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.
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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