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Old 08-13-2009, 05:37 PM   #1
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Default using a mill for cracking grain in kits

I've done a few 5 gal. kits now that indicate the grain should be cracked before steeping in muslin cloth bags at various points in the boil. I've been using a wooden rolling pin and a cutting board, which turns out to be bad for a number of reasons; it puts dimples in the rolling pin, it's really slow, it's a PITA, it doesn't do a very good/consistent job, etc.

I've read through a few of the threads about the corona (/victoria/gorilla) mills and am thinking about getting one since the price seems right for my scale. My question is if that would apply to my situation or not. Most of the discussion in those threads revolve around guys doing all grain brews in large batches. They also refer to the efficiency (which I can't seem to find defined anywhere in the wiki or forum) being affected by the consistency/quality of the grind. Since I don't even know what efficiency is, I don't think this would apply to me (until I do an AG).

Should I just get one and open up the plates to crack the grain and not get a really fine flour? Is there a better method to do what I'm trying to do?

-Z

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Old 08-13-2009, 05:59 PM   #2
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Corona type mills have adjustable grinding plates which would work for just cracking the grains as well. I haven't done a partial mash in a very long time, so as for how much the grain needs to be cracked, I have no idea.

As for efficiency, when used in the context of all grain brewing, the finer the grain is crushed the higher the efficiency, but at a cost of risking a stuck sparge or producing tannins. Efficiency is how much of the available sugars have been extracted from the grain.

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Old 08-13-2009, 06:00 PM   #3
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Yes, a Corona-type is great for extract with specialty grains. Efficiency isn't a concern because the specialty grains are only there for flavor. Set as coarse as you can, the goal is to break each grain into 3-4 pieces.

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Old 08-13-2009, 06:01 PM   #4
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Are you crushing grains for a partial mash kit, or steeping grains for an extract recipe?

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Old 08-13-2009, 06:04 PM   #5
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And since Charlie Papazian gets 87% percent efficiency with his dialed in Corona, that isn't even an issue in the future.

But with all the extract w/steeping grains and PM recipes I ever had filled at my LHBS, they ran the grain through the same large hopper Barley Crusher they use for the AG recipes, and never adjusted the gap...the "crush" was really the same whether I was steeping or not.

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Old 08-13-2009, 06:05 PM   #6
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Most stores will crush the grain for you. Save you the cost of a mill.

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Old 08-13-2009, 06:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BioBeing View Post
Most stores will crush the grain for you. Save you the cost of a mill.

+1 to this. Unless you plan on moving into all grain brewing, I would just let them crush it for you. Especially when efficiencies aren't an issue.
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Old 08-13-2009, 07:47 PM   #8
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I am also brewing extract kits with specialty grains and wonder just how "cracked" the grains need to be to get the flavor they are supposed to add. It isn't real convenient to get down to the LHBS and get it milled so I have just been using the rolling pin method. I put the grains in a heavy duty zip-lock and go at it for about 5 minutes. Is that enough, too much? Inquiring minds want to know...

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Old 08-13-2009, 08:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
the goal is to break each grain into 3-4 pieces.
This seems like a good goal. Since steeping is for flavor and not sugar extraction, I would think davids suggestion is right on.
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Old 08-13-2009, 10:03 PM   #10
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Sounds like I need to up my "go at it level"

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