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For an all-grain or partial-mash brew, I'll go to the homebrew store and have them mill my grains for me. But extract w/grains brews are all about how short I can make them (because I'll do them on a weeknight with a friend). That means having my steeping grains on hand, rather than making a trip to the store.

The standard way of crushing grains without a grain mill is the old rolling pin and Ziploc method. It's annoying and messy. In this age of mechanization, is there nothing for a lazy man to do?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

"The best solution for even, consistent mills is always the local HBS.". I'd have to disagree with that. All too often, I hear from people who get poor or inconsistent crushes from the LHBS due to constant readjustment of the mill there. The absolute best way to consistently get the crush that works best for you is to own your own mill. That may not be the easiest way, though, which was the original question. In that case, the rolling pin method, as tedious as it may be, is probably the easiest. You can also use a food processor or blender to gently whirl the grain a few times, being careful not to overcrush. Since we're just talking about steeping, the crush is far less critical than if you were mashing. If you have concerns about tannin extraction due to too fine a crush, keep in mind that tannins are more tied to pH than either crush or temp. If you keep the amount of water you use for steeping in the 1.5 qt./lb. range, your pH should be controlled and you don't need to worry about tannins.

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I guess we'll agree to disagree. The LHBS's that I frequent have nicer, more precise mills than anything a homebrewer would purchase for himself, and they'll adjust them if I need a finer or more coarse crush, but they always reset them to their standard setting (.032"?). –  Brandon Apr 13 '11 at 17:38
    
That is not even close to a true statement. There is nothing out there that homebrew shop can get that a homebrewer can't. Its hard to believe you have a homebrew shop using a mill from NASA. I bet they are using a mill from Schimling, Monster, Barley Crusher. There are many brands out there and they are all available to the homebrewer at home. –  brewchez Apr 13 '11 at 22:53
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