Tank types

20 barrels and under

Lauter Tun – A quality lauter tun has rotating rake arms with a central drive unit. Depending on the size of the lauter tun, there can be between two and six rake arms. Cutting blades hang from these arms. The blade is usually wavy and has a plough-like foot. Each blade has its own path around the tun and the whole rake assembly can be raised and lowered. Attached to each of these arms is a flap which can be raised and lowered for pushing the spend grains out of the tun. The brewer, or better yet an automated system, can raise and lower the rake arms depending on the turbidity (cloudiness) of the run-off, and the tightness of the grain bed, as measured by the pressure difference between the top and bottom of the grain bed. There must be a system for introducing sparge water into the lauter tun. Most systems have a ring of spray heads that insure an even and gentle introduction of the sparge water. The watering system should not beat down on the grain bed and form a channel. Some breweries use a combination mash/lauter tun, in which the rake system cannot be implemented because the mixing mechanism for mashing is of higher importance. The stirring blades can be used as an ersatz rake, but typically they cannot be moved up and down, and would disturb the bed too much were they used deep in the grain bed.

Kettle – (aka: pot, boiler, or copper) The simplest boil kettles are direct-fired, with a burner underneath. These can produce a vigorous and favorable boil, but are also apt to scorch the wort where the flame touches the kettle, causing caramelization and making clean up difficult. Most breweries use a steam-fired kettle, which uses steam jackets in the kettle to boil the wort. The steam is delivered under pressure by an external boiler. Some breweries use other boiling methods to achieve a more intense boiling and more complete realization of the goals of boiling. One of those methods is a boiling unit outside of the kettle, called a Calandria, through which wort is pumped. The unit is usually a tall, thin cylinder, with many tubes upwards through it. These tubes provide an enormous surface area on which vapor bubbles can nucleate, and thus provides for excellent volitization. The total volume of wort is circulated seven to twelve times an hour through this external boiler, ensuring that the wort is evenly boiled. The wort is then boiled in the kettle at atmospheric pressure, and through careful control the inlets and outlets on the external boiler, an overpressure can be achieve, in the external boiler, raising the boiling point a few Celsius degrees. Upon return to the boil kettle, a vigorous vaporization occurs. The higher temperature due to increased vaporization can reduce boil times up to 30%. Some brewhouses are equipped with internal Calandria, which require no pump. It works on basically the same principle as external unit, but relies on convection to move wort through the boiler. Internal Calandria are generally difficult to clean.

Fermenters – Uni-fermentors – These tanks are typically used for the entire fermentation process, they’re advantage is that you can naturally carbonate the beer after 80% of the fermentation has taken place. Generally, they have a minimum of a 65 degree angle cone. Some have a racking arm off the cone, some have a tri-clover clamp in the bottom of cone which has tube extending up inside (typically above the yeast cake). There is a valve at the bottom that allows the tank to be completely emptied.
Fermenters typically have the following essential components:
1) Pressure release valve
2) Site glass
3) Sample cock
Some are outfitted with side manway doors, others with top manway doors. Often they have a cooling jacket around body and a separate cooling jacket on the cone. The advantage of this setup is the lower jacket can be used alone when the beer is gone and you simply wish to cool the yeast cake. These tanks are generally insulated and clad. Cladding and insulation are expensive. If a clad and insulated tank is beyond your budget, un-insulated tanks can be used in a temperature-controlled room, (Glycol, or walking airflow cooled) which will maintain a constant temperature.

Storage Tanks – Storage tanks are not typically insulated and usually placed in a walk-in cooler. The Manway is usually located on top of the tank due to pressure rating for tank. Side Manway okay if tank is ASME rated (30psi) There should be a drain in bottom that allows entire tank contents to be drained.
Storage tanks typically have the following essential components:
1) Pressure release valve, fixed or adjustable (usually set a 14.8psi )
2) Site glass
3) Sample cock
4) A racking arm on side to allow the brewer to remove all rhue beer from above the yeast cake.

Brite Beer Tank – These tanks are generally rated for a minimum of 30 PSI. Bright beer tanks are used for the carbonation of beer.
Bright beer tanks typically have the following essential components:
1) Spray ball
2) Carbonating stone
3) Sample cock
4) Pressure gage (It is very important these tanks have a working pressure release valve, if not the tank could possibly explode under pressure)
5) Site glass
6) One valve out the bottom.

Grundy Tanks – “Grundy” is a term adopted by the North American craft brewing industry for UK-built pub cellar tanks. The inexpensive, mass produced tanks, were fabricated in the 1950’s and 60’s and have been utilized in almost every stage of the brewing process. The tanks were originally produced for direct dispensing carbonated beer from pub cellars but have also been utilized for fermentation, conditioning, and bright beer. “Tote” tanks, a “Grundy-like” tank, have been made more recently in France, Germany, the US and other countries, usually at 10HL capacity. Grundy warnings

Cold liquor tank – Cold water tanks, or cold liquor tanks as they are called in the brewery, are buffer tanks that contain cold water that will be used to cool the bitter wort down to a fermentable temperature range after boiling. A cold water storage tank can be as simple as single skin vessel in a cold room, but can also be a jacketed glycol tank or insulated tank with a cooling coil immersed in the water.

Hot liquor tank – Hot water tanks, called liquor tanks in a brewery, are buffer tanks that contain hot water that will be used to sparge the grain bed during lautering to extract a maximum of sugars out of the malt. This hot water storage tank is almost always insulated and can be heated through steam or an electric coil.