Grain Mill

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Grain Mill

Postby cyto » Sun Mar 23, 2008 8:12 pm

I am looking for recommendations for an inexpensive grain mill.
Or should I buy my grain already cracked?

Thanks

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RE: Grain Mill

Postby wottaguy » Sun Mar 23, 2008 9:07 pm

2 words:

Barley Crusher

http://www.barleycrusher.com/

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RE: Grain Mill

Postby Bob57702 » Sun Mar 23, 2008 10:40 pm

What's your idea of inexpensive? I recently got a Monster Mill MM-3 but I wouldn't call it inexpensive. But for what I got it might be just that. So there are variables to consider, i.e. two roller versus three; large, small, or no hopper; hand crank, drill powered, or motor driven; adjustable or fixed gap; ready to go or DIY; and finally dollars. I love my Monster Mill and it'll probably last for generations. Others will tell you how they love their mills as well. Anyhow inexpensive will depend on what you're looking for, and how much you're willing to and how much you actually spend to get. So do you know exactly what you're looking for?
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Postby cyto » Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:29 am

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Re: Grain Mill

Postby Bob57702 » Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:57 am

I don't believe it would leave you much in the way of husks but I don't know for sure. There is a relatively popular mill on the market very similar to this. You need the grain husks to be intact as much as possible while still cracking the the grain into small pieces but not flour. These husks from your filter bed so not to have stuck sparges plus the closer to flour the higher chance of extracting tannins.

Maybe some others that are more experienced than I would give an opinon.
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corn mill

Postby slothrob » Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:34 am

I've never used a corn mill, but some people have used them for years with great success. My understanding is that they need to be modified with a stack of washers to set the gap correctly. As they come they will just grind everything to powder and leave you with a stuck mash.

A purposefully designed mill for producing beer, like a Barley Crusher, will work right out of the box and last a long time, but you'll pay a premium for it. I use a Barley Crusher, but it seems everyone I've ever talked to likes their mill, no matter the brand.
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More about the corn mill

Postby billvelek » Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:38 am

cyto, that eBay picture looks very much like the "Corona" mill, which a number of homebrewers use and claim success. But let me make a few comments:

First, here is a link to one that is a little bit cheaper, but you might want to confirm that the hopper is included since the picture doesn't show one, or else plan on finding an empty tin can or something like that that fits in its place: http://tinyurl.com/2lmkgu

Second, I don't have any experience with the Cornoa mill, but here is a website which seems to make an objective evaluation while comparing a number of similar mills: http://waltonfeed.com/self/grind5.html

Third, Bob57702 raised a valid point about possible tannins and slothrob might have the solution to avoid that with the addition of washers; I don't know. Corona mills have been debated for YEARS on many different brewing forums, and in the process many experienced brewers (who have probably never tried one and probably never even had a beer from one) have warned against using them because the very design, by its nature, destroys the husk -- it "grinds" instead of "crushes"; on the other hand, in those same debates are a number of experienced brewers who actually use such a mill and claim to NOT have problems with either stuck sparges or tannins. More about their opinions, below. Meanwhile, I would suggest that, for such a low price, that you could consider trying one out, and then reselling it on eBay if it doesn't work like you want.

The problem as I see it, from strictly a theoretical point of view, is that the corona mill "grinds", which destroys husks; I can't envision that adding washers to increase the gap will really avoid this result because it still "grinds", but perhaps the washers will lessen it sufficiently to help preserve some husks although I suspect that a lot of husk is still going to be ground up into powder. Now, there is certainly a very slight amount of grinding with a roller mill until the knurl grabs the kernel sufficiently to draw it between the roller and opposite plate or other roller, but the larger the gap and the diameter of the roller the less that will happen. A three roller system minimizes it even less because the larger gap in the first set of rollers crushes the grain partially so that it more easily passes through the tighter gap in the second set of rollers (the two 'sets' share a common roller). Anyway, roller mills do far more "crushing" than grinding, whereas I would think that any "crushing" within a "grinder", per se, is just merely incidental. The only reason that this is important is the husks, as mentioned. The 'dust' of the ground husks is, theoretically, almost impossible to keep out of your wort, and when the husk particles are boiled, they should release tannins. What I don't know is how well the experienced brewers who use corona mills are able to detect that; if they didn't have much experience when they started, they might not really know the difference between their beer with some tannins and other homebrew without tannins. It would be interesting to find out how many award winning beers have been made with corona mills, or whether they are consistently eliminated by the beer judges because of tannins. Are there any corona mill users here in this forum who have ever won an award for beer made with the corona mill? From my point of view, I work too hard on brew day to make sure that everything is as perfect as I can make it, and I don't want to risk compromising my brew by the very grist that I use.

Finally, cyto, do you think you could edit your message to replace the long ebay link with a shorter TinyURL link (http://www.tinyurl.com is your friend), because it is causing me to have to use my horizontal scroll on all messages in this thread. Thanks.

Cheers.

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Carona mill

Postby slothrob » Mon Mar 24, 2008 1:49 pm

Dampening the grain slightly before passing it through a Carona mill may further help reduce the tearing of the husks, as well. I think the Carona mill is an option if price is a bigger concern than time and effort getting it to work well. If the difference between $30 and $130 isn't going to simply prevent you from buying a mill, and you don't want to spend half a Saturday and another $5-10 trying to get the gap set right on the cheap mill, get a good grain mill.

If you are serious about brewing, you'll love your mill, perhaps make better beer, and probably make back the extra cost over a few years of brewing through increased efficiencies.

By the way, did you know that you can make any word a link by putting it between two 'url' tags and adding = and the webste adress? This saves you the trip to tinyurl.
Like this:
Code: Select all
[url=http://www.google.com/]Google[/url]

Result:

Google
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re: Grain Mill

Postby Bob57702 » Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:22 pm

I'm still trying to determine if my 3 roller grain mill is increasing my efficiency or what. Prior to getting my own mill I was getting between 77% and 80%. Since I got my own mill going (last two batches) I have had some increase in efficiency. I can't determine the first batch as it was a partigyle and I haven't done the math yet. But from two 1.076 at 78% eff. mashes I got a 1.109 and a 1.069. My second batch was my first AG wheat beer and I got an easy 89%. Can I say it was all due to my mill or just me improving my mash and lautering techniques? More than likely some of both. But if this efficiency is due to my mill and continues then it won't take too many years for my mill to pay itself back.

I'm learning that just making do is actually costing me more. I'm now replacing a lot of my original stuff with decent quality stuff and thus I'm out the original costs. So I would say if you're really serious about homebrewing and plan to do it for as long as you can then spending, if at all possible, the extra dollars now for decent equipment will pay off in the future. It just may take a while. Unfortunately you have to determine what is decent though.

BTW - The Barley Crusher was my second choice for mills right after the Monster Mill.
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Re: Grain mill

Postby Bob57702 » Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:32 am

Well I calculated it out and for my partigyle I got a 91% efficiency. If I get a couple more brews in this neighborhood I'll have to assume that it is the mill making the difference. That's an increase of over 10% in efficiency. So at that rate if I brew about 500 gallons it'll pay for the mill. That should take about 3 years. That's actually not a bad ROI.
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mill

Postby slothrob » Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:27 am

I think I figured once that the efficiency gain from my mill would take me 5 years to pay back it's cost; though I've improved my efficiency up into your neighborhood of close to 90%, so it would be a little less time now.

By having my own mill I was also able to start buying grain in bulk, which cut my grain cost in half, saving me about $10/batch. That savings would recoup my expense for the mill in only ~13 batches!

I'll tell you though, having a mill is such a convenience that it's worth it's weight in gold. The fact that I know I'll have a good crush and hit my expected efficiency saves me a lot of headaches, making it a worthwhile investment for me even if it never paid itself back.
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Grain Mill

Postby garylaurance » Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:17 am

I use the high hopper and seems to work great, got new off of e-bay for 17.00, works great for the 5 gal batches, takes about 15 minutes to do grind section for 5 gal.
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