Milling your own grains...

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by N0mad, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. N0mad

    N0mad Well-Known Member

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    At some point I would like to purchase my base malts and grains in larger quantities and mill them myself.... I feel like each time I go to the LHBS I'm not getting the same results based on who's working that day... I always carry my Brewer's Friend recipe app with me and even though they write it down I suspect there is some variable there that I just can't put my finger on.

    My grain bills are on average 6 Lbs for my 10 liter batches and I brew on average twice per month I'm not sure there would be a considerable financial savings but I feel like I would have more control over the quality...

    Looking at my recipes most contain Pale 2 row, German Wheat or a Pilsner as the base malt...

    How are bulk grains purchased... #10, #25, #50... I'm sure some of you have a preference of brands you prefer...

    Is it advisable to look for a used grain mill or purchase new? What can I expect to pay used vs new?

    Any particular brand or type of mill recommended?
     
  2. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    I buy my base malt in 25kg (55lb) bags and buying in this quantity saves me 60 cents per pound over buying it by the pound. Assuming your savings are as much as mine, that would save you $3.60 per batch. with your two batches per month, you could pay for a cereal killer mill in 13 months https://www.austinhomebrew.com/Cereal-Killer-Grain-Mill_p_4432.html
    At around $100, the cereal killer, or any other similarly priced mill, will pay for itself pretty quickly and more importantly it will give you more control over your beer. I don't know anybody who regrets buying a mill.
     
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  3. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Cereal Killer mill costs about $100 and handles the job very well. You can find a clone on Ebay for less... https://www.ebay.com/itm/Homebrew-Grain-Mill-Barley-Grinder-Malt-Crusher-2-Roller-with-Hopper/263702264398?hash=item3d65e13a4e:g:39UAAOSwp41bAmwr&_sacat=0&_nkw=grain+mill&_from=R40&rt=nc&LH_TitleDesc=0
    That's the one I have, I think and it's been a workhorse.

    Find malt locally one way or another and avoid paying for shipping. Look for bulk malt group purchases in you area with local clubs. We end up getting bags of good Czech malt for $25 to $27 for 55lbs. You may even get a local brewery to give you a good by-the-bag price. Your local LHBS will probably have a bag price that's much better than the per lb price.
     
  4. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Bulk grains are generally sold by the sack. Sacks are usually 50 lbs. for domestic and 25kg (55 lbs) for Canadian and European.
    As an example, my LHBS gets $1.60/lb. for Rahr 2 row and sells 55 lb. sack for $46.00. Pretty good savings. I used to buy my supplies from MoreBeer. They had a lower price level for larger quantities. Like 1.39/lb or 11.29 for 10 lbs. It varies from shop to shop. Also a substantial savings. I have even heard of suppliers where you can pay sack price up front for a full sack and pickup what you need, when you need it. They keep track of your balance. Lots of shops charge up to $.25/lb for milling too.
    You can find some pretty good deals on grain mills and pick up a decent one for around $100 that would suit your needs. Like everything else for this hobby, once it's paid for itself, it saves you money,
     
  5. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I use a corona mill attached to a drill. It's cheap but it works.
    I put a bigger hopper on it and put the bottom of the pail over it to stop grain from flying everywhere. I've been using it like this for over a year. I got it for free, it's not the coolest or nicest but they're cheap as chips.

    For grain I usually buy in full or half sacks depending on what I'm after. The LHBS likes selling me the half sacks cause it's less work than the 1KG bags they sell for more money.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    I used the same Victoria mill for several years. Actually still have it as a backup. I've had 2 different roller mills since and don't really see much difference among the 3.
     
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  7. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I would highly recommended buying a mill, I've had this for a good 6 years and runs the same as new, helps to have a slow worm gear drill, I knock this down to half its rpm with the variable speed knob , the slower the better

    WP_20170929_10_10_16_Pro.jpg
     
  8. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    this is called the barley crusher version 2 I think it has bearings not bushings and it was around $140 I think
     
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  9. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    Here's the coolest thing about having your own mill and grains on hand: convenience! When I took the plunge I noticed immediately that I could now brew when I suddenly found the chance. It's also nice to have a house set of grains that you base most beers off of.

    I don't regret making the investment.
     
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  10. N0mad

    N0mad Well-Known Member

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    American ingenuity right here... you're all about making things work for you
     
  11. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    yes the lids of the buckets are screwed to the plywood base, the buckets are the stand and can be swapped with each other if necessary and when done the whole thing fits on a shelf
     
  12. N0mad

    N0mad Well-Known Member

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    Bob why the third mill? did you find something that worked better for you?
     
  13. N0mad

    N0mad Well-Known Member

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    That' what I'm thinking... don't need to run to the LHBS to brew when I have time and control my efficiency better and use the brand of malts I want
     
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  14. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    Boom. That's what I love most about it. I use all German base malts and a spread of specialty grains. Nice to have it all right on hand.

    A couple of weeks ago I got up early and started brewing. A buddy of mine was supposed to show up and check it out. By the time he got there I had just finished cleaning up. Lol. It was only 10 am and I looked at him and said: want make another batch?

    I had 10 gallons of beer in the fermenter and the brewery clean by 3 pm.
     
  15. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I know people don't realize how long it takes and how early you need to start although on my system it takes 7 hours from set up to clean up
     
  16. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    If I had a better chilling system I'd be around 4.5 hours but right now it's nearly 6 once cleanup is finished.
     
  17. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    so it takes an hour and a half from the end of my boil to the fermenter, 30 to whirlpool, 30 to rest and 30 to chill, then clean up and tear down, I take all electrical inside and cover my kettles with a grill tarp
     
  18. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Bought the first roller mill because I got tired of cranking the Victoria. Wore out the first roller mill. Bought the new one so I had a mill when I sent the old one in for warranty repairs, which I really need to do.
     
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  19. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    Oh indeed. I should have mentioned by "early" that I woke up at 4 and was mashing in around 4:45. It was nearly a 12 hour brew day :) Both beers were single infusion though.

    The day I did a double decoction was nearly 9 hours for one batch. :) - Enjoyed every minute!

    I will say though that switching back from a three vessel set-up to a single (with a separate pot of sparge water) has made my brew day less cleaning intensive. Now that everything is done in one place (had a sink and pump installed in the basement) I have really come to love my brew days!
     
  20. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Hey this may tie in well with this thread. Its on conditioning grain so more husk is intact better filter bed fr sparging ect not that itll work for me as i wizz the crap outta my grain. Check it out its a handy tip.

     

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