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A couple Mash Tun Questions ....


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I am currently working on sizing some equipment and am looking at needing mash tun capacity in the 7-10 barrel range. I have a good understanding of the brew process but this would be my first shot at working with equipment in this size range.

Questions are as follows:

1.) It seems I can buy 2 smaller 150 gallon mash tuns for roughly the same or even less than a larger 310 gallon unit. Two smaller units seem like they could give a bit more flexibility to my process and certainly be easier to deal with in some ways than the larger unit. Wondering how others have approached this and what the real world pros and cons are?

2.) If I go the larger rote I have the option of adding motorized rakes to stir the mash. Wondering how much efficiency is gained with having the rakes in place.

3.) On the larger unit there is also an option to go direct gas fired. In this case I assume the rakes would become mandatory. Wondering if others have gone this route and by doing so can one realistically eliminate the need for an HLT.


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Personally, I really wouldn't want direct flame anywhere in my distillery. You could do your mashing in a separate room, but direct flame in the same room that you store your spirits, or anywhere near your mill would be a bad idea. I understand that this is a much cheaper option though than a jacketed tun and cheaper than electricity if you don't want to use steam. Do you have enough airflow for direct flame? Two mash tuns sounds like twice the work, especially if you don't have agitation. Allowing yourself to run the still while mashing because you have a larger vessel with agitation sounds better to me. Otherwise you are going to stir the whole time? Don't know how to quantify the efficiency gain from stirring, but my thought is that the higher gravity you go, the more likely you will get clumps so probably pretty decent efficiency loss there. Assume you weren't going to lauter if you are asking about getting away with no HLT unless your plan is for a tankless water heater, because you would want to sparge with hot water...If distilling grain in, don't think you would need an HLT if using direct flame or steam.

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Maybe it is a little early in the morning for me, but I can't see how you can get 7-10 barrels of spirit from a 320 gallon mash unless they are very small barrels.

Please post the basic maths for me.

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