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Choosing a mill

I am progressing along in my brewing career and I think I want to buy a mill. There is a wide range of mills available. I see the Captain Crush for $279 and the Barley Crusher for $139. Can anyone give me guidance regarding what I should be looking for? Is the Captain $140 better than the Barley? Does the “you get what you pay for” rule apply to the world of grain mills? Will I do well with the Barley Crusher or will I be disappointed?

In today’s market there’s many mills to choose from.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/grain-mills-faq-465275/

An entry level mill, like the Barley Crusher, will be a little more finicky, not as refined as say a Monster Mill, but it will still be usable with a little care and the right tools. You’ll also be able to hand crank a lower end mill, if you don’t plan on using a drill or motorized drive.

A higher end mill, like Captain Crush, Monster Mill, etc… will have the little extras that make using the mill easier, like detents for adjustment, locking adjusters that are easy to tighten, larger roller sizes, etc…

Having said that, make sure to look at other mills in the Barley Crusher category, like the Millars Mill.

You won’t be disappointed if you’re mechanically handy, crushing only once or twice a month, and don’t mind crushing directly into a bucket as opposed to building a milling station.

Well said by mfinnegan. I will say that I know several people who bought the Barley Crusher and were not very happy with it. Seems like it has difficulty in grabbing the grains to get started.

I have a JSP and it has 10" long rollers and works flawlessly.

If you are looking at the Barley Crusher, I would consider looking at the Cereal Killer. It’s basically the same thing, but $40-50 cheaper plus free shipping.

Well, it’s not that I am looking at any particular mill at this point. I am looking at all and asking what I should be looking for. So far this is all good info. I mean if there is a $140 difference between a low end and a high end and it’s truly worth the $140 then I would say I have to go for the better one. My big question (and I think I am seeing an answer) is, does the more expensive mill have functional differences that make it worth the money? There are sometimes products that are very expensive where the main difference is the look of the more expensive product, and the cheaper one does just as good of a job.

Tough to answer if the extra money makes the Captain Crush or another higher end mill worth it. I’ve started with the Barley Crusher and was very pleased but I ended up getting the Captain Crush because I had some gift certificate money from Christmas, it was 20% off at the time and I had a friend getting into brewing that wanted to by my old mill. At the end of the day they both do a fine job of crushing my malt but I like the Captain Crush a bit more because it is stainless, it lets me crush finer while still keeping enough whole husks that I can lauter easily even if I don’t condition my grain and it is easy to adjust. Was worth it to me but I also understand others that’d rather spend that extra money on other equipment or more ingredients which is reasonable too.

Don’t want to hijack the op’s thread but I’ve been thinking about getting a mill as well and my main question is if a 3 roller is worth the price bump over a 2 roller? Does a good quality 2 roller like the MM-2 require multiple passes where an MM-3 or Captain Crush wouldn’t?

I have a barley crusher. Bought it January of this year and have never had any issue with it pulling in the grain. I used it once with the hand crank just to experience it. I’ve used a drill on it ever since.

Adjusting the gap is pretty simple if you can use a Philips head screwdriver. I’ve used it at the factory setting and as tight as .020. Currently set to .026. I don’t condition and I get intact hulls.

I’ve always gotten a good crush with one pass.

I brush off the rollers after every use with a small paint brush.

The resulting crush from a well adjusted 2 or 3 roller mill as measured by ASBC sieve tests should be the same.

A properly adjusted mill, be it 2 or 3 roller, shouldn’t require multiple passes.

Marketing babble will say that a 3 roller mill does less damage to the husk while at the same time pulling the husk away from the starchy kernel. I’ve found this to be true to a certain extent. How much it helps the mash is debatable.

A three roller mill will be harder to turn than a two roller, thus requiring more power, such as a drill or a motor/pulley setup.

[quote=“MullerBrau”]Well said by mfinnegan. I will say that I know several people who bought the Barley Crusher and were not very happy with it. Seems like it has difficulty in grabbing the grains to get started.

I have a JSP and it has 10" long rollers and works flawlessly.

[/quote]

I agree. I also own the jsp its a nice mill, I have been using it for many years and never had any issues with it, very reliable.

[quote=“mfinnegan”]
A three roller mill will be harder to turn than a two roller, thus requiring more power, such as a drill or a motor/pulley setup.[/quote]
I hand crank my MM3. It’s a labor of love. Popeye forearms are just an unintended bonus. :cheers:

There was a long post about this same subject some time ago…and again some time before that…etc.

But having read those, I’ve concluded that almost everyone loves whatever mill they have, with the exception of a minority of Barley Crush owners. The JSP owners seem to be the most enthusiastic though, and it does appear that JSP makes the highest quality mill on the market. Not sure if it gives a better crush, but it has a great warrantee. If I was going to buy a mill today, I’d probably spring the extra money for one of those.

I’ve got a Crankandstein 2 roller mill that has worked flawless for me for over 10 years now. No reason I can see to replace it.

Non adjustable JSP here. Made in the U.S.A. and I have had it about 15 years. I run it with an electric drill on the shaft. There is an O-ring on one roller that is supposed to be only for show to make both spin when you crank it but I find it grabs the grain much faster with it so I have replace it a couple of times over its life. Most of the other mills mentioned here were not available back when I got it so I have never had a need to try one.

[quote=“Hades”][quote=“mfinnegan”]
A three roller mill will be harder to turn than a two roller, thus requiring more power, such as a drill or a motor/pulley setup.[/quote]
I hand crank my MM3. It’s a labor of love. Popeye forearms are just an unintended bonus. :cheers: [/quote]

That’s awesome, I didn’t even know they offered a hand crank for the MM3.

Thanks for all the info everyone. I’ve decided on a Millars mill. It seems to be the best price/feature combo to me. Can’t wait for it to arrive:)

I’m betting you like it. I just bought one a couple of weeks ago, and though I’ve only used it once, it seems to work very well. The only thing I don’t like about mine is the fact that the legs, or supports, that bolt to the bottom of the mill and support the mill on the bucket or whatever container you’re milling into, are only held on by one capscrew each, so they can rotate back and forth pretty easily.

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