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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Emptying Whiskey Casks

Hi everyone!

I need some help...

We currently have our casks warehoused on pallets with the casks on their ends. This system is great for moving the casks and for stacking them on top of each other.

But, this means that when we empty the casks we have to turn/roll the cask on its side and empty the whiskey into a stainless steel trough.

Without getting into details this is not an ideal set up. There are health and safety issues along with risks of spills or damage.

What I would like to do is pump the whiskey out of the casks. I have even seen this done! The process was simple... A tube or spear was placed in the casks. The casks was at a slight angle with the end of the tube in the lower corner of the casks. The pump was turned on and had enough pull to suck the whiskey out and into a large vat.

What I am unsure about is the type of pump to use. The set up I saw had a small centrifugal pump. But every centrifugal pump that I have used needed to be below the liquid level so it was "primed".

Has anyone seen this type of set up?


Reply:

You are correct, centrifugal pumps in this situation will require a "prime" to function properly.

You could easily plumb a Tri-Clamp Tee and Quarter turn valve at the top of the curve in the hose between the pump and the barrel. Then to prime, you would open the valve, pour whiskey, water or other prime liquid in through the valve and tee and fill the hose. Then you'd be able to kick on the centrifugal and pump away.
Alternatively, you could look into Air Operated Diaphragm Pumps, which are great for situations like these. Portable, small, and use compressed air as the mechanical force for the pump.

Good luck.


Reply:

A lot of these transfer wands have a silicon cork on it and when it's pushed into the cask it seals, then on the wand there is a valve to use compressed air to start the flow of liquid up the wand and that primes the pump.

If you have a wand custom built then it can be a transfer using only compressed air and not pump, but it would be slower.


Reply:

I believe I read about a centrifigul pump could get several feet of dry lift with a flexible impeller. I don't have one, so I can't speak from experience, so don't hold me to that. Of course you'd also need an impeller chemically compatible with alcohol, and an explosion proof motor.


Reply:

I could never get myself to buy an expensive explsion proof pump that is compatible with alcohol, so I came up with a practical solution. I use an oil-less vacuum pump to suck product from one container to the next. I connect the vac pump to a 5 gallon sealed bubbler (filled half way with water). The bubbler is fitted with vacuum gague and an adjustable vac relief valve. The dipstick side of the bubbler connects via polypropelene hose to a fitting on a sealed drum (or any sealed container). A second fitting connects to a wand which goes into your barrel. The wand must have a slotted end so that it has no opportunity to suction to any part of your barrel.

You manage the flow rate by adjusting the vac relief valve. It is an open system unless the wand clogs, so there is no danger of implosion. Even if the wand clogs, the vac relief valve will prevent too much vac buildup if you have it set properly. No alcohol or vapor will ever come in contact with your pump, but just as a precaution I vent it outdoors. If the pump makes you nervous, you could put a vac holding tank in its place. In that case you would draw vacuum on the vac tank, turn off the pump, then connect the vac tank to the bubbler. This would be the only tank that would need a vacuum rating.

Its not as complicated as it sounds and you should be able to assemble the pump, hose, fittings and valves for a few hundred dollars. If you opt for the vacuum rated tank, they can be very expensive.


Reply:

Can you recommend any manufacturers or part numbers for the oil-less vacuum pump? I would be interested in trying to build this.


Reply:

Jedd,

I can't make out the part number for my vacuum pump, but it is a Thomas pump. I have purchased a couple rebuilt pumps from an e-bay seller. It is similar to this:

Vacuum Veneer Thomas Pump 2619/2639 Vacuum / Compressor 3-4CFM 24"VAC

CDE Surpluss rebuilds and sells them for less than $100. The adjustable vacuum relief valve can be purchase from Grainger. I use polypropylene plastic tube - also from Grainger (don't buy it from the local hardware store unless you are certain what it is made from). Stainless or brass fittings are easy to source from Grainger or on E-bay (try mainland valve).

There are some common sense precautions that you should take when transferring this way - try it with water a few times so that you can "calibrate" the vacuum valve for a safe flow. Always monitor it while it is running (like any transfer pump). You can pm me if you have other questions.


Reply:

Thanks, Seventh Son.


Reply:

Hi everyone!

I need some help...

We currently have our casks warehoused on pallets with the casks on their ends. This system is great for moving the casks and for stacking them on top of each other.

But, this means that when we empty the casks we have to turn/roll the cask on its side and empty the whiskey into a stainless steel trough.

Without getting into details this is not an ideal set up. There are health and safety issues along with risks of spills or damage.

What I would like to do is pump the whiskey out of the casks. I have even seen this done! The process was simple... A tube or spear was placed in the casks. The casks was at a slight angle with the end of the tube in the lower corner of the casks. The pump was turned on and had enough pull to suck the whiskey out and into a large vat.

What I am unsure about is the type of pump to use. The set up I saw had a small centrifugal pump. But every centrifugal pump that I have used needed to be below the liquid level so it was "primed".

Has anyone seen this type of set up?


Reply:

We have a Yamada and just love it.


Reply:

We have a Yamada and just love it.


Reply:

We have a Yamada and just love it.


Reply:

http://www.debem.it/saniboxer-pompe-alimentari-farmaceutiche-3A.htm

We use these pumps with great results ....


Reply:

http://www.debem.it/...ceutiche-3A.htm

We use these pumps with great results ....


Reply:

Thanks for the Help and Updates everyone.

We have used a Vac pump system for single casks. It is a little slow but works well and as you say the whiskey never reaches the pump. I think this is a good solution for small casks or low volume operations.

I tried the air pump... It worked but there were a few issues. When you get to the end of the casks you will not pump "everything" out. This was an issue for us with our customs officer. Also the process was not very fast. I think you would have a hard time doing 100+ casks in a day with one pump.

In the end we are going back to the old trough method. It is not my favorite but it is tried and tested. I have some ideas for improvements and a good P&ID if anyone is interested.

If you can accept 1/4 inch of liquid in the bottom of your casks the air/diaphragm pump is the way to go.


Reply:

They look interesting, but I see no US distributor. How did you purchase them?