my first big brewing upgrade of 2020 is a new pump. i bought a few pieces of hardware last year to set up a RIMS with a 10 gallon cooler mash tun and my 1500 W T500 kettle. the pump for that setup was this little 12 V solar pump from amazon. the pump worked fine for a few brew days, then it seized up. i think this was because i was pumping wort that was too hot through it. now i can get it to run for an hour or so, but it will inevitably seize up leading to a frustrating brew day. i was considering the anvil pump, but i decided to take a full leap into pumps.
the riptide is a crazy piece of gear. it is advertised as having a max pumping rate of 8 gallons per minute. from cleaning and testing, it appears that this is accurate. i plan on running it much slower than that which is possible with the built in valve. a typical march or chugger pump will move liquid at a similar rate to this, but to throttle the flow you’ll need to add on a ball valve.
priming the pump is also made easy with the riptide; a built in release valve lets you burp air out of the cavity leading to a super easy priming. with a different pump you’ll need to add on an additional T with some sort of valve for releasing this air. the riptide also includes a covered switch which the other pumps don’t include. if you plan on building/having a control panel, the switch may not be necessary as you may have a switch on the panel. for someone without a panel, though, the switch prevents needing to unplug/plug the pump in to turn it off/on.
with all of these included features, the high price tag of the riptide doesn’t seem so high. a common problem i have with brewing hardware is that the advertised price is usually for part of a kit. stainless ball valves vary between $15 and $40 and various stainless adaptors vary between $5 and $10. after you add a handful of these to your cart with a march or chugger, you’re blowing well past the pricetag of the riptide. this isn’t including the equipment and time to add a switch to the pump.
even with this pump with all these features you still need to provide some connections from NPT. i am currently using hose barbs, but i may upgrade to quick disconnects depending on how i want to use the pump in a 3 vessel configuration. adaptors are relatively cheap on their own, but when you need to buy several, the price adds up quickly. it makes sense that this product is shipped with NPT as there are many typical connectors used in brewing; offering a product with barbs or TC connections severely limits the number of possible customers.
so far i’ve cleaned the pump; that’s pretty boring, but this weekend i’ll be brewing up a cream ale. i’ll be able to get a good test of the pump then in the RIMS setup. the weather typically determines how i brew, so we’ll see how i end up setting up when the brew day comes.