Sunday, July 28, 2013

Barley Crusher Tear-Down and Maintenance

 My Barley Crusher has not been working so well lately, lots of spinning, but not much crushing. I've adjusted the gap wider a few times, but when I needed to set it to 0.050 to get any grain to go through, it was time to look at another solution. At 0.050, there were quite a few grains that weren't even crushed. 

It looks pretty simple, so I thought I'd try taking it apart and cleaning it. It turns out it was pretty easy to do. It originally came with an o-ring on the non-powered roller to help make that roller spin, so I added a couple of new o-rings also.

Here are the details in lovely pictures:

Before, not working so well, lots of spinning but not much crushing.

Need to loosen the two screws holding on the bin. They just need loosened, the bottom of the bin has slots, so it will pull off without having to completely remove the screws.

Bin is removed, you can see the small slot in the bottom.

Roller section unbolted from the work bench. There is quite a bit of grain dust.

The side with the adjusting knobs has two long screws with lock washers.

The spinning roller side has two small screws, no lock washers.

Just remove all 4 screws.

Both sides removed.

The ends should pull off easily.

There is some crud build up on the end plates.

The other end needs cleaned too.

I lubed the rollers by putting a drop or two of oil on the brass bushings.

View of the other end of the rollers.

Originally, the Barley Crusher had an o-ring around the non-driven roller to help it spin. That disappeared into the mash about the second time I used the mill. I found these at Home Depot in the plumbing section, thought I'd put on a couple and see how long they last.

Cleaned, lubed, added new o-rings.

All assembled and gap adjusted. I set the gap at 0.038". I was a little worried that the o-rings would be too thick and wouldn't let me adjust the roller tight enough, but no problem.

Looks like a pretty good crush, both rollers moving really helped pull the grain through.

Update, Sep 15, 2013 -- the rubber o-rings wore out the second time I used the mill after the maintenance. Also, the mill was really slow with the second roller turning. It looks like either it needs a larger gap or slower speed. When I brewed yesterday, it was back to its old ways of lots of spinning and not much crushing, so I took it apart again and removed the o-rings. Also, I step that I may have left out when I did this the first time was to make sure that the knobs for the adjustable roller were both set on the mark. I don't know that this makes a difference, but after reassembly, that left the roller gap at 0.045", which seems to work just fine. The grain fed smoothly, and the crush looks good, very little shreading of the husks.

Batch 142, Oatmeal Pale Ale

Another variation on an Oatmeal Pale Ale.

10 gallon batch

12.25 lbs 2 row
4.75 lbs Munich
3 lbs wheat
0.5 lbs oatmeal

Mash at 155F for 60 minutes.

60 minute boil.

3 oz Perle, 60 minutes
2 oz Mt Hood, flameout

Wyeast 1272

No Irish Moss, the oatmeal will make it cloudy anyway.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Batch 141, Leeser

Almost the same last time, a slight variation in the grain bill, I didn't have any carapils, so I just used some extra vienna.

10 gallons Bohemian Pilsner

OG: 1.044
FG: 1.011
IBU: 41
SRM: 12
ABV 4.3%

10 lbs pilsner malt
7 lbs munich malt
2 lb vienna malt

Mash in with 7.5 gallons at 165F for mash temp of 150F. Hold 1 hour. Sparge with 7.5 gallons 180F to collect 12.5 gallons in boil kettle. At least, that was the plan. The initial 7.5 gallons got me 3 gallons in the boil kettle, so I sparged with 10 gallons to end up with 13 in the kettle.

1.5 oz Magnum, 60 minutes
1.5 oz US Saaz, 15 minutes
1.5 oz US Saaz, 5 minutes

Wyeast 2278 Czech Pils, 2 packets. I'm sure I used something different last time, but no worries.

Pitched into 2.5 gallons at 50F, hold for 24 hours. Oxygenate remaining wort, then pitch the 2.5 gallons, hold at 50F for 12 days (July 20).

Notes from last time:
Raise to 65F for 24 hours, actually until Nov 24.Lager at 34F for 40 days. Put into lager on Nov 24, should be done lagering on Jan 5.