HLT - Yes Or No

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Do you need a HLT?

  • Yes

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters

user 384

Well-Known Member
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I've been making a new brew rig, and because I batch sparge I've decided to do away with the HLT.

Strike water I'll heat direct in the mash tun using an immersion element. Sparge water I'll heat in the boiler. As I don't need to drain the first runnings I don't need one vessle to collect the runnings, usually he boiler, and a second for the sparge water, usually the HLT.

Alternativey you could just use the boiler to heat both the strike water and sparge water.

Get rid of the HLT and it's one less piece of bulky equipment!

What size is the mash tun compared to the boiler? Have to be quite big surely to do a highish gravity beer in one batch sparge.
You raise a good point Mark. I voted yes because my mash tun isn't big enough to do a no sparge method.

However, if your mash tun is big enough to hold 5-6kg of grain plus enough water for your boil volume and losses to grain and deadspace (say around 35L) I don't see why you would need one.

Heya Mark,
One day you will have kids and you will need the brew-day to be as short as possible :eek: Firing the kettle as the sparge runs cuts an hour or so off the day.

it only takes an extra hour if you are fly sparging. If you batch sparge, you just drain the runnings as fast as you can. My system takes 5-15 minutes to sparge, depending on my mood at the time. I do as MAH suggests. Heat the strike water in the kettle, then mash, then as I'm nearing the end of the mash, heat the sparge water in the kettle, add it to the mash, wait 5 or 10 minutes, then drain. Max sparge time 15 mins.

Cheers - Snow
I vote that given the procedure you outlined, you don't need an HLT MAH.
I guess you are right Snow. Everyones system is different. I make 65 litre batches so I need the extra water. Takes a long time to sparge 65 litres too.
I like to start the boil as the first runnings hit the boiler.
I think Steve and GL are spot on. You should to buy a big MT to ensure to can make large batches and high gravity beers.
Hi Darren

The size of the batch and the OG are good points. 65 litres for one batch is beyond my comprehension, I stick to batches no bigger than 25 litres, but usually make only 20 litres. And I don't make high gravity beers. The highest I OG I usually make is around 1.050. So for me a 40 litre mash tun is ample for single batch sparging.

I suppose if I did decide to make a higher gravity beer it would be a rare occasion and I could just use a spare fermenter to collect the first runnings and still not need to worry about a HLT.

Another pro for a HLT is that it useful to boil sanitising/rinse water with. If it has only had water in it there is only a small problem with something "bad"growing in it.

That's a really interesting question. Sounds like my setup isn't a million miles different to yours and all my brews so far have been batch sparged. I have a bet each way. I don't have a second keg with taps drilled etc for my HLT because given my setup it is overkill. I've just been using my old extract brew pot which is 19 litres and easy enough to lug around. I heat the strike water in that (yes I could just use the boiler) and heat the sparge water in it while I drain the mash the first time into the kettle. Has worked well so far and is less hassle than another keg IMO, but your suggestion has got me thinking...

My MLT is theoretically 47 litres, but some of that capacity would be above where the lid seals so I don't think I'd get that much out of it. Might stop me now I think about it. Does your MLT have the full usable capacity?

I use a 44 l willow esky, but I have to keep the total mash plus sparge volume (as estimated by Promash) to 37 or 38 l, or it overflows and I cant stir it.

For an igloo or keg type tun, with a smaller footprint and taller volume, you could probably get closer to using the full capacity.
I was given a 20L Hot Water Urn for nicks, so I can't toss it!

Mind you, with my 10 Gal Rubbermaid Cooler, all I need is an immersion element, and approval from the missus to buy that and ignore the hot water urn in the corner of my brewery! <_<

Somehow I don't think that will work :ph34r:
what you suggest sounds completely possible to do, however wouldn't the efficiency of doing only one batch sparge be much less than doing several? I'd like to get rid of the hlt from the equation myself, but not if means using more grain to acheive the same OG.

Everyone's method is different but I "batch sparge" and my first runnings are in the kettle boiling before the sparge water goes in so that makes it difficult to do away with the HLT. I might have misunderstood you but your method sounds like no-sparge.
Yep, that occurred to me too Sosman. Is what you are doing 'no-sparge' brewing Mah? If it is and it works well with reasonable efficiencies let us know. I thought no-sparge brewing was pretty wasteful of ingredients etc. but if it isn't it is a helluvalot easier and quicker. I could be easily convinced ;)

Just done my first no sparge brew and still hit 88%, FWIW the MT is 69l all up capacity, and I could'nt do without a HLT.
Trough Lolly said:
I was given a 20L Hot Water Urn for nicks, so I can't toss it!
Well mine was not quite free but for $15 you can't do without it either.
I read the question as do you 'NEED' a HLT and voted no. Although i use one you don't need one to produce a wort.
There are many ways to do it like what has already been mentioned, the two most common ways are what i call 'no sparge' or use your fermentation vessel as a wort reciever from the mash tun then sanitize it again while the wort is boiling.
Just like a great deal of micro breweries are set up. Some breweries go the other way and use a hot liquor back, this is basically instead of collecting the wort from the mash tun into the fermentor or another vessel, send the hot liquor from the kettle to the fermentor or other empty vessel then sparge from that.
Anyway no one 'NEEDS' a hot liquor tank to produce wort.

Vlad 88% sounds i like quite a acheivement to me, as the gravity of the wort left in the grains is exactly the same as the gravity in kettle, so if the boil start gravity is 1.050 and you used 5 kilos of grain you still have 5.5 litres of 1.050 wort left in the tun unless you do a small fly sparge after it seems to me it would be almost impossible to get above 80%.

Anyway again if everyone reads the question do you 'NEED' a HLT to produce wort not do you 'USE' a HLT to produce wort. surely everyone can see that you don't.

Gough said:
Is what you are doing 'no-sparge' brewing Mah?
Nope, it's batch sparging, but you literally do it in one batch. Grain plus sparge water takes up about 15 litres of space. At the end of the mash add about 20 litres of sparge water, this will max out the tun. Let rest for ten minutes, recirculate until clear, then drain off to the kettle. If you need extra water then top up in the kettle.


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