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Thread: Are mash tuns, mash mixers and mash kettles all the same?

  1. #1
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    Are mash tuns, mash mixers and mash kettles all the same?

    Are traditional mash tuns, mixers and mash kettles all the same ?

    Can they all generically be called mash tuns ?

    Do typical mash tuns have heating facility to support multi step mashing?

    Do typical mash tuns lauter the same way as lauter tuns i.e. mash-up, recirculation, sparging and grain out?

  2. #2
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    A traditional (British style) mash tun does not have heating or rakes. Larger ones may have discharge sweeper arms, but these are solely for removal of spent grains to save someone having to get into a very hot vessel and manually dig out, or having to wait hours to cool down before someone gets in. A mash tun is most commonly used for a single temperature (infusion) mash - though some people recirculate wort and heat it to carry out a rising temperature mash - but without the same degree of control as a mash mixer will achieve - but nonetheless, people claim this method can gets reasonable results (I have never used this method myself so can't make any other comment). In a traditional mash tun, the grist is coarse, traps air in the husk particle in particular and floats, the air and large particles maintain good porosity, so no rakes are needed.

    A mash mixer has mixing paddles for mixing and preventing burning of the grain during temperature rises, typically by steam heating jackets. If known as a mash mixer, then this is all it is used for - accurately controlling temperatures of a mash at different temperatures, prior to transfer to a lauter tun. A mash mixer may also be called a mash kettle, but normally, in large breweries, a mash kettle is used for a separate process, maize or rice cooking and gelatinisation - in which case it is generally known as a cereal cooker. Once the adjunct (rice, maize etc.) has been gelatinised, then it is added to the main malt mash for starch conversion.

    A lauter tun is similar to a mash tun, but has rakes which are required because during the mashing process in a mash mixer (or cereal cooker or mash cooker) the air bubbles that helps the mash to float in a mash tun has been removed, so the mash sinks to the base and tends to be rather impenetrable to the sparge. The rakes help break the bed up, increasing the porosity, whilst maintaining the stratification required for efficient wort extraction. The grist is generally considerably finer than a mash tun grist, which also reduces the amount of air trapped in the grist particles.
    dick

  3. #3
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    now I am a wee bit confused....

    are lauter tuns also used to mash..? I always though the sweet wort was moved from mash tuns, kettles or mixers to lauter tuns ONLY for more efficient filtering operation

    do mash vessels like tuns. kettles and mixers lauter directly using the steps of a lauter tun like mash out, recirculation (vorlaufing) and sparging (and grain out) or are these steps only in a dedicated lauter tun?

  4. #4
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    If you are talking true lauter tuns used after a mash mixing/conversion vessel, then no. If you are talking about what many small brewers refer to as lauter tuns, which contain rakes and are used for some degree of mixing during mashing, and for some degree of raking during lautering, then yes, people do mash into "lauter tuns"

    Mash conversion, i.e. the conversion of starch to sugars takes place in a mash mixer/conversion vessel followed by transfer to a true lauter tun, where the sweet wort is extracted from the grain residues. In a true British style mash tun, conversion takes place in the same vessel as sweet wort extraction, without stirring (mashing) or raking (wort runoff lautering).

    A mash mixer has no facility for volaufing or wort runoff
    dick

  5. #5
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    Perfection - what you may be missing here is that, in a system with a lauter tun that's a separate vessel from the mash tun or mash mixer, what you're doing is moving the entire mash – grain, wort, and all, the whole pot of oatmeal – from mash tun/mixer and into the lauter tun.

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