Hands on Review: Vittles Vault Stackable Storage Bins for Homebrew Grain Storage!

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

Vittles Vault Storage Bins

Gamma2 as a company is 100% dedicated to their mission of designing and providing pet food containers to animal owners (technically they also care about your dog getting out of the pool, as they make a doggy pool exit ramp). But, that doesn’t mean these “pet food containers” can’t be co-opted for homebrewing. The same characteristics that make them ideal for pet food, also make them ideal for malt storage.

Vittles Vault 60-lb Container

I’ll go through a few storage basics for malt. First, you want to store it uncrushed, so that the husk helps keep the good stuff inside protected from the environment. Cracked grain kernels are more enticing to critters, and opens up the endosperm to fast staling. Beyond that, grain wants to be kept at cooler room temperatures (40 – 60F), dry, away from light, and in an airtight environment. Maltsters range in the max recommended storage time, with most in the 12-18 months range, and some up to 24 months. When you buy grains by the 55-lb sack, most will put a “best by” date on the label, since you don’t know how old it is before you get it. Although you can save money by buying grains in bulk, you need to make sure you have the right throughput to use it up before it stales.

Lid o-ring Out of Groove on Right Side

Gamma2 has a number of different types and sizes of storage containers. All are designed to be airtight, so they keep air from getting in and staling your grains when you’re not scooping it. (Which of course, the same thing can’t be said for that 55-lb sack of grain you’ve got in the corner, with a stretch of duct tape over the hole you cut into it…) The lid design is how they achieve this air-tightness. There’s a compliant o-ring that’s held in a groove on the lid which gets compressed down onto a chamfered face on the body of the container to make the seal. As the threaded lid gets screwed down, the o-ring will get squished to block off the air-leak path past the lid.


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Hands on Review – Vittles Vault Containers for Homebrew Malt Storage

I got one of the Vittles Vault Outback 60 to try out. They are marketed for 60 lb of dog food, and I was going to see how it did with a 55-lb sack of malt. The container was made out of a durable HDPE, BPA-free plastic. A decent enough thickness to give it some stiffness and some durability. The container easily met the requirement of keeping light out, with its solid whitish-gray body. The mold finish quality was average. Nothing to brag about per se, but in its role in my brewery, it was just going to sit on a rack and hold grain, so fit & finish detail wasn’t that important of a factor for my usage.

55-lb Bag of Grain Next to 60-lb Vittles VaultTwo 60-lb Containers on Bottom with 40-lb Container on TopContainer in Horizontal Orientation Filled with 55 lbs GrainContainer in Vertical Orientation- Filled w 55 lbs Grain

I found the size was pretty much perfect for the 55 lbs. of malt. If you used the container in a vertical orientation, it could’ve held more without spilling out the opening when you spun open the lid. But then you couldn’t stack the bins on top of each other, and you also wouldn’t have easy accessibility with the bins sitting on a storage rack. So in the intended horizontal orientation, the 55 lb bag of grains filled the bin up to the bottom edge of the opening where the lid spun off. The large size of the opening made for easy scooping out of the grain, using a 64 oz. Rubbermaid Commercial Food Scoop. The scoop held 2 lbs. of grain with a full scoop. This scoop was easy to move in & out with the 10.6” diameter opening in the container.

Container Filled with 55-lb Grain and 64 oz Scoop

I made a non-scientific assessment of air-tightness with my nose. Specifically, with the container filled with grain and the lid tightly closed, I could not detect any aroma. After unscrewing the lid, there was a very strong and present odor of malted grain. With my grain sitting in the brewing area of my unfinished basement, it’s critical to me that these containers be critter-proof. I don’t have a bug or a mouse problem, and I certainly don’t want to start one with grain they can get access to, or be attracted to. I feel pretty confident with these Vittles Vault containers that I am in good shape. I suppose the true test will be in 6 months or a year’s time, but I am optimistic.

Contour of Container Doubles as Carry Handles

Seeing shops closing around me as the Coronavirus lockdowns spread, I decided I would start purchasing bulk grain, in case homebrew shops closed. I was limited on the type/size of container I could get delivered with a reasonable delivery time, so I ended up with a variety of different Vittles Vault containers. These had similar style lid designs, just some had a smaller opening (8.5” diameter). The smaller opening was a tighter fit for the Rubbermaid scoop, but it did still work. While cleaning these new containers, I noticed water leaking out through the lid seal on some. Recognizing that if water could get through, air could get through, I investigated more closely. What I found were some slight dimensional issues with the opening shape in the container on some, or some flash on the lid that ran across the o-ring seal groove on others. After trimming down the flash on those lids, I found I could get them all to seal (no water leakage out), if I just made sure to tighten the lid down super-tightly. It appeared the lids were very sturdy/robust, and a slightly out-of-round opening in the container could be brought into the right shape by hand tightening the lids as much as they could go.

64 oz Rubbermaind Scoop in 25-lb Vittles Vault with Smaller Lid

Conclusions

Overall, the Vittles Vault works very well for malted grain storage. Make sure you do the math to ensure you’ll get through your bulk buy before the grain goes old, because it’s easy to overestimate how much you use of one type of malt. And as long as you get the lids fully screwed down tightly, these seem to be very air-tight and are very easy to work with for storing and scooping grain.

Check Pricing and Available Sizes & Configurations, Review Continues Below

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Related: Homebrew Grain Storage Capacity Rule of Thumb

What Are Others Saying?

Search The Vittles Vault Stackable 60 lb Size Amazon reviews for “brew” – may include reviews for other sizes or variations

More Photos

64 oz Scoop in 60-lb Vittles VaultLid Seal Advertised as Ant-ProofMultiple Sizes Vittles Vault on RackThe Vittles Vault holding a sack of Viking Xtra Pale Malt

Reader Photos of 15 lb and 50 lb Sizes

Thanks to Twitter Follower @chillindamos for these photos!

This is the 50 lb stackable size with a full 25 kg bag of grain in it.  That’s about 55 lbs and there’s still some roomThe 50 lb size stacked with two 15 lb capacity containers

More All Grain Related Reviews:

Homebrew Reviews: All Grain

Note: Some product pages show multiple options.  A different version may show up.  Check the product description and specifications to make sure you’re getting the right item.

By Brad Probert.  Check out Brad’s website – beersnobby.com

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Make sure the components you use are compatible and rated for your intended application.  Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application.  Always read and follow manufacturer directions. review:vitval tag:tpr rs:1

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