Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: dano14041 on November 16, 2010, 09:21:55 AM

Title: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: dano14041 on November 16, 2010, 09:21:55 AM
I was cleaning my auto siphon this weekend and noticed that there are several cracks in the bottom 2" - 3". Has anyone else had problems like this? I have only used it on 3 batches (and it seems to be working OK). Maybe I just need to relax.  ;)

Thanks!
Dano
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: garyg on November 16, 2010, 09:52:33 AM
I've probably gone through four auto siphons, all of which developed cracks after just a few uses.  Eventually they fall apart.  I've tried a variety of different cleaners in hopes of avoiding the cracks, but nothing has worked for me.  I've given up on using them.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: tumarkin on November 16, 2010, 09:57:37 AM
If you keg and thus have a CO2 tank available, using one of the orange carboy caps and GENTLE  pressure of CO2 is a great way to start a siphon. Care is necessary as the carboy can break from internal pressure, but if you just crack the CO2 valve a hair you should have no problem. Acey easy.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: tschmidlin on November 16, 2010, 10:11:50 AM
Yes, after too many broken auto-siphons I switched to a stainless racking cane.  I use it with an orange carboy cap like Mark mentions, except I also use a sterile filter and blow into it to get the siphon started.  But using CO2 will help prevent oxidation if you're concerned about it.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: jeffy on November 16, 2010, 10:22:31 AM
I am working on putting the seal from the plastic cane onto a stainless cane, but so far I haven't found exactly the right fit.  They glue the thing to the bottom of the plastic cane and that makes it difficult to get off intact.  I seem to have enough car parts around that I should be able to make something appropriate.  As soon as I do I'll post a picture.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: dano14041 on November 16, 2010, 11:23:59 AM
I don't have a kegging system, yet. I am looking into them trying to find the best deal I can. LHBS has a "kit" with used 5 gal keg, 5lb CO2 tank, gauges, hoses, connector and picnic tap for $210. But I haven't convinced myself that is the best buy yet.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: alikocho on November 16, 2010, 12:28:33 PM
I am working on putting the seal from the plastic cane onto a stainless cane, but so far I haven't found exactly the right fit.  They glue the thing to the bottom of the plastic cane and that makes it difficult to get off intact.  I seem to have enough car parts around that I should be able to make something appropriate.  As soon as I do I'll post a picture.

that sounds like a solution. I have snapped several where they curve.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: roguejim on November 16, 2010, 01:30:18 PM
Auto siphons are ill-designed.  Way too fragile.

Get one of these.  They are foolproof.
http://www.denniskirk.com/jsp/product_catalog/Product.jsp?skuId=29128&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cse
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: tschmidlin on November 16, 2010, 01:36:24 PM
Auto siphons are ill-designed.  Way too fragile.

Get one of these.  They are foolproof.
http://www.denniskirk.com/jsp/product_catalog/Product.jsp?skuId=29128&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cse
Based on this, "NOTE: Not for use with salt water aquariums or copper eroding chemicals", I wouldn't use it to siphon beer, only wort.  But the pic shows one with a plastic-looking fitting at the end, that might be fine if you can sanitize it.

I've had beers that were exposed to copper briefly (less than 1 minute), it was a very noticeable off flavor.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: pweis909 on November 16, 2010, 02:13:13 PM
I also broke about 3 auto-siphons befor swtiching to a SS racking cane, which will probably last forever.  As I use bucket fermenters most of the time, the carboy cap/sterile siphon starter approach is out. I just needed to practice starting a siphon a couple times, and I've never looked back.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: morticaixavier on November 16, 2010, 02:39:42 PM
I just fill the tube I am syphoning with sanitizer solution and let that run out into a separate bucket. it starts the syphon no problem. it works great
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: ryan6458 on November 16, 2010, 08:55:34 PM
Weird. I'm on my second auto siphon in about six years!  :o And believe me, I brew an ass-load of beer. :) Are you cleaning it with super hot water or something? I always leave the hose attached so I don't break the cane. Then I just cut it off when it's time for new tubing.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: pyrite on November 16, 2010, 10:09:18 PM
I'm done with plastic auto siphons.  I've been through 4 auto siphons in the last 3 years.  Nope, not gonna buy another one.  I don't use hot water, so what ever my technique is for cleaning them is probably what's making them break them (and I'm not about to change that).  I now use a stainless steel racking crane, because I know that's not going to crack.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: ryan6458 on November 16, 2010, 10:22:34 PM
Maybe I've just been lucky. I'm pretty hard on my brewing equipment. LOL. Now the EASY siphon is a P.O.S.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: alikocho on November 17, 2010, 12:34:30 AM
The tubes cracked when removing the tubing. I'm not convinced that leaving the tubing attached is sure to keeps bacteria from developing.

Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: ajk on November 17, 2010, 08:14:22 AM
My first Autosiphon developed crazes similar to what you're describing.  I replaced it with the larger Autosiphon (the extra throughput is nice, btw) and have been careful never to use it with hot wort or clean it with hot water.  I guess I keep the cleaning water under around 120ยบ.  It has lasted several years with no crazes.

That said, the Autosiphon is a few too many parts touching the wort for my taste, so I'm considering switching to a stainless steel racking cane or, better yet, just a length of tubing.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: ryan6458 on November 17, 2010, 08:52:22 AM
I'm not convinced that leaving the tubing attached is sure to keeps bacteria from developing.

I understand your concern, but like I said, I've been using mine for years without issue. Contamination or otherwise. I rinse it thoroughly with warm water when I'm done and then I hang it to dry.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: beersk on November 17, 2010, 09:14:14 AM
I know most people are going to freak when they know what method I use for starting a siphon, but it works.  I use a stainless steel racking cane, clip for the neck of the carboy, and suck on the hose to start the siphon.  Let it drain, initially, into a bucket, close off the clip on the tubing.  Then let the end of the tubing sit in sanitizer for a couple minutes.  Then when I'm ready to rack into the keg or secondary, just unclip and go.  I'm surprised not more people use this method.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: tschmidlin on November 17, 2010, 10:25:45 AM
I know most people are going to freak when they know what method I use for starting a siphon, but it works.  I use a stainless steel racking cane, clip for the neck of the carboy, and suck on the hose to start the siphon.  Let it drain, initially, into a bucket, close off the clip on the tubing.  Then let the end of the tubing sit in sanitizer for a couple minutes.  Then when I'm ready to rack into the keg or secondary, just unclip and go.  I'm surprised not more people use this method.
It's rare, but when the wort doesn't flow from my kettle through the CFC (full of sanitizer) I suck start it and stick it in some sanitizer for a few seconds while the sanitizer empties from the CFC. But I don't put my mouth directly on the hose, I dip my hand in starsan, wrap my hand around the hose tightly, and put my mouth on my hand.  It works fine, as long as you don't need to much suction to get it going.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: bluesman on November 17, 2010, 10:27:29 AM
I'm not convinced that leaving the tubing attached is sure to keeps bacteria from developing.

I understand your concern, but like I said, I've been using mine for years without issue. Contamination or otherwise. I rinse it thoroughly with warm water when I'm done and then I hang it to dry.

I am also a proponent of the autosiphon. I've been using the same siphon now for going on four years and I love it.
It's easy to use and easy to clean AND no infections.

Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: dano14041 on November 17, 2010, 01:11:39 PM
Maybe it is the heat, I wash the "dishes" with very hot water (over 125).
The cracking isn't on the racknig cane, but on the siphon tube. I try to be very careful attaching and removing the tube from the racking cane, I can see myself snapping it into at the bend.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: thirsty on November 17, 2010, 01:50:20 PM
I too have been using the same auto siphon since I started brewing in 06 or so.

What in hell are you cave men doing to the poor things?

 ;D
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: beersk on November 17, 2010, 03:14:14 PM
I know most people are going to freak when they know what method I use for starting a siphon, but it works.  I use a stainless steel racking cane, clip for the neck of the carboy, and suck on the hose to start the siphon.  Let it drain, initially, into a bucket, close off the clip on the tubing.  Then let the end of the tubing sit in sanitizer for a couple minutes.  Then when I'm ready to rack into the keg or secondary, just unclip and go.  I'm surprised not more people use this method.
It's rare, but when the wort doesn't flow from my kettle through the CFC (full of sanitizer) I suck start it and stick it in some sanitizer for a few seconds while the sanitizer empties from the CFC. But I don't put my mouth directly on the hose, I dip my hand in starsan, wrap my hand around the hose tightly, and put my mouth on my hand.  It works fine, as long as you don't need to much suction to get it going.

I think people are more paranoid than they need to be.  I don't think sucking on the hose is a problem, then dipping the end in sanitizer for a bit.  It's not like you're blowing bacteria back up into the tube and into the beer. 
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: tschmidlin on November 17, 2010, 03:21:29 PM
I think people are more paranoid than they need to be.  I don't think sucking on the hose is a problem, then dipping the end in sanitizer for a bit.  It's not like you're blowing bacteria back up into the tube and into the beer. 
I agree it's probably ok, but the lactobacillus and other things in your mouth would be a potential concern.  To me, it's a small thing to sanitize my hand briefly rather than put my mouth directly on the tube.  But maybe it's not actually doing anything, it's not like I've tested it.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: seajellie on November 17, 2010, 06:42:03 PM
I too am a cave man who regularly breaks or cracks an auto-siphon, and have eliminated them from my life now with one technique or the other.

On those occasions when I have to rack from a plastic bucket, I use a lid with two holes so that I can mimic the carboy cap/sterile filter/stainless steel racking cane method. One hole to blow through a sterile filter, and the other for a stainless steel racking cane. It's worked with every lid & bucket combo I have (except for one where I drilled the second hole a bit too big and the air escaped).

Sometimes I'm organized enough to have the cane in there during the fermentation, and when ready to rack I only have to pull out the air bubble lock to insert the sterile blow apparatus. Gotta watch the sanitation, but it's way easier for me than dealing with the siphon pump.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: beveragebob on November 18, 2010, 01:11:37 AM
I've used AS's for years and have had them break. I recently broke my last one. I still have a regular "hard plastic" racking cane. I devised a new method of racking from my buckets to my kegs with no direct mouth contact to the siphon hose. Here's what I do(this is a big help when dry hopping in the keg also) I have the racking cane attached to tight fitting hose so no air is introduced. On the end of the hose(where the beer comes out) I put a keg fitting and attach it to the "out" post on my keg. With the lid firmly on, I have a qd gas fitting with a snug hose on it and put it on the gas "in" side of the keg. I suck on the hose on the C02 "in" side creating a vacuum in the keg so the beer starts flowing down the hose, into the keg, down the dip tube and with the C02 side "open" it bleeds the air in the keg to keep the flow going. I love this new method because with dry hops, you don't have the hose to pull out making a mess with hops spilling out of the keg.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: roguejim on November 18, 2010, 02:43:06 AM
Auto siphons are ill-designed.  Way too fragile.

Get one of these.  They are foolproof.
http://www.denniskirk.com/jsp/product_catalog/Product.jsp?skuId=29128&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cse
Based on this, "NOTE: Not for use with salt water aquariums or copper eroding chemicals", I wouldn't use it to siphon beer, only wort.  But the pic shows one with a plastic-looking fitting at the end, that might be fine if you can sanitize it.

I've had beers that were exposed to copper briefly (less than 1 minute), it was a very noticeable off flavor.

I have the model with the red plastic end.  Again, it is foolproof.  There's nothing to break unless one stepped on the plastic end.  No silly sucking either.  I was introduced to it by homebrewer Bill Pierce.  He warned me that the copper ended model draws to quickly, sucking up too much trub/yeast.  It is simply great.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: garyg on November 18, 2010, 08:26:03 AM
...I put a keg fitting and attach it to the "out" post on my keg. With the lid firmly on, I have a qd gas fitting with a snug hose on it and put it on the gas "in" side of the keg. I suck on the hose on the C02 "in" side creating a vacuum in the keg so the beer starts flowing down the hose, into the keg, down the dip tube and with the C02 side "open" it bleeds the air in the keg to keep the flow going.

This is a great idea!  You could do the same thing when racking from a bucket to a carboy. Use a carboy cap and a second racking cane to fill the carboy, then suck on the other end of the carboy cap (or better yet, attach some hose to that end and suck on the hose) to start the flow.

Now, if I could only remember to put the fruit for my meads into a mesh bag before putting them in the bucket I'd be all set.  I've been putting the mesh bag around the bottom of my racking cane, but often have trouble maintaining the flow as the fruit and bag get sucked around the end of the cane/thimbal.  If anyone has figured out a way to deal with that, I'll be much more enthusiastic about racking that peach mead I've got going now!
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: thirsty on November 18, 2010, 08:30:50 AM
It occurs to me now that I haven't really looked closely at my AS in a long time. Maybe years. I guess mine could be falling apart too, but it still seems to work just fine.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: beersk on November 18, 2010, 08:55:03 AM
I think people are more paranoid than they need to be.  I don't think sucking on the hose is a problem, then dipping the end in sanitizer for a bit.  It's not like you're blowing bacteria back up into the tube and into the beer. 
I agree it's probably ok, but the lactobacillus and other things in your mouth would be a potential concern.  To me, it's a small thing to sanitize my hand briefly rather than put my mouth directly on the tube.  But maybe it's not actually doing anything, it's not like I've tested it.
I suppose one could gargle Listerine or something beforehand to kill off most of those germs...
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: gordonstrong on November 18, 2010, 09:08:10 AM
I've used AS's for years and have had them break. I recently broke my last one. I still have a regular "hard plastic" racking cane. I devised a new method of racking from my buckets to my kegs with no direct mouth contact to the siphon hose. Here's what I do(this is a big help when dry hopping in the keg also) I have the racking cane attached to tight fitting hose so no air is introduced. On the end of the hose(where the beer comes out) I put a keg fitting and attach it to the "out" post on my keg. With the lid firmly on, I have a qd gas fitting with a snug hose on it and put it on the gas "in" side of the keg. I suck on the hose on the C02 "in" side creating a vacuum in the keg so the beer starts flowing down the hose, into the keg, down the dip tube and with the C02 side "open" it bleeds the air in the keg to keep the flow going. I love this new method because with dry hops, you don't have the hose to pull out making a mess with hops spilling out of the keg.

But what's in your keg when you start this process?  Just air?  Then you're still exposing your beer to oxygen during the racking process.  I figure you don't purge your keg with CO2 since you talk about sucking on the keg, and getting lungs full of CO2 isn't pleasant.

I'm worried less about sanitation post-fermentation than I am oxidation.  The alcohol and pH of the beer should take care of most of the bugs anyway.  I'd rather make sure there's no oxygen pickup.  So I purge my kegs before filling, and rack under the CO2 blanket.  CO2 is heavy, so it won't just blow off quickly once the keg is open.  The beer will displace it, but the blanket will remain.  I guess you could use a lid and put a pressure relief fitting on the gas port of the keg, or crack the pressure relief valve in the lid.

I still pay attention to sanitation, but I rank oxygen avoidance higher.  I just sanitize a hose, fill it with water, hold a (washed and sanitized) thumb on the end, and start a syphon that way.  Once the initial water is clear, I put my thumb back over the hose while I move it to the keg.  There is some splashing initially, but it's under CO2.  You can start the beer moving lots of ways, but please make sure that you aren't oxidizing it during the transfer process.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: garyg on November 18, 2010, 09:54:46 AM
To address Gordon's comment about oxidation, you could push CO2 into the keg or carboy you are racking into then start your siphon with a pump like this instead of sucking:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003NY1WF2?&tag=shopwiki-us-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325

That way there's no danger from inhaling CO2.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: morticaixavier on November 18, 2010, 11:08:11 AM
[But what's in your keg when you start this process?  Just air?  Then you're still exposing your beer to oxygen during the racking process.  I figure you don't purge your keg with CO2 since you talk about sucking on the keg, and getting lungs full of CO2 isn't pleasant.

I'm worried less about sanitation post-fermentation than I am oxidation.  The alcohol and pH of the beer should take care of most of the bugs anyway.  I'd rather make sure there's no oxygen pickup.  So I purge my kegs before filling, and rack under the CO2 blanket.  CO2 is heavy, so it won't just blow off quickly once the keg is open.  The beer will displace it, but the blanket will remain.  I guess you could use a lid and put a pressure relief fitting on the gas port of the keg, or crack the pressure relief valve in the lid.

I still pay attention to sanitation, but I rank oxygen avoidance higher.  I just sanitize a hose, fill it with water, hold a (washed and sanitized) thumb on the end, and start a syphon that way.  Once the initial water is clear, I put my thumb back over the hose while I move it to the keg.  There is some splashing initially, but it's under CO2.  You can start the beer moving lots of ways, but please make sure that you aren't oxidizing it during the transfer process.

So It's a little off topic but... I do not have the space nor the money to start accumulating kegging stuff yet. Is there a cheap and small (doesn't take up much room in my tiny house) way to get a CO2 blanket in my secondary before racking?  I ask because I am goign to do an IPA soon and want to dry hop it but don't want to oxidize it if I can help it. Would one of those cans of gas they sell at wine shops to keep an open bottle fresh work? normally I don't do a secondary but...
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: tschmidlin on November 18, 2010, 11:19:26 AM
So It's a little off topic but... I do not have the space nor the money to start accumulating kegging stuff yet. Is there a cheap and small (doesn't take up much room in my tiny house) way to get a CO2 blanket in my secondary before racking?  I ask because I am goign to do an IPA soon and want to dry hop it but don't want to oxidize it if I can help it. Would one of those cans of gas they sell at wine shops to keep an open bottle fresh work? normally I don't do a secondary but...
Yes, argon will work.  But you can get a small CO2 setup too that might still have some utility once you get around to kegging.  You can get something like this, it's cheap and small, although you have no control over how fast the CO2 comes out.
http://morebeer.com/view_product/18301//CO2_Injector_Ball_Lock
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: morticaixavier on November 18, 2010, 11:23:16 AM
So It's a little off topic but... I do not have the space nor the money to start accumulating kegging stuff yet. Is there a cheap and small (doesn't take up much room in my tiny house) way to get a CO2 blanket in my secondary before racking?  I ask because I am goign to do an IPA soon and want to dry hop it but don't want to oxidize it if I can help it. Would one of those cans of gas they sell at wine shops to keep an open bottle fresh work? normally I don't do a secondary but...
Yes, argon will work.  But you can get a small CO2 setup too that might still have some utility once you get around to kegging.  You can get something like this, it's cheap and small, although you have no control over how fast the CO2 comes out.
http://morebeer.com/view_product/18301//CO2_Injector_Ball_Lock

That looks like an option. thanks.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: bluesman on November 18, 2010, 11:29:12 AM
Use a carboy cap as shown and use CO2 to purge empty carboy and then siphon beer out of the primary.

(http://mikesbrewreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/carboy-cap.jpg)
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: rjharper on November 18, 2010, 11:33:59 AM
I don't have the AS, but I don't need to suck on it either.  I drop the dip tube in the carboy full of sanitizer, then pour sanitizing solution into the open end of the hose (maybe I just have steady hands) and when its full, close the hose clamp.  Gravity does the rest when I drop the hose down and reopen it.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: morticaixavier on November 18, 2010, 11:36:57 AM
Use a carboy cap as shown and use CO2 to purge empty carboy and then siphon beer out of the primary.

(http://mikesbrewreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/carboy-cap.jpg)

I can probably find room to store a couple carboy caps. but the little portable CO2 setup mentioned above needs a quick connect to work safely can one of those be attached to the carboy cap? I would also be somewhat nervous about hitting a glass carboy with 600psi (perhaps unfounded nerve but...)
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: bluesman on November 18, 2010, 11:40:57 AM
Use a carboy cap as shown and use CO2 to purge empty carboy and then siphon beer out of the primary.

(http://mikesbrewreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/carboy-cap.jpg)

I can probably find room to store a couple carboy caps. but the little portable CO2 setup mentioned above needs a quick connect to work safely can one of those be attached to the carboy cap? I would also be somewhat nervous about hitting a glass carboy with 600psi (perhaps unfounded nerve but...)

A standard 3/8" tubing can be inserted into the port and I forget to mention to use a CO2 regulator with a pressure setting of about 5psi.  ;)
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: beersk on November 18, 2010, 02:37:26 PM
I don't have the AS, but I don't need to suck on it either.  I drop the dip tube in the carboy full of sanitizer, then pour sanitizing solution into the open end of the hose (maybe I just have steady hands) and when its full, close the hose clamp.  Gravity does the rest when I drop the hose down and reopen it.
This is tough to do with a 30" stainless steel racking cane.  I've tried over and over and over.  I could do it just fine with a 24" cane, but not this longer one...
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: majorvices on November 18, 2010, 03:41:22 PM
I've used AS's for years and have had them break. I recently broke my last one. I still have a regular "hard plastic" racking cane. I devised a new method of racking from my buckets to my kegs with no direct mouth contact to the siphon hose. Here's what I do(this is a big help when dry hopping in the keg also) I have the racking cane attached to tight fitting hose so no air is introduced. On the end of the hose(where the beer comes out) I put a keg fitting and attach it to the "out" post on my keg. With the lid firmly on, I have a qd gas fitting with a snug hose on it and put it on the gas "in" side of the keg. I suck on the hose on the C02 "in" side creating a vacuum in the keg so the beer starts flowing down the hose, into the keg, down the dip tube and with the C02 side "open" it bleeds the air in the keg to keep the flow going. I love this new method because with dry hops, you don't have the hose to pull out making a mess with hops spilling out of the keg.

But what's in your keg when you start this process?  Just air?  Then you're still exposing your beer to oxygen during the racking process.  I figure you don't purge your keg with CO2 since you talk about sucking on the keg, and getting lungs full of CO2 isn't pleasant.

I'm worried less about sanitation post-fermentation than I am oxidation.  The alcohol and pH of the beer should take care of most of the bugs anyway.  I'd rather make sure there's no oxygen pickup.  So I purge my kegs before filling, and rack under the CO2 blanket.  CO2 is heavy, so it won't just blow off quickly once the keg is open.  The beer will displace it, but the blanket will remain.  I guess you could use a lid and put a pressure relief fitting on the gas port of the keg, or crack the pressure relief valve in the lid.

I still pay attention to sanitation, but I rank oxygen avoidance higher.  I just sanitize a hose, fill it with water, hold a (washed and sanitized) thumb on the end, and start a syphon that way.  Once the initial water is clear, I put my thumb back over the hose while I move it to the keg.  There is some splashing initially, but it's under CO2.  You can start the beer moving lots of ways, but please make sure that you aren't oxidizing it during the transfer process.

I'm just going to say that, now as a professional brewer I purge EVERYTHING with Co2. But, that said, as a homebrewer as long as I siphoned onto the bottom of the keg I found purging with Co2 to not be necessary. And I used to go the whole rout of filling the entire keg with sanitizer and pushing all of it out with Co2. But I never found gentle siphoning onto the bottom of a keg to be a problem. (I attach a racking cane to the bottom of the tubing to be sure it sits directly on the bottom to minimize splashing)
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: beveragebob on November 18, 2010, 06:20:17 PM
"But what's in your keg when you start this process?  Just air?  Then you're still exposing your beer to oxygen during the racking process."

After the keg is full, takes like 8 minutes to fill, I purge the headspace twice with C02....haven't had a problem in over 17 years. I know this is one of those topics that us home brewers debate and it's not a bad idea to do what you've said but, with my rot, I've never had problems. Here's some pics of my setup. It's great for when you dry hop in the keg....allot less mess:

http://s1106.photobucket.com/albums/h377/scrarjg/New%20Siphon%20Setup/
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: abraxas on November 18, 2010, 09:19:47 PM
My Autosiphon developed spider web cracks and finally has full leaks after about 4 years of usage.  I always figured it had something to do with weakening of the plastic by PBW or the occasional strong bleach solution I run through it.  I am a strong believer in soaking my plastics and tubing in a bleach solution every now and then (with proper rinse of course).

A good turkey baster, large syringe style injector http://sciencekit.com/syringe-plastic,-luer-lock-140-ml/p/IG0028768/, or suction bulb might help get a siphon started.  I used to use a pump:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003JM6WNU/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0002PU6Q6&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=07VN997ENJSG2V7KBR0W which worked amazingly till I accidentally sucked some beer into it and the inner spring rusted. All of these should be easily sanitizeable (at least the part that touches the hose end).

Or just get a peristaltic pump....
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: gordonstrong on November 19, 2010, 08:54:59 AM
[But what's in your keg when you start this process?  Just air?  Then you're still exposing your beer to oxygen during the racking process.  I figure you don't purge your keg with CO2 since you talk about sucking on the keg, and getting lungs full of CO2 isn't pleasant.

I'm worried less about sanitation post-fermentation than I am oxidation.  The alcohol and pH of the beer should take care of most of the bugs anyway.  I'd rather make sure there's no oxygen pickup.  So I purge my kegs before filling, and rack under the CO2 blanket.  CO2 is heavy, so it won't just blow off quickly once the keg is open.  The beer will displace it, but the blanket will remain.  I guess you could use a lid and put a pressure relief fitting on the gas port of the keg, or crack the pressure relief valve in the lid.

I still pay attention to sanitation, but I rank oxygen avoidance higher.  I just sanitize a hose, fill it with water, hold a (washed and sanitized) thumb on the end, and start a syphon that way.  Once the initial water is clear, I put my thumb back over the hose while I move it to the keg.  There is some splashing initially, but it's under CO2.  You can start the beer moving lots of ways, but please make sure that you aren't oxidizing it during the transfer process.

So It's a little off topic but... I do not have the space nor the money to start accumulating kegging stuff yet. Is there a cheap and small (doesn't take up much room in my tiny house) way to get a CO2 blanket in my secondary before racking?  I ask because I am goign to do an IPA soon and want to dry hop it but don't want to oxidize it if I can help it. Would one of those cans of gas they sell at wine shops to keep an open bottle fresh work? normally I don't do a secondary but...

Well, you at least need a CO2 tank, regulator, hoses and fittings.  5lb tank is fairly small.

If you have the kind of fittings that screw on, then all you have to do is unscrew the fitting and blow the CO2 directly into the carboy.  This works for both purging the carboy before filling and for topping it off once it's filled.  CO2 is heavier than air, so as you blow it in, it will tend to sink to the bottom and displace the other air.

I don't like to blast pressure into a capped carboy because they aren't designed to take pressure.  OK, given my history, I'm paranoid about thinks that blow up, but it's still something you need to watch.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: beveragebob on November 19, 2010, 02:17:21 PM
I really think it is the plastic they use and the way it is formed. I don't know their methods but, I even have an AS wine thief that I've used just a few times in about 7 years. Never cleaned it with harsh chemicals or anything and even that one has the VCS(Vertical Crack Syndrome). I'm glad I have a glass one as a backup although, it is nice to use it in conjunction with a hydrometer when taking readings out of the fermenter.

Update: My plastic hydrometer flask just developed VCS and I walked away after taking a sample and there was beer all over the counter when I got back. I think it's time to go back to glass and metal for some stuff.
Title: Re: Auto siphon cracking
Post by: rabid_dingo on December 01, 2010, 12:19:49 AM
Wow, I am at about 3 AS's for 7 years of brewing. One thing I learned is that if you seal the output end of the
as hose, the end that pours into the keg or secondary with a clip like mentioned before and you can draw
more wort/beer up into the AS above the liquid line. It takes some work. I actually just kink the hose and get the
siphon started, and re-kink when the line is full. Then it is a cinch to keep it going and what not.

BTW I have noticed cracks in the body of the AS, and I have snapped one cane. But it was done while
I was trying to take the hose off it. Easier to commit a line to it and let it be.