Throughout the course of your homebrewing career, you may find that you pass through several phases of brewing process, complexity, and equipment. As batch sizes and brewing process complexity increases, homebrewers start to need to purchase new equipment. While you can usually purchase your grains pre-milled by your local homebrew supply shop or an online homebrew supply store like MoreBeer, a grain mill is a solid investment for an advanced homebrewer who wants more control over their grain bills, grain crush, and brewing schedule. Before you can pick a specific model, you will have to decide on whether you want to purchase a 2 vs 3 roller grain mill.
There are a ton of great grain mills on the market (click here to check out our guide to the best grain mills for homebrewing), and one of the biggest differences between the various available grain mills is the number of rollers. Most homebrewing-level grain mills have either 2 or 3 rollers. Most 3 roller mills first pull the grain through a fixed-width gap that helps to separate the hull intact before pulling the grain through the adjustable gap to crush it. This helps keep a good bed of hulls in your grist which filters the mash and helps avoid stuck mashes and stuck sparges.
2 and 3 roller mills each have their own pros and cons that should be considered when deciding which is the right grain mill for you. Need some help deciding? Here is an overview of the pros and cons 2 vs 3 roller grain mills for homebrewing!
Pros and Cons of 2 Roller Grain Mills
Pros of 2 Roller Grain Mills
- 2 roller mills are substantially cheaper than 3 roller mills and provide adequate results for the average homebrewer.
- The benefits of a 3 roller grain mill can largely be achieved by running the grain through a 2 roller mill twice. This makes the price savings worthwhile for homebrewers on a budget.
Cons of 2 Roller Grain Mills
- To get the same husk removal effect as a 3 roller grain mill, grain must be run through a 2 roller grain mill twice, once at a larger gap setting to remove the husk, and then at a small gap setting to crush the kernels.
- 2 roller grain mills operated at a gap setting intended to crush the grain will shred the husks, which reduces the grain bed’s ability to filter the wort, which can cause a stuck mash or stuck sparge.
- 2 roller grain mills generally result in a slightly lower efficiency than 3 roller grain mills.
Pros and Cons of 3 Roller Grain Mills
Pros of 3 Roller Grain Mills
- 3 roller grain mills are more convenient and last longer than 2 roller grain mills on average.
- 3 roller grain mills remove the husk without damaging it more effectively than 2 roller grain mills. This helps avoid stuck mashes and stuck sparges.
- Because the husk is removed more effectively, 3 roller grain mills generally provide a better efficiency than 2 roller grain mills.
- 3 roller grain mills have a higher output than 2 roller grain mills when milling at the same RPM
Cons of 3 Roller Grain Mills
- 3 roller grain mills are more expensive than 2 roller grain mills, but only offer relatively minor advantages over 2 roller mills.
What is the better choice between a 2 vs 3 roller grain mill?
Ultimately, 3 roller grain mills are easier to use and are more efficient than 2 roller grain mills. However, the additional cost may not be worth it for the average homebrewer. We use a 3 roller grain mill here at BrewTogether HQ and have been very happy with it, but there are some great 2 roller options that would work just as well. Need some help deciding which grain mill to purchase? Click here to check out our guide to the best grain mills for homebrewing for more information on how to choose a grain mill!
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