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Brews in Toyland

Yes, my garage is a mess.

Yes, my garage is a mess.

You guys, I’m seriously. Best Xmas ever. I brewed a batch of APA yesterday and got to try out my new Barley Crusher and March pump for the first time. So not only do I not have to lift 6 gallons of boiling wort to chest height any more, I can recirculate it through my chiller and back into the whirlpool, meaning faster chilling (and less water wasted), better cold break (and clearer beer), and better aroma from whirlpool hop additions. Who knew combining water and electricity could be so much fun? I need to rig up some sort of pickup tube though – I’m leaving about half a gallon in the bottom of my boil kettle.

I set the Barley Crusher gap from the default of 39 mil (0.99 mm) to 30 mil (0.76 mm), for no particular reason other than that it’s the width of credit card stock. I don’t have any feeler gauges to do a more precise adjustment; I may have to pick some up though, because I also tried out malt conditioning. It produced a beautiful crush and faster lautering than I’m used to getting even from the wider mill setting at my LHBS. But either my gap is too narrow or the amount of water I added (150 mL, about 3% by mass) was too much, because I was barely able to operate the mill. Next time I’ll probably try a 1% water addition to see if I can get the benefits, without the workout.

I doubt the malt conditioning has anything to do with it, but thanks to the new mill I also got a 10% increase in efficiency, to 87%. That’s pretty damn close to the theoretical limit for a single batch sparge, so at least in theory the mill will pay for itself… after only 1465 pounds of grain.

Behold a Pale Ale Mk5 PDF

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