We all want to brew great beer, but sometimes it feels like you have to invest hundreds of dollars into a fancy stainless steel brewing system to make beer that tastes decent.
There are parts of the brewing process that are tough to perform correctly for the beginning- to mid-level brewer.
Nowhere is the home brewing process more tricky than in the transfer of wort or beer from one vessel to another.
This might be from the kettle into a carboy for fermentation, or it might include a transfer from a primary fermentor to a secondary fermentor.
Not only do we want to prevent spills, but it is imperative to keep contaminants from entering the beer and in some cases it is necessary to prevent oxygen from mixing in.
You might be sucking on a hose to start a vacuum to transfer the beer (and dramatically increasing your odds of infecting the beer) or you might be trying to start a vacuum by filling the tubing with water and letting it drain out to pull the wort with it (meanwhile spilling all over your floor).
These are examples of doing things the hard way.
If you get to the end of the process and your beer just doesn’t taste very good, this might be one of the main reasons.
One of the biggest surprises for a new brewer is that there is an inexpensive piece of equipment that performs the transfer for you. It’s called an auto-siphon, and you can get a good one for just $15.
Auto-siphons are configured to allow you to form a vacuum and start pumping beer from one vessel to another with a couple of quick pumps of the handle.
Use of an auto-siphon reduces the risk of introducing contaminants and oxygen to the beer. It also removes the mess of spilling and the frustration of failed transfers.
Here is a quick (fairly low-quality) video demonstrating the use of an auto-siphon to start a transfer:
We recommend getting an auto-siphon like this one.
Have you ever used an auto-siphon for home brewing or wine making? What was your experience with it? Let us know in the comments below!