Siphon options

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william_shakes_beer

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I have a 15 gallon Blichman boilermaker I use to make 5 and 10 gallon batches. It has a dip tube on the inlet that comes within 1/4 inch of the bottom of the pot. There is a petal type steamer element placed upside down on the dip tube to minimize the hops settling onto the dip tube. I place the pot on a banjo burner that is elevated on 4 levels of concrete bricks. The pot has the Blichman standard globe valve (quarter turn to open and close). The discharge of the valve is fitted with stainless steel elbow and a 3" nipple that juuuust allows a fermenter to be removed from beneath it. The problem is when I open the valve, the pot stops draining with 2.5-3 gallons remaining. I always have to glove up and pick up the pot to pour the remining wort into the fermenter. I recently disassembled the valve to check for obstructions. Both the dip tube and the valve are flowing freely.

Does anyone have any ideas how I can get the pot to drain more completely? i suspect the discharge needs to be longer to establish a siphon. Even the part of the pot that does drain does so very slowly. If I extended the nipple I fear I would be unnable to get the brew bucket free, and if I raise the pot and burner I would be unable to easily monitor the pot.
 

Jim R

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I don't know how to modify that specific kettle to make it siphon better but I have a boil kettle with a similar lower drainage valve that was frustrating to use because I couldn't adjust it properly to get the clearest wort into my fermenter. I finally just quit using it and bought a high quality stainless auto-siphon. It works much better to get good flow and with total control of the level that I am draining off my wort. I clamp it onto the side of the boil kettle and start siphoning from the top and then gradually slide it down to get clear wort. It is also easy to clean and will last a lifetime.

 
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william_shakes_beer

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Interesting I never know such a thing existed. What tubing is used that doesnt melt with the heat of the wort?
 

hotbeer

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Is the siphon currently stopping before the end of the dip tube in the kettle is nearly exposed?

If so, why? For certain a siphon will slow down and stop as the fluid level in both vessels nears the same level of each other. Also any air leakage into the dip tube joints as it's exposed will end the siphon if they leak air too fast.

If clogging, then try swirling the wort as you siphon, and put one of those copper pot scrubbers on the end of the dip tube to try and catch the big stuff before it gets to the small dip tube.
 
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william_shakes_beer

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I believe the siphon is stopping due to insufficient headspace to draw the wort down. The SS nipple on the discharge side of the kettle valve is about an inch below the bottom of the kettle. I fear if I added flexible tubing to extend the drop It would melt, since I usually cool the wort to 175F or so in the kettle before dropping into the fermenter and placing in the ferm chamber to cool to pitching temps.

Neither the kettle valve nor the dip tube are clogging. I checked them this morning before I posted this thread. The dip tube and the grain bag are protected by a petal type vegetable steamer element placed upside down over the dip tube.
 

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Mr. Vern

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I am (almost done) rebuilding a similar system for Big Brew Day but slightly larger.. Blichmann half-barrel Boilermaker gas fired . The previous owner told me that even with his pump there is about 1g left behind in the BK. I am about to do a trial run on water this weekend to verify but 2.5-3 gallons left behind seems excessive.

Hotbeer has a good note, I believe the dip tube has a compression fitting with O-ring . These fittings love to leak if not very tight in my experience. At least the whirlpool arm is situated that way... I would be curious if you are sucking air at any fittings or nipple.

Finally.. I think simply elevating the kettle and extending the discharge length is the easy fix as you mentioned. I use tubing that extends below the bottom of the keggle minimum 3" for gravity siphon. High Temp Silicone tubing is also good for those temps you mentioned (think brewers use tubing to pump boiling wort through the chiller).
 

Jim R

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Interesting I never know such a thing existed. What tubing is used that doesnt melt with the heat of the wort?
I only use the stainless auto siphon to transfer the wort after I have chilled it to room or pitching temperatures so any tubing would work fine including the high quality tubing that it came with. Another advantage to this technique for me is that I place a kitchen type colander filter on top my fermenter as I make the transfer to keep a little more debris out of the fermenter. I certainly don't lose any significant amount of wort with this technique as I can siphon right down close to the bottom of the boil kettle.
 
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william_shakes_beer

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Perhaps next time i'll bypass the valve and get a length of heat resist tubing to siphon directly from the pot to the fermenter. Just gotta figure out how to hold the seive in the middle of the fermenter, lower down to improve the siphon but high enough to keep the debris above the level of the wort.
 
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