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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > i don't have a mill - is it good the dip the malt in water before crushing it

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Old 10-30-2013, 07:59 PM   #1
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Default i don't have a mill - is it good the dip the malt in water before crushing it

Hi guys.

I am going to brew a batch of Trappist, Dark Belgian Ale, this saturday and i have one problem.
I don't have a mill, the last brews i made i used the food processor to grind the malt. it's wrong, i know.
i was wondering if there is another method, i was thinking to put the malt for one day in water just to soften the shell. After that just use a kitchen roll to crush the grain.

Is it a good idea or is it just stupid?

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Old 10-30-2013, 08:04 PM   #2
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I have never heard of that one. Sounds like it would make a big mess.

A lot of folks do just fine with a corona grain mill. You can pick them up on Amazon for around $20. If you wanted one for Saturday, maybe a restaurant supply store?

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Old 10-31-2013, 01:53 AM   #3
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Dip it??? NO! However, pre-conditioning the malt with a light misting of water can be effective in improving the integrity of barley husks after milling. Unfortunately, running the malt through a food processor will destroy the husks anyhow. Don't bother with dipping or misting. Find someone with a mill.

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Old 10-31-2013, 12:43 PM   #4
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I have seen that you can do an okay job with a rolling pin and a lot of patience. It will not be perfect and your efficiency will suffer but you can breach the husk that way. You probably will need a longer mash too though. The food processor will most likely shred the husks which will affect your sparge. Do you have a LHBS that is local? I know mine will allow the use of their mill (they charge per lb) and mill it for you. Is that an option?

If you are bulk buying grains I would reccomend getting a mill of some sort. Be it Corona style (can be had for ~$40) or something more costly and consistent. It will save time, money and headaches in the long run.

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Old 10-31-2013, 01:54 PM   #5
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You could use the food processor if you were "brewing in a bag". Mangled husk wouldn't matter then.

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Old 10-31-2013, 02:20 PM   #6
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While there are a number of options for crushing your malt, the best really is a roller mill. They are expensive - anywhere from $99 up to $500 or more - but this really is a place where you get what you pay for. For most homebrewers who buy bulk grains, the optimal price range is probably between $180 and $220 for the mill itself; you might need to pay extra for the hopper and base, and you'll want a food-grade bucket for the crushed grains and a power hand drill to drive the rollers (or a motor if you can afford one).

My own mill is a Monster MM3 three roller mill, which is excellent but probably overkill for most people. It's very pricey, but if you can afford it, it is well worth the expense. My extraction rate has gone from below 70% to 80% or higher, solely from the improved crush I am getting. There are several other brands out there - Schmidling, Barley Crusher, and CrankAndStein all come to mind right off the top of my head - and all seem to have their good points.

There are a lot of folks who use a Corona (or Victoria) corn mill and get decent results, but in my experience they are a difficult to adjust just right - they are designed to grind grain between plates, not crush it between rollers, and tend to give too fine a grind even with a wide gap. Still, many here swear by them, and if you can't afford a roller mill, a Corona can do you well. They are also a lot easier to come by than a malt mill, you sometimes can even find them in ordinary department stores or even supermarkets.

Given that you want to brew this weekend, I would check with your LHBS to see if they will crush the grain for you (possibly at an extra price, but still a good deal).

Ideally, the crush should crack open the malt kernels with very little powder, exposing the malt sugars without grinding them, and separate the crushed kernels from the hulls, while leaving the hulls as close to intact as possible. However, most approaches to grinding will have the opposite effect, tearing up the hulls and grinding or chopping the kernels to a mixture of powder and large unexposed clumps. This is why a food processor or a bullet-type coffee grinder is a poor choice for grinding malt.

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Old 10-31-2013, 04:32 PM   #7
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I have to agree that soaking in water is not a good idea. Even a rolling pin is a poor substitute for a mill of any kind. A cheap corona is WAY better than a rolling pin (Or wine bottle, since they won't dent and get ruined after rolling over hard grains...)

But that is a LOT of work. Even a pound or two of malt is a PITA to crush with a bottle.

I highly suggest you get a corona for the future (or a roller mill if you can afford one) and try to find an LHBS or friend who can crush your grain for you for this weekend. Your arms and sanity will thank you.

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Old 10-31-2013, 05:05 PM   #8
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If you're determined to brew this weekend and you don't have a mill or can borrow one, kitchenaid makes a grain mill attachment for their stand mixers. This assuming you have or can borrow a stand mixer and find the attachment. I don't have any experience with using one, but I would guess that it's somewhere close to a corona. If that's not a possibility and you're still determined to brew, you might be able to a blender on a slow pulse setting. Obviously, that's not a great idea though. I have seen corona mills at Bed Bath and Beyond on occasion.

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