View Full Version : Hot Liquor Pump Recommendations

10-07-2016, 10:38 AM
Really getting into the nitty-gritty now…

I'm in search of a small (maybe 10 gpm at 10' head) motor/pump to use for sparging and as a backup for the general-use brewery pump. When I check the usual suspects (Grainger, McMaster) it seems like anything with a stainless head is going to come out in the $500-1000 range. Looking at the 1/8 hp homebrew-marketed pumps from Chugger or March, they retail for under $300. Why the discrepancy? Am I looking in the wrong places? Anecdotally, has anyone had success using the scaled-up homebrew pumps long-term?

10-07-2016, 02:48 PM
There is a lot of copper in the larger motors for one, but a full stainless/sanitary pump head isn't helping at all either. The smaller pumps don't come close to that volume of flow at 10' head.

10-07-2016, 05:08 PM
There is a lot of copper in the larger motors for one.

So that translates into a difference in quality on the motor (but not the pump head)? I'm looking at, for example, a 1/8 hp Chugger at $279 vs a 1/6 hp from Grainger at $553 unwired. I guess the extra horsepower could potentially come in handy, but per the pump curves either would be adequate for this application (10+ gpm at 10') and they're both stainless but threaded, dry seals... I'm just puzzled by the price tags.

10-10-2016, 09:12 AM
Grainger is generally more expensive, chugger is a Chinese knockoff of march pumps which are decent, but definitely more cheaply made. The pump heads are probably different as well, but without a model, I couldn't say one way or the other. My guess is that the motors are of different quality.

10-10-2016, 10:27 AM
I can tell you a hlt pump with a plastic pump head is not going to have nearly the life span as a pump with a stainless head. The years of high temp make plastic and rubber brittle. When you say General Brewery use do you mean making transfers of beer with the pump as well? Most March pumps I have seen have threaded connections. If you are just pumping water you can use a cheaper designed pump.

10-10-2016, 12:21 PM
Your best bet for no regrets in the future would be a 3-phase motor with a C114 pump head, and a VFD to drive it. Using a 1-1 1/2 hp motor, you can use the VFD to convert single-phase to 3-phase, if that's a problem. The VFD gives you very fine control over your sparge, and the C114 will still be there when/if you upsize--or easy to sell if you don't.

10-10-2016, 01:14 PM
Just to reiterate, this is strictly an HLT pump and emergency backup for the main brew house pump (1 hp 3ph with VFD) should it fail mid-brew. A stainless head is non-negotiable but I'm personally fine with threaded fittings for that application.

10-11-2016, 02:08 PM
For only a few dollars more you can get a proper sanitary stainless steel pump that can work as an HLT pump but also a good back up for your brew house pump.