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Old 01-24-2007, 06:18 AM   #1
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Default Grain milling question

I am still pretty new to partial mash brews, and I was hoping to get some advice on how fine to mill my grain. I understand that crushing or cracking the grains is the goal, and that milling too fine will lead to problems. As I understand it, a stuck sparge is the biggest problem with milling too fine.

My first question is whether the goal is to mill your grain/malt as fine as possible while avoiding stuck sparges? Second, I gather that stuck sparges are more of an issue with fly sparging, so can batch spargers afford to mill a little finer than continuous spargers? Finally, are there any other substantial problems with milling too fine other than stuck sparges?

Any advice would really be appreciated here -- some of this stuff still doesn't make complete sense to me. Thanks!

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Old 01-24-2007, 06:25 AM   #2
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My first question is whether the goal is to mill your grain/malt as fine as possible while avoiding stuck sparges?

Yes. Ideally you probably want zero intact kernels, just a bit of flour, and plenty of intact husks, cracked apart enough to expose the white goodness inside.

Second, I gather that stuck sparges are more of an issue with fly sparging, so can batch spargers afford to mill a little finer than continuous spargers?

You can still get a stuck sparge when batch sparging, so you probably don't want a more flour in your grist.

Finally, are there any other substantial problems with milling too fine other than stuck sparges?

No. BMC actually mill their grain quite fine and use a more sophisticated system than homebrewers (one I don't fully understand).

Good luck!

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Old 01-24-2007, 01:25 PM   #3
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I go with Denny Conns attitude....crush till it hurts approach. I crush fine and typicially get arond 80 - 85% efficiency according to promash. I never get a stuck sparge even when using flaked adjunts such as oats etc. I batch sparge using a bazooka screen.

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Old 01-24-2007, 11:01 PM   #4
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The only stuck sparges that I have had were caused by either allowing the mash to become too compacted to allow the sparge water to filter through, or by getting an airlock in the drain mechanism.
Both are fairly easy to prevent.
The airlock problem only occurs if you have a domed false bottom where the outlet rises vertically from the center of the dome. It can be prevented by adding foundation water before adding the grain, and then purging any air from the outlet by draining out a small amount of this water to prime the lines with water before the grains are added.
Compaction can be avoided by not draining so much wort during the sparge that the weight of the grains is not supported by water. (This is true for fly more than batch sparging.) With batch sparging, you stir the grains after each batch of sparge water, which will unstick things by re suspending the grain in the water.

Hope this helps

-a.

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Old 01-25-2007, 02:05 AM   #5
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Thanks guys -- that's all great advice and exactly what I was looking for!

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