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I and my soon to be wife have just started brewing on our own and at the moment we are using a local provider for our malt. The malt comes ground in a plastic bag and is relatively fresh but a bit unevenly ground. In the bottom of the bag there is quite a lot of malt that is almost in flour form. I have been unsure whether or not to add this flour to the brew as it tends to go through our filter and some times get stuck in our equipment.

I'm afraid it might burn at the bottom of our cooking pot if we include to much of it but I don't want to lose to much of the sugar. It has not burned yet as I have usually separated it out and put it at the top of the brew after adding water to make sure it does not fall out of the filter. This process is how ever quite tedious and I am considering whether it is necessary or not.

So to the questions! How coarse should the malt bee before malting?

I imagine differently ground malt affect the end taste and the brewing process. What are your experiences in this area?

I want as much info ass possible! Thank you for your answers.

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  • I'm still not clear on when the scorching is happening: in the mash or in the boil? Anything will scorch if the heat is intense enough. – Pepi Jan 8 '16 at 19:01
  • I'm not certain either as both process taker place in the same vessel with our method. But I'm guessing it is in the boil. – Pablo Jomer Jan 10 '16 at 13:09
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Mill size is really dependant on the brew system. Sounds like you BIAB, so I won't go into to much. I would encourage you to look a other topics here about Mash Tuns.

To answer. I like to have the grain cracked into roughly quarters. With husk almost entirely intacted but separated from the grain. There will always be some flour no matter the mill size. Finer mills are more effecient as far as getting the most from the grain, however fine and flour grinds are out of the question for most homebrew, as it takes expensive commercial equipment to take advantage of.

Vorlauf. To keep the small grain particles out of the boil, you can do what is called a vorlauf step. Drain a portion of the wort and into a container and pour it back in on top of the grain. Do this until it's particle free, the grain acts as a filter. Double bagging the grain helps too.

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  • Infact we don't brew in a bag we use a BK35 brewing pot which comes with an internal filter. If you want you can use a bag to complement this filter but we have not used that so far. maltmagnus.se/bk35 – Pablo Jomer Jan 7 '16 at 6:06
  • Thanks for the tip about the Vorlauf step we do something similar. Currently we filter out the flour in the dry and add it to the top of the wet wort. We then pump from the bottom after the filter back on top of the wort during malting. – Pablo Jomer Jan 7 '16 at 10:04
  • @PabloKarlsson sorry for making the biab assumption. We generally call the mash tun filter a "false bottom" which is just a screen to hold back grain during sparge. I think you're on the right track by doing a good vorlauf. Your milled grain may need more attention to keeping the husks intact and not shredding them. Adding rice husks will give your grain more filtering abilities too. – Evil Zymurgist Jan 7 '16 at 15:20
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The grain should be crushed, with a roller mill, not ground. This will leave the husks mostly intact, but the starch should shatter into fine, white particles.

These fine particles will become your beer, include as much as possible. They should dissolve in the mash, or at least become very soft. They might end up getting past your whirlpool, and even in the ferment, but don't worry, they are made of good things.

What is your filter like anyway? My mash filter has 2mm holes, nothing that bothers me gets through, and there is certainly nothing downstream that could get clogged by 2mm particles.

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  • Good answer I think my filter has 2 or 1mm holes. One reason I ask is that some times some of the sugars an starch burn on to the heating plate. which I guess is not a big problem because its so little but I still wanted to prevent this if possible. – Pablo Jomer Jan 7 '16 at 12:34
  • @PabloKarlsson don't be afraid to stir the wort gently to keep particles suspended, once boiling there should be enough movement on its own to keep particles suspended. – Evil Zymurgist Jan 7 '16 at 15:23
  • @EvilZymurgist So before boiling I should stir or perhaps cycle with a pump and once boiling I can stop? – Pablo Jomer Jan 7 '16 at 15:25
  • @PabloKarlsson just gently stir it. But ideally you shouldn't have to do this if your sparge produced nice clear wort... Vorlauf. Something else, check you water grain ratio, vorlauf should "set" the grain bed but sometimes can't if there is too much water. Your mash should have no more than 2 inches of water over the grain when it's settled. Don't stir the mash after you start to vorlauf and spage. – Evil Zymurgist Jan 7 '16 at 15:28
  • @EvilZymurgist What happens if there is to much water? And what happens if the ratio is off? – Pablo Jomer Jan 7 '16 at 15:47
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It is a tradeoff between amount of cracked grains and the amount of flour. Ideally you want all the grain cracked but due to varying size of the grains you will probably get too much flour, clogging your filter. Clogging can be avoided by adding rice husks to the grain (Especially important when making wheat beer).

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  • Which I was making yesterday. But I think it went well even without the rice husks. – Pablo Jomer Jan 7 '16 at 10:00
  • Do the husks help with anything else in wheat beer? – Pablo Jomer Jan 7 '16 at 10:00

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