Lauter tuns are the most popular vessel systems used for wort separation in the world, especially in North America.
Mash tuns, usually used in England, are vessels that are used for both mashing and separating the wort. They are affordable and easy to use, requiring almost no automation in many cases. All these factors are what make mash runs attractive to brewers. On the other hand, drawbacks of mash runs are their need for powdered ground malt, the need for malts that are well-modified, and their temperature when it comes to maintaining temperature of the mash. This is why many people don’t like using them sometimes.
Lauter tuns have a similar design to infusion tuns, but they’re usually wider and have a shallower design. Just like mash tuns, the filtering process by lauter tuns is done through slots in false bottoms that are responsible for supporting grain beds. There are several differences between mash and lauter tuns. For example, lauter tuns are most suitable for malts that are under modified and high adjunct amounts. Grists used in lauter tuns are smoother and finer, with the mashes being more dilute which assists in the extract performance.
When the mash is being prepared, lauter runs are carefully rinsed, and then underlet using hot water so air is driven out underneath false bottoms. Folse bottom plates are then covered using hot water to assist in spreading mash. Two techniques are used to establish grain filter beds over the lauter tun’s floor. The first one is operating lautering machines in elevated positions at modest speed with blades in a special ‘’grains out’’ place until the mash is successfully transferred.
When it comes to mash tuns, after the separation of wort is successfully completely, the grains are swept or thrown out using horizontal arms that continuously rotate over the tun’s false bottom. Overall, both are great tools that have both drawbacks and benefits. If you don’t know which one to choose, there are mash tuns and lauter tuns that are one vessel.