It's always a special day for a brewer when his brewhouse arrives. Here, Bill Madden stands next to his 465 gallon (or so) brewkettle. It had just arrived after a 2,250 mile journey from manufacturer Premier Stainless in California to Bill's soon-to-open brewpub Mad Fox Brewing Company, in Falls Church, Virginia.
The term brewhouse refers to the collection of vessels, equipment, and tubing with which a brewer brews his beer (sometimes referred to as hot-side operations), as opposed to the vessels in which fermentation occurs (i.e., cold-side). A brewhouse typically includes:
- mash tun (where the barley malt is steeped until its starches are converted into brewing sugars)
- lauter tun -pronounced like 'louder' but with a 't'- (where the solution of brewing sugars, called wort -pronounced like 'word' but with a 't'- is separated from the mash)
- hot water tanks (referred to as hot liquor tanks)
- brewkettle (in traditional British brewing referred to as a copper, named for the metal with which brewkettles, now fabricated of stainless steel, were formerly made.)
- whirlpool (in which the hot wort is separated, after the boil, from suspended solids such as spent hops and proteins)
- heat exchanger (where the boiling wort is chilled to fermentation temperature
- other assorted equipment and tubing
The quality of the finished beer, whether from a larger brewery or from a brewpub utilizing smaller, combined equipment, stems from the skillful practices of the brewer.