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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: fistfullofhops on December 12, 2013, 08:55:18 pm

Title: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: fistfullofhops on December 12, 2013, 08:55:18 pm
Sorry if this is a redundant subject. I started out brewing using gravity, then switched to a pump. I'm switching back to gravity because I just find it easier and the pump noise drove me mad.

Just curious to see the feedback from both sides.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: milligan101 on December 12, 2013, 09:05:56 pm
I plan to use a pump for the first time this weekend.  Brewing about 18 years now by gravity.  A few thing I want to do easier, like not climbing a ladder using a pump.  I also hope my cfc and shower head sparge will work better with a pump.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: thebigbaker on December 12, 2013, 09:13:29 pm
I use a pump but I currently only use it to whirlpool when I'm cooling w/ my IC.  I batch sparge and transfer strike/ mash water with a pitcher and wort transfers with a ball valve into the fermenter.  However, all that fancy-shiny brewing equipment is tempting, so we'll see how long I keep using the easy system I've got going.  :)
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: sparkleberry on December 12, 2013, 11:10:30 pm
i've been using my pump exclusively to move strike and sparge water up to my cooler. its been great so far. i was originally going to use it to recirculate wort whilst cooling, but then it's just another piece of gear to clean and sanitize and worry about not being clean enough. i figure moving hot water around for me is well worth it's price.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: Alewyfe on December 12, 2013, 11:15:18 pm
A pump. It saves my back, increases my mash efficiency and reduces my cooling time.

It also takes longer to set up and tear down and makes more stuff to clean. (more hoses, trub filter and chiller)

Does it help me make better beer? Doubtful. It does save a fair amount of lifting, but if you don't like ditzing with it, ditch it. We mostly brew because we enjoy it. I say get rid of anything that interferes with that enjoyment.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 13, 2013, 04:16:45 am
With a single tier system, pumps are needed to save my old back.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: FlipMasterFlash on December 13, 2013, 07:26:45 am
I really enjoy the simplicity of gravity but I use a pump now so that I can have my boil kettle and mash tun at more comfortable heights.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: dbarber on December 13, 2013, 08:14:22 am
I've been brewing for 15 years and have always used gravity, but plan to incorporate a pump into my system next year....easier on the back.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: majorvices on December 13, 2013, 09:53:55 am
Pumps are awesome. I would brew without one if I had to, but I'll put up with the pump whine no problem. Check out this:

http://www.mrmalty.com/chiller.php

Can't do that without a pump!
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: fistfullofhops on December 13, 2013, 01:25:44 pm
Brew day went well today. The only thing I had to lift was the boiling kettle after the chill. There were two of us so it wasn't a big deal.

My buddy had a rig years ago that was three tier, all gravity fed. There was a crane that the boiling kettle hooked on to and you cranked it up to the second tier, then slid a steel shelf in place to rest it on. It worked really well; all the simplicity of gravity without breaking your back.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: fistfullofhops on December 13, 2013, 01:38:28 pm
Check out this:

http://www.mrmalty.com/chiller.php

That is bad ass.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: euge on December 13, 2013, 01:41:24 pm
I think if you are using gravity all the way there is no need to have a pump. Only a hose to fill the HLT at the top.

In my case I use a hybrid gravity single-tier batch-sparge system.

The point is that I used to use a pump but found it kinda troublesome and messy. I can cool my wort just as well without a recirc or whirlpool. Less equipment and fittings to buy, clean, maintain and keep track of. To get all the connects, fittings and silicon hose I wanted was going to run me over $100!

I've pretty much eliminated everything from my brewery as non-essential and have streamlined my process. I use a minimum of equipment and do large boils (12+) on my kitchen stove. No tricked out system. Just a kettle with a ball-valve, a 70qt cooler, several large buckets, one piece of vinyl tubing and a single long handled spoon. A copper IC and frozen bottles to cool it all.

So I'd say one would have to consider the expense and impact a pump will have on the process, the system and the learning curve. Mistakes will be made. A flailing hose pumping hot wort is no walk in the park... And like many things in homebrewing just because everyone is doing it and it seems like a natural evolution to the process doesn't make buying a pump necessary.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: morticaixavier on December 13, 2013, 02:17:38 pm
I think if you are using gravity all the way there is no need to have a pump. Only a hose to fill the HLT at the top.

In my case I use a hybrid gravity single-tier batch-sparge system.

The point is that I used to use a pump but found it kinda troublesome and messy. I can cool my wort just as well without a recirc or whirlpool. Less equipment and fittings to buy, clean, maintain and keep track of. To get all the connects, fittings and silicon hose I wanted was going to run me over $100!

I've pretty much eliminated everything from my brewery as non-essential and have streamlined my process. I use a minimum of equipment and do large boils (12+) on my kitchen stove. No tricked out system. Just a kettle with a ball-valve, a 70qt cooler, several large buckets, one piece of vinyl tubing and a single long handled spoon. A copper IC and frozen bottles to cool it all.

So I'd say one would have to consider the expense and impact a pump will have on the process, the system and the learning curve. Mistakes will be made. A flailing hose pumping hot wort is no walk in the park... And like many things in homebrewing just because everyone is doing it and it seems like a natural evolution to the process doesn't make buying a pump necessary.

euge, I keep meaning to try your frozen water bottle techinique. My IC works well enough and I can drop the temp the rest of the way with the fridge but I would love to save some water. I go through probably 20-30 gallons chilling a 10 gallon batch.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: ynotbrusum on December 13, 2013, 03:30:23 pm
I soldered up my Jamil Whirlpool type arm last weekend and it is going into service tomorrow.  I have had a March pump and high temp hoses with QCD's sitting idle for a couple years now, as I just didn't see the need.  Jamil's points are well taken and I am going to try to cram two 10 gallon batches in tomorrow with the time savings.  Hopefully, the time will be cut down to a third or so on the chill, allowing me to sync the mash of the second batch to allow for kettle cleaning and then back to boiling.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: drb1215 on December 16, 2013, 11:46:24 am
I'm currently doing all gravity, but will soon add a pump for moving water from my BK up to my HLT cooler.  My back is starting to not appreciate lifting gallons of water!
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 16, 2013, 03:52:40 pm
I think if you are using gravity all the way there is no need to have a pump. Only a hose to fill the HLT at the top.

In my case I use a hybrid gravity single-tier batch-sparge system.

The point is that I used to use a pump but found it kinda troublesome and messy. I can cool my wort just as well without a recirc or whirlpool. Less equipment and fittings to buy, clean, maintain and keep track of. To get all the connects, fittings and silicon hose I wanted was going to run me over $100!

I've pretty much eliminated everything from my brewery as non-essential and have streamlined my process. I use a minimum of equipment and do large boils (12+) on my kitchen stove. No tricked out system. Just a kettle with a ball-valve, a 70qt cooler, several large buckets, one piece of vinyl tubing and a single long handled spoon. A copper IC and frozen bottles to cool it all.

So I'd say one would have to consider the expense and impact a pump will have on the process, the system and the learning curve. Mistakes will be made. A flailing hose pumping hot wort is no walk in the park... And like many things in homebrewing just because everyone is doing it and it seems like a natural evolution to the process doesn't make buying a pump necessary.

euge, I keep meaning to try your frozen water bottle techinique. My IC works well enough and I can drop the temp the rest of the way with the fridge but I would love to save some water. I go through probably 20-30 gallons chilling a 10 gallon batch.

+1 to the frozen bottle technique. I've done it for years.  Like Euge I've tried to simplify my system over the years.  It's cheap, easy, and works.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 16, 2013, 04:39:37 pm
Chilling today, I got a Doppelbock down to 48F using tap water. It has been cold here.

50' immersion chiller, pump, and Jamil return whirlpool.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: gmac on December 16, 2013, 06:09:42 pm
Forklift!
(http://i976.photobucket.com/albums/ae241/cancichfan/IMG-20130731-00030_zpsd0466864.jpg) (http://s976.photobucket.com/user/cancichfan/media/IMG-20130731-00030_zpsd0466864.jpg.html)
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: euge on December 16, 2013, 06:12:18 pm
Freakin awesome!
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 16, 2013, 06:16:52 pm
Now THAT'S a damn gravity system !
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: ynotbrusum on December 17, 2013, 12:57:32 pm
Do those hydraulics count as a pump?  BTW, I used the pump and the Jamil whirlpool and it worked great; I'm going to add a pre-chiller for when the wort gets under 80F, just to see how fast I can get it down in the 50's.  It only took about 35-40 minutes for 10 gallons of wort to go from boiling to 2 degrees above inlet temperature using 52F tap water.  Call me a convert.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: denny on December 17, 2013, 12:59:56 pm
Chilling today, I got a Doppelbock down to 48F using tap water. It has been cold here.

50' immersion chiller, pump, and Jamil return whirlpool.

Same setup here, similar results.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: theoman on December 18, 2013, 02:01:05 am
Pumps are awesome. I would brew without one if I had to, but I'll put up with the pump whine no problem. Check out this:

http://www.mrmalty.com/chiller.php

Can't do that without a pump!

This is interesting. They point out that with a counter-flow or plate chiller, you're leaving a large portion of the wort at near-boiling temp, while an immersion chiller takes care of the whole batch equally. That's never occurred to me. I'm rethinking my plan to buy a therminator.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: fistfullofhops on December 18, 2013, 05:28:11 am
I found pictures of the rig I was talking about with the boiling kettle hoist.

(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/12/18/utabujuq.jpg)

(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/12/18/5a7u2yqy.jpg)

(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/12/18/y3udaryz.jpg)


Also found a pic of my first gravity fed system :)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/12/18/y3e6y2u6.jpg)
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on December 18, 2013, 07:38:40 am
I found pictures of the rig I was talking about with the boiling kettle hoist.
Also found a pic of my first gravity fed system :)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/12/18/y3e6y2u6.jpg)

Safety First!
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: Alewyfe on December 18, 2013, 11:22:43 am
I found pictures of the rig I was talking about with the boiling kettle hoist.
Also found a pic of my first gravity fed system :)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/12/18/y3e6y2u6.jpg)

Safety First!
Oh Goodness! I don't feel so McGiverish now.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: fistfullofhops on December 18, 2013, 11:49:04 am
Ha! I thought you guys might like that picture. I was 23yrs old and pretty short on resources and funds. I slapped that ghetto setup together in the garage of our rental house and brewed a good amount of beer with it.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: fistfullofhops on December 19, 2013, 05:43:07 pm
I think if you are using gravity all the way there is no need to have a pump. Only a hose to fill the HLT at the top.

In my case I use a hybrid gravity single-tier batch-sparge system.

The point is that I used to use a pump but found it kinda troublesome and messy. I can cool my wort just as well without a recirc or whirlpool. Less equipment and fittings to buy, clean, maintain and keep track of. To get all the connects, fittings and silicon hose I wanted was going to run me over $100!

I've pretty much eliminated everything from my brewery as non-essential and have streamlined my process. I use a minimum of equipment and do large boils (12+) on my kitchen stove. No tricked out system. Just a kettle with a ball-valve, a 70qt cooler, several large buckets, one piece of vinyl tubing and a single long handled spoon. A copper IC and frozen bottles to cool it all.

So I'd say one would have to consider the expense and impact a pump will have on the process, the system and the learning curve. Mistakes will be made. A flailing hose pumping hot wort is no walk in the park... And like many things in homebrewing just because everyone is doing it and it seems like a natural evolution to the process doesn't make buying a pump necessary.

The silicone hose is nice stuff. It doesn't discolor or collapse when it gets hot. It doesn't get a memory so it's easy to coil. And you don't need hose clamps on the barbs because it seals perfectly yet pulls off so easily.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: yeastinfection on December 20, 2013, 08:02:53 am
I use gravity,  but I tell people that I use a "Newton Pump."
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: yugamrap on December 24, 2013, 10:00:14 am
I use a pump to reduce lifting and to recirculate with a WIC during chilling.  Once I solved the priming challenge and got my process dialed-in, the pump ends up being a net time-saver for me. 
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: ajbrenneis on December 29, 2013, 09:05:10 am
I have a single tier system so pumps are a necessary part of it.  Not that I am complaining that i dont have to do much heavy lifting... ..
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: fistfullofhops on January 01, 2014, 07:48:38 pm
Decided to pull my pump out of retirement. I made my own version of a whirpool nozzle. I did a test run with water and I got a pretty nice whirpool. I made some gaps in the IC so the flow can get all the way to the center. I'm going to test it out tomorrow. I'm planning on brewing (2) 12g batches.

(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/01/02/bazabude.jpg)

(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/01/02/jyhy2y7a.jpg)
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: philm63 on January 02, 2014, 03:31:11 am
I'm just now adding a pump so I can pull the wort through my system w/o gravity. I'm sure my back will appreciate the gesture.

One of my goals is to be able to filter the hop sludge and break material so I can get cleaner wort into the fermenter. I did notice something in this thread...

...(more hoses, trub filter and chiller)

Trub filter? I'm thinking of using my Hop Rocket stuffed full of hop-socks. What do you use?
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: fistfullofhops on January 02, 2014, 09:12:20 pm
The pump sped up my process today but I had a couple accidents with siphons while disconnecting and reattaching hoses. I think I need to add a couple ball valves to alleviate the problem.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: fistfullofhops on January 10, 2014, 08:00:00 pm
I re-plumbed my whirpool nozzle to more resemble Jamil's design. His configuration just makes it easier, and the elevated inlet will eliminate the siphoning problems I ran into on the last batch when I disconnected hoses.

(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/01/11/ene9a6y5.jpg)

(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/01/11/adyjuby9.jpg)
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: ynotbrusum on January 12, 2014, 06:57:25 am
Just an observation -The whirlpool definitely speeds the chilling time as expected.  One drawback is that it results in a less clear wort going into the fermenter.  So on yeast harvest after fermenting, I find that I have more trub.  Not a big deal for me, since I repitch on volume, anyway (1/2 for lagers and about a third for ales - timing my beers so that I rack from primary on brew day of the repitch batch).
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: klickitat jim on January 12, 2014, 07:03:07 am
I hear that if you let it settle for a bit (10-15 min) after whirlpool that it's clearer than no whirlpool. I haven't done a side by side test but I think this is true.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 12, 2014, 07:23:03 am
I have a false bottom in my kettle. With whole hops you get a natural trub filter, and clear wort when you are done whirlpooling.

Otherwise you should wait for it to settle, as suggested.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: euge on January 12, 2014, 07:37:33 am
I remove my hop-bags and give my kettle a good stir and go do something else for 10-20 minutes. That's my whirlpool.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: fistfullofhops on January 28, 2014, 09:08:55 pm
Worked well on a recent 13g batch. I was below 140*F in minutes with a 50' x 3/8 OD immersion chiller. Please excuse the hazards; we have a one car garage and the weather was nasty so real estate was at a premium. I never left the burner unattended.

(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/01/29/sa5amejy.jpg)
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: ynotbrusum on January 29, 2014, 05:13:21 am
Looks good - that is pretty much my setup, only I went with half inch copper on the IC and 3/4 copper water line on the whirlpool attachment for the pump.  And I have now had much better success allowing the whirlpooled wort to sit for a while after chilling - very clear wort, indeed.  No filtering, other than a false bottom...but I may go a whole hop addition for one of the hop selections just for the extra filtering it provides!  Thanks for a good post and helpful thread.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: fistfullofhops on January 29, 2014, 06:15:25 am
In the FWIW category, I gave my wort a good length of horizontal run after the 90 elbow, along with a reduced diameter nozzle, in an effort to achieve a nice laminar flow. While I can't prove that it makes a difference, I am a firm believer that a little bit of nozzle technology goes a long way. Kind of like comparing a disney world fountain with with running a garden hose with your thumb on the end; one is a nice solid rod of liquid whereas the other just sprays everywhere like a wet fart.
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: klickitat jim on January 29, 2014, 07:24:25 am
Looks good - that is pretty much my setup, only I went with half inch copper on the IC and 3/4 copper water line on the whirlpool attachment for the pump.  And I have now had much better success allowing the whirlpooled wort to sit for a while after chilling - very clear wort, indeed.  No filtering, other than a false bottom...but I may go a whole hop addition for one of the hop selections just for the extra filtering it provides!  Thanks for a good post and helpful thread.

I let mine settle about 20-30 after I cut the whirlpool. A good timer for that is to let your gravity sample settle. When it looks good I drain the kettle
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: ccfoo242 on January 29, 2014, 08:01:47 am
I've found this remote control to be brilliant when used with my pump:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001Q9EFUK/ref=redir_mdp_mobile?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_details_o01_s00_i00 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001Q9EFUK/ref=redir_mdp_mobile?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_details_o01_s00_i00)

When draining the mash gets down to the last slow bit I can stay parked in my chair and stop the pump for a minute while more builds up. I love it.


Sent from the future using Tapatalk
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: dkfick on January 29, 2014, 08:24:10 am
I've found this remote control to be brilliant when used with my pump:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001Q9EFUK/ref=redir_mdp_mobile?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_details_o01_s00_i00 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001Q9EFUK/ref=redir_mdp_mobile?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_details_o01_s00_i00)

When draining the mash gets down to the last slow bit I can stay parked in my chair and stop the pump for a minute while more builds up. I love it.
Good idea to control the pump.  Just picked one up.

Sent from the future using Tapatalk
Title: Re: All grain brewing - pump or no pump?
Post by: fistfullofhops on February 01, 2014, 09:01:05 pm
I've found this remote control to be brilliant when used with my pump:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001Q9EFUK/ref=redir_mdp_mobile?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_details_o01_s00_i00 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001Q9EFUK/ref=redir_mdp_mobile?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_details_o01_s00_i00)

When draining the mash gets down to the last slow bit I can stay parked in my chair and stop the pump for a minute while more builds up. I love it.


Sent from the future using Tapatalk

Nice. Thanks.