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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: dllipe on August 14, 2013, 03:32:42 PM

Title: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: dllipe on August 14, 2013, 03:32:42 PM
I'm looking into a barley crusher so I can buy bulk amounts of base malt, no lines at LHBS as well as set my own crush for efficiency purposes.  My equiment is the cheap and easy 10 gallon cooler and pot which does the trick for 5 gallon batches.  I brew mostly medium to high ABV beers so bills are typically 10 - 20 lbs.  Went to the LHBS this weekend and bought ingredients for two different batches.  I realized after I got home that the crush was not very good which affected my efficiency.

I've done a little research online and noticed there's quite a range of products and prices.  I wanted to get feedback on 2 vs 3 roller mills and well as brands and sellers.   I don't mind spending a little bit more for equipment if the value is there.

As always, thanks.
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: thebigbaker on August 14, 2013, 03:58:31 PM
I go this 2-roller Barley Crusher from NB:  http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/barley-crusher-w-7-hopper.html (http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/barley-crusher-w-7-hopper.html).  I'm very happy with it and noticed a slight jump in my efficiency once I started using it.
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: AmandaK on August 14, 2013, 04:08:14 PM
I have the "Barley Crusher" as mentioned above. It's okay. Yes, it crushes grains. But it also gets jammed occasionally, isn't gear driven (the second roller just free spins) and sometimes just seems to skip through the grains. This is probably due to the free spinning second roller and the fact that mine (and other club members' BC) doesn't seem to want to stay at the gap setting I put it at. Five or so batches and it needs to be put back into place.

That being said, I'm getting a Schmidling MaltMill when I finally break this one. http://schmidling.com/maltmill.htm (http://schmidling.com/maltmill.htm)
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: duboman on August 14, 2013, 05:15:23 PM
I use the barley crusher and contrary to AmandaK have had no issues going on 2years.

I did tighten the gap a couple mm's and get a great crush. I went with the bigger hopper so I can fit 15lbs and I use a variable speed drill to drive it-this isn't recommended but I find it works well:)
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: klickitat jim on August 14, 2013, 05:17:25 PM
I use a Victory corona will. But after about 10# I always dream of getting a powered mill
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: AmandaK on August 14, 2013, 05:36:27 PM
I use the barley crusher and contrary to AmandaK have had no issues going on 2years.

I did tighten the gap a couple mm's and get a great crush. I went with the bigger hopper so I can fit 15lbs and I use a variable speed drill to drive it-this isn't recommended but I find it works well:)

I should mention that I've been using mine for around 2 years as well, but I got it from another homebrewer who had used it for over 5 years before I got it.
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: erockrph on August 18, 2013, 12:42:02 PM
I have the "Barley Crusher" as mentioned above. It's okay. Yes, it crushes grains. But it also gets jammed occasionally, isn't gear driven (the second roller just free spins) and sometimes just seems to skip through the grains. This is probably due to the free spinning second roller and the fact that mine (and other club members' BC) doesn't seem to want to stay at the gap setting I put it at. Five or so batches and it needs to be put back into place.

I have the same Barley Crusher. I recently noticed a dip in my efficiency on my past couple of batches. I had attributed it from switching from a hand crank to a drill, but now I'm wondering if it is simply because of the mill gap loosening up. I'll have to check it out tonight.
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: duboman on August 18, 2013, 12:56:58 PM

I have the "Barley Crusher" as mentioned above. It's okay. Yes, it crushes grains. But it also gets jammed occasionally, isn't gear driven (the second roller just free spins) and sometimes just seems to skip through the grains. This is probably due to the free spinning second roller and the fact that mine (and other club members' BC) doesn't seem to want to stay at the gap setting I put it at. Five or so batches and it needs to be put back into place.

I have the same Barley Crusher. I recently noticed a dip in my efficiency on my past couple of batches. I had attributed it from switching from a hand crank to a drill, but now I'm wondering if it is simply because of the mill gap loosening up. I'll have to check it out tonight.

Do finitely check the gap setting periodically but also be sure you are using a variable speed drill and set it to go as slow as you can.

When I first used a drill I found a dip also and it turned out I was milling too fast.
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: gymrat on August 18, 2013, 02:38:38 PM
I go this 2-roller Barley Crusher from NB:  http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/barley-crusher-w-7-hopper.html (http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/barley-crusher-w-7-hopper.html).  I'm very happy with it and noticed a slight jump in my efficiency once I started using it.

That is the same one I have. The only thing I would do different is get the larger hopper.
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: saintpierre on August 18, 2013, 07:38:41 PM
I used to have a Corona mill but broke down and bought a 3 roller monster mill about 4 brews after switching to AG. I've had my MM for over 3 years now and it still works like the day I bought it, minus gap check maintenance.


Sent from Fermentationland.
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: blatz on August 21, 2013, 09:30:15 PM
barley crusher is 'ok' for the average homebrewer brewing a few 5gal batches per year. 

I put about 2500# of grain through mine before donating it to a new homebrewer, though I started inventing new curse words because of it probably at about the time i'd done 1500# and I was just too cheap to de-commision it. 

I have been exponentially more pleased with my MonsterMill. 
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 21, 2013, 11:17:37 PM
barley crusher is 'ok' for the average homebrewer brewing a few 5gal batches per year. 

I put about 2500# of grain through mine before donating it to a new homebrewer, though I started inventing new curse words because of it probably at about the time i'd done 1500# and I was just too cheap to de-commision it. 

I have been exponentially more pleased with my MonsterMill.
Which model do you have, Paul?
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: blatz on August 21, 2013, 11:30:15 PM
Jeff - not sure of the model number but it's a SS 2 roller with the 2" diameter rollers.  I was going to get the three but Frank told me that was probably overkill unless I was a Nano.
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: klickitat jim on August 22, 2013, 01:50:54 AM
Looked at there website. I wish they just had complete powered mills for sale.
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: Slowbrew on August 22, 2013, 11:39:58 AM
I have the Barley Crusher also and have had mostly good luck with it.  I haven't had any issues with wondering gap but it does jam now and then.  Pushing a small wooded dowel through the grain and giving the free roller a nudge gets it going.  I motorized it 4 years ago and really like the ease of use now.

It is due for a cleaning though because as the bushings wear dust can get in and gum things up.  I haven't kept track of exactly how much grain has gone through it but it's at least 1000lbs.

My only complaint is that I should have gotten the larger hopper.  I have the standard small hopper and it only holds 7 - 8 lbs at a time.  The problem is I was cheap not that there anything wrong with the hopper.   ;)

Whenever this conversation comes up it is worth mentioning that everyone, generally, likes the mill they have.  For a brewer who makes less than 100gal per year, like me, the BC works great.  If you plan to brew up to the 200gal limit you may want to consider a MM for the more industrial build.

Paul
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: hamiltont on August 22, 2013, 01:40:13 PM
For those of you using a Barley Crusher... I made a hopper extender using a bucket. It will hold ~20 lbs. of grain. Here are a few pics.

(http://i1116.photobucket.com/albums/k566/tjhamilton/Grain%20Mill/DSCN2031.jpg) (http://s1116.photobucket.com/user/tjhamilton/media/Grain%20Mill/DSCN2031.jpg.html)

The Base the bucket is attached to:
(http://i1116.photobucket.com/albums/k566/tjhamilton/Grain%20Mill/DSCN2030.jpg) (http://s1116.photobucket.com/user/tjhamilton/media/Grain%20Mill/DSCN2030.jpg.html)

Looking inside the bucket:
(http://i1116.photobucket.com/albums/k566/tjhamilton/Grain%20Mill/DSCN2029.jpg) (http://s1116.photobucket.com/user/tjhamilton/media/Grain%20Mill/DSCN2029.jpg.html)

Cheers!!!
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: BrewingRover on August 25, 2013, 03:24:05 AM
For those of you using a Barley Crusher... I made a hopper extender using a bucket. It will hold ~20 lbs. of grain.
Cheers!!!
That's very slick. Is that a 1 gallon bucket?
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: micsager on August 26, 2013, 05:06:47 PM

I have the "Barley Crusher" as mentioned above. It's okay. Yes, it crushes grains. But it also gets jammed occasionally, isn't gear driven (the second roller just free spins) and sometimes just seems to skip through the grains. This is probably due to the free spinning second roller and the fact that mine (and other club members' BC) doesn't seem to want to stay at the gap setting I put it at. Five or so batches and it needs to be put back into place.

I have the same Barley Crusher. I recently noticed a dip in my efficiency on my past couple of batches. I had attributed it from switching from a hand crank to a drill, but now I'm wondering if it is simply because of the mill gap loosening up. I'll have to check it out tonight.

Do finitely check the gap setting periodically but also be sure you are using a variable speed drill and set it to go as slow as you can.

When I first used a drill I found a dip also and it turned out I was milling too fast.

I've always set me drill in highest speed, and locked it so I didn't have to stand there.  But after reading your post, I tried the last batch of my Amber while milling the grain at about half speed. 

No difference in OG.  I brew this same beer once or twice a week, and I nail 1.060 exactly every time.  And this time as well.  All water volumes and mash temperature were the same. 

I'm going back to high speed milling. 
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: blatz on August 26, 2013, 05:37:25 PM


I'm going back to high speed milling.

AFAIK, the main concern with high speed versus low speed milling was not any change in efficiency, rather the higher speeds had a greater propensity to tear and shred the husks, leading to a risk of tannin extraction. 

I'm not certain - I've never had a tannin problem, and running my drill wide open versus as slow as possible only saves a minute or two, so i've not minded running low and slow. 
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 27, 2013, 01:27:06 AM
You can get 2 roller Monster mill for about the same price as Barley crusher.
MM is much better mill to my opinion.

I did have BK but now I have MM 3 roller.
This year I will put thru it about 16000 lb of grain.
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: scottNU on August 27, 2013, 02:32:37 PM
This year I will put thru it about 16000 lb of grain.

16000 lb of grain?!?  Wow!  Clearly you are man with brewing skill and size.  As a curiosity, what size brewery are you running?
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: blatz on August 27, 2013, 02:35:34 PM
This year I will put thru it about 16000 lb of grain.

16000 lb of grain?!?  Wow!  Clearly you are man with brewing skill and size.  As a curiosity, what size brewery are you running?

scott - he's a professional - Lazy Monk Brewing in Wisconsin  ;)
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: scottNU on August 27, 2013, 06:43:36 PM
scott - he's a professional - Lazy Monk Brewing in Wisconsin  ;)

Thanks blatz.  That makes sense and since I am in the neighborhood, I need to plan a visit to sample the results of all that grain!
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 27, 2013, 08:28:56 PM
scott - he's a professional - Lazy Monk Brewing in Wisconsin  ;)

Thanks blatz.  That makes sense and since I am in the neighborhood, I need to plan a visit to sample the results of all that grain!
My brewhouse is 5.5 BBL.
Stop by I will show you around.

I still think that MM is better mill.
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: hamiltont on August 27, 2013, 08:29:09 PM
For those of you using a Barley Crusher... I made a hopper extender using a bucket. It will hold ~20 lbs. of grain.
Cheers!!!
That's very slick. Is that a 1 gallon bucket?
It's an icing bucket. 3.5-4 gallons I guess.
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: aveteto01 on August 27, 2013, 08:37:43 PM
You can get 2 roller Monster mill for about the same price as Barley crusher.
MM is much better mill to my opinion.

I did have BK but now I have MM 3 roller.
This year I will put thru it about 16000 lb of grain.

Do you recommend the MM3 or the MM3 - 2.0? (http://www.monsterbrewinghardware.com/products_main.html)
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: rjberry on August 27, 2013, 10:24:01 PM
You can get 2 roller Monster mill for about the same price as Barley crusher.
MM is much better mill to my opinion.

I did have BK but now I have MM 3 roller.
This year I will put thru it about 16000 lb of grain.

Good to know that the 3 roller Monster Mill is adequate for pro-level brewing!  Not that I'm anywhere close, but I've been wanting to invest in a good mill and I'm sure it's more than adequate for what I'm doing.
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 28, 2013, 02:30:50 AM
You can get 2 roller Monster mill for about the same price as Barley crusher.
MM is much better mill to my opinion.

I did have BK but now I have MM 3 roller.
This year I will put thru it about 16000 lb of grain.

Do you recommend the MM3 or the MM3 - 2.0? (http://www.monsterbrewinghardware.com/products_main.html)
I think that 2 roller is just fine for homebrewing.
When you have MM3 you need to have at least 1/2 hp motor.
Get a base and hopper with it and you are ready.
Title: Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 28, 2013, 02:34:05 AM
You can get 2 roller Monster mill for about the same price as Barley crusher.
MM is much better mill to my opinion.

I did have BK but now I have MM 3 roller.
This year I will put thru it about 16000 lb of grain.

Good to know that the 3 roller Monster Mill is adequate for pro-level brewing!  Not that I'm anywhere close, but I've been wanting to invest in a good mill and I'm sure it's more than adequate for what I'm doing.
It is not the fastest option for pro-brewing but it does just fine job.
I have it geared up to 280 rmp and I think that I should speed it up to 400 rmp.
It takes me about 1.5 hour to mill 600 lb for one brew day.