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Old 04-27-2009, 09:04 PM   #1
Spoooky
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Default Beer Thief Help!

Hi Guys,

I could use some veteran advice to help me out.

All my carboys are the 6.5 gallon variety. I bought them all in one swoop, and not having to worry about blow-off tubes is pretty nice. They all stand 22" tall.

So my current wine thief is this piece of junk:



It's totally terrible. First, it's about 12" long, and it barely gets into the beer. I might get maybe 3" of beer on each pull. Additionally, it's not air-tight, so you lose about 1/2 of the beer you DO manage to get on each pull. Essentially, it takes me about 10 pulls to fill my hydrometer flask, and it's a major pain in the rear.

So anyhow, I'm planning on replacing it. I really like this fermtech one ... (Fermtech Wine Thief :: Midwest Supplies Homebrewing and Winemaking Supplies)



... And I hear good things about it. However, it's only listed as being 19" long. It looks like you have to depress the tip of the tube against the bottom of the carboy for it to start filling, and I'm worried that it won't reach the bottom of my carboy!

Help! Does anyone else out there have any recommendations for a good wine thief with a 6.5 gallon / 22" tall carboy?

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Old 04-27-2009, 09:27 PM   #2
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The action of the stopper being plunged into the liquid will cause it to open and allow the liquid in, the movement of liquid will keep it open.

You can even place your hydro inside the fermtech thief but, I don't do that. Not sure why.

It suggests that it allows you to return the sample but, don't so that for risk of oxidation.

It's a decent product but, a thumb and a good piece of hose from the hardware store works too.

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Old 04-27-2009, 09:30 PM   #3
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why do you need to reach the bottom of your carboy. In most of my sampling, I only try to get enough to fill the tube. It takes about 2-3 times. I always try not to stir up the wort during the process... It seems that this is the best way to do it.... If you want something easy and fancy.. you can use autosiphon with bottle filler on the end...

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Old 04-27-2009, 10:20 PM   #4
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GMB, thanks for the tip. So the fermtech one should work fine, without needing to depress the tip on the bottom to open the seal? Excellent.

Undallas: I was under the impression that the fermtech one needed to be pressed against the bottom of the carboy to open the valve. That's all.

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Old 04-28-2009, 12:24 AM   #5
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Sanitize raking cane and hose. Suck on hose to start siphon. Collect sample. Measure gravity and drink sample!

BTW I have the fermtech beer thief and like it!

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Old 04-28-2009, 01:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spoooky View Post
GMB, thanks for the tip. So the fermtech one should work fine, without needing to depress the tip on the bottom to open the seal? Excellent.

Undallas: I was under the impression that the fermtech one needed to be pressed against the bottom of the carboy to open the valve. That's all.
In addition- you don't want to try to get it all the way to the bottom. You will get an entire thief full of yeast slurry if you're pulling a sample from the primary, or like I did last week, a whole bunch of the hops from my dry hopping belgian pale ale.
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Old 04-28-2009, 03:42 PM   #7
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Correct--the tip does not need to be depressed to get the liquid into the fermtech. It just "closes" from the weight of the liquid when you pull the fermtech out of the carboy, thus keeping the wort in the tube. It is not spring-loaded. I use it with my 6.5 gallon carboy all the time--works great.

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Old 04-28-2009, 05:35 PM   #8
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I use that exact same thief. You are sucking on the top once the tip is in the beer, right?

Trying to get the sample out via submerging alone is enough to drive you crazy.

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Old 04-28-2009, 05:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClutchDude View Post
I use that exact same thief. You are sucking on the top once the tip is in the beer, right?

Trying to get the sample out via submerging alone is enough to drive you crazy.
I don't think you're supposed to have to suck on the top. I'm not putting my mouth anywhere near my bear. if I waned to do that I'd use a 50cent piece of hose. I just bought the same 3 piece after being frustrated with my old turkey baster. I used it for the first time last week. I'm now wishing I'd went with the fermtech one.
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Old 04-28-2009, 06:41 PM   #10
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Here's what I do:

Insert the thief tip into the top of the beer deep enough not to pull an krausen.

Suck at the top of the thief, pulling a sample into it.

Once I get enough, pull the thief out of the sample and put my thumb across the top to keep it from pouring back out.

Release into container for sample.

Considering you're creating a vacuum when you pull the liquid up through your thief, there nothing coming out of your mouth onto the beer. Even if a drop or two of beer fell back in, it'd be from the bottom of the sample, nothing on top where it's coming in contact. Considering you sanitized it thoroughly before pulling it, I really don't see the risk in this.

There's also much less surface contact with the beer when you pull it through.

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