This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert. Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer. Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.
Northern Brewer Anti-Gravity Transfer Pump
Some homebrew gear has a wide range of use, and some fills a very specific purpose. Those that fill a specific purpose typically become a critical piece in your process that you wonder how you managed before you had it. For me, that was the Anti-Gravity Transfer Pump from Northern Brewer. This pump is specifically intended for use in transferring beer or wort from vessel to vessel during your fermentation and/or kegging processes.
Closeup of Pump Head
The Anti-Gravity pump is a diaphragm pump, which is different than your typical wort pump. Wort pumps are usually an impeller design with a pump head inside with rotating blades that push little bits of fluid along from the inlet to the outlet as they spin. A diaphragm pump has a flexible membrane inside that oscillates back and forth like a trampoline. When the membrane is pushed in one direction, it compresses the fluid and forces it to the outlet. And when the membrane is pulled in the opposite direction, it creates a vacuum in the pump chamber which draws fluid in. A set of check balls ensures flow only goes in one direction.
Hose Connection on Inlet and Outlet
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Diaphragm pumps are self-priming, meaning they can handle sucking in some air and pushing it through the system until they get a steady flow of liquid. Impeller pumps are not self-priming, and thus you have to do the dance of turning them on & off and working to remove air bubbles from the lines. Because of the priming function of diaphragm pumps, they are well suited in transferring liquids from vessel to vessel. Self-priming also means you don’t have to worry about ensuring one vessel is higher than the other, or that the pump is located lower than the source vessel. However, diaphragm pumps do not handle output flow restriction very well, and typically aren’t rated for high temperatures, so they aren’t well suited for handling wort during mashing or boiling processes.