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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: klickitat jim on September 30, 2013, 12:25:14 AM

Title: Racking
Post by: klickitat jim on September 30, 2013, 12:25:14 AM
I've been just using my bucket spigot and a hose to rack my beers to the keg. It works but I pay for it by needing to blow out more yeast than I care to from the keg. Back when I was under pitching it was less of a problem.

Anyway, what is the Cadillac racking cane? I have one that works, gave about $12 for it. But I'm thinking of getting a good one. Suggestions?
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: slarkin712 on September 30, 2013, 12:40:40 AM
I really like my 1/2" auto siphon, and I know it cost less than $20.  If you are getting a lot of yeast in your kegs try cold crashing your beer before transfer.  Works really well for me.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: cornershot on September 30, 2013, 01:43:27 AM
I use a ss racking cane. It will last forever. Pair it with a cleaning brush and move on.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: klickitat jim on September 30, 2013, 01:59:34 AM
I really like my 1/2" auto siphon, and I know it cost less than $20.  If you are getting a lot of yeast in your kegs try cold crashing your beer before transfer.  Works really well for me.
That's the plan for the new additional freezer.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: klickitat jim on September 30, 2013, 02:00:07 AM
I use a ss racking cane. It will last forever. Pair it with a cleaning brush and move on.

  Brand? Vendor?
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: amh0001 on September 30, 2013, 04:33:50 AM


 I have only used a plastic auto siphon for years. It is simple enough to use, but I have always been concerned about how clean it is. I usually just rinse it off and then siphon all the starsan out of my keg to sanitize it. I dont even get any noticeable off flavors or infection type things from it.

Not to hijack the thread but just to add/ask. How do ya'll clean your auto siphons. Also If you are only using a racking cane and not an auto siphon how do you go about starting it?
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: klickitat jim on September 30, 2013, 05:12:17 AM
The rack I have must be an auto. Its two piece that acts like a pump. Maybe I'll stick with that till it breaks
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: erockrph on September 30, 2013, 05:20:55 AM


 I have only used a plastic auto siphon for years. It is simple enough to use, but I have always been concerned about how clean it is. I usually just rinse it off and then siphon all the starsan out of my keg to sanitize it. I dont even get any noticeable off flavors or infection type things from it.

Not to hijack the thread but just to add/ask. How do ya'll clean your auto siphons. Also If you are only using a racking cane and not an auto siphon how do you go about starting it?

I use the autosiphon to "recirculate" the hot PBW solution in my fermenter or kettle when I clean them, and again with hot water when I rinse out the PBW. Then I use it to transfer my star san from the bucket I store it in to my fermenter/bottling bucket/etc. and then back to the storage bucket when It's time to sanitize.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: cornershot on September 30, 2013, 10:43:23 AM


 I have only used a plastic auto siphon for years. It is simple enough to use, but I have always been concerned about how clean it is. I usually just rinse it off and then siphon all the starsan out of my keg to sanitize it. I dont even get any noticeable off flavors or infection type things from it.

Not to hijack the thread but just to add/ask. How do ya'll clean your auto siphons. Also If you are only using a racking cane and not an auto siphon how do you go about starting it?

To start a non-auto siphon:
I ferment in carboys with a carboy cap which has 2 nipples. The racking cane fits it one nipple, blow in the other nipple to create pressure in the head space and out comes the beer.
Another method is the suck(and swallow, of course) method. You can fit a short piece of tubing in the end of the hose to suck on and to keep your filthy lips off the hose. Just remove the mouth piece when it's started.
You can fill the siphon with water, hold your thumb over the end until everything is in place and let it go.

As far as potential for contamination, the auto siphon has the most parts in contact with the beer and therefore has the greatest potential for contamination and requires the most cleaning. The cane and hose comes in second with only one connection point. But that's easy to take apart and clean. I find it necessary to use a hose clamp to prevent air from getting sucked in at the connection.  A simple hose has the least potential for contamination but it's hard to position the end where you want it without attaching it to a stick or something.

I use a ss racking cane. It will last forever. Pair it with a cleaning brush and move on.

  Brand? Vendor?


Any homebrew vendor should carry one. Don't even know if there is a brand.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: leejoreilly on September 30, 2013, 01:53:28 PM


 I have only used a plastic auto siphon for years. It is simple enough to use, but I have always been concerned about how clean it is. I usually just rinse it off and then siphon all the starsan out of my keg to sanitize it. I dont even get any noticeable off flavors or infection type things from it.

Not to hijack the thread but just to add/ask. How do ya'll clean your auto siphons. Also If you are only using a racking cane and not an auto siphon how do you go about starting it?

I use the autosiphon to "recirculate" the hot PBW solution in my fermenter or kettle when I clean them, and again with hot water when I rinse out the PBW. Then I use it to transfer my star san from the bucket I store it in to my fermenter/bottling bucket/etc. and then back to the storage bucket when It's time to sanitize.

That's my process, too.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: Joe Sr. on September 30, 2013, 03:34:12 PM
I've only ever used a plastic racking cane in a carboy cap.  I've broken a few over the years, but they are cheap.  I have two stainless ones I've inherited, but never used them.

I start my siphon by pressurizing the carboy.  I don't use glass, only better bottles, so there's no risk of exploding glass.  I don't use much pressure, anyway.  I typically use an aquarium pump with an in-line hepa filter to pressurize but sometimes I'll go ahead and use CO2 at very low pressure.

I like the clear plastic siphon because I can see the level of the beer.

Never started a siphon by sucking on it.  Hated doing it with the tube filled with water.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: denny on September 30, 2013, 03:51:37 PM
I guess I'm old fashioned...I just use a plastic racking cane and a piece of tubing.  No autosiphon, no carboy cap, no pump.  I guess if ti didn't work I'd change, but I've never had a problem using such a simple setup.  I can't imagine why I'd want to do anything more complicated.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: cornershot on September 30, 2013, 04:02:18 PM
I guess I'm old fashioned...I just use a plastic racking cane and a piece of tubing.  No autosiphon, no carboy cap, no pump.  I guess if ti didn't work I'd change, but I've never had a problem using such a simple setup.  I can't imagine why I'd want to do anything more complicated.
So you suck?  ;D
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: denny on September 30, 2013, 04:05:13 PM
I guess I'm old fashioned...I just use a plastic racking cane and a piece of tubing.  No autosiphon, no carboy cap, no pump.  I guess if ti didn't work I'd change, but I've never had a problem using such a simple setup.  I can't imagine why I'd want to do anything more complicated.
So you suck?  ;D

Never!  ;)  I use physics....fill the tube and racking cane w/ water and the siphon starts.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: Joe Sr. on September 30, 2013, 04:05:52 PM
no carboy cap

Of course, you're using buckets aren't you?

The pump doesn't actually add anything complicated.  I've found it makes it less so, as I don't have to worry about getting the siphon started.  Siphoning is truly one of those areas I always hated.  Guess I'm bad at physics.

As far as cleaning, I simply sanitize it before and after.  And I hook it up to the bottle washer to jet out anything that might be there.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: denny on September 30, 2013, 04:07:23 PM
no carboy cap

Of course, you're using buckets aren't you?

Yeah, but I do exactly the same on the rare occasions I use carboys.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: morticaixavier on September 30, 2013, 04:15:07 PM
no carboy cap

Of course, you're using buckets aren't you?

Yeah, but I do exactly the same on the rare occasions I use carboys.

I'm with Denny on this. I had an autosyphon and I could see areas that I could not get really clean. Then it started to craze on me and I just gave it to my kid as a toy. I use a SS racking cane and fill the tubing with sanitizer to start the syphon. I run the sanitizer off into a different container although I suspect that's not really an issue with star san.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: mugwort on September 30, 2013, 05:33:52 PM
Well it sounds like people are using a whole range of options and everybody likes what they have.

I have both sizes of auto siphons.  I just pick the size for the job.  1/2" for the throughput.  3/8" for racking off fruit/hops/etc. where you don't want too much vacuuming power.  Extremely easy to use as claimed.  I also find them easy to clean and to visually verify as clean.

Been using them for 3-4 years and they look new.  Just need to switch the tubing out once on a while.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: repo on September 30, 2013, 05:46:06 PM
I have a spigot/valve on all my fermenters. I attach a tube and mesh bag and open the valve, done. Got rid of all my carboys, my first or second favorite brewing omission, not bottling being the other. Simple and efficient.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: morticaixavier on September 30, 2013, 06:25:09 PM
I have a spigot/valve on all my fermenters. I attach a tube and mesh bag and open the valve, done. Got rid of all my carboys, my first or second favorite brewing omission, not bottling being the other. Simple and efficient.

I have never been able to satisfactorily clean all the inside bits of those spigots either. on the rare occasions when I need to bottle a beer from a bucket (usually I prime the keg and just push the primed beer with co2 into bottles) I am always at least tempted to buy a brand new one.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: erockrph on September 30, 2013, 10:59:59 PM
I have a spigot/valve on all my fermenters. I attach a tube and mesh bag and open the valve, done. Got rid of all my carboys, my first or second favorite brewing omission, not bottling being the other. Simple and efficient.

I have never been able to satisfactorily clean all the inside bits of those spigots either. on the rare occasions when I need to bottle a beer from a bucket (usually I prime the keg and just push the primed beer with co2 into bottles) I am always at least tempted to buy a brand new one.

I have 2 spigots for my bottling bucket. After I bottle a batch I rinse the bucket with hot water and drain through the spigot. Then I swap out the spigot & gasket. After that I give the bucket a PBW soak and soak the old spigot inside it. No problems so far, and I bottle all my brews.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: hubie on October 07, 2013, 01:38:57 PM
I could never become adept at filling a tube with water/sanitizer to start the siphon.  It would always take several attempts and I would make a mess.  Maybe I need to watch someone do it on YouTube or something.

I use an autosiphon.  I clean it and my tubing by doing a PBW soak using a wallpaper tray, then a StarSan soak in the wallpaper tray (I know you don't need to soak in StarSan, but it is easy to immerse it in the tray while I do other things.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: brewsumore on October 08, 2013, 06:18:30 PM
I also use a 1/2" autosiphon. 

I avoid sucking up yeast by first of all using he anti-sediment tip, but also, I put the racking cane tip just below the surface of the beer or wine to be racked, and keep lowering it to remain in the clearest liquid as it is being transferred.  When I get around 3/4 the way down, I tilt the bucket and support one side with a support I have on hand -- a thick phone book will work.  This allows me to focus on following the liquid down into a corner of the bucket just above the yeast layer, so as to remain yeast free in the receiving bucket.  This works well so long as the receiving vessel will hold all the liquid being racked -- otherwise you get into a juggling act that can get messy if you need to move the outflow tube into a second jug or carboy when meanwhile the racking cane is close to the bottom of the bucket or carboy where the yeast is.  I've had plenty of practice and it becomes pretty routine.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: Stevie on October 08, 2013, 06:28:43 PM
I could never become adept at filling a tube with water/sanitizer to start the siphon.  It would always take several attempts and I would make a mess.  Maybe I need to watch someone do it on YouTube or something.

I use an autosiphon.  I clean it and my tubing by doing a PBW soak using a wallpaper tray, then a StarSan soak in the wallpaper tray (I know you don't need to soak in StarSan, but it is easy to immerse it in the tray while I do other things.

It's not too tough really.

1 - Lower your tubing into a bucket of sanitizer ensuring that it is filling completely
2 - Attach one end to the racking cane and cover the free end with your thumb
3 - Put the racking cane into the fermenter and the tubing into a pot or pint glass
4 - Release your thumb and watch science happen right before your eyes.
5 - If steps 1-4 fail, take a swig of booze and start the siphon with your mouth.  ;)
 
When I used this method I dump into a pint glass until all sanitizer was free, I then pull an additional 8oz for testing and tasting.

I only used this method when fermenting in buckets.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: morticaixavier on October 08, 2013, 07:03:53 PM
I could never become adept at filling a tube with water/sanitizer to start the siphon.  It would always take several attempts and I would make a mess.  Maybe I need to watch someone do it on YouTube or something.

I use an autosiphon.  I clean it and my tubing by doing a PBW soak using a wallpaper tray, then a StarSan soak in the wallpaper tray (I know you don't need to soak in StarSan, but it is easy to immerse it in the tray while I do other things.

It's not too tough really.

1 - Lower your tubing into a bucket of sanitizer ensuring that it is filling completely
2 - Attach one end to the racking cane and cover the free end with your thumb
3 - Put the racking cane into the fermenter and the tubing into a pot or pint glass
4 - Release your thumb and watch science happen right before your eyes.
5 - If steps 1-4 fail, take a swig of booze and start the siphon with your mouth.  ;)
 
When I used this method I dump into a pint glass until all sanitizer was free, I then pull an additional 8oz for testing and tasting.

I only used this method when fermenting in buckets.

this is my method as well. The only difference is I place the racking cane in the fermenter first. Gently placing the tip on the bottom. I also tip the fermenter slightly so that I will get the maximum amount of clear beer out.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: klickitat jim on October 08, 2013, 07:58:31 PM
I'd imagine that the cane isn't even necessary. Just hose would work. I get bubbles in the line where it goes from cane to hose. Next time I'm going to just use the hose.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: denny on October 08, 2013, 08:01:55 PM
I'd imagine that the cane is even necessary. Just hose would work. I get bubbles in the line where it goes from cane to hose. Next time I'm going to just use the hose.

I find it's much easier to use a cane.  If you get bubbles at the hose/cane junction, just pinch the hose just below where it connects to the cane.  Bubbles gone!
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: klickitat jim on October 08, 2013, 08:02:39 PM
I'll try that thanks. 
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: erockrph on October 08, 2013, 08:34:52 PM
I'd imagine that the cane is even necessary. Just hose would work. I get bubbles in the line where it goes from cane to hose. Next time I'm going to just use the hose.

I find it's much easier to use a cane.  If you get bubbles at the hose/cane junction, just pinch the hose just below where it connects to the cane.  Bubbles gone!

You can also just flick it hard a few times where the bubbles are as the siphon is flowing. The bubbles will come loose and flow out.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: Stevie on October 08, 2013, 09:58:18 PM
I do the same as Denny but I also I use a worm clamp to attach the hose to the cane. I tighten it down after I squeeze out the bubbles. It may be the tubing I am using, but bubbles were reforming
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: Joe Sr. on October 08, 2013, 10:02:03 PM
I do the same as Denny but I also I use a worm clamp to attach the hose to the cane. I tighten it down after I squeeze out the bubbles. It may be the tubing I am using, but bubbles were reforming

I assumed everyone gets bubbles.  I think it's just the physics of the cane that air gets trapped there somehow.  Pinching it has always worked for me.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: duboman on October 08, 2013, 10:17:57 PM

I guess I'm old fashioned...I just use a plastic racking cane and a piece of tubing.  No autosiphon, no carboy cap, no pump.  I guess if ti didn't work I'd change, but I've never had a problem using such a simple setup.  I can't imagine why I'd want to do anything more complicated.

This is exactly how I do it as well and for the exact same reasons, simple and basic and functional
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: klickitat jim on October 08, 2013, 11:16:01 PM
Bubbles cause oxidation?
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: HoosierBrew on October 09, 2013, 12:08:04 AM

I guess I'm old fashioned...I just use a plastic racking cane and a piece of tubing.  No autosiphon, no carboy cap, no pump.  I guess if ti didn't work I'd change, but I've never had a problem using such a simple setup.  I can't imagine why I'd want to do anything more complicated.

This is exactly how I do it as well and for the exact same reasons, simple and basic and functional
It's what I've done for 20 yrs.  I like low tech (unless it needs to be more tech).
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: Stevie on October 09, 2013, 12:25:42 AM
Bubbles cause oxidation?

Yep
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: klickitat jim on October 09, 2013, 02:42:42 AM
If that happens I'm going to throw a full on hissing fit
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 09, 2013, 03:52:05 AM
Bubbles cause oxidation?

Yep

I might have one bubble at the cane hose junction, a pinch gets rid of that.

A stream of bubbles is a loose fit, or a hairline crack in the plastic cane. I have had a hairline crack in a plastic cane. A SS cane fixed that.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: jjdura on October 09, 2013, 11:20:39 AM
Bubbles cause oxidation?

Yep

I might have one bubble at the cane hose junction, a pinch gets rid of that.

A stream of bubbles is a loose fit, or a hairline crack in the plastic cane. I have had a hairline crack in a plastic cane. A SS cane fixed that.

Not every bubble in the hose is air.  If you start with a clean stream of beer, and start to develop bubbles at the junction of the racking cane and hose, or even farther down in the hose, they are probably CO2 coming out of solution due to the pressure differential going from the cane ID to the hose ID.  On the other hand if you have a steady stream of bubbles forming, it could be a crack in the cane or a too loose hose.  But even with a clamped hose on a good cane, you will get CO2.  Not to worry.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: klickitat jim on October 09, 2013, 03:43:51 PM
That sounds more like what I was seeing
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: Jimmy K on October 09, 2013, 06:30:03 PM
I have a SS racking cane. It has all the high-tech features it needs - it's round, long, and straight. :)
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: klickitat jim on October 09, 2013, 06:34:34 PM
Hmm, why not copper? Could use a tubing bender and make the bend big enough to actually fit a scrubber through. I think I'll make one.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: Joe Sr. on October 09, 2013, 06:43:37 PM
I don't think you want copper in the beer once it's fermented.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: hubie on October 09, 2013, 06:45:12 PM
You wouldn't want to use a copper as a racking cane.  You wouldn't see the buildup of any of the bad blue-green oxide (verdigris) on the inside of it.  Either that, or you should always assume it is there and treat it accordingly (e.g., acid clean it) before each use.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: Jimmy K on October 09, 2013, 08:25:48 PM
Hmm, why not copper? Could use a tubing bender and make the bend big enough to actually fit a scrubber through. I think I'll make one.
It would be a killer racking cane
 
... literally
 
... ... and I don't mean figuratively literal
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: klickitat jim on October 09, 2013, 09:03:23 PM
Ok, scratch that bad idea.
Title: Re: Racking
Post by: klickitat jim on October 10, 2013, 11:47:50 PM
Today I racked an APA to the keg. I took a chunk of tubing, cleaned it, sanitized it and my hands, drained it. Then dunked the whole coil in the top of the beer, plugged one end with a thumb, put that end in the keg and let er rip.

Analysis:
Cons: might freak out those with OCD. Tubing is slightly less easy to direct than a racking cane.
Pros: whole system is one piece, cost is $1.30, easier to clean, and the big one... no bubbling!