Craft Brewhouse Systems
Brewhouses come in many different configurations to support unique brewing techniques, type of beer, and production goals. Craft brewhouse systems can be combined to save on space and cost. Brewhouse systems are typically available in the following configurations: two-, three-, or four vessels generally ranging from 5 barrels and up to 20 barrels. Depending on the production needs, physical size, and scale of the operation, brewhouse systems are fully customizable for each buyer.
A two-vessel brewhouse consists of a mash tun/lauter tun and kettle/whirlpool (Figure 8.9). Combination mash/lauter tuns are sized to favor the lauter operation, and have the mechanics for mixing mash and grains out. For that reason, this combination vessel should have the diameter and build of a dedicated lauter tun, but have a mixer design similar to a dedicated mash tun. Combination kettle/whirlpool tanks are sized primarily as a kettle, but are equipped with a tangential fitting for whirlpooling.
A three-vessel brewhouse is hybrid system that incorporates at least one combination vessel and two dedicated process vessels. For example, a medium sized brewery with a focus on heavily hopped beers might choose to go with a combination mash/lauter tun, a dedicated kettle, and a dedicated whirlpool. The separate kettle and whirlpool allow for more complete wort/trub separation when compared to the two-vessel system.
A typical four-vessel brewhouse will include a mash tun, lauter tun, kettle, and whirlpool (Figure 8.10). Each of these tanks is dedicated to performing a single process, and is designed differently than similar vessel used for performing multiple processes. A traveling rake is a mandatory requirement for dedicated lauter tuns, and allows the brewer to raise the rakes so they only cut into the top of the grain bed. This improves mechanical rinsing and efficiency during sparge without losing clarity.
Click on the following topics for more information on mashing.