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I think the Barley Crusher Grain Mill is still the best bang for the buck at $149.99, well at Northern Brewer anyways, about 10 bucks more than when I bought mine 2 years ago come July. It comes with everything pictured, unlike the expensive mills where everything comes separately.
Here it is sittin atop my 5G Lowe's bucket, which seems to fit the base tighter than the orange Home Depot bucket. Mine came with the 7lb hopper, but it can also be had with a 15lb hopper for 20 bucks more. Great for Steeping, PM or AG amounts of malts.
hbt-mill-1-1809.jpg

It has two adjustment knobs, one on either side with notches to align the rollers for a .039" gap. This gap seems to give a very even crush after 2 years of use. Here's a shot of the adjusters;
Left side;
hbt-mill-2-1810.jpg

Right side near crank handle;
hbt-mill-3-1811.jpg

I've run a lot of different grains through this mill, both barley and wheat, from multiple countries as well. The wheat malts seem to be harder than the barley-based malts. But being a retired auto worker, I still have arms like Popeye, so it works. The underside of the base has little rubber legs located so as to make it fit a 5 gallon bucket snugly. In this next shot, you can also see the rollers and how the roller frame is bolted on. I'm also showing the 1" trim brush Giant Eagle sells as a basting brush in sets of 2. They're made from hog bristle, which I think is better than synthetic.
hbt-mill-4-1812.jpg

And yeah, before anyone speaks up, I do need to finish cleaning it after brew day yesterday. The little brush does a great job of dusting it off and cleaning the knurls in the rollers. My efficiency with my pb/pm biab beers went up quite a bit since I started using this crusher. While the MM2's, and other way higher priced mills may be better in the long run when motorized, this one is great for PM amounts where hand cranking will do fine. A little exercise is a good thing. I brewed an East German kottbusser yesterday that required 7 1/2 pounds of grains for the partial mash. Here's a shot of the hopper loaded with 7 pounds worth;
hbt-mill-5-1813.jpg

Then milled down a bit before adding a 1/2 pound of 2 other grains;
hbt-mill-6-1814.jpg

It only took a couple of minutes to crush the 7 1/2 pounds worth. But it sure gives your arm a workout with 3lbs of German wheat malt on the bottom! By the time I got down to the barley malts, the torque needed was noticeably less. Here's a shot of the crushed grains;
hbt-mill-8-1815.jpg

Then the bucket with 4ozs of rice hulls added, as there was also 12ozs of flaked oats in there as well. Didn't want a big dough ball in the bag!
hbt-mill-9-1816.jpg

Here's a close shot of the crushed grains with some rice hulls;
hbt-mill-10-1817.jpg

I didn't think it was necessary to crush the rice hulls. I wanted them to do a maximum job of keeping the mash loose and evenly wet. I was fairly certain 12 ounces of oats would need it. Better safe than sorry. Especially since a pound of rice hulls is a big bag. The bag looked about equal to 3-4 pounds of malt. So I changed the amount of rice hulls in the recipe from 8ozs to 4ozs, as 4ozs worth would fill a 1lb Maillard Malt bag quite full indeed. In the end, the 4ozs of rice hulls worked beautifully with the quality of crush I get from the Barley Crusher Malt Mill.
Not to mention, getting my grain whole and crushing them fresh for steeping or mashing. I think this lends to improved efficiency as well. So if you're way into steeping grains and thinking of moving to partial mash or even all grain and like me, you're not rich, this is a sturdy unit for the home brewer by my tests of nearly 2 years of use. Just clean it out real well and don't abuse it. It'll last a long time if properly cared for.
hbt-mill-10-1817.jpg
 

NewDetroitBrewing

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We have used this barly crusher for 3 1/2 years. Lately, we have been having trouble with crushing our barley. The rollers lose their bite and do not crush the barley We have adjusted the gap multiple times, narrower and wider. Eventually we had to set the gap wide to get it to work, then crush a second time at our prefered gap. We do use a small brush to clean the knurls on the rollers after crushing.
Eventually, do the roller knurls just wear out and require replacement? Has anyone had a similar problem?
 

CA_Mouse

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I have had my BC for 2 years now. I hand cranked for about 4 months before I bought a decent drill to attach. I have mine set at the default gap and condition my grain with a little water prior to milling and then double mill. My mash efficiency has gotten as high as 93%, but is routinely between 85% and 87%. Besides being able to buy grain by the bag to save money, I'm using a lot less than I did with pre-crushed. I bought mine through BeerSmith and got it for $109
 

Weezy

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Best bang for the buck? I'm not saying you're wrong but what other mills have you used as a basis for this comparison?
 

allentwnguy

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I looked at all mills and wound up going with the MaltMill. Mainly because the MM was the only mill affordable that you could get with both rollers driven. I didn't want a slave roller. It also had solid 10 inch rollers. Under $200 and I did need to support my LHBS.
The first time I used it I wanted to do mill the grain by hand. So I'm cranking away "yeah I'm grinding my own grain finally" not noticing my left hand that was holding the base slowly sliding towards the edge. Guess which finger is the longest? All of a sudden pinch! My left middle finger got pinched between the hand crank and the wood base. I own a lovely Milwaukee Heavy Duty 8 amp drill that was out in the garage. It now resides with the rest of my brew gear and the hand crank is out in the garage fitted with a chuck! Kidding!
 

Gavin C

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Sharper pictures would have been nice to better demonstrate the efficacy of the mill. What features of the mill did you favor over other ones you have used over the years?
 

Gavin C

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Is it not best to soak whole rice hulls prior to adding them to the mash? This way they wont absorb much of the sweet wort while still preventing a stuck sparge. I BIAB and don't really see the rationale to using them in BIAB or in a partial mash. I was not aware milling rice hulls was ever recommended.
 

unionrdr

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I felt the BC was a good value, considering how much the others cost online, a couple hundred dollars was a lot more than the $140 I spent to get the whole thing, not just the rollers. The others, like the MM have you buy all the parts separately. And I need a new camera. I got this one when I retired as a 30-year present from Ford. They don't make'em anymore. Can't focus well closer than 2 feet. I never considered soaking the rice hulls before adding them, as this was the first time I've used them. I had 12ozs of flaked oats in the mash, & didn't wanna wind up with a big dough ball in the bag. Even the usual dough balls were very small compared to usual. The rice hulls, as can be seen weren't milled. I like how the factory setting of .039" is notched on the adjusters & roller body to keep it aligned. The chute that it comes with holds as much as claimed. Easy to clean. The little rubber feet hold it in place against the inside rim of the 5 gallon bucket. And cleaning the bearings once in a while would be a good thing to help prevent binding. When I bought the BC, the others would've been pushing $300 with all the parts that had to be bought separately.
 

BreezyBrew

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I've been using my BC for about 2 years now. Every two uses I have to take the entire thing apart and clean it out, for it to work properly. Otherwise, it will just stop and spin in the middle of a crush. It's a heck of a lot of maintenence. I wish I would have just bought the more expensive mill in the first place. Buy once, cry once... now I will be buying another mill. BTW I didn't bother trying to crush an entire grain bill by hand, yikes!
 

Gavin C

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I bought a cheap mill ($99) very similar to the Barley Crusher. It would appear to have all the same features. Not really seeing much of a difference based on this review.
I'm surprised you have no experience with rice hulls given your prolific posts (30,000 plus). I would have though every topic pertaining to basic brewing would have been hit on by now.
I really think for a banner article on this site; the requirements of which are stated as including a number of high definition photos, this review falls short of the mark, in both content and composition in my view.
 
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Grain conditioning will cut down on the dust in your Barley Crusher and vastly reduce the amount of cleaning you need to do.
 

eric19312

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I've had good luck with this mill too. I've had it for a little over 2 years and crushed about 1400 pounds of grain in that time, about 75 5-10 gal batches. Twice I have had to take it apart, clean it and put a drop of vegetable oil on the bushings else it stops pulling the grain over the slave roller. I do use a drill. I stopped conditioning with water when it didn't seem to improve my efficiency and left me with some pretty gummy knurls the one time I over did the water.
There is always a more premium product and I believe those who say the additional investment in a mill delivers a better product. But when I bought this mill there were a lot of other pieces of gear I wanted to buy and compromises had to be made. I've got Bayou Classic kettles with weldless fittings instead of Spike and I have a home welded stand instead of a pro finished Brutus. No automation or even a pilot light yet. My wife still doesn't believe I've compromised...
 

jabba11

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Ive had one for over 3 years now. It does the job and shows no sign of quit for me. I think they have a lifetime warranty as well. If you have a problem with yours contact them..http://www.barleycrusher.com/barleycrusher.php
 

attyindaburgh

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I did a ton of research before I went with a monstermill. The frequent maintenance issues and poor customer service led me away from the barley crusher.
 

unionrdr

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Well, not everyone can afford an HD camera that costs a few hundred to nearly a grand. I used what I had & it doesn't do macro-zoom like my Canon FTb film camera. No, I haven't tested every mill on the market, but who really has the cash to do that? I haven't had any major problems with mine at all, so it was a good investment for me. It gives a nice, even crush & the base contains all the dust, as it fits tightly against the Lowe's bucket I use. But there are plenty of pics to show what needs to be seen, as far as that's concerned. I don't & didn't think an exploded view was necessary. As far a rice hulls are concerned, they weren't terribly needed most of the time. I just used a little this time because of the oats in the mash. They did their job just fine & at 4ozs, they wouldn't soak up that much liquid anyway. So that's a moot point in this instance. I still say it's a good value if properly cared for. Mine has been no trouble at all so far.
 
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@unionrdr
I think you mistook the previous posters comments to mean the Monster Mill. Instead, he was referring to the JSP Malt Mill is made by John Schmidling. It's available from the manufacturer fully assembled for about $110, although there are many options available that can drive the price higher (mine is the adustable model, and costs about $150). http://schmidling.com/orderpp.htm
 

Roadie

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Good information. My local home brew shop uses a motorized monster mill that gives a good crush so I've never even thought about buying a mill of my own so don't have to deal with all the dust, expense, maintenance, etc. Talking about a cross-country move this year so if that happens not sure what kind of LHBS I'll have in the Charleston, SC area and may have to pony up for one.
About rice hulls, I've only used them once. Last fall in my first ever pumpkin beer where I added several pounds of canned pumpkin to the mash tun. Even so I was on the verge of getting stuck when I recirculated and it took a few seconds to get going.
 

NeilSpake

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Rebel Brewer has the 15-lb (hopper size) BC on sale right now for $123.95:
http://www.rebelbrewer.com/shop/grain-mills/barley-crusher-malt-mill-15-lb-hopper/
the 7lb is $99.95.
 

starsman20

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I have one of these as well and it has worked fine for about 2 years. I crush probably tighter than average. I think it helps get my efficiencies up and since I always use rice hulls I haven't has a stuck sparge. One thing I don't understand is the OP says both rollers are driven. Mine had a little rubber piece driving the second roller that disintegrated and ended up in my mash after the first run so the second roller just free spins. Also my handle stayed on for about a half of my first run. Been using the drill ever since. And I have never cleaned it other that banging the bottom to drop out the dust. maybe that is a next weekend project.
 

unionrdr

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I never said that both rollers are driven. But they both move when the crank is turned, at any rate. The crankshaft has a sort of flat spot on it where the screw tightens against it to keep it in place. Never had to retighten mine. Although I am familiar with car parts & automation machine parts at work that used such things. That Rebel brewer price is darn good compared to what I paid @ NB. And I looked around at prices for the other mills, both cheaper & more expensive & the better ones, at the time, came in separate parts. More expensive then that way. I'm just saying that for steeping & partial mash apps, in my experiences, makes it a good value. It's never failed me in any way so far. And I wasn't so much talking about the MM's, but it just got me that the parts came separately, making them out of reach for many of us. The BC is a good alternative in my experience. I also tried to give the information in a straight-forward manner. I wasn't writing one of my novels here. I thought y'all would appreciate my being more straight forward, rather than wordy. I stand by my experiences with it thus far. But in light of what's been said, I wonder about quality of workmanship versus the amount of abuse the owner puts it through.
 

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@NewDetroitBrewing
I had the same issue with the rollers not catching. The manufacturer suggesting disassembly and lubricating the rollers.
I disassembled and cleaned with a damp cloth and Qtips. I lubricated the rollers with graphite dust.
One thing I will suggest is that when you rebolt the mill to the wooden base, do not tighten all the way. Prior to reattaching the rollers moved very freely. After tightening to the mill to the base not so much. After loosening the bolts a bit the rollers moved nice and smooth.
 

BCProducts

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atl_sud...That is a very good suggestion if you have an issue with the rollers binding up you can try to loosen the bolts on the base a little bit. It will allow the mill to float and let the bushings find a good center to avoid binding.
to address attyindaburgh... Yes we had a bad patch where customer service has lacked. We have had some changes in the company and have addressed those issues and customer service has and will be to a much higher standard...
The Barley Crushers are on sale on Rebel Brewers website for 2 weeks..
if anyone does have any issues with their mills please email me at [email protected]
Thank you
Randy
 

unionrdr

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Thanks for chiming in BCP! Darn good price at RB too. As I showed in one pic, that thing really does hold a full 7lbs. I still think it's the best bang for the buck for the quality of crush, the amount it holds & ease of cleaning. And since the wood base fits the bucket snugly with those lil feat, no dust poofs out anywhere.
 

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First this mill is a baby's toy compared to a real mill. Second of all the customer service this guy offers, or lack there off, is horrendous!!!
I sold my hunk of crap barley mill for $100 and bought a 3D crank and stein on eBay. It came in immaculate shape. And I only paid $100 shipped, so I lucked out. But sitting it next to the barley crusher, I laugh at how dainty the BC actually is.... It's a toy.
Enjoy your free year subscription for writing this, but this is not the best mill even for the price.
 

attyindaburgh

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Glad to hear that customer service has improved. The bc was on my list to buy but when I saw the issues, I had to look elsewhere. Good luck and I hope word gets out about the positive changes.
 

dave73ok

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I used this mill for about 5 years, pretty much wore it out. Had a few problems along the way, the rollers skipping was definitely the most annoying. I'd tear the thing down, clean/lube it, get half way through a full hopper, and the rollers would slip. Dump out grain, put a handful in, wait for the rollers to catch, then fill up hopper and hope it didn't happen again. It got old fast.
Also, the particle board base doesn't hold up too well either. Good luck trying to get replacement parts from the source. Overall, I would say I got my money's worth out it, though. Hell, the thing paid for itself after a year or so, since it opened me up to buying grain by the sack.
Last year I spent $99 on the Cereal Killer and have been very happy with it.
 

unionrdr

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I don't know how some of you have so many problems with it? And the base coming apart, rollers sticking, etc? I clean it after every use & don't use a drill. although 7 1/2 pounds was the most I've done in it so far for one batch. I keep it clean & don't horse it, so it's lasted fine for me? At any rate, I tried to keep this one straight forward without writing a novel. Folks on here don't seem to like long, rambling articles/replies, etc. So I tried to come right to the point, feeling that'd be appreciated.
 

beernutz

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Nothing in this review or the comments that follow makes me regret buying a Maltmill 16 years ago. I believe I have run well over a ton of grain through it since that time and my "maintenance" consists of turning it upside down and giving it a good whack to remove any stray grain right after milling.
 

broadbill

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@unionrdr Are you seriously saying you aren't aware of all the issues with the BC? There is a multi-page discussion topic right on this forum...
I appreciate your straight forward article, and it certainly has more meat to it that alot of these articles tend to have, but to not address the quality issues with the BC is certainly an omission. I do understand that you have not had such issues personally.
 

BrewerDon

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In your article you mention the blue Lowes buckets and the orange Home Depot buckets. I just wanted to say that neither of these are food grade plastic. For a little extra money, both Home Depot and Lowes sell food grade buckets. They are usually white.
 

BCProducts

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Broadbill..I will be the first to admit we have had issues here at B C Products. We had a issue with our customer service for a while which has since been corrected.
We are a family business, Recently i went through an ugly divorce which took a couple years to get completed. The ex wife was working here up till almost the end. This in hindsight was a bad idea. Toward the end i tried to keep distance between the two of us, i was going to do my job and let her do hers. She wasn't. She wasn't responding to emails or letting me know that there was issues to deal with. It took a while to realize what was happening when i did she no longer worked here. I was married for 20 years when this occurred. I lost focus for a while.
I realize personal issues are no excuse in business and not trying to use it as an excuse, just an explanation. Since this time has past i have made many changes, taken on a new role in the company and have been making sure emails and repairs are done on a timely manner.
I care deeply about this business and making a quality mill at an affordable price. I will continue to try to regain the name we had before this happened.
If anyone has any issues with their mill please email me at [email protected] I will answer your emails in a timely manner and we will get your mill back to running the way it should be working.
 

masonsjax

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I bought my BC about 6 years ago. It came with a cracked base and a slightly bent shaft. I've been able to somewhat straighten the shaft, but could not get it completely straight so it vibrates like crazy with a drill, but it does get the job done. One time the drive roller bound up solid and wouldn't budge. I had a heck of a time getting it disassembled and cleaned out. Once reassembled it worked well again. Guess I should pull it apart for cleaning more often.
I see a Monster Mill in my future.
 

broadbill

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@BCProducts Thank you for the explanation, but my comment was directed to unionrdr as feedback for his article and not specifically related toward the quality of BC products. I do not own a mill but plan to in the future. Can you elaborate on the changes that were made that makes it a better product?
I would recommend posting to the thread I referenced as it has many complaints from your customers (you may have done this already). I wish you luck in getting your business back in line.
 

ghohn

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@Silentdrinker
Agreed and agreed about BC. Terrible support and just an ok product. I'm a Monster Mill man myself.
 
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