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Old 03-26-2009, 09:49 PM   #1
flipper51
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Default Best way to get from kettle to carboy

I am curious how many people, at the end of the boil, siphon the wort into the fermenter vs. how many pour it through a funnel. I guess the question really only applies to those that don't have a valve on their pot and use carboys as a primary.

I've been brewing about 10 years now, and in that time I've changed pretty much every aspect of my process, but not this one. I prop up a sanitized funnel (with filter) in the neck of the carboy and pour as much will go until it backs up with trub. Then I stir back and forth until that funnel-load gets through, scoop out the sludge, and repeat. For an average beer, about half the wort goes straight through before things start to slow down.

I've wondered for a while if this was normal, or way more trouble than most were bothering with. A few years ago I got the clone brew books by the Szamatulskis, who recommend siphoning from the kettle to the fermenter. Motivated by their claim that whirlpooling would keep all the trub in the pot, I tried it a few times but quit because, to me, it doesn't seem worth the risk of infection from the siphon water (or human vacuum, even worse).

Now that I've bought the sterile siphon (from B3, a really cool item), and I've discovered the joys of starsan, I feel like I have virtually no openings for contamination in my process. That's why I hesitate to change from the pain-in-the-butt funnel method to siphoning (which can't be done with the sterile siphon - it works by creating air pressure in a carboy).

Funnel method pros:
everything is sanitized
good aeration (if it flows fast, it foams up big from the fall, if slow, you are constantly stirring)
no wort lost (I even push the wort out of whole hops with the spoon!)

cons:
slow (as much as a half hour)
possibly more trub in carboy (is the cold break getting through the funnel?)
physically strenuous



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Old 03-26-2009, 10:17 PM   #2
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I do neither. I just cool the wort then dump it into the primary then back and forth between the primary and the pot until I get good aeration. Most of my beers I ferment with hops and all. But if I am able to get leaf hops I usually use a hop bag for them and just throw the bag out before dumping to the primary since they expand so much.

Most of my beers that were hopped with pellet hops I just went from primary to keg or bottle and with just a cold crash most of the sediment stayed behind either on the side of the bucket or fell to the bottom leaving a clean beer. If it was a hoppy beer or I used the puck shaped hops that left a few floaters then I usually rack to secondary for additional settlement before bottling.

From what I read some people agree and some disagree about fermenting without straining the hops. But I have done it on over 70% of my beers and I have had no issues. If you still want to strain you can always get one of those nig ass strainers that sit on top of the fermenter. It would work a lot faster than using the funnel IMO, just have someone hold it in place. You would then have to aerate the beer.



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Old 03-26-2009, 10:26 PM   #3
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but he's going from kettle to CARBOY. much smaller opening. i think your funnel method is the best way to go, but i would go through a strainer into a bucket, then through a funnel into a carboy to prevent a stuck fermentation, that is if you must use a carboy for primary. i recommend transferring a couple times, or going through a strainer for proper aeration. the siphoning just doesnt promote oxygenation. seems risky to me.

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Old 03-26-2009, 10:31 PM   #4
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Reading owns! I read that at least 3 times but I didn't catch it until you flagged it!


Sorry I am reading this thread and trying to give someone instructions on cleaning a camera sensor at the same time! Bad news for everyone!

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Old 03-26-2009, 10:39 PM   #5
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My kettle has a spigot. If i wanted to primary in a carboy i'd put a short length of sanitized hose on the end, and drain it.

I don't worry about straining my wort.

and I have an O2 injection system, so aeration is not a problem.

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Old 03-26-2009, 10:43 PM   #6
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so what exactly is unsterile about an auto siphon. I tried your way once, and having to fight the strainer in the funnel was enough to say goodbye to that method. If your set on straining then use an auto siphon with a stainless scrub pad on suction side to filter out large hops and perhaps a sanitized paint strainer at the other end going into the carboy. I have contemplated doing this, but honestly it all settles anyway.

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Old 03-26-2009, 11:15 PM   #7
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After Chilling I let the wort sit for 45 minutes the open the ball valve and I only get about 1/4" of trub in my carboy. This work great for pellets but when I use whole hops I switch out the pipe for a Bazooka screen.

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Old 03-27-2009, 02:51 PM   #8
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well what i meant was to pour from the kettle through a strainer into a bucket, then from the bucket through a funnel into the carboy. this will aerate and strain and you have no issues. i used to throw all the kids in the pool too (no straining for those that are unfamiliar) and i got a stuck fermentation and said, no more. ever since ive strained, no more stuck fermentations, no more clogged racking canes. bon ap ateit.

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Old 03-27-2009, 03:41 PM   #9
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This probably doesn't help, but drilling and adding weldless valves to my pots is in the top 3 upgrades I have made to the brewery.

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Old 03-27-2009, 05:08 PM   #10
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Flipper,
I've pretty much always done it the way you are...pouring through a funnel w/strainer and using a spoon when it gets clogged.

I don't find it physically strenuous though...but it was when I was trying to lift a big kettle full of wort. Here's a few things that make it easier for me.

I put the kettle in a chair and I sit in a chair during the transfer (I line the kettle chair with kitchen garbage bags to prevent wort getting on it). Everything I'll need is within reach while sitting in that chair (bucket of Starsan with required utensils/etc.).

I just use a small SS saucepot to ladle the wort into the funnel and use the spoon to unclog the strainer. I'm not lifting that heavy arsed pot for this...not until the very end when most of the wort is in the fermenter and the pot is MUCH lighter.
Then towards the end I just lift the pot and pour it in.

I also have a large SS bowl that I set right next to the carboy. When the funnel/strainer gets full of hops/trub...I just lift the funnel off and sort of slam the top of it into the bowl to release all the gunk...then right back on the carboy. It's practially one motion. Slamming it like that clears the strainer pretty well.

I use my kitchen chairs with wheels on them as carboy carriers...easier on the back and less likely to have a bad slip/trip/fall.

This might sound like it takes a long time but it really doesn't...but it's not super quick either. Still...I'm not looking for any alternatives since it's so simple and it works.

I have a bad back so if I want to brew often I have to be careful about lifting full carboys/kettles/etc. It's just not worth it to have to deal with an aching back for a month just to save 30 seconds here and there. And besides...when you hurt your back you take Ibuprofen...which won't work if you drink alcohol. Double whammy!



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