Author Topic: Recommendation for a barley crusher?  (Read 2658 times)

Offline dllipe

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Recommendation for a barley crusher?
« on: August 14, 2013, 08:32:42 AM »
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.
I don't drink a lot but I do drink frequently.

Offline thebigbaker

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Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2013, 08:58:31 AM »
I go this 2-roller Barley Crusher from NB:  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.
Jeremy Baker

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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2013, 09:08:14 AM »
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
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Offline duboman

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Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2013, 10:15:23 AM »
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:)
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 10:17:25 AM »
I use a Victory corona will. But after about 10# I always dream of getting a powered mill

Offline AmandaK

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Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2013, 10:36:27 AM »
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.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2013, 05:42:02 AM »
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.
Eric B.

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Offline duboman

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Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2013, 05:56:58 AM »

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.
Peace....Love......Beer......

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the craft of beer since 2010

Offline gymrat

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Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2013, 07:38:38 AM »
I go this 2-roller Barley Crusher from NB:  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.
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Offline saintpierre

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Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2013, 12:38:41 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.


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Offline blatz

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Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2013, 02:30:15 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. 
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Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2013, 04:17:37 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?
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Offline blatz

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Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2013, 04:30:15 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.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2013, 06:50:54 PM »
Looked at there website. I wish they just had complete powered mills for sale.

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Recommendation for a barley crusher?
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2013, 04:39:58 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
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