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Not having kegged, I don't mind what some people call the 'hell' of bottling. However, after bottling a 10% BGSA last night where I used a 2 quart starter (leading to a massive yeast cake) and whole leaf hops (which made it into the primary), a clogged/slow-flowing autosiphon, a slow-flowing bottle wand, all leading up to a 3+ hour bottling session, I have a new maxim and a question:

Maxim: Always strain out whole hops or use a muslin bag.
Question: Are there any lowish-cost alternatives to a bottling wand?

There's a good chance next time I'll just break out my march pump instead of the siphon next time as well, though I haven't had a problem in the past...

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I'm confused. Was the problem that the inlet to your autosiphon and the tip of your wand got plugged up? (couldn't think of a less dirty way to ask that) – MStodd Mar 14 '12 at 17:17
<snicker> wait, wait, the "what" of my "what"???? It was both actually. A simple solution is to not use whole leaf hops or strain them out prior to fermentation, but I was looking to see if there was a different device to use as opposed to the wand. – Pietro Mar 14 '12 at 18:01
I always transfer from the secondary fermenter onto the bottling sugar and then into bottles. When I dry hopped my last batch that worked nicely. Leaving all the hops in the secondary and making for a very easy bottling. – Chris Plaisier Mar 21 '12 at 23:23

I use a bucket with a spigot on the bottom for bottling. It was quite easy, even for a newbie like me.

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you should attach a bottling wand to that so it fills the bottles from the bottom up to minimize oxidation. Your beer can get a cardboardy taste if exposed to too much oxygen, which can happen only when using the spigot on the bottling bucket. – Pietro Mar 14 '12 at 15:25
I'll look into it, thanks. – Argyle Mar 14 '12 at 17:46
@Pietro Took your advice for my most recent batch. Filling went nice and easy. I'm looking forward to giving it a taste after a week or two. – Argyle Dec 11 '12 at 19:55

my brew set up doesn't have a valve at the bottom of my brew kettle yet and over the course of quite a few sessions (with an auto-siphon) I have found that a simple basket strainer with a handle at the bottom of the siphon tube (following the liquid level down) works awesome! Every time the siphon tube would get clogged and it is so frustrating, so I feel your pain. GOOD LUCK!

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