new...a few questions?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

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New Member
Jul 2, 2005
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Well this is my first post in this forum. I'm new to homebrewing...I just bought a kit today, and will be making my first batch of Nut Brown Ale as soon as I tie up a few lingering questions about the process. I've read both the Palmer book, as well as The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. I thought I had the processes down pat (I like to prepare) but am now having doubts about a few things. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help! (by the way...I am relaxing...having a Sierra Nevada...not worrying :p )

My first question is about siphoning. I should have bought an autosiphon, but I forgot. My kit came with a racking cane and tubing...problem is, I'm not too sure how to use them. If I can't use my mouth, how can I siphon? I know I could fill the tubing with water, but am kinda scared that it will flow back into the wort contaminating it. The guy at the homebew shop I went to recommended thatI use the siphon to transfer the cooled wort from the boiling pot to my 6.5 gal glass carboy (and I don't have large funnel/strainer, so I can't pour it into the carboy either).

My second question concerns the brewing process. I'm following Palmer's advice, and doing a preliminary 3 gallon boil, then will be steeping my grains in 1 gallon, then boiling extract in 3 gallons (2 additional gallons added to the steeping water). Well, after I boil the first 3 gallons, what am I to do with it? Should I chill it in an ice bath? I can't siphon the hot water to the glass carboy (I'm told it will crack). So, I guess I have to leave it to cool somehow, or chill it?

Last, I was wondering about cleaning. All my equipment is new, is it necessary for me to clean it first (as in, with a deterrgent and brush)? Don't get me wrong...I was definately going to sanitize them in StarSan. But I don't know if soap/water was necessary. If it is, is something like Dove liquid deterrgent o.k., or do I need to buy the homebrew cleaning stuff? (PCB etc.)

Thanks in advance for any help you guys can offer,



Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Jun 6, 2005
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Williamsburg, Va
First, welcome to the mean hobby ;) Now, on to the questions.

1) I use a turkey baster to start my siphon. It gets sanitized with the rest of my equipment, so there is little chance of contamination. Works like a charm.

2) I do a partial boil of 3.5 gallons and then top off in the fermenter (for now). I use an ice water bath in the kitchen sink to cool it down. It only takes about 15-20 minutes to bring 2 gallons (whats left after evaporation) down to temp.

3) As for cleaning, you never know what oil/dirt/etc. was left on the eqiupment by the manufacturing/packaging/shipping process. Always best to be safe and clean it before you use it. Avoid dish detergents as they can leave a film on the equipment that can affect your beer. Go with a brewing product, you won't regret it.

Good luck with your first batch!


Well-Known Member
Jan 3, 2005
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Clebland, OH
you can use your mouth to syphon. i do every time i siphon, i get to drink some beer that way and no contamination yet... usually you just need a little puff to get the beer over the curve in the cane and gravity does the rest. ;)

if you use a no-rinse sanitizer like idophor you can fill the tube with that and keep the end capped, aim your tube down and release your finger and blamo the siphon will start on it's own. don't sweat getting water or idophor in your beer, you'll never taste the difference with a hose length worth.


Well-Known Member
Jun 7, 2005
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1) I clean out my stainless steel sink thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap and then rinse just as thoroughly. Then I plug the drain and fill it with no rinse sanitizer. It is large enough that I can hold the entire racking cane and siphon tubing under water. Then I take them out and allow all of the sanitizer to drain from the cane (I find that a full siphon tube with an empty cane is enough to get my siphon going). Then I put the cap on the cane and put it in my beer. Take my thumb off the other end and allow the no rinse and air to drain into a small container and then quickly switch the tube over to whatever i am siphoning into.

2) I do 2 gallon boils. I chill the other 3 gallons somewhat and then use and ice water bath to get my boiling wort down to ~80. Mixed with the chilled water this generally gets my finished product into the low 70s (perfect for pitching). Aerate then pitch :).

3) I would wash all of your stuff with anti-bacterial unscented dish soap and rinse very thoroughly. Then sanitize using a no-rinse sanitizer as usual.

Good luck!

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