Homebrewing takes place in stages, and a few of those stages involve moving the wort from one container to another without transferring the trub.
Our guide to the best auto siphons for brewing will help you understand why this type of siphon is a key piece of homebrewing equipment that will enable you to go through racking and bottling processes effortlessly.
Siphoning beer from a fermenting bucket to another is also known as racking, the process that is used to convert complex sugars the wort contains into alcohol.
It’s also one of the most efficient ways of protecting the wort from direct exposure to oxygen and bacteria that would contaminate it or alter its taste.
So, in this guide to the best auto siphons for brewing, we’re going to help you choose a model that will make the racking process smooth and easy.
The 5 Best Auto Siphons for Brewing
|North Mountain Supply Quick Start Automatic Siphon||5/16-inch ID tubing||A butterfly valve, a siphon hose, and a clip||Check Amazon|
|Fermtech Regular Auto Siphon||5/16-inch||None||Check Amazon|
|Tanke Auto Siphon||5/16-inch||Hose||Check Amazon|
|FastRack Auto Siphon||½-inch||Hose||Check Amazon|
|Syuantech Auto Siphon||½-inch||Hose||Check Amazon|
What is an Auto-Siphon?
To understand what an auto-siphon is, you first need to know how a basic siphon works. These devices rely upon the laws of physics to transfer fluids from one container to another.
Although, for a long time, scientists thought that the atmospheric pressure enabled the liquid to rise above the edge of a container, it is actually gravity that pulls the liquid over the hump and into the secondary containers.
The position of containers is vital for the siphoning to work, as the container or in the case of homebrewing the fermenting bucket that contains the liquid must be placed above the container to which the wort or any other type of fluid is transferred.
To start using the basic siphon, you have to place a hose or a flexible tube into the fluid and then suck the air out of the hose with your mouth. Trub is the reason why you can’t use this siphoning method while racking beer since you’ll also transfer the sediment from the bottom of the fertilizing bucket.
Auto Siphons don’t require you to use your mouth to suck the air out of the hose, and they are designed to filter the trub out and only transfer wort.
The Main Components of an Auto-Siphon
An auto-siphon is a simple device that consists of a racking cane tube and a hose that transfers the fluid to another container. Suitable models for moving wort are equipped with a filter at the bottom of the tube that houses the racking cane.
The filter enables the device to separate the trub from the wort so that you don’t have to deal with the sediments later in the homebrewing process. The racking can is a plastic tube that is placed inside a larger plastic tube.
You’ll find a 90-degree bend on the upper side of the racking cane and a plunger at its bottom that stops the airflow and creates a vacuum within the device.
Much like the basic versions of the siphons, the auto-siphon will only be effective if the siphon tubing or a hose is placed in the downward position, which means that the fermenting bucket which holds the wort needs to be above the secondary container.
Sanitizing an Auto-Siphon Before Use
Benjamin Franklin said, ‘By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.’ When applied to homebrewing, Franklin’s statement suggests that failing to get each piece of equipment you’re going to need to complete a particular step can end up ruining the entire batch of beer.
Sanitization is one of the key preparation methods you need to use before commencing each step of the process since contact with bacteria can make your craft beer undrinkable.
That’s why you have to sanitize all parts of the auto-siphon along with the secondary fermenting bucket before you initiate the racking process. The easiest way to do this is to fill a fermenting bucket with the disinfectant bleach solution and then empty it using the auto-siphon.
You should rinse the bucket and the auto-siphon before you start moving the wort from the primary to the secondary container. Apply extra caution when using the racking cane because it can break if you use too much force.
In addition, you should inspect the siphon tubing regularly and get a new hose when you notice stains or dirt.
Using an Auto-Siphon for Racking
Although the racking process is straightforward, you still have to tread carefully through each step. Arguably, the most important thing you need to do is to move the fermenting bucket that holds the wort you’ll be transferring to the desired location a few hours before starting the racking process.
This will give the trub you disturbed while moving the bucket the time to settle at the bottom. When ready, submerge the sanitized racking tube in the wort, and direct the hose into the secondary fermenting bucket that should be located below the primary bucket.
In case, you’re bottling beer, you should consider getting a bottle filler that will enable you to control the flow and keep the spillage at a minimum.
You should lift the racking cane while submerging the device in the wort and then push it down to establish the flow of the wort. Making sure that the auto-siphon hose remains under the fluid level will reduce the chances of oxidation.
Managing the Trub
The sediments at the bottom of the fermentation bucket should remain undisturbed throughout the racking process. Auto siphons are equipped with sediment blocking tips at the bottom of the outer tube that prevents a trub from entering the system.
However, blocking tips can’t keep all the sediment from entering the tube, and therefore, a certain percentage of the trub will reach the new container.
This isn’t such a big deal if you’re preparing the wort for the secondary fermentation process, as the sediments will eventually fall to the bottom of the bucket.
You need to pay more attention to the trub while using an auto-siphon to bottle beer because you won’t be able to filter it after the bottling process is completed.
Hence, you should avoid moving the bucket hours or even days before racking or bottling your craft beer to ensure that sediments produced during fermentation remain at the bottom of the bucket.
Factors Worth Considering While Choosing an Auto-Siphon for Brewing
The differences between auto siphons for brewing you can find on the market are minuscule, the most models look identical. Furthermore, they’re usually made of hard plastic that makes them moderately resistant to physical damage.
So, whichever model you choose, the chances are that it will last through several homebrewing sessions, and even if your auto-siphon breaks down, you can replace it for less than $20.
Following a set of guidelines while choosing an auto-siphon will eliminate the need to purchase a new one every time you want to try a new beer recipe. Let’s take a look at the factors that can help you find an auto-siphon that will meet all your homebrewing requirements.
Make Sure to Go Through the Offer of Home Brewing Starter Kits
You don’t necessarily have to buy an auto-siphon independently from the rest of your homebrewing equipment because of numerous homebrew kits ship with an auto-siphon.
Getting a kit like the Northern Brewer Starter Set will supply you with the equipment you need to make beer and the ingredients for Hank’s Hefeweizen recipe.
Check the Diameter of the Auto Siphon’s Racking Cane
The size of an auto-siphon determines how long the bottling or racking process is going to last. Models that have a 3/8-inch diameter are generally better suited for bottling because the flow of the fluid is slower and easier to control.
½-inch automatic siphons are much faster, which makes them a great choice for racking large amounts of wort or if you want to store the beer in kegs.
Get a Model That Ships With a Hose
The hose or the siphon tubing is an essential piece of an auto-siphon set up since, without it, you won’t be able to transfer liquids.
The majority of auto-siphon models come with the matching hose, so you won’t have to go through the trouble of searching for a hose that is compatible with the auto-siphon model you got.
However, if you need longer siphon tubing or choose a model that doesn’t ship with a hose, you need to check its racking tube diameter and then purchase a hose for homebrewing .
Opt For an Auto-Siphon Made from Durable Materials
Applying too much force to the racking may cause it to break, which in turn may postpone your racking plans. Choosing a model with a racking can made of hard plastic will ensure that you can transfer wort without any difficulties.
The advantages of auto siphons for brewing
Prevents Oxidation of Wort
Introducing vast amounts of oxygen into the wort during the racking process can ruin the beer’s taste. Auto siphons enable you to minimize the chances of oxidation by transferring wort at a steady rate to another container.
Protects the Wort from Bacteria
Using an automatic siphon will keep the airborne bacteria away from the wort so that they can’t affect the fermentation process.
Simplifies the Bottling Process
Bottling homebrew beer can get messy if you can’t control its flow from the fermentation bucket into a bottle. An automatic siphon that is equipped with a bottling wand lets you control the beer’s flow, and it minimizes the waste.
The Disadvantages of Auto Siphons for Brewing
Upkeep Can be Challenging
Cleaning and sanitizing an auto-siphon before and after every use is necessary if you want to continue racking beer with it. Ensuring that you’ve sanitized the auto-siphon properly can be tricky as some components are hard to reach.
Top 5 Auto Siphons for Brewing
North Mountain Supply Quick Start Automatic Siphon – Best for Experienced Homebrewers
Regardless of the batch size, the North Mountain Supply Quick Start Automatic Siphon offers an easy way to transfer and bottle beer. The model’s length is 17 inches, and it comes with a compatible hose equipped with a butterfly valve that lets you control how much fluid you’re letting out of the system.
Although it is designed for 1-gallon buckets, you can use this automatic siphon to move up to 5-gallons of wort. Besides the 17-inch version, the manufacturer offers 13-inch, 22-inch, and 24-inch versions of this automatic siphon.
- Made from shatter-resistant plastic
- Equipped with a quick start system
- Features a butterfly vent
- Low upkeep requirements
- short hose
- Slow fluid flow
Fermtech Regular Auto Siphon – Best Auto-Siphon Replacement
Manufactured by an industry-leading brand, the Fermtech Regular Auto Siphon is an excellent addition to any home brewing kit.
You can initiate the siphoning process with a single stroke without disturbing the trub, while the blocking tip at the bottom of the device prevents the sediments from entering the system.
Fermtech’s auto-siphon is compatible with 5/16-inch hoses, but you must purchase the siphon tubing and all additional equipment separately. Disassembling the sterile siphon starter requires minimum effort since you just have to remove the sediment blocking tip to access the racking cane.
- Starting the siphoning process is easy
- Highly efficient blocking tip
- Suitable for 5-gallon and 6-gallon fermentation buckets
- Excellent auto-siphon replacement
- The hose and bottling wand isn’t included
- Siphoning of large batches of beer can take a while
Tanke Auto Siphon – Best for Bottling
In case you’re searching for an auto-siphon you want to use primarily for bottling, then you should take a closer look at the Tanke Auto Siphon . All of the auto siphon’s components are transparent, enabling you to monitor the flow of the fluid through the system.
This Tanke’s model features a 25-inch racking cane and a standard 3/8-inch hose that fits perfectly onto the cane to ensure maximum accuracy and minimum leakage.
Like most models, the Tank and Auto Siphon uses single stroke technology, which ensures that sediments remain at the bottom of the bucket.
- A high level of accuracy makes the bottling process less messy
- Ships with plastic tubing
- Single stroke technology
- Suitable for racking large beer batches
- Questionable durability
- Controlling the flow of the liquid can be difficult
FastRack Auto Siphon – The Best Large Auto-Siphon
Even though it weighs just 8oz, the FastRack Auto Siphon can reduce the amount of time to move wort from one container to another. Besides, you can use this 26-inch auto-siphon to transfer craft beer from 6.5-gallon or even larger buckets.
Initiating the siphoning process takes several strokes because this model doesn’t feature the single stroke technology. The model is compatible with ½-inch siphon tubing, and it comes with an 8-foot hose that enables you to reach the secondary fermentation bucket effortlessly.
This auto-siphon is equipped with a removable and highly efficient sediment blocking tip that prevents you from transferring trub.
- Effortless upkeep due to the removable sediment blocking tip
- ½-inch tubing ensures fast flow
- 8-foot hose allows for plenty of separation between containers
- Affordable price
- Initiating the siphoning process takes a few tries
- Bottling accessories aren’t included in the kit
Syuantech Auto Siphon – Best for Minimize Spills and Leakage
Newcomers into the world of homebrewing should consider getting the Syuantech Auto Siphon because it makes the racking and bottling processes less messy. The 13-inch auto-siphon is a great fit for smaller beer batches as it isn’t large or powerful enough to transfer wort from 5-gallon buckets.
This Syuantech’s model uses the single stroke technology to initiate siphoning while causing the minimum amount of disturbance to the sediments. In addition to an easy-to-use auto-siphon, you’ll also get a hose that is compatible with a wide range of spigots and bottling wands.
- Sanitizing the auto-siphon is easy.
- Siphoning process is started with a single stroke
- It offers a high level of precision
- Made from durable materials
- Aimed at inexperienced homebrewers
- Not an ideal choice for large beer batches
Frequently asked questions about auto siphons
Question: Can I rack beer with a basic siphon?
Answer: Yes, you can, but doing so will disturb the sediment at the bottom of the fermenting bucket, and sucking the air out of the tube with your mouth might expose the beer to bacteria.
Question: How long does the racking process take?
The duration of the racking process depends on the size of the beer batch, only transferring the gallon of wort to a secondary fermentation bucket can take between 10 and 20 minutes
Question: Are auto siphons expensive?
Answer: No, they’re not, as you can purchase an auto-siphon capable of transferring gallons of beer for less than $20.
Question: Is it possible to transfer beer with a racking cane?
Answer: Yes, it is. Auto siphons include a racking cane in the setup, but you can get rid of other parts of the system and just use a plastic or metal tube that is bent at the top to siphon beer from one container to another.
Our verdict – How to Know Which Auto-Siphon Model is the Best for Brewing?f
The necessity of secondary fermentation has been a hotly disputed topic among homebrewers around the globe.
Even if you think that racking beer is an unnecessary step that leaves too much room for error and potentially running the entire batch of beer, you’re still going to need an auto-siphon to complete the bottling process.
These devices operate on the same principle, as they rely on gravity to push the fluid over the hump and into the secondary fermentation bucket. We recommend getting the North Mountain Supply Quick Start Automatic Siphon because it contains all components you need to start a racking process.
Homebrewers in need of an automatic siphon capable of transferring large quantities of beer from one bucket to another should quickly consider getting the FastRack Auto Siphon . Was this guide to the best auto siphons useful? Leave a comment and let us know.