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What's the Point of the Hot Liquor Tank?

When I first started with all-grain, I assumed that I’d eventually need an HLT. A year and change later, I still don’t see the point.

I just heat my mash and sparge water in one batch in my boil kettle, mash in, do an infusion mash, and batch sparge. I use my bottling bucket to hold the first runnings until I run my sparge water off from the boil kettle, then transfer and begin heating. I rarely bottle anymore, but even when I did I never had problems.

Anyone out there feel strongly that it needs to be done differently?

The question is probably more one of semantics than brewing. You do have a HLT. In your system it is also your kettle.

I suppose you got me there! I guess I’m wondering why some people decide to purchase the extra cooler or pot–it doesn’t seem to add any functionality.

My first runnings stay in the kettle while I use a small cooler for HLT till I batch sparge. Using a bottling bucket would have saved the expense of the small cooler, but the advantage is less pouring and less clean-up.

The cooler HLT never made sense to me either. I can see a pot HLT in a tiered or pump system have some advantages though.

[quote=“Flashman137”]When I first started with all-grain, I assumed that I’d eventually need an HLT. A year and change later, I still don’t see the point.

I just heat my mash and sparge water in one batch in my boil kettle, mash in, do an infusion mash, and batch sparge. I use my bottling bucket to hold the first runnings until I run my sparge water off from the boil kettle, then transfer and begin heating. I rarely bottle anymore, but even when I did I never had problems.

Anyone out there feel strongly that it needs to be done differently?[/quote]
Only thing that matters is how YOU feel about your process. If it works for you keep doing it.

I wanted to minimize lifting and pouring and I’m not very tall so a tiered system seems like a pain, so…

I have a 2 vessel system, HLT and BIAB-MT/BK with a pump.

[quote=“Flashman137”]When I first started with all-grain, I assumed that I’d eventually need an HLT. A year and change later, I still don’t see the point.

I just heat my mash and sparge water in one batch in my boil kettle, mash in, do an infusion mash, and batch sparge. I use my bottling bucket to hold the first runnings until I run my sparge water off from the boil kettle, then transfer and begin heating. I rarely bottle anymore, but even when I did I never had problems.

Anyone out there feel strongly that it needs to be done differently?[/quote]

I agree with you.

[quote=“Flashman137”]When I first started with all-grain, I assumed that I’d eventually need an HLT. A year and change later, I still don’t see the point.

I just heat my mash and sparge water in one batch in my boil kettle, mash in, do an infusion mash, and batch sparge. I use my bottling bucket to hold the first runnings until I run my sparge water off from the boil kettle, then transfer and begin heating. I rarely bottle anymore, but even when I did I never had problems.

Anyone out there feel strongly that it needs to be done differently?[/quote]
I do essentially the same thing, except instead of draining my first runnings into a bottling bucket, I drain them into my kettle and use my old smaller turkey fryer pot to heat and hold my sparge water. But if I didn’t already have the turkey fryer, I’d probably do it your way. As it is, getting the first runnings into the kettle lets me start heating it faster and thus get my boil going faster.

I suppose you got me there! I guess I’m wondering why some people decide to purchase the extra cooler or pot–it doesn’t seem to add any functionality.[/quote]

It’s whatever works for you. There’s no wrong answer as long as you can brew the beer. You are still using an extra vessel as the bottling bucket is used to hold the runoff until the kettle/HLT is emptied of sparge water and can take in the wort. I use a second kettle as an HLT, it works for me as I prefer to be able to start filling the brew kettle as soon as the mash runoff starts.

Better to buy another pot than another cooler. Can’t have to many pots.

I’m sorry but I disagree. You MUST have a HLT just as you MUST have a blue cooler if using it as a MT.

No concerns with 170F wort in the bottling bucket? Can HDPE withstand that sort of temp?

The HLT can be really appreciated as the batch size grows. I can’t imaging fly sparging 25 gallons without it. Here’s mine; a 25 gallon stainless stockpot.

That explains my chill haze and poor head retention!! My MT is Orange!!

That explains my chill haze and poor head retention!! My MT is Orange!![/quote]
I would make the switch right away. Also, buy new components since they are now contaminated by the orange cooler. It will result in better beer!

Isn’t it the same material as a cooler?

I use my bottling bucket to collect RO water the day before so as others of have shared I use my older kettle as an HLT. My next step is to setup a stand so gravity does the work of transferring to the mash tun.

Isn’t it the same material as a cooler?[/quote]

Yeah, I guess it is!

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