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Ive been wanting to get into homebrewing so when I saw the Groupon for this kit http://www.midwestsupplies.com/irish-red-ale.html I ordered it. However I was in the process of moving so I haven't been able to brew it yet.

I put the yeast in the fridge like the box said i should, and the rest I put in the basement where it stays relatively cool

How long will this kit stay good for? Should I have put the rest of the ingredients in the fridge too?

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4 Answers 4

The yeast will have a relatively short shelf life. Dry yeast typically stays viable for longer. You may wish to visit the website of the yeast company to determine the viability based on the date on the package. Either way if it's less than 6 months old it should be fine.

Hops should be frozen or at least kept in a fridge. They can go stale (but stale hops do have their place in this world--in lambics for example).

The extracts do have a shelf life, but they stay good for years.

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The shelf life of a recipe kit varies based on what type of ingredients come in the kit.

Yeast- Liquid yeast should be used within 3 months of the production date for best results but can be viable for up to 6 months but a yeast starter is recommended for yeast that old. Dry yeast can be viable for up to 1 year if stored at room temp and even longer if kept in the refrigerator.

Specialty Grains - Un-milled specialty grains can last for about a year. Milled grains will stale quite quickly and should be used within 2-4 weeks of crushing.

Hops - If the hops are packaged in foil and have been nitrogen flushed they can be stored for up to a year in the freezer, shorter if kept in the refrigerator. You can see a decrease in overall bitterness the longer they are stored.

Malt extract - Liquid malt extract can be stored for over a year and still be fine form brewing but oxidation of the malt will increase with time and can affect the flavor and aroma. Dry malt extract can be stored for 1-1.5 years as long as it is kept in a cool dry place and is not exposed to moisture without a significant decrease in quality.

To obtain the best results I would recommend brewing within 2-3 weeks of purchase for any kit, but you do have some flexibility if you need to put off brewing. This is assuming the ingredients you are buying are fresh.

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I can vouch for dried yeast's long-term viability. I found some Safale S-04 in the fridge which had been there for approximately 15 months (and 3 months past its use by date) and I pitched it without making a starter into a kitchen-sink brew. Within 36 hours it was fermenting away nicely and the final beer was fine.

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Update here : the Safale S-04 instructions (www.fermentis.com/FO/pdf/HB/EN/Safale_S-04_HB.pdf) suggest that the yeast will stay good up to 24 months after production date. This this is consistent with my findings. –  Poshpaws Jun 11 '11 at 17:23

I bought this exact same kit and did the same thing, only I didn't see the thing on the box about refrigerating the yeast, so it sat at room temperature for several weeks. I emailed their support and this is what they said:

It looks like you should have received a dry yeast packet with your order. That should be just fine to sit at room temp. It is only the liquid yeast that needs to be refrigerated.

He didn't mention anything about the other ingredients. Since the hops in the kit are in little vacuum-sealed bags, I'm sure they'd stay fresh much longer than they would otherwise.

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