The grains arrived perfectly, nicely packaged and labeled correctly (nice touch btw). I noticed the grains were not milled to the level I am accustomed to. And sure enough, my efficencies fell from my normal 73-76 range to 52%. So I have now purchased a grinder to bring this variable under my control.
-Hi Brad, thank for your feedback. We will certainly look into this, but we'd appreciate it if you'd reach out to us as well so we can go over a few things like iodine tests for conversion, ATP and ADP and AMP levels in the water, temperature control, sparge rate and the type of system being used. We've found that in the few cases we do get regarding an undermilled grain that the vast majority are not actually under milled, rather an iodine test is not being done to test for conversion and the process moves too quickly from mashing to sparging. I've personally seen a 1-2 degree difference in mash temperature take a mash that should have been 1 hour to 1 hour and 40 minutes, that's why it's so crucial to do an iodine test. Doing this tells you if the starches have been converted into sugars so that you won't be off in your efficiencies. Additionally too fast of a sparge rate will leave fermentables behind. A good sparge for a 5 gallon batch should take 45 minutes to an hour, if sparging is going any quicker than that, it's too fast and efficiency will drop... With regards to water there are a number of minerals and dissolved elements that can affect the mash and conversion, knowing the water profile for the style, the water profile being used and adjusting that accordingly is critical. English Beers, which use a lot of Maris Otter and Golden Promise tend to take a little longer to mash because of harder water profile to style and the higher density of those malted kernels. For what little complaints we do get regarding a potentially under milled grain they are for Maris or GP, and it's because many brewers do not take the higher density kernel or harder water profile into account, and just mash for an hour with no iodine test, before sparging. We do not like to crush these grains further because 1, they're already crushed to spec and 2 it could lead to unwanted off flavors and potentially stuck mashes. A properly cracked grain, should be cracked just enough for water to penetrate, but no so much that each kernel has been pulverized into all flour or completely flattened. We calibrate our mills 2-3 times a week to guarantee that grain is properly cracked at all times. It's also important to touch on system. Many of our guests have started to use the all in one or automated systems like grainfather and picobrew. While these systems are great, they do not negate the need to do an iodine test and take control of the water profile, unfortunately we've found the misconception that those steps are not needed, when they absolutely are necessary. if anyone has any questions on this please feel to reach out to us at [email protected]
or give us a call at 512-300-2739. We're happy to walk through these steps and troubleshoot. We've got somebody here or online 7 days a weeks. -Ben