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Old 07-31-2005, 09:58 AM   #1
Turricaine
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Jul 2005
Bath, UK
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I was wondering if anybody mills their own grains. They definately sell equipment for it so some people must do it. I was just wondering if there are any advantages to it. The commercial malted-cracked grains are very floury and I dont know if this gives batches that are cloudy even after sufficient time has been allowed for clearing. Maybe if you will by hand you get a courser grind allowing the beer to clear mor easily. Anybody?

 
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Old 08-01-2005, 12:42 AM   #2
strat40
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Dec 2004
South central Alaska
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Most supply shops do a good job milling your grain. Having said that, if you mill the grain yourself, you'll get much control over the size of the grist. Floury-looking grain is normal to a point. Look at how whole the husks are. You want them to be as whole as possible. If you decide to obtain a mill get a good roller mill thats adjustable. If you can, also motorize it as well. A drill works fine for this.

 
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Old 08-01-2005, 12:46 AM   #3
SwAMi75
 
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I think the main advantage would be economy. You'd be able to buy in bulk, and mill when you're ready to use it.

As for pre-cracked stuff being "floury"....I have no idea. I've had mine crushed by online shops and by my LHBS....haven't had any problems with them.
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Old 08-01-2005, 04:24 AM   #4
homebrewer_99
 
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I just place the grain in a gallon sized baggie and use a rolling pin. Then again I hardly ever use more than 1/2 lb of grain.

Good exercise too!
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Old 08-01-2005, 12:19 PM   #5
tnlandsailor
 
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A mill would only be needed for the all-grain brewer. I like the benefit of having the freshest possible grain to brew with. I buy in bulk and crush about 5 minutes prior to mashing. Pre-crushed grain will not stay fresh for nearly as long as uncrushed grain, plus, its just more economical and convenient to buy grain in full sacks.

I think having control over the quality of the grind, the freshness factor, and being able to buy in bulk is the natural evolution of the all-grain brewer. If you all-grain brew for long enough, having your own mill eventually just makes sense. It's not imperitive, nor required, but eventually, you'll just feel that it's the next step to improve your brewing.

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Old 08-01-2005, 02:19 PM   #6
homebrewer_99
 
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...you, my friend, are correct!

Crushing prior to usage is the best way for freshness!
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Old 08-01-2005, 06:36 PM   #7
Turricaine
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Jul 2005
Bath, UK
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Hmm I dont know if it is too obsessive to do it purely on the notion of getting a fresher product. The consumer buys bags of flour from the supermarket and does not think twice so why should it be any different in beer making?

 
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Old 08-01-2005, 06:41 PM   #8
Toilet Rocker
 
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What is a reasonable amount of time between having your grains ground by your HBS to actually using them? I mean when do you guys think the properties of the grains start to break down?
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Old 08-01-2005, 09:42 PM   #9
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I've heard a year if sealed and put in closed tupperware. However, I figure I usually use a my grains in a brew within a few months.
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Old 08-01-2005, 09:50 PM   #10
Janx
 
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I don't think it's that big a deal at all storing ground grain for weeks or months. I normally grind my own grain, but have many times used pre-ground. I think the biggest enemy of grain, whether pre-ground or not, is humidity. If it is kept cool and dry, I really wouldn't worry. If your grain is ground 5 minutes, 5 hours or 5 days before you mash, I'd bet a lot that you'd get no difference in yield of efficiency or flavor or anything.

I think the only real advantage is economy, and that unmilled grain is slightly less susceptible to humidity and the resulting breakdown. Assuming you have appropriate storage, pre-ground or whole grain is really good for quite a long time. I keep a homebrew store's worth of grain on hand at most times so I have flexibility in recipe formulation. It stays good for months and months and months in sealed tupperware-type containers.

Remember not to get lost in the details. tnlandsailor may only use grain ground within 5 minutes of mashing, but he doesn't use a secondary fermenter, so...you be the judge

(just joshing you, Dennis...I don't even use a hydrometer after all )

Bottom line for me is that owning a grain mill is just kinda cool and makes the whole process more manly, because now you have to use a power drill and a mill and all the noise and dust... WOOHOO!!

However, I have bought 50 pound sacks of pre-ground grain (ground at a brewery, not a brew store), and the grind was better than anything I could do with my fairly nice homebrew mill. The big boys have much nicer mills than you'd ever want to buy, so some of the pre-packaged pre-milled grain is a much better grind than any homebrewer could reasonably achieve. So, to me, the "quality of grind" argument doesn't hold too much water.

Just think noise and dust and power drills and 50 pound sacks of grain...you'll buy a mill in no time

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