Just bought a counterflow chiller... tested it with boiling water and it worked fine. I also siphoned sanitizer through it, no problems there.

However when I tried to siphon the wort, it clogged immediately. Realizing my mistake, I flushed the chiller and then retried, using a grain bag to filter the hops/trub. But it seemed that this still wasn't enough; the siphon simply would not flow.

Can someone advise on what I'm doing wrong? What is the standard practice here?

Some additional info, in case it is useful:

  • I'm trying to siphon using gravity only
  • My kettle does not have a valve/spigot, I'm just running a silicon line up and over the wall
  • I'm brewing with an extract kit, with hop pellets (to give you an idea of the trub I'm dealing with)
  • 1
    Just to be clear, you are trying to use the chiller without a pump? Just with a gravity siphon?
    – uSlackr
    May 19, 2014 at 13:15
  • I always assumed those chillers were used with pumps which would provide adequate pressure to prevent clogging.
    – uSlackr
    May 23, 2014 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


If you are using a grain bag wrapped tightly around the racking tube, it will clog very quickly. Also, flexible tubing draped over a kettle will collapse, or at least narrow, as hot wort is passing through it. You should use a rigid racking cane with a cap on the end that keeps the bottom of the cane raised from the bottom of the kettle by a few millimeters. Attach your tubing to the other end of the cane. Canes are available at any homebrew shop.

Next, get a scrubbing pad (without soap!) and tie it to the bottom of the racking cane. See the link below for "Chore Boy" -- they come in copper and stainless steel. This will filter the bulk of the hops out. Move your grain bag to the top of the fermenter to catch the rest.

Finally, remember that the flow rate is a function of the different in height between your kettle and fermenter.

Chore Boy Scrubbers

  • Thanks, I hadn't considered using a cane, although my line is very thick (~1" OD, 1/2" ID) silicon and it didn't seem to collapse. Metal scrubbers seems like a good idea as well, I'll give it a go next weekend!
    – chase
    May 20, 2014 at 21:40
  • 2 clarifications. 1) Get a metal racking cane, plastic will melt in the hot wort. 2) The likely problem is clogging due to hop material. If you can whirlpool and then let the wort sit to collect most of the solids in the middle, then rack from the edge, you'll have better luck. May 22, 2014 at 18:42

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