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Old 01-22-2009, 02:40 AM   #1
Mogref
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Default racking from primary to bottling bucket

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,
-Brian

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Old 01-22-2009, 03:09 AM   #2
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Brian,
Tap water can contaminate your beer and so can siphoning with your mouth.
The picture you see is of a 'racking cane' and is used in conjunction with the hose. The racking cane typically will not reach the trub when placed in Carboy (not the case for fermenting bucket)
Steps:
1. Fill bucket with a solution of sanitizer in water, submerge hose and racking cane in bucket for a few minutes.
2. Set racking cane in Carboy (if that is your fermenter).
3. Remove hose from bucket traping sanitizer water in hose. Holding both ends of the hose in one hand, attach one end to racking cane.
4. Drop loose end of hose down below fermenter to start the siphon.
5. After beer has begun to run out of hose, divert to bottling bucket.
6. Raise end of racking cane off bottom of fermenter to prevent transfer of trub (if needed).

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Old 01-22-2009, 03:15 AM   #3
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Brian.......Get an autosiphon and you will be golden. It should be available at any brew store. It is dead simple and foolproof.


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Old 01-22-2009, 03:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogref View Post
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,
-Brian
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.
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:48 AM   #5
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You can avoid all the hassles of siphoning by simply installing a spigot in your primary fermentor. Then you can drain it directly into your bottling bucket using a short piece of hose. If you install one, make sure it is high enough to clear the trub. It's even possible to put a spigot in a glass carboy although drilling the hole is a bit more involved.

Tom

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Old 01-22-2009, 02:35 PM   #6
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Another convienent step in filtering out any trub is to simply attached a small peice of sanitized cheese cloth over the inside of the bottling bucket spigget with a sanitized rubber band prior to transfering your beer into the bucket. Though there shouldn't be much that makes it into the bucket anyway, it's one last chance to keep what does make it in out of your bottles.

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Old 01-22-2009, 07:21 PM   #7
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+1 figbash i use my bottling bucket as a primary rack to secondary then bottle with the bucket as normal. i like to let gravity do the work. just check the seals are not too loose or tight before you rack the wort. also +1 on the auto siphon it is indeed fool proof, just pump once and it goes. i was worried the first time i used mine and then relieved when it was the simplest tool to use.

-nick

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Old 04-05-2009, 08:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blender View Post
Brian.......Get an autosiphon and you will be golden. It should be available at any brew store. It is dead simple and foolproof.
The Fermtech autosiphon came with the kit I bought from MW. I think they're $15-20 to buy. It will be the best money you spend on homebrewing.
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