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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: capozzoli on June 06, 2010, 05:52:57 PM

Title: Grain Mills
Post by: capozzoli on June 06, 2010, 05:52:57 PM
Whats a good brand of budget grain mills?

Just out of curiosity how would you crush grains if you didnt have a grain mill? Guess it would be kind of hard to do with mortar and pestle. I was thinking of the grain mill attachment for my kitchen aid but that would grind it to flour I think.

Well, got some receivables coming in this coming week. Think Im gonna splurge on some brew gear. 

Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: beerocd on June 06, 2010, 06:33:29 PM
used.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: capozzoli on June 06, 2010, 06:36:14 PM
you got one?
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: beerocd on June 06, 2010, 07:05:51 PM
I have an "AUTOMATIC", you can see it in some of the older BYO magazines being sold from St.Pat's.

The Automatic mill - can't find a picture, and am too lazy at the moment to snap a shot. Nothing earth shattering. Two steel rollers, click adjustable on eccentric bearing, and a 7lb hopper. It's mounted to a thick plastic board (like a cutting board) that sits right on the bucket while you grind. Hand crank - it's easy, it's fast, no need to motorize it yet. Looking back thru the old boards it was $110 when it was on clearance. I got it as part of that whole package for $400

I got a
(http://morebeer.com/images/thumb/phpThumb.php?src=/product_images/morebeer.com/1/7100.jpg&w=250&h=250&far=C&fltr[]=wmi|../../themes/morewinepro/images/thumbnail_watermark.png|C|15)
and
(http://morebeer.com/images/thumb/phpThumb.php?src=/product_images/morebeer.com/1/7058.jpg&w=80&h=140&far=C) a home made kegerator with CO2 bottle, regulators, cornies, bottles, books, oxygenator, air pumps, 2 camp burners, and 2 full propane tanks and almost a decade worth of back issues of BYO and Zymurgy. (there's other stuff, can't think of it right now)


I did have to take apart the whole thing to de-bug (litterally) and most of the other stuff too. Guy I bought from was a slob.

Whatever roller mill you get, I can't imagine you'd be unhappy with it. especially since you'd have nothing to compare to.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: majorvices on June 06, 2010, 07:12:46 PM
I recommend going with the Barley Crusher with reservations. It is a great mill for the price but it does seem to start to have issues after a couple of years depending on how much you use it. I have a Monster Mill as well and it is definitely nicer but way mroe pricey (although they have a smaller size one that is comparable to the BC)
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: BrewArk on June 06, 2010, 07:18:25 PM
It depends on how hooked/wealthy you are.  I was going cheap.  Two years ago, I finally got a corona on eBay for $20 (had to wait a long time to get one that cheap) after loosing a few auctions.  A roller mill is better but will cost more.  You need to decide if you want to pay more for more quality.

If I had to do it again...I'd probably spend a little more to win the auction sooner.  I haven't made the jump to a good roller mill yet.  But the savings from buying whole bags of (uncrushed) grain pays for the mill pretty fast.

Someday I'll drop $100 into a roller mill that I can attach a motor to but for now I'm upgrading other parts of my system. :)
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: weazletoe on June 06, 2010, 09:02:36 PM
Love me my Barley Crusher!!
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: narcout on June 06, 2010, 09:19:27 PM
Love me my Barley Crusher!!

Me too. I've had mine for about 2.5 years without any performance issues (I brew 5 gallon batches 2 to 3 times a month).

There was a thread on the NB forum about using the mill attachment for one of those Kitchen Aid appliances - the general consensus was that it was a bad idea (you could probably find the thread pretty easily, I think it was in the "all grain" section).
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: beerocd on June 06, 2010, 09:28:15 PM
The kitchenaid reminds me, I also went down the road of trying to get a twofer. I called the guy who makes the mills in Atlanta (name escapes me) - and asked if I got the 3 roller could I do flour for bread AND grain for beer. He said too much of a swing from one size to the other. Nice guy tho.

Cap you got a pasta machine - just knurl the rollers and get brewing. Lots of guys on HBT went that way.


*EDIT: Crankandstein was the mill out of Atlanta.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: capozzoli on June 06, 2010, 09:32:44 PM
Im not rich but I am pretty sure I am going to stick with the hobby for good.

How much is a "better" grain mill? I havent really started looking. Figured I would get some advice from the pros first.

Pasta maker sounds interesting.

Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: majorvices on June 06, 2010, 09:35:30 PM
I really think that if you went with teh BC you would probably be happy and you can have one for about 125 bucks. Like I said, I recommend it with "reservations". But I think they also are happy to work with you when you have issues.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: tom on June 06, 2010, 10:20:26 PM
I am happy with my JSP MaltMill. You can order whatever options you like at http://schmidling.com/bbordpp.htm

I would highly recommend making your own base and hopper and power with a drill or geardrive motor.

I was happy with my nonadjustable mill for 15 years, but just got an adjustable one for a present. More info as I get more experience with it.

Brew on
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: tygo on June 06, 2010, 10:42:38 PM
I'll throw down a vote for the BC as well.  Works great for me.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: Hokerer on June 06, 2010, 10:54:49 PM
I got the 2-roller Monster Mill when they first came out for $99.  Even now, it looks like that particular model is still only $109 which is a great price for what a good mill it is.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: richardt on June 07, 2010, 12:13:08 AM
I use a Barley Crusher Mill with 15 lb hopper.  It works OK for me.  Doing 10 gallon batches means grinding around 20 lbs of grain--quite a workout with a hand crank, especially on a hot day.  I'm still using a hand crank.  I tried using a household power drill (3V, corded)--but it doesn't have the power to turn the mills with enough force to crush the grains. 

What is the minimum power I should be looking for in a drill if I want to motorize the rollers?  I know some have built motors (belt or gear drive), but I'm more interested in keeping it compact and simple--I don't have the time or talents to build/assemble motors.  The drill route is more practical for my needs.  Any suggestions?

I have only had one problem with the BC when I over-watered the grains during malt conditioning prior to crushing (I used 3x the amount of water that I should have).  Result:  I made "corn dogs" out of my rollers and massively increased the amount of work required to turn the crank.  The flour was harder than cement; so I had to dissassemble the BC and soak the rollers in water to soften up the dough and scrub it off (Not to worry, all the dough and water went into the mash tun :)).  That problem can occur with any roller if one excessively wets the grains.  The BC is simple to take apart and reassemble after cleaning.  There is a little rubber O-ring that mounts on the drive roller to help turn the passive roller.  According to the BC folks who make it, it isn't necessary to have it (they use it to make sure it is assembled correctly during QC checks)--the passive roller should still turn when grain is being pulled through.  When mine broke, I went out and got another 0-ring because I like the idea of the rollers moving together.  I think you'll like using it.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: bonjour on June 07, 2010, 01:33:59 AM
I use the BC with the large hopper (hey, I have 28-30 pound grain bills, it takes that to fill my 10 gallon igloo)
Power with a 3/8 corded drill with no problems.

Fred

Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: Hokerer on June 07, 2010, 02:00:50 PM
What is the minimum power I should be looking for in a drill if I want to motorize the rollers?  I know some have built motors (belt or gear drive), but I'm more interested in keeping it compact and simple--I don't have the time or talents to build/assemble motors.  The drill route is more practical for my needs.  Any suggestions?

With mine, I first tried my basic 3/8" variable speed reversible Craftsman drill and it didn't work so well.  It didn't have the oomph to get things started.  Once rolling it worked somewhat but not really.  Then I switched to my larger "hammer drill" (obviously not in "hammer" mode although that might be interesting).  The hammer drill works great although I do have to be careful milling rye.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: bonjour on June 07, 2010, 02:07:45 PM
Power demands would depend on the gap (how fine a crush) and more importantly, the size of the rollers.  I know from talking with the designer of the BC that he sized the rollers and drop area to allow most corded (generally more startting torque and running power) 3/8 drills to handle the load.

Fred
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: richardt on June 07, 2010, 05:20:39 PM
Thanks guys.  My 3/8" bit corded power drill is 15+ years old (3V, ?A)--it is definitely a light duty, "around the house" type of drill.  I can generate more torque with a regular screwdriver and my hands.  It cannot turn the rollers even with a wide gap between the rollers.  I just wondered if someone knew what minimum power (6 V, 12 V, 18 V) would be needed before I go out and buy one.

Edit:  I have a Skil 6225 3/8" corded drill, 120 V, 3 Amps, 50-60 Hz, 0-2500 RPM, variable speed, reversing, 1/3 HP.  It worked OK for making a hole (using a step drill bit) in the boil kettle.  But it can't do the BarleyCrusher.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: bonjour on June 07, 2010, 05:26:21 PM
The 3v, thru 18v imply a portable battery powered drill.  Only the strongest of these would be capable.

Fred
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: bluesman on June 07, 2010, 05:32:07 PM
I use a JSP Maltmill powered by a 1/2" drill. Works like a charm.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: bonjour on June 07, 2010, 06:04:36 PM
1/2 inch will have more than enough power
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: capozzoli on June 08, 2010, 01:07:30 AM
I guess I am down to the maltmill or the BC.

Hey bluesman, do you use the adjustable malt mill or the pre-adjusted model?

I want to power my mill with an exercise bike. That way I can work of all that calorie intake from the beers.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: beerocd on June 08, 2010, 01:21:26 AM
I guess I am down to the maltmill or the BC.

Hey bluesman, do you use the adjustable malt mill or the pre-adjusted model?

I want to power my mill with an exercise bike. That way I can work of all that calorie intake from the beers.

How about just attach a big ship wheel and you can play Popeye, and get some big arms instead? (http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:31W-aZ-P35IgIM:http://searchpartygraphics.com/downloads/fun/popeyeolive.jpg)
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: dean on June 08, 2010, 12:40:57 PM
I recently tried doing an upgrade on my mill. I closed the gap setting a little and I put a new top on it to accept a larger hopper (water bottle). 

First I tried my cordless, it started to mill but then slipped on the drive shaft.  Not to be outdone I put a 3/8 corded drill (almost new) on it and smoked the windings!   :o  >:(

I put the old top back on the mill, left the gap setting where it was, used my old smaller hopper with a narrower feed neck and Bingo!  I was milling grain.  The amount of surface contact exposure between the rollers and the grain as well as rate the hopper freely flows is directly correlated with the amount of torque a drill needs.  Pretty obvious really, so anybody that thinks their cordless drill won't or can't should try restricting the flow rate of grain from their hopper and/or decrease the amount of surface contact between the grain and the rollers.  Just thought I'd share for those who have complained about their drills.   :-*   :D

I'm not sure how this batch is going to lauter though.... it looked pretty dusty, I added some rice hulls but I'm still not sure about it.   I may be taking my roller gap back to the manufacturer default (which I marked  ;) )... I guess I'll know today.   :-\
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: bluesman on June 08, 2010, 03:04:14 PM
I guess I am down to the maltmill or the BC.

Hey bluesman, do you use the adjustable malt mill or the pre-adjusted model?

I want to power my mill with an exercise bike. That way I can work of all that calorie intake from the beers.

I have the adjustable. Although I only use the original factory setting .040". If you plan on making alot of wheat or rye beers the adjustable will help.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: maxieboy on June 11, 2010, 08:01:31 PM
JSP non-adj Maltmill in homemade stand w/ inverted 5g plastic carboy hopper( holds about 26# grain), powered by a Milwaukee 2 speed 1/2" Hole Hawg. ;D Low = 300 rpm - perfect! Thing doesn't even know there's a load on it...
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: wilypig on June 12, 2010, 12:49:34 AM
I have a barley crusher and I use an 18v Firestorm cordless with no problems. I did burn up a 1/2 craftsman on my Corona mill a few years ago when making a BW. I generally run the drill motor unloaded for 20 to 30 seconds to let the motor fan do some cooling when done with a grain run (15-30#).
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: richardt on June 12, 2010, 12:52:20 AM
So, are the drills that work on the BC expensive?  (like $100-200+ expensive)?  The 3/8 inch and 1/2 inch are just "bit sizes" aren't they?  They don't indicate a drill's power, do they?
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: wilypig on June 12, 2010, 01:37:08 AM
I have found that any standard duty 3/8 drill will work for my mill, getting started is problematic some times but if you condition the grain, start the mill then pour the grain everything works fine.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: bmilford on June 12, 2010, 02:41:35 AM
I use a JSP Maltmill, non-adjustable, no problems. We started using a 1/2" drill at about 600 rpm works great, exept for rye, I have to slowly pour the grain in or it will spring the rollers and not crush the grain.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: Hokerer on June 12, 2010, 02:28:00 PM
So, are the drills that work on the BC expensive?  (like $100-200+ expensive)?  The 3/8 inch and 1/2 inch are just "bit sizes" aren't they?  They don't indicate a drill's power, do they?

3/8 and 1/2 are not "bit sizes" but rather "chuck sizes".  The chuck being what holds the drill bits.  And, yes, since the 1/2 chuck can hold larger bits, they generally are more powerful drills.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: richardt on June 12, 2010, 06:09:25 PM
Thanks for the clarification on drill anatomy (chucks and bits).

The idea to get the rollers rolling first and then add the grains is a good one that I'll take away from this discussion.
I've been putting the grains in first and then trying to get the drill moving.  Duh.

Might still need a more powerful drill, though.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: realbeerguy on June 12, 2010, 06:48:52 PM
JSP non-adjustable with 1/2hp motor off an old Delta Table Saw.  1.5" sheeve on motor, 10" sheeve on mill, 360 rpm.  If you are crushing rye, mix it with your base grains so it doesn't clog & stop the rollers.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: Hokerer on June 12, 2010, 09:17:45 PM
The idea to get the rollers rolling first and then add the grains is a good one that I'll take away from this discussion.
I've been putting the grains in first and then trying to get the drill moving.  Duh.

Just be careful and make sure you don't let things stop in mid crush.  I do that fairly often and then you're stuck right back in the "grains first" situation.
Title: Re: Grain Mills
Post by: dean on June 12, 2010, 11:19:56 PM
Most wheat malts and Rye malt are harder than barley to crush, if I stop milling with grain having either of those in the mix I run the rollers backward about a quarter to one third turn and then start milling again.

richardt, if you reduce the size of the throat that feeds the rollers from your hopper you'll have less problems milling also with a 3/8 drill.