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Old 05-06-2012, 02:52 AM   #1
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Default Any Real Science on the Effect of Crush on Extract Yield?

I wonder if anyone else has come across this article in the Journal of Industrial Brewing, Volume 11, Number 3, 2005: "Effects of Mashing Parameters on Mash β-Glucan, FAN and Soluble Extract Levels". The authors conclude, among other things, that crush has NO effect on extract yield so long as the kernel is broken, the mash is brought to gelatinization temps. and the mash is held for a sufficient time (sixty minutes). The article is a good read otherwise and I recommend it, but it sure suggests that all this obsession about crush and efficiency is a lot of anecdotal hot air, doesn't it? Can anyone offer any real scientific evidence refuting this? I'd like to see it. Meanwhile, I'm very happy with the crush I get from my hand-cranked Corona. BTW, I hope this thread doesn't become an indignant string of "well here's what happened to my numbers when I got my MM..." or "So and so says crush is critical to yield...). Those anecdotes and hearsay arguments have already been beaten to death. Any evidence? Studies? Data? Science?

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Old 05-06-2012, 02:57 AM   #2
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Maybe you should have posted this in the debate forum. I have nothing scientific to say, just opinion. Looking forward to hearing the replies though.

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Old 05-06-2012, 03:03 AM   #3
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I don't expect many replies. But I do hope that someone else has come across a study that's on point. I've looked for them and found few.

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Old 05-06-2012, 03:32 AM   #4
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Pilgarlic,

Here's something you might like to read from Southern Cross University
ePublications@SCU titled, "Biochemical and molecular evaluation of quality for
malt and feed barley" I've read a few pages and it's pretty interesting. Maybe it will help you with your quest! Biochemical and molecular evaluation of quality for malt and feed barley



EDIT: Around page 11 started getting my attention. YMMV

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Old 05-06-2012, 12:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
that crush has NO effect on extract yield so long as the kernel is broken, the mash is brought to gelatinization temps. and the mash is held for a sufficient time (sixty minutes).
This sentence fragment says it all to me. The crush has no effect on yield if the grain is held at mash temperature long enough. It takes time for the water to reach the center of the grain particles, time for conversion to occur, time to get the sugars back out of the grain particle and into solution. 60 minutes is an arbitrary amount of time. Poorer crush may take longer, really good crush much less. Doing BIAB, I see evidence of conversion in 15 minutes but I still allow it 60 minutes to get the most sugars I can from it. Am I wrong to give it that much time? I don't think so as I enjoy the process enough that I am willing to waste the extra half hour if it gets me good beer.
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:02 PM   #6
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Download the Powerpoint Named Practical Milling for the Craft Brewer from http://www.brewingwithbriess.com/Mal...sentations.htm

Briess even looked at efficiency with unmilled grain! Anyway, the conclusion here was that for homebrewers the efficiency difference with almost any crush was very good. I think for homebrewer, the "Normal Grind" in the picture is typical.



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Old 05-06-2012, 10:50 PM   #7
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Interesting, passedpawn. The presentation didn't make clear what a "stirrer" mash is, vs a "manual" mash. It appears that, whatever a "stirrer" mash is, it made some difference.

As to grind or crush, on the Pilot mill, "normal" yielded no extract advantage over "coarse", and on the Lab Mill, "Fine" yielded no more extract than "Normal". This is corroboration for the conclusions of the study I cited, that crush makes no real difference, assuming gelatinization and an adequate sach rest.

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Old 05-07-2012, 01:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Pilgarlic View Post
Interesting, passedpawn. The presentation didn't make clear what a "stirrer" mash is, vs a "manual" mash. It appears that, whatever a "stirrer" mash is, it made some difference.

As to grind or crush, on the Pilot mill, "normal" yielded no extract advantage over "coarse", and on the Lab Mill, "Fine" yielded no more extract than "Normal". This is corroboration for the conclusions of the study I cited, that crush makes no real difference, assuming gelatinization and an adequate sach rest.
Right. It definitely corroborates your post.

It also flies in the face of many anecdotal stories here on HBT of bad crushes and poor efficiency,
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Old 05-07-2012, 02:05 AM   #9
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This is making me wonder why the standard Congress match for measuring extract yield would specify a fine grind and why the spec sheets for the various grains show a different %extract for fine grind vs. coarse grind. (Check the online spec sheets from any of the maltsters.

The fine grind/coarse grind difference really makes me question the conclusions in the cited article.

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Old 05-07-2012, 02:37 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by smyrnaquince View Post
This is making me wonder why the standard Congress match for measuring extract yield would specify a fine grind and why the spec sheets for the various grains show a different %extract for fine grind vs. coarse grind. (Check the online spec sheets from any of the maltsters.

The fine grind/coarse grind difference really makes me question the conclusions in the cited article.
But for well modified malt, the difference between the course grind and fine grind extraction shouldn't be more than 1-2%. That's not zero, but nor is it a particularly significant difference.

I haven't found any solid research on the effects of grind on mashing, but I have spent a lot of time doing controlled tests on extraction rates of coffee. The interesting thing there is that a good, even grind lets you get away with less effective agitation during steeping, and vice versa. In other words, you need to have either a good grind or good agitation.

I wonder if something similar is going on in mashing. With good recirculation and fluidity, perhaps grind isn't actually all that big of a deal. But, if you've got problems with segmenting in your mash, perhaps a fine grind can compensate. That would seem to explain both the data here (which fits with my anecdotal experience...I've never found grind to matter much, except in extreme cases) and the anecdotal evidence of massive bumps in efficiency when the new mill gets unboxed.

In any case, very interesting find Pilgarlic. Sorry I can't add more.
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