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Is It Worth Buying A Grain Mill?

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zarniwoop

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Hi All,

Sorry another tight ar*e questions.

I was just about to buy a monster mill as my BIAB adventure begins. However I note that grain and grape (which is my local-ish shop) offers free milling on grain purchases (I think craft brewer does the same to be even handed). As I only brew every 1-2 months I'm wondering if it's worth actually buying a mill?

Any comments greatly appreciated.


Cheers

Zarniwoop
 

glenwal

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Hi All,

Sorry another tight ar*e questions.

I was just about to buy a monster mill as my BIAB adventure begins. However I note that grain and grape (which is my local-ish shop) offers free milling on grain purchases (I think craft brewer does the same to be even handed). As I only brew every 1-2 months I'm wondering if it's worth actually buying a mill?

Any comments greatly appreciated.


Cheers

Zarniwoop
Probably not worth it if you only brew every 1-2 months.
 

wakkatoo

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If you are going to just buy from G&G and brew pretty much straight away, don't get a mill and get them to do it for you. If however you see yourself increasing the amount you brew, buying grain in bulk, stocking up for more than one brew to save the trips / postage or just like shiny things, then get a mill.

Personally, the mill for me was a good investment and one of the most enjoyable parts of the brew day is using it.
 

Acasta

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IF you get in on bulk buys then its worth it. If you are paying full RRP and cracking yourself then not really.
The price of a JW ale sack from a bulk buy is (last I remembered) $36 for 25kg, where if you payed RRP it would cost, $97.5 for the bag, over 2kg-20kg increments.

So right there you are saving $61.5, each time you go through a bag (roughly 5 batches) you are theoretically saving this much. Bulk buy your often used spec malts and you will be seeing saving pretty quickly.
 

petesbrew

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You could always find someone here with one who's willing to crack it for you.
Thank him with beer.
 

tallie

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The way I see it, a mill will only start paying for itself (financially) when you start buying your grain in bulk. So then it's a matter of plugging in savings and finding out how long it will take to pay off.

Say it costs $5/kg when buying grain for each batch compared to $60/sack in a bulk buy:
Savings per sack = 125-60 = $65

If the mill costs $250, it'll take you about 4 sacks of bulk bought grain to pay the mill off (4x65 = $260).

So if you're brewing an "average" single batch once a month and using about 4kg of base malt at a time, it'll take you about 2 years for the savings to pay the mill off (4 sacks = 100kg, divide by 4kg/batch = 25 batches, times 1 batch/month = 25 months).

You'll have to plug your own numbers in, but that might give you enough for a ballpark figure.

That's only taking financial costs into consideration - there are other benefits to having a mill, such as being able to decide to brew at the last minute and adjusting the crush for your system.

Cheers,
tallie
 

zarniwoop

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Thanks all useful info.

How long does un-crushed grain last?
 

Weizguy

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Yeah, a good idea if you're likely to brew often or buy bags of grain at the right price, or even if you want to customise the cracking of your grain.

Maybe you will be unhappy with the mill settings used to crack your grain or you think that a tighter mill settings will help you to eek out another 2-3%+ of extract efficiency.

Maybe you like to torture your children by forcing them to hand-mill 10 kg of wheat malt for your next weizenbock...

or, as suggested above, do it for the bling factor, or the custom-engineered one-off handcrafted mill like the one I own.

It's not all about the money, sometimes.
 

Bribie G

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A Marga Mill is excellent at around $130 - I bought an old one third hand and it eventually failed so I recently bought a new one, and the guy I gave the old on to got it working again. Those things go on forever.

So at that price you will fairly soon recoup the cost, but only if you go into bulk buys of base malts.

However even though I have a mill I sometimes buy five kilos of crushed grain from CraftBrewer for beers that I only occasionally brew, for example Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian.

If I were in your position I'd really just continue to buy crushed.
 

mmmyummybeer

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Thanks all useful info.

How long does un-crushed grain last?


It does depend some what on the type of grain and your storage conditions. Crystal grains and dark roasted grains stored right can last years. Base grains will pick up moisture quicker but can easy last a year. The main thing is keep them away from moisture, I store mine in a large plastic bag in an old broken freezer and even I put some desiccant for safe measure. I make sure the bag is pulled tight and most the air is removed and lid is shut tight on freezer. I don't live close to a local supplier though so I have to make do. I have used grain that has been 2 years old and the beer has turned out fine with no complaints. I just always check and if its not crisp and crunchy to bite then it get thrown out. It still works out cheaper to throw some out when you buy in bulk from the bulk buys. I'm sure there will be lots of viewpoints on grain storage and longevity. I have heard that if you had the grain vacuum sealed then it can technically last indefinitely as the main grain spoilage is moisture (and maybe rodents but that's another story).

Any way that's my 2 cents worth on the subject :D
 

Wolfy

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If you are going to just buy from G&G and brew pretty much straight away, don't get a mill and get them to do it for you. If however you see yourself increasing the amount you brew, buying grain in bulk, stocking up for more than one brew to save the trips / postage or just like shiny things, then get a mill.
^ This is exactly what I wanted to say.

I've been told by some people that they feel pre-crushed grain only lasts a week or two before it can start to have a negative impact on the beer.
 

Truman42

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Zarniwoop,

Your/our closest brew shop is actually Keg King in Springvale. (Behind the Bunnings opposite the Sandown Race Course)

They do grain but now charge $1.00 to crush it. They also sell hops and yeast but only dry yeast. They probably don't have as large a range of grains as G&G but can generally sub for something else.

I only brew once a month and considered buying a grain mill but had to weigh up the cost and having to store grain. It just wasn't worth it.

I think if I brewed a house ale regularly then maybe, but I usually brew something different each time.
 

mwd

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If I only brewed once or twice a month I would just get the supplier to crush it for you one thing less to worry about.
 

jyo

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I usually brew every second weekend and I often have different beers planned for a long time. However, it's great to wake up on a Saturday morning and decide then and there what I want to brew if I feel inspired.

If you can afford to buy a mill and you have room to store bulk grain, which really doesn't take up much room, then why not?


Cheers.
 

Maheel

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maybe make friends with a local brewer who has one and offer to buy some grain with them

i would happily mill grain for any local brewers
 

adryargument

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When your paying $2.50 per kg instead of ~$5.
It only takes 50KG of grain to pay off the mill.

I do ~12KG grain for 50-60L batches.
5 Brews i have saved $125*.

Repeat. Profit.

*I have no idea what base grain costs these days. Specialty malts are generally $5-$6.50.
4 cups in, my maths may be shot to hell.
 

warra48

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Never mind the economy, but it does eventually pay for itself if you buy your grains by the sack. Sack prices are lower than per kg prices, so there is a saving. Obviously, it's larger if you participate in a bulk buy, but that's not always feasible for us brewers who live outside the metro areas.

My mill is one of my favourite pieces of gear in my brewery. It's even used by a fellow brewer to crack his grains for the partials he brews. Anyone in my local area is welcome to do the same.

The major thing is that it allows you to mill the grain to precisely how you want it, and to experiment with it till you get the results and efficiences you want.
 

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