Originally Posted by Mogref
Hi all, I've read plenty of posts about whether or not to use a secondary and decided for myself that just using a primary is fine for what I want to do. Last weekend I decided to bottle my first batch last weekend and ran into some difficulty racking the beer into the bottling bucket. The problem was that my siphon hose was too short, requiring some juggling on my part to make sure I didn't slosh the beer around too much and I ended up losing the prime a couple times during the racking process. I'm hoping all goes well, that batch is in the bottle now for the next couple weeks and I'm looking forward to it. But after doing a lot of reading in the last few weeks on HBT there's a couple questions about racking that still aren't clear to me:
1. What exactly is a 'racking cane'? My beginners homebrew kit came with a lot of useful gear, including a siphon hose (albeit a short one). So far it's been fine for transferring hot wort to the cold water in my fermenter bucket but proved to be insufficient in getting all the brew from the fermenter to the bottling bucket. I'm assuming a racking cane is not the same as a 'racking siphon hose'.
2. I've read the Charlie Papazian book on homebrewing and he recommends priming your siphon hose by filling it with water (as opposed to using your mouth which could contaminate it) and that's what I've done thus-far in racking from the brew kettle to the fermenter. Can tap water potentially contaminate the beer? Do I need to buy one of these auto-siphon gadgets I keep reading about? Should I take a swig of vodka before siphoning? (take one anyway?)
3. Trub. From what I understand, after the yeast has done most of its work, there's a lot of waste sediment at the bottom of the fermenter. How do you keep from inadvertently siphoning up this gunk when you rack? My self devised method is to hold the end of the hose about a half inch or so below the surface of the beer and keep with it until it gets close to the bottom trub, then I stop. From looking at pictures in the Papazian book he has the hose attached to what looks like a rigid plastic bent tube (cane? *see #1) that's dropped down into the carboy and looks like it's resting on the bottom where all the trub would be. With this configuration how do you avoid siphoning all that sediment?
Thanks in advance,
A. Don't worry, your beer will be fine. You may end up with a cloudier than desired beer or more sediment then you expected, but your beer will be delicious nonetheless.
1. A cane and a hose are by default different. The cane is the L shaped plastic thing that came with your kit. The house is what you would attach to the cane.
2. Invest in a cheap fermtech auto siphon and save yourself any future hassle.
3. You can keep the cane from touching the trub, or you can filter the cane. I typically would rack to secondary, and then just siphon off the yeast in the secondary. If you are using irish moss in your boil, your beer should still turn out pretty clear using this method after proper bottle conditioning.
Finally, You're beer will be fine. I cannot stress enough #2, get an auto siphon and nevermind all that filling the tube with water business. Just sanitize in starsan or any other proven santizer prior to using and then go to work.