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Is a Barley Crusher overkill for small batches?

So I am starting to get into all grain brewing doing a slightly modified BIAB method. I have ordered some grains pre-crushed from NB (brewed two AG batches so far), but the crush is very course. I would like to start crushing my own, partly because I want a finer crush and partly because I want to “do it all” when brewing. My typical batch size for now and probably for quite some time is 2 gallons.

I was all set to buy a Barley Crusher until I read numerous postings at other sites complaining about the quality of that mill. Then I started wondering if for small batches I should just get a cheap Corona mill. Basically I have worked myself into the dreaded “too much research to make a decision” cycle here. I need someone to kick me out of it! I don’t need anything motorized or fancy, I just want to get a finer crush for my BIAB recipes.

Can’t speak to the Barley Crusher, but my awesome wife bought me a Cereal Killer for my birthday in October. I’ve used it maybe 5 times so far and couldn’t be happier. I also BIAB, but full batches… usually 5 - 5.5 gallons. I’ve seen my efficiency climb from 65-75% to 75-85% crushing my own. Very much worth it IMHO.

I don’t think it’s overkill. It’s a good mill. I think you should go for it.

That’s an expense that I’ve not had to endure. :smiley: My LHBS has 3 crushers available for DIY crushing at no additional charge…I love those guys!! Fresh grain, fresh crushed by me for every batch…how great is that.

Perhaps your nearest LHBS will have that too.

:cheers:

Thanks everyone.

In regards to my LHBS, I don’t have one within a 30 mile area of me (if that) unfortunately. I keep asking myself why I live here, especially looking at the snow outside right now.

If you search enough, you’ll find negative comments about anything.

I’ve had one about 4 yrs., and it works great. I just ran 24 lbs through it yesterday.
Keeping the rollers and bushings clean is important for any mill.
I would advise using a corded drill or strong cordless, hand cranking gets old.

Regardless of the mill, having your own allows you to buy sacks of grain. Cheaper and you can brew on your schedule.

By all means, get a mill. I used a Corona corn mill for a few years and it worked well enough and was cheap. If you like brewing though, I’d go with a crusher.

I got a Barley Crusher towards the end of the summer and I love it. Runs great on a drill and like already mentioned you can buy sacks of grain which saves you money in the long run meaning it will pay for itself…a win in my book.

Thanks all. I think I will go ahead and place the order while the $7.99 shipping is still active. I was going to get a wort chiller instead but it looks like I will have plenty of snow to use for my cold water baths for some time to come!

You can make an IC easily for half the price.

We have a lot of snow here too.

You can make an IC easily for half the price.

We have a lot of snow here too.[/quote]

Depends on the price of copper. I bought mine a year ago and at the time, copper was so expensive I actually found a 50’ IC cheaper online than I could build one for. Including shipping, I think it would have cost almost the same amount… or at least within a few dollars. So, I just ordered one and saved myself the time and hassle.

I just bought 60’ of 3/8" refrigeration grade copper (thinnest grade) at Lowes for $60, and added hose fittings with compression nuts for another $15. Total of $75. Wrapped it around a corny keg. This would cost $150 plus shipping at NB if I’m not mistaken. Anyway this thing chills like nobody’s business, quite a bit faster than the 1/2" chiller I made for my big kettle.

WOW… $150? Really? I think I paid less than 1/2 of that for my 50’ IC a year ago. If I remember correctly it was on homebrewfinds. Maybe the companies who make the chillers are raising prices due to copper prices going up over the last year or so.

EDIT: just did a quick search and you can find 50’ - 3/8" copper IC online for the same price or cheaper than what our host is selling 25’ versions for. So for $70-$80 range… it’s may be cheaper just to buy a pre-made IC. I still paid less than that for mine a year ago though. I want to say it was like $60-$70. Sure does appear that copper prices are definitely driving up the costs.

[quote=“dobe12”]

WOW… $150? Really? I think I paid less than 1/2 of that for my 50’ IC a year ago. If I remember correctly it was on homebrewfinds. Maybe the companies who make the chillers are raising prices due to copper prices going up over the last year or so.[/quote]

You can still find some decent deals on pre-made chillers out there. NBs prices seem to be on the high side for chillers.

I’m talking 50’-60’ chiller, I could still make a 25’ chiller for a lot cheaper although Lowes has either 20’ or 50’. In fact I have a little 20’ IC and it gets overwhelmed in a larger batch (10-15gal).

Yeah, I noticed that Lowes doesn’t sell 25’ sections of copper tubing. I suppose for my small batch sizes a 20’ chiller would be plenty though.

Yeah… me too. 50’ chillers for $70-$80. Not from our host, but they are out there. When you factor in the copper, fittings, hose, clamps, time to buy the supplies and build the chiller + taxes… it may be cheaper just to buy a pre-made chiller. Just sayin.

Add $15 for shipping. And the cheapest models don’t have hose fittings, just an end you would slip a plastic hose over. I think its safe to say you won’t wind up spending more for a homemade chiller if you do some homework. Whether its worth it to you, is a personal matter. A lot of times I go commercial, but I do try and save a bit where I can.

They sure do. $70 w/hose and garden hose fitting.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Brand-New-Super ... 4897.l4275

You’re right about shipping. That probably makes it less worth while to buy pre-made. Lowes has 50’ of copper coil for $69. Hose, fittings, clamps… sure, it’s probably cheaper to make one, but not buy much. You may be talking the price of shipping would be the only difference if any.

Thats a darned good price at $90 delivered. I needed compression fittings on the copper tubing for my hose connections because I’m using a plastic 55gal drum of water and a bilge pump to move it through the IC. I think it puts a little more back-pressure on the connections than my tap pressure.

That settles it, the OP should buy this IC AND a Barley Crusher.

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