In my stove top system I used my kettle for the protein and sach rests. Many will say the protein rest is unnecessary, but I figure it can’t hurt anything so I do it anyway. After the rests and mash I sparged strait out of my kettle. The wort was collected in a boil pot and so on. I did not use a separate lauter tun. The pros to this was the obvious simplicity and cost savings. After all, good brewing equipment isn’t cheap.
Once I decided I really enjoyed and wanted to commit to this hobby, I started taking stock of the equipment I wasn’t familiar with. The piece I was least familiar with is the Lauter Tun. I understood the principles of sparging to some degree, but not the mechanics of the Tun. I found that there were two types of lauter tun. One uses a heat source to maintain a proper mash temp. The other is a Tun that holds the temp through thermal insulation. The economical choice being a thermal insulated cooler rated for hot liquids. I chose to go with the common 10 Gal IGLOO. I installed ball lock valves in both the sparge water tank and the lauter tun.
The lauter tun performs several functions. It holds your grains and wort at mash temperature. During the sparge it also ensures clean boil wort through a filter process. Filtering starts with the grains that settled in the lauter tun. The mechanical filters of the lauter tun include a 12 inch stainless steel mesh kettle screen, which filters out medium sediment particles.
On top of the kettle screen I use a perforated stainless steel false bottom. It filters large sediment particels. The false bottom has been trimmed to fit the cooler. In order to protect the cooler walls I edged the false bottom with plastic tube. I hope this eliminates scratches in the cooler wall that can harbor bacteria.
I also installed a auto-sparge. It maintains a water level of 2-3 inches above the grain bed and gently pulls water from the mash tun / water tank without worming the grain. The auto sparge and ball valves have female quick connects for ease of liquid transfer. Installing Quick Connects on the auto sparge required some modification of the cooler.
Part 4, Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter (Coming Soon)