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Mill cleaning

I’m used to being pretty anal about cleaning all my brewing equipment, but I’ve just recently added a grain mill to the party.

for my first batch, I tried “conditioning” the grain, which I have in quotes because I clearly screwed it up. I’ve been scraping the gunk off the rollers with toothpicks and wire brushes for about a week now; so I think I’m going to forego that procedure for a batch or two.

So assuming crushing dry grain, how much effort does it typically take to clean-out your mills? what are your cleaning procedures? do you ever COMPLETELY strip down and somehow wash the rollers?

[quote=“JMcK”]I’m used to being pretty anal about cleaning all my brewing equipment, but I’ve just recently added a grain mill to the party.

for my first batch, I tried “conditioning” the grain, which I have in quotes because I clearly screwed it up. I’ve been scraping the gunk off the rollers with toothpicks and wire brushes for about a week now; so I think I’m going to forego that procedure for a batch or two.

So assuming crushing dry grain, how much effort does it typically take to clean-out your mills? what are your cleaning procedures? do you ever COMPLETELY strip down and somehow wash the rollers?[/quote]
I’ve got ten years of use on my grain mill, and I’ve never done anything more than wire-brushing the rollers, and wiping off the dust. There isn’t really a need to do more.

I condition my grain, and I learned the hard way that you shouldn’t get the grain too wet; that leads to gunked up rollers, and a very difficult to process crush. If you use less water, you’ll find that you can tighten down the gap much more while still keeping the husks intact to enable both a improved efficiency AND easier lautering. I also find it is helpful to set aside about a cup of grain before conditioning the rest, and running that dry grain through the mill at the end. It helps to unstick anything that might have globbed on.

You will get the feel of conditioning after a couple of tries. The idea is to moisten the grain just enough to make the husks less brittle. I usually spray the grain while stirring with my other hand to feel how moist it is, then let it sit for 10 minutes or so. The grain should not really look wet at that point. I also tend not to condition crystal malt, especially if I am using a lot, because the starch is already converted to sugar and will be more sticky. I usually take my mill apart once or twice a year (every 10-20 brews) and clean the bearings, brush off the rollers and lube the bearings again with a little veg. oil. I have had the free roller stick a few times when dust built up in the bearings and made the oil sticky.

I hit it for a few seconds with the air compressor outside.

For malt conditioning, shoot for 8 ml/lb. That’s based off Kai’s data. Works well for me. :cheers:

You mean I am supposed to clean my grain mill?!

Just kidding, all I do is hit is with an air compressor when I am done to blow off the excess dust. This is mainly to keep any bugs and critters out of my indoor brewing confines. :smiley:

Conditioning the grain the night before I brew works well for me, seems to give the husks a bit more time to soften. If I’m lazy or forget to do that ahead of time I use a spray bottle on mist to condition the grain while stirring, keeps it more even. If I don’t do one of those two things I’ve had the same issue with gunking up my mill rollers.

I simply brush the rollers and hopper off with a fat paint brush after each use. Nothing more, nothing less.

This…

Also, I’ve tried conditioning the grain and I also had the mess you described. Once I got it dialed in (A.K.A. not gumming up the rollers) it worked fine, except the only benefit I saw was a little reduction in the dust. BHE remained the same… YMMV. Cheers!!!

Shop vac for the inside area where the bucket sits and a compressor for the rollers and hopper area.

This…

Also, I’ve tried conditioning the grain and I also had the mess you described. Once I got it dialed in (A.K.A. not gumming up the rollers) it worked fine, except the only benefit I saw was a little reduction in the dust. BHE remained the same… YMMV. Cheers!!![/quote]
You need to tighten the mill gap to improve the BHE. Conditioning allows you to do that without increasing the risk of a stuck sparge.

Brush out all the dust with a wide nylon paint brush (Outdoors!)
Every year or two, a full breakdown.

This…

Also, I’ve tried conditioning the grain and I also had the mess you described. Once I got it dialed in (A.K.A. not gumming up the rollers) it worked fine, except the only benefit I saw was a little reduction in the dust. BHE remained the same… YMMV. Cheers!!![/quote]

You need to tighten the mill gap to improve the BHE. Conditioning allows you to do that without increasing the risk of a stuck sparge.[/quote]

I tightened it to the point where it wouldn’t mill the grain & then backed off just a skosh. The negligible improvement made it not worth the effort. Tried it for a whole brewing season and then gave up… :frowning:

I just run mine until the free roller starts to bind up. Then I take it apart and clean it well, and use some food grade lube that I use on my o-rings on the kegs. I don’t put much on, just a very little bit, otherwise it attracts the dust and will turn to a very thick gum in no time. If I don’t overlube it, I can get quite a few 10-gallon batches out of it before having to tear it down again.

Mill cleaning? What’s that?

[quote=“kcbeersnob”]Mill cleaning? What’s that?[/quote]Yeah, that’s kinda my thoughts exactly.

Brush off the rollers and it should be good to go. Regap it every once in a great while, just to feel good about it. Nothing more needed in my brewhaus.

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