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Right now I am using the standard fermtech plastic auto siphon, but it already broke and it's a pretty flimsy and poorly designed way to siphon beer (the plastic piece in the tip broke and it can't force any pressure to start the siphon). Does anyone know of a better siphon that might actually last longer? I was trying to search google and forums for a metal auto siphon, but couldn't find anything. I like the ease of using an auto siphon, but I want one that won't break.

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If I may suggest, one way to avoid problems with the autosiphon is to use a bit of lube. I use CIP Film, a food-grade lubricant that is easy to clean off. You simply lube the rubber ring on the base of the "cane" inside the siphon as well as the end of the cane where to attach the vinyl hose. Most autosiphon breakage is due to insertion or removal of the hose, breaking the cane at the bend. This prevents that. Only a little bit is needed. My first autosiphon lasted 3 months. The second is going on three years. –  TinCoyote May 19 '10 at 13:43
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I just use a siphoning tube. I let it sit in either boiling water for a minute or a sanitizer solution for a few minutes, then fill it with said liquid. It's way easier with sanitizer than boiling water, since sanitizer doesn't boil your hands...

As long as the "from" container is higher than the "to" container - for example, kettle on the counter, carboy on the floor - it's pretty easy to start the siphon.

I pinch the "to" side of the siphon, get a cup ready to grab the water, and put the "from" part in the originating container. Once it's in, release the pinch, drain the siphoning liquid into the prepared cup, and then quickly put the "to" end of the tube in the receiving container.

Just keep an eye on the originating tube end to make sure it stays below the level of the liquid, without sticking it into the trub and clogging it / getting all the trub.

This solution is cheap. It's just the cost of the tubing. It can be messy, but after a few tries you get pretty good at it. Helps to have a friend too. Extra hands and you don't need a long wingspan.

I'd advise about 3-4' of tubing.

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I understand all of that, I've done it with and without the auto siphon. But wouldn't that method require an initial sanitizer "suck start". I would like to try to avoid that, plus the auto siphon is really handy if something goes wrong and you need to start the siphoning over again quickly, easily, and sanitary. I'm pretty sure I'm done doing it the hard way. –  bfrederi May 9 '10 at 18:32
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Nope, no suck start required. Gravity does all the work. Just make sure the tube has liquid in it, and gravity will pull the liquid out of the tube, acting as the "suck" and pulling the kettle liquid into the tube –  hookedonwinter May 9 '10 at 18:46
    
I may start doing it the old fashioned way again, and pay more attention to it and do it the right way. We'll see how long I can stand it :) –  bfrederi May 9 '10 at 19:04
    
Or just buy a funnel and hope you don't pour too much trub... –  hookedonwinter May 9 '10 at 19:39
    
For best results, you need for your siphon tube to be full of liquid (sanitizer) without any air bubbles. Air bubbles in the siphon tube can lead to "hiccups" that will prevent the siphon action from starting. Yo –  markskar May 12 '10 at 3:39
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I'm going to go with the combination of a stainless steel racking cane and a carboy cap. You can either use breath pressure or CO2 to get the siphon going. I'm going to try using CO2 pressure entirely, and no siphoning, so as to stop having to lug full carboys around.

I'll update here when I know how it goes.

UPDATE

Still using the auto-siphon and the lugging. Next to my Therminator, it's my favorite piece of equipment, and the most used, and I've never had issues with flimsiness.

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Just becareful you don't use too much pressure because you can explode a glass carboy to make a dangerous situation. –  brewchez May 11 '10 at 2:53
    
Roger that..... –  Rich Armstrong May 11 '10 at 12:32
    
I'd be interested to hear how it goes using just CO2 pressure and a carboy cap to transfer. Please do update us... –  Pete Hodgson Jun 28 '10 at 22:11
    
I haven't got around to it yet because my current batch is in an acid carboy, which has a different cap than a regular one. Also, Northern Brewer advised me on the wrong length steel racking cane (need 30", they advised and sent 24"). –  Rich Armstrong Jul 7 '10 at 14:47
    
I watched the video with the carboy cap. Does CO2 cartridges fit in the second outlet where he used his breath to start the siphon? I wouldn't want my nasty mouth germs to contaminate my brew. –  Jerry C. May 9 '11 at 18:32
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I don't know of any metal autosiphons, but there are stainless steel racking canes out there.

My racking cane has lasted a long long time and its plastic though. Maybe there are differences in plastic construction vendor to vendor.

Good luck.

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