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Old 01-19-2012, 08:21 PM   #1
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Default Question about siphoning and infections

Hey everyone!

So the first time I brewed cider, when I racked it to a secondary container, we just used a clear vinyl tube as a siphon, and just sucked on the end to get the siphon going. After that, I read somewhere here that it's a great way to get infections, so you shouldn't do it with your mouth.

First of all, when they say that, how do they think it will happen? I mean, I sterilize the tube first, and then my lips are on the outside of the tube where the cider will never touch, and it's creating a vacuum, so none of my breath even goes into the tube. Is it really that bad to use your mouth to start it?

I created a little device that should be completely sterile to use if you sterilize it first. Basically, it's a rubber stopper at the end of a long metal rod that you insert in the tube before putting the other end in the liquid, and then pull to start the siphon. However, it's kind of a pain in the ass.

I found this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-F_RBWVxmk that explains how to make a nice one, but it basically seems like it has the same problem as starting it by sucking it, except worse because you're actually blowing your breath into it.

How do people who do this very carefully actually do it? Is there some sort of fancy expensive product I'm supposed to buy?

Also, if I get an infection, will I certainly know from the taste or smell of my brew? Or would it be more of a subtle thing with off flavors?

Thanks!!



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Old 01-19-2012, 08:26 PM   #2
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Lots of people use auto siphon's which creates a siphon for you, I've heard of using a turkey baster as will. If you put water or sanitizer in the tube and drop it down it will create the necessary suction as well. Our my preferred way is to put valves on everything.

As for an infection, if you are moving out of primary there is probably enough alcohol to keep most stuff out. Infections sow in lots of ways both obvious like a mold growth or subtle like a thin body.



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Old 01-19-2012, 08:32 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Basilisk View Post
Hey everyone!

So the first time I brewed cider, when I racked it to a secondary container, we just used a clear vinyl tube as a siphon, and just sucked on the end to get the siphon going. After that, I read somewhere here that it's a great way to get infections, so you shouldn't do it with your mouth.

First of all, when they say that, how do they think it will happen? I mean, I sterilize the tube first, and then my lips are on the outside of the tube where the cider will never touch, and it's creating a vacuum, so none of my breath even goes into the tube. Is it really that bad to use your mouth to start it?
as soon as the liquid starts to fill the vessel the hose will become submerged. so immediately the outside of the tube contacts the liquid? unless you dont put the hose down into the vessel which will badly oxygenate the liquid and thats a whole new can of worms.
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Old 01-19-2012, 08:44 PM   #4
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I just use a piece of the clear vinyl tube. The trick to doing it without sucking on it is to fill it with sanitising solution first. Then with finger over both ends of the tube to hold the liquid in, place one end in the liquid in the high container and the other end in a lower 'waste' container and release both fingers. This will start the flow. When the beer starts coming out switch from your waste container to the actual container. Practice first with some water.

I saw a cool design for a simple auto siphon on this forum. I plan on trying this:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/flyguys-t-siphon-3-replacement-autosiphon-25774/

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Old 01-19-2012, 08:51 PM   #5
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Lots of people use auto siphon's which creates a siphon for you, I've heard of using a turkey baster as will. If you put water or sanitizer in the tube and drop it down it will create the necessary suction as well. Our my preferred way is to put valves on everything.
Hmmm, what do you mean, how would I put water in the tube to start it?

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As for an infection, if you are moving out of primary there is probably enough alcohol to keep most stuff out. Infections sow in lots of ways both obvious like a mold growth or subtle like a thin body.
That's good to know, I'll keep that in mind. So do you think it would be safe to rinse my mouth with vodka and then just use my mouth to start it?
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Old 01-19-2012, 08:53 PM   #6
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Auto siphons are only $8 to $15. Why not just buy one ?

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Old 01-19-2012, 08:55 PM   #7
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as soon as the liquid starts to fill the vessel the hose will become submerged. so immediately the outside of the tube contacts the liquid? unless you dont put the hose down into the vessel which will badly oxygenate the liquid and thats a whole new can of worms.
I was actually a little confused about this too... Yeah, before we just put the output end of the siphon near the next of the bottle. But even if you put it at the bottom, isn't the cider going to get oxygenated by the oxygen that's already in the bottle? And isn't it going to only be oxygenated for a very short while until the bottle is filled? I don't see how you can avoid this.
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Old 01-19-2012, 09:21 PM   #8
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Wow, that T-siphon is amazing. I just went to the hardware store (I live right next to one ) and made it, and tried it. Works perfectly, and this should be totally safe if I sterilize it right?

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Old 01-19-2012, 09:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Basilisk View Post
Hey everyone!

So the first time I brewed cider, when I racked it to a secondary container, we just used a clear vinyl tube as a siphon, and just sucked on the end to get the siphon going. After that, I read somewhere here that it's a great way to get infections, so you shouldn't do it with your mouth.

First of all, when they say that, how do they think it will happen? I mean, I sterilize the tube first, and then my lips are on the outside of the tube where the cider will never touch, and it's creating a vacuum, so none of my breath even goes into the tube. Is it really that bad to use your mouth to start it?
First you sanitize, not steralize, there's a big difference.

But no matter, I bet you if we did a swab of the inside of the tube you would find some of your dna in there. That no matter how careful you think you are there is going to be some trace amount of you that found it's way into the tube, or right at the tip that the beer would be coming in contact with as it passes into the vessel, whether it's a bit of skin cell, saliva or from your normal respiration some germ of yours, or some of your biomatter, heck even one of the bazillion little critters crawling on our bodies or even the microparticals of yeast, lactobasllus, acetobactor and god knows what else on us got blown in or crawled up into that tube.

The only way to avoid it is to not do it....no matter how careful you think you are, you sluffed something off ontoor into that hose and that ends up in contact with the liquid. Like someone else said when it touched the outside of the hose in the vessel.
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Old 01-19-2012, 09:56 PM   #10
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First you sanitize, not steralize, there's a big difference.

But no matter, I bet you if we did a swab of the inside of the tube you would find some of your dna in there. That no matter how careful you think you are there is going to be some trace amount of you that found it's way into the tube, or right at the tip that the beer would be coming in contact with as it passes into the vessel, whether it's a bit of skin cell, saliva or from your normal respiration some germ of yours, or some of your biomatter, heck even one of the bazillion little critters crawling on our bodies or even the microparticals of yeast, lactobasllus, acetobactor and god knows what else on us got blown in or crawled up into that tube.

The only way to avoid it is to not do it....no matter how careful you think you are, you sluffed something off ontoor into that hose and that ends up in contact with the liquid. Like someone else said when it touched the outside of the hose in the vessel.
Thanks, definitely true. I guess I don't technically sterilize my stuff, but I do submerge it in boiling water for a few minutes.


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