Hands on Review: Blichmann Engineering Riptide Brewing Pump Upgrade Kit – Upgrade Your March or Chugger Pump

This review is by Homebrew Finds Reader Benji S.  Benji has been brewing for 10 years.  His favorite style is Festbier.  He’s an all grain brewer and member of WIZA (Whidbey Island Zymurgy Association).  Check him out on Instagram at neon_hop

Tell anyone that you spend hours cleaning as part of a hobby, and you’ll probably get a few odd looks. Unfortunately this is our reality as Homebrewers. Planning, prepping, cleaning, and waiting take up large percentages of any given batch. We often chase new ingredients, techniques, equipment, and short cuts in an effort to reduce the time we spend on these areas. Sometimes introducing new equipment into your process can make some parts of these tasks easier, while introducing new steps to others.

Pumps help move around lots of liquid in a short amount of time, reducing the need to lift heavy kettles or pots. They also introduce some additional planning needed for connecting vessels in a loop of hosing and cleaning after use. This has essentially been the summary experience I’ve had with my Chugger X-Dry [Hands on Review]. In the never ending quest for reducing the time and effort needed to use it, I looked at what changes I could make to my setup to make using it even simpler.

Blichmann Engineering is well known for high quality and well designed equipment targeted at Homebrewers. It should be no surprise then that their Riptide pump is a fairly feature packed model compared to others on the market. Particularly their TC clamp attached pump head with built in flow control and priming valve. In recognition of their audience, Blichmann also produces an upgrade kit that offers these same features to anyone with a Chugger or March pump.

Upgrading my Chugger X-Dry with their kit seems like a perfect way to take a good pump and make it even better, hopefully shaving some steps off of the prep and cleaning process in the meantime.

Criteria

My original criteria when looking for a pump were largely satisfied by the Chugger X-Dry, but there were a couple of criteria that were lacking, namely:

  • Head assembly should be fairly easy to take apart to aid in cleaning]
  • Flow control valve for use when sparging
  • Easy and intuitive to prime and get started

As the Riptide conversion kit is meant to solve many of these things, it made a natural candidate for trying out an upgrade to see if I could improve the usability experience. Additionally, my experience with the X-Dry suggested it was fairly easy to get into a state where it was cavitating. My hope was that the purge valve would help alleviate, or solve, this issue.


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(6) 20 mL Syringes – $3.58 + Free Shipping + Star San Tips, Tricks and Guidelines

6 Plastic Syringe Liquid Lubricant Measuring Tool 20 ml

Why would these have anything to do with homebrewing, you ask?  Great question.  These are an easy way to measure 6 mL of Star San.  Put 6 mL of Star San in 1 gallon of distilled water and you’ve got sanitizing solution.  Fill up a spray bottle and you’re ready to sanitize for pennies a batch.  See: Star San Tips, Tricks and Guidelines

3/30 20 10 AM Central: These are selling for just $3.58. Shipping to most US addresses also is free. Prices, shipping and availability can change quickly. Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time this this post was published; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit Amazon. Check the product page for current price, description and availability.

6 Plastic Syringe Liquid Lubricant Measuring Tool 20 ml


More: Recent Amazon Finds


Make sure the components you use are compatible and rated for your intended application.  Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application.  Always read and follow manufacturer directions.

MoreBeer Deal of the Day – Laboratory Wash Bottle – $14.99 + free ship eligible, limited availability

Laboratory Wash Bottle

Laboratory Wash Bottle via MoreBeer

More Info

From the product description, check product page for current description, price and availability:

A handy addition to any Home Lab, this wash bottle is great for cleaning out pipettes after use, rinsing pH electrodes and cleaning out components of your Aeration/Oxidation set. Also fun to squirt people with!


 

Limited Availability Deal of the Day: As of this posting, this is marked down to $14.99 as a MoreBeer Deal of the DayShipping is also free to addresses in the contiguous US with most $59 Orders. Availability: This is available today only, while supplies last. Quantities are limited. Check the MoreBeer’s Deal of the Day to check today’s offering.

Product Description – Here – Use coupon code BEERDEAL to get this discount.

Laboratory Wash Bottle MT644

MoreDeals! at MoreBeer:

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Looking for a MoreBeer Deal? – Today’s Deal of the Day | Sale Items | MoreBeer Deals


5 Gallon Ball Lock Homebrew Kegs – on sale for $44.44

Used 5 Gallon Cornelius Style Ball Lock Kegs via Adventures in Homebrewing

More Info

From the product description, check product page for current description, price and availability:

Pressure tested 5 gallon, stainless steel, cornelius style tank. These tanks are guaranteed to hold pressure. 25″ tall and 8.5″ diameter. Tanks will show normal wear and tear. May have stickers on kegs. May also have syrup residue in tanks as we only dump them.

Kegs include the o-rings and poppits that were installed when we received the tanks. We will often change an o-ring or poppit to get the tank to hold pressure. If you would like to have new o-rings or poppits, the options below allow you to add these. We do not change them but simply add them to the order.

If you are just getting into kegging you will need a kegging setup to go with these kegs. We sell picnic tap systems, tower systems, and kegerator systems.

We know some homebrewers are more picky than others, so please keep in mind that these are USED kegs. Some of these kegs are probably 30 years old. Do not expect new kegs. If you are looking for new kegs, please check out our new kegs. We try and have quality kegs available at all times. With this said, they are going to show normal wear and tear. We try not to purchase from Pepsi or Coke to avoid heavily used kegs. We are not implying that our kegs are not quality…we just want to avoid any misunderstandings. Most of the kegs have black protective tops and bottoms, some are blue. We may have a few green, red or yellow tops. If you want a particular color, please indicate that at checkout time and we will try to accommodate you.

 

 

  • As of this posting, these are marked down to just $44.44.
  • Bonus, 5% Back: Get the equivalent to about 5% back on nearly everything via AIH’s Rewards Program

5 Gallon Cornelius Keg (Ball Lock) Used

Price, promotions and availability can change quickly.  Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time this this post was published; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit the product page.  Check the product page for current price, description and availability.

Also: Kegerator Tips & Gear | Keg Repair Part #s | Recent Keg Finds

Our Top Draft Resources

 

Also: Check out AIH Sale Items – Selection Changes Regularly

More: Recent AIH Finds

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Taprite Brand CO2 Regulator – $46.70 + free shipping & Our Top Draft Resources

Taprite 12218 1 X co2 Dual Gauge Regulator

Taprite 12218 1 X co2 Dual Gauge Regulator by Taprite


From the product description, check product page for current description, price and availability:

  • At present we do not ship to California
  • Dual pressure gauges – Co2 tank and keg pressure
  • Integrated 5/16 barb outlet with check valve to prevent backflow
  • 0-50 psi range, 60 lb and 2000 lb gauges
  • Duck-bill shutoff, check valve, and a red easy adjustment cap

What are other people saying? Search this product’s Amazon reviews for “kegerator”

3/30/20 8 AM Central: This is on sale for just $46.70.  Shipping is also free to many US addresses. Prices, shipping and availability can change quickly. Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time this post was published; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit Amazon. Check the product page for current price, description and availability.

Taprite 12218 1 X co2 Dual Gauge Regulator


Also: Kegerator Tips & Gear | Keg Repair Part #s | Recent Keg Finds

Our Top Draft Resources

 

More: Recent Amazon Finds


Last Call, Selection Changes Today… The MoreBeer Kit of the Week – Save 20%

from MoreBeer: “What is better than an awesome brew day? An awesome brew day you saved 20% on! We are excited to announce the MoreBeer! Kit Of The Week. Every week we will feature one of our amazing Homebrew recipe ingredient kits and discount it 20%. The new kit appears every Monday around Noon Pacific Time and will be available all week, while supplies last. The featured kit will be available in both Malt Extract and All-Grain versions. To save 20% simply add the kit to your cart and enter promo code: KOTW at checkout!”

Check out this week’s Kit of the Week – remember coupon code KOTW – shipping is also free to many US addresses with a qualifying $59 order.

MoreDeals! at MoreBeer:

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Looking for a MoreBeer Deal? – Today’s Deal of the Day | Sale Items | MoreBeer Deals

pst:b3kotw

Ends Today: Wine Makers Pre-Season Sale – Save Up to 20%

  • As of this posting, Austin Homebrew Supply is discounting select winemaking gear by up to 20% as part of a preseason sale.  Order now and get a deal
  • Also: Free Shipping Wine Kits from AHS – a selection of wine kits that ship for free to addresses in the contiguous US.

Austin Homebrew’s Pre-Season Wine Sale

Price, promotions and availability can change quickly.  Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time this this post was published; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit the product page.  Check the product page for current price, description and availability.

Also: Check out Austin Homebrew Supplies Sale Items – Selection Changes Regularly

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10 Extract Grade Vanilla Beans – $16.99, $1.70 each + free prime ship

Extract Grade Vanilla Beans by Slofoodgroup 12-14 cm (various sizes available) Grade B Vanilla beans (10 extract vanilla beans)

Extract Grade Vanilla Beans by Slofoodgroup 12-14 cm (various sizes available) Grade B Vanilla beans (10 extract vanilla beans)

More Info

From the product description, check product page for current description, price and availability:

  • Extraction grade vanilla beans for making homemade Vanilla extract the international standard for Grade B vanilla beans is 14 cm and below and an average moisture content of 18-25 percent.
  • Vanilla beans are 12-14 cm in length (average length of 4-5.51 inches)
  • Can contain minor splits or cuts or other imperfections in vanilla beans
  • Best use for making vanilla extract is to chop vanilla beans and add to solvent
  • TO MAKE VANILLA EXTRACT: Using on average 10 beans for every cup, CHOP VANILLA BEANS into .25-.5 in pieces (some people prefer to split the beans but this is not needed or efficient especially when working with GRADE B vanilla that are not as pliable as Gourmet or Grade A vanilla ) once chopped, add to vanilla beans to solvent of choice (vodka, rum, brandy, or bourbon) , cover tightly a shake vigorously. Store in cool area outside of direct sunlight and shake at least once weekly for 90 days

 

You can add this right to your homebrew or soak them in alcohol to make an extract and add that to your homebrew.

3/30/20 12 AM Central: These are selling for $16.99. That’s the best historical third party Amazon price I found, notwithstanding Lightning Deals or coupons. Shipping is also free to many US addresses with Prime Membership [Try Prime for Free] or a qualifying order. Prices, shipping and availability can change quickly. Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time this post was published; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit Amazon. Check the product page for current price, description and availability.

Extract Grade Vanilla Beans by Slofoodgroup 12-14 cm (various sizes available) Grade B Vanilla beans (10 extract vanilla beans)  – note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link


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12 Faucet Caps AND 3 Cleaning Brushes – $8.99 + free prime ship

Brewer Beer Faucet Cleaning Brush (3 pcs) Beer Tap Cover Draft Faucet Keg Caps Rubber Sanitary Cover (12 Pcs)

Brewer Beer Faucet Cleaning Brush (3 pcs) Beer Tap Cover Draft Faucet Keg Caps Rubber Sanitary Cover (12 Pcs)

More Info

From the product description, check product page for current description, price and availability:

  • Keep your faucets clean using these brushes to remove tough stuck on grime in your beer faucet
  • Sturdy metal handle with protective cover over tip to prevent scratching during cleaning.
  • 8″ overall length. Bristles are 4″ long and 9/16″ wide with a 4″ long handle..3 pcs included in this kit.
  • After a thorough cleaning use the sanitary caps to keep the faucets clean.
  • Protects against insects and bacteria that can get into your spout. Simple effective part of draft faucet hygiene.

 

3/30/20 5 AM Central: This combo is selling for just $8.99. Shipping is also free to many US addresses with Prime Membership [Try Prime for Free] or a qualifying orderPrices, shipping and availability can change quickly. Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time this post was published; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit Amazon. Check the product page for current price, description and availability. Also: Recent Amazon Finds and Amazon Fillers Resource Page

Brewer Beer Faucet Cleaning Brush (3 pcs) Beer Tap Cover Draft Faucet Keg Caps Rubber Sanitary Cover (12 Pcs)


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Aquatic Life RO Buddie Reverse Osmosis Filter System [Dial in Your Brewing Water] – $59.99 + free shipping

Aquatic Life RO Buddie Reverse Osmosis Systems

Aquatic Life RO Buddie Reverse Osmosis Systems

More Info

From the product description, check product page for current description, price and availability:

  • Add-On Drinking Water Kit with 2.8 Gallon Tank available, Amazon item B07371N7PT
  • Sediment, Carbon and DI cartridges are up-front and easy to replace
  • Typical Rejection Rate for filtering out the unnecessary ingredients is approximately 1 : 4.5
  • Included Faucet Adapter makes it easy to connect to standard male hose thread/bib
  • NEW YORK CITY ONLY – Due to high city water sediment, additional pre-filtration required before use.

 

What are others saying?  Search this product’s Amazon reviews for “brew” – may include reviews for other sizes or variations

Using RO (Reverse Osmosis) allows you to build your brewing water profile from the ground up, creating exactly the profile you’re looking for.

3/30/20 3 AM Central: This is selling for just $59.99. Shipping is also free to many US addresses. Prices, shipping and availability can change quickly. Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time this post was published; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit Amazon. Check the product page for current price, description and availability.

Aquatic Life RO Buddie Reverse Osmosis Systems – note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at this link


Also Consider:

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