Need racking/siphoning advice- no auto-siphon

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by SabreSteve, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Active Member

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    So as many of you already know from other threads I'm fairly new to this. I'm about 10 days out from my first brew day and approaching my target bottling day. I've made some mistakes along the way and that includes purchasing my equipment. I had bought a siphoning kit assuming it had everything I needed. Realized a couple days after brewing upon inspecting it that my racking cane is not an auto-siphon. So I immediately went on Amazon and bought an auto-siphon that would fit the tubing from my kit. It was supposed to be here yesterday now Amazon is telling me it's running late. I'm afraid it's lost, the first hydrometer I ordered through Amazon got lost and never showed up. I can't even apply for a refund if it doesn't show till my target bottle day. I considered buying another one and if they both arrive returning one but I can't find one that will ship in time. So I'm left with my racking cane and manual siphon kit.
    I've never in my life been able to get a siphon started with sucking on it (which has left some pretty bad tastes in my mouth) but that doesn't seem sanitary enough for homebrewing. I did, before I knew what I was doing, install spigots in both my buckets (including my fermenter). On further reading it seemed like I made a mistake from a sanitation perspective putting a spigot on a bucket I'd primarily be racking from but it has left me another option. I could transfer the beer to the bottling bucket by using the spigot on the fermenter but I know that'll like result in more sediment ending up in my bottling bucket. Other than that I'm just praying my auto-siphon shows up. If anyone has any advice, suggestions, ancient siphoning secrets I'd appreciate it. I should also mention my kit is missing the shutoff clamp so that could complicate manual siphoning.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Siphoning is really easy- I made wine for at least 20 years before even hearing about an auto-siphon. I also had large aquariums, and no way was I sucking out that water to do water changes!

    There are many ways- you can do like you set up and do it via a spigot. It's easiest if you set it the night before you plan to rack up on the counter, and then put a small wedge under the side to get most of the trub to stay put there (say, so it's away from the spigot). You'll still get some trub, but not as much. Sanitize the spigot of course. Many will sanitize well on brewday, put the beer in there and then use a ziplock bag and tie to cover the spigot so it stays clean and then just spray some sanitizer up in it and around it on racking day.

    What I would recommend is just learning to siphon the old-fashioned way. Practice with siphoning a pitcher of water into the sink. Put the pitcher up on something to elevate it, and then fill your siphon tubing with water. Put your finger over each end, so the water stays in there. Then, put one end into the water, gently, removing your finger while keeping the other end lower than the pitcher. Then remove that fingertip- Voila! A siphon. It's super easy, and with a little practice you can siphon anything. Tubing is super cheap as a bonus.
     
  3. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Active Member

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    I've certainly never gotten a mouthful of aquarium water:confused:


    I've seen about priming it with water or sanitizer but even if I do successfully prime it how easy is it too shut it off and avoid getting water in the bottling bucket or avoid losing beer?
     
  4. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    You just pinch the tubing to stop it/start it. You can put a pitcher down next to the keg/bottling bucket and start with water and then move it over to the bottling bucket once beer starts flowing. It sounds complicated, but it isn't. And it's hard to get the feel for it at first, but once you get it worked out, it's second nature.
     
  5. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Active Member

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    I'll have to practice I guess. Just frustrating because I thought I was avoiding all that hassle.
     
  6. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    I could transfer the beer to the bottling bucket by using the spigot on the fermenter but I know that'll like result in more sediment ending up in my bottling bucket.

    Some sediment in the bottling bucket isn't the end of the world. But you can tip the fermenter away from the valve so that the sediment slides away from the outlet and then transfer. You might leave a little beer behind but it should work.

    You could always start a siphon by filling the hose with your choice of liquid - water/StarSan/beer - and then holding your thumb over one end while submerging the other end into the fermenter. Put the bottling bucket on the floor underneath the fermenter. Stick the other end of the hose into your bottling bucket, take your thumb off the hose and away you go. You may want to catch the contents of the hose in a glass and then let your beer run into the bucket. You could practice that first with a bucket of water before going live, but it's very easy once you get the hang of it.

    All that said, I'd probably just wait for the auto-siphon to arrive. :)


    EDIT!! I guess I was way late with this response. :D
     
  7. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    Method 3....brilliant!

     
  8. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Active Member

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    As hard as waiting is that would be much more of an option if I knew if and when it was getting here. It was apparently last seen in St. Louis on Tuesday, over a thousand miles from here. My beef with Amazon is that if there hasn't been any tracking info in 5 days it should just be declared lost. I shouldn't have to wait another 5 days to apply for a refund. The hydrometer I ordered still shows up on my orders as running late (I have already been credited for it) it's well over a month late at this point and already been replaced. Just wish they could own up to losing my stuff
     
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  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I learned on gasoline. Before you call the police, I grew up on a farm where fuel transfers were sometimes necessary. Stuff your hose into the liquid, put your thumb over the end to keep liquid in the hose, pull it out and down to a level below the surface of the liquid and remove your thumb, instant siphon. If you can wear rubber gloves or sanitize the heck out of your hands, it's much more sanitary than sucking on the hose. Extra credit if you can use silicone hose, more flexible than vinyl and works much better.
     
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  10. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    My opinion, don't be scared to use your spigots! Clean and sanitize them along with the rest of your gear and use em. You can cover them as @Yooper mentioned or wrap with a little foil.
    Man, I would have never made it through my teen years if I didn't know how to siphon! My car and motorcycles would have never moved!
     
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  11. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Active Member

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    Spigot unfortunately is probably out. There was some seepage through it early on because it apparently was only 99.9% closed. I caught it early and closed it before losing more than a few drops but point is there's now wort residue that's been exposed to the air in it and I wouldn't know how to thoroughly clean it out without taking it apart which I obviously can't do now. I might wrap it and try that next.

    I'm going to practice with the siphon tonight when I get home from work and see how it goes. My only experience with siphoning comes from my preteen/ early teen years and is with aquarium cleaning/maintenance. Basically I wanted a tank because my brother had a few. When it came time to clean it/ change out water I could never get the siphon to work without my brother's help. After a little while he wasn't around so much anymore. It was my dad who when I asked him for help who said " I always just sucked on it and got out of the way before getting a face full of gasoline" thanks dad! I think I'd almost prefer gas to used aquarium water. I'm pretty sure that's why my aquarium hobby didn't last long. I was also a kid and didn't understand the science of how it worked so I'm hoping that gives adult Steve the edge over young Steve
     
  12. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Active Member

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    Now I think Amazon is taunting me...

    Just got an email to rate the transaction...
    For a product I haven't received that's most likely lost...:mad:
     
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  13. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    You can also just wait until the auto siphon gets there. The beer in your fermentor is fine and will be OK even if it sets there for another week or 2.
    So either practice the methods suggested above for the transfer, or just wait for the siphon to arrive.
    If you choose to wait for the auto siphon, you should still practice using it with water before beer.
    Charlie Papazian has a saying... Relax, don't worry, have a home brew!
    Cheers,
    Brian
     
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  14. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    One thing to consider is that your target bottling date is not a drop dead date. If you aren't comfortable with alternative siphoning methods, there is no harm in postponing this step. The beer will not suffer from sitting on the yeat/trub for a few more days, or even another week. I understand your being anxious to move the process forward, but you can certainly wait until you have what you need to proceed. As long as you sanitize the hose, and sanitize (soak for a bit) your hand/thumb there is no reason you can't do a siphon transfer as described above. As always don't over think it, and don't rush if you don't feel that you are ready to move forward with what you have on hand. As far as there having been some wort in that spigot, a few vigorous sprays of starsan up into said spigot should do the trick. My most recently racked batch had a similar situation, gave it a good spray, then racked. After a few days in the keg, all is good.
     
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  15. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    This was posted, as I was typing, sage advice, RDWHAHB. Unfortunately the poor lad doesn't have a home brew to relax with:(, plenty of good commercial craft brew available in upstate NY though! Right Steve? Go get some, and get into it!
     
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  16. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Active Member

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    My main apprehension about waiting for the auto-siphon is that it's not a when it shows up at this point it's an if.
    I know but waiting is sooooo hard!
     
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  17. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Back in the day, a favorite trick for siphoning gas was to go to the local inspiration point and siphon it from a car with all the windows fogged up and some obvious motion going on inside. Even if the occupants heard a bit of noise, you know they'd be too busy to respond :)
     
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  18. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure where you're located, but if you're in the US there is zero reason to order homebrew supplies from Amazon. State side places like morebeer, northernbrewer, etc. are fast and relatively cheap for shipping.
     
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  19. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    And trustworthy.
     
  20. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    I'd add to what @thunderwagn posted, never buy perishables like yeast, grains, hops, extracts or kits from Amazon. Even if they seem like a good deal, these items are not handled or stored differently than non perishables. If you want yeast that was treated like a wrench or a book, that's where you'll find it.
     
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