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Overcrushed Grain Follow-up

Hello.I posted a question here a couple of weeks back about how I thought NB’s grain seemed overcrushed and caused nightmarish stuck mashes,and how I was going back to my local homebrew shop in the future for my grains.Well I thought it was high time to do a follow-up to that question so that the folks here who read my post could see how things progressed.I’m ecstatic to report that both of the beers I brewed with those grains from NB (an alt-ish pale ale and an IPA) have finished carbonating,and I’ve tasted them both and…they’re the best beers I’ve ever made in 16 years of homebrewing! :cheers:

I think northern brewer does a terrible job crushing thier grains I crush my own grains now and they’re a hell of a lot finer then NB

You mean you crush your grains even more than NB does?If that’s what you mean,that would seem to me to be a good way to get a stuck mash.I’d be afraid to crush grains more than they do.

You can crush really fine with the braid system.

+1 and if you condition the grain first, you are very unlikely to ever get a stuck sparge.

[quote=“rebuiltcellars”]
if you condition the grain first, you are very unlikely to ever get a stuck sparge.[/quote]

the following is a good read… Tom

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?ti ... nditioning

[quote=“millstone”][quote=“rebuiltcellars”]
if you condition the grain first, you are very unlikely to ever get a stuck sparge.[/quote]

the following is a good read… Tom

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?ti ... nditioning[/quote]

A .55mm crush? If I’m converting correctly that’s .022"!! I crush at .032 for BIAB. I’d expect a .022 crush to be pretty much all flour.

[quote=“millstone”][quote=“rebuiltcellars”]
if you condition the grain first, you are very unlikely to ever get a stuck sparge.[/quote]

the following is a good read… Tom

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?ti ... nditioning[/quote]

I remember reading that before and thinking, “what a PITA that must be.” I still feel that way today. I’d rather throw in a few ounces of rice hulls if I’m concerned about a stuck sparge.

[quote=“kcbeersnob”][quote=“millstone”][quote=“rebuiltcellars”]
if you condition the grain first, you are very unlikely to ever get a stuck sparge.[/quote]

the following is a good read… Tom

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?ti ... nditioning[/quote]

I remember reading that before and thinking, “what a PITA that must be.” I still feel that way today. I’d rather throw in a few ounces of rice hulls if I’m concerned about a stuck sparge.[/quote]

Pita? It couldn’t be any easier. Spray with a water bottle. And I usually see 80% efficiency when I do condition my grains.

It’s all dependent on your lautering system. My motto is “crush til you’re scared!”. I crush very fine, lots of flour. Using a braid, I’ve brewed 448 batches and never had a stuck runoff. My efficiency averages 83%.

I condition my grain and have the mill gap on my JSP Maltmill set at almost as fine as it can go. Absolutely no problems with the batch sparge setup. I have had a stuck sparge twice, and both times it was while brewing a dry stout, with the dark grains crushed to dust in a coffee grinder. Maybe just a coincidence.

I always condition the malt though - it’s incredible how much of a difference that makes.

You mean you crush your grains even more than NB does?If that’s what you mean,that would seem to me to be a good way to get a stuck mash.I’d be afraid to crush grains more than they do.[/quote] yes I mill way finer without problems if I do have a problem I just blow back through the BV

Just a note here guys… Many of you are posting that you crush the bejeezus out of the grist when you are in fact batch sparging. If one were to follow this advice when fly sparging you will encounter stuck/ problematic lauters again depending on actual false bottoms/ manifolds/ process employed. Conditioning grain is a whole other topic for discussion as that is not so cut and dry as just opening/closing a gap. So fine or coarse depends mainly on your lauter process for the majority involved here.

Also many of you posting are probably seeing lowered efficiency due to the fact that your batch sparging with NB’s regular crush, whereas I see 80+% effic on a regular basis with their crush fly sparging. So if batch sparging just give them a note to double crush and you will be gravy if you do not own a mill already as noted by the previous posters.

Same here. It really can help make everything flow easier. With high percentages of wheat, rye or flaked grains, I can drain without rice hulls. And for normal grain bills, it allows for really fast draining of the tun. Fast draining is not something that is beneficial for fly sparging, but the other benefits like higher efficiency with less chance of a stuck sparge should still work. ITsPossible is right, you do get better efficiency with a given crush by fly sparging, but the finer your crush, the better efficiency is possible regardless of sparge method.

I have been double crushing without incident, but just may try conditioning the malt then use a tighter gap setting as suggested. I assume that you do not condition nor mill the flaked grains, right?

Right - leave those out of the main grist. If you crush your flaked grains, your chances of a stuck sparge will go up.

Deliusism, while NB does provide high quality ingredients as a rule, I doubt that using the malt from them is the reason why you had such outstanding results with these beers. It might be worth examining your process and seeing how things differed that session to identify the key element. The obvious first thing to look at is the stuck sparge. That extended your mash time, which may be what your brews need. Also, was the temperature off by any significant amount? Perhaps what you enjoyed so much about the beers was simply the higher gravity due to the increased efficiency.

Take a look at those elements, and modify your next brew to help recreate the conditions WITHOUT going through a nightmarish sparge. Let the mash sit longer, and use a bit more grain to bump the gravity. Or maybe you’ve just been getting really subpar ingredients in the past…

What’s the braid system?I’ve never heard of that.

http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/

[quote=“rebuiltcellars”]Deliusism, while NB does provide high quality ingredients as a rule, I doubt that using the malt from them is the reason why you had such outstanding results with these beers. It might be worth examining your process and seeing how things differed that session to identify the key element. The obvious first thing to look at is the stuck sparge. That extended your mash time, which may be what your brews need. Also, was the temperature off by any significant amount? Perhaps what you enjoyed so much about the beers was simply the higher gravity due to the increased efficiency.

Take a look at those elements, and modify your next brew to help recreate the conditions WITHOUT going through a nightmarish sparge. Let the mash sit longer, and use a bit more grain to bump the gravity. Or maybe you’ve just been getting really subpar ingredients in the past…[/quote]

Wow.I had no idea my post had received so many responses.I don’t know how I hadn’t noticed that.Anyway…yeah,I’m thinking the extended mash time (due to the stuck mash) must have had a lot to do with my ridiculously high mash efficiency- about 87% by my calculations.Actually,I’m thinking the whole element of a directly heated mash tun,which I never had until very recently,also must be playing a pretty big role in the higher quality of my most recent brews.But there are also 2 other things that I started doing at the same time I started using my new equipment,and that is 1)I always use a yeast starter for every beer now,which I only did sporadically,as convenience dictated,in the past, and 2) I’m carbonating all my beer by krausening now,which I never did in the past at all. It’s probably impossible to pinpoint the improved quality of my beers to any one of these things,but I don’t really concern myself with that,anyway.I’m just gonna stick with my newly found recipe for successful brewing by sticking with all of these techniques religiously from now on.On a closing note,you’re the first person I’ve ever heard use the term “stuck sparge” instead of “stuck mash”,and I just have to say that that’s the first time in a long time I’ve been so righteously corrected!The term “stuck mash” makes no sense at all,does it?Why has that never even occurred to me before??Genius!!Thanks for the response,and I’ll definitely pay attention to your advice in the future.

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