Using Centrifugal Pumps for Homebrewing

Posted: 4/9/2013

If you're going to brew beer at home, you're going to need to transfer large volumes of liquid. That means a good pump is likely to become your new best friend. That's right; you'll need a pump and probably a centrifugal pump to homebrew all grain. A good pump can make transferring hot wort and boiling water easy. But what exactly is a centrifugal pump, what makes one good and why do you need one? Well, centrifugal pumps are actually a lot like household fans: Fluids enter through one port of the pump's chamber, are whizzed around by a rotating impeller then pushed out the exit port at a higher pressure.

Centrifugal pumps represent simpler pump designs than some of the other pump types popular with homebrewers but tend to have more complicated setup and use requirements. For instance, before you'll be able to use it, your centrifugal pump will need to be beneath the wort and water level so the liquid can flow naturally to the pump. We can't stress enough that this type of pump can't be run dry and will stop working if air enters through the inlet piping.

You should also know that centrifugal pumps don't typically feature flow controls. Fortunately, you're unlikely to need precise flow control for your home brewing adventures, but you can choke the flow down from the maximum permitted by throttling a valve on the pump's outlet.

So to recap, magnetically coupled centrifugal pumps are reliable home brewing tools but they cannot be run dry, there's no simple way to adjustment the flow rate without an accessory, and your pump will need to be primed before you use it. It's also worth noting that they're available in both Polysulfone and Stainless Steel.

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