From the HBD Archive
From: wang!mds@uunet.UU.NET (pri=8 Marc San Soucie ms 019-890 x76723)
Subject: Sanitizing And Crushing
Date: 1989-07-06 20:46:52 GMT

In reference to Steve Anthony's description of his sanitization procedures:

My own procedures differ in the odd detail here and there, but what you are
doing sounds like a perfectly reasonable compromise between slavish attention
to cleanliness and sloth. After all, why should brewing be an unpleasant
chore? I haven't had a speck of contamination yet, and for the most part
I do things pretty much as you have described them. Except for sucking on
siphon hoses. Never could make it work that way...

Gordon Hester asks about "well crushed" grains:

> How do I go about crushing it? How crushed does it need to be?
> When do I add it to the wort?

When brewing with grain additives, you're doing something akin to making a
fine spaghetti sauce - toss in a bit of this and a pinch of that and a couple
huge handfuls of hot peppers and...

Crystal malt is a malt which has been processed to contain crystallized sugars
within its kernels. Crushing allows hot water to pull more of these sugars out
of the grains. Degrees of crushing probably do not greatly affect this
activity, so long as the grains are opened up. Extreme crushing (grinding)
may actually have negative side effects, such as allowing nasty bits of the
grain husk to contribute possibly harsh flavors to your beer. I buy some of
my crystal malt pre-crushed, and crush the rest by hand with a heavy glass in
a mixing bowl. I wear a leather glove to protect my hand from the day, sure to
come, when the glass breaks. This technique is so stupid as to be laughable.
Someday will I buy a proper crusher?

Other grains, such as black malt or roasted barley, can be treated more like
the little red peppers in Szechuan food - more crushing for more flavor, less
for less. In some stouts I like a knock-me-off-my-feet assault of flavor, so
I grind the black malt up into atom-sized particles. This is an acquired taste,
as many find ground black malt too aggressive. I can't get enough of it.

Papazian does have a chapter, or section thereof, about using grain adjuncts.
He recommends putting them into the cold water as it is heated, and removing
them when the water comes to a boil. This is a lazy enough technique for me,
so I have never strayed far from it. Professionals and all-grain brewers will
surely have a host of improved suggestions to make, and if I ever see one which
isn't a lot of work, I'll surely try it.

Basically, do what you have time for. Whole grains, uncrushed, will add nice
flavors. Crushing will add more. Grinding still more. Stop when you've had
enough. Drink the result.

Marc San Soucie
The John Smallbrewers
Massachusetts

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