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alha

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I've been slowly gathering up my equipment to set up my brewery this summer, and was reading a few threads that I saw pop up on grain mills recently. There are a couple that I read about that I tried doing searches for, and it said that there were too many results to display. My searching feng shui is failing me, so I thought that I would just ask for peoples opinions. The ones that came up were Crankandstein and Monster brewing hardware. They both had nice 3 rollers, in the $300 range, which looked like would last me the rest of my and probably my kids life. One used bearings, one used bronze bushings. I'm sure that there are pros and cons to each design. It will be powered, I plan on using a 3/4-1hp motor to run it.

I don't mind spending a bit on good hardware, if it will last me for many trouble free years, and I would expect when you are paying a premium, things like ease of used or adjustability/accuracy are givens. One other thing I was wondering is if any could also be used to crack corn? I might make bird food, or something, down the road so that would be a bonus if I could find one that would do both grains and larger things like corn, if that is even possible.

So, what are you guys using, and what do you think of them after using them for a while? I'd be happy to do research of suggestions, it just seems to be such a big subject I don't know where to start, at least from the search results I got, so feel free to join in. Thanks!
 

Kampenken

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I went cheaper, but still very good quality for me- Cereal Killer, about $90. 2 rollers, works great.

Are you planning large batches +10gal? Otherwise, why power it? I put my drill on it each time- I don't leave it set up. Most grain bills for me are 10-15lbs for 5-6g batches, so no need for a permanent power setup, its done in about 5-10min.
 
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alha

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Yes, I am looking at barrel size batches, and plan on kegging everything I produce. I will obviously start smaller, but would like to overbuy in the beginning, instead of having to either repurchase an appropriately sized one or just deal with something too small for the larger batches when I start making them.
 

sikkingj

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I can't say enough good things about my JSP Malt Mill (http://schmidling.com/maltmill.htm). I have he adjustable mill and I have had zero problems in 4 years of use.

I hand crank and have motored through 28 lb grain bills. I like that it is a long mill than most and provides a good bit of crushing area. The mill comes with some plastic guards on the hopper - remove hem and mill away.

I BIAG, so I like a tight setting and crush to dust. Prior to BIAG, I was getting a great crush from the factory settings. I built my own extended hopper and have been very happy with the mill.

Howeve, if you are going to do BIAG, you will save yourself a good bit of coin by using a corona mill, not as sexy, but cheap and once adjusted seem to do the job (from what I have read).
 

Kampenken

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Makes perfect sense. There are some threads here on grain mill setups, with pic!
Cheers!
 
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alha

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Makes perfect sense. There are some threads here on grain mill setups, with pic!
Cheers!
What would you use as search terms that don't return 1000 results, I guess that has been my issue, or maybe I'm just too tired tonite. Thanks for the patience with me! ;-)
 

Kampenken

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alha

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I checked that one out, and then followed it to a much bigger one that was started in early 2010. Started reading it, but then ran into the bane of old thread postings with pics - Photo not found.. Apparently those that are missing didn't post the pics to the server here, it must have been off site and linked. Oh well, I will keep reading it, and following others suggestions as they come in too, because the ones that are there are pretty cool, but often don't mention the specifics of their builds. Pretty cool, though!
 

3 Dog Brew

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So, what are you guys using, and what do you think of them after using them for a while? I'd be happy to do research of suggestions, it just seems to be such a big subject I don't know where to start, at least from the search results I got, so feel free to join in. Thanks!
Since you are planning barrel sized batches I would listen to "the pope" himself (Jamil Zainasheff) and get the mill with the largest diameter rollers you can find. According to the podcast I was listening to, it doesn't matter if you have 2 rollers or 3 if you have large diameter rollers.

My mill is a JSP Maltmill. It has bronze bushings and small rollers (1.25-1.5 in.?). Having smaller rollers usually requires that the rollers are knurled which actually tears the husk rather than just crushing it. By using larger, non-knurled rollers, you may lose a couple of percentage points of efficiency in exchange for less risk of husk tannins and off flavors.

Kai wrote an entire article on malt conditioning which I practiced until I got my mill all gooed up and it took me a long time to clean everything up. It works for some people, it's just not worth the hassle for me. Malt conditioning alleviates some of the concerns of tearing the husk and if I didn't have knurled rollers it would probably work a lot better.

Another piece of advice I would give you is that if you are really looking at brewing batches that large, you might consider engineering a solution to mill your grains directly into your mash tun, instead of milling them into a bucket or bin that you then have to lift into the mash tun. Based solely on the recipes I tend to make, if I were to scale up to 1 barrel, I would be using at least a full sack of grain (55 lbs) per batch- more like 60 lbs of grain though.

YMMV, good luck to you! :mug:
 
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sikkingj

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From JSP web page (http://schmidling.com/apnotes2.htm)

GRAINMILL THROUGHPUT

There are several things to consider when pondering the throughput or speed of a grain mill. A homebrewer obviously has different requirements and budget restrictions than a retailer of crushed grains or a commercial brewerery. Within reasonable limits, it is not normally a very great concern for the homebrewer. However, many homebrewers have a great deal of mechanical curiosity, ingenuity and inherent urge to push the envelope. The commercial user, on the other hand is very concerned with throughput and in many cases without much concern for the cost.

COMMERCIAL USER

We have always claimed that the MALTMILL is as at home in a small brewery as it is in the basement. The purpose of this discussion is to back up this statement with facts. We will begin with the larger challenge of the commercial user and then address how we also deal with the needs of the homebrewer.
In the 20+ years since we introduced the MALTMILL, there have been many competitors come and go and there are at present about a half dozen small grainmills on the market, mostly aimed at the homebrew community. Not one of them, past or current, chose to address the commercial market by making a mill as large as ours. It is still by far, the largest and most productive mill in this market.

We further addressed the commercial user by offering stainless steel and case hardened rollers, positive gear drive for the passive roller,a large hopper adapter and steel mounting base. None of the competition offers any of these features. The larger rollers on our mills provide a greater throughput at all speeds from hand cranking to maximum motorized RPM. It takes 14 seconds to hand crank a pound of malt through the mill and when motorized at 400 RPM, it takes about 3.5 seconds to crush a pound. This works out to over 1000 lbs per hour.

CRUSH QUALITY

The use of the word "quality" is subjective and has no quantifiable meaning in this application. What one MEASURES is the statistical distribution of the grist size, viz., the percentage of the grist that passes through an industry standardized set of sieves. There are published examples of grist analysis that are considered typical of what a large commercial brewery should look for but there is no such thing as a single standard of quality that is ideal for every system. Unless you run malt through a flour mill or coffee grinder, there is no way one can look at the grist and determine it's "quality". The proof of the pudding is the extract YOU get in YOUR system and not some perceived idea of "crush quality".

Furthermore, it is impossible to over-crush malt in a JSP MALTMILL. This is particularly true of the pre-adjusted mill and virtually true on the adjustable mill because the spacing is fixed at one end to the same value as the pre-adjusted mill. The mill may be adjusted to produce a finer grist than might be ideal for a particular system but it will NEVER be finer than the so-called "textbook crush".

The issue of "husk damage" is also a common subject of concern among the pundits but a lack of understanding of the problem has produced much unnecessary concern. The husk provides the material for the filter bed that clears the wort but the wort does not travel through a husk, it goes around it and it is the edges that snatch and retain the particles filtered. Up to a point, the smaller the particles are, the more efficient will be the filtering. We get into trouble when the mill pulverizes husk into particles so small that they can not be distinguished from the starch particles. No modern multiple roller mill is capable of doing this so it is really a non-issue unless we are dealing with mills designed for another purpose or with a single roller.

There are reasons why grist analysis is important to megabrewers and it is based on the bottom line of the P & L statement. What is best for the megabrewer is not necessarily best or even good for the homebrewer. One can achieve the textbook type grist analysis with an adjustable MALTMILL or something that looks very little like it with the "pre-adjusted" MM but I defy anyone to prove that the beer they make is in any way measurably different. Fact is, the fixed mill grist is more forgiving and easier to mash, lauter and extract than the finer crush that the other can achieve.
 

3 Dog Brew

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I have been using the factory (non-adjustable) Jack Schmidling Products Maltmill for over 10 years. I motorized it about 9 years ago. It has always worked well for me and only had a problem when I put moist grain through it. Following up with a batch of dry grain fixed the issue. Best part of the Maltmill, LIFETIME WARRANTY! Which I had completely forgotten until reading sikkingj's post.

PS> I added the photos of my maltmill cart to my 3 Dog Brewery FaceBook Group page, which you can see here
 
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imasickboy

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Honestly, if you're going to crack corn, just get a corona mill for that. They're $30, and designed specifically for doing things like corn.

Keeping your brewing mill's gap the same all the time will reward you with consistency. Skip the adjustments and use the separate mill for your birdseed.
 
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alha

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Thank You everyone for your great input, it's really valuable for a newb like me starting from scratch! And I will check out the corona mill, for my birdseed, and such.. ;-) Is that a type, or a brand name?
 
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alha

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Oh, and while digging around this afternoon for mills, I came across a thread on
probrewer.com, regarding mills. Here are a few posts in a row, which I found enlightening. Of course, these are people that use them _Seriously_, more use than most ppl would use them in a decade I'd imagine. The thread started in 2012-13, talked about people using the largest versions both the Monster Mill and the Crankandstein, and most ppl had good things to say initially. Someone resurrected the thread in early 2015, saying it had now been a couple years, and how about an update. Here is the initial question and a few of their responses:


"2+ years later....how are the mills holding up?

My partner and I are about to order a new mill. Trying to decide between the crankandstein 328D and the monstermill mm3 pro with hardened rollers. Just curious to hear from the owners of either one, how satisfied they are a couple years later?"


"My 328D starting giving me problems about 1.5 years in. It produced about 1000bbls of beer, and ran great while it did. What started happening is since only 1 roller is driven, it would sometimes have a hard time getting started. I could reach under it and give it a kick with the rubber end of a screwdriver or piece of wood. Overall it worked well for me, but when I upgraded my brew system I purchased a MUCH more expensive mill from RMS Roller Grinder, but I'm not certain it's any better.. I could purchase 20 328D's for the cost of this mill. If you are on a budget, and don't mind replacing the rollers say every couple of years (depending on your usage) - I don't think you can go wrong with the 328D."



"We also started with a 328D, was great for first few months then it had to be engage with a screwdriver, it quickly became a PITA.

We bought a Economill fro Apollo and we love it. Fast (even though we have the feed trap almost close!), well built and affordable.

http://www.apollomachineandproducts....ller-mill.html"



"Thanks for the replies.

So it seems that the issues you guys had was with getting the mill to engage?

I was mainly a little more interested in the monster mill because of the hardened steel rollers. Did you notice any significant wear on the rollers of the crankandstein?"



"Yes the issue was getting the rollers to engage after a few months. The rollers showed no wear cause it didn't had time to wear out"



"Effort

Hey, If you want to save yourself some time and effort, I actually recommend having your malt supplier mill your grain on the small scale.
It costs about $2.50 a bag or something and it saves you a good amount of time and effort.
BSG has been pretty good for getting me a crush I want and it's been way better than using a MM. Saves me about 30-45 minutes of labor for minimal money.
Unless you are gonna drop some coin on something bigger anyway"



"crushed grains

we have are milled from BSG med grind it takes and extra day for them to ship to us. but the consistency from them is spot one every time

we started it a small crankandstein lasts us about 8 months got a monster mill 2 roller got a about 1 years or so out of it then we got a 3 roller from them lasted just over a year

all were mounted to a 3/4 hp motor at about 850 rpm

after three mills we just order are crushed saves me time, space, and I cant say it enough the consistency is great

we're on a 7bbl system so I order once a month from them

hope this help
cheers matt"



Those last 2 posts I thought was an interesting take on it, so I contacted BSG, because they are actually located about 4 miles from my place. Sadly, it turns out that you have to have a Federal TBB number to set up an account to purchase from them, so that would have to wait till I would decide to go that route, but it sure sounds convenient...
 

Drumminguy81

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I was running a barley crusher with a 1/2 hp motor and 10:1 speed reducer. It worked great for small batches but would occasionally clog if I didn't clean it regularly. I recently upgraded to 20 gallon batches and it took nearly an hour to mill the 55 lb grain bill. I upgraded to a monster mill mm2 pro with 2 inch rollers and a 1hp motor and I can't tell you how much I love it! Night and day difference. It mills so much smoother with a perfect crush and fast! Couldn't be happier!
 
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