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Using a blender instead of a grain mill?

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gregmosu

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I'm about to try my 3rd version of an american IPA(brew in a bag) and I was wondering if running the grain through a blender would help in extracting more flavor/sugar outta the grain? I actually saw this done on an episode of 'moonshiners.' I've read a few conversations on this topic, but thought I'd run it by everyone here first to see if there is anything wrong with running the grain through the blender quickly before putting it in the brew bag. I wouldn't turn it into dust.. just break it up a little bit more.
 
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gregmosu

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Eta:

Disregard... didn't realize biab brewing was a subsection in all grain/ partial brewing.
Crap! Meant to put this is the BIAB forum! I'll delete this and re-post.
 
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gregmosu

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I'm about to try my 3rd version of an american IPA(brew in a bag) and I was wondering if running the grain through a blender would help in extracting more flavor/sugar outta the grain? I actually saw this done on an episode of 'moonshiners.' I've read a few conversations on this topic, but thought I'd run it by everyone here first to see if there is anything wrong with running the grain through the blender quickly before putting it in the brew bag. I wouldn't turn it into dust.. just break it up a little bit more.
 

Ungoliant

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gregmosu

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If you're running a Ninja or some sort of big bad blender I think it'd work just fine. The only issue I think you'd run in to is potentially a big powdery mess and it taking a while.

That being said, I triple crush my grains at my LHBS, and a finer crush does indeed improve efficiency.

See below article, it's a great read:
http://brulosophy.com/2015/11/23/mind-the-gap-course-vs-fine-crush-exbeeriment-results/
Thanks, Ungoliant. This confirms everything I've been reading. I think I need to start having grains triple crushed as well. I going to try the blender... I'll post back and let you all know how it goes.
 

Psylocide

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I use a blender as my grain mill for all my BIAB brews... it's a $30 hamilton beach blender, I can do about .5 # at a time, and I just blend until all of the whole grains fall from the top and into the blades.

It takes me about a minute per lb, maybe a little less.
 

max384

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I use a blender as my grain mill for all my BIAB brews... it's a $30 hamilton beach blender, I can do about .5 # at a time, and I just blend until all of the whole grains fall from the top and into the blades.

It takes me about a minute per lb, maybe a little less.
Is your crush pretty even? My first thought was that this would not work because it would pulverize some of the grain, and leave others mostly untouched. However, if it's working well for you, than maybe my initial thoughts on this are incorrect.
 

Psylocide

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Is your crush pretty even? My first thought was that this would not work because it would pulverize some of the grain, and leave others mostly untouched. However, if it's working well for you, than maybe my initial thoughts on this are incorrect.
It's pretty consistent, yeah.

As the grain powder gets lighter, the heavy whole grains fall to the bottom and the flour gets pushed upwards.

I wouldn't be satisfied if I had whole grains in my mash... it's a very fine crush (lots of flour), as you can probably imagine.
 

wilserbrewer

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I used a blender once in a pinch, as Psylocide said, it works pretty well. The key I found was not to do too much at once. With a smaller amount the grain will circulate in the blender, If you over fill it the grain at the bottom is dust and the top uncrushed. There is a happy point where all the grain whirls around and gives a pretty even crush - chop.
 

Ungoliant

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Triple crushing isn't going to do a lot for you. It's just passing the same grains through the same gap three times. If you really want to see a difference you'll tighten the gap on the mill

I suggested it because my LHBS doesn't like people adjusting the gap on their mill, and I don't have a mill at home. I can notice a difference in consistency between at least the first and second runthrough, I just do it a third time to be sure.
 

HOPME

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I've used a blender as well. Did a little at a time in a Ninja. Seemed to work out just fine.
 

jekeane

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The only way that multiple passes through the same gap can increase your efficiency is if a kernel is cracked in one direction such that part of the kernel is wider the mill gap. Then the kernel must also pass through the mill at a different direction then when it first entered to get re crushed.

I am sure this happens to a degree but would think it is pretty minimal in the totality of a grain bill. I have however noticed a few homebrew shops just put the trigger to the floor as mill as fast as possible. I wouldnt be surprised if this caused a more coarse crush and because you often have to slow down to re mill grain because the rollers wont catch you could get a better crush than the first pass.
 

joshesmusica

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My LHBS crushes pretty coarse. I read from some BIABers to crush to nearly flour, so I just started putting it in the blender on brew day. I've noticed about a 10% difference in efficiency than before.
 

1977Brewer

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You know what's cheaper than a blender? A corona mill. I can mill 10 lbs in about 10 minutes, hand cranking. Add a drill and you're milling at light speed. Or close. Don't look at me for science.
 

dmtaylor

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For many years I used a blender for "crushing" all my grains. It was a little time consuming but it worked great. The trick is like someone else said, find the magical point between the grains flying all over the place versus only the bottom inch getting chopped up. For my blender it was a scant 1 cup. For yours it might be something a little different. Find that point then keep on chugging a cup at a time or whatever until you're done. Chop for maybe 6 or 7 seconds per cup, something like that. I used to have very detailed instructions on the Northern Brewer forum but they deleted it with their new forum rollout. :p
 

m00ps

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am I the only one that just pictures a volcano of grain dust from not securing the blender top (like a smoothie) every time this thread bumps?
 

Psylocide

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am I the only one that just pictures a volcano of grain dust from not securing the blender top (like a smoothie) every time this thread bumps?
Do you frequently blend stuff without the lid on?

That might be the root of this issue.
 
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gregmosu

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Just a quick update...

Had no issues using the blender, but doing one cup of grain at a time took FOREVER! Doing much more than a cup would turn the grain at the bottom into dust before anything from the top could get down to the blades. I think my OG was somewhere right around 1.06 - 1.065.

Not sure if extra attention to the grain helped, but I used Safale 05 dehydrated yeast and this time, fermentation started that very day(5 hours after pitching) and 6 days later, there's still some minor activity.

Quick question on dry hopping... the recipe calls for 1.5oz of cascade, but this wasn't enough last time. This time I have the following that I was going to try:

1 oz - Columbus
2 oz - Cascade
1 oz - Palisade
1 oz - Falconer's Flight

Any thoughts? Is this WAY too much?
 

Aristotelian

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As someone who has burned through several blenders, I would just worry about the motor overheating. I would do smaller amounts with frequent break. If it gets stuck or you smell anything funny, stop immediately and let it cool down.
 

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I often blend my specialty grains in the blender, and base malt through the grain mill. No good reason, just that the specialty grains are in smaller amounts and are no match for our blendtec, and I have a pretty small hopper on my mill.
 

C-Rider

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I was double crushing at the LHBS. Then I went to Goodwill and bought a blender for $7. Works like a champ. 7 lbs of grain into flour in about 10 min doing 1 cup at a time . Since I only do 2 galon batches this is not a problem and my eff. went up to 83% from about 75%.
 

dmtaylor

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Quick question on dry hopping... the recipe calls for 1.5oz of cascade, but this wasn't enough last time. This time I have the following that I was going to try:

1 oz - Columbus
2 oz - Cascade
1 oz - Palisade
1 oz - Falconer's Flight

Any thoughts? Is this WAY too much?
The best commercial brewers recommend a maximum of 0.75 oz per gallon for American IPA. Beyond that you don't get much more out of them. So assuming you're making 5 or 6 gallons, your plan is pretty good or a little high. About 4 oz might be good enough. But if you're brewing 10 gallons then you're in the right ballpark.
 
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gregmosu

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The best commercial brewers recommend a maximum of 0.75 oz per gallon for American IPA. Beyond that you don't get much more out of them. So assuming you're making 5 or 6 gallons, your plan is pretty good or a little high. About 4 oz might be good enough. But if you're brewing 10 gallons then you're in the right ballpark.
Thanks for the reply. What do you think about the combination of hops? I don't want to ruin this batch by dryhopping with a combination of hops that doesn't make sense... I have no problem leaving one or two of those additions out.
 

dmtaylor

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That's a great hop combo. All those hops are reasonably similar so you could eliminate any one or two of them and be alright. Is there one (or two) that you love so much that you might want to use in another brew in the near future? Just take those out and save them for later. I can guarantee you'll still be happy with the beer you get just from leaving the rest of the hops in there -- all full of citrus and a bit of dank funk.
 
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