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Old 12-30-2012, 07:03 AM   #1
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Default Do I Need a Grain Mill

I've been AG brewing for about two years now, but I have always depended on the LHBS to mill for me. I've got my new system in place and am happily operating again after a 6 month hiatus. Before Christmas, my mother asked me if there was anything I needed for my brewery, and I honestly couldn't think of anything outside of money to buy ingredients. Am I missing out by not milling my own grain? I mean, I've bought plenty of things I didn't need (e.g. Blichmann Tower of Power - OK, I love it). However, I have always balked at buying a mill because they have one right there at the LHBS. Please convince me that this should be my next purchase... and while you are at it, tell me which one to get because I am a helluva lemming right now at 2AM.


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Old 12-30-2012, 07:08 AM   #2
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I got one about a year ago. Best thing I ever did. I usually order grain online and I was getting mixed results with my crushes. The last straw was when I got an entire order uncrushed and had to do it with a rolling pin. My OG was awful. I have the Barley Crusher. I'm pretty happy with it, but it's gotten bad press as far as customer service goes lately. I can't comment on that.

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Old 12-30-2012, 07:10 AM   #3
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My LHBS is awesome and also mills my grain I dont really see the point of getting one if your place is happy to do it for you. Plus I usually pick the owners brain about what im brewing while he does it.
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:11 AM   #4
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Well there's a few benefits to milling your own grain. You can buy in bulk and save lots of money, you use freshly milled grain to brew with, and depending on how fine the crush is at your LHBS you could get better efficiency.
My last batch I had sent pre milled instead of milling it myself and only got 60% efficiency compared to my normal 75%. So in a way getting better efficiency saves money on grain too. I think it's worth it, just make sure its a kind you can chuck a drill to. Hand milling 20#s of barley sucks.
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:15 AM   #5
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You are obviously a control guy from your description.. and dressed in green spandex.

Owning a mill simply takes one of the major factors about our brewing (the crush), out of the hands of others and pays for itself with some planning.

I hit 80-82% efficiency every time, never have a stuck sparge, and buy in bulk. Without owning a mill, this would be more difficult or impossible.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:56 PM   #6
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In my case, it costs me about $30 in traveling expenses to visit the HBS and I brew about once every other week.
Without a grain mill, I would have to visit the HBS about once per month and buy malt by the pound (or 10 lb) bag. This would cost me about $45 per month just for grain.
Alternatively, I could order on line, which would cost me about $43 per month.
With the grain mill, I visit the HBS about once every 6 months and it costs me about $120 for grain, and $30 for traveling = $26 per month, saving me $17 per month. The mill has paid for itself many times over.

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Old 12-30-2012, 03:59 PM   #7
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The only reason I have my own mill is because my LHBS had really crappy mills and the resulting crush was seriously reducing my efficiency. If your local shop's mill is crushing well, then stick with it. My old shop in Tallahassee did a great job. My local shop's crush dropped my formerly consistent 80 to 82% extraction efficiency down into the low 70's.

Another plus is that I get to buy my base malt by the sack.
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:56 PM   #8
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I usually have 150lb of basemalt on hand...@ $35 a sack vs 55 a sack at lhbs the mill has paid for itself a ton.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:49 PM   #9
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Mill is one of best investments I made.
Not only that I don't have to pay for milling in my LHBS but it gives me more flexibility in brew process and I can crush it tighter that LHBS would.

I am using MM2 and so far I am very satisfied.
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:05 PM   #10
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I agree with most everyone here. A huge benefit is buying unmilled grain my the sack. It saves a ton of money in the long run instead of buying a few pounds here and there. You can save even more if you get in on group buys where a group of people split 2 pallets of grain. My lhbs is an hour away, so on top of gas money maris otter for example is almost 80.00 for a sack. I just got in on a group buy for the same brand (plus a few more sacks of other grain) for just under 40.00. I have already paid for the barley crusher for the savings.

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