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SlickRick07

Auto Siphon First Use and Failure

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I recently purchased an Auto-Siphon with 1/2" racking cane.  This is the actual product:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brewing/brewing-equipment/siphoning-equipment/racking-canes/auto-siphon-1-2.html

I feel slightly embarassed asking for help with something I viewed as so simple but I have to figure out the issue.  I was preparing to bottle my first 5 gallon batch split into 2 LBK's on Saturday.  When the time came to use the Auto Siphon, I simply could not get it to work.  I couldn't get that sustained suction that was required.  As if that wasn't frustrating enough, the tubing that they sent is still wanting to coil up and may not be quite long enough for what I would prefer.  I'm looking for help on using this piece of equipment.  I would've thought this was Homebrewing 101 and extremely easy to use.  Either I simply was doing something wrong or I'm concerned I have a malfuctioning siphon.  At one point, the little bit of beer that I did get into the bottling bucket actually started getting sucked up the tubing back into the auto siphon.  It was almost like my siphon couldn't figure out which direction to go.  I attempted to try the siphon the next day when washing out the bottling bucket that had been soaking, even with over 5 gallons of liquid I couldn't get the continued movement of liquid.  Please tell help a rookie!  My next batches are going to be fermenting in a carboy so if I don't get this figured out, I'll be in real trouble. 

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Was your bottling bucket much lower than your fermenter (gravity)?

Edit:  Specifically, you can't set them next to each other, at the same level (height).

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I actually tried a couple different heights.  I'm wondering if my hose is simply too short.  I want it to reach the bottom of the bottling bucket but it really wouldn't allow for that and a big height difference. 

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I bought a longer hose to go with mine, for that very reason. I had the same problems you're experiencing. Don't give up yet! The mistake I was making was not raising the part with the tube high enough. Make sure the bottom of the auto-siphon is well under the surface of the beer. I highly recommend the optional clip to stabilize it. Raise the part with the tubing all the way up. Then, in one smooth motion, push it all the way down. Beer should start flowing without bubbles. Or very few.

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I can see with using an LBK, that being very difficult.  I'm hoping with a carboy I will be able to generate that suction.  Any idea where the best place is to buy the longer hose?  I'm assuming since this is a 1/2" siphon that I need 1/2" tubing?

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I buy hoses at my LHBS. But if you're using a LBK, why use the auto-siphon? I can see what a hassle that would be. Auto-siphons are made for carboys/brewpots. Just hook a hose to the LBK spigot and open it up. Easy-peasy!

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@alb, you are correct.  I ended up just going with my past route of a bottling wand.  I'm moving up to full 5 gallon batches and will use carboys for a majority of my beers.  So I was more than anything attempting to use the siphon to get the hang of it before I dive into the carboys.  My thinking was that I want to know it works before I get the beer in a carboy.  Otherwise, I don't know how you would transfer from a carboy to bottling bucket without a properly working siphon.

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