Pet Food Style Containers for Grain Storage. Made from FDA compliant food-safe materials. Designed to be airtight and can have large capacities. Some also have convenient features like easy access lids, see-through sides and wheels.
Vittles Vault Airtight Stackable Pet Food Container 40 lb- 60 lb airtight containergenerally hold a 50 lb- 80 lb sack of grain
Buddeez 12-1/2-Gallon Roll-Away Pet Food Dispenser with Scoop: 12.5 gallon5 lbs = 1 gallon (estimated capacity of around 62.5 lbs of grain.)
Vittles Vault 50-Pound StackableFull 25 kg bag of grain can be stored in it. 
Snapware MODS Medium Rectangle Storage Container4 liter/17 cup Capacity estimates – holds about 5 lbs of grain or 4.57 lbs of DME
  • You can use glass, plastic, and aluminum canisters or zip-top plastic bags as long as they are airtight. The seal helps to maintain freshness. It will keep the grains from absorbing moisture, odors, and flavors from other foods.
  • Don’t overstock on hops. Hops do deteriorate over time. Hops, even in ideal conditions, vacuum sealed, in foil, away from light and in a deep freeze, will go stale in the end. You should store hops at -25 C and a regular rotation is a must.
  • You should dry yeast long term in the refrigerator. Likewise, for fresh yeasts such as those from Wyeast or Whitelabs. With an ideal temperature at around 2°C, but not frozen, until ready for use. While yeast stocks are at 1- 2°C. There will also be different yeasts for storage such as Distillers Yeast and Baker’s Yeast. If the yeast is not an option on your homebrew, you can learn something about Yeast-Free Beer.
  • Dry malt has very low moisture content. It tends to form hard lumps if packaged in high humidity or moist conditions. For this reason, if you buy a bulk pack of dry malt, it should not be opened until it’s used. The remaining unused part should then be in a packaging up. In an air-conditioned room at low temperature. With low humidity and sealed with light vacuuming of the bags.
  • Liquid malt extract can be refrigerated and stored for more extended periods more successfully. It contains about 20 % moisture (water content) compared to dry malt. You can buy liquid malts in containers from 1kg through 28kg. When you open the box, you should keep it in a fridge below 4°C to avoid issues with a wild yeast contamination. Somehow it is used to prolong the life of the malt in pristine condition.
  • You should protect malted barley from moisture/humidity. It should be kept at a temperature between 50 ° and 70 °F for any amount of malted barley, whether it’s a two-row 50-pound sack or a 1-pound crystal bag.

Bonus Tips!

  • The bulk grain storage has much more to do with the milling of your grain for all-grain brewers. If we’re storing bulk quantities of grain to save time and money, we’re going to need to mill that grain.
  • Grinding your grain offers these advantages:
  • It gives you power over your kernel smash. That is a significant efficiency factor. For your machinery and operation, a mill helps you to adjust.
  • You can save money by purchasing whole bags of grain through a mill.
  • Freshly milled grain = better-tasting beer.
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