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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Lauter Wort Question

Hello all. Finally building our distillery this spring, got sidetracked building a cocktail bar but are back at it. This site has been an incredible resource and I thank you all for sharing so freely. I hope to return the favor once we get our stuff together. We are building a french style direct fire brandy setup. We will be doing fruit for sure, but in non-fruit season we will be doing malt and probably no other type of whiskey until we get a second steam jacketed setup in a few years. We are eyeballing an old-school single infusion insulated mash tun with a lauter/false bottom. 500g working capacity. We will be knocking the wort down from mash temp to pitch temp with a tube in tube HX setup. We are considering using a wort grant for the runoff before HX to the ferment tanks. Runoff could be +/-2 hours long and I'm worried about nasties getting into the wort before pitching as I slowly transfer wort to the ferment vessels. In the beer world I would be going straight from the mash/lauter tun into the whirlpool/boiler then crashing through the HX directly to the fermenter much more quickly but in our scenario we are limited by the runoff rate. We can't go grain on because we are direct fire. Any ideas? Maybe dose small amounts of yeast in stages as the wort hits the Fermenter?


I guess I could HX to a cooler temp than pitch temp and hold it cold in the jacketed fermenter. That is wasted energy and that makes me a little sad. 


With Malt whisky i  pitch all the yeast into the fermenter as soon as I have a few litres of wort at correct temperature. Some wild "infection" before yeast added can improve the flavour and complexity of whisky. With my Rye or Oat wort I leave it overnight to sour naturally before adding yeast. It really improves the fruity notes. 100% malted grain can be a bit riskier because the kilning of the malt kills off most of the natural bacteria that help protect the grain from nasties.


Depends - are you boiling or not?  If you are not boiling, your wash will be full of lactobacillus and a number of other bacteria, since grain is microbiologically filthy.  The 2 hour runoff is irrelevant compared to the bacteria that will survive mash temps.  Considering that most malt distillers don't boil, you probably shouldn't be concerned.


The above two answers are good answers. Pitch early and generously to outcompete, and don’t plan on harvesting and repitching yeast.


Thanks guys. Silk, I'm not boiling, just going straight from lauter to ferment. Anybody using a wort grant to check for clarity during vorlauf and check SG?

Early on, we can't really budget for a boiler (+/- $150k with room, lines, return, etc) so we are planning on either boiling/treating the mash water in our stills or getting a dedicated hot liquor tank fed by a burly tankless gas heater and dose into it. We could get a dedicated boiler for our mash tun/HLT and save a little cheddar. I think under 300k-400k btu, we can have a boiler out in the open next to the units. Not uncommon to see smaller dedicated boilers in small breweries. We really don't want to do electric heat as we will already have a big 20 ton chiller setup and are putting solar on the roof. I don't want to burn through 80,000 watts heating stuff. Lacking a big boy boiler, anybody have experience with alternative heating?

Pete, I've done some reading/stalking on your process and wow, I am in awe of your operation. Makes me sort of giggle when I see "grain to glass" on people's marketing materials. 

Reply:12 minutes ago, Mixo said:

Thanks Thatch. Good to know somebody is having good luck with a tankless. We will be all malt too and somewhere close to 550gal. Do you treat or dose the charge water to help PH and nutrient base? On a smaller test batch we watered to just above the false bottom before we mashed in and it worked good. We could potentially dose our water there if needed and forgo a HLT.

Reply:1 hour ago, Mixo said:
Reply:12 hours ago, Tom Lenerz said:
Reply:9 hours ago, Mixo said:

Can someone tell me what a "grant" is?

A "home-rolled grant" sounds like something to eat for lunch