Using a pump for small batch BIAB...and its issues.

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Trumpetnut, Sep 1, 2018.

  1. Trumpetnut

    Trumpetnut New Member

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    Hi, everyone.

    I do small batches (1 gallon final volume in the fermentor) and I would like to add a pump to my system. I currently recirculate by hand...an hour for the mash, then do a first runnings, then recirculate my sparge for 15 minutes. Works well. But, I would like to use a pump.

    Stick with me on this...

    I have bought a little 12V DC pump, rated at 9 litres per minute, and I connected it to my mash tun ball valve with a silicon hose. It did not like it at all. Firstly, that hose deformed with the heat of the mash (reinforced silicon required) and I couldn't get the wort to the pump no matter how I tried. I had it with the ball valve fully open, and open at other amounts from near full to almost fully closed. Nothing worked.

    As a result no liquid was getting through the pump and back into the mash tun. I did try a water only run the day before and it worked perfectly, so I'm hoping some of you have experience of such a problem and can give me some advice. I have a few ideas.

    1: Do I need to regulate the flow from the outlet of the pump as well as from the outlet of the mash tun, sort of balance the resistance with a second valve, if you get my meaning?
    2: Do pumps generally not perform well with such small water volumes?
    3: Should I not even bother, put on some big boys pants, and get a bigger system? (Really don't want to do that).

    I thank you in advance for your time and patience with this newb's gripes.
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    turn it off then on or open the ball valve then close it, you have a bubble that's causing it to not pump, it's normal
     
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  3. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I use 1/2 silicone on everything, including full boil temp wort pumping through chiller plate for sterilizing. No problem ever with deformation. if you're pulling a vacuum, the hose will flatten, no matter what you do. Are you running through a false bottom? If not, you're probably sucking the bag up into the ball valve opening and stopping flow. After you have the pump primed and pumping (!) try closing the ball valve halfway and see if it pulls wort.
    1: Most likely
    2: Probably, depending on the pump
    3: Empathically, yes.
    Bottom line, you're throwing a lot of effort and equipment at a gallon of beer. Put together a decent 5 gallon set up with a good false bottom ( you can still use the bag as a liner) and a proper wort pump. You'll be thrilled you did. I did a ton of beer on a very simple 2-pot recirc system, pretty much a bigger version of what you're describing. You can do smaller batches if you want but having a set up that doesn't frustrate you on brewday is priceless. :)
     
  4. Texas Ale Works

    Texas Ale Works Active Member

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    My advice is to ditch to the hose and connect Straight to the kettle, and add a valve on the outlet.

    Open it all up and make sure you have fluid in the pump.

    And ensure you have the correct power supply
     
  5. Trumpetnut

    Trumpetnut New Member

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    I have a screen that sits above the bazooka filter and outlet valve. Now you mention pulling a vacuum, I did think that the flow was pulling the bag and grain flat to the screen and basically blocking any water movement. So, what I'll try is to make sure that there is some clear space around the grain to reduce the vacuuming risk.

    Ooh, I like that idea. I was thinking of shortening the hoses, but I could try it attached directly to the outlet valve of the mash tun.

    Could you explain why a valve on the pump outlet is necessary, please? Is it to balance the flow going into the pump?

    Thanks everyone for your help, so far. I really appreciate it.
     
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  6. Texas Ale Works

    Texas Ale Works Active Member

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    If you manage flow from the outlet you ensure the pump always has liquid in it.

    With the the little tan pumps I believe that using a PWM is the best way to manage your flow however.

    Let me do some looking for my source info on these types of pumps.
     
  7. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    A valve on the inlet side of the pump is nice for isolation purposes, but flow control should always be performed with a valve on the outlet side of a pump.
     
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  8. Trumpetnut

    Trumpetnut New Member

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    Tried attaching pump directly to mash tun. That is an option, it worked, but because I brew on a gas stove top the pump would melt during the boil, so I might keep that for when I get a second vessel.

    Arranged it so that the the ball valve I have was on the outlet of the pump and it worked perfectly. I only had a small issue that will need to be solved with some new hardware. I was going to wait til the end the month, but I'll order some camlocks etc, and a second ball valve. That should help my set up no end.

    Thanks everyone for your help.
     

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