Steam Heated Brewhouse
The brewhouse structure consists of a typical mash/lauter tun, kettle/whirlpool tun, and hot liquor tank.
All three vessels are equipped with steam heating jackets. This means that the mash/lauter tun can maintain temperatures and directly heat the vessel for direct mashing out before lautering. There is no need to add water to raise the mash temperature to 78℃.
Another advantage of steam heating is that it heats gently and evenly without touching the wort. This makes it easier to control the heating process and ensure better wort quality.
However, installing a steam boiler can be expensive. Therefore, for breweries with a capacity below 500L, electric heating can be considered to save costs.
Electric Heated Brewhouse
The suitable brewhouse structure includes a mash/lauter/whirlpool tun, kettle tun, and HLT (Hot Liquor Tank).
The kettle and HLT have electric heating coils installed inside. Therefore, the brewmaster needs to raise the temperature to 78℃ by adding/mixing extra hot water with the mash before the lautering process.
Since there are electric heating coils inside the kettle, an independent whirlpool vessel is used to prevent the elements from affecting the whirlpool process. The whirlpool vessel is stacked under the mash/lauter vessel (in the case of steam heating, the whirlpool function is combined with the kettle).
For small volumes, the hot water tank is usually not included to save costs. This is because the whirlpool vessel, being located under the mash/lauter tun, can also serve as a buffer tank to hold the wort during the lautering process. Therefore, there is no need to empty the kettle immediately before lautering. The kettle can temporarily act as a hot water tank for mashing and sparging. Once the lautering process is complete, the wort can be transferred from the buffer tank to the purged kettle. However, not having a hot liquor tank has two drawbacks: it takes longer when brewing two batches per day, and the warmed water from the heat exchanger cannot be recycled. Therefore, if the budget allows, an HLT can make the work easier.