The Barley Crusher Malt Grain Mill Review

by Brad Smith on April 5, 2008 · 8 comments

Barley Crusher

A high end malt mill is not a necessity, in fact it’s a bit of a luxury item. When I started all grain brewing, the local homebrew store was kind enough to crush the grains in their mill for me, and I thought that was great.

However I did have one memorable batch that changed my mind. I had not brewed any beer in a while, but had crushed grains for the next batch stored in bags in the garage. To be honest, some of the grains had been there a long time, and it was summertime.

Needless to say the batch did not turn out as I had expected. In fact it was quite bad. I learned an important lesson about something called oxidization. You see crushed grains begin to oxidize when exposed to air, and it gets worse if you apply a little heat in the garage. This is not a problem if you buy some crushed grains and brew a few days (or even a few weeks) later, but it is a problem if you store the crushed grains for an extended period.

After a bad experience with a cheap Corona mill, I did my homework and purchased a Barley Crusher a few years back. There are several different kinds of grain mills, but an adjustable dual roller mill is generally considered the best. Dual roller mills have two rollers that rotate in opposite directions and draw the grain through the gap between them.

Rollers

A dual roller mill will crush the inside of the grain and leave the outside hull largely intact. The finely crushed grains give you great efficiency while the hulls act as a filter bed during sparging to prevent a stuck mash.

The Barley Crusher is a dual roller malt mill, and the gap can be adjusted by turning a knob on the unit. It comes in two hopper sizes (7 lb and 15 lb), and I ended up purchasing the 7 lb model. The mill itself is built like a tank – with cold-rolled steel rollers and machined-aluminum housing. BC Products offers a free lifetime warranty on the mill.

Adjustment knob

It has a nice long metal hand crank, though the axle can be driven by a 3/8″ drill motor. If you have ever crushed a lot of grains, you will understand why I wanted a mill that could be run with a motor. The hopper is aluminum as well, and the unit comes preassembled on a wooden base that has guides on it to fit over a standard 5 gallon pail. All you have to do is put the handle on it and start cranking.

In practice the mill works great – it is quick and as promised gives you finely crushed grains with the husks still largely intact. I used mine with the preset .039″ gap, which seems perfect for barley grains. After a bad experience with no mill, and then another bad experience with a cheap Corona mill, the Barley Crusher was a breath of fresh air.

I have not set mine up with a drill motor yet, but even with the hand crank I can finish off 10 lbs of grain while the mash water is heating up. You can remove the handle easily and use a 3/8″ drill motor to drive the unit instead.

Barley Crusher

The Barley Crusher 7 lb model retails for $114.50 (plus $21.50 shipping) and 15 lb model for $138 (plus shipping) on their site, but I did contact BC Products and arrange a small discount for our readers. If you want to get one through our discount program, you can order it from our discount site (sorry, US addresses only) at a discount price of $109.95 (plus shipping) for the 7 lb model and $132.95 (plus shipping) for the 15 lb model. Disclaimer: Barley Crusher Inc is an ongoing sponsor of the BeerSmith brewing sites, via the discount link shown above. The review unit covered above was purchased with my own personal funds and extensively used before BC became a site sponsor.

Thanks again for supporting the BeerSmith Blog – please subscribe or leave a comment or subscribe if you enjoyed today’s article.

You might also enjoy these articles:

Enjoy this Article? You'll Love Our BeerSmith Software!
  Don't make another bad batch of beer! Give BeerSmith a try - you'll brew your best beer ever.
Download a free 21 day trial of BeerSmith now

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

mrh1167 April 18, 2008 at 4:57 pm

I bought one of these last fall. It was awesome to finally have some consistency to my crush and my efficiency. It is everything it claims to be. Well built and very high quality.

KopyKat April 19, 2008 at 5:28 am

Excellent Review. I have owned a Barley Crusher for about a year now and couldn’t be more pleased. I am one of those people that researches a thing to death before I buy and the Barley Crusher was my choice. I use a half inch battery operated drill set on a slow speed and it is easy and does a great job.

ncbeerbrewer April 26, 2008 at 8:14 pm

I have the barley crusher and have used it on my last two brews. I have not adjusted the factory settings and this mill has given me 80 and 85% efficiencies. This is a great mill for the quality, price and quality of the crush. Crush one time and AG brewing goes so smoothly. You can not go wrong getting this mill. Happy Crushing

Mike

Nightbiker July 20, 2008 at 9:31 pm

Excellent review. I’m SOLD! I WILL have one of these beasties within a month (I’m currently between batches as I retool, I’m going from partial grain to all grain). I was already set (and had added the cost of their more expensive non-adjustible mill -it was another $33 for a one-side adjustible, and another $45 for one adjustible on both sides (fully adjustible). Their base model is price compatible to this sites ‘discount’ version.
Won’t take too much to guess where I’m going with this.
Hmmm…. now to explain the virtues and benefits of being able to mill my own, to the wife…. Its a shame she doesn’t like beer (though I’m not actually complaining -she doesn’t have any problems with my brewing -except she gets a little miffed that I take over the kitchen, and doesn’t like the smell of boiled wort in the home -thats worked to my advantage -I’ve been given the green light to enclose half of the carport and turn it into my own brewery -I’m a lucky guy)

Grain Flaker May 6, 2010 at 12:31 am

Due to oxidization problem, crushed grains can’t be stored for more days.Whatever you explained about barley crusher malt grain mill is very helpful and the price is also good.Thanks.

crush July 27, 2011 at 12:24 am

I’m looking to buy a grain mill. How does a 2 roller mill compare to a 3-roller, such as the Monster Mill MM3?

Stan August 5, 2011 at 11:21 am

Love the idea of crush my grains moments before mashing. My wife would love for me to get her a flour mill. I’m hoping to kill two birds with a single stone. Does anyone know if this crusher could also be used to mill flour? Thanks!

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: