Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: mikebiewer on March 04, 2010, 09:43:53 PM

Title: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: mikebiewer on March 04, 2010, 09:43:53 PM
I know there are many ways to do this, but when I first started brewing I did it manually. After I realized that was a huge pain in the butt, I moved on to carboy cap. That didn't turn out as well as I liked so I moved on to the auto siphon.

For $10 I solved my problem and minimize the amount of time my beer is exposed to the possibility of being infected.

Some of the new brewers may walk the same path so I decided to make an article that goes through all the ways I tried siphoning and what worked and didn't work.

How to Siphon Beer (http://mikesbrewreview.com/how-to-siphon-beer/)

What methods do you guys use?
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: MrNate on March 04, 2010, 11:15:20 PM
My autosiphon just went tango uniform. I love the design, but they are some flimsy junk.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: dbeechum on March 05, 2010, 12:55:23 AM
This is how I do it.

http://www.maltosefalcons.com/tech/racking-co2
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: dzlater on March 05, 2010, 04:49:57 AM
This is how I do it.

http://www.maltosefalcons.com/tech/racking-co2

I basically do the same thing but I just use the CO2 to get the siphon started
and I don't have the fittings. I just hold the gas line up to the carboy cap till
the siphon starts. I stick a cotton ball soaked in alcohol in an air lock and put that
in the carboy cap to act as an air filter, I don't know if it actually filters anything but it
makes me feel better.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: BrewArk on March 05, 2010, 05:09:44 AM
The "easy-siphon" is just that.  For the price, it takes out a lot of the mess.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: dhacker on March 05, 2010, 05:15:50 AM
This is how I do it.

http://www.maltosefalcons.com/tech/racking-co2


Same
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: zee on March 05, 2010, 07:53:18 AM
i do it very similarly, only i don't use co2. i use a sterile filter and i blow into that. additionally on the keg end, i have a ball lock hooked up to the beer out, so i can rack straight to the bottom of the keg. no splashing.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: Kaiser on March 05, 2010, 08:12:33 AM
The use of pressured CO2 scares me. There is nothing that makes sure the pressure does not exceed 3-5 psi except the operator looking at the gauge and in my case I don't want to rely on that.

I use a racking cane and hose. The siphon gets started with the turkey baster I use for sampling.

Kai
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: maxieboy on March 05, 2010, 08:24:35 AM
 
This is how I do it.

http://www.maltosefalcons.com/tech/racking-co2

Been CO2 force racking like that for years. No lifting full carboys, vessels can be side by side. It's the shizzle! I use a barb to barb adapter(no clamps needed, LOW pressures) to connect the gas line to the carboy cap, simple! I only use enough pressure to move the beer, it may take 5-10 mins. What's the rush? Purge the receiving vessel with CO2 and your precious beer never sees O2.  :)
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: bspisak on March 05, 2010, 10:33:10 AM
I've been wanting to set up a C02 push system and really like the flare fitting screwed into the carboy hood.  Nice!

On the keg side, why not just use a standard keg fitting and hook up the beer line from the carboy to the OUT side of the keg? You can vent the keg either by removing the top, loosening the IN side, or simply using an IN fitting with no line attached.

Brian
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: dbeechum on March 05, 2010, 10:41:52 AM
I never did the full keg hookup for a few reasons

Of course nowadays, I brew in a garage and most of my beer ferments in a couple of 10g cornies, so... pressure racking all the way.

And Kai, regarding the pressure - I swapped out my standard regulator gauges with a more accurate low pressure gauge. At ~3.5 psi, those carboy caps will pop off the bottle, so it hasn't been that much of a worry so far.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: bluesman on March 05, 2010, 12:44:03 PM
There is definitely some advantages to this process.

How much pressure is required to force the beer (5 gallon carboy) up through the siphon rod and into a keg and is that enough pressure to be worried about the carboy or cap blowing up or off ?   In other words, is that pressure within the safe operating limits of this system?

My bet is Kai will calculate this for us.  ::)
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: denny on March 05, 2010, 01:10:30 PM
What's wrong with me?  I have no problem siphoning with tubing and a racking cane by filling them with water to start the siphon.  Am I a Luddite?  :)
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: babalu87 on March 05, 2010, 01:13:22 PM
What's wrong with me?  I have no problem siphoning with tubing and a racking cane by filling them with water to start the siphon.  Am I a Luddite?  :)

Maybe cause I have to use Star-San  ;D

Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: Hokerer on March 05, 2010, 01:20:53 PM
What's wrong with me?  I have no problem siphoning with tubing and a racking cane by filling them with water to start the siphon.  Am I a Luddite?  :)

I'm right there with you.  Although I use the hydrometer sample instead of water.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: akr71 on March 05, 2010, 01:23:58 PM
What's wrong with me?  I have no problem siphoning with tubing and a racking cane by filling them with water to start the siphon.  Am I a Luddite?  :)

+1

Thanks Denny, I was beginning to wonder if it was me being a relative noob that I've never had this problem before.  My racking cane works quite nicely!
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: denny on March 05, 2010, 01:27:42 PM
What's wrong with me?  I have no problem siphoning with tubing and a racking cane by filling them with water to start the siphon.  Am I a Luddite?  :)

Maybe cause I have to use Star-San  ;D



I can still remember how nervous I was years ago the first time I filled the siphon with tap water.  Was the beer going to be ruined?  I decided there was only way to know, and I've been winning that bet for 12 years so far!
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: bluesman on March 05, 2010, 01:28:35 PM
I currently use an auto-siphon which works well but with Drew's system I like the idea of not moving the carboy and minimizing the beer's exposure to O2.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: dbeechum on March 05, 2010, 01:31:43 PM
I currently use an auto-siphon which works well but with Drew's system I like the idea of not moving the carboy and minimizing the beer's exposure to O2.

The not moving it part is definitely the main reason I do it. I started doing it because I just didn't have anywhere high enough to set the carboys for settling and I really hated a) the danger of moving a full carboy - again b) stirring up sediment that had settled.. So, on with the CO2. It also helped that until 2 months ago I got free CO2!
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: Janis on March 05, 2010, 01:47:55 PM
Hi Mike,

When you write up your how-to about siphoning, would you consider adding the procedure to the Homebrewopedia?

http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/Procedures (http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/Procedures)

You'll have to be registered with the wiki (although you can use the same registration as you have for the AHA Forum) in order to submit information.  If you're unfamiliar with wikis, you should read the instructions on how to add information.  It will be great to have this procedure on the wiki!  Thanks.

Cheers,
   Janis Gross
   AHA Project Coordinator
   National Homebrew Competition Director
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: gmwren on March 05, 2010, 02:35:27 PM
I also fill the hose with liquid by using my sanitizer solution. I just pull it out of the bucket and pinch one end to keep it in place. One trick I use is to siphon over the open door of the dishwasher. Place a pot under the door to support weight and siphon into whatever on the open door. I let the sanitizer run out into the dishwasher until I get beer and then continue as normal. Cleanup is a snap. Just close the door.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: babalu87 on March 05, 2010, 04:26:48 PM
I also fill the hose with liquid by using my sanitizer solution. I just pull it out of the bucket and pinch one end to keep it in place. One trick I use is to siphon over the open door of the dishwasher. Place a pot under the door to support weight and siphon into whatever on the open door. I let the sanitizer run out into the dishwasher until I get beer and then continue as normal. Cleanup is a snap. Just close the door.

Thats about what I do
I get the siphin started then let it run into a cup , once the hose is filled I put the hose end back in the bucket I store the star-san in and let it sit a minute.
When I rack in the basement I just use two containers
One gets the sanitizer/funky first bit of beer-yeast
One gets the hydro-sample then its off to the secondary, bottling bucket or keg
 
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: maxieboy on March 06, 2010, 07:11:43 AM
I never did the full keg hookup for a few reasons
  • Back pressure - it's a helluva lot easier for that little poppet space to get clogged with random material (think hop bits) and that could cause the pressure to build up
  • More fiddly bits to ensure are completely sanitized - actually the biggest reason.

+1
 Did the full keg hookup a couple of times and quit for those reasons.

What's wrong with me?  I have no problem siphoning with tubing and a racking cane by filling them with water to start the siphon.  Am I a Luddite?  :)

Nothing. Aspiring.  ;D

Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: ndcube on March 08, 2010, 05:56:06 AM
What's wrong with me?  I have no problem siphoning with tubing and a racking cane by filling them with water to start the siphon.  Am I a Luddite?  :)

I'm right there with you.  Although I use the hydrometer sample instead of water.

I usually drink my hydro sample :D and use star-san for the siphon.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: dean on March 08, 2010, 06:25:34 AM
I use a carboy cap almost exclusively now for over a year, I've never had the siphon lost when using a carboy cap, I set the bottom of the racking cane so it is about 1/2 an inch above the yeast cake and use a wedge under one side of the carboy.  Once the siphon is started there is no reason to move the cane so you shouldn't lose the siphon and as far as I can tell thats the only way the siphon could be lost.  Works great for me.  On the other hand, I have had auto-siphons (2 now) that the seal went bad in.  I liked them but after two... nah.  I don't like filling a racking cane and 5 or more feet of tubing with water etc... its a pita making sure it doesn't have any pockets of air.   :D
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: zee on March 08, 2010, 08:16:35 AM
I never did the full keg hookup for a few reasons
  • Back pressure - it's a helluva lot easier for that little poppet space to get clogged with random material (think hop bits) and that could cause the pressure to build up
  • More fiddly bits to ensure are completely sanitized - actually the biggest reason.

that's actually why i don't use co2 pressure and just let the carboy suck air through a sterile filter. i figure the co2 from fermentation will stay on top of the beer and filtered air from the basement will ride on the co2 minimizing any o2 contact with the beer. but this way if something gets clogged [which it never has] i don't have a back pressure problem. the siphon simply stops.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: MrNate on March 08, 2010, 09:10:52 AM
Now that I'm intrigued by this I'm browsing McMaster-Carr to see if there's a cheap & easy way to make a siphon starter that will work on any size carboy or bucket and does not render the whole racking assembly inoperable if the siphon starter bits fail. I'll post back if I come up with anything.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: tubercle on March 08, 2010, 09:59:39 AM
Racking cane, tubing, turkey baster...
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: alikocho on March 08, 2010, 10:08:40 AM
Vodka gargle and then suck,
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: zee on March 08, 2010, 10:11:58 AM
whoo. this thread is getting sexay.  ;D
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: MrNate on March 08, 2010, 11:16:40 AM
Racking cane, tubing, turkey baster...

I'm thinking more gizmodic and cooler than that. They have the cheap bellows-style siphon pumps for $5, but where's the fun in that?
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: beersk on March 08, 2010, 12:24:56 PM
I've always used an auto-siphon, I dig it.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: makemehoppy on March 08, 2010, 12:47:31 PM
I used to use a thief to get a hydro sample and an autosiphon for the transfer. Now I just stick my autosiphon in without tubing and pump a couple times to squirt my hydro sample into a test jar. Then I attach a sanitized hose to the autosiphon and one more pump for the transfer. This saves me steralizing the thief and hydrometer.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: mikebiewer on March 08, 2010, 09:02:11 PM
Wow thanks guys.

The response is awesome!

I've been hearing a lot about using the kegging system and CO2 to push the beer over. That sounds like one of the best and most logical ideas. Unfortunately I don't have the space for a kegging system so I'm forced to continue to rack beer from one place to another. At least, for now that is.

I suppose at some point I'll move up in the world and get into the kegging portion of all this. I just like the idea that I can drink my beer sooner! However, there are some brews I just like to age in bottles.

I would have to agree that the autosiphon is cheap and easily breakable, but for the 10 bucks I spent on it, I feel it is completely worth it. For some reason I kept losing my siphons. I even used pipe clamps to clamp down where the racking cane goes into the tubing in hopes of preventing leaks. Obviously to no avail.

I still think I've got a leak, and I'm working on getting that fixed. Until then though, I like that if I lose my siphon its easy to start back up without taking things out of the beer and refilling them up and such.

Thanks for all the responses.

*Janis-I'll look into the Wiki! Thanks!*
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: makemehoppy on March 09, 2010, 07:24:38 AM
If you are losing your siphon try a smaller diameter tubing. I don't know the dimensions, but I had the same problem with tubing that easily fit on the autosiphon and no problems at all with the tubing that just fits on.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: zee on March 09, 2010, 07:53:21 AM
as i said before, i use a similar setup to drew, but without the co2. i think pressurizing a carboy is unnecessary. i use this:

http://morebeer.com/view_product/18872//Sterile_Siphon_Starter_-_For_5_and_6_Gallon_Carboys

and this is how easy it is:

http://morebeer.com/public/video/siphonstartweb.mov
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: bspisak on March 09, 2010, 09:37:58 AM
i think pressurizing a carboy is unnecessary.

It is if you're pushing beer "up hill".   ;)

The best thing about a co2 push system is not having to disturb the carboy to get the beer out of the freezer and into a keg. Especially if you've just spent 3 months lagering it.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: zee on March 09, 2010, 09:49:46 AM
yes, thats true, but also why i try to ferment on racks so that when it comes time to rack to the keg i don't have to move it. i'm in the process of building a walk in refrigerator so that i can lager there too.  ;D
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: rajraju on March 10, 2010, 08:30:22 AM
Flawless time after time after time...........http://www.amazon.com/Super-Siphon-Hose-TWO-16-95/dp/B000ZORJ1E

Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: dean on March 11, 2010, 08:02:34 AM
Flawless time after time after time...........http://www.amazon.com/Super-Siphon-Hose-TWO-16-95/dp/B000ZORJ1E



I bought one of these a few years ago, it was the fastest transfer I've ever seen... I can't remember exactly how long it took, I'm guessing it would have taken maybe a minute to transfer five gallons from carboy to keg but I pinched the tube to slow it down.   :o  The reason I quit using it was because I wasn't sure the tubing was food grade and might transfer flavors into the beer?  It is the easiest and fastest siphon I've ever used that is for sure!   I might try using it on one batch again to see if it picks up any flavors or not.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: brewboy on March 11, 2010, 08:04:52 AM
I just used one of those  the other night to drain some cornys I was cleaning. It is fast. I've also used it for beer and never tasted any off flavors. It moves the liquid so fast, I doubt that it would have time to pick up and flavors.  ;D

They sure do start easy.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: dean on March 11, 2010, 08:11:14 AM
It would only be good for going from a fermenter to secondary fementer or keg flooded with Co2 though.... its That Fast.  It would probably work very well for transferring chilled wort into a fermenter if a screen was on the end to keep trub out.  You sure wouldn't want to try bottling with it.   :o   :D
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: beerrat on March 14, 2010, 10:51:47 AM
In the past I've used the autosiphon, star san in tubing, vodka/suck, and CO2 for racking.

I've settled on using a simple racking cane, tubing and using using the pump from my star san spray bottle to get it going:
(http://gallery.me.com/dschreffler/100202/IMG_0546/web.jpg?ver=12685883010001) (http://gallery.me.com/dschreffler/100202/IMG_0543/web.jpg?ver=12685882970001)
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: brewboy on March 14, 2010, 11:20:36 AM
Nice idea. I've thought about coming up with a nozzle to attach to my CO2 bottle and shoot air across the end of the tube to develop a vacuum, but I've never tried it.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: mikebiewer on March 15, 2010, 09:20:05 PM
Interesting.

I've seen those copper siphon starter fittings before. That is one option I have yet to explore.

I think that squirt bottle head attached to the hose and racking cane is a great idea. That my friend is awesome. I may give that one a whirl.

Great responses guys. These are all entertaining and informative!

Thanks!

Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: yugamrap on March 16, 2010, 08:38:47 PM
Auto Siphon here.  It's reliable and pretty much idiot-proof - goodness knows I've done my best to debunk this claim!  :-[ ;)
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: mikebiewer on May 31, 2010, 11:20:25 AM
I love my auto siphon as well.

However, I've been reading about using two bottling buckets. Instead of siphoning, you just move beer over through the spigot and a tube. That sounds like it could be even easier. I have a hard time with it though. I just don't trust the seal on the spigot. Or it something will happen and break it off.

Anyone do it this way? I see a couple starter kits out there that do.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: hopfenundmalz on May 31, 2010, 11:34:26 AM
What's wrong with me?  I have no problem siphoning with tubing and a racking cane by filling them with water to start the siphon.  Am I a Luddite?  :)

I have done it that way, just flush the lines with beer and off you go.

Another way is to use some plastic tubing from a bottling wand or a boken racking cane.  Sanitize it and insert into the vinyl tubing after that and your racking cane are in the beer.  Exhale, give a good suck on the plasic tube, get the beer flowing, and pull the hard tube out, procede as with the other method(s).  Your mouth never gets near the vinyl tube.  I learned this one from Jeff Renner.

All of the stuff to do the CO2 method has been bought, but I have not done it yet.
Title: Re: How to Siphon Beer
Post by: bearcat on June 01, 2010, 07:59:42 AM
one more that I haven't seen yet :  ... in the carboy cap inserting that white micron air filter (one NB sells with the aeration system) and giving a little puff.  Works well for gravity situations, but I still use C02 instead of lifting those carboys out of the temp. controlled freezer.

Enjoyed the site Mike.