Siphoning problem?

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Active Member
Jan 16, 2008
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Indianapolis, IN
OK, first post. Be gentle.

Tomorrow is the big day, first batch. It will either be a Brewer's Best Red Ale or APA. I bought both kits, but I haven't yet decided which to try first. I have been going through the motions, practicing with the equipment from my kit, bought locally, so it's not all new to me when the brewpot's on.

I think I have the basics of the process down OK, but have one problem. When siphoning, I seem to have a problem getting a good seal between the rigid cane or bottling wand and the flexible tubing. On the cane part of the autosiphon, I get a fair amount of air in the line, even breaking the siphon at times. If I have the tubing connected to the spigot on the bottling bucket, then have a bottling wand at the other end, I get pretty good leakage from the joint from the tubing to the bottling wand. Almost a wee little jet.

I have tried putting the end of the tubing in hot water to let it soften, then slipping it on the rigid tube, but that did not seem to help. Still leaked. Looking at the end of the tubing, the cross section is a bit flattened, not really circular.

Do I need a new piece of tubing? Or, more likely, better technique?
if it's warped on the ends, cut it an inch or so... also you can zip tie the tubing to the cane, but if it's plastic cane, be careful not to shatter it by tightening too much.
You need 5/16" ID tubing or really small clamps. I've tried zip ties and I still got air. I tried the smallest hose clamps Lowes sells, still air. Downsized the 3/8" tubing to 5/16", happy ever since.
Sounds to me like the interior diameter of the tubing is too large which is nt allowing for a tight seal. I'd get a smaller diameter length of tubing.

Or try uglygoat' zip tie trick first.
I ended up wrapping scoth tape around mine to increase the diameter once, it worked till I could go get the right size hose.
Originally posted by Bobby_M
That dude was racking to secondary too early. The krausen hasn't even fallen.

Don't you think you're being a little too critical there "keggle" boy? :D ;)
Is getting "food-grade" tubing really critical..?

The typical HD labeling is not that explicit. Lowe's seems a little better. What would be the minimum specification?
That clear stuff at HD or Lowes is just plain PVC (vinyl) tubing. It's safe for these purposes. Get the 5/16" ID stuff if you have the 3/8" autosiphon. Warm the end of the tubing in some hot water before pushing it on.
Thanks, guys. I will probably make run to Lowes in the morning. It does seem like there is a bit of play when the tube is inserted. not alot, but there shouldn't be any I wouldn't think.

Definitely psyched for the first batch!!

buy a stainless steal racking cane too. if you don't use the auto syphon. the ss cane is the best investment i've ever made. :) doubles as a billyclub.
For all those who offered advice, thanks a bunch.

I made a quick trip to Lowes before brewing today and picked up a length of 5/16" tubing, and that definitely did the trick. What I was given at the local store was 3/8", obviously too big in hindsight. The new tubing did not leak at all, so that was one less thing to be worried about during my first batch.

(Also picked up a length of 1 1/4" to rig a blowoff, just in case. I will be trying a Hefe one of these days.)