A beginner’s guide to recirculating wort
I chose the RoboBrew as a very cost effective alternative to the Speidel Braumeister with its built-in pump. So when I started brewing with the RoboBrew, re-circulation was a must.
Update December 2016: The new RoboBrew With Pump includes a recirculation system built-in, making the whole process much simpler!
Getting started with recirculation is quite simple, but does require just a small amount of plumbing and perfectly safe electrical work.
Items you’ll need:
- A food and temperature rated pump.
- Barbed fittings and hose clamps
- Food and temperature rated hose
Of course, you might like to expand on that. We plan on adding some copper pipe for a gentle sprinkler system above the malt pipe, but for getting started that’s it!
The process is simple. Hook the hose to the outlet on the RoboBrew, to the pump inlet, and then from the pump outlet to the top of the malt pipe. Run the pump for the duration of your mash. The wort gently flowing over the grain will wash sugars from the grain to increase your efficiency, while the grain bed acts as a filter to give you clear, clean wort.
Minimise disturbance to the grain bed
The flow should not disturb the grainbed or wort around the top of the grain bed. Chose a pump and flow rate that will give you a good gentle flow – this is not an operation where maximum LPMs are needed. Make sure that your hose to the top of the malt pipe directs the flow along the surface of the wort, not down into the grain. The flow rate should keep a consistent amount of wort above the grain bed – ensure that it doesn’t overflow over the malt pipe or drain below the grain bed.
Use the same system for sparge
With this system in place, sparging at the end of the mash is a matter of hooking the pump up to your sparge water source and allowing it to flow gently into the malt pipe, being careful to keep the wort surface above the grain bed so as to not disturb it. Just be sure to have enough length in your hose that you can perform the sparge while you raise the malt pipe for draining.
Make sure your hose doesn’t go walkabout
Secure your hose to the malt pipe so that it provides a nice, steady flow and won’t move around and cause either a disturbed grain bed or lost wort. A zip-tie fastening it to the malt pipe handle is an easy solution – zip-ties should be a staple of any homebrew toolkit!
The brown pump
The brown pump is a staple of homebrew systems. Don’t let its small size and $25 price tag fool you, it’s a great pump that is perfect for this low-flow application. Because it’s 12V DC you’ll need to find a way to connect it safely to a mains power source. Check with your electrician, but there’s plenty of safe and legal DIY options for wiring this pump at hardware electrical specially stores.
Keg King distribute this pump, so you should be able to get it anywhere you find the RoboBrew.
Re-circulation will give you better efficiency and clearer beer. Though the RoboBrew works without it, this is a very low-cost modification to the system that will vastly improve your brewing experience.