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What's the best way to store LME for extended periods of time? Can LME be kept in the freezer to limit spoilage or are there better ways keep it somewhat fresh?

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Define "extended". Days? Months? Years? –  hookedonwinter Dec 9 '10 at 21:15
    
I would say beyond a 6-8 weeks. –  Northern Brewer Chris Dec 9 '10 at 21:26
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What did you end up doing here? –  Room3 Mar 10 '11 at 21:38
    
@Room3 - This is a frequent question I get from customers and I was curious what others recommended since I don't deal personally with LME in my own brewing. –  Northern Brewer Chris Mar 10 '11 at 21:59
    
Gotcha, I was just considering buying ingredients for two brews to save on some shipping costs. –  Room3 Mar 10 '11 at 22:21
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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would think that storing it sealed and frozen would be the best way to keep it fresh. As long as it's under refrigeration, spoilage shouldn't be an issue, but I know volatile aromatics will still escape over time.

From BYO:

Liquid malt syrup is easy to store as long as it is in the original can. This is an ideal container that keeps the syrup safe from light and oxygen, and the malt is good for about two years before it starts to degrade. The manufacturer has normally also heated the syrup to pasteurize it before shipping, so it is void of bacteria, molds and yeast. Most cans have an expiration date that helps you know when it is getting old. The same temperature range (50¡ to 70¡ F) applies.

Liquid malt syrup that has been opened, or is sold in bulk plastic containers, has a much shorter shelf life. While buying malt syrup in this form is normally less expensive, it must be used in less than 3 months, or the syrup will degrade or even grow mold. If you have malt syrup in this form, the best way to store it is in the fridge. Pick the smallest possible container to eliminate airspace and avoid oxidation. While the extremely high sugar content inhibits yeast activity and molding, over a three- to four-month time period the syrup will lose its freshness.

Really though, outside of a month or two, staling and darkening are inevitable, regardless of the storage method. Overbuying LME is not recommended.

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couldn't you vacuum seal it to prevent volatiles from escaping, thereby extending it's life? –  therulebookman Dec 9 '10 at 21:19
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It will still stale and darken, and storing it under negative pressure will drive volatiles out. Plus, all plastics are semi-permeable. –  Brandon Dec 9 '10 at 21:29
    
so what about canning it (in glass)? Sterilize the cans, fill them full, and seal them just like any other preserve. –  STW Dec 9 '10 at 22:34
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Canning it will speed up the staling process, as you'll have to heat it, and you'll need to pour it so it will pick up some more O2 along the way... i.e. more staling. –  brewchez Dec 10 '10 at 12:51
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https://byo.com/kolsch-altbier/item/1362-shelf-life-storing-your-ingredients

This site has good advice for storing your brewing supplies..

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