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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Dumb question: Siphoning beer?
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Old 06-08-2013, 04:45 PM   #1
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Default Dumb question: Siphoning beer?

I've been brewing for a year or so, but I haven't run across an answer to this question.

What's the best way of starting a siphon from a pail, not a carboy?

I've seen carboy siphon starters (auto-siphon), which look fine. But I've been happy doing primary fermentation in a plastic bucket, and have just been starting the siphon by sucking on the tube.

I've been worried about contamination, and would like to find a better way of starting the siphon, but haven't seen anything useful yet. (I tried a squeeze bulb I had laying around, but didn't get enough suction to start.)

What do other folks use? Or does everybody ferment in carboys?

Thanks!

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Old 06-08-2013, 04:51 PM   #2
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An auto-siphon works just as well in a bucket as a carboy

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Old 06-08-2013, 04:52 PM   #3
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Fill the siphon with Star San and plug both ends with your (Star San rinsed) fingers. Unplug the end going into the fermenter immediately before you put it in so your hand doesn't go in the fermenter. Do likewise when you put the other end in the bottling bucket. Gravity will start the siphon.

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Old 06-08-2013, 04:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stpug View Post
An auto-siphon works just as well in a bucket as a carboy
^^^ this, but spend the $1.59 and get the clip to hold it on the side of the bucket. U'll be happy ya did.
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Old 06-08-2013, 04:53 PM   #5
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There are two basic ways to start a siphon. As an old winemaker, I just always used the siphoning tubing and a racking cane, sanitized it, and filled it with water. Put a clean finger over both ends, then stick the racking cane in the beer/wine, but keep your finger on the other end. Put a jar next to the vessel you're siphoning to, and then take your finger off the end and the water goes into the jar. When you see beer ready to come out, pinch the tubing and then move it over to the vessel. Make sure the tubing hits the bottom of the receiving vessel so you don't splash.

This sounds hard, and it does take some practice, but it's really easy and cheap/free.

About 5 years ago, I bought an autosiphon. That's quick, easy, and sanitary and doesn't involve filling the siphon with water and moving vessels.

I would NOT start a siphon by sucking. You can get an autosiphon for under $10 I think.

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Old 06-08-2013, 04:56 PM   #6
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Auto-siphon! I can't imagine not using one. And yes, I do know that many people do not use one. And yes, get the clip!

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Old 06-08-2013, 04:59 PM   #7
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An old technique I used to use: cut a small hole in a pop bottle and then sanitize the bottle. Insert tube into hole and suck the bottles mouth. You get indirect suction: no mouth contact.

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Old 06-08-2013, 05:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Damage View Post
Fill the siphon with Star San and plug both ends with your (Star San rinsed) fingers. Unplug the end going into the fermenter immediately before you put it in so your hand doesn't go in the fermenter. Do likewise when you put the other end in the bottling bucket. Gravity will start the siphon.
As a slight modification, I've found that if you have the inverted black cap over the end of the racking cane, you can just keep your finger over the open tube end and nothing will run out of the racking cane end either.
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Old 06-08-2013, 05:20 PM   #9
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I'm pretty sure that there is absolutely no difference between carboy and bucket siphoning.

If you don't have an auto-siphon you don't need to suck:
Fill a pot full of sanitizing solution. Attach your racking cane to tubing and submerge the tubing and as much of the racking can as you can. Work out the air bubbles from the tubing as best you can. Keeping the tubing submerged pinch closed the end of the tubing. Remove the racking can and other end of the tubing out of the pot and over the side and lower than the pot. Because you are piching the end still in the pot the tubing will remain full of liquid. When the liquid in the tubing is lower than the pot unpinch the other end of the tubing but leave it in the pot. Gravity will cause a siphon to start and sanitizing solution will pour through the tubing into the top of the racking cane and out the bottom of the racking cane (the exact *opposite* direction you are going to want the beer to go.) This is also how you sanitize the inside of your racking cane.

Oh, did I mention to empty into a pot or scrub bucket and not onto your kitchen floor? Empty into a pot or scrub bucket and not onto you kitchen floor.

Once the flow is going pinch the end of the tubing closed again. (The same end you pinched before.) Place the racking cane into you fermenting bucket which should be at an equal elevation to the pot of sanitizing solution. While keeping the tubing pinched close remove the end from the pot of sanitizing solution and lower to the scrub bucket on the floor. release and a siphon will go and all the sanitizing solution in the tubing and racking cane will pour out and soon the beer will be forced out behind it. As soon as the beer starts to flow out pinch the tube closed again. Attach bottling wand if you use one. Move end to bottling bucket and/or secondary and/or bottles and rack.

Simple. But an auto-siphon is probably even simpler still. But no sucking. That's just unsanitary.

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Old 06-08-2013, 05:24 PM   #10
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Go into the yard of the nearest house and cut a 6' or so length out of their garden hose. The insert it into the gas tank until it won't go any further. Suck on the other end and try not to swallow any of the gasoline....


Oh we are talking about siphoning beer.

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