I have been looking to motorize my Cereal Killer malt mill that I purchased for a long time. I have seen some elaborate setups while researching how to motorize my less than $100 mill. All of them would be substantially more than the mill itself. Why is it so expensive and complicated? When milling grain, you need lots of torque at very low RPM’s. This can be done with reduction gearboxes or through pulleys (I’m not going to get into that because I’m no engineer and don’t really understand it myself). I wanted something simple. I have been using an older Craftsman cordless drill. It has a low setting that reduces RPM but still gives enough torque to turn the mill. This is how I MacGyvered it for just about $30 using stuff I already had and purchasing just one item.
• Craftsman Cordless Drill (had already) • Cereal Killer Malt Mill with a wooden base (had already) • Amazon Rack (bought) • Zip ties (had already) • Bucket (had already)
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best way to go. I left the base on the mill and positioned it on the rack so malt could fall through into the bucket but at the same time have the end of the drill accessible for the battery. Once I found the perfect position, I removed the base and then reattached the base to the mill making sure the bolts grabbed part of the wire rack. I then locked down the drill chuck onto the shaft of the mill. I zip tied the drill to the rack to ensure it didn’t kick during milling. I used zip ties to set the trigger pull to my desired speed. Just to make sure the mill did not tip over, I drilled holes into the wooden base and zip tied it to the wire rack.
Weigh out grain (using bucket)
Pour grain into the mill hopper
Place the same bucket under the mill
Insert battery into drill which starts it (zip tied trigger)
Remove battery after milling
Roll cart (because it has wheels) back into the garage
That’s it. My simple solution to motorize the milling of my malt. I don’t care if you call it low-tech or red neck engineering. All I care about is that it works for me and my setup. Cheers!
It’s been a few weeks since the last article but for the third rendition of homebrewing gadgets I wanted to cover a stirring utensil that I absolutely love. That being said, this review might invoke some discussion because I don’t stir with a spoon or mash paddle. I stir with a whisk. I know, I know. I am sure lots of you are asking “How could you?” or thinking “Brewers use paddles, not whisks!”, but hear me out. If at the end of this you are still convinced I am crazy, then we can agree to disagree over a brew sometime. Just know that if you are drinking a brew I made, it was made using a whisk to stir instead of a paddle.
When we first started brewing it was in 1 gallon batches. We grabbed ordinary kitchen utensils to aid us during our brew days. This consisted of wooden spoons, stainless steel spoons, slotted spoons, spatulas, and regular table spoons. When we converted to 5 gallons, I knew that the mash (mixture of grain and water that extracts sugar from grain that is boiled to make beer) was going to be much larger and would require stirring to prevent dough balls in the mash. Dough balls are pockets of grain in the mash that do not mix with the water and remain dry. These balls are bad because sugar doesn’t get extracted from dry grain and will lead to you missing your targeted final alcohol content in your finished beer. And that is VERY bad! Being the OCD person that I am, I began my quest to find that one perfect stirring utensil for brewing. After much time, research, and suffering (not really, just felt like being dramatic), I decided on a 24 inch stainless steel French whip whisk that some people have coined the “Brewer’s Whisk”.
The described whisk was purchased via Amazon (Prime shipping is awesome), but I noticed this evening that MoreBeer had the same whisk for about half the cost. Here’s the link if interested: http://bit.ly/1YHTrPa
I write articles for a blog site called Sommbeer. I have written a few articles about beer in general and/or homebrewing. I decided that I wanted to start a series in which I reviewed items or “gadgets” that I have found useful in my brewing experience. Then I realized that our club website doesn’t really have anything like this either.
And so without further ado, I give to you the amazing Rubbermaid Bouncer….
Here is a little snippet of the article:
When my wife and I first started brewing, we rummaged through all our kitchen ware to see what we could use for our small (1 gallon) brewing setup. She had inherited one of these pitchers from someone in her family (grandmother, mother, or something like that). We used it to hold our hot sparge water. We also used it to hold wort while we switched pots on the stove top. And we used it to sanitize siphons, tubing, and our bottling wand. I mean we used it A LOT! We used it so much that I convinced my wife we needed to purchase another one. One of them could almost always be found in one of our brewing pics.
How It’s Used
So you may ask, “Why is a gallon pitcher so important and what would I use it for?”. The only way I know to explain it is to tell you how I use it during my brew day. I brew on a 20L Braumeister electric all-in-one brewing system (review for that will come later). With this system, I am typically putting around 30L (roughly 8 gallons) of water into it for brewing. My system is calibrated up to 25L, so I fill the vessel up to the 25L mark and then weigh out the remaining water. So for example, if I am brewing with 29L, I have to weigh out 4L of water (29L-25L = 4L remaining). Why does this matter? Because I use this pitcher to weigh the remaining water. After I have put all the water into my brewing rig, I dry out this pitcher and use it to scoop out my base grains…….
Please take a moment to visit Moccasin Bend Brewing Company’s Reopening Kickstarter. MBBC is a true Chattanooga original brewery and a big supporter of the Barley Mob. We want to do everything we can to get them reopened!
I’d like to personally thank everyone for a fantastic meeting and annual party last night. The gift certificate for Beverage World was generous and thoughtful. I’m sure I’ll have no problem finding a use for it!