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Old 08-22-2011, 04:22 PM   #1
neomantra
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Default Check your barley crusher's gap!

I've been fighting efficiency issues ever since starting AG brewing. I had carefully followed the advice of Denny and Bobby and many of the other regulars here on HBT but was still just barely managing 65-70% on my beers.
I'd bought a grain mill and hoped that would finally solve my problem but it didn't so I continued to mess with all sorts of other variables to no avail.

Finally this week I started looking into setting the gap on my barley crusher to a tighter setting even though lots of people say they just use the default with great success. As it turns out the thing wasn't set evenly out of the box. Instead of the expected .039 setting I found it was more like .042 on one end and .044 on the other. I tightened it down to .035 on both sides and even despite some temperature control issues this weekend I hit 83%.

Moral of the story...check the setting with a feeler gauge even if your mill is brand new. It could save you a lot of headache later on.



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Old 08-22-2011, 04:25 PM   #2
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Thanks! Should be getting my mill in the next month or two.

I'm also using the BIAB method and plan to narrow the gap even further.



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Old 08-22-2011, 06:07 PM   #3
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Just a heads up, a credit card thickness is typically .030", so a slightly loose fit would likely put you close to .035".

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Old 08-22-2011, 07:12 PM   #4
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got my BC last year and checked the gap right away, .039 on one side and .043 on the other. reset to about .036 and get 72-75%

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Old 08-22-2011, 09:29 PM   #5
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My barley crusher was also off and out of parallel. Didn't use it before checking. After about 10 or so 12 gallon batches I checked it and it had come out of adjustment again. If I were you, I would add this to your routine brewing calibrations.

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Old 08-22-2011, 09:32 PM   #6
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Im getting 60% or so using the mill at a small local HBS....I wonder what theirs is set to I may check this out because I'm consistently way below 75%.

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Old 08-22-2011, 10:03 PM   #7
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So while efficiency is really important, the more important thing is for you to be able to consistently hit the same efficiency time and time again. With that being said, look at grain conditioning. A grain condition with a double decoction I hit 97%. Also learn decoction mashing, you start doing that and crushing really fine with intact hulls I think I crush at about .025.

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Old 08-22-2011, 10:18 PM   #8
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My mill is set at .028" and I condition the malt. Never get below 90% efficiency but I also make sure mash pH is good and that conversion has finished. I've lautered from 1 to 2 quarts per minute and see a ~3% difference in efficiency, faster being less efficient of course.

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Old 08-22-2011, 10:31 PM   #9
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I used mine right out of the box and got in the 80's

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Old 08-22-2011, 11:24 PM   #10
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60% is typical for a LHBS grind. You can "cheat" by grinding it twice, if they let you grind your own.

My BC got 81% yesterday with a 0.036 gap, batch sparged.



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