What's the best way to crush malt if you don't have a mill at home?
How much malt would you venture to crush that way?

  • What about putting malt between two steel/wood surfaces and hammer the above one? Or maybe putting malt in a cloth and beat it with something hard? Never tried this, but I am looking for some alternative to mill too.
    – Paolo
    Nov 27 '12 at 13:29
  • You need to use a fairly hard wood like sugar maple or black locust, dry grains may dent many softwoods. I wonder if squashing soaked grains would be viable? Certainly softer for both materials and power input and not likely to break down the husks.
    – Max Power
    Jul 11 '20 at 0:50

I'll answer with a method that you shouldn't use - don't use a coffee grinder. It's pretty obvious that you don't want to use a blade grinder, but I thought about using a burr grinder set to the coarsest setting to mildly crush my grains. Before doing so, though, I searched the web and all accounts I read basically said it's called a grinder and not a crusher for a reason. Don't use a coffee grinder to crush your grains. Even on the coarsest setting you'll still over-pulverize your grains and end up with tannin problems.

  • 1
    what NOT to do is just as interesting as what works.....
    – Arlo427
    Feb 5 '10 at 19:10

I have put malt in a 1 gallon ziplock bag and crushed it with a rolling pin.

I have done up to 5 pounds that way in the past. It was tough but it worked. I am sure efficiency suffered. Although, I never experienced any tannin issues from over crushing the hulls.

I have also used the bottom of a flat drinking glass. But that was just for a few ounces and pressing down on the malt with a glass seems scary as the glass can break in your hand. Probably not the best way.

  • It's interesting reading this response. The beer currently in my secondary had a large amount of specialty grain that I crushed this way. When I last tasted it, I specifically noted that it had noticeable tannins. I thought maybe that came from the cocoa, but it could very well be from over-crushing with a rolling pin.
    – JackSmith
    Feb 5 '10 at 18:59
  • Brewchez, have you tried this on an all grain brew or just partial mash? Would it give sufficient results for all-grain? Apr 3 '10 at 11:22
  • Probably to painful to do for a full all grain batch. And I would bet the crush would be inferior for that purpose.
    – brewchez
    Oct 21 '11 at 3:31

One of my earlier attempts was to use a manual pasta maker in place of a crusher. First, I took out rollers and roughed and knurled them as much as possible using a couple files. Then I screwed it onto a board, removed the handle and attached an electric drill. Overall, it worked, and I went through a couple bags of grain with it (50kg total), but then it fell apart.

  • I have an Atlas pasta maker I got for $8 at the thrift store, I use it for pasta but it started squeaking so I looked inside. To my delight they are fully disassemble and reassemble-able and you can add high pressure low speed grease to all the bushings and gears as they are fairly well shielded from the food side. It does help to have 4 arms on reassembly but I managed with two. the only "special" tool needed was a pin spanner to loosen and re-tighten the gears, I used one for old bicycles but anything that fits between the teeth will work. I can see the rollers are really minimum diameter.
    – Max Power
    Jul 11 '20 at 0:45

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