Using Two Bottling Buckets

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ealu-scop

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I have siphoning problems. I either have a crap auto-siphon or I'm crap at siphoning. Either way, it's the most stressful part of brewing for me and has already ruined one of my ciders.

Most of my brewing has been with mead/cider and this weekend I'm going to brew my first beer.

So I was wondering if I could work around the auto-siphon by fermenting in a bottling bucket, and--using the spigot and gravity--siphon the beer into another bottling bucket for actual bottling.

Purchasing an extra bottling bucket is even cheaper than buying a new auto-siphon...

The only thing I can think of that will be any extra work is to just make sure the spigot stays sanitized (I figure I'll sanitize it from the get go, wrap a plastic bag round it during fermenting, then sanitize again before siphoning), which is probably easier than sanitizing the auto siphon anyway...

Any thoughts about this process? Think it'll work? Any blindspot problems I'm missing?
 

balrog

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It might be tough to get the yeast/trub to cooperate and settle to the exact level.
Some do this by fermenting the spigotbucket sitting on something, unlevel, tilting the resultant yeast cake away from the spigot, then carefully on bottling day, moving it to level.

I've never had auto siphon issues, but keep the bits APART & SEPARATE so the gasket does not sit compressed inside. Also I've see some say it's helpful to pour a little starsan down inside the autosiphon immediately prior to using, sitting ON TOP of the gasket to further seal it in use.

But the spigot bucket/jug will work, many are sold and used.
 

kh54s10

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I don't like the idea of a spigot.

1) will the trub layer be too deep?
2) I worry about it being broken when moving the bucket.
3) I worry about the cheap plastic valve leaking.
4) I worry that things will grow in it during fermentation. It is impossible to fully clean while in place.

balrog's recommendations on the use of an autosiphon are good. I wouldn't trade my autosiphon for anything until I get into doing closed transfers.

When you use the autosiphon, pull the cane all the way to the top. Immerse the outer tube deep into the wort/must. Allow it to fill. Push the cane down quickly and forcefully. It should then flow well. Keep the bottom end from sinking into the trub, pull it up to stop the siphon as soon as any trub enters the siphon. Tilt the fermenter so the wort/must is deep along the side of the fermenter so you get as much out as possible without trub.

It's really pretty easy. I only have had to pump twice a few times in 106 beers, 14 wines and one cider.
 

Carolina_Matt

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I ferment in a bottling bucket and I like it. I don't move it to a separate bottling bucket though. I just attach tubing to the spigot, open it up, and let it go into my keg.

I had one batch where there was a lot of trub - enough to reach the spigot - but it still poured out well. When I opened the spigot, it created a nice channel/path for the beer to flow through the trub. I like the process much more than I liked the siphon.
 
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ealu-scop

ealu-scop

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I don't like the idea of a spigot.

1) will the trub layer be too deep?
2) I worry about it being broken when moving the bucket.
3) I worry about the cheap plastic valve leaking.
4) I worry that things will grow in it during fermentation. It is impossible to fully clean while in place.

balrog's recommendations on the use of an autosiphon are good. I wouldn't trade my autosiphon for anything until I get into doing closed transfers.

When you use the autosiphon, pull the cane all the way to the top. Immerse the outer tube deep into the wort/must. Allow it to fill. Push the cane down quickly and forcefully. It should then flow well. Keep the bottom end from sinking into the trub, pull it up to stop the siphon as soon as any trub enters the siphon. Tilt the fermenter so the wort/must is deep along the side of the fermenter so you get as much out as possible without trub.

It's really pretty easy. I only have had to pump twice a few times in 106 beers, 14 wines and one cider.
Yeah, I've actually tried all the tricks, which makes me think I have a defective siphon. I honestly probably wouldn't have considered using a bottling bucket instead of just buying another auto-siphon, but the bucket was cheaper, ha!
 
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ealu-scop

ealu-scop

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I ferment in a bottling bucket and I like it. I don't move it to a separate bottling bucket though. I just attach tubing to the spigot, open it up, and let it go into my keg.

I had one batch where there was a lot of trub - enough to reach the spigot - but it still poured out well. When I opened the spigot, it created a nice channel/path for the beer to flow through the trub. I like the process much more than I liked the siphon.
Thanks for your input. That gives me a little more comfort with the idea.
 

Rackrunner

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I do something very similar with a Speidel fermenter. As mentioned above, having the spigot at the right height is key to keeping the trub out of the beer.

The only other thing I would worry about is the bucket material, since you're leaving the wort/beer inside for weeks instead of minutes. A lot more opportunity for O2 and plastic to leech into the beer. Depends on your paranoia level about that sort of thing I guess :)
 

seatazzz

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Possible silly question, but does your autosiphon have a cap on the end? All of them I've seen do; it's there to keep the trub from getting into the siphon. You should get a little bit at the beginning of the transfer, but it should create a little divot in the trub so you get clear beer. My autosiphon won't even work without it.
 
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ealu-scop

ealu-scop

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Possible silly question, but does your autosiphon have a cap on the end? All of them I've seen do; it's there to keep the trub from getting into the siphon. You should get a little bit at the beginning of the transfer, but it should create a little divot in the trub so you get clear beer. My autosiphon won't even work without it.
Yeah it has the cap on it.
 
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ealu-scop

ealu-scop

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So I pitched my plan to the fellow at my local Homebrew store and he was...hesitant. Based on what I told him, he assumed my autosiphon has a crack somewhere (I looked it over again when I got home but couldn't find anything).

But I stuck to my guns for better or for worse and got a second bottling bucket.

I took @balrog 's suggestion from others, and slightly tilted my bucket while it ferments. We'll see!
 

RM-MN

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Put a gallon or so of water into a bucket and set your autosiphon into it. Pour a tablespoon of water down the pipe that goes up the inside and give it a try. The seal sometimes leaks and the water will help it to seal.
 

balrog

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Put a gallon or so of water into a bucket and set your autosiphon into it. Pour a tablespoon of water down the pipe that goes up the inside and give it a try. The seal sometimes leaks and the water will help it to seal.
Not water, StarSan, and left-handed spoon should only be used. While facing East.
:D
 

Jako

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I have siphoning problems. I either have a crap auto-siphon or I'm crap at siphoning. Either way, it's the most stressful part of brewing for me and has already ruined one of my ciders.

Most of my brewing has been with mead/cider and this weekend I'm going to brew my first beer.

So I was wondering if I could work around the auto-siphon by fermenting in a bottling bucket, and--using the spigot and gravity--siphon the beer into another bottling bucket for actual bottling.

Purchasing an extra bottling bucket is even cheaper than buying a new auto-siphon...

The only thing I can think of that will be any extra work is to just make sure the spigot stays sanitized (I figure I'll sanitize it from the get go, wrap a plastic bag round it during fermenting, then sanitize again before siphoning), which is probably easier than sanitizing the auto siphon anyway...

Any thoughts about this process? Think it'll work? Any blindspot problems I'm missing?

I bought a stainless steel Siphon after i melted mine..... don't ask. that's always an option.
 

BrewInspector

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Bottling buckets and fermentation buckets are most often the same with the exception of a spigot. Worrying about the material used for a bottling bucket vs a fermenting bucket is a non starter.

Go with it. My first fermenter had a spigot and I often would bottle directly from it.
I would pour the first but into a cup to clear any trub in the spigot then go on the hose and start filling. I still use it occasionally and transfer directly to my kegs.
 
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RPh_Guy

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I ferment in a FerMonster with spigot. No siphoning needed.

They are clear so you can see the fermentation (both fun and useful) and they generally seal better than buckets, keeping out oxygen.

The spigot is high enough that I don't need to worry about the trub level. I can tilt it while draining to maximize the amount of beer into the bottling bucket.
 
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ealu-scop

ealu-scop

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I can't believe I left everyone hanging. Been a couple years. Better late than never, eh?

My process worked. Racked from one bottling bucket to another without a siphon. Trub wasn't a problem, but the position of the spigot did leave a bit behind.

That said, after brewing a few more beers using this process, I got a siphon. I never figured out what was wrong with my previous siphon but the new one works like a charm.
 

Brews and Blues

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I can't believe I left everyone hanging. Been a couple years. Better late than never, eh?

My process worked. Racked from one bottling bucket to another without a siphon. Trub wasn't a problem, but the position of the spigot did leave a bit behind.

That said, after brewing a few more beers using this process, I got a siphon. I never figured out what was wrong with my previous siphon but the new one works like a charm.
This is weird that you posted this.... i have been thinking of using my bottling bucket as a fermenter and skipping the siphoning process. My siphon works great, but it would make my cleaning process easier if i could skip it
 

NSMikeD

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Spigot with a slightly bent tube on the inside so you can rotate the opening just above the trub.

the advantage of a separate bottling bucket is that you can prime the beer
 

Jako

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Spigot with a slightly bent tube on the inside so you can rotate the opening just above the trub.

the advantage of a separate bottling bucket is that you can prime the beer

two bottling buckets and its a win win. hook the blow off tube to the other bucket to sorta CO2 purge then loop the buckets so you only pull in air from the "purged" bucket.
 

Stormcrow

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If you were going to do this regularly, you could upgrade from a bottling spigot to a stainles valve and bulkhead. That would probably clean better.
 

Erik the Anglophile

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I ferment in a bucket with a spigot, come bottling I attach a silicone tube to the spigot and rack through that in to my bottling bucket prepared with boiled sugar solution and stir gently. Attach the bottle wand to the spigot on the bottling bucket and you're good to go.
Maybe not super lodo but I work quick while bottling and spray a little co2 in the headspace before capping, had bottles sit for 5 months in room temp without any signs of oxidation.
 

Dan Risher

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I take my fermenting buckets, drill a 1 inch hole about 2 inches above the bottom and install a spigot. I pour in the wort and put a 1 inch wedge under the spout. A bottling, I Starsan the fermenter spigot inside and out, then empty the fermenter though the spigot into the bottling bucket, gently tilting to get as much as possible without trub. Easy and I get good, clear beers with very little bottle sediment.
 

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