Do I need to crush chocolate/crystal rye?

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AlexKay

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As the title says. I'm lazy, and don't want to adjust my mill for a small amount of specialty grain. Is it the end of the world if my chocolate/crystal rye doesn't get milled fine enough (or at all)? My thinking is that since they're for flavor and color and not starch conversion, simply soaking in the mash water might get good enough extraction. Set me straight if necessary.
 

PCABrewing

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Try an experiment.
Two separate cups of water at your intended steeping temperature.
In one dump a teaspoon of un-crushed grain.
In the other a teaspoon of crushed (use a rolling pin if you don't want to change the mill)
Give them equal time steeping and then taste both.
If you are satisfied that you get sufficient flavor from the un-crushed then you have your answer.

Personally I doubt you will come to that conclusion, but I may be wrong.:rolleyes:
 
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AlexKay

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Challenge accepted. I did side-by-side steeps, each 5 g of chocolate rye in 8 ounces of water for 60 minutes. Sample on the left was crushed at 0.018”, sample on the right uncrushed.

026B82B8-4BF0-4C71-A702-B9B6D091042B.jpeg


Conclusion is that a 60-minute steep is not long enough to extract everything from uncrushed grain. Interestingly, despite the color difference, the two samples didn’t taste too dissimilar.

I guess I’ll be adjusting my mill gap more often from now on.
 

sibelman

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Another possible experiment: instead of crushed vs whole, what about crushed at the "correct" gap vs crushed at the base malt gap you don't really want to mess with. This second thing works well for me, btw. Maybe not ideal crush, but very functional and way better than no crush.

Cheers.
 

PCABrewing

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Challenge accepted. I did side-by-side steeps, each 5 g of chocolate rye in 8 ounces of water for 60 minutes. Sample on the left was crushed at 0.018”, sample on the right uncrushed.

View attachment 751564

Conclusion is that a 60-minute steep is not long enough to extract everything from uncrushed grain. Interestingly, despite the color difference, the two samples didn’t taste too dissimilar.

I guess I’ll be adjusting my mill gap more often from now on.
That color difference is more than I expected.
The taste might have been greater with more grain in the same water. Then you might have been able to perceive more of a difference.
 
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AlexKay

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Another possible experiment: instead of crushed vs whole, what about crushed at the "correct" gap vs crushed at the base malt gap you don't really want to mess with. This second thing works well for me, btw. Maybe not ideal crush, but very functional and way better than no crush.

Cheers.
Oh, totally, especially since my BIAB crush is 0.032” for barley. It’s certainly going to be a matter of degree, and not the stark difference between fine and no crush. But I went for the stark difference because I wanted to see if, in principle, the crush doesn’t matter at all for steeped chocolate rye. Seems like it does.
 
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AlexKay

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That color difference is more than I expected.
The taste might have been greater with more grain in the same water. Then you might have been able to perceive more of a difference.
Don’t quote me on the lack of taste difference … oh wait. But I did a pretty imprecise side by side, not a blind triangle or something like that. Taste could very well be different to someone with a finer palate.
 
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