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mead_monkey
01-21-2005, 05:26 PM
Hi all,

So I got to thinking… I bleach the kitchen, sanitize my equipment, and dispatch ninjas to kill any germs or foreign yeast within a city block….. then I transfer with a siphon hose and stick the end of it in my mouth. :o This seems like it may defeat the frenzied cleaning, is there a better way?

just wondering
Digital Druid

Norskersword
01-21-2005, 05:41 PM
Yes there is, sorry that you were misinformed.

First put your mead on a table or counter. Something high off the ground. Put your empty carboy on the ground.

Fill the cane and tube completely with water and plug the tube with your thumb so water doesn't leak out of the cane even if it is turned upside down. Kind of like you use to play with a fast food straw as a kid.

Stick the cane in your mead, and hang the other end over a bowl or something to catch the water (also on the ground next to your empty carboy). Release your thumb and let the water drain out. When mead starts to come out, plug it again with your thumb. Then stick the tube in your empty carboy, release your thumb, and let the gravity do the work.

masta
01-21-2005, 07:39 PM
there is a better way...Fermtech Auto Siphon

Sanitize it and one or two strokes and you are racking with no nonsense...try it and you will never turn back! Available in 3/8 and 1/2 inch.

http://www.fermtech.on.ca/

Oskaar
01-21-2005, 08:03 PM
Here's a link to give you an idea of how inexpensive they are compared to a lost batch of mead due to oral infection.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/siphon.html

I've used these for all my racking needs and I'll never go back to a regular siphon, or a "thumb" operated tube.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Norskersword
01-21-2005, 08:14 PM
Are these things pretty easy to clean? Do they have any inconveniences whatsoever?

I feel like I'm in the audience of an informercial...

"But it can't possibly do ALL that!" :o

Oskaar
01-21-2005, 08:18 PM
Yup,

Easy to clean and easy to use. I hot water rinse it once I'm done, and then take it apart and run more hot water through it. Then I plunk it into the sanitizing bucket and start the siphon within the bucket and let it circulate for about two or three minutes and then hang it up to dry. I love the thing.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-21-2005, 08:19 PM
Norsker,

Cleaning them is about the same as cleaning the siphon tube. I use my autosiphon to move the cleansing fluid (One Step) into and out of carboys I am cleaning and also use it to move scalding water into and out of the carboy for rinsing. I figure after all of that, it is clean. As long as you clean it and rinse it right after using it so nothing hardens, you shouldn't have trouble.

Pewter

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-21-2005, 08:32 PM
Hey all,

I have the problem that my auto-siphon that I got from Leeners does NOT fit down into my gallon jugs. I looked at their site. Anyone know whether it is the larger or smaller one someone mentioned?

Thanks,
Pewter

Oskaar
01-21-2005, 08:46 PM
I don't have any problems with the one gallon jugs that I use, but they do have a wide mouth (#8 drilled rubber bung) If you can't get the siphon down into the jug, you can just pull the inner-tube out and use it as a manual style siphon and put a kurly-kate stainless steel pad around it to keep the chunkies from slipping into the secondary. I've done this just to see if I could still do it! LOL

cheers,

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-21-2005, 09:15 PM
I have a siphon tube without the primer too but then I am back to manually priming...

Oskaar
01-22-2005, 01:47 AM
Manual priming and racking ain't so bad just takes a little practice and one or two glasses to catch the . . . . spillage (whether on purpose or not!)

Cheers,

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-22-2005, 02:13 PM
I think I like the idea of spillage, as long as it is not spilled...

Oskaar
01-22-2005, 04:54 PM
OK, I have to confess that I've had "Spillage" parties. I'm not proud of it, but there it is.

Whenever I have a mult-carboy batch (45 gallons or more depending on how much I make at a time) when it's time to rack, I call my friends and they come over to help me "clean up the spillage."

A little music, a couple of racking canes and some cheese and it gets pretty fun. :D

Cheers,

Oskaar

jab
01-22-2005, 09:24 PM
Ooooohhhh! Caning! Er...you said racking cane didn't you? Mead bong anyone?

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-23-2005, 03:36 PM
Oskaar,

No wonder you never manage to bottle much mead! ;D

Spillage parties.
Hey, that batch was good!
SPILL a little more in my mouth here and SPILL that mug full while you are at it.
All out?
I think there's more in that carboy that needs spilling.
Carboys out?
Why don't you spill a couple of those bottles over there...

You get the idea. Well maybe we can schedule more spills if I ever make it to California...

Oskaar
01-23-2005, 06:48 PM
The door is always open to mazers, brewers, winemakers and petite redheaded nymphs :o

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-23-2005, 07:49 PM
If I only qualify in three of the four categories, am I still welcome? ;)

jab
01-23-2005, 11:31 PM
What are you saying Pewter? You don't make wine? ;D

Dan McFeeley
01-24-2005, 02:11 AM
This is kind of a tangential issue, but I wanted to bring it up for any lurkers having this question.

There was a recomendation for folk who would use a simple siphon tube, giving a quick suck on the end to get it going and then inserting it into the carboy. Swish the mouth out with good vodka in order to give a quick sanitizer to mouth nasties.

This doesn't work, and I can testify to it with a batch or two of my one that got infected. Alcohol itself isn't a strong sanitizer, and the quick exposure of "swish and swallow/spit" isn't enough. Worse still, the salivary glands start pumping which puts out new bacteria into the mouth.

mead_monkey
02-12-2005, 07:23 PM
speaking of doesnt work... my mead is kinda infected :(

save yourselves! (and your mead) keep your mouth away from the tube!!!

GntlKnght
02-13-2005, 01:03 AM
save yourselves! (and your mead) keep your mouth away from the tube!!!


Hmmm. Well, I must admit that I "sanitize" my mouth with vodka (but I don't spit it out!) before starting the siphon and have never had a problem. My wife sanitizes her mouth too, even tho she does not start the syphon. ;D I have thought about buying an autosyphon, but I rather enjoy our sanitization methods.
Thanks McFeeley and DigitalDruid for ruining my fun!!! :P

jeebeel
02-13-2005, 01:29 AM
If you don't have an auto-siphon, just use an airlock to start your suction. Put the bottom end into the siphon tube and start the siphon on the other end. Easy, but no mouth on the siphon tube.
No vodka needed and no germs on the tube.

Pewter_of_Deodar
02-14-2005, 11:05 AM
As an engineer, I am pretty proud of myself after reading this thread. I decided to engineer a solution and here is what resulted.

Pewter's Auto-siphon !!!

I took a rubber #6.5 stopper [from Leener's], a cheap bicycle tire pump like you strap on the frame while you ride to fix flats [from Wallyworld], a 24 inch syphon tube [again from Leener's], and a needle like you pump up a basketball [again from Wallyworld], and an electric drill with an 1/8th inch or so bit.

Drill a hole in the stopper with the drill and work the hole so that it doesn't close all the way when the drill is removed. Because the stopper is rubber, it will swell closed around the hole until the hole is worked several times. Make sure that the basketball needle fits into the hole. It will go all the way through the stopper.

Slide the siphon tube through the center hole (you may have to remove and then replace the racking tip to do this). Hook the pump to the needle and insert through drilled hole. Set the height of the racking cane and then insert the stopper into the mouth of the gallon jug (make final adjustments to racking cane as you do this as it may not adjust after the stopper is snuggly in place). Put end of siphon in container being racked into. Pump with pump once or twice (CAUTION: you will get a LOT of liquid through the tube very quickly). Remove needle from stopper and continue.

Works like a charm... and as always, sterilize the tube, hose, and stopper before use. (I don't think you need to sterilze the needle since it never contacts the mead, but you could if you felt the need to do so.)

jab
02-14-2005, 06:18 PM
Ummm, isn't that forcing oxygen into the mix? I understand the principal, you made a keg tapper, but I am curious if this forced spihon will introduce oxygen into the brew. What about any thing else (oil/grease) that is in the pump? I seem to remember blowing myself in the face with a bicycle pump when I was a kid and not thinking it smelled very good, or at least not very fresh.

I'm all for people using auto-siphons if they want but what is so hard about filling the tube with water and using it's flow to start the mead through the tube and into the secondary/bottles?

Pewter_of_Deodar
02-15-2005, 12:32 PM
Jab,

The end result is no different than manually siphoning. The pump pressurizes the air in the top of the jug but does not force any air through the must. A normal manual siphoning causes outside air to be sucked into the jug as the must flows out through the siphon. Realize that the must is exposed to outside air in both processes. The only way to avoid this is to use pressurized CO2 for racking...

As far as pumps, I do not believe this little cheap pump has any oil or grease in it. I understand what you mean though as the air pump I have for my car tires has grease on the shaft and road garbage all over it so I would never get it anywhere near my mead. Take a look next time you are at Wallyworld's in the sports section. The pump is maybe 6 or 8 inch long tube, maybe an inch or two diameter, has a little 6 inch flexible hose that the basketball needle fits onto. I believe it is probably all plastic except for a cheap rubber diaphram. And it only gets pumped once or twice for each batch...

I have 13 batches of apple juice yeast tests to rack out of gallon jugs in the next couple of days. This thing makes it a lot easier...

jab
02-15-2005, 01:19 PM
The end result is no different than manually siphoning. The pump pressurizes the air in the top of the jug but does not force any air through the must. A normal manual siphoning causes outside air to be sucked into the jug as the must flows out through the siphon. Realize that the must is exposed to outside air in both processes. The only way to avoid this is to use pressurized CO2 for racking...


Right, kinda. There is IMO a big difference between air moving in naturally to fill the newly empty space and forcing air in where the is no space which in turn pushes something else out.

A regular siphon uses gravity to 'suck' the mead from one container to the other. That is why you have to have the receiving vessel lower than the giving one. Your technique is not using gravity to 'pull' the mead through the tube. It is using pressure to 'push' the mead through. In fact, and after giving your technique more thought, as long as your aren't over pressureizing your pump should allow you to keep both vessels on the same level.



As far as pumps, I do not believe this little cheap pump has any oil or grease in it. I understand what you mean though as the air pump I have for my car tires has grease on the shaft and road garbage all over it so I would never get it anywhere near my mead. Take a look next time you are at Wallyworld's in the sports section. The pump is maybe 6 or 8 inch long tube, maybe an inch or two diameter, has a little 6 inch flexible hose that the basketball needle fits onto. I believe it is probably all plastic except for a cheap rubber diaphram. And it only gets pumped once or twice for each batch...


I didn't mean to insinuate that you were using any old pump. I understand that you bought a pump specifically for this pourpose. I was only indicating that many pumps are oiled and/or greased. Your setup is likely perfectly fine but it should be noted for anyone else who wants to attempt this they should be careful about the pump they buy. Things like that need to be taken into consideration.



I have 13 batches of apple juice yeast tests to rack out of gallon jugs in the next couple of days. This thing makes it a lot easier...


Ack! I agree!

CosmicCharlie
02-15-2005, 01:55 PM
I also start my siphons by mouth and havent had any problems. Usually (not always) i gargle with Listerine. Is it more effective than vodka? I dont know.

Pewter_of_Deodar
02-15-2005, 04:04 PM
Jab,

I probably wasn't clear and I'm not taking offense to your comments.

I only use the pump to start the siphon and as soon as the flow starts I pull the needle out of the stopper. I do not transfer the entire contents under pressure. That's why I specified that you have to drill the hole large enough that it does not entirely close when the drill bit is pulled out. That probably was not clear. Think of it as I am pushing (pumping) the siphon to start it rather than pulling (sucking on it) to start it...

I also just wanted to make the point that I was using a simple pump that I doubt has any of the petroleum products in it that you seemed to refer to. I agree that I would not want to be pumping oily garbage into my batches.

With the pump, I do not have to worry any more about mouth beasties getting in a ruining a batch...

Peace,
Pewter

jab
02-15-2005, 05:14 PM
Ahhh, that is what I misunderstood. I thought you were pumping the mead out rather than just starting the flow. Heh... Not back to your regularly scheduled discussion.

Lagerman64
04-13-2005, 09:40 AM
When I rack from a carboy, the racking cane is in a carboy cap and I add (1-2 psi) CO2 through the other cap opening. Just need to hold the cap in place until the transfer starts and then let gravity finish the rest. :)

lostnbronx
04-13-2005, 10:38 PM
I just recently made a racking tool similar to many of the ones for sale at the homebrew sites and stores, and similar in principle to Pewter's. I took a #6 stopper and drilled out a 1/4 inch hole next to the center hole, which wasn't easy, but it was doable. This hole is just big enough to shove a cheap drinking straw through. It sits in there snugly. I then carefully push the racking cane through the center hole down to the proper level above the lees, and blow through the drinking straw. It works very well. My problem with the usual suction syphon is that I inevitably kick up sediment, no matter how careful I am.

I've always used mouth suction to start a syphoning, and I've never had a batch go bad. I'm assuming blowing air into the top of a jug will be just as reliable -- maybe even more so since the mead flowing through the tube will now never come in contact with my saliva.

-David

Jackalguy
04-25-2005, 09:31 AM
Well, I was annoyed at losing suction while racking, and I went and bought one of those Fermtech auto-siphons...


all I can say is WOW, this thing kicks ass. Dont know why I ever tried to siphon by mouth.

-JG

Caerwyn
04-25-2005, 02:54 PM
I've found it more efficient to simply fill up the cane and tube with water, insert the cane into the carboy, raise the carboy up on something, and let gravity do the rest. No mouth, no expensive equipment (even though I DO want an auto siphon!), and as long as I use water that's 'safe' (IE: Boiled beforehand, allowed to cool enough to fill the tube without burning any important bodily appendages), the risk of contamination seems minimal. Gravity sucks anyway, so why not let it work for me? I generally let the water drain into another container, and then transfer the tube to wherever I need the mead to go.

Caerwyn

Geoffrey Johnson
04-25-2005, 03:36 PM
/ditto Caerwyn.

Gravity has worked wonders for us so far and we haven't yet lost a batch as a result. I must agree that losing suction halfway through bottling or racking is extremely annoying! Generally that leads to further spillage, which makes it all worth while. ;D

I am sure though, that as soon we lose a 5gal batch we'll probably be on the auto-siphon (or similar device) bandwagon. Knock on wood that'll never happen.

Geoffrey

Jackalguy
04-28-2005, 12:07 PM
Auto-siphon was only ~$13

-JG

lostnbronx
04-28-2005, 11:21 PM
Here are a couple of items I've never seen before, from More Beer:

http://www.morebeer.com/product.html?product_id=18871

http://www.morebeer.com/product.html?product_id=18872

Anybody ever use these?

-David

Oskaar
04-29-2005, 04:00 AM
I have used both, but the auto-siphon rocks them both.

Cheers,

Oskaar