Using a Cornelius Keg as an HLT
Many home brewers don’t have the room or desire to set up a three-tiered brewing system. Here is an easy way to eliminate the top tier—the hot liquor tank.
When your brew is in the mash, just bring 5 or more gallons of water to a boil. You’re not using your burner anyway at this time. Once it reaches a boil, pour it into clean keg using a large funnel (for safety). I use 10 gallon kegs, but 5 gallons will work fine also. By the time you have finished re-circulating the wort in your mash tun, the water will have cooled to 175-180 degrees.
Just use CO2 to push the hot water to the top of your lauter tun. I have a pie tin with many small holes drilled in it so I won’t disturb my grain bed. The faucet drains into it.
Make sure your water line has clamps on both ends! Many of us omit them on serving lines, but the tubing expands when hot, and WILL pop off, spraying scalding hot water.
You can fill two or more kegs that way and never run out of hot water. It comes in handy when you’re cleaning your wort chiller, sanitizing your aerating stone, etc. An added advantage is that the boiling water sanitizes your kegs. They’re ready to go for either fermenting or kegging. tpb