Tuesday, December 6, 2016
The Hot Liquor Tank Challenge @hawksbillbrew
In yesterday's post I wrote about the appearance of our shiny new tanks and vessels, fresh from Alpha Brewing Operations. It was a day we had been looking forward to for a few months, and at last it had arrived! David had the logistics in place to ensure a smooth operation, and we completed unloading the container earlier, well within the window of time we had been allotted by the shipping company.
First off the truck was our 10-barrel hot liquor tank, or HLT. Now, the term "hot liquor tank" suggests that this vessel has an association with alcohol, but it doesn't. It has an important role in the brewing process, but its work is actually done well before any fermentation begins.
Simply put, the HLT is a water heater, used to get water up to temperature for a couple of key early steps in the brewing process, namely striking and sparging. These steps are part of the process for extracting the fermentable sugars from the grain - that may be a topic for a future post, but today I'm writing about how we got such a big piece of equipment into the building. Seriously, we were worried that we might have to demo out the loading door a bit to make it fit!
We'd measured that door a few times and had compared it to the specs we'd rec'd from Alpha, and knew we had the clearances we needed. Now with the situation at hand, it was clear that this was going to take some complex maneuvering - while we were very comfortable with the tank's diameter , it was actually an inch or two too tall to make it through the door while standing upright, especially riding the forklift.
The brain trust assembled to contemplate the task at hand. Since we knew the diameter of the tank wasn't a problem, we concluded that the HLT needed to lay on its side to make it through, but how were we to get 700 pounds of shiny stainless down and back up again?
The answer lay in all those strong arms and backs. Surprisingly, after all the discussion and planning, the team made quick and easy work of it. And now that the HLT is inside, we'll move it into it's final spot soon as we have the general construction done in that area.
After an exciting and fun day with all of our new shiny stuff, it was time to get back to work on construction progress.