For those brewing all-grain batches, the malt mill is one of the most important pieces of equipment in the homebrewery. And even if your brew days consist of extract batches or partial mashes, a mill is still the easiest way to ensure the freshest taste in every batch of beer.
When I first started dabbling in the hobby of homebrewing I was told all about how buying whole grains and waiting until brew day to crush them was going to result in the freshest malt flavor, so that’s just what I did. What I wasn’t told about is just how big of a pain crushing grains with a rolling pin would be, or how throwing them into a blender was going to result in malt flour! So it didn’t take more than a batch or two until I started having my grains crushed at the point of purchase. This was easy, saved me some time, and worked out well when I was buying ingredients for one batch at a time. But before long, a new problem arose as I began stocking up with ingredients for multiple brews during each trip to the homebrew shop and then sat on the crushed grains for weeks and sometimes months before I’d find the time to brew. The taste of these batches suffered, and I quickly realized it was time to start milling my own grains at home.
Having a mill at home allows homebrewers to purchase whole grains — and save money through bulk grain purchases — and keep the grains for a minimum of six months before they show any sign of degradation. When brew day comes, a quick crush through the rollers of a mill makes for an easy start to the brew day with the freshest grains going into the mash tun.
As homebrewers in the 21st century we are fortunate that we have choices when it comes to all of our equipment; mills included. However, it can also become confusing shopping for a product when so many manufacturers offer their own model. To make it easier, we’ve pulled together the details of the homebrew mills on the market and put them in one place for you to compare. They spread the spectrum in price point, design, and capabilities. Whether it’s for a pound (0.45 kg) of specialty malt to add flavor to your extract-based batches, or 20 times that for your next all-grain barleywine, there is sure to be a mill that fits every homebrewer’s needs.
Adventures in Homebrewing Cereal Killer Grain Mill
The Cereal Killer Grain Mill from Adventures in Homebrewing/Austin Homebrew Supply includes two hardened knurled steel rollers with a ball bearing design that measure 5 inches (12.7 cm) in length and 1.25 inches (32 mm) in diameter. It has a 10-millimeter steel crankshaft. The parallel roller gap adjustment can crack grains down to 100th of an inch (0.25 mm). Loosening two screws, sliding the rollers based on marked adjustments, and then retightening the screws make gap adjustments easy and precise. The mill comes with an anodized aluminum hopper attached to the hardened steel roller casing that can hold up to 7 lbs. (3.2 kg) of grain. The mill also comes with the wooden base.
If you have a lot of grain to crush and prefer to attach a power drill to the mill instead of hand cranking it, removing a single screw from the handle and attaching the drill makes for an easy upgrade. With an optimal speed of 300 RPM, the Cereal Killer can crush up to 7 lbs. (3.2 kg) of grain per minute. This mill comes with a one-year warranty and retails for $129.99.
BC Products Barley Crusher Malt Mill
The Barley Crusher from BC Products has two 1.25-inch (32-mm) diameter 1018 cold rolled steel rollers with 12 TPI knurl. The rollers can be adjusted parallel using feeler gauges to set the gap or can be adjusted at an angle, if desired, for a gap spanning roughly 0.01 to 0.075 inch (0.25 to 1.9 mm). The Barley Crusher comes with two hopper size options: 7 lbs. (3.2 kg) or 15 lbs. (6.8 kg) (the larger option is shown) that are made of aluminum. The mill body is also aluminum.
The Barley Crusher comes with a handle, but if you prefer to use a power drill it has a crankshaft diameter of 3⁄8 in. (9.5 mm) and using it at a recommended 250 RPM will result in up to 6 lbs. (2.7 kg) of grain crushed per minute. If you want to go for some extra frills, a high-torque motor kit for the Barley Crusher is also available, starting at $200. Another available add-on is a predrilled base for those looking for the complete package. The Barley Crusher has been on the market for 20 years, comes with a lifetime warranty, and is 100% made in America. The Barley Crusher retails for $147, or $170.50 with the hopper extension.
For the larger-scale homebrewers or microbrewers, BC Products also has a new addition to their lineup — the Micro Brew Series Malt Mill — that runs on two half-horsepower TC motors. Currently available is a two-roller model with 2-inch (5-cm) diameter rollers, a heavier-duty steel body, and 30-lb. (13.6-kg) hopper. A three-roller option is expected to be available by the end of the year.
Crankandstein Brewing Mills
Crankandstein has multiple mill options in their line that run the spectrum in price and features. The largest is the 328G Geared Up Brewing Mill (shown here and retailing for $400), which features three knurled steel rollers that measure 2 inches (50 mm) in diameter and 8 inches (20 cm) in length. With the ability to crush 25 lbs. (11.3 kg) of grains per minute while running at 200 rpm, it may be overkill for 5-gallon (19-L) brewers but is perfect for large-batch or nanobrewers. The roller gap adjusts to 0.025–0.065 inches (0.64–1.7 mm) at indexed 0.005 (0.13 mm) increments. A power drill can be attached to the 1⁄2-inch (12.7 mm) crankshaft, but the best option is using a 1 HP motor to run at 240 rpm or less (sold separately).
If this size sounds like overkill, Crankandstein offers mills for as little as $88 with the 2S Homebrewing Mill. This mill features two 1.5-inch (38-mm) diameter cold rolled, knurled steel rollers that are 4 inches (10 cm) in length. Dual eccentric bearings can be removed, turned, and locked back into place to adjust the gap with a range of 0.025–0.065 inches (0.64–1.7 mm). It features a steel 3⁄8-inch (9.5-mm) driveshaft with three flats for positive drill chuck attachment.
None of the Crankandstein mills come with a hand crank handle, hopper, or base. A 2-gallon (8-L) steel hopper (which holds ~9 lbs./4 kg of grain) with hardwood base can be purchased separately to fit any of their mills for $50. Prices for Crankandstein mills range from $88–$400, with multiple two- and three-roller options falling in between.
Keg King MaltMuncher
The MaltMuncher mill from Keg King comes as a two-roller or a three-roller option. The smaller option (shown here) features two 5-inch (12.7-cm) cold rolled steel rollers with a 1.25-inch (32-mm) diameter. The rollers are 12 TPI knurl to effectively pull grain through while still leaving the hulls intact. The rollers are adjustable at both ends allowing for a gap range of 0.025–0.1 inch (0.64–2.5 mm). The body is made from 6061 grade aluminum, as is the 6-lb. (2.7-kg) hopper that comes included. This option has a 10 mm crank shaft.
The three-roller option is made from the same materials but sees everything increase in size. The three rollers measure 6 inches (15 cm) with a 1.5-inch (3.8-cm) diameter that turn in precisely machined ball bearings. The gap adjustments range increases from 0–0.63 inch (up to 16 mm) and has a 12 mm crank shaft. It also sees an upgraded hopper capacity, holding up to 12 lbs. (5.4 kg) of grain, which is the upper amount of grain you can expect to crush per minute with a power drill at 200 rpm.
Both options come with a crank handle that is easily removable if you want to use a power drill. Each also comes with a one-year warranty. A bamboo base for either mill is sold separately, as is a 240-volt motor coupled with a high-torque gearbox to bring the RPM down to a milling speed of 180 RPM. Prices for the mills range from 89.99 to 189.99.
Monster Brewing Hardware Monster Mills
Monster Mills offers a handful of mills that vary in size and capabilities, many of which have options available to upgrade features such as the roller material and drive shaft sizes. Ranging in price from the base two-roller MM-2 starting at $139 up to the MM-3Pro PD that retails at $479, there is a mill for every homebrewer’s needs and price point. The MM-2 has 1.5-inch (38-mm) diameter knurled rollers available in 1144 alloy steel or, for an additional $40, a 303 stainless steel option recommended for those living in salty or moist environments, or for those who want to wet mill. Both of these roller options measure 6 inches (15 cm) in length. Utilizing a 3⁄8-inch (9.5-mm) driveshaft, a power drill can crush 6 lbs. (2.7 kg) of grain per minute at 100 rpm. A 1⁄2-inch driveshaft can be purchased for an additional $5. With dual eccentric adjusters, the gap ranges from 0 to 0.07 inch (up to 1.8 mm).
Want more? The MM-3ProPD features three 1144 alloy steel rollers heat-treated to approximately 51-54 Rockwell C hardness. With a fixed gap of 0.06 inch (1.5 mm) and a fully adjustable second gap up to 0.065 inch (1.7 mm), it can crush 13 lbs. (5.9 kg) of grain a minute.
Worth mentioning, Monster Brewing Hardware also offers a two-roller mill with helical slotted rollers vs. the knurled rollers on the other designs — a first on the homebrew mill market. Prices start at $379.
None of the Monster Mills come with a hopper or stand. A 12-or 38- lb. (5.4- or 17.2-kg) hopper from 304 stainless steel or galvanized steel and base made from medium-density fiberboard are sold separately.
Northern Brewer Hullwrecker
The Hullwrecker from Northern Brewer features two, 5-inch (12.7-cm) knurled cold rolled steel rollers with 1.29-inch (33-mm) diameters. It has a fully adjustable roller gap from 0.025 to 0.1 inch (0.64 to 2.5 mm). The body and included hopper are made from anodized aluminum. The hopper holds up to 7 lbs. (3.2 kg). It also comes with a handle with a rubber grip that can be removed if you’d prefer to use a drill with a 3⁄8-inch chuck. With a drill, the Hullwrecker can crush up to 8 lbs. (3.6 kg) of grain at the recommended 300 RPM. This mill also comes with sealed ball bearings (vs. bushings).
One of the unique features of the Hullwrecker is a custom-designed printed steel base that fits perfectly on any standard 5-or 6.5-gallon (19- or 25-L) plastic bucket. The Hullwrecker retails for $119.99 and comes with a one-
Ss Brewtech Ss Grain Mill
Expected to arrive on the market this fall is the newest grain mill that features an innovative design. This mill operates using an internal drive motor with a pair of fluted 304 stainless steel rollers that operate on differential speeds. The unique design causes the husk of the grain to be sheared off the endosperm instead of pulverized like most homebrew mills on the market. The idea behind this is that keeping the husk intact helps to improve lautering performance and prevent stuck sparges. Each roller has a diameter of 3.9 inches (100 mm) and a width of 3.5 inches (90 mm). The rollers can be adjusted without the need for tools. The Ss Grain Mill has a body made from extruded aluminum and has a sealed system designed to isolate the drivetrain and motor from grain dust.
Included with the mill is a stainless steel hopper that holds half a cubic foot of grains (about 17–19 lbs./7.7–8.6 kg.) The mill will come with a one-year warranty. As of publication, a price had not yet been finalized.
The Vintage Shop Evil Twin Roller Mill
The newly rebranded Evil Twin Roller Mill (previously just called Twin Roller Mill) from The Vintage Shop comes standard with everything needed to start crushing grains. It features with two stainless steel 5-inch (12.7-cm) 12 TPI knurled rollers that measure 1.25 inches (33 mm) in diameter. Gap adjustments can be set at 0, 0.025, 0.05, 0.075, or 0.1 inch (0, 0.64, 1.3, 1.9, 2.5 mm). The body is made of aluminum, as is the included hopper that holds up to 10 lbs. (4.5 kg) of grain. Also included is the base and a wooden handle that can be removed to use a power drill instead, in which case up to 6 lbs. (2.7 kg) of grain can be milled per minute at 500 RPM. The Evil Twin Roller Mill comes with a 1-year warrantyand retails for $120.
Corona Hand Mill
Patented in 1921, the Corona Mill is a simple grinder that uses two 3 5⁄8-inch (9.2-cm) cast iron grinding burrs to grind any grain, bean, or nut. Unlike the mills that utilize rollers to crack the grains, the Corona Mill is a grinder that crushes or tears the grain, reducing it into smaller particles or powder. The grind can be adjusted from over 0.125 inches (3.2 mm) down to a very fine grind to make flour. Two rolled steel hopper options are available — the low hopper has a 1.5-lb. (0.68-kg) capacity, and the high hopper has a 3-lb. (1.36-kg) capacity. Up to 1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) can be ground per minute on the coarse setting and twice that can be ground per minute on the finest setting. The Corona Mill includes a 101⁄2-inch (27-cm) handle, which attaches to a 3⁄4-inch (1.9-cm) feed auger (shaft). Although not manufacturer sanctioned, the mill can easily be motorized at 120 RPM.
This classic has remained basically unchanged in its nearly century on the market. Since the entire body and feed auger is made from tin-coated cast iron, these mills will last a lifetime if properly cared for. The Corona Hand Mill retails for $99 and comes with a 5-year warranty.
Victoria Grain Mill
Ideal for malt extract homebrewers who need to mill small amounts of specialty grains, the Victoria Grain Mill utilizes two plates grinding together to crush the grain. The plates are fully adjustable to provide a crushing range from very fine to coarse. This mill is made of cast iron with a tin finish, which means it should last a lifetime if properly cared for. The mill easily clamps on to any flat surface and comes with a handle that is removable (however hooking a drill or motor to it is not recommended). The Victoria mill comes with a hopper large enough to hold 1 lb. (0.45 kg) of grain. Retail price is $59.99.