Saturday 29 January 2011

My New Toy - A Wort Pump

One of the bigger pains in the bottom I've had to put up with recently is having to pick up a five gallon fermenter and pour the contents into my copper ready for boiling. Add to that, my set up is a a 10 gallon one and moving full containers that big is a bit of a non starter, especially for one with such a history of back problems.

Lugging 46L of wort is no fun
With there being a distinct lack of height in my shed I realised pretty early on that a gravity fed system was going to be a non starter so a pump was a must buy. My first attempt at using a wort pump was not exactly an unqualified success; I used a pump designed for transferring water around solar heating systems. As the pump was not self priming I had to suck the wort from the fermenter in the first instance. As a result I can exclusively reveal hot wort isn't the most comfortable thing in one's mouth. 

Having braved the blisters in my mouth I was then faced with the pipework coming out of the fermenter and spilling wort all over my shoes and jeans. To cap it all, the whole thing packed up after three brews. 

Having parted with the best part of £60 (that's a lot of drinking vouchers, folks) I was understandably reticent to put my hand in my pocket again. Luckily the brewing community is a broad church and full of such generous folk. James from Sandstone brewery suggested a flojet pump, his Epicness Kelly Ryan then linked me to the instructions and Pete Brissenden from Lovibonds saved me from having to fork out upwards of £100 for a compressor. How? Read on.

Flojet pump and pressure spray
The flojet pump in question runs on compressed air. It's also self priming so no more sucking (matron) and can be run from a compressor or via a bottle of compressed gas. I've got dispense gas for my bar but lugging it down to the shed was impractical, and you need to have adequate venting. I was all set to break out the credit card at toolstation when Pete suggested using a pressure spray, the type of thing you can get from B&Q. 

That rang a bell with me and following a short rummage in my loft I found a pressure spray (used for treating carpets in care homes for urine spills - don't laugh that'll be us one day) when the pressure relief valve had failed. I'd kept it for spares. All I then needed to get was a 1/2"BSP female to 3/8" JG pushfit and the job, as they say, is a good 'un.

Pumping water from lower FV to upper.
So, after some testing in the conservatory, all was working. I'd half filled the pressure spray with water to lessen the amount of pumping I needed to do.

So how did it perform? Pretty well and much better than anything I've used before if I'm honest. As well as pumping from a fermenting vessel to the copper, it also did a great job recirculating wort back into the mash tun. Fantastic.

I'll be honest, I did two brews today and I was a bit knackered with all that pumping so I enlisted the help of one my teenaged sons, made a few jokes about masturbation and low and behold my wort was in my copper. Another good thing about the pump is that it can be wall mounted so, going forward, there'll be more room. However, best of all I'll now be able to do double brewlengths the whole reason I invested in a 10 Gal set up. 


  1. Just discovered your blog and you made me smile so I will be back again. Don

  2. Hi Don, glad you like it. The intention is to document the ups and downs of homebrewing without getting too up myself in the process.