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Old 11-28-2012, 06:33 PM   #1
wfred
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Default Setting a Monster Mill Correctly

All:

I have been getting consistently low efficiency since I began brewing all grain. I have a 10 gallon cooler setup and I fly sparge. I have tried every trick I have been recommended from lengthening my sparge time to batch sparging and haven't seen any significant changes.

Normally I buy my grain and build my own recipes but I wound up ordering a kit from Northern Brewer and had it crushed by mistake. When I brewed that batch, my efficiency went up closer to 78% from the 65% or so I have been getting. I fly sparged that batch for 60 minutes and did everything else essentially the same as what I would normally do except for the fact that this was a kit that was crushed at Northern Brewer.

Now I feel like I have isolated my problem, it appears that I am not getting the correct crush on my grain and therefore am not getting complete conversion and am getting low efficiency. I have a Monster Mill MM2 with the hopper. I use a 1/2" Milwaukee corded drill to power the grinder. I haven't adjusted this mill since I bought it earlier this year.

Am I on the right track and if so, how do I dial in my mill to get better efficiency without crushing my grain too far and causing new problems?

Thanks,

Fred

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Old 11-28-2012, 06:46 PM   #2
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With only 2 rollers you'll want to mill it twice. Set the gap using feeler gauges to .040 inches and your efficiency should go up. I had a three roller monster and it was very unstable. Eventually sent it back for a cranken...

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Old 11-28-2012, 06:48 PM   #3
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A closeup picture of your crush would be helpful.

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Old 11-28-2012, 07:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enricocoron View Post
With only 2 rollers you'll want to mill it twice.
That is a completely false statement with a properly gapped 2 roller mill. Maybe because you're used to using an LHBS mill which are usually not very tight so milling twice helps. I've always used a 2 roller mill and when set with the right gap I've never had to mill twice. I average 80-85% batch sparging on all my beers.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:57 PM   #5
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I know I'm in the minority, but I set my gap as close as I can on the MM until it binds and then back it off just a bit. I crush as fine as I can get it. I've never used feeler gauges for setting it.

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Old 11-28-2012, 08:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enricocoron View Post
With only 2 rollers you'll want to mill it twice. Set the gap using feeler gauges to .040 inches and your efficiency should go up.
As Cmiyc stated, this is wrong. You don't need to mill it twice, simply tighten the gap. it's easy to do, you loosen the two set screws on the second (non-driven roller) side and adjust with the knurled knobs to move the roller closer. For now, if you don't have feeler gauges you can use an old credit card, I say old because the rollers will scratch the magnetic strip up. Tighten the knobs until they grip up against the card then tighten the screws. Be sure the rollers still move smoothly and look even. This gap setting will be right about 0.030 which I have my barley Crusher set to and I get 81% efficiency every single time I brew only barley based batches - being wheat is a much smaller kernel I've had varying efficiency and will be tightening my mill when I need to mill wheat.


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Old 11-28-2012, 08:19 PM   #7
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An interesting method for mill gap setting that I found on the Probrewers board.

Pass a short piece of brazing solder through the mill and then measure the total thickness of the deformed solder. The thickness values I've seen quoted from the pros that use this range from 1.6 to 1.9 mm. That reflects the depth of the valleys in the knurling as well as the roller offset.

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Old 11-28-2012, 08:34 PM   #8
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mabrungard - that is probably a better way to measure anyways due to variations in knurling. Also, on some mills the knurling is more like spikes, that wear off over time.

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Old 11-29-2012, 01:56 PM   #9
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Wow, thanks for all the help. There is no doubt that my mill is set incorrectly, I bet I could drop 2 credit cards between the rollers and they wouldn't even touch. I'm going to get a yeast starter up and running and brew sometime by the weekend to see how much these mill adjustments help my efficiency.

Thanks everybody,

Fred

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Old 11-29-2012, 03:02 PM   #10
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Wfred - Good news/bad news:

Bad news is - there is no magic number for gap settting that works for everyone. Let's consider 3 different systems: barley crusher/rectangular cooler MLT w/braid; Corona Mill/keggle & false bottom; MM3 2.0 & blichmann 15 gallon button louvered false bottom.

Each of those systems will have different flow capacity (which drives husk integrity requirement) and each mill can only get so tight before it shreds the husks to oblivion. It's only logical that each system would need it's own gap setting.


Good news is, your mill is a piece of cake to adjust!

Id start with a credit card or feeler gauge if you have it. You need to get the rollers 100% parallel (each end of the rollers want to be the same space apart). If the rollers aren't aligned, it could lead to binding (esp at finer gaps) and uneven crush.

Once you have the rollers aligned, make tick marks on each side to mark this [starting] point. You can then loosen the thumb screws (these should never be more than finger tight) and begin the process of adjusting your mill.

I like to tighten the mill ever so slightly (the tick marks should barely deviate per each adjustment) and then tighten the thumb screws. Then I run about 1 cup of grain through and inspect the crush. Repeat this process until you can visually see that your husks are starting to lose their integrity.

You might want to have a pound or so of rice hulls on hand for your first session after the adjustment. If you went too fine, you might get a stuck mash and the rice hulls will be a life saver. If this is the case, simply go back to the mill and back it off a little - this adjustment will be very intuitive after your initial trial as you will be familiarized already.

People get so wrapped around the axle on some gap number as if someone else's setting is best for them. You have an adjustable mill - ADJUST IT! If there was a best number, mills would come pre-set that way haha.

Cheers,
~j

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