Best way to get from kettle to carboy

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flipper51

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I am curious how many people, at the end of the boil, siphon the wort into the fermenter vs. how many pour it through a funnel. I guess the question really only applies to those that don't have a valve on their pot and use carboys as a primary.

I've been brewing about 10 years now, and in that time I've changed pretty much every aspect of my process, but not this one. I prop up a sanitized funnel (with filter) in the neck of the carboy and pour as much will go until it backs up with trub. Then I stir back and forth until that funnel-load gets through, scoop out the sludge, and repeat. For an average beer, about half the wort goes straight through before things start to slow down.

I've wondered for a while if this was normal, or way more trouble than most were bothering with. A few years ago I got the clone brew books by the Szamatulskis, who recommend siphoning from the kettle to the fermenter. Motivated by their claim that whirlpooling would keep all the trub in the pot, I tried it a few times but quit because, to me, it doesn't seem worth the risk of infection from the siphon water (or human vacuum, even worse).

Now that I've bought the sterile siphon (from B3, a really cool item), and I've discovered the joys of starsan, I feel like I have virtually no openings for contamination in my process. That's why I hesitate to change from the pain-in-the-butt funnel method to siphoning (which can't be done with the sterile siphon - it works by creating air pressure in a carboy).

Funnel method pros:
everything is sanitized
good aeration (if it flows fast, it foams up big from the fall, if slow, you are constantly stirring)
no wort lost (I even push the wort out of whole hops with the spoon!)

cons:
slow (as much as a half hour)
possibly more trub in carboy (is the cold break getting through the funnel?)
physically strenuous
 

ThatGuyRyan

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I do neither. I just cool the wort then dump it into the primary then back and forth between the primary and the pot until I get good aeration. Most of my beers I ferment with hops and all. But if I am able to get leaf hops I usually use a hop bag for them and just throw the bag out before dumping to the primary since they expand so much.

Most of my beers that were hopped with pellet hops I just went from primary to keg or bottle and with just a cold crash most of the sediment stayed behind either on the side of the bucket or fell to the bottom leaving a clean beer. If it was a hoppy beer or I used the puck shaped hops that left a few floaters then I usually rack to secondary for additional settlement before bottling.

From what I read some people agree and some disagree about fermenting without straining the hops. But I have done it on over 70% of my beers and I have had no issues. If you still want to strain you can always get one of those nig ass strainers that sit on top of the fermenter. It would work a lot faster than using the funnel IMO, just have someone hold it in place. You would then have to aerate the beer.
 

brewmasterpa

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but he's going from kettle to CARBOY. much smaller opening. i think your funnel method is the best way to go, but i would go through a strainer into a bucket, then through a funnel into a carboy to prevent a stuck fermentation, that is if you must use a carboy for primary. i recommend transferring a couple times, or going through a strainer for proper aeration. the siphoning just doesnt promote oxygenation. seems risky to me.
 

ThatGuyRyan

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Reading owns! I read that at least 3 times but I didn't catch it until you flagged it! :drunk:


Sorry I am reading this thread and trying to give someone instructions on cleaning a camera sensor at the same time! Bad news for everyone!
 

malkore

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My kettle has a spigot. If i wanted to primary in a carboy i'd put a short length of sanitized hose on the end, and drain it.

I don't worry about straining my wort.

and I have an O2 injection system, so aeration is not a problem.
 

JesseRC

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so what exactly is unsterile about an auto siphon. I tried your way once, and having to fight the strainer in the funnel was enough to say goodbye to that method. If your set on straining then use an auto siphon with a stainless scrub pad on suction side to filter out large hops and perhaps a sanitized paint strainer at the other end going into the carboy. I have contemplated doing this, but honestly it all settles anyway.
 

Brew-boy

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After Chilling I let the wort sit for 45 minutes the open the ball valve and I only get about 1/4" of trub in my carboy. This work great for pellets but when I use whole hops I switch out the pipe for a Bazooka screen.

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brewmasterpa

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well what i meant was to pour from the kettle through a strainer into a bucket, then from the bucket through a funnel into the carboy. this will aerate and strain and you have no issues. i used to throw all the kids in the pool too (no straining for those that are unfamiliar) and i got a stuck fermentation and said, no more. ever since ive strained, no more stuck fermentations, no more clogged racking canes. bon ap ateit.
 

PseudoChef

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This probably doesn't help, but drilling and adding weldless valves to my pots is in the top 3 upgrades I have made to the brewery.
 

SpanishCastleAle

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Flipper,
I've pretty much always done it the way you are...pouring through a funnel w/strainer and using a spoon when it gets clogged.

I don't find it physically strenuous though...but it was when I was trying to lift a big kettle full of wort. Here's a few things that make it easier for me.

I put the kettle in a chair and I sit in a chair during the transfer (I line the kettle chair with kitchen garbage bags to prevent wort getting on it). Everything I'll need is within reach while sitting in that chair (bucket of Starsan with required utensils/etc.).

I just use a small SS saucepot to ladle the wort into the funnel and use the spoon to unclog the strainer. I'm not lifting that heavy arsed pot for this...not until the very end when most of the wort is in the fermenter and the pot is MUCH lighter.
Then towards the end I just lift the pot and pour it in.

I also have a large SS bowl that I set right next to the carboy. When the funnel/strainer gets full of hops/trub...I just lift the funnel off and sort of slam the top of it into the bowl to release all the gunk...then right back on the carboy. It's practially one motion. Slamming it like that clears the strainer pretty well.

I use my kitchen chairs with wheels on them as carboy carriers...easier on the back and less likely to have a bad slip/trip/fall.

This might sound like it takes a long time but it really doesn't...but it's not super quick either. Still...I'm not looking for any alternatives since it's so simple and it works.

I have a bad back so if I want to brew often I have to be careful about lifting full carboys/kettles/etc. It's just not worth it to have to deal with an aching back for a month just to save 30 seconds here and there. And besides...when you hurt your back you take Ibuprofen...which won't work if you drink alcohol. Double whammy!:(
 

Pi Kapp Beer Guy

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Well after confering with a team of highly trained NASA scientist i have found the answer!

A rubber tube running from my Brew Kettle to the carboy. Then I run water through it afterwards to keep it clean. Sanitize it before next use. I still end up with really clear beer but i do use a secondary every time.
 

flyangler18

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Gravity is definitely the easiest way if you have a ball-valve on your kettle and the kettle sits high enough to drain easily into the carboy.

I use a March pump to draw wort out of the kettle and through my CFC before winding up in the carboy. Portability was a major factor for me, since I vary my location for brewing according the season and my mood - sometimes outside, sometimes down in the basement, sometimes over at a brew buddy's place. I'm definitely a nomad brewer - so having a system that can be packed up easily and transported is a major plus. With a CFC, all the break material winds up in the fermenter so I don't stress about it.

My portable March pump:





The toolbox holds lots of brew day essentials like type K thermometer, Whirlfloc, spare parts, small scale, etc - so it's truly multiuse.

Before I had the pump, I used to siphon from the kettle into the carboy after chilling with an IC or, when feeling particularly lazy and unmotivated, the lift and dump into a bucket fermenter.
 

jchadscud

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That strainer in the funnel is a real pain. The owner of my LHBS suggested using a grain bag and it works like a charm. Just don't forget to soak it in sanitizer prior to using. My exact method is to take a strainer with a handle on it, slip the grain bag over it and pour through. When it starts to get clogged, I just pull the grain bag further over the handle and have a fresh area to pour on. Works like a champ!
 
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flipper51

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Thanks for all the suggestions folks. It sounds like there aren't too many who simply siphon (without a valve on the pot), so I feel somewhat vindicated in not switching to that method.

So what's a typical amount of trub for those doing the funnel method? For five gallons, I get around an inch, or about 1/2 gallon. This always seemed like a bit much to me, which is the primary reason I've thought about changing the method. Until my last batch, I've only had 5 gallon carboys, which meant that with headspace and the trub I was really making 4 gallon batches of concentrated beer and then diluting it at bottling with an additional gallon.

I'll probably stay with what I'm doing, albeit adding some of SpanishCastleAle's suggestions for making things less difficult. For the time being, just adding a valve is too expensive ($10-30 total?), much less any additional costs if I started needing to oxygenate.
 

LakeErieBrew

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After I cool the wort with an immersion chiller, I do a whirlpool with a big sanitized spoon. I siphon from the side of my kettle about 15 minutes later, making sure to do a lot of splashing into the primary to aerate the wort. My siphon tube has a plastic filter on the end of it so I don't transfer any large chunks. I usually leave about a quart or so of hot break/sludge/hop matter in the kettle.
 

Scrow

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I use hops pellets, so is there any way to strain that out after the boil? So far I have just been dumping the whole mess into a bucket that I use for a primary. There is nothing left in the kettle after I pour, so I end up with a lot of junk at the bottom of the fermenter.

If I get a paint strainer or something, will that remove the hops sediment from the pellets?
 

SumnerH

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Yeah, I use a strainer bag. Pour through it, then lift it out and let it drain (the latter takes a lot longer than you'd expect--rotate the bag every which way to speed it up). Almost all the hops junk is removed.
 

rico567

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Is the main purpose of all the strainers & etc. for those who don't use a secondary? I ferment in the 6.5 gal bucket, and just dump the chilled wort in, pitch, and snap the lid on. Done. The secondary racking removes almost all of the sediment, and what that doesn't get, racking to the bottling bucket does. Now that I'm starting to use more whole leaf hops, I bought one of those big SS strainers that fits over the bucket. It works.
 

tpseabird

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Very nice! I need one of these.



After Chilling I let the wort sit for 45 minutes the open the ball valve and I only get about 1/4" of trub in my carboy. This work great for pellets but when I use whole hops I switch out the pipe for a Bazooka screen.

[/IMG]
 
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