Please check my crush?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

brewinaround

Active Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Messages
34
Reaction score
4
Location
Seattle
Could a few of you more experienced in efficiency chime in on how my crush looks?
Seem to be sticking around 65% on my extracting and would like to bump that figure. Starting with the crush.

I believe the gap setting is at .039 on a Barley Crusher.

 

stlbasementbrewer

Active Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
36
Reaction score
21
Location
St. Louis
Efficiency can be effected by a lot of different factors. Crush definitely being one. Your crush looks pretty good, but we would need to know a lot more about your brewing processes to really help with your efficiency. Sparge method and temps can effect a lot as well. Also freshness of grain and wether or not you are getting full conversion. A bad thermometer can effect your gravity as much as crush. It's a loaded question.
 

Braufessor

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
4,195
Reaction score
1,845
Location
NE Iowa
yeah..... that crush looks way better than 65% to me.

*Mash pH
*Water to grain (1.25-1.5 qts per lb.... not counting any dead space)
*Make sure grain is mixed very well - no dough balls.
*Temp. Holding in that 150-155 range for the full hour.
*Bringing that temp up to 165 or so when you are mashing out and stirring the grain up well to get the sugars to flow out when sparging.


Those would be a few initial thoughts to consider.
 

northcal

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2013
Messages
398
Reaction score
47
Location
Central valley
Your crush looks OK, but I would run it through your mill another time just to be sure to rule that out as a problem.

I noticed that slower fly sparging helped my efficiency quite a bit (all grain).

Good luck to you.
 

Braufessor

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
4,195
Reaction score
1,845
Location
NE Iowa
I also agree that your crush is "ok" but could be finer...... Mine would compare to Gavin's or a bit less and my eff. is about 85%. I use 1 pass in Monster Mill at .035

You should still be doing better than 65% though in my opinion. So, there could be a few variables at play.
 
OP
B

brewinaround

Active Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Messages
34
Reaction score
4
Location
Seattle
yeah..... that crush looks way better than 65% to me.

*Mash pH
*Water to grain (1.25-1.5 qts per lb.... not counting any dead space)
*Make sure grain is mixed very well - no dough balls.
*Temp. Holding in that 150-155 range for the full hour.
*Bringing that temp up to 165 or so when you are mashing out and stirring the grain up well to get the sugars to flow out when sparging.


Those would be a few initial thoughts to consider.

I rarely bring the temp up to 165 to mash out nor do i stir the mash before initial draining. Is this a common practice? I definitely stir when i sparge but hadn't thought to do it for the initial draining.

As for dead space, i'm pretty sure i have about .75 gallons.
 

stpug

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
3,821
Reaction score
766
brewinaround, you crush looks decent and probably in the 65% range based on my system. In other words, it looks like a coarse crush that should net you in the 60-70% range but give a super easy lauter. My crush is quite a bit finer with more flour and I net ~84% BK efficiency (batch sparging) but I do have to watch the speed of my lauter to as not to stick my mash. I would do like Gavin did and run it twice, then brew with it. Find out what kind of bump in efficiency percentage you get and decide if you like the differences (pros/cons) of the finer crush.
 

Conan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2008
Messages
744
Reaction score
42
Location
Cheektowaga, NY
It's an effective crush, but finer wouldn't hurt. My barley crusher takes two passes, and the first comes out like yours. Do you batch sparge or fly? What's your manifold design?
Too fine and you'll play hell during runoff.
I sometimes stir before runoff, sometimes don't, and haven't noticed a difference in efficiency while batch sparging. I also don't mash out beyond the temp increase while striking sparge water. Kyle
 

blizz81

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2008
Messages
954
Reaction score
326
Location
Omaha, NE
I rarely bring the temp up to 165 to mash out nor do i stir the mash before initial draining. Is this a common practice? I definitely stir when i sparge but hadn't thought to do it for the initial draining.

I batch sparge, don't mash out, and don't stir before draining first runnings (just when adding sparge water) and am right around 80% brewhouse efficiency these days.


Answer your own question: the main reason to get a mill vs. crush at LHBS is to be able to measure and adjust your crush. If all else stays the same, try dialing your crush down and see what happens.
 

Braufessor

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
4,195
Reaction score
1,845
Location
NE Iowa
The main reason I heat mine up is that I can direct fire my mash tun, and I have some dead space under my mash screen, so I don't have to worry about scorching grain. So, toward the end of the mash I turn on the flame and recirculate (by hand with a small pot) the wort from the bottom to the top of the grain bed. This serves a few purposes:
1.) It clears the wort of husk material
2.) It warms up the wort so it comes to a boil more quickly in the kettle
3.) It seems to thin out the wort and it flows a bit better at 160's than it does as it falls into 140's.

I also stir the top 1/2 of the grain bed while I am sparging. Basically, I do some sort of hybrid batch/fly sparge. I am fly sparging as fast as I can get water onto the grain bed, and draining at the same speed. I stir the top part of the grain to keep it from compacting and also to keep the sugar mixed in with the sparge water ...... keeping pH more stable. But, the whole "sparge" process I use is pretty quick. 60 minute mash. 5 minutes of recirculating and heating. (I shut the mash tun burner off when my mash hits low 160's). Fly/batch sparge to collect 8 gallons of wort ...... this takes about 10-12 minutes I would say.

A lot of brewing is sort of playing around and adjusting to your own system. I would definitely start by trying for a finer crush and see where that gets you (it is the simplest thing to try). You will likely need to balance a finer crush with the ability of your system to not have a stuck sparge. Trial and Error..... repeat.
 
Top