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Old 06-22-2011, 06:43 AM   #1
JasonToews
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Default Barley Crusher w/ 15 lb.-capacity Hopper is amazing!

For the past couple brews I was hitting 50-60% efficiency and couldn't figure out why! I was hitting all the right temperatures, proper amounts and everything and still bad efficiency. So I desided I would buy my own grain mill from northern brewer. I hit 85% efficiency today after crushing my own grain! You have no idea how much of a confidence booster this is! This mill is awesome, just dump all your grain into your hopper, hook up a drill and your good to go!


Cheers everyone!

BTW I made a banana bread ale today! Can't wait for the final results.

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Old 06-22-2011, 07:30 AM   #2
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I agree... I love my Barley Crusher. Even better benefit than the increase in efficiency is the ability to buy grain in bulk - I buy my base grains by the sack. If you're in a homebrew club or there are other local people organizing group grain buys, you can start buying grain amazingly cheap. To give some perspective, I bought a 55lb sack of 2-row for less than $20 - that's about 35¢ per pound! Of course, 2-row is the cheapest, but everything basically becomes dirt cheap - ESPECIALLY when you factor in the fact that you're already using less grain due to increased efficiency.

Just keep in mind when you use it, you want to go no faster than about 120-180RPM (2-3 full turns per second) or else you start excessively shredding husk material.

Also, if you don't own a set already, I highly recommend you invest in a feeler gauge (can be bought in the automotive department of any hardware store for a few bucks). Preferably one that lets you remove the blades and reorganize them. This will allow you to accurately measure and set the gap between the rollers. This not only lets you experiment with various gap settings, but also allows you to change it for grains that require different gap sizes, and then afterwards set it back perfectly to what you were previously using for barley and wheat.

Perhaps most importantly though, a feeler gauge allows you to make sure the gap is perfectly equal on both ends of the rollers, which really helps maintain a more consistent efficiency since every single little grain will always receive the same crush, rather than widening along the entire length of the roller. Maybe even doubly important for Barley Crushers, because the one problem I had with mine (no longer an issue since I got a gauge) is that the "default gap", which is set by the factory and indicated by the line etched on both of the adjustment knobs, was not only way off from what they say it's supposed to be (0.036"?), but WASN'T EVEN CLOSE to being equal at both ends - I believe the "calibrated" lines on my adjustment knobs (which is of course what it is set to when you receive it), set the gap on my roller to something like 0.043 on one end of the rollers and 0.051 on the other end, which is crazy. And I have yet to talk to a BC owner who's said that they checked the default gap and found it to be very close to what it's "supposed" to be.

But most importantly... enjoy the thing! Crunching through a full hopper of dirt-cheap bulk grain on my very own mill continues to be extremely satisfying every time I use it!

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Old 06-22-2011, 11:38 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emjay

Just keep in mind when you use it, you want to go no faster than about 120-180RPM (2-3 full turns per second) or else you start excessively shredding husk material.
How do you measure the rpm?
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emjay View Post
Just keep in mind when you use it, you want to go no faster than about 120-180RPM (2-3 full turns per second) or else you start excessively shredding husk material.
Bull spit, I use mine at 300rpm with husks fully intact. Their web site says 500rpm.
I do agree you don't want to go too fast, but your numbers are misleading.


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Old 06-22-2011, 01:28 PM   #5
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How do you measure the rpm?
If you are using a pulley and belt system to reduce the mill's speed, here is a good calculator to assist with predicting the RPM.

I get a good crush using a 1725 RPM dryer motor reduced down to about 188 RPM using a 10" pulley.
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Old 06-22-2011, 04:52 PM   #6
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I wasn't able to control my drill motor speed and my efficiency dropped to 71%. If I hand crank I get 85%. It seems worth it to me spend a little extra time using the hand crank versus buying 2-3 lbs of extra grain. Especially if I can coax a friend into helping me

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Old 06-22-2011, 05:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildwest450

Bull spit, I use mine at 300rpm with husks fully intact. Their web site says 500rpm.
I do agree you don't want to go too fast, but your numbers are misleading.

_
Maybe... I think it'd be difficult to come up with an exact RPM limit anyways, but a bit too slow is better than a bit too fast. Do you condition your malt? I don't like dealing with wet malt in my BC so I crush it dry.

As far as gauging RPMs, if you're just using a drill it's not even that difficult to eyeball it at just a few revolutions per second, if that's all you want to do. Just focus on some reference point and watch roughly how many times it comes around each second.
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Old 06-23-2011, 06:28 AM   #8
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I hand cranked 10Lbs today and hit 90.4% efficiency! I was freakin tired and had a break for a minute or two but got er done! Couldn't believe when I read my OG! I made a chocolate milk stout. My LHBS doesn't carry biscuit malt so I purchased some amber/brown malt to give it a little bread taste. May be to much roast but we will see.

6.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 61.5 %
1.00 lb Barley, Flaked (1.7 SRM) Grain 10.3 %
1.00 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 10.3 %
0.75 lb Carafa III (Weyermann) (525.0 SRM) Grain 7.7 %
0.50 lb Amber Malt (22.0 SRM) Grain 5.1 %
0.50 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 5.1 %
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00%] (60 min) Hops 18.5 IBU
1.00 lb Lactose Milk Sugar (Boil 60.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs Whitbread Ale (Wyeast Labs #1099)

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Old 06-23-2011, 07:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonToews
I hand cranked 10Lbs today and hit 90.4% efficiency! I was freakin tired and had a break for a minute or two but got er done! Couldn't believe when I read my OG! I made a chocolate milk stout. My LHBS doesn't carry biscuit malt so I purchased some amber/brown malt to give it a little bread taste. May be to much roast but we will see.

6.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 61.5 %
1.00 lb Barley, Flaked (1.7 SRM) Grain 10.3 %
1.00 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 10.3 %
0.75 lb Carafa III (Weyermann) (525.0 SRM) Grain 7.7 %
0.50 lb Amber Malt (22.0 SRM) Grain 5.1 %
0.50 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 5.1 %
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00%] (60 min) Hops 18.5 IBU
1.00 lb Lactose Milk Sugar (Boil 60.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs Whitbread Ale (Wyeast Labs #1099)
Yeah, I definitely would have skipped the roasted barley.
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