When it comes to brewing great beer, fresh ingredients are important, so buying in bulk can help you save a load of cash.
Fresh ingredients make the best beer, so for the brewer, the greatest challenge may well be how to preserve the ingredients until when they are to be used. The four enemies of beer ingredients, like the four horse men of the apocalypse, are; heat, light, moisture and oxygen. Eliminating or minimizing exposure to these four evils is paramount to brewing a great beer.
Bearing these in mind, in this article we are going to be taking a look at how you can best preserve your hops, grains, yeast and malt extract for brewing great beer.
Preservation of Malt Extracts
The right place to store malt extracts is in a cool, dark area; ideally in an oxygen barrier bag. Many dry malt extract comes in oxygen permeable plastic bags, so if you are planning storage for a long period you should move it to a foil barrier bag or oxygen proof container. Heat and light are bad news for malt extract as they will both darken and break down the extract, so store it in a cool dark location. Refrigeration is also not a bad idea if the malt is properly sealed as it will preserve it for a longer period.
Storing of Brewing Grains
Uncrushed grains are offer relative stability and can be stored for more than a year if kept in a cool dry place, away from light and free of bugs. Grain bags, plastic bags or bins are okay for storing the grains with a temperature range of 50-70F. You should note that some persons do refrigerate their grains to help them last a bit longer, but not really needed with uncrushed grains.
Hops are more susceptible to heat, oxygen, light and moisture compared to grains. These are best stored in a freezer in an oxygen barrier bag such as a foil bag or glass jar. When hops age, they lose their bittering power in addition to aromatic oils, while eventually imparting a distinctive stale flavour. The rate of aging in hops depends a whole lot on the type of hops, their hop stability index, and their storage conditions. Some types of hops will only last a few months while others can be kept for nearly a year when stored properly.
Preserving and Storing Yeast
Dry yeast offers easy storage and comes with a long shelf life. If kept sealed in its pouch at room temperature, it can stay up to between 12 – 24 months. It can also be refrigerated, but avoid freezing, to further extend its life even.
Contrarily, liquid yeast comes with a relatively short shelf life. Liquid vials and pouches lose about 20 percent of their viability monthly, meaning that their effective shelf life is only about half a year in most cases. Additionally, they must be stored refrigerated (albeit not frozen), or they will decay even faster.
I hope this article has been of help in showcasing tips needed in preserving and storing your beer ingredients. In conclusion, I will repeat that in general heat, light, moisture, and oxygen are not good for storing beer ingredients.