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Water Handling Process and Tanks

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Saving water is critical in my neck of the wood-less woods.  Of course we also want to design-in efficiency for time and energy use heating and cooling water.   So, need some help/advice for the following:

  • Considering using a tankless water heater pulling from a source tank of pre-filtered, pre-conditioned water to pre-heat mash water to 110 to 120 degrees.   This then saves steam boiler time to heat to mashing temps.
  • Considering a return tank to store heated condenser water.  This heated water can be used for the CIP process, with the remainder cooled down overnight to return to the cold water tank that is the source water for chilling kept at chilled temp by the glycol chiller.

So I am talking about three water tanks... one for the chilled water, one for the hot water return from the condenser and one for the pre-filtered conditioned water going to the tankless water heater for the mash water.

The chilled water tank I am considering is poly - double-walled / insulated.   I am thinking that the other two tanks need to be stainless because of the heat of the return water, and opportunity for plastic notes in the filtered/conditioned water.

Interested in any comments, advice related to this. 


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What kind of volumes are you talking about here?  The amount of floor space and investment in tanks, plumbing, and the overall complexity of operation needs to be considered here. 


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You could probably get by with just one 'cold liquor tank' and one 'hot liquor tank'. If you do a steam jacketed hot liquor tank, you can return your condenser water, as well as any water used to chill your mashes to it, and then heat there, without the need to use a tankless heater. This water can be used for CIP and your next cook, and you can pump it much faster than you would if you were going through a tankless heat exchanger. Plus you could maybe even get rid of the need for a water heater other than for hand washing. 

If you want to you could plumb it so the condenser water goes to the HLT or manually change a valve to divert to another holding tank, or the 'cold liquor tank', in the event you don't think you will need the hot, or it is coming back to cold to be useful for heating. I think you could probably get away with plastic for this. If you want to cool it down over night you will want to keep the cool stuff. You could probably automate it with a temp controller and a solenoid. 

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Thanks for the replies.

C&D guys are putting together a design recommendation for me.   They agree that poly tanks should work.  Sent them my dimensioned floor-space diagrams including the potential for a yard-space located tank to get a final recommendation and quote.   

We are talking an insulated cold water tank kept around 60 degrees by the glycol chiller with a heat-exchange loop, and a non-insulated condenser return tank to cool-down over night and be returned to the cold water tank in the morning to charge for the next run.  Maybe an outside fan-only heat exchange loop for the hot water to boost cooling capacity at night. 

Then there is the mash water.  I am thinking I need a separate tank for that as my mash water condition and my water for tank chilling are going to have different properties.  Am I wrong there?  Good point about the capacity of the tankless water heater.   Maybe I should just start out like a normal guy and heat my mash water in the mash tun to strike temp, start the agitator and add grains.   One distiller I know says he saves time and gets more extraction and flavor by simultaneously filling the mash tun with 120 degree mash water and the grain bill and then heating to mash temp.  Probably as many ways to do this as there are notes on a piano.     

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