Mash Tun issue

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by CBOLAND17, Apr 19, 2013.

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  1. CBOLAND17

    CBOLAND17 Disciple (301) Sep 19, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    So I would consider myself an intermediate brewer making a slow transition into the advanced realm and I am having some issues with my mash tun..

    I have a three tier "brewing sculpture" that I made out of wood. It isn't perfect but all in all I am very happy with it. On the top tier I have my 10 gallon brew pot/mash tun complete with a ball valve spigot and thermometer installed into the side, this sits on top of a burner, on the second tier I have my 10 gallon converted orange Rubbermaid lauter-tun with a false bottom, and finally on the bottom tier I have my 10 gallon converted HLT. When I brew, I mash in up top in the brew pot and when everything is converted I transfer the mash to the lauter tun and you know the rest...

    When I was designing this system I pictured the mash being transfered to the lauter tun from the brew pot via the ball valve spigot but I have realized that the mash tends to be too thick to even flow through the ball valve and I am forced to pick this hot and heavy piece of steel up and pout it all directly into the lauter tun which of course adds oxygen to the mash which is undesirable.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I should/can do to remedy this problem? I was thinking about shopping around for a wider ball valve or to attach a hose filled with water to the end of the ball valve to create somewhat of a siphoning action to help pull the wort from the pot down into the lauter tun. Anyway, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Cheers.
  2. tngolfer

    tngolfer Initiate (75) Feb 16, 2012 Tennessee

    I do not have this setup but I thought the three tiered systems were for mash/sparge water heating, MLT, and boil kettle. Is there a reason you have not combined your mash and later tun?
  3. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Disciple (345) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana

    "Mash flows through tubing"? I hope I am reading your post incorrectly.

    I also built my own 3 tier setup. I copied the normal setup and welded it up. The top tank holds the water that should be heated to a predetermined temp. This water is transfered bybgravity to the middle cooler that holding room temp grains. It mixes with room temp grains and equalizes at mash temp you are shooting for for conversion. The mash is held in the middle cooler for 30-90 minutes for conversion, then the false bottom in the cooler allow only the wort to be transferred the the kettle at the bottom for boiling and hopping. BTW I don't use it anymore. Going to "no sparge" has really simplified my all grain brew day.
  4. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,328) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Is there any particular reason you want to have separate mash and lauter tuns? That's pretty unusual for homebrewing.
  5. sergeantstogie

    sergeantstogie Aspirant (202) Nov 16, 2010 Washington

    This whole set-up has me confused. Did you take the gravity out of a typical gravity system? If your HLT (hot liquor [liquor just being your water ready for use in brewing] tank) is on the lowest level of a gravity system, how is that hot liquor getting to the mash/lauter tun? And to echo the previous comments, if you have a cooler with a false bottom, don't make it complicated; you already have what you need. All component should flow from the top down. HLT -> Mash/Lauter Tun -> Boil Kettle.

    Sounds like you have all the parts you need just did it sort of wacky.
    GregoryVII likes this.
  6. bgjohnston

    bgjohnston Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2009 Connecticut

    Top = hot water for mashing and sparging
    Middle = MLT (cooler) for mash rest and straining spent grain
    Bottom = brew kettle

    Definitely no mash in tubing. I vorlauf with a glass pitcher between the MLT and brew kettle until I am running reasonably clear. That's the closest I come to having any chaff whatsoever in my tubing.
  7. Tebuken

    Tebuken Disciple (326) Jun 6, 2009 Argentina

    You could add a beer pump and short hoses, attach pump to this problematic faucet to help wort flowing and make it recirculate through the grain bed in your mash tun to clarify.Once your wort is clear enough you could stop recirculating starting to pour wort sliding it on a side of your boiler tun to avoid picking up oxygen
  8. GregoryVII

    GregoryVII Initiate (150) Jan 30, 2006 Michigan

    Maybe this is unncessary worry...but why wood when dealing with burners?
  9. sergeantstogie

    sergeantstogie Aspirant (202) Nov 16, 2010 Washington

    I've been mulling over building one too and have seen some really nice wood setups but I have this question too. How to protect against the large amounts of radiant heat put out so close to wood.
  10. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Aspirant (295) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    Indeed! I can't stand within two feet of my burner when it's running full bore (waaaaaay cool!). A wood stand would be out of the question.
  11. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Disciple (345) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana someone celebrating 4/20 early?
    bszern and CBOLAND17 like this.
  12. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Devotee (400) Nov 21, 2008 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Since you are then moving a thick slurry from one vessel to another, I think you are going to need a large opening - like a 1 1/2" valve. That's going to cost you some money. Have you always used separate mash and lauter tuns? I have been brewing for a long time and have never done that. If that's what you want to do, then you need a pump or a fourth shelf on you stand because you'll still probably want an actual HLT (I think you are basically calling your boil kettle your HLT.) Otherwise you'll have to lift 50+lbs of 170F strike water to the top tier or heat your mash tun directly. If you heat your mash tun directly, you will have to continuously stir your mash while it gets to your final mash temperature or the hot areas will cause significant tannin exctraction and denature a lot of diastatic enzymes. You'll in essence be doing a continuous step mash i.e. passing through numerous "steps" while getting up to your actual mash temperature. You'll have a pretty unique process, for sure.
  13. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (701) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    I use this. Works great:

    I didn't even staple it. It's held on with this:

    Here it is in action:
  14. Naugled

    Naugled Crusader (737) Sep 25, 2007 New York

    I suggest just making one vessel, a mash/lauter tun. Presto no mash transfers needed. The only reason I see to have separate tuns is for back to back production.
  15. CBOLAND17

    CBOLAND17 Disciple (301) Sep 19, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I think I am beginning to realize the error in my methodology. My concern now is that I will not be able to add heat to the mash tun, which will be a setback when it comes to raising the mash to 167F to finish it off...
  16. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (701) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    The method of step mashing in the kettle then transferring to the lauter vessel is fine if a bit labor intensive. This is the way my wife likes to brew and she just transfers the mash with a gallon pitcher.

    Direct fired-step mash beers do have a different character for sure there's nothing more or less valid about doing it that way unless time & energy is your top priority.
  17. CBOLAND17

    CBOLAND17 Disciple (301) Sep 19, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    What about raising it to 167 at the end? Should I not worry about this? And should I pour in the foundation water before mashing in to avoid a stuck sparge? Also does anyone know if a thermometer can be installed in the wall of my cooler mash/lauter tun to monitor mashing temps? These are questions that are driving me nuts!
  18. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,328) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I'll answer assuming that you batch sparge. To mash out, you add more hot water to bring your grain bed up to the desired temp.

    Are you asking "should I add my grains to the water or add water to the grains?" If so, either way works, and neither is really relevant to stuck sparges (or lack thereof).
  19. tngolfer

    tngolfer Initiate (75) Feb 16, 2012 Tennessee

    I'll echo what Vikeman said, add boiling water to your mash. You can use a calculator like this:

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