Brewing Processes - Wort Separation

In our last article on mashing, we learnt that the malt's unfermentable sugars are extracted and broken down by amylase enzymes. The sugars dissolve into the water, forming sugary liquid called 'wort'. Once all the sugars are extracted, the sugary wort needs to be separated from the ‘spent grain’ which no longer has brewing value. A number of methods can be used to achieve this.

A commercial lauter vessel

Methods of wort separation

In a traditional brewing process the entire mash is transferred into a vessel with a false bottom called a lautering vessel. The sugary wort is allowed to run through the false bottom and into another vessel while the grains are retained. At the same time hot water is sprayed on top of the grain bed to rinse and collect any additional sugars from the malt. The process is halted when most of the sugars have been retrieved. A more modern commercial technology is the mash filter. Instead of relying on gravity to drain the wort through a false bottom, a mash filter  essentially squeezes the wort out of the spent grain. The wort is collected and the dry spent grain is discarded.

Spent grain

A simpler way

As it relates to BrewBox, wort separation is a much simpler process. We forego the lengthy sparge and requirement for a specialised lautering vessel. Instead our process uses simple mesh bag in a similar way to a mash filter. The grains are held inside the mesh brew bag for the duration of the mash. Following the mash rest, the separation process is as simple as removing the bag containing the spent grains and allowing the sugary wort to drip back into the brew pot. The whole process takes a matter of minutes and removes the need for a bunch of extra equipment. Happy brewing!