Siphoning...is it necessary

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cacarver

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I just began my first home brew. It was going well until it was time to siphon the beer to the pot for carbonation and then into the bottles. I finally just poured it into the pot and funneled into the bottle.

What is the consequence of this? Why is it necessary to siphon from the beer to the bottles?
 

thunderwagn

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Oxidation and contamination just to name a couple downsides.

You can purchase an auto siphon and bottle filler for probably $10 or not much more.
(assuming you already have a bottling bucket)
 

berndawg84

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Siphoning doesn't take that long. Quicker then pouring it but as chunk said, you risk many things. I guess see how the beer turns out but next time siphon. Always. Quality control is key.
 

Aristotelian

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It will probably be OK if you drink them quickly. As they age the beer will absorb the oxygen and produce off flavors, like bread going stale.
 
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cacarver

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So does this mean the batch i just poured into the bottles is ruined? Will it be chunky? will it kill me if I drink it?
 

Homercidal

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After fermentation you want to limit aeration as much as possible to limit oxidation as much as possible. I use a bottling bucket. It's a cheap plastic bucket with a spigot on it that I gently siphon my beer and sugar into before filling bottles. It makes bottling pretty easy and prevents oxidation pretty well.

There is a whole thread dedicated to bottling the easy way. Bottling Tips

There is some really good information in there. I've added the 3/4" PVC extension onto the spigot inside the bucket and it really does a good job of sucking down to the very last bit of wort.

Now, how much oxidation you will get depends on a bunch of things, including how sensitive you are to the flavor and how warm you keep the beer after carbonation (you will need to have it warm enough for carbonation, so that's not going to be helpful, but what can you do?)

Consider it a lesson learned. Splashing fermented beer is not good for it's flavor longevity.
 

ncboiler

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I just began my first home brew. It was going well until it was time to siphon the beer to the pot for carbonation and then into the bottles. I finally just poured it into the pot and funneled into the bottle.

What is the consequence of this? Why is it necessary to siphon from the beer to the bottles?
After pitching the yeast, you must be as careful as possible when transferring/moving the beer as it may cause oxidation as mentioned. When you use a funnel to transfer the beer into bottles it's going to splash and be very turbulent which will introduce oxygen into it. The best way around this is to get a bottling bucket and a bottling wand. It will reduce the chance of oxygenating the beer AND it's easier as well.
 

Smellyglove

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Now you'll get an experience about how oxidised beer tastes like. Just put in on your experience-tab :) No worries, that batch may be botched but you can brew another one.

I've seen beer go from fresh to extremely bad in 24 hrs. Seen, and then tasted it (the color gets darker).

I did an experiment a few batches ago. I poured about 2L out of a fermentor every day after about day 8, meaning it sucked in air. It took two days until I noticed a definitive the effect. After five days (10 out of 14 Liters) I wouldn't even serve it to the most drunk person I'd find.
 

beernutz

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I just began my first home brew. It was going well until it was time to siphon the beer to the pot for carbonation and then into the bottles. I finally just poured it into the pot and funneled into the bottle.

What is the consequence of this? Why is it necessary to siphon from the beer to the bottles?
So if I understand you correctly, you somehow moved your beer from your fermenter to a bottling pot where you presumably mixed it with priming sugar. You then write that you funneled the primed beer into bottles. I have a few questions.

What did you ferment in and how did you move the beer from your fermenter to your bottling pot?

When you say you funneled from the bottling pot into bottles do you mean you put a funnel in each bottle and then poured beer from your bottling pot into the funnel?

At a minimum I'd suggest investing in an auto-siphon and a bottling wand.
 

GHBWNY

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I just began my first home brew. It was going well until it was time to siphon the beer to the pot for carbonation and then into the bottles. I finally just poured it into the pot and funneled into the bottle.

What is the consequence of this? Why is it necessary to siphon from the beer to the bottles?
First, welcome! Second, while you're in the right place to ask questions, you'll get a lot of opinions so use what you need to for your situation. Third, sounds like you may have tried the thumb-over-the-end-of-the-siphon tube method and made a mess. Been there. That's when I bought an auto-siphon and a bottling wand. Never looked back.

The point has been made, but I'll add my two cents to what most others have said. Introducing oxygen to your post-ferm beer (by pouring or sloshing the beer to the extent of creating bubbles) can result in anything from off-flavors to a totally undrinkable batch. Siphoning gently sucks the beer up and gently releases it into your bottling bucket without introducing oxygen. From there, a bottling wand attached to your bottling bucket spigot gently transfers the beer from bucket to bottle again, without introducing oxygen. This will be a significant factor in the success of your homebrew.

Others have mentioned adequate cleaning and sanitation of all your equipment that comes into contact with the brew, i.e., anything that makes contact with it from the post-boil wort to the post-ferm beer. This is critical. Temperature control during fermentation is also critical.

I wouldn't be too discouraged by some of the suggestions here that you may have ruined your beer. For the future, bottle your beer when it's safe to (generally after 2-3 weeks in the fermenter and after 2 consecutive final gravity readings 2-3 days apart that read the same. Leave your bottle-conditioning beer at ~70F for 3 weeks, then into the fridge for 1 week. Then (hopefully) enjoy!
 

Homercidal

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Some would only bottle if they could flush the O2 out of each bottle before filling. There are special devices that you can connect a CO2 keg line up to to perform both flushing and filling operations. I think that's overkill for most homebrewers, but it's certainly not going to hurt the beer. Just something to compare the wide range of options available to you.
 

Jim311

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There are dudes who keg who purge the keg 30 times from 30 PSI to eliminate .000005% of air. I personally think that's totally ridiculous, but it just goes to show you some people are super anal about air in beer.
 

Smellyglove

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I'm anal. But I push the to the brink filled with star san-keg out with co2. No need to waste gas.
 
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cacarver

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Thank you all for your comments. After I cooled the wort I put it in the fermenter and pitched the yeast. It fermented for a couple weeks and then I funneled it into growlers best I could. I used honey to carbonate and did my best to avoid getting any "gunk" in there.

I just poured it last night and it's very carbonated but tastes like a cheap light beer such as Miller high life. I was surprised because it was Brooklyn brew works everyday IPA.

I've started a new batch of Northern Brewers block party ale. Lessons learned 1. I bought a better siphon. 2. Manipulate the recipe for a little less carbonation. 3. Bottle instead of using growlers
 

Easycreeper

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Be careful using growlers to condition your beer. The glass is rather thin as compared to the volume of the container and could potentially burst under pressure. Get some 12 or 22 oz bottles and a capper from your LHBS or start saving your pry off bottles.

Don't get discouraged if this batch didn't turn out like you want. Make notes on what to do differently next time. And don't hesitate to ask your questions here before proceeding.
 
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