I bought a lot of grain in bulk, and have been going through it slower than expected. I stored it all in mouse-proof (but not airtight) containers. I ate a pinch of it the other day, and it was much less crunchy than it was upon purchase. It still tastes fine, and it isn't soft/over-moist, but the maritime climate here (Boston) seems to be reducing its crispness.


How should I cope with this? Will this cause problems for beers which I brew using these grains? Are there any general adjustments I should make to my process when brewing with older, less-crisp grain? Is this grain a lost cause (please, please let the answer be 'no')?

EDIT: my grain is est. 6 months old.


  • Make a big ol' barleywine?
    – baka
    Jun 17, 2012 at 23:07
  • That is on my "to brew" list....might be time to move it up!
    – Zac B
    Jun 18, 2012 at 0:25
  • How old is you grain? I feel this will be useful information in case someone has a similar problem in the future.
    – wesanyer
    Jul 8, 2012 at 13:02
  • @wesanyer: edited.
    – Zac B
    Jul 8, 2012 at 21:22

2 Answers 2


I've brewed with 3 year old grain before and the results were mixed. Light beers weren't great, just tasted like stale grain, and they had a haze that didn't settle out completely, even after 6 months. The old grain worked best in darker beers, where you can get most of the flavor from some fresh speciality malt.

I had 200lb of grain to get through, but didn't want to be drinking bad beer for ever, so rather than use the grain for light beers, I used the light wort for starters instead. If you have access to a pressure cooker and some canning jars, you make canned wort for starters which will last for a year or more.

EDIT: I just re-read the question and your grain sounds fine, and not yet actually stale. Although not optimal, it should produce fine beer, especially in hop-forward beers or beer with much medium or dark roasted malts.

  • 1
    I've used a lot of old grain, too, but it wasn't as far gone as the OP described. Old is fine, but if it tastes stale and is chewy, it's not just old...it's bad. The idea to use it for starters is a good one, though.
    – Denny Conn
    Jun 17, 2012 at 19:43
  • It was stale and chewy. 3 years past the production date, 2 years past the use by date - it was more than just old! Stored in a fairly humid cellar. I now store all my grain in buckets, with an oxygen barrier and oxygen absorbers. Probably overkill, but I have to drive 2.5 hours to get to my LHBS, so I buy in bulk.
    – mdma
    Jun 17, 2012 at 19:50
  • Yeah, I buy in bulk and store in a humid basement, too. How do you store the grains? I've found that unopened bags keep for years. I put opened bags in Rubbermaid plastic storage bins. That works really well.
    – Denny Conn
    Jun 17, 2012 at 20:31

If it tastes stale and has a chewy consistency, there's not much you can do. Either toss it, or brew with it and accept that the results will be sub par.

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