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Hand Grain Mill

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HeavensBrew

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QED

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This doesn't answer your question however one of my mates who is a total coffee boffin and is obsessed with the stuff says that the secret to fantastic coffee is not the machine that makes it, it's the quality of the grind. He always advises people to blow the budget on the grinder and then any middle of the range machine will be fine for actually making the coffee.
I suspect for beer that there is an element of similarity, with a good grind for grain and the quality of the end product.
 

foxy

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What you should be looking for trying to keep the husks intact and breaking the starchy endosperm into small pieces. Worth spending the money to get a good grist.
 

Cwrw666

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What you should be looking for trying to keep the husks intact and breaking the starchy endosperm into small pieces. Worth spending the money to get a good grist.
Depends on your system. I do BIAB and go for a grind with quite a lot of flour in it. This has vastly improved my brewhouse efficiency.
 

foxy

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Depends on your system. I do BIAB and go for a grind with quite a lot of flour in it. This has vastly improved my brewhouse efficiency.
For me I try to avoid over milling simply because the the husks are the main culprit of astringency. Shredding them increases the chances.
 

Cowman

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I've got that exact mill. I find it crushes the grain fine enough for me to use with biab and seems okay with all in one system but does take a while to crush as the hopper can only hold about 1kg of grain at a time and is close enough to the table when clamped on that it can be awkward to catch the grain.
 

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I bought one of the cheap corn mills for a really good price and haven't looked back. My efficiency is consistent so makes for a much smoother brewday.

No doubt someone has done the science to compare levels of astringency between grain milled with rollers and grain milled with a cheap-o corn mill, but I haven't been able to find evidence and don't detect astringency in my beers even with a very fine crush.

Three things it's worth doing with these mills and they need a little ingenuity:
  • Enlarge the hopper. I used two old 5l water bottles, the rim from a tub of olives and 4 curtain hooks. It makes a great collapsible and detachable hopper that holds 5kg of grain.
  • A cowling for the grinding plates. This helps contain the dust and grain and direct it out the bottom. A takeaway tub with 2 cut-outs and 3 holes works amazingly well. The addition of a plastic bag grain chute helps.
  • A couple of bolts (M8 if I recall), one with a filed down head, plus a socket. This allows you to drive the mill with an electric drill.
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Leard

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I bought one of the cheap corn mills for a really good price and haven't looked back. My efficiency is consistent so makes for a much smoother brewday.

No doubt someone has done the science to compare levels of astringency between grain milled with rollers and grain milled with a cheap-o corn mill, but I haven't been able to find evidence and don't detect astringency in my beers even with a very fine crush.

Three things it's worth doing with these mills and they need a little ingenuity:
  • Enlarge the hopper. I used two old 5l water bottles, the rim from a tub of olives and 4 curtain hooks. It makes a great collapsible and detachable hopper that holds 5kg of grain.
  • A cowling for the grinding plates. This helps contain the dust and grain and direct it out the bottom. A takeaway tub with 2 cut-outs and 3 holes works amazingly well. The addition of a plastic bag grain chute helps.
  • A couple of bolts (M8 if I recall), one with a filed down head, plus a socket. This allows you to drive the mill with an electric drill.
View attachment 29039
View attachment 29040
These are brilliant little additions. I'll have to include them with mine. At the moment I use one of my partner's hair bands to tie the plastic bag the grain comes in around the plates. It seems to work, but this looks much more effective.
 

Cwrw666

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  • A couple of bolts (M8 if I recall), one with a filed down head, plus a socket. This allows you to drive the mill with an electric drill.
I was planning to power mine by mounting it on my lathe but unfortunately the hole drilled in the whatsit for the bolt to attach the handle is so off-centre it just wouldn't work. A hand held drill works except it leaps around like a crazy thing so I've had to stick with muscle power...
 

cushyno

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I was planning to power mine by mounting it on my lathe but unfortunately the hole drilled in the whatsit for the bolt to attach the handle is so off-centre it just wouldn't work. A hand held drill works except it leaps around like a crazy thing so I've had to stick with muscle power...
This is how I couple the drill to the mill. Using two bolts head to head inside a socket gives some float, acting to some degree like a universal joint. Even if the threaded hole in the mill shaft isn't true it means you can still hold the drill straight.
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terrym

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Following the helpful comments many of you made in below I decided to buy one of the cheap (corona) hand grain mills to give it a go, and its now on the way.

I intend to make the mods as suggested by @cushyno or something similar, and maybe give the surfaces a coat of epoxy type paint (except of course the milling surfaces) since I read that original paint tends to come off, and although grain comes from fields with all sorts of stuff in it, if I can avoid paint particles getting in the crushed grain I will feel much better.

One question remains, has anyone got any recommendation as to shim (washer) thickness as a first attempt to get the milling distance not far off for good crush size and make up?
 

Cwrw666

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No paint on mine - the hopper and cover over the grinding wheels are stainless, the body is just galvanised. As to shims, didn't have any with mine so just used a few washers instead. Fine-ness of the grind is adjusted by a screw in thingy on the end of the shaft. Very easy to set up.
 

HeavensBrew

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Mine is working fine and I have no issues with the paint. I would'nt mess about with painting it until you see a problem developing.

There is a degree of variation with these mills so you need to find the thickness by small adjustments as you go along. Then stick with that once you have it.
 

cushyno

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Following the helpful comments many of you made in below I decided to buy one of the cheap (corona) hand grain mills to give it a go, and its now on the way.

I intend to make the mods as suggested by @cushyno or something similar, and maybe give the surfaces a coat of epoxy type paint (except of course the milling surfaces) since I read that original paint tends to come off, and although grain comes from fields with all sorts of stuff in it, if I can avoid paint particles getting in the crushed grain I will feel much better.

One question remains, has anyone got any recommendation as to shim (washer) thickness as a first attempt to get the milling distance not far off for good crush size and make up?
You may not need any shim washers, it all depends on the variant you get sent. The model I have has the number 500 on the body and didn't need shims. The thumbscrew is used for adjustment of the floating shaft.

If I recall correctly I started by placing a steel rule between the grinding surfaces, slightly thinner than a credit card. This seemed a good starting point. I have tightened a little since then to get a finer crush.

Make sure the grinding faces can be parallel to each other throughout a full turn off the handle, you may need to adjust the split pin so that it provides enough float. If the head of the pin sits too tight in the hole it stops the floating plate from floating enough to remain parallel.

Good luck with the mill!
 

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