Siphoning with the Carboy Cap

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Walker

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(multi-part post, because it contains several pictures and there is a limit per-post)

I've posted a few times that I use a rubber carboy cap for my siphoning, and people have asked how they are used. Here's some pics to make everything clear.

Here is my total siphong set-up. Two canes, a 5 gallon carboy cap, a 6.5 gallon carboy cap, and a piece of hose.




To assemble, just insert the racking cane through the tube in the center of the carboy cap, and attach the hose to the cane as normal. Note the other longer/skinny tube; this is where you will be putting your mouth. You mouth will never touch the hose, the cane, or (most important) the beer.

 
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Walker

Walker

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Now, to siphon from a kettle, bucket, or other large open mouthed container into the carboy. Just put the cap onto the carboy and put the end of the hose into the large container (yes, you can use a racking cane on the other end of this hose to better control the source of your siphon in the bucket.)

Starting the siphon is as easy as SUCKING through that smaller tube. It creates a vacuum inside the carboy, which will in turn draw the beer up the hose from the bucket and into the carboy. Once the beer starts flowing, remove your mouth and let the siphon run.



To go the other way and siphon out of the carboy and into the bucket (ie; bottling day), do the same basic thing. This time you will BLOW GENTLY into the skinny tube to increase the air pressure inside the carboy. Thhis will push the beer up through the hose and into the bucket. You are not blowing so hard as to disrupt the CO2 blanket over the beer, so your breath is not really touching anything.



And this is a picture of my carboy-to-carboy system. I prefer to create a vacuum in the target rather that blow into the source, but you can do it either way (No pic here, because I only have the one empty carboy right now.) I love how the canes are both held in place by the caps, and I can just stand there and watch it run with my hands stuffed in my pockets (or opening a homebrew.)

 
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Walker

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Finally, if you didn't already think this thing was worth the whopping $1 to $2 price tag, it has other uses. It can hold an airlock, and blow-off hoses can be attached to the thing. I know this is a tiny blow off in the picture, and I have both an airlock AND a blow-off attached at the same time, but it is for illustrative purposes. For blow offs, a larger hose can be attached to the tube where the airlock is sitting in this pic.



also, they come with small white rubber caps for those tubes, so if you want to use it in place of a rubber stopper and hold your airlock or blow off with it, the long skinny tube can simply be capped off and sealed shut.

The Swiss Army Knife for carboys.....

-walker
 

Porter fan

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Hey Walker,

Great job on the pics and explantion! I'm off too my LHBS for some supplys and that will be one. :cross:
 
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Walker

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man.. I might have to force my wife to do this just to get you guys off my back.

:D

-walker
 

Darth Konvel

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Nice post, Walker. Do the caps really hold the racking canes in place vertically? If so, I'll probably 'convert' to this system if / when my auto-siphon dies.

In regards to the canes, did they have a tip on the bottoms when you got them? If so, were they difficult to remove?
 
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Walker

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LupusUmbrus said:
Nice post, Walker. Do the caps really hold the racking canes in place vertically? If so, I'll probably 'convert' to this system if / when my auto-siphon dies.

In regards to the canes, did they have a tip on the bottoms when you got them? If so, were they difficult to remove?
The canes are not held perfectly vertical. They tend to angle away from where the hose is attached (the weight of the hose pulls them to the side a bit.) However, for the first 90% of the siphon it doesn't matter. Only as you get into that last 1/2 gallon to you need to worry about it, and I usually just steer it with my hand at that point, tip the carboy, and get the last of the good stuff out.

As for the tips on the canes; Yes, they came with little orange tips to help with trub control. I just forgot to put them back onto the canes in those pics. Mine come right off with no work at all. I just pull on them and they slide off easily.

-walker
 

Darth Konvel

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Walker said:
The canes are not held perfectly vertical. They tend to angle away from where the hose is attached (the weight of the hose pulls them to the side a bit.) However, for the first 90% of the siphon it doesn't matter. Only as you get into that last 1/2 gallon to you need to worry about it, and I usually just steer it with my hand at that point, tip the carboy, and get the last of the good stuff out.

As for the tips on the canes; Yes, they came with little orange tips to help with trub control. I just forgot to put them back onto the canes in those pics. Mine come right off with no work at all. I just pull on them and they slide off easily.

-walker
I was just wonding if you ever had trouble with keeping the cane above the trub. In typical early morning fashion, it didn't even occur to me that if the tips were removable, you could just put them back on after threading the cane through the cap :rolleyes:
 
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Walker

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Tip on use. Don't use too much sucking or blowing. Blow/suck firmly, but don't try to empty/fill your lungs. It only takes a small difference in pressure to get the beer moving through the hose. Blow/suck a small amount of air in/out and give the system a few seconds to cope with the sudden difference in pressure. That's usually enough to get things moving, and then you can remove your mouth.

-walker
 
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Walker

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LupusUmbrus said:
I was just wonding if you ever had trouble with keeping the cane above the trub. In typical early morning fashion, it didn't even occur to me that if the tips were removable, you could just put them back on after threading the cane through the cap :rolleyes:
yeah, that's what you do. Remove tip, insert cane, re-attach tip.

Even if you don't have a tip for the cane, the cap holds the cane firmly. It will not slide up and down. You can position the tip of the cane a full 8 inches off the bottom if you want to stay way clear of the trub.

As the beer drops and gets nearer the tip of the cane, you can push down on the cane to force it deeper into the brew and let the siphon keep going.

-walker
 

justbrewit

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i just ordered one of these as well. i've had this carboy for about 6 years and haven't used it once!!! now it will be easyier to transfer. ty for the help!!
 

Brewsmith

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Just used mine for the first time tonight. Order came today, bottled my IPA. Easy to set up. For about a quarter of the siphon I had an air bubble, or better put, a large air void in the hose that I couldn't get rid of. Tried blowing more, wouldn't go away. Moved the cane in the carboy and like magic it started siphoning perfectly. I think I had an air leak between the carboy and the cap. Other than that, worked great for the first time.
 
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Walker

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if you get an air bubble in the line, pinch it for a second with your thumb and forefinger, near the top of the bubble. It will go away.

-walker
 

Thor

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I wish I saw this thread this morning, as I just struggled through my first siphon. After trying to figure out how to get a flow without poisoning my wort, I ended up gargling with vodka and cheating, that is, sucking a bit on the end of the hose to be placed inside my carboy. Hopefully this was brief enough to avoid the blue meanies; I think it will be fine.

Nonetheless, I plan on this method moving forward, and I appreciate the details!
 

Orfy

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Carrying on from this post and one a day or so ago.

I tried racking with the carboy caps today and after the debate on using a filter and blowing into the cap or sucking on the end, I used the technique of pressurising with CO2. It worked like a dream, one short shot of co2 and it started. I also purged my secondary with CO2 first. So it should mean my brew got racked with out coming into contact with any bugs from me or any O2.


 

BlightyBrewer

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Walker said:
man.. I might have to force my wife to do this just to get you guys off my back.

:D

-walker
An excellent set up Walker! I'm gonna have to try it....and it's been sanctioned in the UK! :cool:

Oh, and yeah...you might as well give in!
 

Boston

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I love the "Walker Cap" syphon method, but I'm not crazy about putting my mouth on the carboy cap and blowing/sucking. So I came up with this inexpensive gadget. A simple turkey baster (w/ 1/4" hole drilled into side) and a "Phil's Psyphon Starter" which acts as a one-way valve. This thing BLOWS & SUCKS. To create a positive pressure in your carboy: 1. Just put your thumb over the hole in the turkey baster and squeeze the bulb. 2. Remove thumb from hole for a second. 3. Repeat. To create a negative pressure in your carboy reverse the polarity of the "Phil's Psyphon Starter" and: 1. squeeze bulb. 2. put thumb on hole. 3. release bulb. 4. Take thumb off hole. 5. Repeat. Works like a charm, easy to sanitize, no mouth germies.
Total cost ~ $6
Jeff





 

Dude

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Good job, man.

I recently saw a similar article where a guy even hooked up a CO2 fitting to the carboy cap and now the beer is siphoned out of the carboy--never touching air. You've got the same principle. Great stuff.
 

Brewiz

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I have been using the co2 method for years and it does make the job a lot easier and safer......
 

Kaiser

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flhrpi said:
I have been using the co2 method for years and it does make the job a lot easier and safer......
Any worries about to much pressure and breaking the carboy?

Kai
 

Boston

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Another cool thing is if you don't have sufficient height differential between your vessels (i.e. no gravity) you can keep the siphon going by maintaining pressure in the primary carboy (positive) or the secondary carboy (negative). This is only a theory but I think it works. I will bench test it this weekend to be sure.
Jeff
 

Jester

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I bought these carboy caps just for this reason... no need for an auto-siphon or any of those gadgets... makes things a lot easier and safer than sucking on the tubing... I never hooked both caps together for transfering from one carboy to the next.. good idea.. I'll try that this weekend...
 

Brewiz

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King Kai said:
Any worries about to much pressure and breaking the carboy?

Kai
Kai,
No you don't use that much, just enough to get it going and keep it going, besides those caps would blow before the glass would. And the great thing is that you can put both carboys side by side and you don't have to worry about getting one higher thatn the other and risk breaking them.
 

Truble

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I have been doing this for the last couple batches too, and it is great. No muss no fuss.
 
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I'm going to switch to this concept. I'm an auto-siphon guy right now but apparently I need to replace it as when I rack over the last couple batches using it I have a hell of a time with air leaking during the transfer. The center cane of the auto-siphon where you attach the hose may have gotten warped somehow. (hot garage?).

And I got all the goodies already to do this :ban:
 

snaproll

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I have been using a similar method for some time now, my exceptions are that I have used a two holed stopper ( instead of a cap) and I use a vacuum pump and a small air compresser instead of mouth power. (depending on direction of flow)
The air compressor is a medical unit 110V and the vacuum pump is from a Ford
F250 diesel truck ( new unit) 12V, I have been lucky that I have the means to do this with out a great expense. Homebrewers are an inventive lot and cheap beyond compare.
And to answer some concerns, no matter what method you use to suck or blow you can transfer fluid up hill as it were.
 

El Pistolero

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Not to get picky here, but how is that vacuum pump or air compresser any cheaper than your mouth? :confused:
 

snaproll

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I'm, sorry I didn't mean that it would be cheaper, it just worked out that way for me, I felt it was more sanitary though. and an option if you have the resources.
 

Kaiser

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flhrpi said:
Kai,
No you don't use that much, just enough to get it going and keep it going, besides those caps would blow before the glass would. And the great thing is that you can put both carboys side by side and you don't have to worry about getting one higher thatn the other and risk breaking them.
i was actually doing something similar by using a double action hand pump to force the beer from one vessel to another. But I thought that if I would use CO2, I may not be able to control the pressure so well and the carboy may explode. I'm not sure if the cap would come off first. Mine were on pretty tight.

Kai
 

chillHayze

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Walker I'll bet you had a knack for designing bongs in earlier years. :)

I'll order some myself along with a 6.5 gal carboy for new primary.
 

Brewiz

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Kaiser said:
i was actually doing something similar by using a double action hand pump to force the beer from one vessel to another. But I thought that if I would use CO2, I may not be able to control the pressure so well and the carboy may explode. I'm not sure if the cap would come off first. Mine were on pretty tight.

Kai
You would still be ok, you dont clamp the hoses on and all you are doing is using the CO2 to push the beer from one vessel to another. I have been doing this for over 10 years and have never had a problem. It really is the easiest and most sanitary way of moving your beer.
 
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