Stuck Mash

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

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

Teufelhunde

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2020
Messages
434
Reaction score
365
A little background first. I am relatively new to All grain, having done only extracts until I got a smokin' deal on a Brewzilla. I have 6 batches done, and have been struggling with mash efficiency, some as low as 50%. I did a couple with grain from my not so LHBS (70 miles away), and the rest with grain purchased from Morebeer. All grain was purchased crushed.

This morning, as I was in the process of mashing in, I noticed one of the bags had a lot of "barley flour" in it, but didn't think too much of it. I got all the grain in and set the recirc pump for as slow as I could get it and let it hum. Checked it a couple of times in the first 10 minutes and all seemed well. Gave it about 10 minutes until the next check and it was full and going down the overflow pipe. Shut the pump off and tried to let it drain down a little, no dice, didn't want to move. I then lifted the heavy AF malt pipe out and placed it on the rests. It started draining just a little, so I left it there for a while. It finally drained down to where I could get ahold of the top screen, and that's when I saw the issue. There was about an 1/8" layer of flour plugging up the top screen. I managed to get the screen out and then got in there and loosened up the grist which was really compacted and dry-ish. Dropped the malt pipe back into the wort and gave everything a good mixing before setting it up to recirc again.

From there, all was pretty normal, except when I went to clean up, the hop cone on top of the false bottom, instead of the nice forest green it usually is, was more of a baby poop green it was so loaded with flour.....


Lesson learned from all this......crush your own grain....I'm pretty sure that's why my efficiency has been all over the place is due to inconsistent crush......Oh well, it's only money, right?

Anyone got suggestions for a reasonably priced motorized grain mill? I can't save money on a hand crank one due to f'd shoulders that would not let me turn the crank for more than a couple turns.....

YMMV

Lon
 

RM-MN

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
15,172
Reaction score
6,308
Location
Solway
The milling of the grain is the biggest factor in efficiency. Until you mill your own you are at the mercy of the LHBS and they have no mercy.

People who recirculate need a coarser milling. Fine material will work its way through the mash until it comes to the screen which it plugs.

Now you have a couple choices to make. You can mill your own grain, leaving it in larger pieces and suffer the lower efficiency or you can turn off the recirculator pump, mill the grains finer, and get better efficiency. One factor that many people overlook when they recirculate is that with finer milling the conversion happens much quicker so the amount of temperature loss during conversion is much lower.
 

rootAndBoom

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 27, 2021
Messages
25
Reaction score
17
I use a Barley Crusher, which was relatively cheap (used on craigslist). I use a screw gun/drill from the woodshop with it if I don't feel like using the hand crank. This solution works fine for me, don't know if it would work with your shoulder situation.

I also use the brewzilla and have found that I prefer to not use the top screen, mainly so that I can stir during the mash. Doing that (and milling my own grain and malt) has helped me get a consistent efficiency, which I appreciate.
 
OP
OP
T

Teufelhunde

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2020
Messages
434
Reaction score
365
I use a Barley Crusher, which was relatively cheap (used on craigslist). I use a screw gun/drill from the woodshop with it if I don't feel like using the hand crank. This solution works fine for me, don't know if it would work with your shoulder situation.

I also use the brewzilla and have found that I prefer to not use the top screen, mainly so that I can stir during the mash. Doing that (and milling my own grain and malt) has helped me get a consistent efficiency, which I appreciate.
By the description of the Barley Crusher, it says that a drill set at 500 rpm will do 6 lbs/minute. If my math is right, that means 1000 turns of the crank for 12 lbs of grain?

How much force must be put on the handle to crush the grain? My shoulders are ok with the type of motion, but not with much resistance....

Does the screw gun/drill need to be high torque?

TIA for the help...

Lon
 

rootAndBoom

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 27, 2021
Messages
25
Reaction score
17
The force needed depends on your crush, with finer crushes being more force to turn. What I meant above though, was that I didn't know if holding a drill in place for a few minutes would be ok for your shoulders. Sounds like yes?

The drill I use is just the same one I've had around for 10-15 years in the shed. Black and decker cheapo, you know? Nothing special or high torque about it. Some might have specific preferences on what powered tool they use, but this has worked fine for me.

Just be sure to hold on to the hopper while you use it, if a piece of malt catches in the rollers somehow you can spill the whole thing over in an instant!
 

Latest posts

Top