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Barley crusher setting: last 2 brews = stuck lauter & sparge

what setting do you guys shoot for when you crush grain for batch sparging?

so in an effort to experiment with efficiency i adjusted my barley crusher setting to just about the lowest. i don’t have feeler gauges so i can’t give you the gap width. in both events i have had hours long lauters and sparges. now part or all of this may be due to the grist. batch 1 = pumpkin ale with pumpkin and sweet potato in the tun, batch 2 = Denny’s Wrye Smile (i just searched the interwebz and saw that rye is a bear to mash). basically i am looking for a compromise between good efficiency and shortest time. if i have another the brew session like the last 2 SWMBO is literally going to kill me.

Sounds like you have the gap set to small.

I have my BC set to 0.030" and it works great. Averaging 80% efficeincy and full speed sparges, even with wheat, rye, or oats in the grist.

BTW a credit card is exactly 0.030" thick so you can use it to set your gap properly.

I’m set at .033" and having good performance, making 80%.

At 7.5 mm (0.029") I get >90% conversion efficiency with a 60 min single-infusion mash, and I’ve never had a stuck sparge, even with 30% pumpkin in the mash.

What’s your lauter design like? IME that’s more of a factor than the crush. With a stainless steel braid I had to reduce the flow rate, but with a slotted CPVC manifold I can run it off wide open.

[quote=“a10t2”]At 7.5 mm (0.029") I get >90% conversion efficiency with a 60 min single-infusion mash, and I’ve never had a stuck sparge, even with 30% pumpkin in the mash.

What’s your lauter design like? IME that’s more of a factor than the crush. With a stainless steel braid I had to reduce the flow rate, but with a slotted CPVC manifold I can run it off wide open.[/quote]

Generally agree on all points, although I use a braid and a very fine crush and can runoff very quickly…valve wide open. Never had a stuck runoff.

That’s how I set mine, works great.

IIRC you use gravity to drain the tun though. I use a pump, and I’m guessing that’s what makes the difference.

IIRC you use gravity to drain the tun though. I use a pump, and I’m guessing that’s what makes the difference.[/quote]

I was, but I used my pump the last few times. In that case, I do restrict the output with a valve (I’d forgotten I was doing that til you mentioned it!) but my runoff time has not increased.

The mill gap depends on what grain you are milling at the time. If you always use the same grain then you can just set it and forget it. If you switch from american to british malts etc then you are going to change the gap. I just run a few grains through and adjust till they are properly milled. The husks should be smashed but not pulverized. Any good homebrew book should have pictures of properly milled malt.

I batch sparge with a SS braid and I used to have an occasional problem with slow run offs, but since I started conditioning the grain before milling, the problem went away.
Give it a try. Makes a beautiful crush.

http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=81616

stainless braid in a 70qt Xtreme igloo.

i will definitely give this a shot. if nothing else, i won’t have to clean up a bunch of grain dust in the basement.

also for clarification, i do not/have not used rice hulls. i am picking some up for back up next time. my previous mashes using the factory setting (0.039") were no problem. for these last two i thought i would try to up the efficiency by changing the crush (guessing in the 20ish mil range). that’s when things got sticky so to speak. given that i am just about at the smallest setting (the barley crusher goes from 15mil to 70mil) i will try dialing up to a credit card or less.

thanks for the help.

I’ve got the same setup as you and I’ve got my barley crusher set to 32 mil (picked up some feeler gauges to set the gap). I do condition my grain before milling which not only cuts way down on dust but I get a much better looking crush. I’m still careful to get the grain bed set well before opening up my valve all the way but haven’t had a problem with a stuck sparge yet.

I have the BC set at at 32. I condition overnight and double crush in the morning. No problems, even with 60% wheat malt.

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