Making beer involves using hot water, usually at specific temperatures. ‘Strike’ water is used to soak grain at specific temperature to effectively release sugars. ‘’Sparge’’ water is later on used to rinse off the sugar. This is the stage where the Hot Liquor Tank (HLT) is used. This is the hot water source that becomes beer in the end. In the brewing world, this hot water is known as ‘’liquor’’, which explains why it is known as ‘hot liquor tank’.
The hot liquor tank is also used to maintain specific temperatures when the grain is being soaked. This is usually done by using a heat exchanging coil that is placed in the tank. It is called Heat Exchanged Recirculating Mash System (HERMS) in the brewing world. The desired temperature is then set in the control panel as the grains are being soaked in the mash/lauter tun. The liquid, also known as ‘’sweet wort’’ is then pumped throughout the coil in the heat liquor tank to compensate for the heat loss that takes place over time.
Brewing beer in a consistent manner should always involve a procedure that can be repeated easily. There are also several factors that should be taken into consideration throughout the brewing process as they play a big part in the overall taste and quality of the beer. These factors include the grain’s amount and temperature, amount and temperature of strike water, the air temperature, temperature and size of containers being used, and finally the extent of temperature loss because of stirring and poor insulation.
Mash thickness is considered to be a very important factor in the brewing world and it is something I’ve seen many brewers focus so much on myself. You have probably tasted excellent beer and ones that aren’t so bad. If the mash thickness is on point, this is what makes the beer excellent and enjoyable.