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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: jptheelder on August 08, 2010, 12:40:34 AM

Title: Grain mill setting
Post by: jptheelder on August 08, 2010, 12:40:34 AM
My new grain mill came in the other day. the paper states that it is set to a default setting of .039? is this where it should be or do I need to mess with it?
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: makemehoppy on August 08, 2010, 01:58:10 AM
Start there and see how it goes. If you efficiency is real bad narrow it down a bit or run the grains through twice to see if that helps.
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: wingnut on August 08, 2010, 05:20:49 AM
Essentially, just run some grain through it and if it looks right.  I am assuming you are used to whatever crushed grain you homebrew store provides, and if that is what you have your system dialed in to use.  If it looks close to the same, then just use the factory default for a few batches and see if your results/extract efficiencies stay the same.  If they are different, either change the setting or change your process to allow for the efficiency change.

Note: if you are not crushing most of the grains, or if you are creating flour, then you will need to make changes to the mill.  Other than that, as long as the crush is consistent, you can adjust your recipes and process to make the beer turn out how you want to.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: IHBHS on August 08, 2010, 07:18:36 PM
We set our mill at .045 and it gives a nice crush to the grain while still allowing the false bottom to do it's job without getting a mash stuck
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: denny on August 09, 2010, 03:49:29 PM
Dan Listermann has a great saying..."You're making grist, not gaps".  Through experience, you'll learn what a good crush looks like.  Set the mill to whatever gives you that.  I have no idea what gap my mill is adjusted to, but I get great grist and results.
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 09, 2010, 04:12:04 PM
Kai has some good inforamtion and pictures on his site. 

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/CrushEval
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: bonjour on August 09, 2010, 04:18:19 PM
by a .o39 factory set gap I assume you have a Barley Crusher,  That is what I have and I have neither adjusted nor checked the gap.  It still works for me.

Fred
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: bluesman on August 09, 2010, 04:55:24 PM
I have a JSP Maltmill set at .040 factory setting and haven't changed it. Works like a charm every time.
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: blatz on August 09, 2010, 07:13:32 PM
I'm a little more anal than some of my compadres above, so I like to 'know' where the gap is at. So i bought a feeler gauge and I check it every few brews to make sure its where I like it (.037").  I also shift the gap for a few specialty grains that are smaller and thus like to know when I've returned to my 'home' setting.

That said, you do need to fiddle around and find what works for you - the visual aspect of the crush and the resultant efficiency will guide you toward what works in your brewhouse. 
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: alemental on August 09, 2010, 08:53:52 PM
Like everybody is saying, adjust it to what works well for you. This will vary with different makes of mills and how you power it. I had to change the gap when I changed the drive speed. My mill now gives me the results I like with a gap of 0.054". This gap would suck for most people, but my mill is quite aggressive.
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: jptheelder on August 09, 2010, 10:01:36 PM
That said, you do need to fiddle around and find what works for you - the visual aspect of the crush and the resultant efficiency will guide you toward what works in your brewhouse. 
[/quote]

 I got an 82% effinciey. there was a small amount of flower on the bottom of the mill when done. is this normal? Should I try to improve it? or just be happy with ( what I feel are) great results and have a homebrew. Wow! I love this thing.

btw. thanks fore all of your great comments.
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: alemental on August 09, 2010, 10:31:50 PM
It sounds like you are on the right track. Every grain should be crushed, and there should still be large pieces of husks, many of them mostly whole. If you have that and you have no problems with stuck sparging, you should be fine. Or fine tune it a little to see what you get.
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: Hokerer on August 09, 2010, 10:39:09 PM
I got an 82% effinciey. there was a small amount of flower on the bottom of the mill when done. is this normal? Should I try to improve it? or just be happy with ( what I feel are) great results and have a homebrew. Wow! I love this thing.

82% is fine and if you're happy with that, stick to it.  More important than the actual efficiency number is the consistency of that number (that is, it's always about the same from batch to batch)...  makes recipe formulation work much better.

That said, if you get curious, go ahead and fiddle.  I find that I consistently get between 85 and 90% with a Monster Mill set at .035.  No stuck sparges (even with rye and wheat) although, to be fair, I do batch sparge with the "dennybraid" system  so that part's about foolproof.
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: wfaris on August 14, 2010, 02:38:29 PM
Dan Listermann has a great saying..."You're making grist, not gaps".  Through experience, you'll learn what a good crush looks like.  Set the mill to whatever gives you that.  I have no idea what gap my mill is adjusted to, but I get great grist and results.

I got the same advice from Dan years ago.  I don't know what my gap setting is either.  I run a cup or so through the mill and pick up a handful to check.  Different grains will be a little different size so you may have to make adjustments based on that.  The numbers don't mean a thing other than getting you into the ballpark for a place to start.

Wayne
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: gordonstrong on August 14, 2010, 02:49:45 PM
I strongly agree with the sentiment to use what makes the crushed grain look right.  There is variability in barley, and you can set your mill differently if you're crushing pils malt, wheat or black patent, for instance.  Also, if you spray your malt with water to do the malt conditioning trick I wrote about in the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp article for Zymurgy, you'll be able to set your mill tighter.

I use an old Listerman Phil Mill I with a drill and a converted 5 gallon plastic water jug as a grain hopper. There is no way I could figure out the gap setting without dismantling it. On other mills, do you have a direct measurement or are you relying on the settings on some knob? Any time you are using an indirect measurement, you have to worry about it being properly calibrated.

Learn what a proper crush looks like, and set your mill accordingly. Check it every time. With heavy use, and all the vibration from the drill, the settings can change over time. Run some through, catch it in your hand, and visually inspect it.

That said, if you know your system and know what setting gives you that result, obviously start there since it will save you time. But still verify the actual crush.
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: blatz on August 14, 2010, 03:05:42 PM
Learn what a proper crush looks like, and set your mill accordingly. Check it every time. With heavy use, and all the vibration from the drill, the settings can change over time. Run some through, catch it in your hand, and visually inspect it.

I agree with that, but here's where the benefit of a feeler gauge comes in, which with a BC or MM is easy, not so much for GS's setup.  Definitely visually inspect the crush, but IMO you can have a greater chance of consistent efficiency with a precise measurement of the gap rather than just eyeballing what comes out.  I can't visually tell the difference between a crush using 0.040 and 0.037" but it can mean 5% difference in my efficiency at the end of the day.  

I'm German and thus incredibly anal though,  ;)

If you can get a feeler gauge down there, I recommend it.

+ 1 on the malt conditioning too - the lautering clarity and speed is incredible
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: bluesman on August 14, 2010, 03:17:14 PM
I am also a proponent of calibration using gauges.  I have pin gages that I use to check the setting of the mill.  I feel that a proper crush is an important factor in acheiving good efficiency from the mash.  Grain size is also a factor in that as the grain size varies so will the crush with the gap being a constant.  It will be necessary to adjust the mill as the grain size varies in order to keep the crush consistent. 

That being said I don't change the mill gap setting to compensate for the grain size variability.  I live with the slight variances in efficiency.  However, I check the mill gap setting from time to time to keep it calibrated.

Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: Hokerer on August 14, 2010, 03:54:58 PM
I am also a proponent of calibration using gauges.  I have pin gages that I use to check the setting of the mill.  I feel that a proper crush is an important factor in acheiving good efficiency from the mash.  Grain size is also a factor in that as the grain size varies so will the crush with the gap being a constant.  It will be necessary to adjust the mill as the grain size varies in order to keep the crush consistent. 

That being said I don't change the mill gap setting to compensate for the grain size variability.  I live with the slight variances in efficiency.  However, I check the mill gap setting from time to time to keep it calibrated.



Yep, I check with the feeler guage before every use.  It's simple to pop the guage in right, left, center, just to make sure things haven't slipped.  When the mill was new, it would come out of adjustment after use.  Now that's it's been around a while, it stays solidly where it's supposed to.  I still check it each time, though.

For the oddball grains, I too don't change the gap.  For wheat or rye or whatever, I just run them through by themselves and then add them to the rest of the grain bill to be crushed.  Effectively "double crushes" the oddballs.
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: jptheelder on August 15, 2010, 08:52:13 PM
Also, if you spray your malt with water to do the malt conditioning trick I wrote about in the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp article for Zymurgy, you'll be able to set your mill tighter.

I was just trying to figure out where I have read your article on wet milling. would you remind me please of wich issue that was in? I remember that I wanted to try it but I dont know how and my stack of beer mags is starting to get out of control. at least thats the term my wife uses for it ;) I remember it being a great article btw . thanks for writing it. ( now if only I could find it again)
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: Hokerer on August 15, 2010, 09:10:50 PM
Also, if you spray your malt with water to do the malt conditioning trick I wrote about in the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp article for Zymurgy, you'll be able to set your mill tighter.

I was just trying to figure out where I have read your article on wet milling. would you remind me please of wich issue that was in? I remember that I wanted to try it but I dont know how and my stack of beer mags is starting to get out of control. at least thats the term my wife uses for it ;) I remember it being a great article btw . thanks for writing it. ( now if only I could find it again)

If you can't find the article (heck, even if you can), Kai's got a good bit on his wiki about malt conditioning...

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/Malt_Conditioning (http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/Malt_Conditioning)
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: jptheelder on August 15, 2010, 09:34:43 PM
thanks
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: tschmidlin on August 15, 2010, 09:50:16 PM
Also, if you spray your malt with water to do the malt conditioning trick I wrote about in the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp article for Zymurgy, you'll be able to set your mill tighter.

I was just trying to figure out where I have read your article on wet milling. would you remind me please of wich issue that was in? I remember that I wanted to try it but I dont know how and my stack of beer mags is starting to get out of control. at least thats the term my wife uses for it ;) I remember it being a great article btw . thanks for writing it. ( now if only I could find it again)

Gordon's beer camp article was in Jan/Feb of Zymurgy, but Chris Colby wrote one on conditioned milling for Mar/Apr of BYO.
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: richardt on August 15, 2010, 10:29:19 PM
In re "malt conditioning," pay attention to how much water you use--more water is NOT better. 
If you overdo the water--you'll end up with rollers that look like corndogs. 
Title: Re: Grain mill setting
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 17, 2010, 02:16:40 PM
In re "malt conditioning," pay attention to how much water you use--more water is NOT better. 
If you overdo the water--you'll end up with rollers that look like corndogs. 

I have the same experience. Less moisture is more.
And for this reason I would stay away from BYO (Chris Colby) approach.