Brewess

The Blog for Women Who Brew Beer

Siphoning

Posted by Maggie on April 30, 2010

The most challenging aspect of the beer making process is siphoning the beer out of the carboy (large glass bottle) and into the bottling bucket once fermentation is complete.  The beer needs to be siphoned for two reasons:  1) You don’t want to pick up the sludge at the bottom of the carboy so you want to siphon off the liquid without mixing it up; 2) You don’t want the beer to mix with too much air since this will hurt the flavor.

Some people get the siphon started by sucking on the flexible tubing that will be used to siphon.  Hmmm…This is a fine way to contaminate your beer with the germs that are in your saliva.   A better way is to fill the flexible sterilized tube completely with water and then attach the flexible hose to the stiff L-shaped hose that is in the carboy sitting in the beer, without letting the water run out of the hose.  This will take some coordination and practice.

After the water-filled flexible hose is attached to the stiff tube in the carboy, drop the end of the hose into a pan or pot to catch the water running out of the hose, pulling the beer behind it.  The weight of the water and gravity got the siphon started.  The Carboy should be up on a high surface, such at the kitchen counter, while the pan and bottling bucket are on the floor.

Once the beer starts running, put the other end of the hose down in the bottling bucket and let the beer flow into the bucket by force of gravity.  As the carboy empties, allow the bottom of the stiff L-shaped tube to move to the bottom of the beer but keep it above the sludge.  You won’t be able to get all the beer out while avoiding the sludge but your beer will be clearer and milder.

Be sure that before you get started to sterilize your clear tubes and your bottling bucket and then rinse them well.  Wash your hands and keep the windows closed so that no wild yeast falls into the bottling bucket.

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