4 Questions When Buying a Lauter Tun
The Lauter Tun is arguably “the heart of the brewhouse” and where the magic truly happens in the brewing process. Two objectives brewers shoot for here are lauter efficiency and repeatability.
To accomplish this, Sprinkman Brewing Systems prefers a seemingly oversized lauter tun or mash/lauter vessel with automated controls for water distribution. “The Sprinkman vessels are oversized to great benefit,” according to Daniel Heisler, head brewer at Blackberry Farm Brewery in Walland, TN, “They provide me the ability to have a considerable range of wort gravities for working with average to very high strength beers with ease. I can keep my mash bed thin, even with high gravity brews.” Sprinkman’s goal is to provide brewers like Daniel with flexible and highly efficient equipment based on the beers they brew. Consider asking the following questions when it’s time to find a lauter tun for your system:
1. Is it sized correctly? – Lauter Tuns are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Most manufacturers produce a standard diameter lauter tun vessel and adjust the capacity through the vessel’s height. This can work for most brewers, but the grain bed in a 30-BBL lauter in which you plan to produce high gravity beers will be vastly different than one that will primarily produce lower gravity beers. As an example, some of the the Sprinkman lauter tun for a 30-BBL system have a 121” inner diameter, so the brewer can maintain a grain bed between 12” – 26” on 12-18 plato beers. While many craft brewers use a deeper bed for higher gravity, we are focused on keeping the grain beds at a good height for efficiency and runoff, and still allow for flexibility. One item to keep in mind is that the Sprinkman 30-BBL lauter is designed to cast 35-BBL of wort to the kettle so we can package as close to 30 when process is complete.
2. Is it cleanable? – The lauter tun false bottom is designed to hold back the large bits of grist and hulls. A v-wire screen is the primary false bottom solution, but attention should be placed on properly fitting these pieces so you can clean effectively. An option Sprinkman provides is a proprietary, laser-milled screen that has been designed to improve yield and is easier to remove for cleaning. In most cases when milled screens are selected, customers select the under-screen spray up option so cleaning of the screens in between brew cycles can be done without removal.
3. Is it adequately insulated? – A layer of insulation is a layer of insulation, right? Well, you know that isn’t the case in your home and it isn’t for lauter tuns either. Insufficient insulation leads to inconsistent temperatures throughout the vessel. Sprinkman specifies 3” of insulation in our lauter tuns to maintain a consistent heat.
4. How does your lauter collect wort? – A good lauter tun design goes beyond having a few outlets and a collection ring. One of the most important functions of a properly designed lauter is wort collection, which is determined by how many outlets you have per square meter, how it enters the collection ring and how the collection ring drains to a grant or pump.
Sprinkman can help you design a lauter tun or a complete brewhouse that will help you effectively and efficiently brew the types of beer you dream of brewing! Just contact your Sprinkman Brewing Systems representative and let us know how we can help you today!