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Old 07-23-2007, 02:48 AM   #1
BlindLemonLars
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Default Crushing small amounts of specialty grains

Up to now, I've either bought kits with pre-crushed grains or bought my small amounts of grain at the LHBS and used their mill. In what seems like a logical step forward, I've started buying larger amounts of extract, hops and specialty grains and measuring out my own recipes. Problem is, the bulk grains are not pre-crushed. Well, actually it's not a problem...it's part of the strategy. I figure it's just like coffee, I should crush immediately before use and minimize oxidation. Better, fresher ingredients = better brew. Still, it means I've got an additional step to do.

Can anyone suggest a better way for a humble extract brewer to properly crush a pound or so of specialty grains? I did my research, and today I gave the old rolling pin trick a try. Sadly, it took a lot of time and effort, and gave rather poor results, with some grains clearly not cracked at all. I finished up with a rubber mallet, but there has GOT to be a better way.

An old book I have (Better Beer & How To Brew It) suggests using a blender, but that method seems to be universally rejected by the experts here. (Frankly, that book is FULL of terrible and outdated information. Twenty years ago it was my bible, but it seems comical now.) Anyhow, if anybody has any other suggestions or new ideas, I'd appreciate hearing them.

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Old 07-23-2007, 02:50 AM   #2
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For smaller amounts of grain I have used my electric coffee grinder...the kind where you press down on the lid and the blades turn...

The best results (where you don't chop up too much of the husk) is a quick 2 secs.

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Old 07-23-2007, 02:51 AM   #3
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The best way to do it is with a purpose built grain mill. Try buying pre-crushed grains.

Otherwise...the blender, a coffee grinder, or a food processor might work in the short term. It's not the best way, but if you're just steeping some specialty grains, it'll work ok.

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Old 07-23-2007, 05:06 AM   #4
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Buying pre-crushed is what I'm trying to get away from. I'd rather have my grain cracked moments before steeping, rather than days, weeks or months.

I'll give the food processor a whirl, no pun intended. Hopefully a few quick pulses will crack most of the grains and not turn it into flour. The worst possible outcome is that I ruin a dollar or two worth of malt.

Thanks guys.

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Old 07-23-2007, 05:36 AM   #5
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Get yourself a cheap Corona-type mill. I have seem them as cheap as $15 new. They don't produce an ideal crush, but there are a surprising number of all grain brewers here that use them with great success. Undoubtedly they will do a fine job for crushing a bit of specialty grains in your brews.

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Old 07-23-2007, 01:47 PM   #6
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My LHBS has a coffee grinder like you would see in a supermarket. I dunno if you have one around your area or not.

Maybe try a food processor on a low pulse setting, it has room for lots of grains and should make quick work of them.

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Old 07-23-2007, 02:43 PM   #7
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Just a tip if you use your regular coffer grinder: Tear up a piece of soft bread and run it through the coffee grinder. It cleans up all the dust and coffee residue quite nicely.

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Old 07-23-2007, 03:20 PM   #8
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I'll give the food processor a shot this weekend. (Sunday has been brewday around these parts for a few months now!) If I'm not happy with the results, I'll look into a cheap corona type mill.

Thanks again.

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Old 07-23-2007, 03:49 PM   #9
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i'm in the same situation, and considering a Corona mill too. I'd like to hear how the food processor works for 'ya. I'd like to crush enough for a partial mash, so I'm thinking a food processor might not really hold enough.

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Old 07-23-2007, 04:15 PM   #10
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That crush is going to be way off anyway, something bordering on flour. There's no half way on this really unless you buy a cheap corona mill. I've tried rolling pins, rubber mallets, coffee grinders, etc. No use unless you're talking 8 ounces worth.

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