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I was wondering if anyone had a link to a graphic of what the typical profesional mash tun is like. Specifically I was wondering if the majority of professional scaled mash tuns draw from underneath the tun below the false bottom, or do they draw up and out the side, like many (most) homebrew setups?

Also how do pro mash tuns get heated? Steam jackets for step mashes I assume.

Cheers

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All the professional mash tuns I've seen drain from the bottom, many into a grant. I don't think there is a good way to start a siphon at that scale.

Most of the tuns I encounter are steam jacketed. Some smaller ones are direct-fire. Some examples:

  • Saint Arnold steam, 120 BBL
  • Southern Star steam, 15 BBL
  • Bootlegger's Brewery direct fire, 3 BBL
  • Anchor Steam steam
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If you are asking just for general knowledge:

RE: Mash/Lauter drains-
Virtually all pro lauter (or mash/lauter) tuns have many collections points, all drawing from the bottom of the tun and below the false bottom. This is to ensure an even flow through the entire bed.

RE: Mash tun heating-
There are all styles: unheated, direct fire (least common, I would guess), and steam jacketed (the most common heated type).

If you are asking in regards to how to design a homebrew mash or mash/lauter tun:

A false bottom with a decent manifold, or just a manifold or a false bottom, satisfies most homebrewers. A lauter, or mash/lauter, tun with bottom drains could work better, and would definitely impress people, but it might be more difficult to handle with all the drain connectors on the bottom.

Heating the mash tun requires either stirring, or recirculation. The most popular solution is the recirculating style: HERMS or RIMS. HERMS uses hot water for the heating, so the max temp the wort is subjected to can be more easily controlled. RIMS uses a hot water heater element that the wort flows over.

Direct firing and stirring is also perfectly acceptable, but can be tricky to hit temps.

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