Biab'ers who crush their own grain

What crushers do you guys use…and what gap do you use to get your best efficiency? I imagine it will differ between everyone…but I’m trying to decide if I want to get my own crusher :grinning:

Just the simple JSP malt mill. over 10 years and well over 500 brews. Its not mr. fancy pants, but just works. Sneezles61


Cereal killer set at .025 gets me 85% . I used to crush .035 and got 80%

I have a Cereal Killer that replaced a Barley Crusher which barely lasted a year and made my brew day very frustrating. I’m crushing at .032 and still getting very high efficiency since I sparge.

I use a BarleyCrusher, just a hair tighter than the factory setting. I sparge. Currently I get an average of 81-82% brewhouse efficiency on every batch with the sparge. I used to have it set even tighter and could pretty easily get 90-92% efficiency that way. I have in the past and am continuing to run experiments to prove to myself the effects of high vs. low efficiency on final beer flavor. I have my initial conclusions but more blind tastings are needed.

@dmtaylo2 I would love to hear your findings. I’ve been a long time believer that higher efficiency isn’t always better.

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Got the cereal killer last night…set her to around 0.032…will do some grinding tomorrow. Does anyone condition their grain?

I don’t. Make sure you have a drill to crank the handle. Not sure if conditioning will help any. I’d be afraid to gum up the rollers. If doing BIAB if you want more efficiency crush tighter

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I’ve found .032 in my cereal killer is about right. Efficiency is kinda high but consistent and predictable. I started around .028 and have been opening the gap to lower efficiency and refine my recipes. I’ve thought of opening a bit more but I’m pretty happy with the way things are going.


I’ve never conditioned the grains. Never found it necessary at all, and also fearful of gumming rollers. Set the gap as tight as you dare.

Dewalt 18v cordless be enough? Got two full batteries ready for the morning…today didn’t work out.

If they are good batteries it should. I crush 20+ lbs and then use my drill to stir so I upgraded to a power drill

Hey there Uncle D, you’ll have enough potential, I’ve not even used one full battery on 25 LBS of grist. Brew Cat, have you ever gotten yer filter bag sucked up in the paddle? I would even venture to bet, that, if you mixed up the grist a few more times whilst mashing, yer efficiency would come up a bit more too, for BIAB’ers. I will try tomorrow and chime in. Sneezles61

The first time I did it I picked up the bag by pushing the stirrer to the bottom. Now I spin it just under surface and pour the grain into the vortex. After I get mashed in I stir some with my regular paddle works great. Also I try to mash thin which helps.

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88.14% according to Brewers friend :slight_smile:

Nice. What did you estimate?

I didn’t…I want to get an average of a few sessions…much higher than LHBS though…and hopefully more consistent.

Yes, very nice… I will ask, does anyone care to weigh in on too high of an efficiency? Does it alter the brew? Sneezles61

If you are going with a kit I think you need to try and match the efficiency that they state in the recipe to match the beer. If you are doing your own recipe I would mess around with mash temp and speciality grain.

Higher mash efficiency will give you a higher gravity and eventually higher abv all things considered, and can alter the IBU and perceived bitterness of the finished beer.

You really want to shoot for the efficiency that the recipe is built on. If the recipe is designed for 75% efficiency and you’re hitting 80ish you’re still in the ballpark. Much higher and you may want to consider adjusting the hops or bringing your efficiency down by either reducing the grist bill or adjusting out your mill gap.

Some including @dmtaylo2 believe adjusting the grain bill too much to compensate for high efficiency will leave you with a more watery tasting finished beer. Some brewers like to brew that way because they feel they save $$ in the long run by reducing their grain bills. I’ve been creating recipes based on 80% efficiency and opening my mill gap a little at a time to attempt to bring my efficiency closer to that range.

The key in my opinion is dialing in the recipe to your efficiency and finding consistency to produce the best beer. High efficiency just for the sake of saying…“my efficiency is 90+ percent” is really nothing to get caught up on.

Remember I’m talking about MASH efficiency here. Brewhouse efficiency is another thing entirely and is essentially based on beginning and ending volumes.

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