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I have a small amount of hops (1 oz) in a ziplock bag in the fridge, it's been there about a year. I also have about 1/2 lb of unmilled grain in the fridge in a ziplock.

Will these ingredients be ok to use in a future batch of beer? How old is "too old?" Should I be storing them differently?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Taste the grain to check. If it is not musty, moldy or stale, go for it. Leaving it unmilled is a big advantage.

Smell the hops. As hops age they lose their bittering power and may take on a cheesy flavor. A year is probably okay, but you won't get the same level of bitterness or flavor out of them versus fresh hops.

Continue to keep your ingredients in the freezer. Try to get as much of the air out as you can.

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No idea about the grain, but my understanding is that if you press the air out of the Ziplock and store the hops in the freezer they can be stored almost indefinitely.

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+1 for storing in the freezer –  Jordan Jan 3 '10 at 15:52
    
The hops if stored correctly will still be usable but will not be as good as newer hops as they break down over time losing all the good stuff. Just be aware that whatever AA% they were originally they are likely a bit lower now. (That my understanding anyways) –  J Times Jan 4 '10 at 14:18
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I store all my specialty grains in plastic screwtop jars and it seems to work well. Roasted malts and caramelized malts last longer than things like carapils, munich, vienna etc ect. I have had amount of roasted malt hang around for close to 2 years and they are doing great.

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I recently brewed a rye brown with 3-year old grain that I was given. I just wanted to experiment and see what would happen.

The beer came out pretty well. I got good attenuation and it tasted and smelled fine. The weird part was that is was extremely cloudy. It looked like a milk shake. I've never had a beer turn out that cloudy. That may have to do with the proteins or something, but I'm not that advanced into chemistry to know for sure.

Either way, the end result was ok.

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