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We have gotten lots of questions about grain crush and I would like some validation on my crush. I spray my grain with about 8 to 10 oz of water per 20 lbs and let it sit 30 minutes before crush. Then on to a Barley Crusher and Dewalt cordless dril run slowly. Maybe 10 minutes crush time. Here is a picture.Milled Grain

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That actually look really good. Looks like the moisture is keeping the husk from shredding and you have nice crush on the grain.

I'm constantly pushing finer and finer for more efficiency. As we all should to know what your system can handle.

Stuck sparge isn't the end of the world. Easily fixed by pumping or flowing wort back through false bottom, then mix in rice hulls and reset the bed.

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  • Do you think there is a point where you start trading off more efficiency for a huskier - more tannin wort? I was always under the impression that you really don't want too much husk in the mash. You definitely don't want it in the boil! – Pale Ale May 17 '17 at 17:19
  • You don't want it in the boil but a lot of brewers will use rice hull in their mash if they're using wheat because wheat doesn't have the hulls like barley does. Of course, rice hulls aren't roasted like the barley malt is. – CharlieHorse May 17 '17 at 17:24
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    @PaleAle husk is not an issue for tannins no matter how much or how fine it is. If mashed properly. Tannins only extract at 170°F AND a pH above 5.8-6.0. Both conditions must be met. Either or singularly is fine. But neither are ideal for a mash. Usually only happens on mash out and sparging with too hot and unadjusted water. – Evil Zymurgist May 17 '17 at 17:28
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In general, what you're looking for is removal of the husk and to increase the surface area to volume ratio, to a certain extent. Why to a certain extent? Flour has a very high surface area to volume ratio but if you use that, a lot of your grain is going to get stuck during lauter (we refer to this as a stuck sparge). So, to prevent this, we compromise and get the grain particles big enough so that they won't go though our lauter (and by leaving the husks in the mash or even adding husks, like rice hulls, we achieve this).

So, basically, what I've said, with a lot of words, is that you want the husks removed from the grain and the inside of the grain to be broken a few times. "Best result" is according to how your lautering. What I do (and most of my brewing friends do) is use a credit card as a gauge for the space between the rollers. I'm not sure if I'd even heard of anybody needing to wet they grain before milling it. That seems like a potential to create a mess.

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  • There is no "need" to moisten the grain but what I think is happening here is the husk itself becomes less brittle and when it passes through the mill rollers it doesn't fly into a million pieces but just gets cracked. This eliminates lots of husk material in the mash. More husk matter in a softer beer like a Kolsch mash is not what I'm looking for. Funny I call it a stuck mash, not a stuck sparge. – Pale Ale May 17 '17 at 17:15
  • I wonder if anyone has tried to completely remove the husk and use something inert (like rice hulls) to prevent a stuck (mash/sparge)? – Pale Ale May 17 '17 at 17:17
  • You could remove the husks completely and add rice hulls back but why would you? There is a lot of flavor there and it seems like it would be more trouble and cost involved. – CharlieHorse May 17 '17 at 17:26
  • That was a just for fun question. – Pale Ale May 18 '17 at 12:18
  • As I tell my D&D players, you could certainly try. :-) – CharlieHorse May 18 '17 at 14:43

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