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Newbie All-Grain Crushing Question

Yo!

Can I use a rolling pin or something other to crush my grains? The only home-brew store around me is totally lame-o and doesn’t even have an in-store grain crusher! WTF?

Anyways, I brew 1 gallon all grain recipes, mostly Belgian variety. So, is it possible to use effectively something other than a grain mill?

Unleash the beer-infused wisdom of the crowds.
Thanks,
Adso

I have had the same thing happen to me. the brew shop mill was set to wide and I took 2 heavy stainless steel bowls of different sizes that fit into each other to do some crushing by adding a cup or so of grain at a time between the two bowls. it was hard boring work not to mention vary messy.
maybe ok for a 1 gal batch.

I used a rolling pin in my extract early days for specialty grains I was steeping (less than 2 lbs). I’ve also heard of people doing a couple of quick pulses in a blender or food processor. Anything more than about a pound or two and I’d be looking for a grain mill else you’ll be spending most of your day pounding grain.

Severe PITA to do it manually, enough so, that you’ll probably quit brewing or only extract brew if you have to continue crushing it manually. Plus, your efficiency will suck because manual crushing is a guaranteed “poor” crush.

This is the perfect example where investing in your own crusher is pretty much a necessity.

cheers.

Thanks everyone.
I’m not ready to drop a $100 for a grain crusher without being able to brew outside. For now, I’m stuck inside an apartment in NYC; 1 gallon all-grain brewing it is.
Coffee grinder?
Thanks anyway.
Adso

Where do you see yourself brewing in a couple years? Do you plan on increasing batch size? It might be a good time to get a head start if you plan on brewing bigger batches.

If not you coud use something like a corona mill. They are relatively cheap. Or you could order your grains online and request them crushed.

Do not - I repeat - Do NOT use a coffee grinder, even if it is a burr grinder. Your crush will be too fine and you will end up with barley jelly and unable to sparge properly.

You can use a rolling pin or heavy vegetable can for small grain bills. Your extraction might be a little low so you might want to bump up your grain bill by 10% and have some DME on hand to “Fortify” your first few batches. Calculate your efficiency on each batch you make so you will eventually know if you need to add 10%, 5%, 15% etc…

Keep your eyes out for a used grain mill, I started with a Corona mill and it was only about $35 new so you might be able to find one cheaper on craigslist or some of the used brew boards.

Also, since you are in NYC there are quite a few brew clubs in and around the city, you might be able to find a brew buddy with a mill if you join one of the clubs!

Good luck!

[quote=“jstoreyj”]You can use a rolling pin or heavy vegetable can for small grain bills. Your extraction might be a little low so you might want to bump up your grain bill by 10% and have some DME on hand to “Fortify” your first few batches. Calculate your efficiency on each batch you make so you will eventually know if you need to add 10%, 5%, 15% etc…

[/quote]

In general, what he said, but if you plan to brew for years, the above ^^^ bit of advice will end up costing you much more than a crusher because your efficiency will be way low if done by hand. I’ve had poor crushes from our host and it cost me 20-30% efficiency…and that crush was still waaaaaaaaay better than rolling pin/heavy can.

Just my 2 cents.

:cheers:

Blender, baby, blender! It works just fine. You can make excellent award-winning beers using your blender to mill all the grains. Perfect for small batches! See details here:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=67843&p=622858&hilit=blender#p622858

Spice grinder plus a paint strainer bag and you’d be fine for a one-gallon batch. Or go with the blender.

I used to use a coffee grinder for my steeping grains before I went AG. Worked pretty well. I strongly suspect you will have trouble doing a sparge that way, but if you try brew-in-bag, and plan to let the bag drip for long enough to get most of the water out, I think it could work.

What setting would you use to crush the grain? Say 2-row?
.4? I really have no idea what people mean by a “good crush” - for grains anyway… :smiley:

[quote=“masquelle”]What setting would you use to crush the grain? Say 2-row?
.4? I really have no idea what people mean by a “good crush” - for grains anyway… :smiley: [/quote]
The right answer for that depends on your mash system and how you process your grain. Crushers generally ship with a default setting of about 0.040" but I’ve got mine set at 0.029", which I can get away with because I condition my grain before crushing. Plus I batch sparge.

I generally order my base grains crushed but have a plentiful supply of various specialty grains.
2 lb additions or less, I put in a gallon ziplock and use a rolling pin.
Works for me, the cheapo…
If someone wants to gift me a crusher, I wouldn’t turn it down. :lol:

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