Cannot Syphon Properly - Primary only?

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dbenoit64

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When trying to bottle my beer, the beer will foam up in the siphon tube. I can get it going but you can see small bubbles through out the tube which never get ejected through the end of the tube (bottle filler). The beer comes out very foamy and when the bottle filler valve is closed to fill next bottle the air in the tube rushes to make a air gap at the top and then the beer runs down the part of the tube in the carboy making a large air gap. And then i have to try and get the siphon going again over and over and over.

Its as if the beer is being agitated or hitting turbulance when its in the tube. Its like its reacting and bubbling up like crazy for some reason. Everything is super clean and temperatures are equal (between tubes and beer). 

THE PROBLEM IS NOT AN AIR LEAK. Everything is so tight i have to cut it to get it apart. I am using the correct sizes of equipment (5/16 I think) and had it inspected and tested and tried 3 different sets. I also tried an autosiphon with my neighbors tubes - which he uses. and same issue.

I've spoken to many experts and done so much research and have yet to get an answer on why this is happening. People have told me they syphoned with extreemly carbonated liquids using my method with no problem. So maybe overcarbonation is not the problem. Maybe something to do where I have a yeast cake sitting on the bottom.

Also something else to note, when I added my sugar solution (used that malty stuff this time - dextrose plus something else) to each bottle, the beer would react to the sugar solution like a volcano.

Kit: Festibrew Double Oatmeal Stout
Yeast: WYeast American ale 1056
Primary Only: 23L Carboy 2 weeks @ 19 degrees, 1 week @ 16.5 degrees
I use a racking cane, spring loaded bottle filler, and syphon tube.
 

TyTanium

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Try spelling it with an i.

So you're siphoning from the primary to a bottling bucket and having this issue? Or are you going straight from the carboy into bottles?
 
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dbenoit64

dbenoit64

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Try spelling it with an i.

So you're siphoning from the primary to a bottling bucket and having this issue? Or are you going straight from the carboy into bottles?
Straight from Primary (carboy) to bottle after 3 weeks of fermenting / settling.
 

TyTanium

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Odd. There is definitely residual CO2 in the beer, but not enough to cause that problem I don't think. The constant starting/stopping may cause an issue, especially in a longer tube. Is the opening into the bottle lower than that height of the beer in the carboy? If not you'd definitely get air.

Do you have a bottling bucket? Most folks do bulk priming - transfer the beer to another bucket and add enough sugar for the whole batch (instead of sugar to each bottle)...generally more consistent and less labor intensive.
 
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dbenoit64

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The physics of the flow is correct. It worked on the same day with a red ale i was brewing, which was flat (not carbonated). Carboy is well elevated up on a table. Bottles on floor.

The reason why I stop is because I have to fill each bottle separately (like most people who use bottle fillers) .

Im probably one of few people who do not rack to secondary and also do not bulk prime. (Straight from primary to bottle - no stirring agitating for priming - no plastic - no transfers). There might be something related to my method that's causing the issue. Not sure if there is anyone else out there who uses this method and might have experienced my issue...

I like my process wouldn't want to have to change it. I am using a lab pipette to dispense an exact amount into each bottle and it works well, is easy and sanitary.
 

amandabab

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its kind of hard to pin down your method, but it sounds like your autosiphon checkvalve is partially clogged and not keeping up with the flow.

the racking cane parts is sucking air because the outer tube cant fill fast enough. it refills when you stop and just keeps getting air bubbles, not co2 bubbles in the tube.
 
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dbenoit64

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Thanks for the reply. That sounds good but def not a clog.

On the other end, I've even tried with bottle filler removed and using one of those small clamps to stop the flow and the exact same thing happened. (note i tried an autosyphon only once for a test).

Picture this:
CARBOY -> J-TUBE -> HOSE (with clamp on end). -> BOTTLE

everything is airtight, no clogs. works fine with water, star san, flat beer.

Yet as the stout is flowing though the tube (even if it looks good at first with no air gaps), it starts bubbling up in the tube and coming out 50% beer 50% froth.
 

duboman

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I would recommend getting a bottling bucket, start bulk priming and bottle from the new bucket and see if it solves your problem, (which I think it will) I also think you will save some time in your process so you have more time to RDWHAHB :)
 

captainL

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Have you tried pinching where and when the bubbles start forming in the hose? That should push them threw and clear the line. Might have to do it frequently.
 
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dbenoit64

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Tried pinching and knocking around where bubbles are but its impossible to keep up with them. It would def be a 2 man job and still most likely not really work.

I would not be able to use a bottling bucket because I would still have to siphon the beer INTO the bucket (ie from the carboy) which im not able to do - unless i fermented in the bottling bucket... It would be much more convenient during the bottling process to have the bottling bucket set up but it is a lot of extra work to get there compared to what im doing now... Also, I really dont want to move to plastic. Maybe I will invest someday in a stainless steel fermenter but I would like to be able to solve this issue now....

Maybe 3/8 would make a difference. If it happens on my next batch I might have to go there..

Still, please if anyone else has any ideas of what might be the root cause I'm all ears..

Thanks.
 

medusa1066

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Also something else to note, when I added my sugar solution (used that malty stuff this time - dextrose plus something else) to each bottle, the beer would react to the sugar solution like a volcano.
.
Is the siphon equipment used to transfer/aliquot the sugar into the bottles before filling with beer? Thus contaminating the siphon hose with sugar?
 
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dbenoit64

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Is the siphon equipment used to transfer/aliquot the sugar into the bottles before filling with beer? Thus contaminating the siphon hose with sugar?
No i am using a lab pipette to dispense the sugar liquid thus keeping the tubes and equipment clean and turbulent free (in theory). I usually use star san inside the tube (have tried plain water) to get the syphon going. When it fails (it bubbles up and i have to re do the siphon) I blow in the orange rubber cap thing that goes in the carboy to get the flow going again, then it fails again.
 

janivar123

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If you get all the air out of the siphon hose once then it should not
appear again
Unless you have a leak or pull a vacum on the carboy ofcourse
Or get logging in the botteling vand valve

Is there other brewers in your area? having one around next time your botteling can be enlightening
 
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dbenoit64

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I do have it vented properly and the white cap stays off. It is quite a simple system and it has worked quite well (even on the same day) with other beers or other liquids that tend to not be overly carbonated when it comes time to transfer out of my carboy.

I know it makes sense that once the air is removed it should not come back. But im sure I do. And its as though the beer is reacting to something while its in the tube and just goes crazy.

I have a friend in town who is a brewmaster and I will absolutely make sure that he will be present for the next bottling session if this issue occurs again. He does kegging with CO2 and is not as familiar with the process but another pair of eyes will at least make it less frustrating and discouraging. This wont be for another month or so, so until then, any ideas are welcome..

Thanks again.

DB
 

janivar123

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If all else fails a botteling bucket with spigot will eliminate the start stop syphoning when botteling
Do you detach the hose every time? Even if it sticks werry well together there might be a small leak
 

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The problem is most definetly an air leak. The laws of physics say so. The leak may not be at a connection, you may have a pin hole in the wall of your racking cane, tubing, or bottling wand. The hole is in the area where you are noticing the turbulence in the lines.
 

jd3

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If this beer is in fact high in co2 then you are experiencing something similar to cavitation in pumps. Gas is escaping/forced out of solution. slowing down flow should help here. Using a pinch valve to slow it down while filling. Or using a larger diameter tubing.

The other option is that there IS a leak, and you just don't see it.
 
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dbenoit64

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I know this does sound so much like an air leak issue. But im 99.99% sure there are no air leaks. The only two places air enter / exit the system are at the very ends (end of bottle filler and end of racking cane). i replaced equipment 3 times and had it tested for leaks / pin holes at all points all along.

Yes for some reason, 3 of my brews were very high in carbonation... not sure why this was the case (3 out 10 times i brewed). The first two times the common denominator seemed to be that I accidently shook the carboy up (tripped holding it) a few days before the transfer. But the 3rd time i was really careful and still had the issue.

I have a limited understanding of cavitation but it absolutely what is happening. I assume that the increased velocity is simply agitating the beer at the point where the racking cane meets the siphon hose (slight turbulence point there) and causing it to bubble up and eventually lose flow. People seem to agree that if there is just 1 single bubble its like it self propagates and creates more bubbles.

So yeah it sounds like a wider system might work better eh? I'm not sure what bottling using a 3/8 or 1/2 inch tubing system will be like (a lot of beer coming out at once and maybe even faster??) or whether they even sell 3/8 or 1/2 inch racking canes but thats definitely going to be my next step if this happens again on the next brew.
 

JuanMoore

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I know this does sound so much like an air leak issue. But im 99.99% sure there are no air leaks. The only two places air enter / exit the system are at the very ends (end of bottle filler and end of racking cane). i replaced equipment 3 times and had it tested for leaks / pin holes at all points all along.

Yes for some reason, 3 of my brews were very high in carbonation... not sure why this was the case (3 out 10 times i brewed). The first two times the common denominator seemed to be that I accidently shook the carboy up (tripped holding it) a few days before the transfer. But the 3rd time i was really careful and still had the issue.

I have a limited understanding of cavitation but it absolutely what is happening. I assume that the increased velocity is simply agitating the beer at the point where the racking cane meets the siphon hose (slight turbulence point there) and causing it to bubble up and eventually lose flow. People seem to agree that if there is just 1 single bubble its like it self propagates and creates more bubbles.

So yeah it sounds like a wider system might work better eh? I'm not sure what bottling using a 3/8 or 1/2 inch tubing system will be like (a lot of beer coming out at once and maybe even faster??) or whether they even sell 3/8 or 1/2 inch racking canes but thats definitely going to be my next step if this happens again on the next brew.
Have you checked the rubber diaphragm in the autosiphon to make sure it doesn't have a pinhole or small crack in it? Is it nice and pliable so that it makes a good seal, or has it become dry and stiff? You said it worked to transfer a red ale the day of brewing, but what was the temp of the beer that worked? If your diaphragm is dried out it may become more pliable and work with hot liquids but stay stiff and not work well with colder liquids. Also, if you tried transferring wort that was too hot, you may have damaged the autosiphon.

Where is the tip of the autosiphon when you're trying to transfer? If you submerge it too far into the yeast cake/trub material it can restrict the flow and cause the issues you're describing.

Unless you're fermenting under pressure, the residual carbonation is going to be the same as any other similar gravity beer fermented at the same temperature. Your beer doesn't have some mysteriously high amount of carbonation that defies the laws of physics. Disturbing the carboy when you tripped while carrying it forced CO2 out of solution, and reduced the carbonation level, it did not increase it.

When you do get a siphon working, I'd still suggest using a bottling bucket. It's just much easier and more accurate all the way around. In fact, you might consider using the old fashioned tubing full of water method to siphon your beer into a bottling bucket until you get your autosiphon issue worked out. Some of your posts made it sound like you had to fill the tubing with water or star-san to get a siphon going even with the autosiphon, in which case the autosiphon is just getting in the way and creating potential air leak points.

dbenoit64 said:
And its as though the beer is reacting to something while its in the tube and just goes crazy.
I know you keep repeating that there's no air leak, but this statement really leads me to believe you have air getting in where the tubing connects to the autosiphon. How far are you overlapping the tubing onto the autosiphon and bottle filler? Are you securing the tubing with hose clamps of some sort, and if so what size/type? If there's significant increase in bubbles between the inside of the autosiphon and further down in the tubing, then you have air getting in at one or more of your connections, and need to secure them better.
 

captainL

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Colder fluids can hold more residual carbonation. From my wine making skill(or lack there of). What temp is the beer. If its warm you could be agitating to remove the co2. Of course if its cold, it could just have too much co2 already present. Try racking at different temps? Lager or ale? If its warm, cool it off. If it cold warm it up. You could always (shreeeeek) try degassing at some point. But you risk oxidation.
 
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dbenoit64

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Have you checked the rubber diaphragm in the autosiphon to make sure it doesn't have a pinhole or small crack in it? Is it nice and pliable so that it makes a good seal, or has it become dry and stiff?
Not using autosyphon. Just tried as a test along with two other JTube+Tubing set ups. Same problem.

You said it worked to transfer a red ale the day of brewing, but what was the temp of the beer that worked? If your diaphragm is dried out it may become more pliable and work with hot liquids but stay stiff and not work well with colder liquids. Also, if you tried transferring wort that was too hot, you may have damaged the autosiphon.
Same temperature. Red ale was flat. Stout was extremely carbonated. Like ready to drink carbonated. Temperature is 16.5 degrees.


Where is the tip of the autosiphon when you're trying to transfer? If you submerge it too far into the yeast cake/trub material it can restrict the flow and cause the issues you're describing.
Def not the prob. Have the end of the J-Tube only half way into the carboy in the beginning. Still same issue.

Unless you're fermenting under pressure, the residual carbonation is going to be the same as any other similar gravity beer fermented at the same temperature. Your beer doesn't have some mysteriously high amount of carbonation that defies the laws of physics. Disturbing the carboy when you tripped while carrying it forced CO2 out of solution, and reduced the carbonation level, it did not increase it.
Yes not sure why its so high in carbonation after having all this time to ferment. Especially since the red ale next to it did not have the issue (although different yeast - the crap that came with the kit).


I know you keep repeating that there's no air leak, but this statement really leads me to believe you have air getting in where the tubing connects to the autosiphon. How far are you overlapping the tubing onto the autosiphon and bottle filler? Are you securing the tubing with hose clamps of some sort, and if so what size/type? If there's significant increase in bubbles between the inside of the autosiphon and further down in the tubing, then you have air getting in at one or more of your connections, and need to secure them better.
I went so far as to heat the tubing in boiling water and jam the tube into it until my fingers hurt from the friction of twisting it on. Absolutely no air getting out. Tested it for leaks after to be sure. I tried clamping also. The only connection at one point is the jtube connection, which was very very secure.

The fact that i bought 3 different J-tube and siphon tube combinations AND that it worked fine with the red ale (at same temp / same room) says there was no air leak (well most likely).... and why this is so frustrating.
 
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dbenoit64

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Colder fluids can hold more residual carbonation. From my wine making skill(or lack there of). What temp is the beer. If its warm you could be agitating to remove the co2. Of course if its cold, it could just have too much co2 already present. Try racking at different temps? Lager or ale? If its warm, cool it off. If it cold warm it up. You could always (shreeeeek) try degassing at some point. But you risk oxidation.
Stout @ 16.5 degrees. Not sure what I could do / or what I might have done wrong to make it over carbonated like this.... Check my very first post in this thread to see exact details...

Thanks

DB
 

JuanMoore

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I assume 16.5 degrees celcius? You haven't done anything to make these beers overcarbonated. Maybe I wasn't clear earlier, but the amount of residual carbonation isn't all that variable. It depends mostly on highest temp the beer has experienced post fermentation, and somewhat on the SG. Liquids hold on to CO2 better at colder temps, and denser (higher SG) liquids also hold on to CO2 better. If you know the SG and temp, it's relatively easy to calculate the exact level of carbonation. Some can be lost from agitation, but it's not going to magically increase. Unless you're fermenting under pressure, your carbonation levels post fermentation aren't any higher than mine, or anyone else's. Assuming it's 16.5 degrees C, the maximum residual carbonation present in your beer is about one volume.

What you're mistaking for high levels of carbonation is likely either air entering the tubing somehow, or something you're doing to forcefully knock the existing CO2 out of solution. I've racked lagers with relatively high SG's at 40F (~4.4C) that I guarantee had way more residual carbonation than your stout, and had no issues whatsoever. It would take something pretty serious to knock enough CO2 out of solution for it to stop a siphon. Turbulence, sudden changes in velocity, and extreme temp changes can be causes of CO2 coming out of solution. What kind of tubing are you using, and how smooth/clean is the interior? Have you tried just using a tube to siphon, without a racking cane or anything else that would create a connection and possible air leak? Are you soaking the racking cane and tubing in super hot water/sanitizer before trying to rack?

Stopping and starting the flow repeatedly is another thing that could cause CO2 to come out of solution (sudden change in velocity), which is another reason I suggested using a bottling bucket. It shouldn't knock enough CO2 out of solution to stop the flow of a siphon in and of itself, but it could be a contributing factor.

My guess is still an air leak in your connection from the tubing to the racking cane. I've had tubing that was a loose fit on the racking cane and some that was very tight, and even with the tighter fitting tubing I sometimes had to use two hose clamps to get it to work right. In fact, it seemed like the tighter/stiffer tubing was more prone to air leaks. You said you "tested" for air leaks, but how exactly did you do this? FWIW most of the racking canes and autosiphons I've seen were 3/8" OD, and you mentioned heating the tubing and pushing it on so hard that your fingers hurt. Is it possible that part of the issue is that you're trying to use 5/16" tubing on 3/8" racking canes? I've never had to heat my tubing or struggle in any way to get it to overlap the plastic at least an inch or two.
 

amandabab

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honestly, at this point we need a youtube video of you not being able to get a fluid to travel downhill.

3 pages of suggestions and none of them can coax gravity to pull liquid through a hose.

were not being told something or were being played.
 
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dbenoit64

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im praying its not going to happen on my next brew. starting this tuesday - 17 - Apr -2012 but if it does I'll make a video and put her on youtube. I do appreciate all the advice.

Very highly carbonated yes. Not sure why. It was as carbonated as beers that I had conditioned with 175g dextrose / 20 L for two weeks.

But like you say, and others have said, you have had beer that is probably more carbonated then mine and still have been able to siphon successfully.

I will keep this tread updated with my progress although it will be close to a month when she's ready to bottle.

-DB
 

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I understand that you don't want to use a plastic bucket, but a bucket fermenter with a spigot would completely solve/eliminate the siphoning issue.

As far as the air leak issue, I have had the same experience as JuanMoore - a hose/tube connection can be really, really hard to pull apart and still leak.
 

duboman

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amandabab said:
honestly, at this point we need a youtube video of you not being able to get a fluid to travel downhill.

3 pages of suggestions and none of them can coax gravity to pull liquid through a hose.

were not being told something or were being played.
Lmfao!
 

phoenixs4r

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amandabab said:
honestly, at this point we need a youtube video of you not being able to get a fluid to travel downhill.

3 pages of suggestions and none of them can coax gravity to pull liquid through a hose.

were not being told something or were being played.
This guy for president.
 

corn

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amandabab said:
honestly, at this point we need a youtube video of you not being able to get a fluid to travel downhill.

3 pages of suggestions and none of them can coax gravity to pull liquid through a hose.

were not being told something or were being played.
Exactly, I felt this was a gag from the beginning, but still chose to offer advice. Well said.
 
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dbenoit64

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Exactly, I felt this was a gag from the beginning, but still chose to offer advice. Well said.
What a strange sense of humor it would take to make something like this up.

I dont know how many ways to put it. There are no air leaks and the beer will not siphon.

I do appreciate all the advice and interest in this thread and in the future, if / when it happens again, I will document it with video and post it in this thread.

Unless, of course, I find the root cause, in which case I will post that for everyone.

Thanks,

-Dave
 

JuanMoore

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What a strange sense of humor it would take to make something like this up.

I dont know how many ways to put it. I can't allow myself to believe there's an air leak and the beer will not siphon.
FFT. ;)

I think part of the reason many people think this is a gag is because you ignored several of the questions directed at helping you, and still refuse to admit that there could be an air leak, which is the only answer that doesn't defy the laws of physics.

If you really want to prove us wrong (or right) you might not need to wait until you need to rack a beer. Just take a video of you using your siphon set-up to siphon some water. Show some close ups of the water flowing through the tubing with absolutely no bubbles entering the system at any point.
 
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dbenoit64

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you changed what i said in my quote. is that legal?

Anyways, I posted a video. To me it doesnt make any sense since water works fine. But here she is (its really hard to see anything. but there are no bubbles trust me ;) ) :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7ESahqdhSs&feature=youtu.be


note this is a much larger height difference then when im racking (for viewing purposes and ease of recording).

Something i did notice with this racking cane and hose is that, getting going, at the point where the cane meets the hose, the water kind of breaks off and only 1/2 fills the hose. I give it a few taps and then a full and gap-less flow commences.

When moving the racking cane to the carboy with the highly carbonated beer in it, at first she flows nicely, but after a few secs it bubbles up.

**cough** air leak **cough**
 

medusa1066

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Ok, so this happened to me after reading it and commenting. My siphon got clogged with hops FWIW
 
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dbenoit64

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Ok, so this happened to me after reading it and commenting. My siphon got clogged with hops FWIW
Yes, adding hops or spices or anything else can contribute to turbulence or clogs and create bubbles in the hose.

In my case, there were no hops. In my first post in this thread I explained exactly how my brew was done. (Festibrew Stout + american ale yeast 1056 + primary only etc.. )

This is why i did not respond to a lot of suggestions. Not because im ignoring the suggestions, but because they did not apply to my case and I figure its pointless to repeat myself when readers can go to the first post.

I will keep this thread updated if I have the siphon issue again and / or if i find the culprit.
 

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