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Pump out Spent Grains

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  • Pump out Spent Grains

    I just bought two 11 barrel stainless tanks and I am having them converted into my kettle and my mash tun. I am having a 4" tri-clamp fitting installed in the bottom of the mash tun. I am wanting to use a mud pump and just pump the spent grains out and into a wagon (which will be over a drain area) then haul them to the back of the property to my hogs and cattle. Has anybody ever pumped their grains out as opposed to back breaking shoveling?


  • #2
    Flexible augers work pretty well - it's just like delivering grain to the mash tun - but the moist residue might fester if you don't brew every day (i.e. clear the old stuff out with new stuff).



    • #3
      You need to contact the guys at Three Floyds Brewing, they just had one installed when I went there for CBC this year, and were super proud of it! I would be too!

      I don't remember what type of pump it was, but they'll let you know, super friendly guys.
      Jamie Fulton
      Community Beer Co.
      Dallas, Texas

      "Beer for the Greater Good"


      • #4
        Most folks in the industry use a "Pondorff". These are awesome. See this thread:

        But I'm guessing that if you're modifying tanks, you don't have the budget. Spent grain cannot be pumped easily without massive water use for cleaning and possible dilution (read--waste). And usually the mash tun is equipped with rakes and a proper mashout. Otherwise, suck it up and shovel like the rest of us do! Good luck.
        Last edited by gitchegumee; 09-22-2010, 07:40 PM.
        Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--


        • #5
          Just found this from the good folks at DME.

          Might be just what you need.
          Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--


          • #6
            I have a progressive cavity pump that I can pump as fast as my rakes can push 30 bbls worth of mash out. We pump about 30 feet horizontal and then 35 feet vertically.

            A 4" port on the bottom of the tank seems a little small. Ours is 10"

            I have also seen straight feed augers used with success.


            • #7
              A 4" centerless auger will NOT work for wet grains. Not without a LOT of grief.

              Screw type auger will work but needs to be manufactured to length.

              Infeed of grain to a 4" will be a concern as well.

              Pondorff is the only system that works well for wet spent grains conveyance that I've seen (outside of shovelling/grains out plow/tipping mash tun).


              Liam McKenna


              • #8
                Screw Conveyance of Spent Grain

                We drop our spent grain from the lauter tun into a custom, slotted-bottom holding tank in the cellar. Spent grain falls through the slot into a similarly-sized slot of an open-hopper pump attached to the bottom of the tank. When the farmer shows up each day, we fire up the pump and push the grain from the bottom of the tank up to the street through a 4-5 inch solid line. Probably a run of 100-125 feet. Vertically about 12-15 feet. Several turns.

                Cleanup is to add enough water to the silo to allow the pump to push the last of the spent grain through, then cut the pump, drop the backflush to drain. Rinses the main line good enough for day-to-day use, not too messy or BOD-loaded.

                We backflush the main line at the end of the brewing week, rinse the tank with water to clean out any residual grain and pump to drain. Swap out a short run near the pump/tank to recirculate the line to the installed sprayball, and run the pump in said recirc configuration with chemical -- as you'd clean any tank.

                Once we got the tank sizing worked out for all our possible brew lineups, the system actually functions pretty well. Pump probably 9000 pounds (dry malt weight, pre-mash -- dunno what it is with water content as spent grain) in about an hour, hour and 1/2.

                The name of the pump escapes me right now, but sure you could find something similar and custom-sized from a Made In The USA supplier. Not too dissimilar from a sewage sludge pumping/conveying (not de-watering) operation in some ways, if there's an alternative supplier possibility there for ya. Don't know if I'd take 'em up on used equipment, tho...

                Gotta watch the temp of the grain a bit, so as to not exceed pump/screw recommendation. Generally not a problem, tho.

                No compressed air involved. Would guess the pump's gonna run a few thousand, easy. Not to mention any fixed piping you wanna install.
                Last edited by NinkasiSwain; 10-06-2010, 07:41 PM.


                • #9
                  Maybe I'm misunderstanding what different types of augers are named, but the one I used was centerless, around 4" in diamater, looked like carbon steel (although I could be totally wrong about that), was delivered in a coil like a hose, and was only connected at its ends with the motor above the spent grain tank. Aside from occasional seizing due to the fact that the screws were cut in-house, i.e. the length wasn't always perfect, the system worked very well. It was a short-ish and fairly horizontal run, though.



                  • #10
                    Likely I've been mixing up some terminology, so edited my first post a touch. If you've already access to a mud pump (petro industry-grade?), then have at it. If it can plug a hole in the Gulf Of Mexico, then I'd imagine it'll push a little spent grain...

                    I did look up the supplier, for what it's worth, and you can find brewery/distillation spent-grain-rated pumps here.

                    Good luck! Be interested to hear if you plan on mixing in any hops with the grain ... have heard some animals won't eat it. But maybe them's a different thread.