When you’re searching for a new way to mix down your beer, it’s likely that you’ve come across a few different choices for a clamped, gravity fed, or sleeve-feed beer dispenser. Many people are confused about which style of these nifty contraptions they should choose, so we’ll try to clear things up here for you. The easiest type to understand is the gravity fed beer dispenser, also known as a Tote. Gravity fed beer mixers come in many different styles, including ones made entirely out of stainless steel.
Clamp Mount Mixer
These are the simplest, most affordable, and most delicious beer mixers available. The clamps that control flow of liquid through hoppers are located on the top of one end the cooler box. Most clamp mount mixers will use aluminum or high-quality stainless steel housings for their components. Clamp mount mixer come in a variety of sizes, but typically the smaller, 55 gallon drums are best suited for placing them on tables, countertops, or other flat surfaces.
Countertop/Tabletop: These mixers are placed on top of the counter or tabletop of a kitchen counter. Tabletop models may be mounted to the bottom of a cabinet, but countertop models are typically more compact, easier to clean, and generally require less clearance space. Counter-top impellers are more common than tabletop models. However, counter-top impellers can be equipped with a shaft that allows for easier access to liquid levels. Countertop hoppers and hoppers may be used in conjunction to a pump to increase the speed at which the beer is dispersed.
Open Head: An Open head clamp mount mixer works in the same way as a kitchenAid mixer, but it doesn’t include the motor. Instead, the motor is installed into the lid. Open head clamps tend to be more affordable than other clamps, however they require frequent maintenance. After each use, the motor needs to be disassembled and reassembled.
Plastic Drum Molds: These plastic drum mixing machines are commonly used in small-scale commercial production. Plastic drum mixers can be lighter and more portable than steel ones because they are made from plastic. Although they can be easily transferred from one model of the mixer to another, plastic drum mixers tend to be more costly. They come in a variety sizes and models. The larger models are typically used for filling large plastic bottles.
Clamp Mounted Direct Drive Drum Mixters – This clamp is the most widely used in home brewing. A direct drive drum mixer is designed to mix the wort directly into the fermenter without ever touching the outside lid. This style of unit requires a special ball valve and nipple which allows it to release the wort to the fermenter without creating a siphon. These units have a downside: they need to be maintained and may sometimes need to be replaced