How to mill the grains
The first step to take when you want to start brewing beer at home with the classic All Grain technique is the malt mill, both barley and wheat or unmalted cereals. At first sight this operation may seem trivial but it is of considerable importance: an inappropriate grinding can cause various problems in the production process or unwanted organoleptic aspects in the finished beer.
The malt must be coarsely ground, to releases all the starch contained in it.
In fact, during boiling, the water will penetrate inside the grain, activating the various fundamental enzymes during the mashing phase to generate fermentable sugars. The grain should only be crushed and not reduced to flour. Apparently it should look almost intact, but if you just squeeze it, it should open.
How to perfectly mill the malt grains?
Why is the malt mill so important?
It is important not to reduce malt completely to flour for 3 reasons:
- Problems during the Sparge: the peel of the grain must remain intact because it will be the protagonist of the sparging phase. In fact, the real element that acts as a filter during the "washing of the grains" process is the malt peel and cannot be replaced. Sparging is a mandatory step in brewing beer.
- Taste defects: unwanted substances are contained in the peel of the malt, such as tannins, which, for the reason mentioned above, would not be able to filter during sparging. The finished beer may be too astringent, giving the palate a sensation like that produced by lemon juice.
- Cloudy beer: the average milling could leave the peels almost intact, but if the inside of the grain is flourished too much, the dispersion of the flours in the wort will be increased, which will be more difficult to eliminate even with a correct Sparging, the result is a more cloudy beer.
Now that we have seen the problems that a wrong grind can bring to beer, we know that we need to pay a lot of attention to this process that can apparently seem trivial. Always remember to check the spacing of the rollers in your mill and keep in mind that each type of malt has a different consistency and humidity and therefore requires appropriate crushing.
Some people prefer to grind the malt grains more finely to achieve greater efficiency and solve the problem of too fine grinding by using a bag as a filter.
Some homebrewers moisten the grains before grinding the malts with the mill, as the skins become more flexible and will tend to break without flour but remember to grind the malt just before use because otherwise the humidity will not stop at the only peel but it will also penetrate into the heart of the grain making grinding difficult
Feel free to use whichever technique you prefer but keep in mind the points we wrote above to avoid spoiling your beer.