Food and Drink

Return of the brew

I have been on a three-year hiatus with brewing but I am just about ready to get back into the swing of things. It is summer which makes it a little more difficult, but I have a PLAN. I have gone through the shed and inventoried and am gathering the replacements and new items I need.

This week, actually today, I got a new peristaltic pump for moving brew around and a pond pump that will be part of my cooling PLAN. Right now I am trying to figure out how to wire the dang motor for the peristaltic pump…. Why a peristaltic pump, you ask? Well, there are two things that are appealing about this type of pump over the normal magnetic drive brew pumps. First, they are really easy to keep sterile because the only thing that touches the wort is the tubing. Sterilized tubing = sterilized pump. Tubing is cheap. The second advantage is that I don’t have to worry about the self-priming issue. These things pull rather than push, so I can have it anywhere in my flow (within reason). These are awesome reasons to use peristaltics but normally these suckers run into the hundreds of dollars and are really unrealistic for the average homebrewer. This is where the power of eBay and a little elbow grease come in. I got the pump head and motor for $24, including shipping. Of course, I don’t know how to wire this particular type of motor (a permanent split capacitor if you’re curious) but I can learn and that’s all I need. When I do figure it out and have a sweet, wort-pumping setup I’ll post a little step-by-step so others can be cool like me.

As for the PLAN, this is my cooling plan. The tap water in Maryland can get a bit high for wort chilling in the summer. I have always used an immersion chiller, but it takes forever in summer. I am biting the bullet and buying a convoluted counter-flow chiller (CFC). But Wait! There’s More! I took this idea from a post on the HBD forum to help conserve water because running a hose at full blast can use a bunch of water. I’m going to recirculate ice water through the CFC. Instead of hooking the CFC up to my hose I’ll hook it up to a pond pump sitting in a tub if ice water (basically several bags of ice with enough water to make it float). The output goes back into the tub and I can add more ice if the temperature gets too high. Buying several bags of ice is worth it to not waste huge amounts of water. I can then use the water from the tub for cleanup at the end of brew day. Anyway, that’s the PLAN, we’ll see how it goes in reality.