First All-Grain

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by riptorn, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (107) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina

    I’ll likely have many questions about process, but the first is if there’s a potential for concern.

    The intent was to have already brewed this. Stuff happens, and it now looks like tomorrow is brewday.
    My 10lbs. Maris Otter was crushed by my LHBS about a month ago. It’s been sealed as well as practical since then. What, if any, adverse effects can I expect from having it crushed for a month before using?
    If the effects would be really detrimental, I can bite the bullet and get newly crushed tomorrow.
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,476) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Crushed grains oxidize much faster than non-crushed grains. I won't tell you to get new grains, but that's what I would do.

    If you decide to use the old grains, you can perhaps take comfort in the fact that Briess (IIRC) quotes something like a 6 month shelf life for crushed malt. Nonsense, IMO, but there it is.

    Personally, I crush my grains right before dough-in.
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  3. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (196) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    What VikeMan said is of course correct. It's a subjective question whether a month of staling would justify a $25(?) expenditure to avoid. Personally, I would be on the fence. What kind of beer is it going to be?
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  4. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (107) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina

    Tomorrow is my best day for at least two weeks and I'm leaning toward getting new grain crushed today if I can squeeze in the 1.5+ hour round trip (aka biting the bullet). It'll be one less thing to eliminate if I need to figure out any faux pas' after the fact.
    Fortunately the LHBS is open until 8PM.

    Maris Otter SMaSH
    Maris Otter - 10 lbs
    Styrian Golding Celeia 3-6% - 2 oz. @ FWH
    Styrian Golding Celeia 3-6% - 3 oz. when temp cools to about 175°, hopstand for 45 minutes
    SafAle S-04, 11.5g sachet
    Prime with 5oz. Dextrose

    Mash @152° 60 minutes

    Since this is my first all grain, it follows that I've not done a FWH. Reading suggests that although it provides more bittering than 60 min in the boil, it's a smoother bittering; whatever that means.
    BrewCipher calc'd it at 36 IBU's Modified Tinseth.
    I'd be just as comfortable using 1 or 2 oz. for 60 minutes and the remaining ounces at flameout or hopstand instead of the schedule above; whichever might bring out the floral and sweet spice that some descriptions associate with Celia.

    I take more comfort in advice from experienced homebrewers.
    #4 riptorn, Sep 10, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
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  5. Abk542

    Abk542 Initiate (69) Sep 26, 2015 Michigan

    IMO the brewing of a SMaSH is an opportunity to really understand the flavors that a certain grain or a certain hop impart on a beer. If your intentions are to really understand marris otter's flavor characteristics then I would be sure to use the freshest grain possible. However, if your goal is to simply make drinkable beer I think you'd be alright using it. make some notes of the flavors in the finished beer and maybe go sosfar as to rebrew it later if the beer is less than quafable. Cheers!
  6. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (107) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina

    The intent is the former rather than the I'll go with 'fresh is best' for this batch.
    Depending on scheduling, the older grain might or might not get used in the future with the understanding that it will continue to oxidize with time.....and then do a comparison.
  7. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (733) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    If stored properly...dry, dark, and sealed well, I wouldn't hesitate to use after a month...just don't let it happen again :flushed:
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  8. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (107) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina

    Sir, yes sir! (how about 6 weeks? :grimacing: )
    Order placed, picking up this evening.
  9. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (372) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Buy yourself a grain mill. It is an expense, but if your brew schedule is like mine (life gets in the way etc) than it is a worthwhile expense.

    As for 1 month old crushed grain? Yeah, go ahead and use it. Especially as this is your first all-grain and not your 31st. We aren't talking about a $7 yeast after all.

    There is a good chance your first all grain brew is going to run into at least a problem or two. Honestly, no matter how prepared you are there will be some speed bumps along the way. This one is probably not going to be perfection. So if the grain is not absolutely pristine, who could tell anyway?

    Buy a grain mill and stop being at the mercy of circumstances and the LHBS.

    #9 billandsuz, Sep 10, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
  10. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (372) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Well, Briess does have a good reason to encourage people to buy grain often, so I am not sure they are bull shitting. 6 months seems excessive though.

    Do you have any homebrew data showing grain performance vs age? Just curious.

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  11. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (107) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina

    Grain mill was already on the wishlist.
    Order is probably milled by now and will be in hand this evening, but I won't be tossing the month-old stuff, yet.
    I'm an optimistic realist and understand things won't go entirely as expected. If there are issues that would have surfaced because of month-old it seemed best to get new, proactively striking that from the list of "wha' happened".
  12. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (196) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    Just FYI, if you end up with some malt you don't want to use for a batch, you can always use it to make wort to use in yeast starters. Bear in mind that you need to keep that wort refrigerated or (ideally) frozen unless you properly can it.
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  13. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,476) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    By age I assume you mean length of time after crushing before use. I don't have quantitative data. But I have tasted freshly crushed vs weeks and months old crushed and the older crushes didn't taste as fresh. I don't think that should really be surprise to anyone who thinks about it. Crushing exposes more of the product to oxidation. And oxidation is also a function of time. That's just chemistry. I'm trying to think of any food ingredient (or food product for that matter) that doesn't stale faster after being broken into smaller pieces, but I'm drawing a blank. For example, would anyone, given a choice, grind coffee beans a month before brewing coffee?
  14. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,762) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    I would brew with it. I have brewed with grains that were crushed 6 months prior and liked the results. If I brewed side by side with fresher grains, I might have noticed a difference. You might not make the best beer you can with these grains, but they won't prevent you from making good beer. I have never heard anyone claim to have made bad beer because their grains had been crushed to far in advance of brew day.
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  15. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (107) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina

    Back from the beer parts store with 10 more lbs. The first 10# will get used when they're done "conditioning".
    Pretty close on the price. $24.91 (but that includes $9 for fuel).

    Thanks to all for the input.....
  16. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (254) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    Getting a grain mill was my second best purchase besides fermentation chamber. It allowed me to brew whenever I want and also buy sacks of grain I use all the time. I have around 150pds of base malt usually and around 15 pds of specialty grains ready to be crushed cause my homebrew store is closed on Monday and Tuesday which are days I don’t work. Bulk grain is also very cheap, like a dollar a pound for pale malt.

    In your predicament I would just use the already crushed grain and store then in my freezer till I did use them. That should slow some staling and most likely will be okay and from there on out I would mill right before I put the grain in the mash tun.
  17. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (107) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina

    IIRC you keep your unmilled grain in 5-gallon buckets with a gamma lid? How many buckets does it take for 50lbs....maybe a little less than two?
    Does the dollar/lb include shipping?
  18. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (254) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    I buy my grain at a homebrew store so I don’t pay shipping, if you have one anywhere around you I would buy bulk every now and then and make it worth your while . I pay between 40-70 a sack depending on what it is. Each sack overfills two 5 gallon buckets.
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  19. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (398) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    I keep my gains in a barn in steel containers where it is cool . Bulk is the most cost effective way to brew lower cost brews.

    A grain mill will pay for itself quickly if you brew a lot.
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  20. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (372) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Given a choice, no. I would go with whole bean and grind as needed.
    NOT given a choice, I wouldn't throw away the ground coffee.

  21. Dave_S

    Dave_S Initiate (49) May 18, 2017 England

    How long would it take to pay for the barn as well, though? Speaking as someone who doesn't already have one...
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  22. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (398) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Well, my best guess is it's payed for since it was built around 1900.
    Been in the family a while.
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