Buying grain mill vs buying crushed grains

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KyBeer

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I have trouble finding that sweet spot between too small and best conversion. Glad I keep rice hulls on hand when it looks a bit too fine.
 
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RyPA

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That's another thing I need to look into...I assume rice hulls are used when your grains are milled too small?
 

KyBeer

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Any time you feel the mash bed might result in a stuck mash. It add nothing to the flavor and is cheap insurance. I always add a hand full when I use wheat or sticky grains.
 

Bramling Cross

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The idea of brewing without a mill is insane to me.

Getting the best price on an ideal crush for your base malts far exceeds any wastage on specialty malts. Besides, after you've been brewing for a while, you start writing your own recipes and ignore the specialty malts that you don't like--I'm looking at you Special B.
 

Gozie Boy

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If you are brewing frequently, and/or with 10-12+ gal batches, a mill can be worthwhile. Find the setting which works best for your system, and don't change it unless you have to (e.g. wheat), as that is something of a pita (at least for my mill). Consider conditioning your grain for milling and use a handful of rice hulls in the mash, and you can then reduce the grain size to increase efficiency while managing the risk of getting stuck.

And there is just something satisfying about performing more of the overall brewing process.
 
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RyPA

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Is it bad to mill too small and always use rice hulls to avoid the stuck mash? It seems like you can always get a good efficiency without worrying about your mill setting.
 

Bramling Cross

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Is it bad to mill too small and always use rice hulls to avoid the stuck mash? It seems like you can always get a good efficiency without worrying about your mill setting.
Eventually you learn your system and "too small" stops being an issue. I know my system and I know how to mill my malt without thinking about it. That said, I do toss in some rice hulls whenever I use flaked wheat or a lot of oats.
 
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RyPA

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Does 'your system' correspond to the bazooka tube/false bottom in your mash tun?
 

Transamguy77

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Does 'your system' correspond to the bazooka tube/false bottom in your mash tun?
After some brews you’ll start to figure out your system, even if it’s the same system as other people it’s going to be slightly different than others. On my system I have figured out my water volumes and strike temp and other things that now I just know what I need to do, and I have never used rice hulls I don’t know why I do a fair amount of rice beers and beers with wheat but have never needed them and other people can’t get away without using them.
 
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RyPA

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Seems kind of odd being I'm sure plenty have the identical setup (same HD cooler for example, possibly same bazooka/false bottom). Maybe some choose rice hulls as an insurance policy, where others have brewed enough times where they have more confidence in not needing the hulls.
 

Gozie Boy

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Seems kind of odd being I'm sure plenty have the identical setup (same HD cooler for example, possibly same bazooka/false bottom). Maybe some choose rice hulls as an insurance policy, where others have brewed enough times where they have more confidence in not needing the hulls.
I've brewed many batches at 0.045" without rice hulls and never had a problem (I use a Spike 20 gal MT with false bottom; I also continuously recirculate and fly sparge). I then reduced my crush slightly (to about 0.04) and had a couple of close calls - whew! Then I went to grain conditioning and using rice hulls and was able to reduce my crush to 0.032", and have never had a problem. Rice hulls are cheap, do not alter the flavor, and provide ample insurance/peace of mind. So it's a no brainer for me, as I never want to deal with a stuck mash or sparge.
 

BrewZer

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I tend to splurge on stuff to avoid buyers remorse. $100 doesn't seem bad, and it looks like its plenty for me as it can rest on a 5 gallon bucket and can be spun with a drill.
That metal base is a real enhancement.

Meanwhile, brewing in a bag* means never having to say "stuck runoff."

*with the right mesh size
 
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Adds half an hour, for me, at most. And it's a hobby, so there's no hourly wage accounting going on in my books.
How much grain are you milking that takes half an hour?
I just did a batch with about 20 lbs of grain in ten minutes or so. My mill runs at about 150 RPM.
 

Soulshine2

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With all that's been said it sounds like I may not absolutely need a mill, but having one wouldn't hurt. Being it's not breaking the bank, and I have curiosity, I will likely pick up the cereal killer.
Just keep in mind whichever one you do buy, if it has a hand crank on it, you can choose to not go hand crank and attach a drill to it to power it. some guys build a dedicated motor on theirs. i already own a few Lithium battery power drill drivers and they work just fine. my milling of 13 pounds takes maybe 3 minutes at most. Not sure how anyone is taking 30 minutes to mill doing a home sized batch.
 

KyBeer

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Each of my brew systems have been different in the way they worked and the effency of the mash. My electric system uses a 10 gallon round cooler with a false bottom. My strike water volume is added to the MT and recirculated through a HERMS coil in the HLT. When trying to achive maximum effency I mill my grains to about .035 - .038. I add two hands full of rice hulls to the mash then the grains. I let the grains rest for about 10 minutes then a continous sparge for about 45 minutes. Drain the MT and Sparge with a slightly lower PH water at about 165 degrees.
Long story short, I could never reach effency in the low 90 percent range without a fine mill and rice hulls.
 

Steveruch

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Milled grains kept in an airtight container last quite a while. My current batch was BIAB with grains that sat in a closed bag inside a plastic tub for over three months and smelled and tasted just as fresh as when I first received them. While I wouldn't hold on to milled grains for over a year, a few months shouldn't be an issue.
 

NewJersey

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I bought a grain mill just because I wanted to mill my own grain. I wanted a finer crush than my lhbs was willing to do. I could have just added 1/2 lbs of grain from them but I wanted to do just to do it tbh.
This hobby, like every hobby, allows you to control your involvement. I don't plan to ever malt my own grain, but who knows lol
 
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BrewZer

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How much grain are you milking that takes half an hour?
I just did a batch with about 20 lbs of grain in ten minutes or so. My mill runs at about 150 RPM.
Most of that time is the weighing, since I use the scoop that came with my Vittles Vault to parcel it out and my scale only has a 4x4 inch platform.

And it's "at most" -- so far, that's about the longest it has taken, and that includes dragging out the scale, the pot I dump the weighed grain in, hooking up the drill to the mill, blowing residue off the mill, etc.
 

PCABrewing

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govner1 said:

How much grain are you milking that takes half an hour?
I just did a batch with about 20 lbs of grain in ten minutes or so. My mill runs at about 150 RPM.

Most of that time is the weighing, since I use the scoop that came with my Vittles Vault to parcel it out and my scale only has a 4x4 inch platform.

And it's "at most" -- so far, that's about the longest it has taken, and that includes dragging out the scale, the pot I dump the weighed grain in, hooking up the drill to the mill, blowing residue off the mill, etc.
Agree,
I quoted ~30 minutes in my previous post to Weigh and Mill. That includes unpacking and setup of the equipment. Since my work area is shared with other hobbies, I also cleanup and put everything away when I'm done.

This reminds me of managing software developers who would tell me they could "have the fix in 5 minutes". They neglected the build and unit test steps and integration testing. You had to know that when you asked for an estimate.
If you leave out major steps of the job you're not getting a good estimate.
Perhaps in some of the nice permanent setups that some folks have 3-minutes is reasonable.
 
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PCABrewing

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Any time you feel the mash bed might result in a stuck mash. It add nothing to the flavor and is cheap insurance. I always add a hand full when I use wheat or sticky grains.
Do you add the rice hulls to the MT before you dough-in or is it mixed into the milled grain?
Curious because I haven't tried it yet.
 

franknbeans

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I bought a Malt Mucher (3 roller) from Bobby/BrewHardware.com last year and have been happy with it. I consistently got batches of grain that were barely crushed from some big website companies and it was to the point that I was not hitting my numbers with a BIAB setup and very frustrating. Did I need it? Ehh... I could have gotten a cheaper one. I also got a deal on a sack of 2-row from a shop an hour away that also gave me some beers they made in their taproom as well after chatting with the crew. On paper, I did save a little money buying that bag, but it was negligible. It became more convenient to dial in my process and nail down the fact that the crush I was getting from stores were screwing up my brew days.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I agree with advice on a grain mill and consistency. Back when I was buying pre-crushed grain my efficiency was all over the board. I was fly sparging at the time and I had terribly inconsistent sparges. At the time I did not think much about grain crush. I was getting grain from a variety of sources.

Also, for me, the cost savings on around 100 lbs of grain pays for the price of a $100 mill.

I tend to splurge on stuff to avoid buyers remorse. $100 doesn't seem bad, and it looks like its plenty for me as it can rest on a 5 gallon bucket and can be spun with a drill.
I have had a Barley Crusher for many years. When it dies, I will not replace it with something imported from China. The Monster Mill is towards the top of my list, but I could see getting another Barley Crusher as well.
 
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