Sunday, 4 January 2009

Pump Action

All I wanted for Christmas was a pump! Sadly, despite dropping numerous not-so-casual hints to anyone who would listen, I had to buy the damn thing for myself.... I drew the line at wrapping it up and putting it under the tree though.

Racking off can be achieved by the very simple process of carefully syphoning from one vessel into another cleaned and sterilised vessel. This is how I've been doing it for years, it's a little slow but has the distinct advantage of costing no more than a length of food-grade tubing. It's a gentle process too, which is important at this stage of the cider's development, we don't want to agitate the cider too much as this will drive off any dissolved CO2 and possibly lead to oxidisation.

The problem with syphoning is that the cider must be physically higher than the receiving vessel or it won't flow. Small fermenters can be lifted to a suitable height either before racking, or if you're really careful, during the racking process. The larger the fermenter, the more difficult this is to achieve, and we've now found that our newer 120 litre tubs are simply too heavy to lift. The time has come for us to invest in a food-grade pump.

The industry standard pump for small-scale cidermakers like ourselves is the Schneider Okoflow 3000, a flexible impeller pump made in Germany (naturally!), and imported by those suppliers of all things cidery, Vigo Ltd of Devon. Needless to say they're not cheap, but we really can't get by without one now.

It's a thing of robust, functional beauty, decked out in hot 'Industrial Orange' as all good 'Man-Toys' should be. I'm certainly looking forward to flexing it's dinky rubber impeller very soon. Perhaps I'll post a video on here... Hmm! Perhaps this Blog is dull enough already...

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