September 1, 2003 at 2:55pm

Author(s): Lathe Poland

With so many grain mills on the market today it is getting harder and harder to know which mill is the one for you. More and more people are discovering the HuskBuster. Can a mill with plastic rollers really do the work? Who was this mill designed for? What advantages does the HB have?

Can a mill with plastic rollers really do the work?

This is really a question of quantities. Any substance on this planet in high quantities will eventually wear down hard surfaces. Just think of the 10 feet of bedrock eroded off the face of Niagara Falls each year. Thus even metal rollers show signs of wear after tons and tons of grain pass through them. Nevertheless, there is no question that metal can wear longer than plastic. Hence, the HB may not be the best choice for someone running a high volume supply shop. Anyone grinding thousands of pounds of grain each year would want to invest in a heavier industrial strength grain mill that is motorized.

For the rest of us, however, the HuskBuster is a workhorse of a mill that provides a high quality crush. After some rigorous testing at high RPMs, the only wear the rollers showed was a bit of a shine.


Some may say that the main problem is pebbles. Maltsters can easily remove the big and little stones harvested with the grain, it is the ones that are about the same size as the kernels that are the hardest to get out. These barley corn sized rocks are the ones that can do damage to the rollers. This problem shows itself most often when using a motorized mill. By the time the brewer notices the pebble skipping about in the grain mill it has already scratched or pitted the strike plate or the drive roller. What about the HB? Since it has plastic rollers doesn't that automatically take it out of the running with it's metal roller counterparts? The answer might surprise you.

We designed the mill with tolerances for stones and pebbles. The tensioner bracket has enough flex in it to allow hard objects to go through without damaging the mill. We tortured our prototype mills with extreme turning pressure and sent stones and chunks of metal through them. Although we DO NOT recommend treating your mill like that, those mills performed excellently and are still in use to this day.

This brings us to another critical point the HB isn't motorized. When grinding grain the brewer is the engine. When the torque gets too hard to turn it becomes pretty clear that there is an obstruction. The risk of damage is very low if the user doesn't try to exert unreasonable force.

Who was this mill designed for?

We wanted to craft a mill that would meet the performance needs for as many home brewers as possible. So we decided to research how much grain a home brewer might use. We discovered that over 30% of home brewers are exclusively extract brewers. So that group wouldn't have any need for a grain mill. On the opposite end of the spectrum were the "high volume" brewers. This group (nearly 20%) makes more then 20 batches of beer a year. This group is more than likely going to use heavy motorized multiple steel roller grain mills. So that brings us to the group of brewers that the HB is designed for (approx. 50%). This is a mix of partial mash and all grain brewers that brew between 1 and 20 batches a year. These brewers are trying to make the most out of every batch with the best use of their time and money. BeerTools stands behind the engineering and craftsmanship of the HuskBuster grain mill.

What advantages does the HB have?

To start the HB uses sealed ball bearing cartridges which are superior to bronze bearings. These bearings so effectively reduce friction that the rollers practically spin like bicycle wheels when no pressure is applied to them. The construction of the HB makes it easy to maintain because it can be easily disassembled. This also facilitates replacing parts and customizing the mill. The HB is a fully adjustable mill so you can fine tune your grind. On top of all these and more features, the HB is one of the most inexpensive two roller, fully adjustable mills on the market today.

If you are a grain brewer and staying within the legal limits of home brewing in the United States then the HB will easiliy accomodate your crushing needs. If you are in that 30% that makes extract only batches, we encourage you to examine the benefits (and challenges) of making grain based beer. Any way you look at it home brewing can be a rewarding and enjoyable hobby.

Click here for more information about the HuskBuster.