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I need a good, inexpensive mill

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DonutBrew

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Hello all,
I'd like to buy a mill, but I don't know really what I'm looking for and could use some advice. I don't need anything too fancy, just something that will crush my grain adequately and that will preferably be easy to run with a drill. Looks like everything I've seen online so far is $100+, which is too much for me to spend on one right now, unless someone can convince me otherwise :)


Thanks for your help!
 

Pappers_

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If you search here for "Corona Mill" you'll find some useful info. Can't speak from personal experience, but I know others use them effectively. Good luck!
 

djt17

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I don't have a mill yet either, but I bookmarked this as the cheapest I could find. I think this is the Corona style I've read about, but I can't make up my mind whether to bite or just save up for a better one.

http://www.grizzlyindustrial.com/products/Cast-Iron-Corn-Grain-Mill/H7775
I have looked at that one as well; I opted to wait until I could afford a Barley Crusher. But, now I found out that my LHBS doesn't charge to mill their grain. So I don't know if I will purchase one or not.
 

Revvy

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there are 2 alternatives with plenty of info and tips.;



https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/my-ugly-junk-corona-mill-station-90849/

Or the 20 dollar pasta machine used for rolly polymer clay and cheap at any arts and craft store.



https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/using-pasta-maker-mill-grain-75784/index4.html#post1119370

Where someone posted that they get a consitant 83% efficiency with theres.

These are both great options for folks on a budget or looking to get their feet wet in PM's or all grain...Both can be motorized and can handle as much grain as their hopper can hold.
 

carrotmalt

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I have looked at that one as well; I opted to wait until I could afford a Barley Crusher. But, now I found out that my LHBS doesn't charge to mill their grain. So I don't know if I will purchase one or not.
My LHBS mills for free too, but if I could mill it myself, I could buy in bulk and cut my grain costs by about a third. Also, I'd like to try conditioning the grain first to maybe increase efficiency.

OK fine! The truth is I just think it's cool and I want one.;)
 

Catt22

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Crankenstein sells a bare bones malt mill for $76. This is basically the guts of a mill without a base or hopper, but those shouldn't be difficult to fabricate yourself if you have some basic DIY skills. You would also need a crank handle, drill motor or some other way to power it. Get a real mill and skip the junk. You won't regret it.

http://www.crankandstein.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=7&products_id=12
 

pernox

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I've used a pasta roller grain mill for six batches so far and have had efficiency in the mid 70's to mid 80's.
 

RandomSF

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Crankenstein sells a bare bones malt mill for $76. This is basically the guts of a mill without a base or hopper, but those shouldn't be difficult to fabricate yourself if you have some basic DIY skills.
and here is a nice example of a self-contained base and hopper.
 
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DonutBrew

DonutBrew

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Hmmm.... the $76 Crankandstein sounds pretty good, but of course the $23 Corona mill is very tempting. I don't have a lot of money to put towards this right now, and at the same time I don't want to buy something I ultimately won't use.

I haven't been able to find a good picture of the Corona Mill mechanism. Is is significantly different than the Crankandstein?
 

chefmike

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Where someone posted that they get a consitant 83% efficiency with theres.
I have been using a pasta roller for over a year now, several hundred pounds of grain. I get 75% consistantly.

I bought a second mill to replace my first one when it made a weird grinding noise and some metal shavings came out the side... but it is still going 50 pounds later. :D

I power mine with a cordless drill and a spade bit.
 

Catt22

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Hmmm.... the $76 Crankandstein sounds pretty good, but of course the $23 Corona mill is very tempting. I don't have a lot of money to put towards this right now, and at the same time I don't want to buy something I ultimately won't use.

I haven't been able to find a good picture of the Corona Mill mechanism. Is is significantly different than the Crankandstein?
The Corona style mills grind the grain between to opposing face plates while the roller mills, as the name implies, squeeze the grain between two rollers. Lots of people use the Corona mills with success, but IMO the roller mills produce a superior and more consistent grist. My major concern with the Corona mill is that it tends to shred the grain husks. This could lead to astringency problems due to tannin extraction. I've never used a Corona mill, so I can't say one way or the other with any credibility. The problem with asking for opinions on malt mills is that everyone seems to love the one they have regardless of which one it is. Ultimately, that leaves you adrift for guidance. Go with the Corona if the cost is the primary consideration. It will get you by for now and you can always upgrade later on when finances are more favorable. You could then use the Corona for making your own corn tortillas from scratch. I think that's what it was originally designed for.:D BTW, you'll need to keep a close watch on your wallet in this hobby. It's been endless acquisitions and upgrades since the start for me. It does keep me off the streets though, so it's all good.
 

Revvy

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The Corona style mills grind the grain between to opposing face plates while the roller mills, as the name implies, squeeze the grain between two rollers. Lots of people use the Corona mills with success, but IMO the roller mills produce a superior and more consistent grist. My major concern with the Corona mill is that it tends to shred the grain husks. This could lead to astringency problems due to tannin extraction. I've never used a Corona mill, so I can't say one way or the other with any credibility. The problem with asking for opinions on malt mills is that everyone seems to love the one they have regardless of which one it is. Ultimately, that leaves you adrift for guidance. Go with the Corona if the cost is the primary consideration. It will get you by for now and you can always upgrade later on when finances are more favorable. You could then use the Corona for making your own corn tortillas from scratch. I think that's what it was originally designed for.:D BTW, you'll need to keep a close watch on your wallet in this hobby. It's been endless acquisitions and upgrades since the start for me. It does keep me off the streets though, so it's all good.
And yet Charlie Papazain has repeatedly stated that he gets 87% efficiency and has been using a corona mills for years. And no mention of ANY of the issues you bring up, no tannins or ANYTHING else, or else he wouldn't still be using one......*shrug*

So you can go with a bunch of "theories" usually perpetuated by folks who have never used them and disdain them, OR..... Go with the grandfather of brewing. :D
 

QuixoticDevice

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I have been using a pasta roller for over a year now, several hundred pounds of grain. I get 75% consistantly.

I bought a second mill to replace my first one when it made a weird grinding noise and some metal shavings came out the side... but it is still going 50 pounds later. :D

I power mine with a cordless drill and a spade bit.
I've seen this before and heard people talk about running their mills with drills, but I've never been quite clear on how fast they're run. Do you run it at full drill speed to grind quickly or do you run it at hand crank speed to save your wrists? I've been kicking around the idea of putting together a pasta machine grinder and I've been thinking about alternate ways of powering it. I've got some old treadmill motors lying around that I could make work, but, again, I'm not sure what kind of speed is possible/advisable. I'm probably going more complicated than necessary, but I have such a love of ridiculous contraptions... :D
 

riromero

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I've seen this before and heard people talk about running their mills with drills, but I've never been quite clear on how fast they're run. Do you run it at full drill speed to grind quickly or do you run it at hand crank speed to save your wrists? I've been kicking around the idea of putting together a pasta machine grinder and I've been thinking about alternate ways of powering it. I've got some old treadmill motors lying around that I could make work, but, again, I'm not sure what kind of speed is possible/advisable. I'm probably going more complicated than necessary, but I have such a love of ridiculous contraptions... :D
I have a $15 pasta machine grain mill. When I use drill power, I run it about twice as fast as hand cranking. If I go flat out there's too much grinding action from the roughed up rollers and the husks get shredded. Plus the pasta machine sounds like it's about to fly into 100 pieces. With my variable speed drill, I actually don't have enough torque to turn the rollers any slower, so I just depress the trigger till it starts to turn evenly and that's about right for a good crush.

Bonus tip: If you condition the malt with water in a spray bottle, the results are so, so much better.
 
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DonutBrew

DonutBrew

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Go with the Corona if the cost is the primary consideration. It will get you by for now and you can always upgrade later on when finances are more favorable. You could then use the Corona for making your own corn tortillas from scratch. I think that's what it was originally designed for.:D BTW, you'll need to keep a close watch on your wallet in this hobby. It's been endless acquisitions and upgrades since the start for me. It does keep me off the streets though, so it's all good.
I like this. If there's one thing I may like as much as beer, it's tacos. You may have sole me right there ;)


Go with the grandfather of brewing. :D
I had no idea the Pap used a corona. You definitely sold me here. One day I'll perhaps upgrade when the time is right. Now, I must be off to buy a mill and a sack of grain!

Thanks for a great discussion so far guys.
 

coy

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OK so after reading this and glancing at the other thread about pasta rollers. my wife has a kithcen aid counter mixer that you can attach pasta rollers and a slew of other stuff. So now it looks like the wife is going to be getting some attachments for her kitchen aid mixer. :D thanks.
Looks like I can use some of the attachments for brewing beer. woo hoo.
 

wilserbrewer

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OK so after reading this and glancing at the other thread about pasta rollers. my wife has a kithcen aid counter mixer that you can attach pasta rollers and a slew of other stuff. So now it looks like the wife is going to be getting some attachments for her kitchen aid mixer. :D thanks.
Looks like I can use some of the attachments for brewing beer. woo hoo.
Sorry Coy, I hate to be a buzzkill, but the kitchen aid attachments really aren't meant for grinding large quantities of grain. Oh, and the price, cheaper and better to get a tool specific for grinding your brewing grains IMHO.
 

coy

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not a buzz kill at all. I've found some decent priced pasta attachment on ebay and such. I also found this http://cgi.ebay.com/Kitchenaid-KGMA...all_Kitchen_Appliances_US&hash=item5887cc658c

I don't plan on brewing more than 5gal at a time, at this point so I'm sure I'd get by with something like this for a while.. just for the fun of grinding my own. If I need a bunch done I'll do it at the LHBS. ;)
I'm still learning so once I start getting my process's down really well and wanting to dive fully into it. I'll probably get something designated for each task.
 

Homercidal

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I am pretty sure I read about some people who tried using the pasta attachment on their kitchen aid and found that it wore out QUICKLY. Just a word of warning.

I've seen a corona mill and a drill do an admirable job for not much money at all.
 

chefmike

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but I've never been quite clear on how fast they're run. Do you run it at full drill speed to grind quickly or do you run it at hand crank speed to save your wrists?

I have an 18v Ryobi Cordless (Home Despot in blue). I use the number 1 setting on top (2 spins faster).

I run wide open. :rockin:

And it sounds like it will shear off parts.

In fact, it has. :D

I had to open up the side and pull out a sleeve and move up to the next size spade bit. Still running about 50 lbs later. Several hundred pounds on the mill.

It seems to really vary from mill to mill and person to person though. My buddy has the same setup and does his differently.

The corona with the washers would seem to me to be the same gap set for everyone. I have one, but the one face was bent (used from CL).

I think either of these options will offer great service for a homebrewer.
 

artyboy

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Kitchen aid wheat grinders are HORRIBLE. When Homercidal said "they" wear out quickly he was correct. He forgot to specify that "they" is the mixer itself. Grinding wheat in the attachment grinds up the gears in the mixer just as quickly as the wheat.

I have a corona mill. I like it. It was only $20 and it's bulletproof. You also don't have to do any crazy mods to it. The pasta machine crusher looks cool but I actually use mine to make pasta :).
 

Beerrific

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Couple points.....

1. Why do you need a mill? (not saying you don't, just curious)
2. I see you are in GA. The makers of both Crankandstein and Monster Mills are in the ATL area. You might contact them about picking up to save on shipping.
 

artyboy

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I went ahead and motorized my Corona tonight. I just had to buy a bolt to replace the bolt that holds the handle in place. I'll definitely need a bigger hopper.

 
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