Concrete Roller Mill

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louis

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OK, so I've been researching DIY mills. My beer allowance is not that large and cannot spend a great deal on equipment - besides, I can build some fairly decent equipment.

Back to DIY mills. I've read enough to guess is a bit of debate regarding concrete rollers. On one side we have the contamination argument about getting concrete in your beer. On the other side, there is the camp that says if your rollers are not hitting anything, they should not be getting damage and concrete in your crushed grains. The argument being we are crushing grain, not grinding flour - so the rollers should not hit anything. Grain is much softer than concrete so it will give.

Even if you did get some concrete contamination, won't the grain bed filter this out?

What are your thoughts? Any other thoughts to alternate diy rollers?
 

nuhvadah

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IMHO: Quit wringing your hands and be *that guy* who either succeeded or failed with it ;-)
Just be sure to post up DIY and results :rockin:
 
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louis

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What are you estimating the cost of this to be?
Not sure yet. As an engineer this is one of those things things that I plan on building for myself and possibly building and selling if there is local interest. As long as I can build it for under $80 (rough guess) I will be happy. I have some materials which I can use, so really, the major cost would be making the rollers.

And yes, when i get to it, I'll post on it.
 
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louis

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IMHO: Quit wringing your hands and be *that guy* who either succeeded or failed with it ;-)
Just be sure to post up DIY and results :rockin:
Oh, I plan on doing this. It is project #3 on the list right now, in the middle of a chiller and mash tun build.

Just like to draw on as many sources of info as I can.
 

rlmiller10

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I suspect it will depend on the quality and the pour/finish quality of your concrete. I would not worry about it grinding off as much as the surface flaking or crumbling due to imperfections. If you have a high quality roller I would think any contamination on a per batch basis would be very small. I am not sure of the filtering out though as wort is acidic and acid will dissolve concrete. I think any powder that got into the wort would probably dissolve. But, I have "ate" quite a bit of cement dust when mixing concrete and have not noticed ill effects...ill effects...ill effects.
 

nuhvadah

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Oh, I plan on doing this. It is project #3 on the list right now, in the middle of a chiller and mash tun build.

Just like to draw on as many sources of info as I can.
[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdvGtujJ8C8[/ame]

Good luck! Hope it goes well. fwiw, I'd stay away from pressure-roller type mill design and look to an adjustable buhrstone style or impact as they're far more adjustable than pressure rollers.
 

day_trippr

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[...]Just like to draw on as many sources of info as I can.
I recall at least one such project right here on HBT.
I bet one of the links below will lead you to it...

Cheers!
 

Thedillestpickle

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It sounded to me like you had two questions:
1. Does anyone thing that if any concrete got into the crushed grain, that it would "contaminate" the beer?

My answer is no. I would not be worried about a small amount of dust affecting the beer. I imagine that the amount that would make it into each batch would be minor.

Your second question looked like you were looking for a brain storm of other possible ideas that could be explored as alternates to the cement idea for a DIY roller. I haven't done any research on DIY mills but here is what I can think of off the top of my head:

There are perhaps other options to concrete, although concrete may be the most accessible and practical means of approaching a DIY project such as this. One idea that comes to mind is using resin. A hard resin can be molded quite easily and should have even more integrity than cement. If you happen to own a wood lathe you could possibly turn the casted resin on the lathe to bring the surface down to spec and even polish with successively finer sand-papers.

In a similar line of thought, you could also use a lathe to turn an extremely hard wood. There are some insanely hard woods out there. I actually don't think that the wood would need to be all that hard to handle crushing regular malts, however you would want to make sure you have the ability to crush for example unmalted grain which is actually very hard.

For smooth polished rollers to work effectively there would have to be a minimum diameter that would be effective.
 
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louis

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Good luck! Hope it goes well. fwiw, I'd stay away from pressure-roller type mill design and look to an adjustable buhrstone style or impact as they're far more adjustable than pressure rollers.
I hope it goes well too. My thought with buhrstone mills is that I may end up crushing the grain too much? A HPGR also has the benefit of easily being made to fit on a bucket. Either way, I'll come up with a couple designs first.

Cheers! :mug:
 

TimH

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why when you can just get a cereal killer mill for 19 dollars more and save yourself the time and possible contamination?
 
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louis

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why when you can just get a cereal killer mill for 19 dollars more and save yourself the time and possible contamination?
Because building stuff is fun. $99 US is $140 Canadian Dollars. And how high is the risk of contamination? Considering the grain bed, the rollers do not hit anything, and grain should not chip a roller? Contamination was one of the topics I hope can be discussed here.
 

TimH

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You didn't say you wanted to just build it you said it was because budget. But if you want to build it rock on go for it!! I think contamination could be an issue. Accidents happen. How likely will it be that you do knock it? Pretty likely I would say. I would also think the chemicals put into concrete could definitely change water chemistry and effect the beer. Don't know how likely it will contaminate but I do know even on a stainless steel grain mill the knurling after long time use gets dull so I would think concrete would break down faster than steel. If I was you I would just go with a grain mill just to be sure but that's me. Good luck and happy brewing either way you go!!!
 

JohnSand

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Interesting idea.
I have occasionally found a small pebble in my sack of grain. That would chip your concrete rollers. But an odd chip here and there won't ruin them, or your beer.
"Stone Ground Brewery" "That's just how we roll" "Crushing barley the hard way" "Rockin' Barley Malt"
 

nuhvadah

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Because building stuff is fun. $99 US is $140 Canadian Dollars. And how high is the risk of contamination? Considering the grain bed, the rollers do not hit anything, and grain should not chip a roller? Contamination was one of the topics I hope can be discussed here.
Can you elaborate on your contamination concern? I'm a little confused by it. Contamination from, and, of what exactly?
 
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louis

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Can you elaborate on your contamination concern? I'm a little confused by it. Contamination from, and, of what exactly?
Well when I came across the concrete roller idea and builds, many people are worried that concrete will get into the beer, effect the water and beer. Then you would be potentially ingesting it.

I'm not overly concerned myself - more wondering about how likely the risk is.
 

nuhvadah

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Well when I came across the concrete roller idea and builds, many people are worried that concrete will get into the beer, effect the water and beer. Then you would be potentially ingesting it.

I'm not overly concerned myself - more wondering about how likely the risk is.
Ah, well... Since the only ingredients in concrete are stone ag, silica sand, portland cement and (maybe) lime, I'd say the only negative would be the < .0n% chance of pH getting skewed by the lime, this would be a very low risk though. People ingest more concrete living near a quarry or cement plant through air diffusion than you would through tiny amounts possibly making it into your beer. Solids would settle out during the post boil chill. Any bacteria would be sterilized by the boil itself. Besides, if you had large amounts of cement making through your mill, you'd notice and most likely stop anyways.
Rock on, build it and post! I'm itching to see this work for you :rockin:
 
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louis

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... Besides, if you had large amounts of cement making through your mill, you'd notice and most likely stop anyways.
Rock on, build it and post! I'm itching to see this work for you :rockin:
Ugh! Not enough build time during the day, :p
I know, I'll quite my job and just make beer all day...
I too am eager to get to the malt mill project - it is on my top three project list (1 and 2 are on going).
 

LandoLincoln

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Gap measurements between rollers are measured in the thousandths. Concrete is not that precise of a material. Your crush is most likely going to be pretty poor. If you have the ability to make a concrete lathe...why not just build metal rollers? I'd understand if you were going for some kind of "that's how they used to do it in the old days" kind of thing, but this isn't that.

I personally wouldn't worry too much about contamination.
 

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