Using Chugger Pumps By: Fred Brown

In my previous product review of the Blichmann Top Tier, I touched upon a few of the components that make my brew days a bit less back breaking and certainly less time consuming.  In the next few reviews, I am going to take a closer look at these components individually, sharing my experiences and possibly help you in considering your next equipment upgrade.  We will rewind a bit to a time before that wonderful modular brewing system entered my life.  I know...its hard to imagine how I brewed without it!

After taking the plunge into all grain brewing, my next equipment acquisition was a Chugger Pump.  After brewing with a friend who had a very similar setup to mine with the exception of his pump, I had seen why he had spoken so highly of it.  Soon after, Love2Brew started to carry Chugger pumps.  It performs great, and saves time and heavy lifting.

How exactly has my Chugger Pump done this?  Ill tell ya!

  1. No more dangerous lifting of hot and heavy liquids!  The pump does all the work!
  2. I no longer experience a loss in temperature when I am moving strike water from the Hot Liquor Tank to the Mash Tun.  Prior to this, I would have to hold my water a few degrees higher to account for the loss in temperature.
  3. Vorlauf (Recirculating) is a breeze.  My runnings clear faster than filling a pitcher.  Also I do not have to worry about accidentally spilling hot wort all over!
  4. I can whirlpool in my boil kettle, allowing me to clear my wort prior to chilling, as well as sanitize my plate chiller all in-line.

A few tips and tricks I have learned along the way:

  1. The pump is either on or its not.  You will want to attach a ball valve to the outlet side of the pump head to control the flow of your wort.  Fully open the valve on the vessel that is supplying the pump and use the valve on the pump to regulate its flow.
  2. I have found that orienting the head of the pump so the outlet is at the 12 O’Clock position and the inlet is at the 6 O’Clock positions aid in priming the pump head.  This pump is not self priming which means prior to turning the pump on you want to be sure to fill the pump head with liquid.  Running the pump dry can damage the pump!
  3. Furthermore, to aid in priming the pump head I attached a bleeder valve which draws the air filling the pump head out and filling it with liquid.  This pretty much eliminated any issue with priming.
  4. Its a good idea to have the pump hooked up to a GFI outlet to keep you safe from electrocution.

If I were to be robbed of my brewing treasures, I would plead to keep my Chugger Pump.  If you are one of those less is more types or not fond of fancy gadgetry, I would implore you to change your thoughts and give one of these pumps a try.  I bet you will brewing on a different sheet of music!