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BA creates seal of independence

BA creates seal of independence

Brewers Association seal of independenceThe Brewers Association has made a new seal designed to help consumers identify independent breweries. The seal is available for use free of charge by any of the more than 5,300 small and independent American craft brewers that have a valid TTB Brewer’s Notice, meet the BA’s craft brewer definition, and sign a license agreement. It is available to both member and non-member breweries of the BA.

It features a beer bottle shape flipped upside down, signifying that craft brewers have upended beer.

“Independent craft brewers continue to turn the beer industry on its head by putting community over corporation and beer before the bottom line. They continue to better beer and our country by going beyond just making the beverage. These small businesses give back to their backyard communities and support thousands of cities and towns across the U.S.,” said Bob Pease, president & CEO, Brewers Association, in an association press release. “As Big Beer acquires former craft brands, beer drinkers have become increasingly confused about which brewers remain independent. Beer lovers are interested in transparency when it comes to brewery ownership. This seal is a simple way to provide that clarity—now they can know what’s been brewed small and certified independent.”

All 19 of the Brewers Association board members approved the initiative, Pease said, adding that each of the 16 brewery representatives committed to printing the seal on packaging. Boston Beer Company, the second-largest U.S. craft brewery, and Maine’s Allagash Brewing Company are among the initial breweries that have agreed to place the seal on their packaging.

“Craft brewers build communities and the spirit of independent ownership matters,” said Allagash founder Rob Tod, who is chair of the BA board. “When beer lovers buy independent craft beer, they are supporting American entrepreneurs and the risk takers who have long strived not just to be innovative and make truly great beer, but to also build culture and community in the process.”

Building an Electric Brewery with John Blichmann – BeerSmith Podcast #151

Building an Electric Brewery with John Blichmann – BeerSmith Podcast #151

John Blichmann, founder of Blichmann Engineering joins me this week to discuss setting up an indoor electric brewery at home.

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  • Today my guest is John Blichmann, the President of Blichmann Engineering. John is a long time brewer and founder at Blichmann Engineering which provides a wide range of brewing equipment including brewing systems, kettles, pumps, control systems and fermentation equipment.
  • Much of the show used English units, but here are some articles that include metric units for those of you outside the US: Electrical Considerations for an Electric Brewery, Ventilation Considerations for an Electric Brewery.
  • John shares his thoughts on some of the advantages of having an indoor electric brewery, including the ability to brew year round.
  • We talk about the sizing of electric breweries and how the size of a system will ultimately drive requirements for things like electricity, ventilation and water.
  • We discuss the limitations of 12oV and 240V electrical power in a typical home and why it is important to get an electrician involved in the planning process to assure wiring and breakers are sufficient.
  • John explains why a Ground Fault Interrupt Circuit is a REQUIRED piece of equipment for brewing systems as we are ultimately mixing water and electricity.
  • We talk about the need for proper ventilation, even for an electric system, to avoid dumping gallons of water and steam into the air in a confined space.
  • John shares his rules of thumb on how to determine the proper size for a ventilation system.
  • We discuss the need for a proper water supply and draining water – which is critical for cleaning, brewing and also chilling the wort after brewing.
  • John spends a few minutes discussing some of the new home brew products Blichmann Engineering recently launched including a new brew pump, BrewVision thermometer, and others.


Thanks to John Blichmann for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

You can listen to all of my podcast episodes streaming live around the clock on our BeerSmith Radio online radio station! You can also subscribe to the audio or video using the iTunes links below, or the feed address

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Sensory Evaluation of Grains for Brewing – The New ASBC Method

Sensory Evaluation of Grains for Brewing – The New ASBC Method

This week I take a look at the new ASBC method for doing sensory and flavor evaluation of malts for brewing beer. This new “hot steep” technique published last fall by the American Society of Brewing Chemists provides a standardized method to do a sensory (taste) analysis of malts and is a great way to get familiar with the individual flavors that come from various malts.

The basic technique involves making a “hot tea” with finely crushed malt and then filtering it with filter paper (or a coffee filter) to extract a hot tea you can sample for flavor. Since the process does take some time, it is best done for a few malts at a time and would also be a great group project for a homebrew club to brew and sample many malts.

The ASBC Hot Steep Malt Sensory Method

The technique below is adapted from the Breiss web site description here.

  1. Weigh a sample of 50 grams (1.75 oz) of base malt. If evaluating specialty malts, instead use 25 g (0.88 oz) of specialty malt blended with another 25 g (0.88 oz) of base (pale) malt. For dark roasted malts, use 7.5 g (0.25 oz) of roast malt with 42.5 g (1.5 oz) of base (pale) malt. Obviously you can double or triple the amount of malt and water if you need a larger sample for a group to evaluate.
  2. Mill the grains in a clean electric grinder for about 10 seconds. A coffee grinder works well for this as you want a coarse flour consistency – which is finer than you would typically use for brewing.
  3. Next heat 450 ml (1.9 cups or 0.95 pints) of water to 65 C (149 F) and combine it in with the crushed grain sample in an insulated thermos or growler and shake it for 20 seconds to mix the grain and water. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes.
  4. While the mixture is steeping, place some filter paper (Alstrom 515) at the top of a clean beaker or glass. A coffee filter is a suitable substitute if you don’t have access to lab paper filters. Wet the paper with some deionized water.
  5. Swirl the thermos/growler to bring the particles back into solution and pour the mixture into the filter. Draw the first 100 ml (just under 1/2 cup) off the collected wort and pour it back into the thermos to collect any remaining grainsm then pour that also into the filter. Allow the filter to drain completely leaving your liquid sample.
  6. Let the sample cool, and do your sensory evaluation when it has reached room temperature, within four hours of filtering.

The actual sensory evaluation is done by sipping the resulting wort. Look for common malt flavors such as bready, malty, grainy, toasty, nutty, grainy, plums, raisins and of course the variety of coffee, roasted, burnt flavors that come from darker malts. As I mentioned you can get together with fellow brewers or your brew club and do a group-sampling of many malts to learn more about the flavors involved. Also some maltsters such as Briess have started publishing “spider charts” for their malts based on sensory analysis that can serve as a good guide of the flavors you might expect from a given grain.

Hopefully you enjoyed this week’s article on malt sensory testing. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

Guinness Draught – 1883 Edition

Guinness Draught – 1883 Edition

A couple months ago I posted a page featuring links to my favorite recipes for all of the 2015 BJCP styles that I’ve brewed. I was surprised by how many I’d brewed, but it also reminded me that even after 12 years of homebrewing there are plenty of classics that I haven’t, like Irish (Dry) Stout. It seemed a shame to own a stout faucet and not use it to serve the style it was invented for!

Rather than brew something akin to modern Guinness Draught I decided to get weird! I brewed a batch of 1883 Guinness Extra Stout based on a recipe from Ron Pattinson’s fascinating Home Brewer’s Guide to Vintage Beer, a sort of distillation of his blog Shut up about Barclay Perkins. My goal was to leave most of the batch at the specified gravity, and dilute a few gallons to create an anachronistic imagining of Guinness Draught as it might have existed in 1883.

The recipe, one of the few in the book not based on actual brewing logs, has a few interesting features. It contains pale malt, but not the other two  grains in the standard Irish Stout formulation. It is from just after the Free Mash Tun Act of 1880, well before Guinness took advantage of the end of adjunct prohibition. As a result it calls for black malt instead of unmalted roasted barley (which they changed to around 1930). It also includes amber malt for a richer flavor than flaked barley (added around 1950). Hop additions follow many 19th century recipes, copious amounts of low alpha acid varieties towards the start of the boil. I made two minor tweaks to the recipe as written, increasing the black malt from 5.56% to 6.9% to prevent the diluted version from being too pale and subbing in Wyeast Irish Ale for Whitbread Ale.

I ran off 5.5 gallons of the resulting 1.075 wort into a fermentor (that portion is bottle-conditioning currently). For the draught-strength I ran off 3 gallons of the chilled wort into a separate fermentor, and diluted it to 1.047 with two gallons of distilled water. That is what is now sitting on beer gas. Guinness didn’t start using nitrogen until 1959, so Ron wasn’t a fan of my plan:

This was my first batch using a Halo pH Meter sent by the kind folks at Hanna Instruments. The biggest benefit of this “Beer Analysis” version is that the hardy titanium body can take pH readings directly at mash temperature without cooling a sample! You do need to add .2-.35 to the reading to adjust for the influence of the elevated temperature. That’s about what I found with the Halo reading 5.25 at mash temperature and 5.39 on a chilled sample.

The time-savings of  not chilling samples makes up for the added hassle of  pairing the Halo with my phone. The point of co-dependent smart-devices is to leverage the existing hardware, but the Halo costs more than twice as much as my Milwaukee MW102. The app would be more valuable if there was a need to track pH changes during the mash, but I don’t have an easy way to mount the meter and once the pH stabilizes there really isn’t a need to track small changes.

I’m interested to see how long the probe/electrode lasts with the exposure to high temperature. It includes an extendable cloth junction that can be pulled out to refresh it. However, Hanna does not sell replacement probes so after the expected 12-18 month lifespan it’ll be another $225 rather than $43 for a replacement probe for my MW102. Might be worth expensing it to Sapwood Cellars, but I imagine not an annual purchase for most homebrewers!

My preference is for a slightly higher mash pH on dark beers, to prevent the roasted malts from tasting acrid. That said, my old friends at Modern Times aim for a slightly lower final pH for batches of Black House destined for nitro to replace the acidity otherwise provided by carbonic acid. When the pH reading came in a bit lower than I wanted I dosed the mash with chalk dissolved in carbonated water (using a carb cap) – the same chemical reactions are behind acid rain eating away at limestone. I first read about this technique on Braukaiser. The issue with adding chalk directly to the mash is that it doesn’t dissolve at typical mash pH like other water salts. While it likely helps buffer the boil and final pH, baking soda or slaked/pickling lime are better choices for direct mash tun additions. However, dissolving chalk is a useful technique if you want to add calcium rather than sodium along with carbonate.

Guinness Draught 1883

Smell – The nitro-pour subdues the aromatics, but what comes through is pretty expected: fresh grainy-roast, some fresh yeasty notes, and a hint of earthy hops.

Appearance – Shows off the classic swirling, cascading bubbles that Guinness features so prominently in their advertising. Settles into a velvety, half-inch off-white head. A pure sheet of lacing trails each sip. Will look even pretty after a few more weeks on tap as nitrogen continues to slowly dissolve and the slight haze hopefully drops out.

Taste – The first sip has really firm bitterness from hops and roast. The bready maltiness picks up, more than in the classic Irish Stouts, but not enough to bring English stouts to mind. As my first glass winds down the bitterness has tamed to a crisp finish. Has a lingering “dirtiness” from the Fuggles I presume.

Mouthfeel – The low carbonation certainly helps to provide some fullness that wouldn’t be there with high carbonation. The texture of the head on each sip helps as well.

Drinkability & Notes – A true summertime stout. Light, smooth roast, and refreshing bitterness like an iced coffee. Easy to pour a second glass.

Changes for Next Time – It’s a rare beer that I don’t have much to change for next time. I might go all EKGs, or at least at the 60 minute addition, to clean and brighten it up a bit.


Batch Size: 5.00 gal
SRM: 23.8
IBU: 43.8
OG: 1.047
FG: 1.014
ABV: 4.3%
Final pH: 4.31
Brewhouse Efficiency: 67%
Boil Time: 120 mins

82.8% – 7.5 lbs Crisp Gleneagles/No. 19 Maris Otter
10.3% – .95 lbs Muntons Amber
6.9% – .625 lbs Simpsons Black Malt

Sacch I – 40 min @ 152F
Sacch II – 20 min @ 160F

1.00 oz Fuggle (Pellets, 3.57 % AA) @ 90 min
1.00 oz Fuggle (Pellets, 3.57 % AA) @ 60 min
1.00 oz East Kent Golding (Pellets, 4.80% AA) @ 30 min
Scaled all three hop additions to account for the higher utilization assumed for a low gravity beer.

1.4 g Chalk @ mash
0.5 Whirlfloc @ 5 min

Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale

Amounts above scaled to be brewed as a 5 gallon undiluted batch. 

5/6/17 4 L 1.034 starter with 6 week out yeast.

Dissolved 17 g of chalk in 30 oz of filtered water. Chilled and carbonated to get it to dissolve.

pH measured 5.19. Added .3 cup of the resulting saturated liquid to the mash. pH measured 5.25 at mash temperature, 5.39 pH when chilled. Both with Halo.

Chilled to 66F.

Diluted 3 gallons with 2 gallons of distilled to 1.047. Pitched with 1.5 L of starter.

Left at 67 F to get started. Got up to 70F overnight, moved to fridge, slowly brought back to ~67F actual temperature to ferment.

5/19/17 Kegged the diluted half.

I get a commission if you buy something after clicking the links to MoreBeer/Amazon/Adventures in Homebrewing!

Mead Making with Steve Piatz – BeerSmith Podcast #150

Mead Making with Steve Piatz – BeerSmith Podcast #150

Steve Piatz, the author of “The Complete Guide to Making Mead” and 2008 mead maker of the year joins me this week to discuss making the perfect mead.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (51:44)

  • Today my guest is Steve Piatz. Steve is the author of The Complete Guide to Mead Making (Amazon affiliate link), 2008 Mead Maker of the Year, as well as a long time mead maker and judge.
  • We briefly discuss how Steve got into making mead.
  • Steve explains how almost all mead makers have moved to a “no boil” or cold method for making meads.
  • We discuss the importance of yeast hydration and the use of Goferm when preparing yeast.
  • Steve talks about aeration of the must and also daily degassing of the must during active fermentation.
  • He shares his thoughts on aeration with pure oxygen and also using a second dose at 12 hours.
  • We discuss staggered nutrient addition options and which one he prefers.
  • Steve shares his thoughts on which fruits work best in a melomel or other fruit mead.
  • He talks about the challenges in working with whole fruit, fruit juices and purees and how he manages fruit in the must to minimize waste and maximize flavor.
  • Steve explains the intricacies of choosing a final gravity for various fruits so it will properly balance the sweetness of residual honey against the acidity and tannins in fruit.
  • We talk about why refractometers are not a good choice for high gravity meads and even some hydrometers have a hard time handling very high gravity melomels.
  • We spend some time discussing backsweetening mead, though Steve prefers to balance his meads by careful selection of original and final gravities.
  • He shares his thoughts on finishing meads and also his closing thoughts.


Thanks to Steve Piatz for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

You can listen to all of my podcast episodes streaming live around the clock on our BeerSmith Radio online radio station! You can also subscribe to the audio or video using the iTunes links below, or the feed address

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and my newsletter (or use the links in the sidebar) – to get free weekly articles on home brewing.

2.3% ABV Session NEIPA

2.3% ABV Session NEIPA

Recirculating through the hop filter.
I received an email a couple month ago from a homebrewer looking for advice on a 1% ABV New England IPA. It got me thinking about how light I could push a beer that still scratched my hop-itch. All else equal, I prefer beers with less alcohol so I can drink more, especially when it is hot out. I’ve brewed a few low-alcohol hoppy beers over the years (Wheat-based at 2.1% and Vienna-based at 3.6%), but it seemed worth revisiting. Rather than make a 1% near-beer, I decided 2% ABV was a more plausible goal!

While dextrins aren’t a major mouthfeel driver (study, Brulosophy, Karnowski), lower attenuation allows more malt to be added for the same volume of wort. Below 3% ABV is where the simple lack of malt begins to really show, especially in a style like this that isn’t buttressed by specialty malts. Think of it as the opposite of a big DIPA where you might substitute sugar for base malt to prevent the beer from becoming too malty. To make an absurdly-unfermentable wort I opted for equal parts Maris Otter (for more malt flavor pound-for-pound than my usual Rahr Brewer’s 2-row) and dextrin malt (Weyermann Carafoam).

Dextrin malts vary substantially depending on the maltster. The two most common are from Briess and Weyermann:

Briess Carapils is a true glassy caramel/crystal malt, albeit one that isn’t roasted enough to develop the color or flavor associated with darker caramel malts. The problem is that the dextrins created during the stewing process are converted to fermentable sugars if mashed with enzymatic base malt (light crystal/caramel malts don’t substantially affect attenuation, further discussion). Although if they were steeped alone, that would be another story.

Weyermann Carafoam (Carapils outside the US) is akin to chit malt, high in protein and under-modified. It is mealy/starchy so it too is converted into fermentable sugars when mashed, but would be unsuitable for steeping. Weyermann suggests it can be used as up to 40% of the grist. I hoped the protein contribution would make up for the well-modified English base malt while preventing the beer from tasting too biscuity.

Omega British VI performed a brew-in-a-bag mash given the small quantity of grain. I mashed in at 165F to quickly denature the beta amylase responsible for creating most of the highly-fermentable maltose. Efficiency was a bit better than expected and it reached 1.030 instead of 1.028.

One of the takeaways from my recently submitted September BYO Advanced Brewing article (subscribe) comparing the mineral content of water to the beer brewed with it was that many of the flavor ions increase substantially. Much of that is from the grain, and using less grain suggests increasing the mineral additions. As a result, I increased my chloride target to boost mouthfeel.

I had some El Dorado in the freezer, and decided this was a good first batch to brew with them. I decided to pair with an equal amount of Simcoe to cut through the fruitier notes that El Dorado brings – often described as watermelon or strawberry. I used the new 400 micron hop filter I bought on a whim to hold the single flame-out addition, recirculating the wort through them.

For yeast I decided to try out Omega British V, which they compare to Wyeast 1318. I was hoping the grain and hot mash would result in ~50% apparent attenuation rather than the standard 71-75%. Despite all of my efforts the yeast still achieved a surprising 60% attenuation!

Session-Strength Session NEIPA

Smell – It smells like beer and not wort or hop tea! The hops provide an interesting mix of fruit (the power of suggestion says watermelon) and resin. Not much citrus or juice. Hop aroma would have been boosted by a keg hop. Not much else going on, but it doesn’t raise any flags given the style is all about hops.

Drinking Session IPA before mowing.
Appearance – Passes the eye test as well. Not too pale thanks to the Maris Otter. Appropriate haze. Head looks about right too, solid, white, with good-but-not-great retention.

Taste – The malt flavor is almost there, and then it isn’t, falling flat and fading too quickly. Doesn’t come off as excessively bready English-malty though. The bitterness was harsh when I tapped the keg, mostly because I was drinking it nine days after brewing! A week later, now that the hop matter has dropped out of suspension, it has mellowed to just a little sharp. No hint of alcohol…

Mouthfeel – Despite the chloride, Carafoam, and low attenuation the body isn’t fooling anyone. The mid-palate is more Bud Light than Julius, seltzery rather than pillowy. I remember the wheat-based batch having better body despite the same 1.030 original gravity.

Drinkability & Notes – Crisp, crushable, hoppy barley water. I like it, but it’ll need some tweaks to dupe anyone into thinking it is above 4%, let alone 6%!

Changes for Next Time – A small addition of honey malt would help the malt flavor and add sweetness to balance the hops. I’d probably swap half of the Carafoam for oats as well to bring the body up. Might chill to 200F before adding the hop-stand addition to reduce the bitterness.


Batch Size: 6.00 gal
SRM: 3.2
IBU: 48.6
OG: 1.030
FG: 1.012
ABV: 2.3%
Final pH: 4.89
Brewhouse Efficiency: 68%
Boil Time: 30 Mins

50.0% – 3.5 lbs Weyermann Carafoam
50.0% – 3.5 lbs Crisp Floor-Malted Gleneagles/No. 19 Maris Otter

Sacch Rest – 45 min @ 165F

2.00 oz El Dorado (Pellets, 14.00 % AA) @ Flame-out (30 min Hop Stand)
2.00 oz Simcoe (Pellets, 13.00 % AA) @ Flame-out (30 min Hop Stand)
2.00 oz El Dorado (Pellets, 14.00 % AA) @ Brew Day Dry Hop
2.00 oz Simcoe (Pellets, 13.00 % AA) @ Brew Day Dry Hop
2.00 oz El Dorado (Pellets, 14.00 % AA) @ Dry Hop Day 3
2.00 oz Simcoe (Pellets, 13.00 % AA) @ Dry Hop Day 3

9.00 g Calcium Chloride @ mash
4.50 g Gypsum @ mash
1.00 tsp 10% Phosphoric Acid @ mash
0.50 Whirlfloc @ 5 min
0.50 tsp Wyeast Nutrient @ 5 min

*Do not increase if your water is lower in carbonate.

Omega OYL-011 British Ale V

Brewed 5/19/17

BIAB with all of the salts and the acid, 3 gal each distilled, and DC tap. 5 gallons of 1.035 after removing the bag. Diluted with 1 gal each distilled and DC tap. That knocked the temperature down to 140F, but the enzymes should have been mostly denatured.

Brought to a boil for 30 minutes. Turned off the heat and added the hops for a 30 min stand with the wort recirculating through the hop filter.

Chilled to 70F, added first dose of dry hops to fermentor during run-off, pitched the yeast directly from the package, left at 64F to ferment.

5/22/17 Added second dose of dry hops.

5/29/17 Kegged, no keg hops at this point.

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Beer Brewing Pumps Part 2 – The Blichmann RipTide Pump

Beer Brewing Pumps Part 2 – The Blichmann RipTide Pump

RipTide Pump

This week in Part 2 of my series on beer pumps, I review the new Blichmann RipTide Pump. Last week in Part 1 I covered general brewing pump features as well as the popular March and Chugger pumps.

The Blichmann RipTide Pump Review

While the March and Chugger pumps covered in Part 1 have been the workhorses of homebrewers for many years now, Blichmann Engineering recently launched a new beer pump called the Riptide specifically designed to address home brewer’s needs. It has some unique features I really like. I was lucky enough to get a hold of a new RipTide and brew with it recently, so here’s my review of it.

Riptide Brewing Pump Features

The RipTide is really the first beer pump specifically designed for home brewers. As a result it has some very nice features that address shortcomings of other pump designs:

Easy to Disassemble Pump

  • Enclosed Motor – Other designs have an open motor design, meaning that the motor is exposed and can be quite loud. The RipTide has a fully enclosed motor which makes it extremely quiet – in fact almost silent when operating. Also the enclosed motor means you don’t need to worry as much about spilling water or wort on it accidentally while brewing.
  • Easy to Disassemble and Clean – The RipTide not only has an easy to clean magnetic-drive stainless steel head as a standard feature, but the entire head is held together with a single large Tri-Clamp. It takes literally seconds to remove the triclamp and disassemble the head after brewing for cleaning. Most other pumps require removing several screws to take the head off. The precision valve is also easy to remove and clean.
  • Blichmann Linear Flow Valve Built In- For other pumps you need to add a separate ball valve to the output to control the flow of wort, and unfortunately the ball valve rarely offers the precision flow control needed when pumping through a plate chiller. The RipTide has an integrated linear flow valve that takes about three turns to fully open/close so you can very precisely adjust the flow rate when pumping your wort through a chiller.
  • Integrated Bleed Valve – Other pumps typically need a separate bleed valve on the input to allow the pump to be primed properly as they won’t operate without liquid in the line and pump. The Blichmann pump has a “keg style” air release valve built into the head, so all you need to do to prime the pump is pull the ring on the bleed valve.
  • Built In Switch – Its a little thing, but most other pumps don’t have a switch built in so you need to either install an external switch or pull the plug to turn other pumps on and off. The RipTide has a built in switch and 10 foot (roughly 3 m) cord.
  • NPT Fittings you can Rotate with the Head – The pump comes with standard 1/2″ NPT fittings aligned 180 degrees from each other and you can rotate the head to support different orientations.

Brewing with the Riptide

Since the RipTide has the same fittings as my standard March pump it was pretty easy to install on my existing BrewEasy system. Priming the pump was very easy using the bleed valve. Also the peak flow rate is the same as my existing pump.

The first thing I noticed when operating the pump is just how quiet it is – the Riptide is listed at -50 db and it really is pretty close to silent when you operate it. Since I have an electric system, brewing with the Riptide is almost a silent experience except for a bit of noise from the wort itself recirculating into the top of the mash tun.

The precision valve came in handy when recirculating the mash. Where my old ball valve was generally either open or closed, with the Riptide I could dial the flow rate in so it would recirculate at a steady rate without running the mash tun dry.

Precision flow control was even more important when chilling wort through my plate chiller. I really struggled on my old pump to get the ball valve in just the right place to hit my target fermentation temperature. With the Riptide I could make very small adjustments and really dial in the temperature coming out of my plate chiller precisely.

After brewing cleanup was a snap as it only takes seconds to open up the pump head and remove the valve and the parts are stainless steel. I just disassembled the head, cleaned it with my other brewing tools and reassembled after drying.

Overall Impression of the Riptide

With a list price of $200 (as of this writing), I think Blichmann has a winner here. The RipTide is only slightly more expensive than a comparable stainless steel head March pump, and when you factor in the built-in features including the fully enclosed motor, built in precision valve, quick disassembly, and built in bleed valve it is a great deal. Also the enclosed motor makes it much quieter than any other pump on the market at this time.

I hope you enjoyed my two part review of beer brewing pumps. If you missed it you can find part 1 on March and Chugger pumps here. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

[Full Disclosure: Blichmann Engineering is a sponsor of the BeerSmith podcast and web sites]