New racking technique

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malenkylizards

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So I don't know about you guys but I've had a real hard time getting my siphon primed and flowing for the whole racking process...it almost always breaks at some point in the process, and I think it's largely because it starts out with some small bubble that grows over time.

I was having a particularly hard time with my last racking, I must've primed the siphon five or six times with no luck. I was about to start sucking, for lack of any better ideas, until I got a better idea. I had the cane in my top carboy and the hose in the bottom, and then took a small shopvac and held the hose over the bottom carboy. I turned it on for about two seconds, and right off. That stuff flew faster'n a greenhorn from a west texas rattler! :)
 

CBBaron

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Autosiphon. Wonderful inventions that make racking a breeze.

craig
 
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Autosiphon. Wonderful inventions that make racking a breeze.

craig
I own both of these. I use the auto-siphon for small batches and this other design for normal batches. You simply blow onto the inline filter and it applies pressure to the surface of the mead. It's also much easier to sanitize. You could use CO2 on a regulator if you are afraid of blowing into the filter.
 

ScottM

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Good Yankee ingenuity right there. So when you held the tube from the shop vac over the second carboy, how much of a seal did you have to make in order to get the suction started? Did you simply hold it close to the rim? Did you use your hand to partially seal up the opening? What kind of sanitation procedures did you use between the rim of the secondary and the hose of the shop vac?

I'm interested because just the other day I started another thread about racking small batches in the Cider Forum. I've got a 1 gal batch of orange blossom mead going right now, and I've got plans for several other 1 gal batches of ciders and meads in the next 3-6 months. I'm still racking with the system that came with my homebrew kit, racking cane, tube, and bottle filler, priming with water and losing some volume. In a 5 gal batch the lost volume doesn't matter, but in a 1 gal batch I'd probably notice.
 

MikeG

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I broke my first auto-siphon due to negligence, went out and bought another. It's just worth having.
 

TipsyDragon

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cool idea to use the shopvack i had the same problems, but i am with ScottM. i hope you used good sanitation otherwise this will suck (pun intended). could of contaminated your mead and waisted a year of your time. next time autosiphon.
 

GilaMinumBeer

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Nice use of your noggin there bro'. Kudos for that but your new found technique is lost on me.

You see, I use my shop vac for clearing draff from the tun. Thus it is frought with all manner of critters.

Auto-Siphon FTW. I have it in both the small and the large. Love it. I am still waiting for the actual prototype build on the "HBT All Stainless Hydropneumatic Beer Extractor" there was quite a bit of thought gone into that and then..........................
 
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malenkylizards

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I didn't know about that autosiphon! I'll sure as hell be getting one, though I like that other one, in which you blow, more.

I'm not too worried about sterility from the shopvac, as it never actually touched it. I had it hovering about a half inch above the rim of the carboy. That sucker's got some JUICE! It was also a little over three months old, and SG and taste tests both suggest an ABV of about 15%/. :) I shouldn't THINK that any bacteria's going to survive in it. but better safe than sorry, so I'll surely be getting one of these newfangled devices for the future.
 

ScottM

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Thanks for the update. I was wondering if the suction from above the bottle would be enough to get it started, and now we know. If it never touched the mouth of the bootle than contamination should not be an issue at all. The 15% abv, should help as well! After this weekend's syphoning fiasco, I'll be purchasing an auto-syphon the next time I got to my home-brew shop.
 
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malenkylizards

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Thanks for the update. I was wondering if the suction from above the bottle would be enough to get it started, and now we know. If it never touched the mouth of the bootle than contamination should not be an issue at all. The 15% abv, should help as well! After this weekend's syphoning fiasco, I'll be purchasing an auto-syphon the next time I got to my home-brew shop.
Yeah, the most I'd be worried about is lingering dust falling in; shopvacs can get pretty dirty, but the end didn't have any immediately visible dust. I dunno, if that were to happen, would such a small amount affect the taste, and would it just sink to the bottom anyway?

I still plan on gettin' me one of these automosiphon things. Was this fiasco with the one gallon batches? What happened?
 

ScottM

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No actually the 1 gal mead I've got working is pretty young, and will not be racked until the weekend of the 26th or 2nd, at the earliest. Hopefully, by then I'll have an autosiphon. This weekend's adventure was racking my 3 gallon hard cider. I had primaried in my one and only 3 gal carboy, and it should have been in my ale pale. Since I only have one 3 gal carboy, my plan was to carefully rack into my sanitized ale pale, clean and sanitize my carboy, then carefully rack back into the carboy, as quickly as possible. I'm using the racking cane, tube, bottler-filler, and priming the tube method. I just couldn't get the flow to really take off, and had to re-start it 3 times. Thankfully, I had boiled and cooled about a quart of water, so each time I primed I could just allow the sterile water to mix in with the cider. Since I was going to lose volume off the yeast cake anyway I figured worst case I'd just lower my abv. Going back from the ale pale to the carboy, went on the first try.
 

Philsc

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I bought an autosiphon for 25 bucks and I can't get the swine to work.
 

grlz

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its easy. just make sure the plunger part is pushed all the way down, then put the end in your brew, pull the plunger up till its full then push back down. usually works in one shot.
 

Shooter

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I clearly have a faulty auto-siphon. It doesn't work nearly as well as people are describing. I usually end up having to do dozens of short little pumps on the thing until it finally climbs up past the curve in the cane and then it often bubbles there, making me panic about oxidized beer, or a siphon starts for a few seconds and then retreats back up the cane and suddenly stops.
 
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you need a hose clamp at the top of the autosiphon. It leaks a small amount of air and if you pinch the tubing right at the top of the siphon it will force the air through the tubing. If you make sure you have a better seal then you should get easier flow with fewer/no bubbles, or use smaller diameter tubing.
 

viking

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I like the auto siphon so much that I hooked one up to my bottler. (check the diameter of the bottling wand and match it up with the auto siphon as there are different sizes) When priming, just put the tip of the bottler on the side of the primary and pump. The auto siphon that I use to rack really sucks! It will drain a 6 gallon carboy in about 5 minutes.
 

Ice9

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I just fill my racking tube with sanitizer, connect it to the racking cane which is already placed and attached to the boil kettle/bucket/carboy and lower the end of the hose into a pitcher to let the sanitizer run-off. As soon as the wort/beer is flowing through the tube I hold the pitcher above whatever I'm racking into and let it flow! It works great every time.
 

Philsc

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its easy. just make sure the plunger part is pushed all the way down, then put the end in your brew, pull the plunger up till its full then push back down. usually works in one shot.
I've practised a lot with the autosiphon. I have to pump like fiend to get it to actually get out the other end. I have to use a lot of force if I don't want a ton of bubbles in the connection between the racking cane and the vinyl tubing.

What's going on?

Do I have a faulty autosiphon? I have a feeling that the thing is too large.
 

llazy_llama

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I've practised a lot with the autosiphon. I have to pump like fiend to get it to actually get out the other end. I have to use a lot of force if I don't want a ton of bubbles in the connection between the racking cane and the vinyl tubing.

What's going on?

Do I have a faulty autosiphon? I have a feeling that the thing is too large.
Smaller tubing or a worm clamp placed where the tubing meets up with the racking cane should fix that.

Also, don't do what I did the first time I tried to use an autosiphon, and spend 30 minutes trying to siphon from one container to another while both are sitting on the floor. Man, I felt like a genius when I figured out why it wasn't working. :drunk:
 

wayneb

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One other thing about the auto-siphon. Heat is its enemy. Don't wash or rinse in hot water, or you run the risk of messing up the rubber o-ring seal that keeps the inner tube tight against the outer tube wall. Without that seal being good, you'll have to pump lots to get the flow going.

If you have an older siphon that no longer makes a tight seal between inner and outer tubes, you can put a very small amount of silicone grease (food grade mineral grease also works, but it will eventually degrade the rubber even further) on the o-ring, and that can temporarily restore the seal well enough that the pump will function.
 

Philsc

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Also, don't do what I did the first time I tried to use an autosiphon, and spend 30 minutes trying to siphon from one container to another while both are sitting on the floor. Man, I felt like a genius when I figured out why it wasn't working.
I also felt like a genius when I worked out how the autosiphon works (or should work in my case) when I was explaining it to a friend. It's an amazing contraption - a valve in the big tube letting the liquid in but closing when pressure is put on that liquid. The volume in the bigger tube travels up the smaller tube then you get the siphon effect. Genius! I felt like a genius when I explained it having studied humanities at college and getting injured when I try to change a lightbulb or tie my shoelaces.

Yes, I used hot water on the thing. The instructions didn't say anything about hot water. It's probably an older generation contraption, it looked like it had been sitting in the shop for years. It's now just an expensive racking cane with a nice plastic container.

In order to siphon in the future without getting half the beer all over the floor, my face, my jeans, the ceiling and the cat, I'm going to buy a little faucet. I'll attach that to some tubing, pour some iodophor solution in top of the tube till, attach the tube to the racking cane that's sitting in my fermenter.

Then I'll open the tap till the iodophor is out, pulling the beer, I'll then close the tap and then I can direct the beer to wherever I want it to go.
 
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