Quantcast

Wheat Crush Size BIAB

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

byronyasgur

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2016
Messages
208
Reaction score
17
My first BIAB was a wheat beer ( 70%) wheat - all went relatively well but my efficiency was way down ( 56% ) ... I think the problem ( or one of the problems ) might be crush size. I know BIAB works better finely milled but it being wheat I was afraid to ask for a tighter crush in case it got stuck, but I didn't think the efficiency would be this low either. What is the likelihood of a suck mash using wheat BIAB. How tight dare I go. I do have some oat husks I could use.

I don't have my own mill. I wonder would a rolling pin get me what I want? I have a couple of kilos of wheat still to use.
 

dmtaylor

Lord Idiot the Lazy
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
4,410
Reaction score
2,573
Location
Two Rivers, WI
Stuck mash is not really a problem with BIAB. Crush finer and your efficiency will jump back up to 70-80%. No husks required. A rolling pin is a PITA. If you can't get your own mill, ask the shop to mill your grains twice, or consider using a kitchen blender, 1 cup at a time for about 10 seconds each to "crush" the grains finer. I did this for many years. It can burn out a bad blender but if you have a good one it will work great.
 

RM-MN

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
14,460
Reaction score
5,181
Location
Solway
Get your own mill. One like this works very well for BIAB as with the bag as a filter it is nearly impossible to plug up the filter (unless you recirculate). http://www.discounttommy.com/p-189-...er-for-wheat-grains-or-use-as-a-nut-mill.aspx

Forget the rolling pin, it just won't get you what you want. You need something that will make the particles of grain very small. If you make very small batches a blender will work but it would be a real pain to use for a 5 gallon batch.
 
OP
byronyasgur

byronyasgur

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2016
Messages
208
Reaction score
17
thanks - not what I wanted to hear though - I will definitely get a mill but it's not going to happen between now and my next brew and getting the grain back to the shop is not an option. I don't own a blender either as it so happens but I suppose I'll just pick one up. I have a hand blender - same thing but loose - I wonder if I kept that buried down in the grain would that work - has anyone tried - saying that I'll prob just go to town and get a blender - who doesn't own a blender LOL
 

kh54s10

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 6, 2011
Messages
18,714
Reaction score
5,448
Location
Edgewater
thanks - not what I wanted to hear though - I will definitely get a mill but it's not going to happen between now and my next brew and getting the grain back to the shop is not an option. I don't own a blender either as it so happens but I suppose I'll just pick one up. I have a hand blender - same thing but loose - I wonder if I kept that buried down in the grain would that work - has anyone tried - saying that I'll prob just go to town and get a blender - who doesn't own a blender LOL
I don't know what you mean by "I have a hand blender - same thing but loose - I wonder if I kept that buried down in the grain would that work"

I think you are describing a mixer. That is not what they are talking about in using a blender. They are talking of a blender with blades in it to grind the grain finer. Others use a coffee mill.

Stirring the grain might help - a little....
 
OP
byronyasgur

byronyasgur

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2016
Messages
208
Reaction score
17
hand blender as in the first image ... but by blender I assume you mean one like the second image

Standalone_1175X1290.jpg


232351575.jpg
 

dmtaylor

Lord Idiot the Lazy
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
4,410
Reaction score
2,573
Location
Two Rivers, WI
Yeah, get the big red one. That's what I'm talking about. The former stick blender has its uses, but crushing grains is definitely not one of them!!!!!
 
OP
byronyasgur

byronyasgur

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2016
Messages
208
Reaction score
17
I just realised I own a smoothie maker which is exactly the same as a blender except it's blades are not sharp for cutting - they're they same shape and configuration just not sharp at all more rounded a bit like the edge of a teaspoon - would I be correct in thinking that this might be even better than a blender in that it would crush the grains rather than cut them or am I missing something obvious

this is the model I have - blade pic below actually in the pic they do look a bit sharper than I thought they were but still not as sharp as a blender - I suppose it makes no real difference

SB245.jpg


KW680991.jpg
 

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,953
Reaction score
962
Location
Edmonton
Up to you if you want to risk breaking the smoothie maker or damaging the blades over just one batch. I would just do your best this time out with your rolling pin and buy a mill for your next batch. Either that or hold off on brewing until the mill arrives. Once you have it, you'll never look back.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
16,703
Reaction score
6,838
Location
Pasadena, MD
As said already, your sucky efficiency is due to your LHBS' mill having a gap way too wide to crush the narrow wheat (or rye) kernels. Many will drop right through without being crushed/milled.

BIAB can sustain a very fine crush, close to flour, and thus high efficiencies (80% and up).
Unless you can adjust your supplier's mill, the "corn grinder" @RM-MN suggested will put you in charge of your grist for $35 shipped. The next option is buying a 2-roller grain mill (~$100 and up).

On a side note, I melted out the bearing in a blender's (plastic) carafe during a short and desperate attempt trying to grind coffee beans. :(
 

TorMag

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2015
Messages
1,124
Reaction score
214
Location
Atlanta
Not sure where you live, but if you are in the States, go to your local Goodwill store, pick up a blender for a couple of bucks. Burn it out until you can get a corona mill.

This is the one I got on Amazon, works fantastic for BIAB. Placed mine in a 5 gallon bucket and use a hand drill for running it.

http://amzn.to/2glGpu5
 
OP
byronyasgur

byronyasgur

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2016
Messages
208
Reaction score
17
I'm in Ireland - yea I can get a blender pretty cheap too, so that's what I'll prob do until I can afford a proper mill - cheapest mills here is around 50 dollars shipped for the corona style which look like they would take a while ( and a lot of calories :) ) to mill a big batch so I'll prob wait till I can afford the extra 100 and get a proper one - I'll get a cheap blender in the meantime if I have to but I don't see that the smoothie maker would be under any risk if I milled a couple of kilos of already milled grain - we regularly put blocks of ice into it so if those don't hurt it I don't see what damage milled wheat would do

separate question
- do most people doing BIAB have this issue ( and therefore get their own mill ) - I mean I know getting a mill is a good investment long term but I didn't think you'd be stuck with 56% efficiency without one - is that the case for sure?
 

dmtaylor

Lord Idiot the Lazy
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
4,410
Reaction score
2,573
Location
Two Rivers, WI
If using wheat, rye, and oats, yeah, you pretty much have to get your own mill. If just using barley malt, the local brew shop is not too terrible, especially if you can convince them to crush it twice for you. It's all about kernel size.
 

wilserbrewer

BIAB Expert Tailor
Joined
May 25, 2007
Messages
11,248
Reaction score
2,809
Location
New Jersey
I'm in Ireland - yea I can get a blender pretty cheap too, so that's what I'll prob do until I can afford a proper mill - cheapest mills here is around 50 dollars shipped for the corona style which look like they would take a while ( and a lot of calories :) ) to mill a big batch so I'll prob wait till I can afford the extra 100 and get a proper one - I'll get a cheap blender in the meantime if I have to but I don't see that the smoothie maker would be under any risk if I milled a couple of kilos of already milled grain - we regularly put blocks of ice into it so if those don't hurt it I don't see what damage milled wheat would do

separate question
- do most people doing BIAB have this issue ( and therefore get their own mill ) - I mean I know getting a mill is a good investment long term but I didn't think you'd be stuck with 56% efficiency without one - is that the case for sure?

A corona mill is proper IMO :)

Hooked to a drill the corona is as fast as any "proper" mill :)

Hand cranking any mill isn't a fun party.

I've used a corona for years, recently bought a fancy schmancy 3 roller (Kegco) mill.....guess what, they both work about the same....no free ending with a more expensive mill IME lol
 

Black Island Brewer

An Ode to Beer
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
2,168
Reaction score
887
Location
Isla Negra
I'm in Ireland - yea I can get a blender pretty cheap too, so that's what I'll prob do until I can afford a proper mill - cheapest mills here is around 50 dollars shipped for the corona style which look like they would take a while ( and a lot of calories :) ) to mill a big batch so I'll prob wait till I can afford the extra 100 and get a proper one - I'll get a cheap blender in the meantime if I have to but I don't see that the smoothie maker would be under any risk if I milled a couple of kilos of already milled grain - we regularly put blocks of ice into it so if those don't hurt it I don't see what damage milled wheat would do

separate question
- do most people doing BIAB have this issue ( and therefore get their own mill ) - I mean I know getting a mill is a good investment long term but I didn't think you'd be stuck with 56% efficiency without one - is that the case for sure?
Oky, so like Wilserbrewer said, the Corona mill is the super-cheapest way to mill grains for BIAB- grind that $hit as fine as you can. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=90849
But in leiu of that, you can mash longer. The issue is getting larger kernels hydrated and converted. An iodine test may show conversion of the _liquid_ part of the mash, but do you ever wonder why they say "don't get any grain in the liquid when you do a starch test"? it's because the grains aren't always converted, due to their size, the hydration and enzymatic activity.
So, if you can't crush finer, mash longer. Depending on what you do, you may have to bump the temperature now and again.
 

wilserbrewer

BIAB Expert Tailor
Joined
May 25, 2007
Messages
11,248
Reaction score
2,809
Location
New Jersey
Oky, so like Wilserbrewer said, the Corona mill is the super-cheapest way to mill grains for BIAB- grind that $hit as fine as you can. .

I was trying to say that the Corona mill is a great way to grind grain. Be it BIAB or batch sparging with a MT, my corona provides a nice crush.

Being the super cheapest way is just an inherent benefit.

I would put my corona mill crush up against any mill as being a quality crush....yes it's that good. I have a link I'll try and post later when not mobile.
 
OP
byronyasgur

byronyasgur

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2016
Messages
208
Reaction score
17
Didn't know you could put a drill on a corona mill - I missed that bit of Tormag's post too. Actually I saw a video of it just before coming back here and the guy had it in a bucket like mentioned. I think that's the way I'll go then -

:rockin: thanks so much for all the helpful information - I'm starting to see a pattern here - I've used online forums for various subjects over the years and I've never encountered one as good, fast, involved and polite as homebrewtalk before
 

wilserbrewer

BIAB Expert Tailor
Joined
May 25, 2007
Messages
11,248
Reaction score
2,809
Location
New Jersey
Yes, the bulk of inexpensive corona mills are all the same Chinese junk j-k

Fwiw your vegi mita mixer juicer may work ok as well....try it I doubt you'll hurt it with a cup of barley at a time.
 

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,953
Reaction score
962
Location
Edmonton
I'm in Ireland - yea I can get a blender pretty cheap too, so that's what I'll prob do until I can afford a proper mill - cheapest mills here is around 50 dollars shipped for the corona style which look like they would take a while ( and a lot of calories :) ) to mill a big batch so I'll prob wait till I can afford the extra 100 and get a proper one - I'll get a cheap blender in the meantime if I have to but I don't see that the smoothie maker would be under any risk if I milled a couple of kilos of already milled grain - we regularly put blocks of ice into it so if those don't hurt it I don't see what damage milled wheat would do

separate question
- do most people doing BIAB have this issue ( and therefore get their own mill ) - I mean I know getting a mill is a good investment long term but I didn't think you'd be stuck with 56% efficiency without one - is that the case for sure?
Hang on a sec. You say you're getting 56% efficiency. What's your water profile like and are you treating it to work with your grain bill? It's a common cause of poor efficiency (and off flavors).
 

TorMag

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2015
Messages
1,124
Reaction score
214
Location
Atlanta
Look at Wilser's signature line. That is where I got my first shot of the Corona Mill in action and what I patterned mine off of....
 
OP
byronyasgur

byronyasgur

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2016
Messages
208
Reaction score
17
Hang on a sec. You say you're getting 56% efficiency. What's your water profile like and are you treating it to work with your grain bill? It's a common cause of poor efficiency (and off flavors).
I used water from a well. About 10-15 years ago this well had been tested and it was said that it was basicly good enough to bottle sell as is. I know that it's neither extremely hard or soft - probably slightly hard though. That said I don't know any more than that about it other than I'm extremely fussy about the taste of my water ( ie for drinking, tea, coffee etc ) but this water tastes great. I don't know really anything at all about water chemistry yet - I'm surprised to find that it could affect efficiency. How much could it affect it?
 

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,953
Reaction score
962
Location
Edmonton
I used water from a well. About 10-15 years ago this well had been tested and it was said that it was basicly good enough to bottle sell as is. I know that it's neither extremely hard or soft - probably slightly hard though. That said I don't know any more than that about it other than I'm extremely fussy about the taste of my water ( ie for drinking, tea, coffee etc ) but this water tastes great. I don't know really anything at all about water chemistry yet - I'm surprised to find that it could affect efficiency. How much could it affect it?
It can have significant impact, affecting efficiency and flavor. If the pH is too high, efficiency drops and you can get beers that lack brightness in flavor or have a harsh astringency. If your water is high in alkalinity, light beers without roasted or crystal malts can't push the pH down far enough for an efficient mash conversion. Its why Guinness tradionally brewed stout. This may not be your problem, but if you're all-grain brewing then you either want to have your water tested or brew with distilled/RO and add in your own minerals. What was the grain bill for your wheat beer?

You can also try brewing a darker batch of beer, say a brown ale, and see if efficiency improves.
 

RM-MN

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
14,460
Reaction score
5,181
Location
Solway
Would this do the trick - not sure whether a corona mill is a brand or a style or both - or whether I'd need the "original" - this retails around €40 ( $42 ) delivered for me - http://www.ebay.ie/itm/161924707540?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT
This is identical to the mill I use. Note that the grinding plates have no shield over the top. You may find that the milled grains go everywhere with this. Some have a shield over top of the plates to help control where the milled grains end up.

I slip a plastic bag over the plates and fasten it around the neck of the grinder with clothes pins. I use gallon size bags because they are easy to control when adding the grains to the mash. One fill of the hopper makes enough milled grains in a gallon Ziplock bag to one-hand dump while stirring with the other. I use a whisk to stir as it breaks up dough balls better than the spoon I used to use.

There is an entire thread on how to modify the Corona style mill for brewing.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=90849

It's worth a look just for the pictures. You may even want to read part of it.:D
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2013
Messages
3,227
Reaction score
3,163
I second the Corona Mill option (I think mine is actually a Victoria, but same thing). I disagree that hand cranking is a pain .. I ran mine with a drill one time only and thought I was in a dust storm. For me part of the therapy of brewing is crushing. Also, if you cannot crush finer for your next batch - mash longer. The longer the grain is in contact with hot water, the greater the chance of saturation which increases extraction.
 
OP
byronyasgur

byronyasgur

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2016
Messages
208
Reaction score
17
What was the grain bill for your wheat beer
70% wheat, 30% Maris otter

Will have a look - I was watching John Palmer's video on it too

This is identical to the mill I use. Note that the grinding plates have no shield over the top. You may find that the milled grains go everywhere with this. Some have a shield over top of the plates to help control where the milled grains end up.

I slip a plastic bag over the plates and fasten it around the neck of the grinder with clothes pins. I use gallon size bags because they are easy to control when adding the grains to the mash. One fill of the hopper makes enough milled grains in a gallon Ziplock bag to one-hand dump while stirring with the other. I use a whisk to stir as it breaks up dough balls better than the spoon I used to use.

There is an entire thread on how to modify the Corona style mill for brewing.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=90849

It's worth a look just for the pictures. You may even want to read part of it.:D
great tips there, thanks


Also, if you cannot crush finer for your next batch - mash longer. The longer the grain is in contact with hot water, the greater the chance of saturation which increases extraction.
hmm ... I mashed this one 70 mins though - would there be any point in going much longer?
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2013
Messages
3,227
Reaction score
3,163
hmm ... I mashed this one 70 mins though - would there be any point in going much longer?
Take a look at biabrewer .. these are the aussies who helped pioneer BIAB. They are big propnents of a 90 minutes mash and tend to lean toward that working well regardless of crush. I tend to get best results from a (relatively) fine crush - on my Corona style mill - and a longer mash.


http://www.biabrewer.info/
 

rhys333

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
2,953
Reaction score
962
Location
Edmonton
While we're all chipping in...
If the cause is crush size and you can't change that for your next batch, just add in a sparge. Do your biab mash at 1.35qt/lb and reserve the rest for a dunk sparge. I do this myself and your efficiency should improve.
 

stever1000

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2014
Messages
822
Reaction score
49
As said already, your sucky efficiency is due to your LHBS' mill having a gap way too wide to crush the narrow wheat (or rye) kernels. Many will drop right through without being crushed/milled.
What size gap should wheat/rye be crushed vs barley? I have my barley crusher set to 0.035" but I don't want to crush too fine because I recirculate

Thanks :mug:
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
16,703
Reaction score
6,838
Location
Pasadena, MD
What size gap should wheat/rye be crushed vs barley? I have my barley crusher set to 0.035" but I don't want to crush too fine because I recirculate

Thanks :mug:
I mill Barley at a 0.032-0.034" gap (regular credit card). All small kernel grain, like rye, wheat, oats, as well as all flaked goods separately from barley using a 0.024-0.026" gap (American Express junk mail card) on my 2 roller Monster Mill. So every milling session I typically have to adjust the gap once, either up or down from the last setting. But efficiency is great (80%+).

I milled Triticale, really small skinny kernels, and buckwheat groats on 0.008-0.010" (feeler gauge). The knurl was very close to touching. Haven't tried millet yet. ;) Not sure if it needs milling.

I batch sparge in a rectangular cooler with a manifold, so grist composition is not that critical. I'd say if you use at least 70% barley, you should still have a decent permeable grist for circulation. Add some rice hulls for lower barley %s.
 

stever1000

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2014
Messages
822
Reaction score
49
I mill Barley at a 0.032-0.034" gap (regular credit card). All small kernel grain, like rye, wheat, oats, as well as all flaked goods separately from barley using a 0.024-0.026" gap (American Express junk mail card) on my 2 roller Monster Mill. So every milling session I typically have to adjust the gap once, either up or down from the last setting. But efficiency is great (80%+).

I milled Triticale, really small skinny kernels, and buckwheat groats on 0.008-0.010" (feeler gauge). The knurl was very close to touching. Haven't tried millet yet. ;) Not sure if it needs milling.

I batch sparge in a rectangular cooler with a manifold, so grist composition is not that critical. I'd say if you use at least 70% barley, you should still have a decent permeable grist for circulation. Add some rice hulls for lower barley %s.
Excellent info, I didn't think of this earlier when milling 3 lbs of wheat this week at 0.035"... it finally occurred to me when some wheat fell right through the rollers :( I'm surprised I still got great results from the mash
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
16,703
Reaction score
6,838
Location
Pasadena, MD
Excellent info, I didn't think of this earlier when milling 3 lbs of wheat this week at 0.035"... it finally occurred to me when some wheat fell right through the rollers :( I'm surprised I still got great results from the mash
Yeah, that's surprising. Maybe quite a bit more than half got cracked. ;)

Re-adjusting the mill for the 2 different gaps is a bit of a nuisance, but given the time it takes to brew and what else is involved, it's really insignificant while the return is well worth it. The only thing I hope for is not to wear out the set screw locking threads prematurely. I do have them well-greased for that reason.

Try it on your next batch and I'm quite confident you'll like the extra wheaty-ness or rye-ness it gives you.
 

stever1000

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2014
Messages
822
Reaction score
49
Yeah, that's surprising. Maybe quite a bit more than half got cracked. ;)

Re-adjusting the mill for the 2 different gaps is a bit of a nuisance, but given the time it takes to brew and what else is involved, it's really insignificant while the return is well worth it. The only thing I hope for is not to wear out the set screw locking threads prematurely. I do have them well-greased for that reason.

Try it on your next batch and I'm quite confident you'll like the extra wheaty-ness or rye-ness it gives you.
I assume I can condition the grain the same way as barley, before crushing?

Thanks :mug:
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
16,703
Reaction score
6,838
Location
Pasadena, MD
I assume I can condition the grain the same way as barley, before crushing?

Thanks :mug:
For rye it would work, but there's not much conditioning you can do with wheat, it has no hulls. The wheat kernels are also much harder than barley.

I combine all the weighed small kernel grains and flaked goods in a separate bucket and mill them on the narrow gap. Even flaked grains benefit from a crush, as they pulverize and are thus quicker hydrated in the mash.
 

wilserbrewer

BIAB Expert Tailor
Joined
May 25, 2007
Messages
11,248
Reaction score
2,809
Location
New Jersey
Some run wheat and rye thru a corona mill, and roller mill the barley to avoid having to reset the roller mill.

A burr type mill will put a good hurt (crush) on wheat and rye.
 

stever1000

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2014
Messages
822
Reaction score
49
For rye it would work, but there's not much conditioning you can do with wheat, it has no hulls. The wheat kernels are also much harder than barley.

I combine all the weighed small kernel grains and flaked goods in a separate bucket and mill them on the narrow gap. Even flaked grains benefit from a crush, as they pulverize and are thus quicker hydrated in the mash.
Excellent I will try this soon :)
 

C-Rider

Senior Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 17, 2011
Messages
4,010
Reaction score
481
Location
Wai
Stuck mash is not really a problem with BIAB. Crush finer and your efficiency will jump back up to 70-80%. No husks required. A rolling pin is a PITA. If you can't get your own mill, ask the shop to mill your grains twice, or consider using a kitchen blender, 1 cup at a time for about 10 seconds each to "crush" the grains finer. I did this for many years. It can burn out a bad blender but if you have a good one it will work great.
The blender must be round. If it has flat sides and corners grain will stick there and not crush. I found this out the hard way. Check your local Goodwill store. I bought a really good blender there for 10 bucks.
 
Top