Motorizing a grain mill

I picked up this motor recently at the suggestion of some fellow homebrewers online. I wanted to give a quick description of how I hooked it up to my monster mill for those who are interested.

The motor runs at 177 RPM, which is a good speed for milling grain. This makes it ideal for a direct drive grain mill without need for belts and pulleys. It’s about 1/9 HP, which seemed questionable at first, but the people who used it on their mills had no problem with it being underpowered. I don’t have a lot of room, so I mounted it to some fiberboard that I can place on my mash tun at milling time and carry down to the basement when finished.

To mount the motor and connect it to the mill, I used:

3/4 in. fiberboard, cut to 18X24
1/2 in fiberboard, cut to 12X12, for mounting the mill
Spider Shaft Coupling Hub, 3/8″ Bore
Spider Shaft Coupling Hub, 1/2″ Bore
Buna-N Spider for Spider Shaft Coupling Hub
4″ corner braces
4 1/4″ bolts, 1 1/2″ long, nuts and washers
4 1/4″ bolts, 1″ long, nuts and washers
4 1/4″ nuts, fine thread, for the motor bolts

The braces came with holes that fit the mounting bolts on the front of the motor. With the mill raised on the 1/2 in. board, the drive shafts were perfectly aligned. How nice!

Motor, with braces attached, lined up with mill

Gap for the mill output and mounting holes

Layout for grain output hole and mounting bolts on the main board

Motor and mill, mounted and connected with spider coupling

On the electrical side of things, I added a combo single pole/3-way switch so I could control both the power and the direction of the motor in case of a jam. The motor came with a big honking run capacitor, so I shielded that in a junction box to avoid any accidents on drunken brew days. I used a 16-gauge power tool cord to supply the juice. The motor itself came with a wiring diagram, but if you’re interested in how I connected it to the 3-way switch to provide forward-reverse options, let me know and I’ll draw up a diagram.

Finished, before adding the hopper

So far, I’ve had no problems with the motor driving the monster mill. It did about 5 pounds of grain in a minute in a test run, with no problems with starting up or stalling.

Permanent link to this article:

Pratt Street Real Ale Festival Tickets On Sale

A favorite biannual event for CSIers is the Pratt Street Real Ale Festival put on by our friends in The Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood (SPBW).  The Spring 2011 Real Ale Fest has been announced and it will be held on Saturday, May 14th, 2011 from 1pm – 6pm.  For those of you who haven’t attended before, we are talking about an epic amount of cask ales available for your consumption.  You will not leave thirsty.

It is being reported on Facebook that there will be casks from the following breweries:  BrewDog, Brewer’s Art, Brewer’s Alley, Breckenridge, DuClaw, Evolution, Flying Fish, Great Divide, Oskar Blues, Red Brick Station, Stillwater, Troegs, and Weyerbacher, as well as Oliver’s Hot Monkey Love batch #2 aged in oak barrel for 10 months and the debut of Channel Crossing #4.  More to come too!

Tickets are $40 for general admission, all you can drink and $60 for the VIP pass that gets you in an hour before the rest of the attendees (i.e., you get in at noon).  To purchase tickets or for more information, please go to PrattStreetAleFest.comPlease note, this event usually sells out.  So if you want to go, get your tickets now!!!

Permanent link to this article:

Clone Wars Results Announced This Thursday

The results of the 3 Lions Clone Wars homebrew competition put on by Oliver Breweries, Pratt Street Ale House, and CRABS will be announced this Thursday, March 31st, 2011 at the Pratt Street Ale House in Baltimore, Maryland.  The gathering will begin at 6pm, with the results announced at 7pm.  Brewers are welcome to bring their clones to compare and discuss with the other veterans of the Clone Wars.  Those who competed and are not able to make it to this event will be contacted the next day with the results.

Also, if you want a great read, please take the time to look at CSI’s own, Chris Sollitto and his Oliver’s 3 Lions:  Adventures in Open Fermentation.

Pratt Street Ale House is located at 206 West Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

Permanent link to this article:

Wanna be the King of Baltimore Homebrew?

There’s a really cool homebrew competition coming to Baltimore courtesy of 98 Rock and Sam Adams.  The winner of this competition will be awarded a trip for two (2) to the 2011 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver, Colorado.  What might be even cooler is that the winner is also named “The King of Baltimore Homebrew.”  Talk about bragging rights with the rest of the folks in CSI!!!

Your homebrewed beer must be completed by May 12th, 2011 for the pre qualifier event and first round of judging which will take place at Frisco Tap House in Columbia, Maryland.  If you want to enter you will show up with a minimum of 4-12oz bottles in a 6pk carrier.  Get past that round and winners will be named at Alonso’s in Baltimore on May 15th, 2011.

In short the rules say your beer in accordance with BJCP style guidelines.  One entry per person also.

To compete you must first submit entry email to including the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Email
  • Phone Number
  • Address
  • Type of beer you’ll brew
  • Past experience (if applicable)
  • Why should you be the King of the Baltimore Home Brew?

So you think you got what it takes to be crowned the “King of Baltimore Home Brew”?  We hope you will consider entering.

For more information and more detailed rules please go to:

Permanent link to this article:

2011 Sam Adams Longshot Homebrew Competition

It’s a great time to start thinking about entering the 2011 Sam Adams LongShot Homebrew Competition.  Unlike the 2010 competition, this year they are opening the competition back up to BJCP styles 1 – 23.

The awards on this one are great.  The four (4) winners of the second round of judging (“Finalists”) will be invited to the 2011 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) where the two (2) Grand Champion winners will be announced.  The Boston Beer Company will pay for travel expenses for the four (4) Finalists and a guest.  The two (2) Grand Champions walking away from GABF will have their beer brewed and bottled by The Boston Beer Company and included in the 2012 LongShot® Variety six-pack.  Pretty cool, right?

To enter, you need to send four (4) bottles of your brew along with the entry form to an appropriate submission site between Monday, May 9, 2011 and 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 20, 2011.  Then you hope you’ll be called to go to the 2011 GABF.

For more information, the entry form, and the rules, please go to the Sam Adams LongShot Competition website located at:

Permanent link to this article:

Barrel Update

I’ll measure it at some point this weekend, for all the math geeks out there. The barrel looks like it’s doing fine, still bubbling a bit. No tasting yet, although I’ll take a peek in there this weekend for any top off that’s needed.

Permanent link to this article:

Barrel volume calcs

The volume of our barrel is:

(hπ(2r12 + r22) / 3) cubic inches

where h = barrel length, π = 3.14159, r1 = radius at the middle, and r2 = radius at the end.  Remember, these are *inside* measurements, so if measuring the outside, the thickness of the wood must be taken into consideration.

For example, consider a barrel that measures 20″ in length, 14″ in diameter across the middle and 12″ in diameter across each end (these diameters can be calculated by taking the circumferences and dividing by 3.14159).   Radius is half the diameter, so r1 = 7 and r2 = 6.  Therefore the volume is:

20 * 3.14159 * (98+36) / 3 = 2806.487 cubic inches

There are 231 cubic inches in a gallon, so this barrel would contain 3433 / 231 ≈ 12.15  gallons.

However, that is the outside volume.  We want to know the inner volume.  We get this by subtracting twice the wood’s thickness from our measurements, because there is wood at both ends and on both sides.  For example, if the wood is 1″ thick, the inner dimensions would be 18″ in length, 12″ across the middle, and 10″ across each end.  Radius is half the diameter, so r1 = 6 and r2 = 5.  (Actually r2 would be a bit larger, since it would be measured an inch closer to the center of the barrel, but this difference is trivial.)  Therefore the true volume would be:

18 * 3.14159 * (72+25) / 3 = 1828.4 cubic inches

There are 231 cubic inches in a gallon, so our barrel would hold 2450 / 231 ≈ 7.9  gallons.

So, if Chris would like to measure the barrel length, middle circumference, end diameter and wood thickness, we can approximate how much beer we have.

Permanent link to this article:

ChiliBrew v3.0 Homebrew Competition Coming Up

Our friends in the BaltiBrew homebrew club are once again holding their ChiliBrew homebrew competition and chili cookoff.  ChiliBrew is a charity homebrew competition and chili cookoff with all proceeds benefiting the Velocipede Bike Project and Baltimore Free School.  This event is being held on Sunday, April 17th, 2011 from noon to 4pm at the Baltimore Free Farm in Hampden (3510 Ash Street, Baltimore, MD 21211).

The $10-20 suggested donation at the door will get you a commemorative glass and a ballot to vote on any or all of the competitions (chili con carne, veggie chili, and homebrew, though you must be 21 or older for homebrew).

Are you interested in submitting a homebrew and/or chili creation for this event?  Well please go on over to the ChiliBrew website and take a look at the event rules and homebrew/chili entry submission form.

Prizes will be awarded for the top 3 homebrews as follows:  1st place – $75 gift card to a brewshop, 2nd place – $50 gift card to a brewshop, and 3rd place – $25 gift card to a brewshop.  Additionally the makers of the best vegetarian chili and best chili con carne will be each awarded $25 cash.

All CSI members are encouraged to participate in this competition and support our friends from BaltiBrew in this awesome activity benefiting Baltimore.

Notes:  As of the time this was posted (3/23), the information on main ChiliBrew page had not been updated, but the event rules and submission form are valid for this event.

Permanent link to this article:

Brew day

I’ll be brewing my last batch of the season this Saturday March 26th – a double batch of sour ale. If you’d like to hang out and observe, get in my way, etc, come on by between 9 AM and 2 PM. You can also stay later and hang out, drink, etc.

Address: 550 Charington Drive, Severna Park.

Phone: 410-518-6363


Ben Schwalb

Permanent link to this article:

Spring Fling

What: Party
When: Saturday May 14, 3:00 PM onward
Where: 550 Charington Drive, Severna Park MD 21146
Why: Because you deserve it

It’s been a long, cold winter (as usual). The month of May brings the weather we live for. Let’s celebrate with friends, food, libations, fun and sun!

I will supply all beverages (adult and kid), plates, utensils, etc. Food is pot luck. Bring anything: entrees, sides, desserts, salads, or simply raw meat to throw on the grill. Or a pet you’ve been meaning to get rid of.

Bail money might also be a good idea.

Weather permitting, there will be a kiddie pool.

Oh, and there might be some beer too.

Park anywhere except the driveway. Or the lawn. At least mine anyway.

Questions? Comments? Stock tips? Call or e-mail me.
410-518-6363 (Note: Texting is blocked. Bwahahahaha.)


Ben Schwalb

Permanent link to this article: