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Mark
10/30/06 04:43 AM  
Beginners Question - Siphonning ?
Hello Everyone !!

Please bear with me, I have only just stepped into the world of home brewing, so to say I'm a novice is a major understatement. I know this is going to be a "like duh !!" question, but I'd appreciate the feedback.

As mentioned, I have just got my first homebrew kit. My longer term objective is to brew from grain, but I'm going to start off with a few kits to get a bit of experience under my belt. I started my first kit, an English Bitter, at the weekend, which is now happily fermenting away. However, the instructions on my kit advise that after about 10 days I should check the O.G. on the beer, and if it is at the right level, I should syphon the beer into my pressure barrel. I have the siphonning tube, but there is no information on how to siphon. Is it as basic as sticking the tube in the beer, sucking a small amount out to create the flow then putting the other end in the barrel ?? Or is siphonning a bit more technical than that these days ??!!

Any advice will be much appreciated. Sorry for the basic question !!

Cheers !! Mark.

SteveG
10/30/06 07:02 AM  
Re: Beginners Question - Siphonning ?
1, syphon (rack) when the "blorps" from your airlock are 2 or 3 minutes apart. I'd avoid the gravity reading at that point, everything you do that touches the beer increases the chance of contamination. But you will need to pop the top to rack. So on to 2!

Any part of the syphon that is going to touch beer should be reasonably sanitised if not sterilized. I like to soak mine in washing soda or an iodine solution, at the very least hit the ends with super hot water. Then put the end of the flexible hose to the faucet (with the racking tube over the sink) and try to fill it with water. When full make sure both open ends are up, go to your beer (whose lid is already ajar). Make sure the fermenter is higher than your receiving bucket by at least the height of the bucket. Pinch the soft end of the hose and stick the racking tube in the beer. Drain the water off into something then let 'er rip.

To make things a bit easier, clamp a closepin like 3/4 up the racking tube. You can then let go of the tube without it dropping all the way to the bottom of the bucket, make sure the clip kinda hooks onto the side.

MarkM
10/30/06 09:21 AM  
Re: Beginners Question - Siphonning ?
There are a number of ways to start your siphon, but the key is understanding how the siphon works. It's all about gravity. The weight of the liquid in the tube as it falls is what pulls the liquid out of your fermenter into the receiving vessel.

As Steve mentioned, you need to maintain sanitary conditions with anything that comes in contact with the beer.

My approach is to sanitize a 6" length of rigid plastic tubing when I sanitize my siphon hose. Insert the tube into your siphon tubing and suck the beer into your tube. By keeping the end of your tube high you can easily fill the tubing with beer (stop before it gets to your mouth -- I know you'll be tempted). Move the end of the tubing to just above the level of the liquid in your fermenter letting the tubing form a U shape from the fermenter to the tube you sucked on. Remove the bit of rigid tube from the tubing and put the tubing into whatever you are siphoning into.

Practice starting a siphon with a gallon of two of water to get the basics down before you risk your precious beer.

Many homebrewers sing the praises of the Siphon Starter (a tube inside a tube), but if you thing that's the greatest brewing gadget ever invented it probably means you don't understand how a siphon works. Don't make things more complicated than they need to be.

Mykel Obvious
10/30/06 09:29 AM  
Re: Beginners Question - Siphonning ?
This page has good siphon info and a few illustrations to help you understand the process

www.breworganic.com/tips/Virtual_class/siphon.htm

later,

mikey

Eric K
10/30/06 09:45 AM  
Re: Beginners Question - Siphonning ?
The auto-shiphon is probably THE most valuable tool in my brewery. You simply use the racking cane to push a small amount of air down a plastic tube to create a siphon. The beer effertlessly flows through the cane and out the tubing to your keg/carboy. I would never go back to the "water in the tube" method. The contraption costs less than $10.
SteveG
10/30/06 10:54 AM  
Re: Beginners Question - Siphonning ?
Whoa! No more water starts for under $10?? Alrighty, its on the list for my next supply run.
TedJ
10/30/06 12:37 PM  
Re: Beginners Question - Siphonning ?
The most valuable tool in my brewery is my tasting glass. I use the tube in the end method, short lengths of leftover copper. I also have a auto-shiphon which does work very well, but the tube is the quickest and just rinse & drop in the sanitizing bucket when done.

The auto is used mostly for filling and draining the bourbon barrel were multiple starts and stops occur and it is easy to restart if it stalls. Just wish I had bought the larger 1/2" size. 52 gallons takes a long time through 3/8" siphon.

Dsanborn
10/30/06 11:28 PM  
Re: Beginners Question - Siphonning ?
I use a carboy cap (if you're using buckets, you're outta luck). A racking cane goes into one hole, with tubing into the other carboy/bucket, and blow into the other hole. It doesn't take much to push the beer into the siphon and then just sit back and let it flow.

For those that are suspect of bacteria/bugs in the breath....I figure there's worse stuff in the 'real' air, and besides...they're my bugs so I don't care (call it house character).

cheers, scamborn (who finally has a decent HB shop within a two hour drive - time to find time to brew).

Eric K
10/31/06 07:15 PM  
Re: Beginners Question - Siphonning ?
The Grape and the Granary homebrew shop has the 1/2 inch racking cane model for a whopping $14.99. Steve, give the Man an extra 4.99 and you will be saved!
SteveG
11/01/06 10:15 AM  
Re: Beginners Question - Siphonning ?
Erik, that happens to be my mail order shop of choice! Stopped by once, a truely terrific shop. When I collect myself for my next brew run I'll be sure to factor in an auto-syphon. thanks!
 
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