Storing grains in shed

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Skillz

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Hi y'all.
Looking at getting into milling my own grains and am now looking at my storage options.
I'm sure I can figure out the containers but as the title suggests I'm wondering about keeping the grains in a shed in good old Victoria with our lovely temp swings.
Just built a 12x7.5m shed with aircell in the roof but nothing in the walls.
If stored in sealed containers will this be ok?.
How and where do you store yours?
 

DU99

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store mine in airtight containers,speciality grains keep vac sealed bags.room is non condtioned...take look at how your suppliers keeps there grains stored....hops and yeast i keep refrigerated...i smell the grain for anything odd ..never had any issues..remember it has shelf life
 

duncbrewer

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Also remember vermin will happily chew thru wood or plastic to get a tasty meal. A mouse only needs a tiny hole.
Hotter the grain the quicker the deterioration and rapidly a write off if it's damp as well.
 

Skillz

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Damp is my biggest concern. I will be brewing out there and will open all doors but under normal storage conditions I imagine that the shed will get a bit of condensation in it from the temp swings
 

duncbrewer

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Build yourself a condenser, transformed my brewday. Big extractor fans are noisy and not that good. Less energy for the boil. Less loss.
Then all you need is a small extractor fan for general air movement. I assume not gas burners indoors?
You could put some damp absorber containers in your grain bins.
 

mynameisrodney

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Build yourself a condenser, transformed my brewday. Big extractor fans are noisy and not that good. Less energy for the boil. Less loss.
Then all you need is a small extractor fan for general air movement. I assume not gas burners indoors?
You could put some damp absorber containers in your grain bins.
Hi mate, got details on your condenser? I brew outside, but under a tin roof and it ends up raining on me after the first half hour in winter.
 

Grmblz

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Hops/specialty grains vac sealed and kept in freezer, dried yeast kept in freezer.
Base malts in opaque airtight poly bins (old screw top fermenters work well) kept in a big old chest freezer, inkbird controlled and also used for crash chilling, lagering etc, surprisingly cheap to run and vermin proof. you can keep at ambient but as cool as possible, it's nice to have everything in one spot but a tin shed in Victoria? Most houses have a "cool" room, usually on the South side, consider keeping your base malts there, it's not like you'll be accessing them every day.
+1 for vermin, in your case a bait station in each corner and another in the middle of the long sides of your shed, you'll be amazed how much bait you'll go through initially, after a month or so things slow down and it's just a case of topping up every 3 months or so.
The big one though is moisture, you can renew those little bags of "do not eat" silica gel that seem to come with everything these days, just pop them in a low oven for an hour or two, I fill a hop sock with them and just chuck it in the grain bin.
I know this all looks like overkill but the first time you lose a bag of malt is heartbreaking, and Murphy dictates it will be a long week-end with multiple brews planned, and no way of getting new stock.
fwiw I'm rural, so maybe the vermin thing isn't as bad where you are, but an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. 😭
 

duncbrewer

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@Grmblz
I only keep my home dried kveik in the freezer, not sure I've seen any manufacturers recommendations to keep their dried yeast below zero, just below 4 deg Celsius.
 

duncbrewer

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@mynameisrodney

Couple of good threads here,

This one has the detail of my one in post seven


I got the parts from a dairy supply company innox.co.nz expect there will be the equivalent in Aus.

But they source all the parts from china.

The most interesting thing about the condenser is how little boil off you get. No problems with DMS it has reduced my water use in the brew, water for condenser I recycle for the garden / washing machine.
 

Grmblz

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@Grmblz
I only keep my home dried kveik in the freezer, not sure I've seen any manufacturers recommendations to keep their dried yeast below zero, just below 4 deg Celsius.
Yep, not saying it's best practice it's just what I do, I have a mini freezer for hops/grain/yeast bank, so it's just a convenience thing, otherwise I'd be using the kitchen fridge, and I get enough grief about my liquid yeasts being there, I did discuss getting another fridge dedicated to yeasts but it took 3 days for the mushroom cloud to settle so I shelved that idea, I've never had a problem with it, just take packet out an hour or so before use, then re-hydrate.
 

Skillz

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Going on with the idea of a steam in the shed while brewing will a fan blowing the air out a roller door be enough, done a little research on condenser hoods and steam condensers but for me they seem a bit harder to implement in the shed
 

duncbrewer

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A condenser lid is difficult to implement if you don't have a water supply and a drain. Brewing might be difficult as well though.

You need to move a lot of air to cope with a boiloff of say 3 litres per hour, but it might not matter to get condensation on the walls roof windows and doors of the shed if the climate is going to let this all evaporate soon after. Having the shed door open with the lights on might attract a lot of nasties that you don't want in your beer or wort.

But give the fan out of the roller door a go and see if it's okay, you can always modify / add later.
 

Grmblz

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Just fill your kettle with water and bring it to a rolling boil, then play around with the fan to see how it goes, condensers use a lot of "$" water, and are usually applicable when brewing indoors (basement/spare room/attached garage)
For a tin shed/garage a simple hood with a length of ducting, and an inline fan would be more than adequate.
To push air through ducting get a squirrel cage fan, and speed control, do a bit of research but I think you'll find hydro stores will be cheaper than air-con suppliers, 6" would probably be the minimum I'd recommend but the bigger the better, and the bigger the fan the slower you can run it (less noise) depending on finances.
Keep in mind that hydro stores sell fans designed to move moist air whilst air-con fans may not cope well with it.
CAN FAN High Volume Fan Standard Ducting
 
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duncbrewer

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@Grmblz
No shortage of water here in NZ, also not on a meter and I recycle it to water the garden or for the washing machine. I do brew indoors and having the fan ducting over the kettle and inline fan on the end out of the door was a pain. Lots of condensation in the ducting and concerns with the water near 240 V.
The condenser has worked out much better for me.
Some ventilation much better than none though and I have now fitted the extractor fan in the wall for general control if the windows and doors are shut.
 

MHB

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Going back to the original question. You can look at the concerns in three main groups.

Vermin - rats and mice love malt, make sure your containers will keep them out, arrange containers off the floor so they have less places to hide (shelving is good). Best to be able to sweep or vacuum under malt containers and to do so regularly. Mill malt outside or in another local, malt dust will attracy vermin and pests.

Pests - mainly Mealy Moth and Weevils both can and will arrive with malt as well as coming in from the environment. Good airtight containers help, as will a robotic bug sprayer (one of those ones with a timer that let out a little puff of insecticide at intervals). A bug zapper will help with Mealy Moth, not so much with Weaves. Controlling malt dust is you best front line defence. Good airtight containers help. If you get an outbreak, putting some Metabisulphite (I use a Campden tablet in a 20L bucket) in the container can help, will take some time but kills most of them. There are industrial "tablets" but they are really dangerous in confined spaces and are getting harder to buy as some states you now need a ticket to show you know the hazards.
Apparently Vermin and pests eat something like 4% of the malt made every year (the bastards).

Environmental - in a good airtight container the malt should stay in good condition for a year to a year and a half from manufacture. If it gains moisture that can change very quickly. Again good quality airtight containers help, in this case help a lot. Malt will take up moisture from the air, if you have lots of steam/water vapour you can destroy malt in very short order. In extreme cases something like Damp Rid can be used but on the whole good closures are usually enough.
If your malt is properly dry (<5% H2O) and you keep it dry, you should be within the 12-18 month shelf life and should give good service. Cool is best but ambient temperatures wont matter much if you controll moisture.

Personally I would recommend 20L pales with lids, two of them will hold a bag of most malts and you can keep odds in bags in buckets. They provide good airtight storage and if you shop around aren’t too expensive.
Mark

Just for fun
if you boiled a 25L wort for an hour and got 10% evaporation (pretty standard single batch) you will have boiled off 2.5L (kg) of water. Call it 2,500g.
Water has a molecular weight of 18, (18g/Mole) the number of moles is Mass/FWT or 2,500/18 = 139 moles (roughly)
A mole of any gas (ideally) occupies (well again roughly) 24.5L (@25oC and 1 Bar) so you are making about 3,400L of water vapour. Enough to get everywhere and drip of the ceiling...
M
 

mynameisrodney

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On those topics:

I've had weevils or something similar on my grain mill once. I sprayed the crap out of it with CO2 and killed them all. Didn't want to use anything harsh and contaminate it. Haven't seen them since, but figure its only a matter of time. How thoroughly do you all clean your grain mills, and what is the best method?

Currently I'm using 20L buckets for storing grain. I saw repco has bucket lids with a ring that clips on and then the lid unscrews. Same as those expensive as hell vittles vault ones. But probably not food grade. Would using a food grade bucket with a non food grade lid be ok or still no good?

Cheers,
Chris
 

Skillz

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Thanks for all the suggestions.
Current plan is to keep grains in bags within 20l buckets.
Might try a boil off test with the set up near a door with a pedestal fan blowing the steam out (hopefully).
Future upgrade might be a hood with a good extraction fan to suck the air straight out the wall when I know where the action is going to happen.
 

Grmblz

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There are industrial "tablets" but they are really dangerous in confined spaces and are getting harder to buy as some states you now need a ticket to show you know the hazards.
100% agree, it's what I use but jeez they're dangerous, the tablets produce phosphine gas (apparently what was used in the Nazi gas chambers) available from rural supplies, but you need to be well known, and a proven non - idiot, normal use is for grain silos but a secondary use is rabbit control, wrap a couple of tablets in wet newspaper, chuck it down the hole, and cover hole with dirt, end of rabbit warren, I'm not going to mention any trade names because as Mark says they're bloody dangerous, they kill absolutely everything (us included) and accidents do happen.

@Skillz just remember that squirrel fans push rather than pull, so the ideal position would be on or near the hood rather than at the exhaust end of a length of ducting.
 
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MHB

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Sort of - Phosphine for bugs and Phosgene for people, well they will both kill you but one does it much faster and at much lower doses (about 500 times lower).

Not playing down how hazardous Phosphine can be, If you have to use it read all the warnings and follow them.
Better not to need the big guns, good containers and cleaning up any dust or spills quickly will all help keep pests to a minimum.
Mind you if you store a lot of malt you will learn to hate rats with a visceral intensity that is hard to describe.
Mark
 

duncbrewer

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There are some pherenome based sticky attractant pads that you can get for the larder and they work well to attract and kill the moths, they work even better once a few moths are on there. I don't think it's the cries for help from them that makse them work better though.
I built the condenser once the fan and draught couldn't cope with the steam and drips were coming off the ceiling and running down the walls. Someone wasn't happy about that. But I lived to brew another day.
 
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