What is a Lauter Tun? A lauter tun is a simple piece of equipment that you can make at home in order to perform partial mash beer brewing that utilizes a grain rinsing technique known as sparging. It can also allow you to enter into some of the all grain systems of home beer brewing. Let’s begin by constructing this piece of equipment and then look briefly at how it can be used. This particular Mash/Lauter Tun is a design from Charles Papazian’s The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. It is very simple and the only reason I present it here is because it is easy to make and is a necessary piece of equipment used for grain-based home beer brewing. I have chosen 6 1/2 gallon plastic buckets for this project because the bigger buckets will allow you to use this same setup for all grain home beer brewing. If you only plan on partial mashing for the rest of your brewing career, smaller buckets can be used.
What You Will Need
2 — 6 1/2 gallon plastic buckets
1 — bucket spigot
a 1″ hole saw bit
a 1/8″ drill bit
How To Proceed
1) This is a very simple project that requires only one or two tools. begin by using the 1″ hole saw bit in conjunction with the drill to cut a 1″ hole 1 1/2″ above the bottom of the bucket. In other words, the center of the 1″ hole should be 1 1/2″ above the bottom of the bucket.
2) Install the bucket spigot. This piece comes with a rubber washer and plastic nut. Make sure the rubber washer is on the outside of the bucket and tighten the plastic washer securely with your fingers only.
3) Once the spigot has been installed, the first part of the project is complete and it is time to move on to the slightly more labor intensive part of our procedure.
4) Take the second bucket and completely cover the bottom of the bucket with 1/8″ holes that are approximately 1/8″ apart. Try to space them as evenly as possible and take your time.
5) Clean away as much of the debris plastic as possible from around the edges of the holes. You don’t want a bunch of plastic interfering with the flow of liquid through your grain bed.
6) Place the bucket with all of the holes in the bottom, inside the bucket with the spigot. That is all there is to the procedure. You now have your own Mash/Lauter tun.
So how do we use this piece of equipment? We will discuss its use in detail in the Partial Mash with Sparge tutorial and also in the All Grain Beer Brewing Tutorial that are on the articles page of this site. For now, lets just say that grain can be placed in the bucket, mixed with a set amount of water, and then allowed to steep. After the steeping period has completed, a set amount of water can be trickled over the top of the grain bed while the liquid is drained from the spigot at the bottom of the Lauter tun. This procedure essentially rinses additional sugars from the grain bed. The reason we would want to do this is simply to take greater advantage of the sugars that are present in the grains we are using. If we are using this in an all grain beer brewing situation, we want get as much of the sugar from the grain as possible since this will be our only source of fermentable material.