BIAB: Low efficiency?

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Ogri

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Those look more like just cracked than crushed.

You can pick up a corona mill, as cheap as chips. ( http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_s...+grinder+mill&sprefix=corn+grinder,garden,575 ) The one I'm using really tears up and shreds the grain which works great for BIAB and yielded really good efficiency on my two BIAB/AG brews to date.

Oh, and another +1 for the guys over at BIABrewer.com. Really enthusiastic and very helpful.
 
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bradfordmonk

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if you don't have access to a grain mill either yourself or local homebrew shop (they'd more than likely allow you to run some grain through for you), otherwise I'd say to contact Midwest. I wouldn't brew with those grains, as you are going to have same problem with efficiency.

i bought myself a corona mill, works great. hand cranking is a workout, but i don't brew all the time (but may change more frequently with buying bulk grains). Don't know if it's annoying enough to want to attach a drill to it.

I bought mine from Walmart (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Weston-Cereal-and-Multi-Grain-Mill/14223932). They ship free to store or free to a FedEx location. And it was fast for me, ordered it, had it in 2 days. The Weston one even has a sticker on the box that says "Great for homebrew." haha

Definetly wash them with soapy water before use and rinse well (because mine smelled like oil a bit). Then dry good, I threw mine in the dish washer with just heat dry on (don't wash it in dish washer).
 

fizgig

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Thanks guys, I think I'll actually spring for the barley crusher, knowing how I am, I would probably end up upgrading in a few months and letting the corona mill rust in the garage. Sorry to highjack your thread but it was pretty much the exact same issue I had and I figured keeping all the info/replies in one spot would make sense, I have contacted Midwest, waiting on a reply.

Update: Midwest has taken care of me, thanks again everyone.
 

midwestsupplies

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Thanks guys, I think I'll actually spring for the barley crusher, knowing how I am, I would probably end up upgrading in a few months and letting the corona mill rust in the garage. Sorry to highjack your thread but it was pretty much the exact same issue I had and I figured keeping all the info/replies in one spot would make sense, I have contacted Midwest, waiting on a reply.

Update: Midwest has taken care of me, thanks again everyone.
Glad to hear that everything was taken care of. Sorry that there was an issue to begin with.

Good luck with your future brewing endeavors!

~ Nick
 

johns

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I am having the same problem. So I am perplexed as to why my efficiency is lacking and I am hoping someone here can give me some advice as to what I am doing wrong. I am thinking it’s the crush and maybe it’s not fine enough. The following is the basic recipe used.

I crushed the grains from 030, to 028 and double crushed at 028. Did a 90 minute mash stirred at the doe in until there was no doe balls. Preheated oven to 155 f, but the pot inside the oven and stirred again at 45, and 90 minute mark. After that I did a rest at under 170 (165 to 170) f, for another ten minutes. At which time I took two coffee cups and squeezed the hell out of the grain bag. The grain bag sat on a large strainer over the pot. The wort was raised to boiling temps and added hop additions as per recipe.

2 lbs 12.4 oz 2 row
11.1 oz Vienna
6 oz 10L
I am using 2-05 but I think that’s irrelevant.

The hop additions are at 60, 30 and at the flame out. It’s a 2 gallon batch. I am also conduction an experiment with different hops so I am in the middle of making 3 more batches of this beer.

My BeerSmith says that I should have a OG of 1.052 but my measurement was at 1.042. This happened on both batches of beer have made so far. Again one batch was with a mill gap of 032 and the other was at 028 using my new barley crusher.
On these batches I am using a 14 diameter pot for a 60 minutes boil.
I added 3.9 gallons of spring water. I have used this water before and since it’s bottled from the store I do not suspect there are any PH issues here. I also know this because I have never had problems with PH yet and all oh my batches have fermented out. Given that I expect to lose 1.25 gallons to the boil, 0.60 to trub (I understand the trub from the grain bill might be almost double and I just guess at this amount), and the rest for grain absorption, should have put me somewhere near my target efficiency rate of 75%

Can someone help me discover my mistake? Is there anything I can do differently to get my numbers up a bit higher, aside from sparging with warm water?

Also what is the proper milling gap used to achieve the highest efficiency. People write and say various things anywhere from 020 to 030 and that’s a big difference. Maybe it’s just a guess, I am not really sure, but I would like something more definitive then these numbers I have seen.
 

RM-MN

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The highest efficiency is when everything is ground to flour. It's called a congress mash and I don't think even BIAB can deal with that fine material but that is where the math for efficiency is take from. A congress mash should convert 100% of the starch to sugars. For your BIAB you want the crush as fine as your mill can handle without having problems feeding the grain. You may have to adjust the rollers wider for the first crush and then tighten them up. This may not be worth your time as adding a little more grain to compensate for less than the highest efficiency would not cost very much. Lots of people would caution you against "chasing efficiency" and instead shoot for reasonable efficiency and consistency.
 
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bradfordmonk

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Just got my order from Midwest, crush is way way better this time (looks completely different than first time). Seems like they'll be paying closer attention to grain milling in the future. Thanks folks for replies and Midwest for the replies as well.

WP_20130221_011.jpg
 

tonyc318

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So glad I came across this thread tonight. I'm planning a brew on Saturday and I just re- inspected my grains. I ordered frame MoreBeer. Last batch I did I got 65% when I had been getting 75% with NB grains. The ingredients for this weekends brew are from MoreBeer and the crush isn't fine enough for BIAB. So I called up my neighbor who has a grain mill. I'm going to head over tomorrow to run the grain through again. Hooray!
 
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bradfordmonk

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So glad I came across this thread tonight. I'm planning a brew on Saturday and I just re- inspected my grains. I ordered frame MoreBeer. Last batch I did I got 65% when I had been getting 75% with NB grains. The ingredients for this weekends brew are from MoreBeer and the crush isn't fine enough for BIAB. So I called up my neighbor who has a grain mill. I'm going to head over tomorrow to run the grain through again. Hooray!
yea, its probably just more that so much grain goes through them, that they just get out of whack if not paid close attention to. But its good they are made aware of issues so they can fix and prevent them from happening.
 

tonyc318

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bradfordmonk said:
yea, its probably just more that so much grain goes through them, that they just get out of whack if not paid close attention to. But its good they are made aware of issues so they can fix and prevent them from happening.
I just sent them an email to let them know. MoreBeer has been really good on the customer service end anytime I've contacted them. Good advice to let the vendor know about the issue so they can address it.
 
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bradfordmonk

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Plus, to add to it, most of these places are open to public, not sure how they are but I know my LHBS allows people to crush their own grain, and I guess they could change settings and then next person uses the mill and aren't paying attention.


would help if online places offered different levels of crush. Probably would be a pain to monitor and may cause more trouble than worth.
 

tonyc318

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I know NB usually will double crush for you if you ask while ordering. Even if shops keep a standard setting, double crush makes a difference.
 

Nimbus

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I ordered a Barley Crusher with the large hopper early in my all grain career. I batch sparged for about a year and have since switched to BIAB doing 10 gal batches and love it. I can't see going back. I also had poor efficiency at the beginning and it was definately related to my crush. I tried double crushing working from my standard batch sparge crush settings and didn't see much difference. Once I adjusted the mills to crush finer I hit my numbers. One caveat though. I started to experience free spinning of the rollers especially with a full hopper. The rollers just weren't picking up the grain. Reversing the drill direction slowly, not enough to loosen my drill chuck, would fix it but it became too fussy for my liking. I backed off on the roller settings just a little and the problem went away. Just thought I'd mention that.

If homebrew store crush doesn't get you all the way there you can always just up the base grain, leaving the adjuncts the same and that should work. You can do some trial and error but you'll never have complete control until you start crushing in house. This also allows you to buy 50 lb sacks of base grain for much less $, store it uncrushed and pull from it for months and months.

Having some DME on hand is also helpful. You can check your preboil gravity at the 15 minute mark. That's when I put in my Irish Moss and immersion chiller and adjust if necessary but since I bought Beersmith software and dialed in my brewery settings things seem to go so much more smooth. Haven't had to tweak gravity in a long time even with brand new recipes.

Hope this helps!
Cheers,
Nimbus
 

johns

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I ordered a Barley Crusher with the large hopper early in my all grain career. I batch sparged for about a year and have since switched to BIAB doing 10 gal batches and love it. I can't see going back. I also had poor efficiency at the beginning and it was definately related to my crush. I tried double crushing working from my standard batch sparge crush settings and didn't see much difference. Once I adjusted the mills to crush finer I hit my numbers. One caveat though. I started to experience free spinning of the rollers especially with a full hopper. The rollers just weren't picking up the grain. Reversing the drill direction slowly, not enough to loosen my drill chuck, would fix it but it became too fussy for my liking. I backed off on the roller settings just a little and the problem went away. Just thought I'd mention that.

If homebrew store crush doesn't get you all the way there you can always just up the base grain, leaving the adjuncts the same and that should work. You can do some trial and error but you'll never have complete control until you start crushing in house. This also allows you to buy 50 lb sacks of base grain for much less $, store it uncrushed and pull from it for months and months.

Having some DME on hand is also helpful. You can check your preboil gravity at the 15 minute mark. That's when I put in my Irish Moss and immersion chiller and adjust if necessary but since I bought Beersmith software and dialed in my brewery settings things seem to go so much more smooth. Haven't had to tweak gravity in a long time even with brand new recipes.

Hope this helps!
Cheers,
Nimbus
Just the guy I want to talk to. I also have a barley crusher, and I am interested in what you gap is set at. I have been getting people that tell me from anything from double crush at 036, to 020 and that is a really big difference. Some even say the finer the better. Others insist that flower like crushed barley tends to have astringincy problems. So whats your recomendation?
 
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bradfordmonk

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I have a corona mill, so I will have control over in the future. MW and NB are still good options, especially when the LHBS tend to be more expensive for just about everything, but I like going in there every once in a while to support them or last minute things.
 

Nimbus

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johns,

Sorry about this less than scientific attempt to help, this would be so much easier if I could find my spark plug guages but here's some photos. I know they're in the garage somewhere. Maybe behind the snowblower? Wait, I live in Florida WTF is that snowblower doing in my garage? Who's house is this?

I digress.

I'd guestimate a 1mm gap or so? It was probably about .5 mm that caused my problem with the rollers not grabbing the grain kernels. My batch sparge days were done using the default gap set by the manufacturer, you can see the line on the roller setting so I really haven't increased all that much.

For whatever it's worth I attended a BIAB seminar at the NHC in Seattle last year and the sentiment of the presenter was crush away and don't worry about pulverized hulls effecting astringency. He also gave the comforting news, backed by some reasearch by he and others that you don't need to rinse the grains. Just dunk, wait for conversion and drain with a squeeze or two. I suspend the bag over my boil pot with a simple pully system and as soon as the bag is clear I start the boil, squeeze 3 times until the boil starts rolling then swing the bag from over the boil pot. No need to rinse that bag, just some squeezin. That's what I heard and that's what I had been doing so it was somewhat gratifying to hear someone on a podium support my method.

I would add that visibly, there wasn't a whole lot of difference when I cranked down the crush, A little more flour for sure but the husks were still intact, certainly not pulverized.

Hope this helps.

Nimbus

crush1.jpg


crush2.jpg
 

tonyc318

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Took my grains for tomorrow over to my neighbors to re crush them. He also noticed that the grains weren't sufficiently crushed. He's been brewing since the early 80's and I trust his advice. Once getting some grain through his mill I noticed an immediate difference. Should be able to get a good efficiency tomorrow. Will report back about that. I believe the neighbor has his mill set at .5mm
 

Ogri

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Just posting to, brag a little and;), champion the causes of the lowly Corona mill:fro:

Did a BIAB batch of IPA last night and, according to beercalculus, ended up with a mash efficiency of 83%:ban::rockin::mug:

Didn't take very long to hand crank the grain bill; 2.6 kg of Maris Otter, 250 g Crystal 70L and 29 g of chocolate wheat. Started after turning on the gas and was done well before the stove managed to get the water up to strike temp.
 
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bradfordmonk

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I'm thinking I'll be better with efficiency this time with new grains, I'll report back when I do. I won't be able to brew til next weekend. Didn't have time to make yeast starter to do it this weekend unfortunately.
 

tonyc318

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Glad I double crushed with the neighbors mill yesterday. Ended up with 74% on a 10 gal BIAB batch. Maxed out my keggle! I'm not sure I will do many more 10 gallon batches. Takes longer. But a good brew day.
 
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bradfordmonk

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I just redid my beer. Today I got 80%+ (about 81.95% by the calculators online) efficiency. So grain crush is a big part of this.
 

jtswkd

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I use my LHBS's standard crush and just got 72% out of a really big (1.101 SG) RIS. The same recipe people were getting 50-60% on and blaming BIAB, but thats not the case. I've also had great luck with NB's double crush.

I just dough in, stir at the 20 min mark and then let it ride until 75-90 mins are up, no mash out. The I stir really good, pull it out and squeeze what I can then call it good.

That RIS was tough though, I didn't rig up my usual pulley system and just used my arms for the 20lbs of wet grain, that sucked!

I also just use filtered tap water, and I am out in the phoenix area which is not known for great water.

Just hit your temps, mash a little longer and stir!
 
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bradfordmonk

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I think I am going to move to heating up the water and then lining my cooler with the voile and doing the BIAB Mash in the cooler. Or figuring something else out for the winter time.
 

MikeyLXT

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I will chip in with the "It is all about the crush" and "go to your LHBS" group. MY 1st two BIAB batches were from AHS and I had efficiency in the mid 50s. The crush didn't look very good (i had requested a 'double crush') but seeing as this was my 1st experience I didn't know better either.

For my 2nd batch I got 10 lbs of Maris Otter from my LHBS. They set the mill fine and after the 1st run....holly crush batman it looked 10x better then the orders from AHS. I got 83% efficiency with that batch and actually added some additional hops.

Not that I didn't already loves my LHBS but now I love them even more.
 
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bradfordmonk

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oh yea, i also burn my voile bag to the outside of my pot too, so definetly going to the traditional cooler to mash in.

my plan is, have a cooler with kettle screen and valve installed, line cooler with voile, mash, sparge, done.
 

mcbaumannerb

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oh yea, i also burn my voile bag to the outside of my pot too, so definetly going to the traditional cooler to mash in.

my plan is, have a cooler with kettle screen and valve installed, line cooler with voile, mash, sparge, done.
This would more typically be called a mash-tun :D If you go that far just put a bazooka screen or a false bottom in and just don't use the bag anymore. :mug:
 
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bradfordmonk

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This would more typically be called a mash-tun :D If you go that far just put a bazooka screen or a false bottom in and just don't use the bag anymore. :mug:
yup, i figured if i kept the voile from the biab method, this would help me still be able to keep my crush a little finer and not have to worry about stuck sparges to have the voile as protector number 1 and the kettle screen as protector number 2.

does that make sense?
 

newnick

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Got a kit in today from Midwest and the crush looks alot better than the last two kits I've gotten. I asked them to double crush and it looks like they did.
 
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bradfordmonk

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Got a kit in today from Midwest and the crush looks alot better than the last two kits I've gotten. I asked them to double crush and it looks like they did.
good to hear they took some feedback and improved the process :mug:
 
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