For me, grind consistency is simply another control point in a repeatable process. If your LHBS is willing to close the gap: problem solved.
...but even if they’re not willing to close the gap (I understand many won’t), as long as their gap is set the same every time you buy from them it’s a known constant. Again: problem solved.
However, the real issue is how well stocked is your LHBS? As pointed out above, the real problem arises when the local doesn’t have what you want so you have to buy elsewhere which may mean a different mill gap. I have this issue. My LHBS is unreliable. It’s actually a health food store with some home brew stuff.
Another issue could be from using a different grain, a different sack of the same grain, or from using different malsters. UK malsters use grain varieties from the UK, German malsters use Continental grain varieties, US malsters.... you get the idea. Each barley variety can be different which could require a different mill gap. Likewise, wheat, rye, oats, etc., may require a different gap. (My goal, for my system, using my processes, is 70% remaining on a No 14 sieve)
Having your own mill allows the freedom to buy from any LHBS, from different malsters, use different grains, etc., and still have a constant control point.
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