Membership questions? Log in issues? Email info@brewersassociation.org

Author Topic: Why should i buy a grain mill?  (Read 1960 times)

Offline fredthecat

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1992
Why should i buy a grain mill?
« on: May 18, 2023, 01:55:13 pm »
I have always bought precrushed grain. currently the difference in price between PER LB crushed grain and uncrushed is that crushed is about 5-15% more expensive than uncrushed.

-i dont have to spend time crushing the grain
-i dont have to pay for the mill upfront and store it
-i have my efficiency dialed in with the uncrushed grain i get

2roller mill is about $150 here i believe.

however i am always interested in improving the quality of my product.

should i buy a mill?

Offline Megary

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1183
Re: Why should i buy a grain mill?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2023, 02:07:52 pm »
Buy a grain mill if you are getting inconsistent crushes from your supplier.

Buy a grain mill if you want to "stock" grain and brew from inventory.

Offline Richard

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1062
Re: Why should i buy a grain mill?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2023, 03:18:40 pm »
You can store uncrushed grain a lot longer before it degrades. I would only store crushed grain for a few weeks before using it (although roasted grains will probably last longer). If you want to purchase grain in larger quantities to get price breaks and store it for months, then  you need a grain mill. I do BIAB and crush my grain finer than pre-crushed grain or the self-serve mill at my LHBS.
Original Gravity - that would be Newton's

Offline Semper Sitientem

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 151
Re: Why should i buy a grain mill?
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2023, 04:14:06 pm »
Like @Richard I BIAB and crush my grain much finer than I could get at my LHBS and I feel I control more of the process. Also, I get a weird sense of satisfaction from doing it.
Confidunt in cervisia nobis

Scientists believe that the universe is made of hydrogen, because they claim it’s the most plentiful ingredient. I claim that the most plentiful ingredient is stupidity. - Frank Zappa

Online Drewch

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 716
  • Just this guy, you know?
Re: Why should i buy a grain mill?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2023, 04:39:41 pm »
I, too, bought my own mill so that I could crush a lot finer (for BIAB) than my (then) LHBS crushed.
The Other Drew

Home fermentations since 2019.

Member at large of the Central Alabama Brewers Society, the League of Drews, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Offline fredthecat

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1992
Re: Why should i buy a grain mill?
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2023, 05:25:18 pm »
thank you guys, does anyone feel like the beer is fresher/better or worse? if crushed just before brewing vs. precrushed.
full disclosure:
-i buy from a big supplier, i think they crush most of the grain in advance and keep it around for sale.
-only some of the grains come in this crushed format, so if i want some types only available uncrushed i do it at home with a coffee mill. it takes about 10 mins to get through 2lbs and its not a perfect crush.

is the taste p much the same, a little better or.much better?



Offline Richard

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1062
Re: Why should i buy a grain mill?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2023, 05:54:20 pm »
I can't say that I notice a difference in taste, especially since I haven't used pre-crushed grain in a few years. The finer crush and ability to store for longer were the big selling points for me.
Original Gravity - that would be Newton's

Offline Semper Sitientem

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 151
Re: Why should i buy a grain mill?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2023, 06:46:31 pm »
I haven’t purchased pre crushed grain in years and never did a side-by-side comparison. But, mentally I think I make better beer with CIY (crush it yourself).
Confidunt in cervisia nobis

Scientists believe that the universe is made of hydrogen, because they claim it’s the most plentiful ingredient. I claim that the most plentiful ingredient is stupidity. - Frank Zappa

Offline KellerBrauer

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 824
  • Bottoms Up!
Re: Why should i buy a grain mill?
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2023, 07:58:51 am »
I have always been with the understanding that milled grain needed to be used in a very short time period; a day or two.  However, I have never read any particular scientific finding on this subject.

I bought a Barley Crusher many years ago because I was getting a very inconsistent crush from my supplier, and I love it.
Joliet, IL

All good things come to those who show patients and perseverance while maintaining a positive and progressive attitude. 😉

Offline redrocker652002

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 801
Re: Why should i buy a grain mill?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2023, 08:11:21 am »
Not being very experienced with any of this, take it for what it is worth.  My wife was kind enough to buy me a mill for Xmas.  I used it for the first time a few months ago, and I seemed to get a better result.  It could be just in my head, but it seems my OG and preboil numbers were closer to my software calculations.  Like I said, it could just be in my head, but I did having another part of the process under my control.  Rock On!!!!!!

Offline erockrph

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7836
  • Chepachet, RI
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: Why should i buy a grain mill?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2023, 08:17:55 am »
For me, the main benefit was a consistent crush. I buy my ingredients from at least half a dozen different suppliers depending on price and product selection. I found that my efficiency was all over the place depending on where I got my milled grain from. Once I started milling my own grain, I was within the same 2-4% window every time.

Since then I have also felt a lot more comfortable stockpiling grain and essentially having a mini LHBS in my basement. Unmilled grain lasts for years with little to no affect on flavor if stored properly.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 27316
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • Dennybrew
Re: Why should i buy a grain mill?
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2023, 08:25:52 am »
You can store uncrushed grain a lot longer before it degrades. I would only store crushed grain for a few weeks before using it (although roasted grains will probably last longer). If you want to purchase grain in larger quantities to get price breaks and store it for months, then  you need a grain mill. I do BIAB and crush my grain finer than pre-crushed grain or the self-serve mill at my LHBS.

Briess says their crushed grain is good for 2 years.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline erockrph

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7836
  • Chepachet, RI
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: Why should i buy a grain mill?
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2023, 08:32:31 am »
You can store uncrushed grain a lot longer before it degrades. I would only store crushed grain for a few weeks before using it (although roasted grains will probably last longer). If you want to purchase grain in larger quantities to get price breaks and store it for months, then  you need a grain mill. I do BIAB and crush my grain finer than pre-crushed grain or the self-serve mill at my LHBS.

Briess says their crushed grain is good for 2 years.
In the original sealed packaging, I have no doubts that it lasts at least that long based on my experience. I don't know if I'd feel as comfortable with bulk milled grain thrown in a thin bag from a LHBS. FWIW, I live in New England where we are prone to humid summers. In Arizona or New Mexico it may last a lot longer than in my area.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline Richard

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1062
Re: Why should i buy a grain mill?
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2023, 10:12:44 am »
You can store uncrushed grain a lot longer before it degrades. I would only store crushed grain for a few weeks before using it (although roasted grains will probably last longer). If you want to purchase grain in larger quantities to get price breaks and store it for months, then  you need a grain mill. I do BIAB and crush my grain finer than pre-crushed grain or the self-serve mill at my LHBS.

Briess says their crushed grain is good for 2 years.
In the original sealed packaging, I have no doubts that it lasts at least that long based on my experience. I don't know if I'd feel as comfortable with bulk milled grain thrown in a thin bag from a LHBS. FWIW, I live in New England where we are prone to humid summers. In Arizona or New Mexico it may last a lot longer than in my area.
I agree 100% with the statement about packaging and conditions.

Also, I looked at some of the data sheets on the Briess website. For example, this one https://www.brewingwithbriess.com/wp-content/uploads/documents/Briess-PISB-Brewers-Malt.pdf for Brewers malt, and a few others that I looked at say:
"Whole kernel diastatic and preground malts are best when used within 6 months from date of manufacture."
Original Gravity - that would be Newton's

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 3817
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: Why should i buy a grain mill?
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2023, 11:04:40 am »
If you're happy with the beer you make buying pre-crushed grain and you don't buy in bulk, you don't need a mill.

If cost is the prohibitive factor, you could probably find a used mill for sale on craigslist/local fb homebrew groups/etc. for half as much. Lots of people still getting out of the hobby and unloading equipment.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing