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My Northern Brewer Transfer Pump experience

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TandemTails

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I do a lot of long term projects (barrel aged and sour beers) and I was getting really tired of having to move heavy carboys / full barrels around in order to transfer them to other vessels or kegs.

I ended up buying the Northern Brewer transfer pump to help with this and finally got around to using it twice today. I needed to transfer an Imperial Stout out of my barrel into kegs and then transfer a rye saison into the barrel for some long term aging with Brett-C. I wanted to do a quick write-up since I was a little on the fence about buying this and wasn't sure if it was worth it.

I didn't get the full kit with the pump since I already had a bunch of hoses and a stainless racking cane. I used two silicone tubes since they're easier to clean than traditional tubing.

To prepare for the transfer I filled half a bucket with some hot PBW water and ran the pump for about few minutes, let it rest for a while and then ran it for another minute or two. After that I flushed it with water and then recirculated starsan through the system.

With the whole thing cleaned and sanitized, i put the racking cane into the barrel and turned the pump on to purge the starsan out of the lines. Once the beer started to come through, I put the hose in the keg and filled it. Starting and stopping the pump is really easy with the switch and made switching from filling one keg to another easy since I didn't have to try and pinch the hose and end up spraying beer everywhere.

When the transfer was done I ran some water through the line then recirculated some more starsan. I cleaned out the barrel and then transferred my saison into it without any issues. After that transfer I ran water through the system and then packed the pump with starsan for storage.

The thing i like the most about this pump is that it's self priming. You don't need to get a siphon going to start it. It's also pretty powerful and has no problem pumping up instead of just down.

I didn't notice any bubbling or oxygen getting into the system during any of the cleaning or beer transfer stages. As long as you go from sani->beer, there should never be room for oxygen to get in the mix.

Was this pump worth the price? For me - definitely. It was a huge pain trying to move the barrel last time I needed to rack beer out of it. It's not something I'm going to use every brew day, but it's really going to be useful in the situations it's meant for.

Here's a pic of the pump moving beer between the barrel and keg:

 

gnef

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I have had similarly good experience with the exact same pump! We are very similar in our thought process and purpose. I bought this for transferring out of the Jack Daniel's barrel that houses my single vessel Flander's Red Solera. I didn't want to spend the money for the bigger variable speed pump, and I have been quite pleased with the performance of the pump so far. I am a bit concerned about possible aeration during the transfer, so I'll be on the lookout for oxidation as I drink this beer.
 

Brooothru

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I've been using one for a couple of years now, but for wine and not beer. I got it because a few years ago, while using an auto-siphon to transfer from fermenter to carboy I started getting air sucked in around the rod seal. It seemed like this was happening every few months, and I was getting fed up with buying new auto-siphons 3 or 4 times per year. Unfortunately I had four 6-gallon batches of wine to transfer that day and my LHBS was closed. So I foolishly forged ahead. How bad could it be?

Well, some turned out to be "drinkable", but many just became useful for cleaning out the drain. Oh, there were a select few that were able to be converted to passable cooking wine and some "interesting" vinegars. But for the most part it was hit or miss when it came time to decant or serve, with a standby bottle always close at hand. Of 120 bottles, fewer than half were ever served.

Since I don't use the pump to transfer beer I can't fairly comment on how well it works, but I been very pleased with its ability to handle wine without causing oxidation. Just be quick to turn off the pump as soon as the liquid transfer is completed 'cause it will certainly pump a mega amount of air bubbles quite vigorously if you don't. Use the amount trapped in the lines as your "sacrificial hydrometer sample."
 

Vale71

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If you're worried about oxidation you should stop using silicone tubing as it's the most O2 permeable rubber there is. Oxygen will diffuse through even if there are no visible bubbles. Same goes for the open transfer, oxygen is getting into your beer the whole time it's sitting in an open keg.
 
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