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Old 07-13-2009, 02:48 AM   #1
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Default Have you ever had an absolutely horrible day?

I decided the perfect way to forget about a stressful day at work would be to rack my Irish Red into secondary. Little did I know at the time it would be an even worse experience than dealing with the public for 9 hours.

My auto siphon(which was kept with both pieces separate) would absolutely NOT keep a solid seal the entire time. I ended up stopping my auto siphon and switching to the old fashioned one twice because I was getting frustrated that it kept oxygenating my beer. After switching to the regular siphon, it started pulling a bunch of the yeast layer off the bottom with it though the cheesecloth on the end. After half a gallon siphoned it stopped dead in it's tracks and would not start up again for anything. I ended up getting the last of my brew out with the auto siphon and cut my losses.

Now the kitchen's a mess, I yelled at SWIMBO, and I haven't even had a chance to eat dinner! Anyone else have any heinous experiences out of something that should have been simple?

P.S. I'm about to throw away this auto siphon. Every time I've used it it can't keep a good seal. I've tried soaking the seal in hot water to loosen it up and I even filled the tube with water which stopped the air from getting in the beer for a short time, until the water ran out that is. What the hell am I doing wrong?

EDIT: Good God, I can't even type "absolutely". I need a beer. . .

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Old 07-13-2009, 02:54 AM   #2
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Do you have one of those little racking cane clips? I have one that came with an equipment kit I ordered a year or two ago, and it really helps. I just stick the clip on the fermenter, then snap the racking cane into it so that it's about halfway down the fermenter when I rack, and start the siphon. Then I can slide the racking down as the level goes down to maintain the siphon while avoiding the yeast sediment on the bottom.

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Old 07-13-2009, 03:36 AM   #3
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sucky man... hate those days. just get a new autosiphon, you'll be happy... remember this book?

Amazon.com: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: Judith Viorst, Ray Cruz: Books

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Old 07-13-2009, 03:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auspice View Post
I decided the perfect way to forget about a stressful day at work would be to rack my Irish Red into secondary. Little did I know at the time it would be an even worse experience than dealing with the public for 9 hours.

My auto siphon(which was kept with both pieces separate) would absolutely NOT keep a solid seal the entire time. I ended up stopping my auto siphon and switching to the old fashioned one twice because I was getting frustrated that it kept oxygenating my beer. After switching to the regular siphon, it started pulling a bunch of the yeast layer off the bottom with it though the cheesecloth on the end. After half a gallon siphoned it stopped dead in it's tracks and would not start up again for anything. I ended up getting the last of my brew out with the auto siphon and cut my losses.

Now the kitchen's a mess, I yelled at SWIMBO, and I haven't even had a chance to eat dinner! Anyone else have any heinous experiences out of something that should have been simple?

P.S. I'm about to throw away this auto siphon. Every time I've used it it can't keep a good seal. I've tried soaking the seal in hot water to loosen it up and I even filled the tube with water which stopped the air from getting in the beer for a short time, until the water ran out that is. What the hell am I doing wrong?

EDIT: Good God, I can't even type "absolutely". I need a beer. . .

One possibility is that the end of the auto-siphon is getting clogged up or the valve is getting stuck in a closed, or nearly closed position, causing a lot of suction around the seal (the siphon will try to pull liquid from wherever it can). Of course, if you had a good seal, then I think the siphon would just stop, but maybe the clogging or jammed valve is making the leaky seal into a major problem. Just a WAG.
If you are determined to throw away that siphon, and have nothing to lose, here's a wild-ass idea that I just came up with that, off the top of my head, seems like it might work. Drill a small hole in the outer tube just above the top of the plunger when it is all the way to the bottom end. The hole should be small enough that the fluid which will squirt out when you pump the siphon won't prevent starting a siphon, but large enough that it can supply more flow than the leak around the seal. You don't want to drill it very far up the tube, because it will break the siphon sooner, but maybe worth trying if you need to use it before you can get a new one (or if this works, maybe you can get by without a new one.

Edit: After actually looking at my auto-siphon, I see that the plunger stops about an inch above the valve in the bottom, so if you drill a hole above the plunger seal, the siphon will break too early and leave too much liquid behind. Never mind.
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Old 07-13-2009, 05:23 AM   #5
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Ahh…yet another story of an auto siphon not working, how they seem to be numerous. I don’t understand the burden of starting a regular old siphon by sucking on the hose. A little swish of cheap vodka, a quick suck and there you have it, no hassle and no yelling at SWMBO just beer being siphoned.

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Old 07-13-2009, 08:58 AM   #6
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Murphy's Law and s*** happens. We've all had those days.

I had to replace the 3/8" hose with 5/16" to keep my auto siphon from "cavitating". It works now. But I still take the lazy way out and use a ported Better Bottle to transfer for bottling.

Take SWMBO out for a nice dinner and get a good night's sleep. Works wonders.

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Old 07-13-2009, 02:41 PM   #7
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Are you tying cheesecloth to the bottom of the auto siphon? I've tried this on a couple of batches and I don't recommend it. At first I thought it would be a great idea to help keep junk out of my beer. I've found that it's not really necessary and can actually make things worse. Two problems I've noticed. First, the cheesecloth starts to clog up when I get to the bottom. This means I either have to restart the siphon which stirs up all the yeast or I end up losing a lot of beer. The second problem is that the cheesecloth acts like a wick a starts sucking in air as soon as part of the cloth gets above the surface. Also, as you found yeast can flow right though the cheese cloth. I've found that if I want to get my beer or wine really clear, it's better to rack it an extra time. I usually rack my beer twice (once from primary to secondary, and from secondary to bottling bucket. With wine I'll rack 3-4 times. The nice thing about extra racking is that you can try to get everything the first time, since you know your going to do it again, instead of leaving a couple of bottles of beer in the bottom of the fermentor and still having sediment in the secondary.

Another trick I've found is don't try to hold the auto siphon off the bottom. I start the siphon about 1/2 up the fermentor, then I slowly bring it down to the bottom of the fermentor. I do this right away, I don't try to hold the siphon off the bottom of the fermentor. I've found that when I try to hold it off the bottom it's hard to hold it steady, and I keep bumping the yeast cake. It's easier to hold is steady when it's pressed firmly on the bottom of the fermentor, I usually get a bit more sediment in the beginning of the rack, but I get less sediment over all.

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Old 07-13-2009, 03:37 PM   #8
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+1 to making it up to SWMBO for yelling at her...

Sorry your autosiphon is pissing you off... Mine has been the greatest brew gadget.

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Old 07-13-2009, 04:08 PM   #9
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I started a thread last week about how much I hate the auto siphon. I don't want to start an epic Mac vs. PC war about auto siphons, but you're not the only one who doesn't like them.

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Old 07-13-2009, 04:28 PM   #10
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Try a little keg lube or other food-grade lubricant around the gasket next time - it might help create the seal you're missing. Just a guess...

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