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Old 09-11-2007, 07:06 AM   #1
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Default grain crush

Well I did my first AG beer last week... It was probably more than I ever should have tried for an AG... but I wanted to.

I think my efficiency was pretty low. With an expected OG of 1.045 and what I got was 1.036 after correcting for temp. I have been reading a bit and thinking about the whole experience and I think it may have to do with the grain crush. I bought the grain at the LHBS.... and while they are friendly.... I have never met anyone that knows anything about brewing... they just carry the stuff.

Anyways I get 4lbs of 2row 3lbs wheat 1lb 10L

I had to crush it myself as they were clueless... and while it didn't seem difficult at the time, I now realize I really didn't know what I was doing either.

So... What is the correct way to crush grain. How far apart should the rollers be? Different grains crushed differently?
Also, I have no idea what type of mill it was... I've never seen pictures like it on here before.

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Old 09-11-2007, 12:24 PM   #2
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Back when I used the mill at me LHBS, I would run it through twice. I don't know what their setting was, but if I only did it once, my efficiency would drop to about 60%. I now have a Barley Crusher that is at the factory default of 0.39" and I typically get around 80-82%. Try crushing twice with that mill, or get one that you can personally maintain.

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Old 09-11-2007, 12:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff
Back when I used the mill at me LHBS, I would run it through twice. I don't know what their setting was, but if I only did it once, my efficiency would drop to about 60%. I now have a Barley Crusher that is at the factory default of 0.39" and I typically get around 80-82%. Try crushing twice with that mill, or get one that you can personally maintain.
Also make sure to examine all your other processes. A low efficiency on your first AG is more likely than not, even if you have a great crush.

If you happened to keep notes on your process (temps, volumes, times...etc.) someone here may be able to help identify another area where you lost some efficiency.
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Old 09-11-2007, 04:35 PM   #4
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Assuming that you ran off 6.5 gallon into the boil kettle and boiled down to 5.5 gallons. Those grains with 75% efficiancy only calculate out to about an OG of 1.040, from what I came up with. Like i said I am just tossing out the boil volumes so let me know if i am wrong on them, but looks like you got somewhere in the range of ~65% Efficincy, IMHO not bad for a first all-grain. But Like BM said look at the rest of your process too, and I second the milling of the graiins twice.

Cheers

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Old 09-11-2007, 09:33 PM   #5
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Well I used 3.5 gallons for mashing and 3gallons to sparge with. I did only crush it once... and I don't know the width of the rollers, but it looked like it would be fine. It was adjustable though... so.

Process was the 3.5gallons and grain for an hour at 152. Drain that, then sparge water heated to 170 and pour that in the MLT stirred it good, let it set for 5-10mins and drained that. 60min boil got somewhere around 5.5 when done.

Also I was using qbrew to come up with the amount of grains I wanted. It says it's set for 75% efficiency. Maybe it's calculations are a bit off, or I missed something else.

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Old 09-11-2007, 10:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z987k
Well I used 3.5 gallons for mashing and 3gallons to sparge with. I did only crush it once... and I don't know the width of the rollers, but it looked like it would be fine. It was adjustable though... so.

Process was the 3.5gallons and grain for an hour at 152. Drain that, then sparge water heated to 170 and pour that in the MLT stirred it good, let it set for 5-10mins and drained that. 60min boil got somewhere around 5.5 when done.

Also I was using qbrew to come up with the amount of grains I wanted. It says it's set for 75% efficiency. Maybe it's calculations are a bit off, or I missed something else.
First thing I see is you mashed with too much water and sparged with too little.

You used 8#'s of grain? Do 1.25 Quarts per pound for your initial mash.

8 x 1.25 = 10 quarts / 4 = 2.5 gallons of mash water.

Then do a double sparge with about 2.5 gallons each. Then just boil down to your 5.5 gallons of post boil.

My guess is that you left a lot of sugars behind and a second sparge would have made all the difference.
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:23 PM   #7
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Didn't really read the whole thread because I'm lazy, but I heard a great rule for crushing. I believe it was Denny Conn: Crush 'tikk you're scared

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Old 09-12-2007, 06:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher
First thing I see is you mashed with too much water and sparged with too little.

You used 8#'s of grain? Do 1.25 Quarts per pound for your initial mash.

8 x 1.25 = 10 quarts / 4 = 2.5 gallons of mash water.

Then do a double sparge with about 2.5 gallons each. Then just boil down to your 5.5 gallons of post boil.

My guess is that you left a lot of sugars behind and a second sparge would have made all the difference.
Thanks, will do! but 2.5 mash + 2.5 x 2 for each sparge is 7.5? Don't I need more around 6.5 pre-boil?
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z987k
Thanks, will do! but 2.5 mash + 2.5 x 2 for each sparge is 7.5? Don't I need more around 6.5 pre-boil?
Depends on your boil off rate, I usually collect right at 7 gals... you can do a sparge of 2 x 2, 2 x 2.25, etc., won't make a huge difference, you can even do a sparge of 1x4 or 1x4.5. Just make sure you boil down to what you need. Tonight I collected almost 10 gals preboil because wanted to make sure to rinse every bit of sugar... I was doing a very important, high gravity beer with 15lbs of grain though. I wound up boiling for almost 3 hours to get down to 6 gallons. But I hit 85% efficiency.
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Old 09-12-2007, 11:42 AM   #10
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I try to end up with 6.4 in my pot, so I always mash with 1.25 quarts per pound and lose .5 gallon to dead space and absorption. I then usually end up sparging with around 3-4 gallons, depending on how much grain I'm using.

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