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Hi there,

We are making whisky with a grain-in process. The mash is pumped from the mash tun to the fermenter with a centrifugal pump and stays there without agitation. After a week the grain is settled at the bottom and the husk is floating dry at the top. It is a hell of a job to pump this to the still after it is settled. I am thinking about using a lobe pump but I am not sure this will work with the solid at the bottom. The other solution would be to add an agitator to keep the mash homogeneity. 

Does anyone ever had this problem with a grain-in process? Did you try a lobe pump or other solution?

Thanks!

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We have a lobe pump, 2" Viking Duralobe.  No problem pumping heavy settled grain.

That said, we had agitators fabricated for our fermenters as well.  This has less to do with pumping heavy grain, more to do with not leaving grain behind in a flat bottom fermenter.

Kudos to you for even trying to pump grain-in with a centrifugal.

 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, Silk City Distillers said:

We have a lobe pump, 2" Viking Duralobe.  No problem pumping heavy settled grain.

That said, we had agitators fabricated for our fermenters as well.  This has less to do with pumping heavy grain, more to do with not leaving grain behind in a flat bottom fermenter.

Kudos to you for even trying to pump grain-in with a centrifugal.

 

 

 

Thanks for the ints. Actually, we do pump the settled grain with a centrifugal pump. Though, we shoot water through the drain before so it kind of moves everything!

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We use a flexible impeller pump and haven't had any issues with moving thick, highly viscous mashes. We don't agitate our fermenters and get a similar grain buildup on the bottom as well.

US-FIP is the manufacturer we bought from - they make a pump for this specific application.

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FIP and Lobe pumps are both positive displacement pumps, this is compared to centrifugal (aka velocity pump).  The appropriate pump for the application is a positive displacement pump, whether it be: Lobe, FIP, Progressive Cavity, Screw, Diaphragm (aka air powered double diaphragm), even Peristaltic.

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We have Jabsco Flexible impeller pumps with carts at a better price than all of our competitors.  Jabsco invented the flexible impeller pump technology.  These pumps are self priming, variable speed and have reversing capabilities.  Also we can supply you with impellers that are good for over 200° F.  We also have the best priced explosion proof ethanol pump in the industry.  417-778-6100 paul@distillery-equipment.com

https://shop.distillery-equipment.com/collections/brewing-distilling-equipment-accessories/products/20-gpm-jabsco-flexible-impeller-pump

https://shop.distillery-equipment.com/collections/brewing-distilling-equipment-accessories/products/jabsco-veraflex-flexible-impeller-mash-pump-with-cart  This one comes with a remote control.

Explosion proof ethanol pump.  https://shop.distillery-equipment.com/collections/brewing-distilling-equipment-accessories/products/5-gpm-explosion-proof-beverage-alcohol-pump-for-high-proof-spirits-flojet-g70c  If you need a larger ethanol pump we have them with ground up to over 100 gallon per minute.

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How well do the Impeller pumps work for CIP applications?  I use a centrifugal, but my Letina's are so low to the ground it is a PITA in terms of priming if I want to use the fancy (though too tall) pump cart I bought with it.  I have tried my Air Diaphragm pump, but it really doesn't get the spray ball moving as well with the pulsing action from the pump.  Curious what people are using and how they have their CIP setup?

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Interested in CIP as well. Have a 1.5" centrifugal that I've had zero problems pumping wheat mashes with, but it's a pain to use for CIP as any vortexing in a source tank causes the pump to air lock.

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Flexible impeller pumps are not the best option for CIP.  Our CIP pumps are centrifugal pumps and we do not have any trouble with them in that capacity.

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You really need to match the sprayball with the tank and pump, if you don't meet the flow and pressure requirements of the sprayball, it's going to be very ineffective.  Your sprayballs should have a specified flow and pressure requirement based on tank diameter.

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22 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

That said, we had agitators fabricated for our fermenters as well

Sigh. We didn't. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Can you post some pics? We're going to have flanges tigged to our and I want to get some ideas on the best way to do this.

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Indyspirits,  If you are liquefying your mash properly and you are using a flexible impeller pump you should not be having any issues pumping out even the most viscus mash, because the grain flour will stay in suspension.  A couple of our customers were having trouble with grain settling very thickly at the bottom of their fermenters and sticking to the side walls of their mash tun but once they started liquefying their mash properly there was no build up and no sticking.   Also if you want oxygenation during fermentation, then a aquarium aerator will usually do the trick.

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give it a quick stir beforehand, don't need a full agitation.

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