This weekend was my first brew session with my “pump in a box” in full effect and things went well. There were a few problems that were caused mostly by my inexperience with priming the pump, but once I got over that hump, things went very smoothly.
For anyone that does not have experience in priming a non-self priming pump, you are essentially trying to remove all the air from the pump so that suction can be created. This takes a few minutes and one thing that is helpful to to make sure that your exit hose is held straight up from the pump. This helps purge any air that could be lingering in the pump head. Give it time. Make sure you wait a few minutes for the process to take place. Finally, once you have the pump primed, the next few times it happens much easier.
On another note, using the pump to chill the beer is not a great way to work. It’s very slow (took about an hour to chill 10 gallons compared to 30 min the other way and I had to keep feeding ice into the reservoir. I am going to re-think this one a bit and see what I can come up with, perhaps a snowbank bath first to knock off the first 50 digrees or something. I’m not sure, but I am not giving up on this one…