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Thread: Best 3 Vessel Set-up??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
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    Question Best 3 Vessel Set-up??

    Hey everyone.

    We are planning our brewery out and our next step is to commission our brewhouse. We are going to go with a 3 vessel system for flexibility but I am wondering what, in your opinion, is a better 3 vessel set-up. M,L,K/W or M/L, K, W?

    I have seen Mash (steam jacketed), Lauter, Kettle/Whirlpool so the mash tun doubles as a boil kettle for the back to back brewing, BUT has the rakes in it, which can hinder whirlpooling on the second batch. Also, with this first set-up, it seems that once the mash is transferred, the lauter tun does not contain rakes, so spent grain removal must be done by hand.

    The other set-up I've seen is Mash/Lauter, Kettle, Whirlpool. So I assume, once the mashtun is cleaned out (via using the rakes) during boiling of the wort, we can be grinding our grist and begin another mash. Once the first batch is whirlpooling, we can lauter into our kettle and begin boiling again.

    Correct me if any of this is wrong. BUT I am leaning towards the latter set-up as it seems more suited to efficiently brewing batches back to back with little issue. What's your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Reno, Nevada USA
    Posts
    445

    Mash Mixer, Lauter, Kettle/ Whirlpool

    We just put our deposit down for a 3 vessel system, Mash mixer, Lauter and Kettle/Whirlpool. with CLT and HLT. Having a dedicated swing link connection put on the manifold for a future dedicated whirlpool vessel.
    This makes for an easy multi brew day schedule.
    We went with PKW, and they have been very nice to work with as this is their 1st 3 vessel system.
    Good luck with your project.

    Lance
    Rebel Malting Co,
    Record Street Brewing
    Reno, Nevada USA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by nohandslance View Post
    We just put our deposit down for a 3 vessel system, Mash mixer, Lauter and Kettle/Whirlpool. with CLT and HLT. Having a dedicated swing link connection put on the manifold for a future dedicated whirlpool vessel.
    This makes for an easy multi brew day schedule.
    What is the reason you went with this configuration instead of the other with M/L, K, w? Are both your Mash and kettle steam jacketed? are you going to be using your mash mixer as a secondary boil kettle if so?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Goshen, Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamWBrewmaster View Post
    What is the reason you went with this configuration instead of the other with M/L, K, w? Are both your Mash and kettle steam jacketed? are you going to be using your mash mixer as a secondary boil kettle if so?
    I can't see why you would want to boil in your mash mixer?

  5. #5
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    Sep 2015
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    Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floor Malted View Post
    I can't see why you would want to boil in your mash mixer?
    I know of one company in BC where I live that has a Mash, Lauter, and Kettle/Whirlpool and they will boil lower hopped batches (due to poor whirlpooling because of rakes) in the steam jacketed mash tun in order to do double brew days. I know, it seems weird to me too, which is why I have this question today. He said double days take about 10 hours for most recipes, 12 for the IPA. BUT they have to entirely manually remove their spent grain. With a Mash/Lauter, Kettle, and Whirlpool you can use the rakes to aid in manually removing grain though a double brew day would be more like 11-12 hours if my math is correct. Can anyone touch on this for me?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Reno, Nevada USA
    Posts
    445

    configuration

    I went with system for it's ability to produce 3 brews in a 16 hr day. The addition of a prerun vessel and the dedicated whirlpool tank can easily turn 5 brews in 24 hrs. It is a good configuration. Simple easy process.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Minocqua WI
    Posts
    802

    "The process determines the product, and the product determines the process."

    The answer it to define what you are going to make and then determine what equipment you need to make it.

    In our case we went with a 3 vessel system for multiple batches a day and a separate mash tun so we can use it for step mashes, as a cereal cooker, and for decoctions. We plan on using adjuncts and alternative grains as well as making traditional recipes so this gives us the flexibility to do that. We left floor space to add a separate whirlpool in the future to increase turns/day. As well as adding a silo and hopper as we grow.

    So what ya going to make? That's the answer.
    Brewmaster, Minocqua Brewing Company
    tbriggs@minocquabrewingcompany.com
    "Your results may vary"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Salem, VA
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    312
    Personally I would kill to have M/L, K, W. The fact of my world is that my kettle is tied up during boil, whirlpool and transfer to fermenter. To open that kettle up right after the boil would make a huge difference in our throughput. While the first batch is coming to a boil you can clean out the mash/lauter easily. I clean mine buy hand in under 10 minutes (10bbl DME).

    1 hour whirlpool and 30 minute transfer ties me up before I can even start to clean out the kettle for another batch.
    Mike Pensinger
    General Manager/Brewmaster
    Parkway Brewing Company
    Salem, VA

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Harrisonburg, VA.
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    33
    The whirlpool is much easier to add down the line vs. a separate jacketed MT in the future. I have a M, L, K/W and despite having a little longer brewday than the guy with a separate WP, it's nice to have a separate MT now for more control during the mash (temperature, ease of dough-in with a large impeller). We also have a spot next to the kettle that will hold our WP in the future. It really does depend on what styles you are brewing, how many batches per day, labor, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by beermkr View Post
    Personally I would kill to have M/L, K, W. The fact of my world is that my kettle is tied up during boil, whirlpool and transfer to fermenter. To open that kettle up right after the boil would make a huge difference in our throughput. While the first batch is coming to a boil you can clean out the mash/lauter easily. I clean mine buy hand in under 10 minutes (10bbl DME).

    1 hour whirlpool and 30 minute transfer ties me up before I can even start to clean out the kettle for another batch.
    Do you mean between recirculating and rest your whirlpool lasts an entire hour? Out of curiosity why so long? I usually spin in my 20 BBL K/WP for 5 minutes and settle for 20-25 minutes leaving a nice tight pile at the bottom even over 1-1.5#/BBL hopping.

  10. #10
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    Mar 2004
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    Salem, VA
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    Quote Originally Posted by JLL View Post
    Do you mean between recirculating and rest your whirlpool lasts an entire hour? Out of curiosity why so long? I usually spin in my 20 BBL K/WP for 5 minutes and settle for 20-25 minutes leaving a nice tight pile at the bottom even over 1-1.5#/BBL hopping.
    I run the pump for 15 minutes to get everything spinning fully and then have a ramp programmed into my VFD that slows the pump over a 999 second period. I let it settle for 45 minutes including this ramp time. Honestly I could probably shorten the tim but it allows a few other things to get done during that period like finishing cleaning the transfer equipment.

    I may try a different timing today and see what happens. Shorter days are always better. We have not stepped up to our double batches yet as we are waiting on our HLT upgrade (HLT fed by an on demand with a recirc loop).
    Mike Pensinger
    General Manager/Brewmaster
    Parkway Brewing Company
    Salem, VA

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
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    Ok, maybe this is a stupid question, but has anyone thought of or seen anyone with two jacketed mash/lauter tuns so you could be that much more efficient with your time and could start another mash right away before the other tun is cleaned out? so instead of say 3 vessels in a "M/L,K,W" it would be "M1,M2,K,W"? We are going to be brewing both ales and lagers from about 12P-16P, we do not need to decoction mash but we do need to step, I'd like to be able to use the rakes to aid in grain removal and don't like the idea of having to transfer the mash into another vessel.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Northern CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamWBrewmaster View Post
    Ok, maybe this is a stupid question, but has anyone thought of or seen anyone with two jacketed mash/lauter tuns so you could be that much more efficient with your time and could start another mash right away before the other tun is cleaned out? so instead of say 3 vessels in a "M/L,K,W" it would be "M1,M2,K,W"? We are going to be brewing both ales and lagers from about 12P-16P, we do not need to decoction mash but we do need to step, I'd like to be able to use the rakes to aid in grain removal and don't like the idea of having to transfer the mash into another vessel.
    I've seen a similar sort of set up touring some of the big boys (Bud, Coors) The plant I visited had several heated mash tuns, 1 large lauter tun that could fit more than one mash at a time, 2 kettles, and a whirlpool. They claimed to be able to knock out a fresh batch every 2 hours.
    Without having somewhere to collect wort from the second mash before the kettle is empty I don't think it would be a very useful setup, the lauter is whats going to take the longest and that wort needs to go somewhere.
    Manuel

  13. #13
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    Apr 2007
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    Florence/Huntsville, Alabama
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    Quote Originally Posted by beermkr View Post
    I run the pump for 15 minutes to get everything spinning fully and then have a ramp programmed into my VFD that slows the pump over a 999 second period. I let it settle for 45 minutes including this ramp time. Honestly I could probably shorten the tim but it allows a few other things to get done during that period like finishing cleaning the transfer equipment.

    I may try a different timing today and see what happens. Shorter days are always better. We have not stepped up to our double batches yet as we are waiting on our HLT upgrade (HLT fed by an on demand with a recirc loop).
    Even that time seems long to me. In a 10bbl Premier, I am whirl pooling for 5 minutes and a 10 minute rest is sufficient. I started out with double that time, but experimentation showed no difference in hop cone, etc. between the two times.

  14. #14
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    Sep 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmussen View Post
    I've seen a similar sort of set up touring some of the big boys (Bud, Coors) The plant I visited had several heated mash tuns, 1 large lauter tun that could fit more than one mash at a time, 2 kettles, and a whirlpool. They claimed to be able to knock out a fresh batch every 2 hours.
    Without having somewhere to collect wort from the second mash before the kettle is empty I don't think it would be a very useful setup, the lauter is whats going to take the longest and that wort needs to go somewhere.
    Ok so that brings me to ask another question, if it would be beneficial to brewday efficiency, could you then use the freshly cleaned out mash tun #1 to hold the lautered wort from mash tun #2 until the kettle is available if needed. I dont see why this would have much negative effect..

  15. #15
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    Jul 2015
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    UK
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    A pretty standard set up for > 8 turns per 24 hours is: mash kettle, lauter tun, pre-run tank, wort kettle, whirlpool. Some suppliers of this configuration quote that it is possible to achieve 12 turns per 24 hours. It does depend on the type of beer and the plato etc of the product though.

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