Rebel Mill Unboxing & Review

Rebel Mill Unboxing & Review

Since these are still pretty rare compared to the ubiquitous Barley Crusher, I wanted to do a quick write up with a bunch of photos showing my new Rebel Mill from Rebel Brewer. Tom, the founder, has been offering the first several rounds of mills for $180 and has been reserving the initial shipments for members of Homebrew Talk as they become available.

Because of my close proximity to the Twin Cities, I order nearly all my homebrew supplies from either Northern Brewer or Midwest Supplies, which usually means overnight shipping. This was my first order from Rebel Brewer, which is based out of Goodlettsville, Tennessee. You can imagine my surprise when the mill made it’s way over 1000 miles to my doorstep less 48 hours after placing the order.

Rebel Mill Packaging


After cracking open the box, I found a packing slip on top of a layer of brown packing paper. Under that first layer was the mill base (more pictures of this below).

Rebel Mill Base

The base is a single piece of  plywood that’s been milled to fit over a 6.5 gallon brewing bucket and is drilled for 4 bolts that hold it to the aluminium mill housing.  Digging through a few more layers of packing paper, we finally get to the heart of the beast.

Rebel Mill

My first impression is one could just as easily use this mill as a sledge hammer as for crushing grain, it’s that sturdy. The hopper is eight pieces of stainless steel welded together, then tack-welded to a stainless base, which in turn bolts to the top of the aluminum mill housing.  The top is flared and drilled to accept a 10-pound extension that’s in development.

I can’t stress enough how much I love the sturdiness of this hopper compared to the riveted sheet metal used on similar mills.

Rebel Mill Housing

The housing endcaps are machined from blocks of aircraft-grade aluminum, and drilled and tapped for the hopper and base screws. The rollers are fashioned from high grade stainless and adjustable at both ends, and the roller shafts are hardened tool steel.

Rebel Mill Base

More about the base: it fits like a dream on my 6.5 gallon Ale Pail. It’s not snug by any means, but it’s a tight enough seal that I was able to mill 12 pounds of grain in my kitchen without creating a dust storm. Unlike the Barley Crusher, Rebel doesn’t ship a handle with the mill. It’s intended for use with a power drill. I was a bit concerned My 9.6v DeWALT cordless wouldn’t have enough torque to turn the rollers, but it did just fine (YMMV, keep an extra battery on hand).

Inaugural Crush

For it’s inaugural crush, I ran about 12 pounds of Golden Promise, and various rye malts for a batch of my India Rye Ale. I conditioned my malt about a half hour before milling, and the husks stayed beautifully intact. I was left with a bucket full of fully, well-crushed malt. So well-crushed, in fact that I worried about a stuck sparge, because I’d never had malt crushed nearly as fine as what I ended up with.

Rebel Mill Crush

It took about twice my typical recirculation volume before the grainbed fully set and I started to get clear runnings, but once it did, I had no lautering problems whatsoever. The best part of the day was that I hit 83% brewhouse efficiency, which hopefully holds steady and eliminates the efficiency problems that have been plaguing me.

Of course, the real test with this or any mill will be in it’s longevity. Right now, I’m only brewing a dozen batches a year, give or take, so it’s going to take me quite a long time to hit the thousand-pound mark where people seem to be having issues with some of the similar small roller diameter mills. Ultimately, I’m willing to take a chance on something that should last me 10 years of light/moderate use and is otherwise built like a tank.

Rebel Mill Crush

 

3 Comments

  • John McGill on Oct 23, 2012

    Your photos and comments are excellent. I have a Phil Mill that I have motorized and it has served me well for almost 20 years (10-15K pounds of grain). Recently I too have been experiencing a drop in efficency(85 down to the mid to high 60). I purchased a Rebel mill today and look forward to setting it up in the malt milling area of my home brewery. Can you tell me the distance of the center of the mill shaft to the base of the mill ? You also mentioned conditioning you malt – are you milling wet?
    Thanks in advance,
    John McGill
    Somerset Brewery

    • Brandon Hornseth on Oct 23, 2012

      The center of the roller shafts is 1.5″ from the base of the mill body (Uploaded a photo here).

      I conditioned the first handful of batches, but I didn’t notice a drop in efficiency or anything else notably different when I got lazy and stopped conditioning, so I haven’t been doing so lately. When I did condition, It was probably within an hour of milling, rather than conditioning and leaving the malt to rest overnight like some people choose to do.