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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: redrocker652002 on April 22, 2022, 11:54:01 pm

Title: Grain Milling
Post by: redrocker652002 on April 22, 2022, 11:54:01 pm
Greetings to all. 

It was brought up in another thread that when using the BIAB method the grains should be crushed very fine.  When I ordered my grains I had the company, MoreBeer, mill them.  Now I am wondering if they milled them enough.  I have a household use spice mill and a coffee bean grinder at my disposal, so my question is fairly simple.  Would it be worth it to spend the time grinding roughly 12 pounds of grain in one of my household grinders?  Or do I just take my chances on what I already have  I know this is probably a dumb question, but heck, I thought I would ask.  Thanks to all  RR
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on April 23, 2022, 04:53:14 am
I would not recommend putting grain in anything except a dedicated grain mill, especially if the grain has already been milled. More Beer probably did a good job for you, I would not worry about it.

Too fine and you get flour. Not good, unless you are baking bread!

I mill slightly course, using the time honored practice of the CC gap. That is, using a credit card to adjust the roller gap in your mill. I always use my wife's credit card for this...
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: M-O-O-N That spells beer! on April 23, 2022, 05:27:42 am
How tight does the gap need to be when using the credit card method? Does the card move freely between the rollers or is it to be tight to the point where the rollers move as you pull and push on the card?
Title: Grain Milling
Post by: BrewBama on April 23, 2022, 05:46:12 am
I recommend a bit of calculating to ensure you’re milling fine enough.

From How to Brew Chap 18: Calculate how efficient your extraction was. Measure the gravity in the boiling pot and multiply the points by the number of gallons you collected. Then divide by the number of pounds of grain you used. The result should be somewhere around 30 ppg. 27 is okay, 29 is good, and over 30 is great. If it is 25 or below, you are lautering too fast or you are not getting good conversion in the mash, which could be caused by having too coarse a grist, the wrong temperature, not enough time, it got cold, or a pH factor, et cetera.

BIAB can use finely milled grain because they aren’t traditionally lautering once mash is complete or continually using vorfaul during the mash. If the liquid needs to flow thru a grain bed (as in lauter or vorlauf), it probably will have to be more course than what is typically used in BIAB.

Retailers have to take into consideration that their clients come from a spectrum of brewing techniques.
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on April 23, 2022, 05:59:34 am
How tight does the gap need to be when using the credit card method? Does the card move freely between the rollers or is it to be tight to the point where the rollers move as you pull and push on the card?

We set the gap where the rollers just contact the CC. It's a trial & error process.
Experiment with grain, to get the hulls broken but the grain pretty much intact. That is our goal anyway.
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: Megary on April 23, 2022, 06:17:40 am
I use the time honored practice of milling my grain in my Kitchen Aid grain mill.  It works great for my small 2.5gal BIAB batches, though it would just take too much time to grind enough grain for 5 gallons.
I grind quite fine and can’t point to any issues in the finished beer that can be blamed on some flour in my mash.

To answer your question, if the grind from MoreBeer is consistent then you can design recipes and expect repeatable results from your mash. That’s what we are all looking for.  If their grind is not consistent or if it simply isn’t giving you proper conversion (as per BrewBama’s post) then you should probably just buy your own grain mill.

For what it’s worth, FOR ME, proper crush and enough mash time were the most important factors for proper conversion.  Temperature and pH, not as much.

Cheers.
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: Steve Ruch on April 23, 2022, 08:30:28 am
I recommend a bit of calculating to ensure you’re milling fine enough.

From How to Brew Chap 18: Calculate how efficient your extraction was. Measure the gravity in the boiling pot and multiply the points by the number of gallons you collected. Then divide by the number of pounds of grain you used. The result should be somewhere around 30 ppg. 27 is okay, 29 is good, and over 30 is great. If it is 25 or below, you are lautering too fast or you are not getting good conversion in the mash, which could be caused by having too coarse a grist, the wrong temperature, not enough time, it got cold, or a pH factor, et cetera.

BIAB can use finely milled grain because they aren’t traditionally lautering once mash is complete or continually using vorfaul during the mash. If the liquid needs to flow thru a grain bed (as in lauter or vorlauf), it probably will have to be more course than what is typically used in BIAB.

Retailers have to take into consideration that their clients come from a spectrum of brewing techniques.
Some shops offer the option of a double crush for BIAB brewers.
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: denny on April 23, 2022, 08:41:56 am
Greetings to all. 

It was brought up in another thread that when using the BIAB method the grains should be crushed very fine.  When I ordered my grains I had the company, MoreBeer, mill them.  Now I am wondering if they milled them enough.  I have a household use spice mill and a coffee bean grinder at my disposal, so my question is fairly simple.  Would it be worth it to spend the time grinding roughly 12 pounds of grain in one of my household grinders?  Or do I just take my chances on what I already have  I know this is probably a dumb question, but heck, I thought I would ask.  Thanks to all  RR

How do you know that it isn't fine enough? You're worrying about something that hasn't,  and might not, happen. Just brew and see what happens. Not only is using one of those grinders going to give you bad result's, you'll also burn up the grinder. PLEASE stop overthinking things!
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: redrocker652002 on April 23, 2022, 08:46:39 am
I recommend a bit of calculating to ensure you’re milling fine enough.

From How to Brew Chap 18: Calculate how efficient your extraction was. Measure the gravity in the boiling pot and multiply the points by the number of gallons you collected. Then divide by the number of pounds of grain you used. The result should be somewhere around 30 ppg. 27 is okay, 29 is good, and over 30 is great. If it is 25 or below, you are lautering too fast or you are not getting good conversion in the mash, which could be caused by having too coarse a grist, the wrong temperature, not enough time, it got cold, or a pH factor, et cetera.

BIAB can use finely milled grain because they aren’t traditionally lautering once mash is complete or continually using vorfaul during the mash. If the liquid needs to flow thru a grain bed (as in lauter or vorlauf), it probably will have to be more course than what is typically used in BIAB.

Retailers have to take into consideration that their clients come from a spectrum of brewing techniques.

Thank you for the info, just a question or two if that is ok.  So, do I measure the gravity after I remove the bag of grain but before I start to increase the temp to get the wort to boil? And if I come up too low and I am at only 25 or so points, can I just put the bag back in and let the mash go a bit longer while maintaining the heat of, let's say 152 for argument sake?  Or do I reach for the DME that I have on hand to try and get the gravity reading to show a better gravity reading preboil? 

Sorry if these are silly questions, but I am going to do my first batch on my new kettle and propane burner, so I am really overthinking it.  LOL. 

Thanks to you and all who had input so far.  RR
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: redrocker652002 on April 23, 2022, 08:48:54 am
Greetings to all. 

It was brought up in another thread that when using the BIAB method the grains should be crushed very fine.  When I ordered my grains I had the company, MoreBeer, mill them.  Now I am wondering if they milled them enough.  I have a household use spice mill and a coffee bean grinder at my disposal, so my question is fairly simple.  Would it be worth it to spend the time grinding roughly 12 pounds of grain in one of my household grinders?  Or do I just take my chances on what I already have  I know this is probably a dumb question, but heck, I thought I would ask.  Thanks to all  RR

How do you know that it isn't fine enough? You're worrying about something that hasn't,  and might not, happen. Just brew and see what happens. Not only is using one of those grinders going to give you bad result's, you'll also burn up the grinder. PLEASE stop overthinking things!

Got it, thanks Denny.  I agree, I am overthinking.  Gonna put it all together next week and see what happens. 
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: Richard on April 23, 2022, 11:32:16 am
I recommend a bit of calculating to ensure you’re milling fine enough.

From How to Brew Chap 18: Calculate how efficient your extraction was. Measure the gravity in the boiling pot and multiply the points by the number of gallons you collected. Then divide by the number of pounds of grain you used. The result should be somewhere around 30 ppg. 27 is okay, 29 is good, and over 30 is great. If it is 25 or below, you are lautering too fast or you are not getting good conversion in the mash, which could be caused by having too coarse a grist, the wrong temperature, not enough time, it got cold, or a pH factor, et cetera.

BIAB can use finely milled grain because they aren’t traditionally lautering once mash is complete or continually using vorfaul during the mash. If the liquid needs to flow thru a grain bed (as in lauter or vorlauf), it probably will have to be more course than what is typically used in BIAB.

Retailers have to take into consideration that their clients come from a spectrum of brewing techniques.

Thank you for the info, just a question or two if that is ok.  So, do I measure the gravity after I remove the bag of grain but before I start to increase the temp to get the wort to boil? And if I come up too low and I am at only 25 or so points, can I just put the bag back in and let the mash go a bit longer while maintaining the heat of, let's say 152 for argument sake?  Or do I reach for the DME that I have on hand to try and get the gravity reading to show a better gravity reading preboil? 

Sorry if these are silly questions, but I am going to do my first batch on my new kettle and propane burner, so I am really overthinking it.  LOL. 

Thanks to you and all who had input so far.  RR

Yes, measure the gravity right after pulling the bag. If you have already mashed for an hour, putting the bag back in is unlikely to give you much more. At that point I would reach for the DME if it is too low.
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: denny on April 23, 2022, 12:00:43 pm
I recommend a bit of calculating to ensure you’re milling fine enough.

From How to Brew Chap 18: Calculate how efficient your extraction was. Measure the gravity in the boiling pot and multiply the points by the number of gallons you collected. Then divide by the number of pounds of grain you used. The result should be somewhere around 30 ppg. 27 is okay, 29 is good, and over 30 is great. If it is 25 or below, you are lautering too fast or you are not getting good conversion in the mash, which could be caused by having too coarse a grist, the wrong temperature, not enough time, it got cold, or a pH factor, et cetera.

BIAB can use finely milled grain because they aren’t traditionally lautering once mash is complete or continually using vorfaul during the mash. If the liquid needs to flow thru a grain bed (as in lauter or vorlauf), it probably will have to be more course than what is typically used in BIAB.

Retailers have to take into consideration that their clients come from a spectrum of brewing techniques.

Thank you for the info, just a question or two if that is ok.  So, do I measure the gravity after I remove the bag of grain but before I start to increase the temp to get the wort to boil? And if I come up too low and I am at only 25 or so points, can I just put the bag back in and let the mash go a bit longer while maintaining the heat of, let's say 152 for argument sake?  Or do I reach for the DME that I have on hand to try and get the gravity reading to show a better gravity reading preboil? 

Sorry if these are silly questions, but I am going to do my first batch on my new kettle and propane burner, so I am really overthinking it.  LOL. 

Thanks to you and all who had input so far.  RR

Do you plan on sparging?
Title: Grain Milling
Post by: BrewBama on April 23, 2022, 01:01:04 pm

…do I measure the gravity after I remove the bag of grain but before I start to increase the temp to get the wort to boil?

Yes


And if I come up too low and I am at only 25 or so points, can I just put the bag back in and let the mash go a bit longer while maintaining the heat of, let's say 152 for argument sake?

Most would do this:


…reach for the DME that I have on hand to try and get the gravity reading to show a better gravity reading preboil? 


Sorry if these are silly questions, but I am going to do my first batch on my new kettle and propane burner, so I am really overthinking it. 

Don’t sweat it. It’s just beer. Relax.

Thanks to you and all who had input so far.  RR

No worries.  Have fun.
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: Steve Ruch on April 24, 2022, 08:41:44 am
I recommend a bit of calculating to ensure you’re milling fine enough.

From How to Brew Chap 18: Calculate how efficient your extraction was. Measure the gravity in the boiling pot and multiply the points by the number of gallons you collected. Then divide by the number of pounds of grain you used. The result should be somewhere around 30 ppg. 27 is okay, 29 is good, and over 30 is great. If it is 25 or below, you are lautering too fast or you are not getting good conversion in the mash, which could be caused by having too coarse a grist, the wrong temperature, not enough time, it got cold, or a pH factor, et cetera.

BIAB can use finely milled grain because they aren’t traditionally lautering once mash is complete or continually using vorfaul during the mash. If the liquid needs to flow thru a grain bed (as in lauter or vorlauf), it probably will have to be more course than what is typically used in BIAB.

Retailers have to take into consideration that their clients come from a spectrum of brewing techniques.

Thank you for the info, just a question or two if that is ok.  So, do I measure the gravity after I remove the bag of grain but before I start to increase the temp to get the wort to boil? And if I come up too low and I am at only 25 or so points, can I just put the bag back in and let the mash go a bit longer while maintaining the heat of, let's say 152 for argument sake?  Or do I reach for the DME that I have on hand to try and get the gravity reading to show a better gravity reading preboil? 

Sorry if these are silly questions, but I am going to do my first batch on my new kettle and propane burner, so I am really overthinking it.  LOL. 

Thanks to you and all who had input so far.  RR

Do you plan on sparging?
Sparging can make a big difference. I didn't on my first BIAB attempt and did on my second and got a 10% higher O G with the same amount of malt.
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on April 24, 2022, 09:18:46 am
I recommend a bit of calculating to ensure you’re milling fine enough.

From How to Brew Chap 18: Calculate how efficient your extraction was. Measure the gravity in the boiling pot and multiply the points by the number of gallons you collected. Then divide by the number of pounds of grain you used. The result should be somewhere around 30 ppg. 27 is okay, 29 is good, and over 30 is great. If it is 25 or below, you are lautering too fast or you are not getting good conversion in the mash, which could be caused by having too coarse a grist, the wrong temperature, not enough time, it got cold, or a pH factor, et cetera.

BIAB can use finely milled grain because they aren’t traditionally lautering once mash is complete or continually using vorfaul during the mash. If the liquid needs to flow thru a grain bed (as in lauter or vorlauf), it probably will have to be more course than what is typically used in BIAB.

Retailers have to take into consideration that their clients come from a spectrum of brewing techniques.

Thank you for the info, just a question or two if that is ok.  So, do I measure the gravity after I remove the bag of grain but before I start to increase the temp to get the wort to boil? And if I come up too low and I am at only 25 or so points, can I just put the bag back in and let the mash go a bit longer while maintaining the heat of, let's say 152 for argument sake?  Or do I reach for the DME that I have on hand to try and get the gravity reading to show a better gravity reading preboil? 

Sorry if these are silly questions, but I am going to do my first batch on my new kettle and propane burner, so I am really overthinking it.  LOL. 

Thanks to you and all who had input so far.  RR

Do you plan on sparging?
Sparging can make a big difference. I didn't on my first BIAB attempt and did on my second and got a 10% higher O G with the same amount of malt.

I have sparged for over 3 decades. Did not know there was any other way. Just shows you how much I don’t know.
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: denny on April 24, 2022, 09:37:12 am
I recommend a bit of calculating to ensure you’re milling fine enough.

From How to Brew Chap 18: Calculate how efficient your extraction was. Measure the gravity in the boiling pot and multiply the points by the number of gallons you collected. Then divide by the number of pounds of grain you used. The result should be somewhere around 30 ppg. 27 is okay, 29 is good, and over 30 is great. If it is 25 or below, you are lautering too fast or you are not getting good conversion in the mash, which could be caused by having too coarse a grist, the wrong temperature, not enough time, it got cold, or a pH factor, et cetera.

BIAB can use finely milled grain because they aren’t traditionally lautering once mash is complete or continually using vorfaul during the mash. If the liquid needs to flow thru a grain bed (as in lauter or vorlauf), it probably will have to be more course than what is typically used in BIAB.

Retailers have to take into consideration that their clients come from a spectrum of brewing techniques.

Thank you for the info, just a question or two if that is ok.  So, do I measure the gravity after I remove the bag of grain but before I start to increase the temp to get the wort to boil? And if I come up too low and I am at only 25 or so points, can I just put the bag back in and let the mash go a bit longer while maintaining the heat of, let's say 152 for argument sake?  Or do I reach for the DME that I have on hand to try and get the gravity reading to show a better gravity reading preboil? 

Sorry if these are silly questions, but I am going to do my first batch on my new kettle and propane burner, so I am really overthinking it.  LOL. 

Thanks to you and all who had input so far.  RR

Do you plan on sparging?
Sparging can make a big difference. I didn't on my first BIAB attempt and did on my second and got a 10% higher O G with the same amount of malt.

I have sparged for over 3 decades. Did not know there was any other way. Just shows you how much I don’t know.

Yeah, no sparge brewing is very common, especially for BIAB. It can supposedly give you increased malt flavor. I don't know whether it might be due to lack of wort dilution, lack of pH rise during sparging, or reduction of oxidation . Possible some combo of those.
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: redrocker652002 on April 24, 2022, 12:01:34 pm
I recommend a bit of calculating to ensure you’re milling fine enough.

From How to Brew Chap 18: Calculate how efficient your extraction was. Measure the gravity in the boiling pot and multiply the points by the number of gallons you collected. Then divide by the number of pounds of grain you used. The result should be somewhere around 30 ppg. 27 is okay, 29 is good, and over 30 is great. If it is 25 or below, you are lautering too fast or you are not getting good conversion in the mash, which could be caused by having too coarse a grist, the wrong temperature, not enough time, it got cold, or a pH factor, et cetera.

BIAB can use finely milled grain because they aren’t traditionally lautering once mash is complete or continually using vorfaul during the mash. If the liquid needs to flow thru a grain bed (as in lauter or vorlauf), it probably will have to be more course than what is typically used in BIAB.

Retailers have to take into consideration that their clients come from a spectrum of brewing techniques.

Thank you for the info, just a question or two if that is ok.  So, do I measure the gravity after I remove the bag of grain but before I start to increase the temp to get the wort to boil? And if I come up too low and I am at only 25 or so points, can I just put the bag back in and let the mash go a bit longer while maintaining the heat of, let's say 152 for argument sake?  Or do I reach for the DME that I have on hand to try and get the gravity reading to show a better gravity reading preboil? 

Sorry if these are silly questions, but I am going to do my first batch on my new kettle and propane burner, so I am really overthinking it.  LOL. 

Thanks to you and all who had input so far.  RR

Do you plan on sparging?

Yes, I was planining on doing that.  I was going to set the grains on a rack, then pour 170 degree water thru the bag and either into the kettle, or into another vessle and transfer that to the kettle.  Either way, to answer your question, yes, that was the plan. 
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: denny on April 24, 2022, 12:31:02 pm
I recommend a bit of calculating to ensure you’re milling fine enough.

From How to Brew Chap 18: Calculate how efficient your extraction was. Measure the gravity in the boiling pot and multiply the points by the number of gallons you collected. Then divide by the number of pounds of grain you used. The result should be somewhere around 30 ppg. 27 is okay, 29 is good, and over 30 is great. If it is 25 or below, you are lautering too fast or you are not getting good conversion in the mash, which could be caused by having too coarse a grist, the wrong temperature, not enough time, it got cold, or a pH factor, et cetera.

BIAB can use finely milled grain because they aren’t traditionally lautering once mash is complete or continually using vorfaul during the mash. If the liquid needs to flow thru a grain bed (as in lauter or vorlauf), it probably will have to be more course than what is typically used in BIAB.

Retailers have to take into consideration that their clients come from a spectrum of brewing techniques.

Thank you for the info, just a question or two if that is ok.  So, do I measure the gravity after I remove the bag of grain but before I start to increase the temp to get the wort to boil? And if I come up too low and I am at only 25 or so points, can I just put the bag back in and let the mash go a bit longer while maintaining the heat of, let's say 152 for argument sake?  Or do I reach for the DME that I have on hand to try and get the gravity reading to show a better gravity reading preboil? 

Sorry if these are silly questions, but I am going to do my first batch on my new kettle and propane burner, so I am really overthinking it.  LOL. 

Thanks to you and all who had input so far.  RR

Do you plan on sparging?

Yes, I was planining on doing that.  I was going to set the grains on a rack, then pour 170 degree water thru the bag and either into the kettle, or into another vessle and transfer that to the kettle.  Either way, to answer your question, yes, that was the plan.

Cool. That will help your efficiency.
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: erockrph on April 25, 2022, 08:52:38 am
I did no-sparge BIAB for years. The main issue with having other shops mill your grains is consistency. I would go from 68% efficiency on one batch from one shop to 82% the next time when I got the grains from a different shop. Once I started milling my own grain I routinely hit 78-80% efficiency and that let me dial in my system and recipes.

If you're just starting out, none of this really matters. A 10% change in efficiency isn't going to make a significant difference in the finished beer. Focus on your process for a few batches until you really get it down, then you can start dialing in the finer details like crush and efficiency.
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: rtstrider on May 18, 2022, 01:17:47 pm
I used the morebeer milled grains and took a pretty hefty hit in efficiency. I used to biab on the stove top and my efficiency went from 75% on the double crushed grains from the lhbs to 56%-60% efficiency. I ended up getting a grain mill and now crush my own grains at around a .030 gap. I'm back to 70% and up efficiency using a 3 tier system now. Tried their grind on the 3 tier and took a pretty hefty efficiency hit as well. I'd have to recommend investing in a grain mill personally. That was one of the best investments I made!
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: redrocker652002 on May 18, 2022, 10:18:40 pm
I used the morebeer milled grains and took a pretty hefty hit in efficiency. I used to biab on the stove top and my efficiency went from 75% on the double crushed grains from the lhbs to 56%-60% efficiency. I ended up getting a grain mill and now crush my own grains at around a .030 gap. I'm back to 70% and up efficiency using a 3 tier system now. Tried their grind on the 3 tier and took a pretty hefty efficiency hit as well. I'd have to recommend investing in a grain mill personally. That was one of the best investments I made!

Cool, thank you for the info.  I have a 60 dollar gift card to Austin Home Brew that I might use for that.  I wasn't planning on going that route this early, but what the heck.  if it makes a better beer I can sell it to my Accountant, aka wife.  LOL.

Is there one you would recommend
Title: Re: Grain Milling
Post by: Megary on May 19, 2022, 06:44:23 am
I used the morebeer milled grains and took a pretty hefty hit in efficiency. I used to biab on the stove top and my efficiency went from 75% on the double crushed grains from the lhbs to 56%-60% efficiency. I ended up getting a grain mill and now crush my own grains at around a .030 gap. I'm back to 70% and up efficiency using a 3 tier system now. Tried their grind on the 3 tier and took a pretty hefty efficiency hit as well. I'd have to recommend investing in a grain mill personally. That was one of the best investments I made!

Cool, thank you for the info.  I have a 60 dollar gift card to Austin Home Brew that I might use for that.  I wasn't planning on going that route this early, but what the heck.  if it makes a better beer I can sell it to my Accountant, aka wife.  LOL.

Is there one you would recommend

I don't think a grain mill will "make a better beer" directly, but what it should do is allow you to settle in to a repeatable efficiency and therefore consistently hit your gravity and volume numbers.  That sure makes recipe design a whole lot easier.  Imo, you can make good beer at 90% or 60% efficiency.  The key is being confident that your efficiency, whatever it is, is stable and dependable (+ or - a few points).