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Old 12-13-2007, 03:44 AM   #1
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Default Is my crush too fine?

For my last 2 10 gallon brews, I tightened up the spacing on my barley crusher by about 1/8th of a turn. I am mashing in a coleman X-treme 70 quart cooler with a PVC manifold with hack saw slots every 1/4". Since I tightened my crush, I have gone from 75%ish to 85%+ efficiency, but my batch sparges have gotten really slow. Two brews ago, I added 2# of corn that I had laying around and I wanted to get rid of it. I chalked up the slow sparge to the corn. My last brew I had a mix mash of grain that was getting old and wanted to get rid of. About half was year old 2 row, and the rest was 6 row and older caramel. This was very slow sparging as well. Basically, my initial runnoff took 20 minutes, and my batch sparge took 30 minutes after a 10 minute stir and rest. Total sparge time was an hour for both batches. The left over grains were very solidly packed, kind of like tile grout with barley hulls.

My question is, are my slow sparges a result of my finer crush? I really like the efficiency that I am getting, but if my sparges are this slow, I will start fly sparging.

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Old 12-13-2007, 03:46 AM   #2
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It sounds like you might be crushing a bit excessively, but a picture would be worth a thousand words here (if you have one to post, please do). Do you have a lot of flour? Are the hulls pulverized or mostly just split with the contents spilling out?

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Old 12-13-2007, 03:53 AM   #3
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rice hulls

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Old 12-13-2007, 03:57 AM   #4
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It sounds a bit like a crush that is almost too fine, but as long as the run off doesn't stop, I would think it is okay (and +1 on the rice hulls).

I can't speak to batch sparging time since I fly sparge and spend 45 minutes on a 5 gallon batch.

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Old 12-13-2007, 04:01 AM   #5
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Do you take the manifold apart to clean it? I found a ball of corn grits in mine last time I cleaned...... Only I hadn't used any corn in the most recent batch

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Old 12-13-2007, 05:05 AM   #6
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Second vote for rice hulls. Cheap as hell and works great.

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Old 12-13-2007, 09:04 AM   #7
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Do you do a mash out? What's your sparge temp?

I crush as fine as I can (down to .015 gap) and have never had a problem sparging with my manifold, even with a 50% raw wheat bill. I used 1/4 lb of rice hulls last time, but it went so well, I'm going without them next mash.

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Old 12-13-2007, 01:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr x
I crush as fine as I can (down to .015 gap)
Seriously?? Got any pictures of your crush at that kind of setting? Do you get anything but flour? What kind of manifold are you using?

I set my barley crusher down to .035 from .039 a while back and got my first stuck sparge, with no weird adjuncts in the mash... granted that was with a stainless braid which was a bit too short and I've since increased the length of it significantly, but still... I don't see how I could POSSIBLY survive a crush that was less than HALF that gap...
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Old 12-13-2007, 01:05 PM   #9
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I vote for widening your rollers, rather than adding rice hulls. It sounds like you are crushing too finely. Adding rice hulls is working backwards since they cost something, they require you to use more strike water, and they decrease efficiency. Just open up your mill a bit more and see how you do. A lot of brewers get efficiency in the mid-80s without crushing that finely.


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Old 12-13-2007, 03:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funkenjaeger
Seriously?? Got any pictures of your crush at that kind of setting? Do you get anything but flour? What kind of manifold are you using?

I set my barley crusher down to .035 from .039 a while back and got my first stuck sparge, with no weird adjuncts in the mash... granted that was with a stainless braid which was a bit too short and I've since increased the length of it significantly, but still... I don't see how I could POSSIBLY survive a crush that was less than HALF that gap...
http://i13.tinypic.com/4ztlo4g.jpg

Lots of grain particles in there. Flour too. Using a ss slotted manifold.
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