When it comes to storing grain and DME, we’re concerned about keeping the ingredients fresh minimizing oxygen and moisture exposure. We’re also interest in keeping Grain and DME away from possible pests. Beyond that convenient access and efficient use of space are issues to consider. This post also includes some tips and general sizing guidelines.
Buckets are one of the most basic and popular options out there.
The advantage of these is primarily cost. Note that some lids are not airtight. The airtight or nearly airtight lids can be difficult to put on and take off. Also, you will be carrying these. Some of the other options have wheels for convenience. Buckets are definitely a solid option for the price.
Emergency Essentials (beprepared.com) has a great selection of economical food safe buckets and lids. They also offer economical tiered shipping that maxes out of $12. That’s important because buckets are relatively large and can fall under more expensive dimensional shipping rates.
These are stackable and include heavy weight lids.
From the description: “These buckets are different from what you will find at a hardware store. These are high quality, thick (90 mil) food grade plastic bucket, so there aren’t harmful chemicals that may affect your stored goods.”
Buckets + Gamma Lids
Probably, the next step up is adding Gamma Seal Lids to your buckets.
These fit on standard 3.5 to 7 gallon buckets. You attach the base of the unit to the bucket and leave that intact. The lid screws on and off. That fixes a couple of issues that buckets may have when used in conjunction with standard lids. First, Gamma Lids are airtight. Second, the lids screw on and off easily. No more prying lids.
Emergency Essentials stocks these as well with the same economical shipping. They also offer bucket and lid combos that include Gamma Seals.
From Description of the 6 Gallon Version: “This stackable, food-grade plastic, six-gallon bucket comes with a re-sealable, screw-top Gamma Seal Lid. The Gamma Seal Lid is THE solution to accessible food storage. It transforms the 6-gallon bucket into an airtight and leak-proof storage container. The Gamma Seal Lid is interchangealbe for most 3.5 to 7 gallon buckets, including the 20 liter.” (keep reading)
Gamma Seal Lids are also available via Amazon: Search Gamma Seal Lid
If you’re using standard bucket lids, consider a bucket lid wrench to help pry off lids.
Pet Food Style Containers
Now we transition into pet food-type containers. These generally work great because they are typically food safe, designed to be airtight, the can have large capacities. Some also have convenient features like easy access lids, see through sides and wheels.
The stated size of this container is 60 to 69 quarts. 60 quarts = 15 gallons. At 5 lbs per gallon, this would hold 75 lbs of malt. That means you can comfortably fit a 50 to 55 lb sack of grain in this container.
These are designed to hold pet food, but they work great for grain storage. The 40 lb rating is for pet food. This should hold around 50 lbs of grain – depending on the grain. Clear sides to easily see how much grain you have left, made from FDA approved plastic and airtight.
Note: 40 lb rating is for pet food. From what I’ve heard this will hold a full 50 lb bag of grain but not in the pictured orientation. The back of the container must be down. In that orientation they are not stackable. If you’re buying and storing full sacks of grain, I recommend to the 60 lb version.
All the advantages of the 40 lb Vittles vault with 50% more capacity.
12.5 gallons. At 5 lbs/gallon this should hold around 62.5 lbs of grain.
At a whopping 80 quarts/20 gallons, this should hold approximately 100 lbs of grain!
Some have mentioned using trash cans, totes and other similar types of containers. Those may work for you, depending on your situation and the environment you’re in. I have stuck to airtight options for this post.
Specialty Grain Storage
DME/Specialty Grain Storage
These containers should work for both specialty grains and Dry Malt Extract storage.
Airtight, Food Safe. 1.5 Gallon Capacity. 1.5 US Gallons equates to 5.67 Liters. My rule of thumb – More Info – is 1.25 lbs per liter. That means this should hold approximately 7.09 lbs of grain.
5.44 liter/23 cup capacity airtight, BPA free container from Snapware.. This should hold around 6.8 lbs of grain.
I use a FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer [Review] for hop storage. I also use it to store and preserve small amounts (1 to 2 lbs) of specialty grains. I’ve even stored entire bags of grain in FoodSaver bags. I don’t recommend that… but I’ve done it.
For smaller amounts of specialty grains I usually just put the whole bag of grains inside a FoodSaver bag and vacuum seal it.
You can also use Mason jars along with your FoodSaver’s Accessory port to store grain. Using my rule of thumb 1.25 lbs per liter, the half gallon size jars should hold around 2.36 lbs of grain and the quart jars should hold around 1.17 lbs of grain. Mason jars are reusable, are oxygen impermeable and you can easily see the contents.
1/2 Gallon Mason Jars
Ace Hardware: Ball 64oz Wide Mouth Mason Jars (68100) – 6 Pack
Amazon: Ball Wide Mouth Half Gallon Jars with Lids and Bands, Set of 6
Quart/32 oz Jars
Ace Hardware: Ball 32oz Wide Mouth Mason Jars (67000)
Amazon: Ball Wide Mouth Quart Jars with Lids and Bands, Set of 12
FoodSaver Mason Jar Sealer
Jar sealers and caps come in two sizes to fit both wide mouth and regular mouth jars. Note that you need the correct size jar sealer to match your jars.
If you want or need to skip the FoodSaver part, Ball makes a storage cap. That also comes in two sizes depending on jar size.
Grain and DME Storage Rules of Thumb:
- Grain weighs approximately 5 lbs per Gallon or 1.25 lbs per Liter – Justification
- I estimate that DME weighs about 1.125 lbs per Liter
Milling Your Own Grain:
For all grain brewers, bulk grain storage may go hand in hand with milling your own grain.
- Milling your own grain offers these advantages…
- Gives you control over the crush of your grain. That’s a big factor in efficiency. A mill allows you to fine tune for your equipment and process.
- A mill allows you to save money by buying whole bags of grain.
- Freshly milled grain = better tasting beer. and…
- Mad street cred… :)
Related: Cereal Killer Grain Mill – $99.99 Shipped
Got something else to add to the list? Send me an email
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