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Old 06-08-2009, 10:32 PM   #1
daveotero
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Default Siphon keeps stopping

First off, I've realized that your first brew is very much a learning experience. I'm really looking forward to my second batch so I can avoid some of these issues and have a little more fun.

Bottling batch #1 last night and everything was going fairly smoothly until racking time. I hadn't practiced starting the siphon as I had planned so I just kinda of winged it. I sanitized everything and dropped the cane in the bucket.

(Side note, those little clips to hold the racking cake are useless. The cane kept slipping out or tilting all over the place. Are they all like that or does my just suck?)

Back to the story, the cane and tubing were empty at this point and I tried to use part of my sanitized turkey baster as a mouth piece to start the the siphon. It worked and I didn't inhale any beer, but the flow was slow and there was a large air bubble in the middle of the tubing causing all of the beer to oxygenate. After about a half gallon I decided to stop the siphon and figure out a better way to start it.

I covered both buckets and did a little YouTube research.


Seamed easy enough so I followed the directions and it worked great. I had the siphon started and it was flowing fast and smooth. A few gallons go by and start noticing bubbles gathering in the tubing and top of the racking cane. Eventually these built up to the point where there was not enough fluid in the siphon system to hold suction and the flow stopped. I removed everything, cleaned / sanitized, and started the process again. Another gallon went by and the same thing happened. I started the siphon a total of 4 times before I finally threw in the towel and left the last 1/2 gallon or so in the fermenter. I ended up with 46 12oz bottles so I think the amount of priming solution I used should still be OK. The bottles are in boxes just in case.

To me it looked like the small amount of CO2 suspended in the beer from fermentation was releasing in the tube and causing the gas buildup. I searched and didn't find any other posts about this so I imagine its not a normal problem.

My kit didn't come with any hose clamps and I just pushed the fittings together. Was this just a small leak?

In any case, I think an auto siphon is in order.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:38 PM   #2
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If it happens the next time, make sure you have the tube on the cane far enough, and if it starts to get a bubble in it, just squeeze the bubble and it should flow into the bucket.

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Old 06-08-2009, 10:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveotero View Post
To me it looked like the small amount of CO2 suspended in the beer from fermentation was releasing in the tube and causing the gas buildup. I searched and didn't find any other posts about this so I imagine its not a normal problem.

My kit didn't come with any hose clamps and I just pushed the fittings together. Was this just a small leak?

In any case, I think an auto siphon is in order.
It was probably CO2 coming out of solution and collecting-- too much and it will break the siphon. Usually a sharp flick of a finger before it gets too big will dislodge it and prevent the siphon from failing.

I don't use hose clamps between the racking cane and the tubing-- they're usually a tight fit without them. If yours were loose fitting, then that could have been a source of gas buildup too.

Instead of an auto siphon (I used one once and hated it immediately), you might want to try the best way I've ever seen to start a siphon: MoreBeer!™ Sterile Siphon Starter Tutorial | MoreBeer.

Just a suggestion-- YMMV.

-Steve
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:50 PM   #4
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Wow, not even 10 min and already two awesome answers! Took me twice as long to type up the post

That siphon starter looks awesome but I'm using buckets for the time being so I imagine its not possible.

So from both replies and the video Steve posted, I gather a quick squeeze around the tubing / racking cane joint will clear any air pockets that form?

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Old 06-09-2009, 12:45 AM   #5
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I use the method in the post of the original poster. I just fill mine with water, and then siphon out star san. I actually use the clip to hold the end of the hose and just flip it upside down.

I keep hearing others say siphoning is difficult, I have never had a problem with it.

Your tubing may also be too loose. How far is it pushed down?

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Old 06-09-2009, 12:48 AM   #6
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auto siphon is well worth the money.

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Old 06-09-2009, 01:23 AM   #7
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I think the fittings were tight enough. I'm gonna try again tonight with water to make sure.

I might plan on buying an autosiphon for next time but leaving it in the bag. If I need it, it's there. If not, I'll exchange it for ingredients for my next batch

Another quick lesion learned for any other noobs that might be reading this. I bet most bottling bucket spigots are the same as mine in that when you close the valve all the way it, opens the vent to the spigot output. I had a box of bottles in front of me that I had just filled and placed caps on. I closed the valve and stood up with the bottling wand to cap those and get another box. Got a nice little shot of beer to the crotch from the vent hole when I raised the wand too high. I figured out after the fact that you can stop the flow and close the vent hole by closing the valve half way. You can leave the wand in a bottle while you're capping or getting more to fill.

I bet my wife thought I got so excited I pissed myself

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Old 06-09-2009, 01:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveotero View Post
That siphon starter looks awesome but I'm using buckets for the time being so I imagine its not possible.

So from both replies and the video Steve posted, I gather a quick squeeze around the tubing / racking cane joint will clear any air pockets that form?
Whoops! I made a bad assumption about your equipment. The quick squeeze/flick is the short answer to your problem.

I used to just fill the racking cane and tubing with water to prime the siphon then submerse the cane in the carboy (bucket in your case) and let the first few ounces of beer drain before redirecting the flow to the receiving vessel. This worked well for me for years.

-Steve
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