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Thread: Brewing without a Hot liq tank? Help

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2002

    Brewing without a Hot liq tank? Help

    Hey there. Does anyone have suggestions for brewing about 4bbl with out a hot liquor tank? What might be the process?

    I figure heat water in boil kettle to infuse mash.. but then how to sparge...I guess heat sparge water in brew kettle and pump sparge to mash tun, while taking running into a fermenter to coolect total wort...then pup wort back into the brew kettle and proceed to boil. While that is going sanitize the fermenter ( the only one available)...
    Does this sound like a ok process for the equipment on hand?
    Any suggestions are appreciated...
    Also the there is not grant to pump the yeast in the fermenter..can one manually pitch at commercial rates?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    I would recommend using the fermenter as the liquor tank........

    1. heat water in kettle for mash.

    2. mash with water from kettle

    3. refill and reheat kettle for sparge

    4. transfer sparge water to fermenter during vorlauf

    5. lauter to kettle

    6. sparge from fermenter

    This will allow you to heat the wort during the lauter to speed things up as well as not having to re-clean your fermenter. I would then recommend sanitizing your fermenter during the boil.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Minocqua WI

    Sounds good but..

    I aggree w/ Craig but I would try to send some of that hot water though your heat exchanger thus sanitizing that at the same time. Also, if using ioderfer' it will foam alot at hot temps. You may want to do a cold rinse before sani' the fermentor. If you can its also cool to send that (co2 pressure) sani out the tank though the hose and heat-ex.
    btw- where does your cooling water go? Try to capture that for the next brew!
    Finally, if you do a cost/value comparison, buying a hot liqure tank will easily pay for its self in utility bills (water and energy to heat it)
    Brewmaster, Minocqua Brewing Company
    "Your results may vary"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Madison WI
    I would have to agree with buying a hot liq tank or some sort of holding tank. You will save so much money on energy and time, the cost will justify itself.
    We have to do a little mickey mouse job in our brewery too. We have a piece of crap system with the hot liq tank under the mash tun. Not only is it under the mash tun, but it's very undersized.
    So, we fill the kettle as high as we can and heat up to temp. Mash in and then pump the remaining water into the hot liq tank. Depending on the size of the batch we are brewing, we may have to add water to the kettle after mash in to have enough for sparge.
    I've heard of the using the fermenter for a holding tank, but that just doesn't seem right.
    Best of luck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada!
    I'm doing what more beer suggests 2-4 times per week and would have to say the expense of the hot liquor tank for me would be unjustified. I'm a pub brewer, and don't need a whole lot of extra hot water so take it with a grain of salt, if you wish.

    Pumping the liquor into the fermenter at 95 C. makes short work of any nasties. By the time I'm ready to run my brew into it, I turn on the glycol, and voila! 20 C. fermenter ready for wort.

    I've got it down to a 3-4 hour brew day with clean-up and saving the cooling water in the mash tun for re-use. At the end of the day, I pump my water over to the kettle, and have the wait staff turn it off when it boils. In the morning I simply flick on the kettle and brew. Nothing too hard about that.

    Now if I could just get an auger installed...

    Dave Rudge
    Bushwakker Brewing Co.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Good discussion... lot's of creativity out there when you need to solve this problem. My HLT recently crapped out on me, so though I have the vessel, I have only temperature indication and no control.

    No prob manually pitching yeast for a 4bbl batch that I can see. Just sanitize the container and yourself inside and out. (Actually, just sanitize yourself on the outside - by dunking your gloved hands into something along those lines.)


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Mukilteo, WA

    Do you have Hot Water?

    Craig, and Colleagues,

    We had the problem in our 300 sq ft 7 Bbl Brewhouse of locating a hot liquor tank as well. Though we have no tank, we did cheat a snick and went, what we thought (and still do), one better.

    We did have adequate gas supply to install a Ruud 365,000 BTU commercial hot water heater. Then, we set the temperature up to 180F (82.2C) for sanitizing and sparging. Basically, our process is as follows:

    1.) Heat the strike water in the Kettle and mash in.

    2.) Sparge with hot water from the water heater and collect using a Grant to the Brew Kettle. The sparge rate should be set to allow the hot water heater to recover and still not collapse the grain bed.

    3.) During boil, the entire wort cooling circuit is sanitize with iodifor. We then rinse with the 180F hot water from the water heater.

    The hot water heater is also used to pre-rinse and post sanitize the kegs on kegging day.
    Now, some of the purists might question the use of a hot water heater, but we use the same Ruud unit to supply our Alehouse hot water demands. Look one up, the unit isn't THAT's just a good unit.
    Just remember to schedule your brewing so it doesn't starve your Pub (if you have one) of hot water supply.

    I would say, if you are in a Brewpub environment, look at the water heater, figure out your recovery demand, and replace it. Install a supply line to your Brewhouse, and use that in conjunction with water conservation techniques as described by other Brewers above.

    I have often heard of Brewers overheating their sparge water and loading it to the Fermenter as a holding tank (all glycol supply is off, of course). As the water sits, it will cool a bit, so doa little experimentation to see how many degrees drop you get over time until you need it. Also, when you are running your coolant water for wort cooling through the heat exchanger, run it over to the Mash Tun and hold it there until when you need it again, then pump it over to the Kettle for heating as strike water. For a 4 Bbl system, even an old Grundy tank would work well.

    A good question is ask yourself Craig is, "What is my constraint? Space? Gas availability? Electricity availability? Money?". Your answer will drive the solution.

    As for yeast, in the old days, we would collect and store our yeast charge in old soda kegs, a.k.a., cornelius kegs. We have a couple of 3 gallon kegs, and would spray iodifor over the outside, give a very quick rinse with 180F water, then open the lid and pour right into the top of our 7 Bbl Grundies. Worked fine for years.
    Note - Remember to refrigerate your yeast if your are re-pitching to maintain the highest viability and cell count.

    Let us know how you do.


    Diamond Knot Brewing Co.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Mesquite, Texas
    Manual pitching: I've done it in almost every brewery I've worked in, batch sizes from 1.5 bbl to 15 bbl. 5 gallon stainess steel milk containers (the kind with the tight-fitting lids and the handles) make excellent yeast storage units!

    I also worked for three years in a production brewery with a 15 bbl system. The first year, we had no HLT. We mashed in with water from the kettle, then topped it back up to have enough to sparge, heated it up again to boiling and transferred it through the heat exchanger to the target fermenter. This served to heat sanitize everything downstream of the kettle to the fermenter. Never had a problem with the water cooling off too much to use for sparging...

    Cheers, Tim

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Chico Ca.
    Find an old dairy tank. They are insulated. You could heat your water in your kettle and then pump it into your dairy tank. Oh and with yeast put it in a keg and just hook it up and push it in with some co2.

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