Brewing Pumps: Frequently Asked Questions

A Brief History of the Brewing Industry

Before we focus on Brewing Pumps, let's give you a brief history of the industry! Did you know…that beer is the oldest recipe in the world! Dating back as far as around 5,000 B.C. in ancient Egypt, the first beer recipes were reportedly documented on papyrus scrolls.

Back then, it is believed that beer was being made with very different ingredients to what is used today; such as pomegranates, dates and herbs. Beer was a common drink during the Middle Ages throughout northern and eastern parts of Europe, and in the south it was reportedly a drink more popular amongst lower classes.

The Industrial Revolution lead to the brewing industry becoming a reality, with innovations such as the thermometer and hydrometer being created mid-17thCentury. During the early days of brewing beer in factories, malt was being dried over fires which were made of wood, charcoal, straw or coke, which would have resulted in beer having a smoky flavour due to the malt having a lack of shielding from the smoke; these beers were reportedly ‘famous’ for being undrinkable.

With the introduction of the hydrometer, brewers were able to determine how much fermentable material was yielded from each malt, resulting in brewers often using pale malt due to its higher yield. Moving forward a couple of centuries to 2018, many breweries experiment with a number of different types of beer, using different flavours and different malts to expand the market and create unique tasting beers.

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Brewing Pump Frequently Asked Questions

What types of pumps can I use for pumping Hot Wort?

Generally stainless steel Centrifugal Pumps are used for the pumping of hot wort, however, the brewing pump needs to be able to withstand the temperature of the fluid, be capable of handling the suspended solids within the wort, be suitable for CIP (Clean in Place) and have a suitably selected and protected mechanical seal.

When you are pumping a sugary fluid at high temperatures, the mechanical seal can be susceptible to thermal shock and also seal faces can stick together if not properly flushed or cleaned. Most “cost effective” brewing pumps that don’t have a flushed mechanical seal require a cooling down period before they are cleaned with a warm caustic solution, however, Tapflo’s CTH & CPC series of Centrifugal Pumps can be supplied with a flushed seal configuration to constantly clean the faces of the seal and avoid cooling down periods. Tapflo provides a more effective pump and a more efficient use of your time!

Both the CTH and CPC series of Centrifugal pumps are hygienically rated with Open Impellers that are capable of handling suspended solids and fluid temperatures of up to 180ºC. Alternatively, we also have a vast range of Sanitary Air Operated Diaphragm (AODD) Pumps which are capable of fluid temperatures up to 110ºC, these AODDs don’t feature mechanical seals and can also pass solids - we've got all bases covered!

When is it best to use a Centrifugal Pump and a Positive Displacement Pump?

In the brewing industry, Sanitary Centrifugal Pumps are the most commonly used pump and are generally employed for the transfer of low viscosity fluids with minimal solids concentration at high volumes and relatively low pressures (less than 7 bar). Examples of applications would be:

  • - Hot Wort Transfer
  • - Hot Liquor Transfer
  • - CIP pumping & scavenging
  • - Tank to Tank Transfer
  • - Tank cleaning

Positive Displacement Pumps commonly used in the brewing industry consist of Rotary Lobe, Twin Screw, Flexible Impeller, Progressing Cavity, Air Operated Diaphragm & Peristaltic. These are generally employed to transfer thick fluids with high solids concentrations at elevated pressures with relatively low flow rates and where flow accuracy is required. Examples of applications would be:

  • - Mash-in-Wort
  • - Mash Recirculation
  • - Liquid Sugar Transfer
  • - Syrup Transfer
  • - Yeast Slurry Transfer
  • - Bottling, Casking & Canning

All have their own specific design features and benefits and vary in initial cost vs cost of ownership and complexity in design and maintenance. Tapflo are capable of supplying all of the above and our team are more than happy to discuss the options available to best fit the requirements to the job in hand.

How do I reduce foaming & agitation when transferring beer to our fillers?

As Centrifugal Pumps are the most commonly used pump within the brewing industry they are also widely used on filler transfer applications for Bottling, Casking & Canning. However, centrifugal pumps transfer kinetic energy into the fluid to move it and operate at high speed (1450-2900 rpm) which means that beers tend to froth and foam as oxygen is introduced into them, which ultimately kills the flavour. When it comes to finally packaging the product the most important priority is the flavour and quality therefore pumps which operate at much lower operating speeds and which don’t impart kinetic energy into the fluid are the most suitable for these types of applications. Examples of these types of pumps are:

  • Progressing Cavity Pumps

As the above can be operated at much slower operating speeds and the flow rates can be adjusted whilst maintaining a relatively constant pressure the beer can be treated gently and the speed of the pump can be set to avoid agitation and foaming which enables the producer to guarantee the flavour of their product and also extend the shelf life.

What Centrifugal Pump should I be using for brewing?

Here at Tapflo we recommend our CTH Hygienic Centrifugal Pump. These pumps are FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved and are manufactured from a higher grade of Stainless Steel than standard centrifugal pumps. This means that the material has a higher quality finish which reduces crevasses on the steel's surface and therefore, also reduces the risk of bacteria growth within these crevasses. What's even better is the CTH is excellent quality and price efficient!

You can find out more about the work that FDA do and their missions HERE

Want a little bit more information on the importance of using an FDA approved pump as part of your brewing operation? Our Sales Executive Luke explains all, 'Why Shouldn't You Use Standard Centrifugal Pumps in the Brewing Industry?'

How do I maintain the temperature of my syrup to ensure it doesn’t thicken up too much causing damage to my pump and system?

Tapflo’s Double Screw, Lobe& Air Operated Diaphragm Pumps are all capable of being delivered with Heating Jackets which are fed by hot water or steam to maintain fluid temperature to a desired point to ensure that the viscosity of the syrup never drops below a set point. The product within the heating jacket never comes into contact with the syrup, therefore maintaining its integrity, quality and consistency. Our Peristaltic Pumps can also be supplied with electrically driven heating jackets upon request.

If you're looking for a quick summary of Pumps within the Brewing Industry, check out Tapflo's 7 Brewing Pump Tips now!

Tapflo Hot Wort Pump Case Study

Tapflo were recently approached by a craft brewing company for the supply of a hot wort transfer pump to replace an existing pump which they were having consistent seal failures with.

The existing pump had a single mechanical seal, rated for the fluid and operating temperature. The issue arose as operators couldn’t always guarantee that the pump was left to cool down after transferring the wort before cleaning; sometimes the cleaning of the pump would be left until the following shift. The result was that the seals were consistently failing due to both thermal shock and seal faces sticking together and cracking upon re-start.

Application Details:

Fluid: Hot Wort

Temperature: up to 90ºC

Required Capacity: 20 m³/hr @ 14 m head

Suction Conditions: Flooded

RequiredConnection Type: RJT

Pipework Size: 2”

Motor Supply: 230-400V / 3 Ph / 50 Hz

Pump Supplied:

Model: CTH CC 3R4F-22M

Description: Close Coupled, Hygienic Centrifugal Pump w/Open Impeller & Hygienic Motor Shroud & Extension Feet

2” RJT Connections

Electro-Polished AISI 316L Pump Body & Impeller

Ceramic/Graphite/EPDM/AISI 316L – Flushed

2.2 kW/2 Pole/230-400V/3 Ph/50 Hz/IP5 /Class F/IE3 Premium Efficiency Class

The pump was delivered within 3 working weeks and the customer has had trouble free operation since and has subsequently ordered a standby pump and hasn’t looked back!

If you require a similar pump or any assistance on fluid handling within your Brewery, then please get in touch on 02380 252 325 or email us at [email protected]

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