This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert. Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer. Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.
Monster Mill MM-3
I started milling my own grains not too long after I switched to all-grain. At first I thought the idea was laughable to mill my own grains- why buy something and do the work myself, when I could get it done for free at the homebrew shop? But once my process had stabilized a fair amount, I became frustrated by my inability to hit the recipe’s planned OG. On my batches where my gravity was lower than predicted, I found a notable number of fully intact grains in the spent grains from my mash. Aiming for consistency, I wanted to make sure all my grains were always crushed, so I bought a 2-roller grain mill. That worked well, but if I wanted to optimize mash efficiency, I was always dancing on the edge of a stuck mash.
The 3-roller mill from Monster Brewing Hardware passes through a first pair of rollers that have a fixed gap. That is machined to be 0.060”, with the intention of doing a minimal crush to soften the inside of the grain without really breaking the husk. After the first pair of rollers, it passes through the gap that you can adjust to your liking. The instructions provided with the mill recommend 0.045” for a medium crush, 0.055” for a coarse crush, and 0.038” for a fine crush. But of course the beauty of having your own mill is you can adjust it as you want, based on what works best for you.
The MM-3 3-roller mill comes with some options. The base rollers are 1144 steel alloy that is durable for long life, but can get some surface rust if used in a non-climate-controlled area, or if you wet mill your grain. For those homebrewers, they offer a stainless steel roller option, which they say has the same durability as the steel alloy base rollers. If you are a manic homebrewer, they offer a 3rd option with their MM-3 Pro series, which has heat treated rollers. These apparently have about 10x the life durability, but the price tag roughly doubles over the base MM-3.
The other option to choose from is the drive shaft size. Standard is a 1/2″ drive, but 3/8” is available as a smaller option. The 3/8” really isn’t recommended since 3/8” drive drills typically don’t have the torque to drive this mill. It can also be hard to find a cordless drill with enough torque to drive it, so Monster Mill recommends a corded drill. If you order the grain hopper from Monster Mill, it comes standard in galvanized 20-gauge steel, or optional stainless steel. Galvanized steel is corrosion resistant, so the only real advantage of stainless for your grain hopper is the “bling effect”.
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When shopping for a mill, it’s important to recognize that even if a product looks the same/similar in a picture, there’s more to it than the photo. For example, there is a similar 3-roller mill in the market at a lower price. However, what you can’t tell from the picture is that the rollers are made of a cheaper steel that doesn’t wear as well, and uses non-sealed bearings which are prone to grain dust causing wear problems. Fred Francis, the owner of Monster Mill makes a point of sourcing all of his raw materials from the U.S., and assembling the mills in Georgia. Rather than chase the lowest price point in the market down to the bottom, he focuses on his American supply base and keeping high quality design/materials to ensure a robust product that stands up well with word-of-mouth recommendations
Hands on Trial
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