I’m going to be honest, I’m getting old. While I am not yet enrolled in AARP, I am getting to the age where a full day of physical activity takes a different toll than it did 10 years ago. After a full day of brewing and lifting heavy equipment, sometimes full of liquid, I decided it was time to work smarter and not harder.
I decided it was time to add a homebrew pump to my brewing set up. I decided to go with a chugger magnetic driven pump. I was excited about what it could do to not only ease my back pain but facilitate a better process. Here are some reasons to add a pump to your brewing set-up and some considerations to make.
Reasons to Buy a Homebrew Pump Right Now
1. Preventing unnecessary injury
Every time I pick up a pot of almost boiling wort or water, I can’t help but think of burning the crap out of myself. There is inherent danger with brewing and trying to manage such risk is important. By adding a homebrew pump to the brewery, I was able to keep boiling pots of liquid in one place and just pump the product where necessary. No 3rd degree burns for this guy.
2. Quicker Brew Day
I have been able to shave 1 hour off of my brew day since adding the pump. This is because I am able to recalculate during the mash so there is no need to vorlof, I can add both strike and spare water more quickly and my chilling time has been cut in half. The biggest improvement is pumping through a whirlpool arm with my immersion chiller. I went from a 20-30 minute chill time to an average 8 minute chill time. Hell yea!
3. Improvement of Process
Since incorporating the pump, I have been able to improve my process. As mentioned, my recalculation during the mash has increased my efficiency to the high 80s on average. The pump has allowed me to be more consistent. With a decrease in chill time, I have not experienced any issues with chill haze. Additionally, I can whirlpool the chilled wort to try to clear it as much as possible of any hop sediment.
Considerations When Adding a Pump
1. Type of Pump
There are so many different configurations and styles of pump to choose from. I decided to purchase an stainless steel head inline pump. Depending on your set up and wants, there is a variety of models to choose from (i.e. center inlet, plastic head, etc.). You really can’t go wrong with any of your decisions.
There are a number of ways to connect your pump to the vessels. I utilize cam locks which I have been extremely happy with. Whether you choose hose barbs, quick disconnects or cam locks, decide which works best for you. The cam locks allows me to move hoses when necessary and utilize high temperature silicone hoses. Your connections decision will determine a lot about your brew day, so choose wisely and choose once.
3. Setting Up the Pump
For some, adding a pump is just one more piece of equipment that could ruin a brew day. There is some truth to that opinion. If you lose prime on your pump, it could really impact your brew day. Adding a bleeder valve to expel trapped air is advised. Additionally, cleaning the pump is another item consider. I actually find cleaning up after brew day is much more convenient with a pump as I can run both PBW and water through each vessel one at a time.
So, adding a pump to your brewery. It is a personal choice and one that I decided was right for me. If you utilize gravity and enjoy having one less piece of equipment, then keep doing you! If you find that you need to automate more of your brewery yet keep a hands on approach, a pump could be a great addition.