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Installed New Blichmann RipTide Home Brewing Pump Upgrades

 

I initially purchased my March home brewing pumps about 7 years ago, well before stainless steel homebrew pumps were really a thing. Once stainless pumps became more popular, I considered upgrading, but my existing pumps worked fine and I could not justify the cost.  Then Blichmann released their RipTide home brewing pumps which feature a tri-clamp attached head!!! In my opinion that is a big deal because it allows you to easily gain access to the pump cavity for easy cleaning.  As it stood, I had to rely on hot water and PBW to do all of the cleaning unless I wanted to spend an extra 30 minutes breaking down, clean and then reassembling each of my March pumps; which is really not something I wanted to do after a long day of beer brewing.  The one down side was that a new Blichmann Rip Tide home brewing pump will run you $199+. So I waited…..

Then, Blichmann release the RipTide Upgrade Kit! The Rip Tide Upgrade Kit allows you to upgrade some of the most common existing home brewing pumps to a Blichmann Rip Tide, for just $99. With this RipTide Kit, you can upgrade your March or Chugger pump with the Riptide’s Tri-Clamp housing.  The RipTide’s head is made from stainless steel and can rotate 365 degrees to fit almost any home brewing setup. The kit also comes with Blichmann’s  integral linear flow valve, which provides superior control and eliminates the need for an upper ball valve in must situations.

 

Blichmann Rip Tide Home Brewing Pump Upgrade Kit

Blichmann Rip Tide Home Brewing Pump Upgrade Kit

Here is a list of home brewing pumps that the Blichmann Riptide upgrade kit is compatible with.

More Beer Homebrewing Pumps:

H340, H331, H332, H315HF, H350 and H375

Chugger Homebrew Pumps:

CPSS-CI-1 (115V),CPSS-IN-1 (115V), CPSS-IN-2 (230V), CPSS-CI-2 (230V), CPPS-IN-1 (115V), TCPSS-IN (115/230V) and TCPSS-CI (115/230V)

March Home Brewing Pumps:

809-SS-HS, 809-BR-HS, 809-PL-HS, 809-BR-HS-C, 809-PL-HS-C, 809-SS-HS-C, 809-BR, 809-PL, 809-SS, 809-BR-C, 809-PL-C, 809-SS-C, 815-BR, 815-PL, 815-SS, 815-BR-C, 815-PL-C and 815-SS-C

The Blichmann Riptide Upgrade Kit Can Be Purchased Here for $99

 

After verifying that the Blichmann RipTide Upgrade Kit would work with my current March homebrew pumps, I place my order for two of them.  After placing my order, it took about 8 days for them to arrive. I purchased them from More Beer, but the pumps were shipped directly from Blichmann.

RipTide Homebrew Pump Upgrade Kit

RipTide Homebrew Pump Upgrade Kit

Blichmann RipTide Upgrade Kit Installation Instructions

Next step was to read the instructions (which were relatively simple), make sure I had everything needed (which was just a screwdriver, a couple of wrenches and some PTFE thread seal tape. The instructions from Blichmann came in black and white and unfortunately the contrast made it so that it was difficult to see where the washer was supposed to go, so I included some color photos here to help you out if needed. I began by breaking down my existing march pump per the instructions and removing my existing fittings.  It is important that you just remove the pump head and NOT the magnet collar! The pump head was held on by 4 stainless steel screws in my case.  Here is an image to help:

Blacihmann RipTide Upgrade Instructions

Blacihmann Rip Tide Upgrade Instructions

Next I mounted my home brewing pump on to the included stainless steel pump riser. This was not required in my situation but I like the idea of it because it raised my pump up a couple of inches, bringing it close to my kettles, reducing the amount of tubing that I needed and giving me a little more space to empty the pumps when I had to clear wort from them.  Everyone’s situation is a little different, but it works well on my home brewing rig.  After that you will want to mount the Tri-Clamp adapter bracket on to your pump.  Blichmann includes two sets of screws to use, so make sure that you select the appropriate screws for your pump. Be careful not to over tighten the screws; doing so could crack the bracket or damage the pump. Next, place the impeller housing and the impeller into the pump magnet as shown in the following images:

 

Blichmann Rip Tide Homebrewing Pump Upgrade Instructions

Blichmann Rip Tide Home Brewing Pump Upgrade Instructions

Next is where I nearly had a problem.  Install the pump head o-ring and washer to the stainless steel RipTide pump head.  My first kit was missing the washer and the photo quality on the instructions that came with the kit were so bad, I could not tell if I was suppose to use one of the mounting washers.  Something did not seem right and I would have then been missing a mounting washer, so I checked my second pump kit and could see that there was a smaller washer that was intended for the pump head. It thankfully had two in that box, so all was good.  Here is an image to help you see where to place the o-ring and washer into the Blichmann RipTide pump head:

RipTide Upgrade Kit Installation Photos

RipTide Upgrade Kit Installation Photos

Lastly mount the Blichmann RipTide pump head on to your pump using the include stainless steel 3″ Tri-Clamp and attach any fittings that you may have. The entire process took me approximately 30 minutes per pump to upgrade an re-install onto my home brewing stand. Except for the issue with the washer, it was very painless.  Here are a couple of photos of the Blichmann RipTide homebrewing pumps after they were installed on to my homebrewing rig.

 

Finished Images Of The Blichmann RipTide Pump Upgrade Kit

Blichmann RipTide Home brewing Pumps On My Homebrewing Rig

Blichmann RipTide Home brewing Pumps On My Homebrewing Rig

Close up Image of the Blichmann RipTide Home Brewing Pump

Close up Image of the Blichmann RipTide Home Brewing Pump

After that I tested the RipTide home brewing pumps for leaks and checked to make sure all of the ball valve connections were free from leaks as well.  All was good and I also took a short video in case anyone was curious about the type of pressure or flow rate that you could expect from the RipTide upgrade kit.

Blichmann RipTide Pump Video

 

If you are looking to purchase a Blichmann RipTide Home Brewing Pump Upgrade Kit, they can be purchased here for $99

 

All The Small Things – Notch-Yo Lid

Like with many hobbies, home brewing has a learning curve.  Initially there is a lot of information to take in and many processes to keep track of. In time, you gather knowledge and experience and you master the fundamentals of brewing.  Where home brewing differs from many hobbies is that once you have done so, there are a variety of tangents that you can pursue. For instance you can explore water chemistry and the impacts on different styles of beer, design your own beer recipes and figure out which hops best compliment a specific yeast strain, try different mashing techniques and focus on boosting your brew house efficiency or even build and customize your own brewing hardware. At some point along the way, if you home-brew long enough; what makes your beer unique is all of the small things that you learn, apply in your process and customize along the way.

On the topic of all of the small things, one of the things that I should have done long ago was place a notch in my mash tun lid to accommodate my sparge arm. Prior do doing so I had to leave my lid ajar, allowing heat to escape from my mash tun, requiring my RIMS system to use more energy to compensate.  I am not going to lie, any upgrade or project that requires me to drill into or cut in to one of my stainless steel Blichmann kettles make me a little nervous. After all, the last thing that I want to do is ruin one of my vital pieces of home brewing hardware. The good news is that I almost never use a lid on my Boil Kettle, so if I jacked up the mash tun lid bad enough, I had a backup!

I used three tools for this project, an angle grinder (costs about $30 if you do not already have one), a file to clean up the rough edges and sharp spots and a dremel (or drill) with a fine grinding bit to shape the groves more precisely so that the lid would fit snugly against the sparge arm. Although initially intimidating, it really was not so challenging.  My best advice is to measure conservatively for your initial grinder cut and use the dremel to remove any excess metal. The vertical cuts are easy with the grinder, but the horizontal cut can be challenging if you are not careful. As a final touch I may add a silicone stopper and trim it to fill some of the small gaps that still exist; but even with out that I am very happy with how it turned out! Also, if you are looking for an incredible stainless steel sparge arm, I can not recommend the More Beer Ultimate Sparge Arm highly enough.  I have used it for around 3 years now and it had performed flawlessly.

More Beer Stainless Steel Sparge Arm

More Beer Stainless Steel Sparge Arm

CORNICAL

Blichmann Cornical - Keg Based Homebrewing Fermenter

Cornical Fermenter

Blichmann has done it again! They just released their new Cornical Fermenter based homebrew fermenter. The Cornical is the latest fermentor from Blichmann who has a long history of creating top quality home brewing fermenters. The Cornical is made from two main pieces; the first being a modular home brewing keg with a removable base. The modular design makes cleaning it a snap. The second part of the Cornical is a stainless steel conical bottom that attaches to the keg turning it into a homebrewing fermentor. Unlike most homebrewing fermenter, the Cornical is rated all the way up to 50 psi, allowing a home brewer to carbonate right in the fermenter. When fermentation finished, if desired you can replace the bottom of the keg and serve right from the Cornical. The modular design allows you to use the conical bottom to ferment another batch on a different keg while you drink your first batch!  Here are some of the features of the Blichmann Cornical Home Brewing Fermenter:
  • Built from stainless steel
  • Both a keg and a fermenter
  • Keg made in Italy, Cone and legs made in USA,  assembled in USA
  • Ferment, carbonate, and serve beer from one vessel
  • Modular design to allow use as both a fermenter and a serving keg
  • Removable bottom makes cleaning simple and fast
  • Rotating racking arm with sanitary sampling and racking valve
  • Full 1.5” sanitary butterfly dump valve allows for yeast harvesting and trub clean out
  • Sanitary stainless steel fittings for contamination free beer
  • Pressure capable to 50psi for carbonation and beer dispensing
  • Easy to use lid hatch for dry hopping and secondary additions

For additional information or to purchase a Cornical fermenter, click the following link. MoreBeer offers some of the best prices for Blichmann products like the Cornical and free shipping!

Click Here For More Details Or To Purchase A Cornical Fermenter

Homebrewing Product Information Found At:

HomebrewingDeal.com

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Blichmann Hellfire Burner System

Blichmann Hellfire Homebrewing Burner

Blichmann Hellfire Homebrewing Burner

Blichmann HellFire Stainless Steel Home Brewing Burners

 

Product Description:  The Blichmann Hellfire home brewing burner is the first innovation that I have seen in homebrew gas burners in several years. The Blichmann Hellfire burner is efficient, fast, versatile, dependable and beautiful! This is Blichmann’s newest burner is appropriately named HellFire because of the massive BTU’s that this home brewing burner is capable of putting out. Perhaps what I like best about this new Blichmann Hell Fire burner is its dual mode burner design that give a home brewer the option of running in an efficiency mode at 80,000 BTUs to maintain a rolling boil up to 20 gallons or in a high heat mode that will run at 140,000 BTUs which is perfect for getting that boil going in no time. Anything that will save me time in a brew session is valuable and there is a great deal of time wasted waiting for water to reach mash and boil temperature.

 

The Blichmann HellFire burner also includes a heat shield to prevent the massive amount of heat from scorching your valve, thermometer and sight glass while directing it to your wort.  The HellFire stand burner bolts right up to our TopTier Modular Brewing Stand if you want to integrate it with your other Blichmann home brewing equipment or can be used independently. Lastly, the stainless steel construction of this burner is a big plus. Stainless steel is the ultimate home brewing material, especially when it comes to burners and kettles. Metals like aluminum, tin and galvanized steel can put out toxic fumes, but stainless steel is fume free and will last a lifetime if cared for!

 

Here are some of the features on this new Blichmann Hellfire Home Brewing burner.

 

  • Dual mode capability; high power mode and high efficiency mode
  • 140,000 BTU high power mode and 80,000 BTU efficiency mode
  • Patent pending clip-on heat shield keeps that massive amount of heat off your valve and thermometer and directs it to your wort
  • Infinitely adjustable kettle retaining bars accommodated kettles up to 19.75″ in diameter
  • Non-rusting, fume free heavy gauge stainless frame

 

Blichmann HellFire burners are now available and you will receive free shipping on your order:

 

Click Here For The Blichmann HellFire Burners

 

First home brewing batch with the new RIMS controller.

Brew beer at home!

Home Brewing Beer

I brewed a batch of Karamel Citra Session IPA over the weekend to test out the new RIMS system that I had built for my home brewery. Sometimes you can test as much as you want, but until you go live with an actually batch of beer, you just never know what is going to happen.  Thankfully everything with this batch seemed to work just about perfectly.

 

There are a couple of things that I would like to make note of for anyone else who is planning on building their own RIMS setup using a similar configuration as mine.  Initially the march pump did not seem to want to pass the wort through the RIMS heating chamber. To correct the issue I bypassed the heating chamber and recirculated directly back into the mash tun for a couple of minutes until the work began to clear a bit.  After that it passed through the heating chamber with out any issues.  Also, as a safety measure I wired my Ranco temperature controller so that the only way that it can be on is if the mash tun pump is active.  I would recommend that you do the same in order to help reduce the chances that the heating element engages with out any fluid in the heating chamber.  You will also want to check on your flow rate periodically to make sure that the march pump is transferring fluid at the expected rate.

 

Blichmann Home Brewing Kettle Review

Blichmann BoilerMaker Home Brewing Kettle Review:

 

I have been using 3 Blichmann BoilerMaker 20 gallon home brewing kettles to conduct my all grain brewing for about 2 1/2 years now. In that time I have not been dissatisfied with my purchase even once. The kettles are durable, rigid, versatile and problem free.

 

One of the things that I like most about the Blichmann brewing kettles is that they come ready to go out of the box with a sight gauge, thermometer, and draw tube/valve. The kettles are engineered beautifully so that you can easily break the parts down with a couple of tools for easy cleaning.

The 20 gallon kettles are very rigid, and I never have to worry that one of the handles is going to bust off while I am cleaning it. Blichmann also sells the kettles with easy add-ons like the hop blocker for the boil kettle, and the false bottom for the mash tun, which I both recommend. They also have an optional sparge arm, which I do not use but others speak highly of.

 

The only downside for the Blichmann home brewing kettles is the price. They are by no means the cheapest brewing kettle on the market, but in my opinion, a brewing kettle is not one of the items that you want to skimp on. If you treat them well, they should last you a lifetime and be well worth the extra money.

 

 Click Here to see a selection of Blichmann Home Brewing Kettles.

 

 

Blichmann Brew Kettle

Blichmann Home Brewing Brew Kettle

Ready-Made Home Brewing Stands, Beer Sculptures, and Home Breweries

There are a few options out there for turnkey/ready made home brewing stands, brewing sculptures, and home breweries. Depending on the style and materials they can be very expensive, so you will want to make sure that you are making the right choice when it comes time to buy. Here are a few things to consider when you are ready to make your purchase.

 

1) How much volume do you plan on brewing?
This is important because you can quickly outgrow your brewing rig if you choose brewing kettles that are too small. Some brewers opt to just purchase larger kettles in case they decide to brew larger batches down the road, but that creates problems as well. When you try to brew a 5 gallon batch in a kettle that is 20 gallons or larger, the built-in thermometers can be above the fluid line, which renders them useless. Additionally, some sparge arms are too short to properly sparge a smaller amount of grain, and you will need to find a workaround. So make sure you give careful thought to your brewing capacity before buying.

 

2) What is your budget?
I don’t know about you, but I have wasted a small fortune buying home brewing gear only to replace it down the road when it either broke, or I decided to upgrade to a superior product. Home brewing stands, home breweries, and brewing sculptures are no different. If you have the money to spend upfront, then purchase the best available home brewing equipment so that you do not end up wanting an upgrade, or worse, needing to replace it down the road. Technology is improving in home brewing, but items such as brewing kettles, pumps, and wort chillers are items that may last a lifetime if they are of high quality and properly maintained. Most quality brewing sculptures are modular in design and can be modified or upgraded if needed.

 

3) How much space do you have available for home brewing?
This was my most difficult decision when I designed and built my home brewing stand. I do not have a lot of free space available where I live, so for awhile I debated if I was going to go with a single tier beer brewing sculpture or with a multi-tier. Ultimately, I ended up going with a single tier brewing stand. I had to free up a good deal of space in my garage, but the benefits of a single tier design were important enough for me to make the tradeoffs.

 

Here are some examples of different home brewing stands, beer sculptures, and home breweries. The beer sculptures shown are all made by either MoreBeer or Blichmann and you can click on the image or link to view additional details and prices.

 

The MoreBeer Tippy Dump is a great sturdy and compact multi-tier home brewery.

 

 Click Here for pricing and details on the MoreBeer Tippy Dump Home Brewery

MoreBeer Tippy Dump Home Brewery Image

Home Brewery Image

 

 

This is my top pick:  The MoreBeer Single Tier Home Brewing Sculpture.  It is all stainless and has two pumps moving the hot liquor and wort.  All of the kettles are easily accessible, so you can work with them safely.

 

 

 Click Here for more information on the MoreBeer Single Tier Brew Sculpture

 

Single Tier Home Brewing Sculpture

MoreBeer Single Tier Home Brewing Sculpture Photo

 

 

The MoreBeer Gravity-Fed home Brewing Stand does not use pumps so it is lower cost than the other brewing stands, and easier to store if you have a limited amount of surface area but height is not an issue.

 

 Click Here for more information on the MoreBeer Gravity Home Brewing Stand

 

Home Brewing Stand

MoreBeer 3 Tier Gravity Home Brewing Stand picture

 

Blichmann is one of my favorite names in home brewing, and I use a variety of their products, including their kettles. They make a high quality and affordable multi-tier brewing stand that is very customizable.

 

 

 Click her for pricing and details on the Blichmann Multi Tier Home Brewing Stand

Blichmann Home Brewing Stand

Blichmann Home Brewing Stand available at MoreBeer image

 

Blichmann HopBlocker Product Review

Product Review for the Blichmann Hop Blocker:

 

I have been using a Blichmann HopBlocker since my first batch of all grain brewing. Blichmann is known in the home brewing community for quality and dependability and the Hop Blocker certainly helps them in maintaining that reputation. It is crafted entirely out of sturdy stainless steel and after more than twenty batches, it is still in “like new” condition.

 

What I like most about the HopBlocker is the two piece configuration that allows me to keep the hot break and hop material away from the kettle draw tube so I draw only clean wort into my fermenters. After the boil, I will typically whirlpool the brew kettle for a minute or two and then let the trub settle out and form a cone on the bottom of my kettle. This process usually takes about 15 minutes. Once the trub has settled, I slowly draw the wort, discarding the first few ounces to clear out any initial particulates that may have made their way into the hop blocker during the boil or whirlpooling process.

 

I then continue to slowly empty the wort from the brew kettle into the fermenter. Once the wort level has reached about the bottom 1/3 mark of the HopBlocker, I slow down the wort flow even further and remove the sliding metal band from the HopBlocker. At this point the HopBlocker is drawing in wort through its fine perforated filtering holes (visible in photo #1). I decrease the wort flow rate to help reduce the quantity of particulate matter drawn in to the HopBlocker and to help minimize the possibility of clogging the HopBlocker. The HopBlocker is effective at reducing about 90 to 95% of kettle trub if used properly, unlike standard screen tubes which tend to draw more trub and have a higher probability of clogging.

 

The one downside of the HopBlocker is that it does not play very nicely with whole hops. They can clog the filtration holes. When using whole hops, it is recommend that you either boil the hops in a bag or strain them from the wort prior to using the HopBlocker. The overwhelming majority of hops I use in the boil are pellet hops, so this has not been an issue for me.

 

If you are interested in purchasing a Blichmann HopBlocker, they can be found here:

 Click Here for Blichmann HopBlocker

 

 

Blichmann Hop Blocker photo #1 – Shows the HopBlocker with the screen down. The slot in the metal band slides over the kettle draw tube, but I wanted you to be able to see the small hole perforation, so I placed it at this angle.

 

Home Brewing Blichmann Hop Blocker

Home Brewing, Blichmann Hop Blocker

 

 

Photo #2 of the Blichmann HopBlocker – After the band had been removed and the last of the wort was being drawn from the kettle.

 

Beer Whirlpooing Trub Cone

Whirlpooing Trub Cone

 

 

 

 

Hopback

A hopback or hop back is a small hop-filled vessel, typically made of copper or stainless steel, that is placed between the brew kettle and wort chiller, or brew kettle and fermentation chamber. It is highly recommended that you place the hopback between the brew kettle and chiller if an external chiller is being used.

If the beer is chilled, then the wort flowing over the hops will be far less effective at extracting the resins and oils from the hops. If the temperature of the wort is under 170° F, the alpha acids will not isomerize, and no bitterness will be imparted on the wort. The aromas extracted from the hops will be diminished as well.

Whole hops are typically recommended or required for using most hopbacks, as pellet hops are more prone to clogging, and a good deal of the particulates from pellet hops will end up in your fermentation vessel. In addition to adding hop flavor and aroma to your wort, a hopback is also a valuable tool to filter the hot break and or cold break from your brew kettle to your fermenter. As the wort passes through the hopback, the hops will work as an organic screen, capturing many of the larger protein and particulate masses that enter it.

 

Below is the Blichmann Hop Rocket that I use when a hopback is needed for one of my beers.

Home Brewing Hopback / Hop Back, Blichmann Hop Rocket

Home brewing hopback/hop back, Blichmann hop rocket

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