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10% efficiency gain from Barley Brusher

I brewed my first batch with my new Barley Crusher on Saturday. The gap was set to the default .039. Before this, I had been crushing my grains when I bought them at Northern Brewer or Midwest Supply (locked at .050 I think). My efficiency has been running about 78% with an OG in the 1.040-1.050 range, but jumped to just shy of 90% with this batch.

Is this a typical increase in efficiency based on crush, or should I be trying to figure out what else I did that could contribute to this big a gain? I figured I would get a noticeable boost, but this was more than I had expected.

Sounds about right. When I was getting my grain crushed at my LHBS I was getting around 70-75% efficiency. I bought a cereal killer, tightened the only 7lbs of grain and figured my efficiency at 85%. I’m actually expecting a little higher. May even hit 90%!

“10% efficiency gain from Barley Brusher”

should read

“10% efficiency gain from proper crush”

:stuck_out_tongue:

I think the NB in Milwaukee has one of the big mills locked at .040.

Did you measure the gap on the BC with feeler gauges?

[quote=“GeneticBrew”]“10% efficiency gain from Barley Brusher”

should read

“10% efficiency gain from proper crush”

:stuck_out_tongue:

I think the NB in Milwaukee has one of the big mills locked at .040.

Did you measure the gap on the BC with feeler gauges?[/quote]

Typing on a smart phone. AutoCorrect is an illiterate idiot that thinks I’m telling it to “duck off.”

Anyway, I did. It was set to the factory default .039. Ran a spare pound of 2-row to prep the rollers and check the crush, then ground my grain.

I had the same experience when I got my mill several years ago. Efficiency jumped from upper 70s to upper 80s overnight. I actually worried that my efficiency was getting to be TOO high when it hit 92% a couple of times, so I opened up the gap slightly to bring back down into the mid-80s. More experiments are needed to determine whether high efficiency has any detrimental effect on flavor. At one point I thought it prevented my excellent Vienna lager from being world-class instead of just excellent, as it was a little thin and watery, perhaps due to the lack of grainy stuff due to the very high efficiency. That’s my theory. I’m not sure if it’s true. But anyway. Yeah. Proper crush will gain you a buttload of efficiency. For those stuck with using a crappy mill at the LHBS, try double or triple crushing the grains sometime, for the same effect.

Do any of you have a recommendation for a mill? The Captain Crush?

Joe

I’m guessing that higher price equals faster or better crush. But given my experience with cheap-ass mill plus cheap-ass drill, Barley Crusher for the win!

I don’t think price is about speed or better crush. Higher price is more about higher manufacturing costs, which may or may not correlate with the items mentioned. Reliability of the mill is the other factor to consider. I’ve got a Crankandstein that I’ve been using for 10 years now, and have had no complaints. From what I can gather, JSP makes the top quality mill out there, and that does seem to correlate with higher price.

Is it safe to assume you are fly sparging? 90% efficiency is pretty impressive.

As a BS-er I am happy to hover around 80%, but usually settle for less. My Beersmith brewery profile is set to 75%.

I have a Cereal Killer. $100 + free shipping. Have only been using it since October, but couldn’t be happier.

Thanks for the advice guys.

Joe

To be fair, it was a pretty low gravity beer, so I doubt I’ll be reproducing those results too often. And yes, I fly sparge.

In the old days I had a Corona mill that literally shredded grain. Everyone back then used to clamor about stuck sparges and extracting tannins. All proved to be incorrect. Even the thought of double (let alone triple) milling would be scandalous. Ok, I’m embellishing a bit, but I’ve already elected to abandon efficiency for ease (BS).

I need a mill. I also need another pump, and some better bottles to replace my fleet of glass carboys, and I want to explore a boil in the bag method to limit the hop pellet waste I leave behind every brew day… And…

If I had the money for everything I want I’d be in business.

I batch sparge. High efficiency is pretty easy with small batches, since percentagewise you need to sparge a little more to collect enough volume for the boil. I’ve been brewing 1.7-3 gallon batches for many years.

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