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Starting a Siphon

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Heinrich

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I think I'm about right on the specific gravity and am thinking through the next few steps prior to bottling. I've read the guidance on this site about using boiled water in the siphon hose to start the siphon from the primary fermenter. Seems like that step adds a couple of hours by the time the water is cool enough to work with. Is there another source of siphon water...like maybe a jug of distilled water...or is that sterile?
 

TopherM

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Go the barbaric route.....gargle with mouthwash or vodka then start the siphon with your own kisser....that's what I do!
 
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Heinrich

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I'm using a plastic bucket. I like the idea of the alcohol gargle/mouth method...lots of time saved with that, but was afraid to ask! No need to spit out the vodka or bourbon, right?
 

JakeFegely

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Ditto on the auto-siphon. I struggled trying to get siphons started with sanitized water my first few batches. The auto-siphon was less than $20. Sanitize it, stick it in your beer/wort, pump a few times and watch. A great $20 investment.
 

a10t2

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Presumably you'll have some sanitizer mixed up on bottling day anyway, so just use that to fill the tubing and start the siphon.

In the future, though, an Auto-Siphon is pretty much the best $8 you could spend.
 

smalliewader

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I did my very first batch about 10 years ago without an auto-siphon. I never brewed another batch without it after that. Put a thief on that list too.
 

Homercidal

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The autosiphon is a great tool to have and very affordable.

But don't use it in hot wort.

For that, I start my siphon with my mouth, but I use a "T" at the near end. I can sanitize the whole tube, cover the end with my finger, and suck on the other hose. As soon as the wort gets going, I stop the sucking and pinch a clamp on the section where my mouth was. No germs get in, and siphon starts EASILY.

I tried that boiled hose thing and it just wasn't very easy.
 

braceful

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Presumably you'll have some sanitizer mixed up on bottling day anyway, so just use that to fill the tubing and start the siphon.

In the future, though, an Auto-Siphon is pretty much the best $8 you could spend.
+1 if you're using a no-rinse sanitizer.

Make sure to collect the initial siphon flow in a separate container until the beer starts running through. Then transfer your hose to your receiving vessel.
 

D_Nyholm

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For those using an auto siphon, do you ever get air being pulled through when you are near the end? It isn't pulling air from the actual wort, but from the inside of the tube, where the racking cane seals up against the larger siphon. Mine has done this since I got it. I actually put a bout half the cane full of Star San in there to stop the bubbles from forming. It usually pulls all the Star San through by the time im done with it. :confused::(
 
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Heinrich

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Sounds like there's a very strong preference for the Auto-Siphon, so I'll have one of those around the next time I do this. Thanks!
 

Smburnette

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I thought the auto siphon was just a gimmick until I used it this week bottling my watermelon wheat. I would advise anyone to get one with their first equipment order....
 

smokewater

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I took the bulb off of a turkey baster. It gets soaked on starsan. When I get ready to start the siphon I stick the point of the baster loosely on my tubing and suck through the big end. Once the beer starts flowing I slip it off the tubing. Beer never touches anything but sanitized plastic.
 

a10t2

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Make sure to collect the initial siphon flow in a separate container until the beer starts running through. Then transfer your hose to your receiving vessel.
Or not. It would take 35 feet of 3/16" tubing to hold even 1% of a 5 gal batch. Not worth worrying about IMHO.
 

Homercidal

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For those using an auto siphon, do you ever get air being pulled through when you are near the end? It isn't pulling air from the actual wort, but from the inside of the tube, where the racking cane seals up against the larger siphon. Mine has done this since I got it. I actually put a bout half the cane full of Star San in there to stop the bubbles from forming. It usually pulls all the Star San through by the time im done with it. :confused::(
I've got that on the connection to the tubing, not inside. It's one of those "Oh, I'll fix that later!" and never gets done. I wonder if the company sells replacement parts for the inside.. I bet they could make a few bucks.

Also, the instructions say to wet the inside to make it slide easier. It may help prevent tearing and leaking. Or if you have warped it by using with not liquid, it could deform the tube and make it leak.
 

Psych

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For those using an auto siphon, do you ever get air being pulled through when you are near the end? It isn't pulling air from the actual wort, but from the inside of the tube, where the racking cane seals up against the larger siphon. Mine has done this since I got it. I actually put a bout half the cane full of Star San in there to stop the bubbles from forming. It usually pulls all the Star San through by the time im done with it. :confused::(
Yeah I get this every time with my auto siphon, after the first time I used it at least.

The way I'm avoiding that being a problem is to have a sanitized half cup measuring scoop thing on hand (whatever size, just something that has some volume to it) and when I start the siphon I scoop out some of the brew from my bucket, dump it in the TOP of the auto siphon (carefully so as not to spill). This then fills the chamber where the leak is with the same stuff I want it to siphon in the first place.

Usually filling the tube up all the way works for most of the batch, sometimes I have to scoop again.

I don't know how you'd get around it if coming from a carboy though, maybe using a thief to grab some in advance, put it in a larger measuring cup or whatever and then starting your siphon, topping it up as needed from the measuring cup?

You'd think it would be a quality control issue they could resolve, but seems to happen to most everyone at some point. :mad:
 

jsweet

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Auto-siphon all the way. Mine broke, and I had to bottle my last batch using the old-fashioned methods. It sucked. Auto-siphon is one of those brewing tools that I am soooo glad I got.
 

Hovercar

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Another vote for the auto-siphon. My father has been making wine for years, and only recently I got into beer brewing. I told him about the autosiphon (he'd been doing it oldschool, sucking on the tubing) and he instantly converted. They really are super convenient.
 

gurrback

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I JUST purchased an auto siphon and after reading this thread I'm super excited to try it. I, too, was using the "old school" method of sucking the tube knowing full well that it wasn't the best way to go. I'm glad to eliminate another potential source of infection.
 

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