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Old 08-14-2008, 01:48 PM   #1
MrFebtober
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I've been debating the purchase of a grain mill for a while now and have read up plenty on crushing and keep coming up with the same question: Why are so many homebrew stores not crushing grain as thoroughly as most homebrewers think to be adequate for good efficiency?

There are countless stories on this forum of homebrewers being unsatisfied with the crush services of their LHBS. One would think the store owners would know as much or more about grain crushing than the average homebrewer, yet it is very common for them to have their mills set wider than is needed to get that high efficiency that is so sought after. I find this puzzling. Does a wider gap extend the life of the mill? Is it to absolutely minimize the risk of customers ending up with stuck sparges? Is it a scheme to encourage customers to buy more grain than necessary to hit the same O.G. (or sell them grain mills of their own)?
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Old 08-14-2008, 01:57 PM   #2
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Laziness?

I expect that the wider setting covers nearly all of their grains without making flour and also provides for a speedier crush.

An adjustable grain mill (if necessary for your brewery) is definitley a worthwhile investment as it puts more of the variable of efficiency under your control.

 
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Old 08-14-2008, 01:58 PM   #3
brewt00l
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It appears at the typical LHBS, it's about compromise...between efficiency, stuck/slow sparges and not wanting to have to fiddle with the mill for every single order. When you are milling your own, there is no need to compromise.

On the positive if they don't adjust their gap, you should get fairly consistent eff.

 
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Old 08-14-2008, 02:18 PM   #4
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Get your own mill if you can afford it. Your efficiency will go way up. I gained 6 points off mine. Thats a pound or two of base malt grain I save each time.


LHBS don't crush like you would at home becasue there will always be that one guy who will complain about it being to fine. Ask them to crush it twice if you arent happy with it.
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Old 08-14-2008, 03:58 PM   #5
MrFebtober
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What grains require a wider crush than ol' 2-row? Wheat, i've read, requires a finer crush, but I have no idea about the roasted barley and such.

I can afford the mill, but just looking for as much justification as possible before I drop coin on one. You guys are really helping, thanks!
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Old 08-15-2008, 12:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFebtober View Post
I can afford the mill, but just looking for as much justification as possible before I drop coin on one. You guys are really helping, thanks!
Easy

-You'll buy grain in bulk, save $$
-You'll get a great crush, better effi...save $$
-You have control over another variable in the process
-Crush moments before brewing, fresh!
-if you're a 90lb weakling or couch potato, you can manual crush and get some exercise

 
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Old 08-15-2008, 01:02 AM   #7
Yunus
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Your LHBS crush for you? I get to crush my own grain. Very cool LHBS Flying barrel in Frederick, MD. You crush your own, you get your own grain out of the bucket and weigh it and your hops. I guess you could say its more work but seems to me that if were already brewing our own beer its because we want things to be our way so I appreciate the hands on approach.

I have not checked if the grain mill is adjustable but my guess is that it is. I will look into it next time I am there.

 
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Old 08-15-2008, 01:07 AM   #8
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custom-made giant crusher at my LHBS. perfect crush every time.
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Old 08-15-2008, 01:58 AM   #9
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I've declared Austin Home brew as my "Official" LHBS, and we've discussed that one. The Brew Hut in Denver is my #2, and they seem to have a great crush. I've gotten 66% on my AHS Grains, but A whopping 70 and 73 % out of the Brew Hut Crush. They look the same, but hell....my guess is as good as any.
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Old 08-15-2008, 02:37 AM   #10
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Buying my own mill saved me dollars in many ways.

For a mere 45 dollar investment *thank you Craigslist* I got a brand new mill that has increased my efficiency by 15, yes 15 points.

Rather than having 40% of my grainbill remaining basically untouched other than cracking, I get a full and complete milling at the rate and size I like.

Got a cordless drill?

Set up a stop and it will run at slow speed and give you ultimate control of your process.

Look at it this way; Your LHBS is in the business of selling grain. If you have 58% efficiency and buy 23 lbs for a 11 gallon batch, he is ahead.

He is in business to make money.

Your efficiency issues are not his concern.

I have since found I use my LHBS more as an emergency backup now. Having 150 lbs of grain on hand will change the way you look at brewing beer.

Cheers,

knewshound
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