The Best Grain Mills for Homebrewing

best grain mill for homebrewing monster malt mill ss brewtech barley crusher

Choosing the right grain mill is an important decision for a homebrewer. Mills can be expensive but they’re a crucial investment to ensure consistent and great quality brews. 

Grain mills should be high quality, functional, and built to last. The best grain mill for homebrewing is the Ss Grain Mill by Ss BrewTech. No matter what you’re brewing, you’ll always get the crush you need to make outstanding beer due to its powerful and flexible design. 

Milling Grain For Homebrewing Easy Guide

Let’s take a look at the best grain mills to suit any type of homebrewer’s needs.

Monster Mill MM3

Also great

Monster Brewing Hardware specializes in handcrafted grain mills that are made in the USA. The Monster Mill MM3 is their premium product for homebrewers. Perfectly crushed grain is made easy with the MM3. The three-roller design is quickly adjusted to fine-tune your crush size. 

We recommend this mill to any serious homebrewer who seeks consistency and control over their grain crush. This is built to last so the slightly higher price is well worth it.

Features:

  • 11 lb hopper with optional extension to 39 lb total
  • Three six-inch steel rollers form two gaps
  • 8 lbs/minute crush rate
  • Aluminum frame
  • 1.5″ diameter hardened steel rollers
ProsCons
Three roller millHigher price point
Very high build quality
Made in the U.S.A.

Where to buy: Amazon, MoreBeer

Malt Muncher 3

The Malt Muncher 3 is another great three-roller grain mill at a lower price point than the Monster Brewing Hardware option. This mill might not have the same build quality as the Monster MM3 but the control of the grain crush is top-notch.

Features:

  • 8 lbs/minute crush rate
  • 12 lb hopper 
  • 1.25″ diameter hardened steel rollers
  • Manual 12 mm crankshaft
  • Aluminum frame
ProsCons
Three roller millSome assembly required
Hand crank for optional manual crushingWooden base not included (optional)

Smaller roller diameter

Where to buy: Amazon, MoreBeer

The Barley Crusher

Homebrewers have relied on The Barley Crusher for years. Its simple design and affordable price continue to make this mill one of the best entry-level two-roller grain mills. 

Features:

  • 7 lb hopper
  • 1.25” diameter hardened steel rollers
  • Aluminum frame
ProsCons
Great priceAverage build quality 
Hand crankSmaller roller diameter
Easy to adjust gap size

Where to buy: Amazon, MoreBeer

Monster Mill MM2

The Monster Mill MM2 is Monster Brewing Hardware’s two-roller mill. Built with the same craftsmanship as the MM3, this mill is a great option for most homebrewers. 

Features:

  • 11 lb hopper with optional extension to 39 lb total
  • 6 lbs/minute crush rate
  • Aluminum frame
  • 1.5″ diameter hardened steel rollers
ProsCons
Very high build qualityNot much cheaper than the MM3
Made in the U.S.A.

Where to buy: MoreBeer

Ss Grain Mill

Our Pick

Ss BrewTech is known for their high tech and innovative products. They bring professional brewery quality equipment to the homebrew scale. The Ss Grain Mill is built like a tank with a sleek and beautiful design. The two 4” stainless steel rollers can be easily adjusted to perfectly crush any type of grain.

The Ss Grain Mill is one of the most expensive homebrew grain mills on the market but the quality and functionality is unmatched. We recommend this product if you have the budget. You will love the ease of use and consistency.

Features:

  • Powered by integrated high torque DC motor
  • Mill up to 6 lb/h
  • 25 lb hopper capacity
  • Eleven points of tool-less adjustment ranging from 0.5 to 2.0 mm 
ProsCons
Built in high torque DC motor Pricey
Quickly adjust crush size
Amazing build quality
Large diameter rollers 
Beautiful design

Where to buy: SS Brewtech

Captain Crush

The Captain Crush is Northern Brewer’s three-roller grain mill. It’s a sleek-looking mill with a semi-transparent cast smoked acrylic hopper and base. The rollers are stainless steel and the gap size is easy to adjust with two stainless steel knobs. The unit is made with corrosion-resistant materials so you can easily hose it down to clean.

There are many known operational problems with the Captain Crush. The majority of reviews claim that the mill usually seizes up and stops milling. This is because the top roller, the non-driven one, binds and stops feeding the grain to the driven rollers.

Unfortunately, we can’t recommend this grain mill due to the high price point and known quality issues.

Features:

  • Three-roller design
  • Cast acrylic base and hopper
  • 1.5″ diameter stainless steel rollers
  • 11 lb hopper capacity
ProsCons
Three-roller millRollers often bind and stop grinding malt
Easy to clean

Where to buy: Northern Brewer

What is a grain mill?

Grain must be crushed to extract fermentable sugars during the mash.  A grain mill grinds brewer’s malt into husks, grist, and flour to make sure mashing is efficient.

An ideal crush will split the grain husk and pulverize the contents of the kernel, called the grits. The large surface area of the finely ground starch grits helps maximize extract yield. The husks act as a filter for the mash for the sweet wort to flow through during the lauter and sparge. 

The fine balance between intact husks and pulverized grits is hard to achieve. Too fine a crush will destroy and pulverize the husk. Too coarse and the extract yield will be low.

Choosing the right grain mill and properly adjusting the settings will help you get the best crush for your homebrewing needs.

What to look for in a grain mill

Grain mills should always have a high build quality. Milling grain is hard work. You want a mill that can withstand a lot of continuous grinding and repetitive use. 

Here are some of the main things to consider choosing a mill:

Number of rollers

A three-roller mill works by passing the grain through two gaps. The first breaks the grain’s husk and the second grinds the grits. Three-roller mills protect the integrity of the husk which helps with the lautering process. 

A two-roller mill has just one gap. You need to adjust the gap to find the right crush balance between husks, grits, and flour. For most homebrewers, two-roller mills are great tools for the job. They don’t crush grain as fast as three-roller mills, but for a 5 or 10-gallon batch, it’s only a few minutes different.

Material

The mill’s rollers are what crush the grain. These are usually made with hardened steel but stainless steel rollers also exist. For most applications, hardened steel is the best option due to its durability. Stainless steel is more expensive but has better protection against corrosion. If you live in a damp or coastal region, stainless might be a good option. 

The frame is normally made of an aluminum alloy which provides good stability and corrosion resistance.  

Hopper and base

A hopper is a funnel-shaped compartment that holds the grain to be fed to the mill. Normally they’re included with the purchase of a mill but it’s always a good idea to double-check. They can hold anywhere from 10 to 40 pounds of grain, depending on the model. With a large hopper, you can load your entire grain bill before you start milling.

The base of a grain mill is usually made of wood and is used to place the mill over a receptacle, like a brew bucket, to catch the milled grain.  Again, not all mills come standard with a base so make sure to check with the supplier.

What to avoid

Many homebrewers’ first mill is a Victoria Grain Mill (formerly called a Corona mill). This type of mill works by grinding the malt between two plates. It is very difficult to get a consistent crush and time consuming to mill large quantities. We strongly recommend going with a roller mill.

What are the benefits of using a grain mill?

Crush Size

Not all homebrew systems use the same grain crush. Not only that, but different grains also have different ideal crush sizes. Being able to control and optimize your grain crush for your system and your recipes will greatly help you make consistent brews.

Saving Money

Does your homebrew supply shop charge extra to crush grain? Many shops charge a flat fee or price per pound to crush grain. Get your own mill to say goodbye to those extra costs.

Group Buys/Storing Grains

Another way to save some costs is by buying grain in bulk with friends or your homebrew club. You can split up a few different types of base malt and specialty grains and pay bulk pricing. When you’re ready to brew, you use your grain mill to crush your malt and get brewing.

Having a mill also gives you the option to brew spontaneously. If you keep a small stock of grain, you can easily formulate a recipe and get brewing without going to the homebrew each time. You can store unmilled grain for about a year in a sealed container or grain bag.

Final Thoughts

Grain mills are essential pieces of equipment to brew consistent and quality homebrew. There are a lot of options on the market but the best homebrew grain mill is the Ss Grain Mill by Ss BrewTech. If you want professional quality construction and perfectly crushed malt, invest in the Ss Grain Mill.

The Monster Mill MM3 is also a great mill. The three-roller design will get you a consistent crush and great mash efficiency every brew.

For the budget option, you can’t go wrong with The Barley Crusher. If you are an occasional homebrewer, you’ll be very pleased with this mill.

Whichever grain mill you choose, we’re sure you’ll crush your next homebrew!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you clean a grain mill?

Avoid cleaning your grain mill with water or any cleaning products. 

After use, dust off your mill with a clean and dry paint brush. If you have compressed air, shoot some at the hard to reach places to remove any debris. Wipe the mill clean and store it in a clean and dry environment.

How do I power my grain mill?

Most homebrewers power their grain mill with electric drills. Use a strong electric drill with a variable speed control. For most mills, you want to be able to start slow and run at about 175-200 rpm for getting the perfect crush. 

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