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Old 10-08-2009, 02:13 AM   #1
grahamfw
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Default Grain not crushed enough?

I've just ordered my first batch from Midwest, and I have some concerns about the crush. Anyone had issues with crush from them? I've attached a picture of the grain (from my iphone, not that great, but may get the point across) but to me it seems like the base malt (maris otter) is not crushed hardly at all. It's brittle to the touch and can easily be rubbed between one's fingers to breaking apart, but I didn't know if this would be enough crush for a good mash. Any thoughts?

Thanks!

Graham

grain.jpg  
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Old 10-08-2009, 02:20 AM   #2
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I'm no expert, just got into AG, but I ordered two kits from midwest, and both crushes seemed very coarse. I got improved efficiency (from about 60% to about 69%) the second time after a few differences:

- I crushed about half of the grain with an empty beer bottle (got tired of doing it halfway through)
- Stirred once during the mash (instead of not at all)
- 2 Batch sparges instead of 1
- Stirred between sparges

I'm pretty convinced that the crush was the biggest thing. A lot of the grains weren't opened at all. I wish I'd gone ahead and crushed the rest of the grain well - I suspect I would've gotten into the 70%'s.

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Old 10-08-2009, 02:26 AM   #3
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I tend to agree that it looks a bit under-crushed. You could get a better handle on it if you spread the malt out on a dark surface so it is only about the depth of a single kernel. A good rule of thumb is to see that there are very few intact kernels and those should appear undersized. Also, the malt flour and husks can become segregated during shipping, so be sure that you mix it up well before evaluating it. Not much you can do about it at this point unless you know someone who will let you run it through their mill to get a finer crush. My advice would be to go with what you have and expect a lower efficiency. If the efficiency is way low, consider adding some extract to make up for it. You might also try extending the duration of the mash. That can sometimes help, but there's no guarantee. Midwest is a reputable supplier. Sheet happens as we all know. You might give them a call and let them know about the problem. OTOH, it might be perfectly OK as is. This kind of thing is the main reason I bought my own mill.

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Old 10-08-2009, 02:35 AM   #4
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That looks bad... there have been othes recently that have ordered from Midwest with the same problem, and 50% eff. This is starting to look like a real issue over there at Midwest.

Should look like this

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Old 10-08-2009, 02:47 AM   #5
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That is a fine looking crush Mr Pol. Makes me glad I ordered the BC. What setting do you use. I kind of recall you saying .33? Is that it?

Oh and OP, if the rest of your grist looks like that I would not brew with it. Looks to me like 3/4 of it is whole kernel. Find a way to recrush and ask Midwest to make good on it. They will. They are a good vendor.

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Old 10-08-2009, 03:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Oh and OP, if the rest of your grist looks like that I would not brew with it. Looks to me like 3/4 of it is whole kernel. Find a way to recrush and ask Midwest to make good on it. They will. They are a good vendor.
Good call. I'd find a friend with a crusher (taking grain bought elsewhere to the LHBS seems unethical) or do the tedious thing and spread it all out on a flat surface (I covered my table with aluminum foil) and crush with an empty beer bottle (my 22oz worked nicely). It takes a long time, but it'll do the job.
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:23 AM   #7
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a good marble rolling pin works well too. i wouldn't use a cheap wood one, as the kernels can leave indentations in the wood. its a good thing SWMBO isn't a big baker.

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Old 10-08-2009, 10:33 AM   #8
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My photo above is .036", I have been using .033" recently too.

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Old 10-08-2009, 10:46 AM   #9
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Thanks guys. This is literally my first batch I've purchased not from my LHBS. I am buying the yeast there today to make a starter, so I think stretching the truth a little bit to save feelings might be okay ("a friend purchased a batch for me online but it's not crushed enough..."). I do really like my LHBS so I don't think this will be a big deal to have the re-mill the grain.

I'll shoot off an email to midwest today. Any idea what I should expect? I'm not one of these consumers who goes demanding things left and right for things like this. I'll be the guy at the bar that says they need to toss a glass because it's got a chip in it when many others will want a free beer for being "endangered." Especially considering they crushed it for free, it's not like they could refund that part.

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Old 10-08-2009, 11:04 AM   #10
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I ordered my first two AG kits from MW precrushed. I thought the efficiency was low, too, but never did anything about it. E-MAIL MW and they'll do something about it. Their service is great. After my second kit, I got a Corona mill and started crushing my own; all is well now.

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