Posts Tagged Siphon

Week 2 Brew 2: The Brown

It’s the second week of The Brown brewing experiment and I am ready to move the beer to secondary fermentation. This is the stage during which the beer settles down and ages. To do this, I used an auto siphon to move the beer from the primary fermentation bucket to another bucket. The auto siphon, sometimes known as a “racking cane”, is a neat gadget that relies on suction to provide a continuous flow up the tube of the device and into a hose attached at the other end. This is much quicker than traditional siphoning using the mouth– not to mention much more sanitary.

IMG_1871This step in the process could not be easier: I merely placed the end of the auto siphon into the fermented brew, attached a 3/8″ hose to the outlet at the top of the siphon and placed the end of the hose into the secondary fermenting bucket. Then I just let it rip, taking care to let as little of the yeast muck into the transfer as possible. This is because beer in the secondary fermentation step is not to be¬†exposed to the dead yeast and other debris (also known as “trub”) that have settled to the bottom of the primary fermenter. This helps avoid off flavors and such in the finished product.

The entire 3-gallon mixture took about 5 minutes to drain into the secondary bucket. After it was done, I just put the lid on the secondary bucket and wrapped it up with a towel like the previous week to keep the temperature more consistent throughout.

Now to wait another week while this does its thing. Then it will be time to bottle this stuff up!

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Day 3 Brew 1- Fermentation

So, as we continue our journey toward concocting that magical elixir we know as beer, I realized that I must clarify one thing. The period between Day “1” and Day “2” was actually more like 8 weeks, but for simplicity, I’m going for just days of actual activity in this whole process. So, in that spirit, I bring you Day 3 (no quotation marks this time)- Fermentation.

In this step we siphoned the partially fermented beer into the secondary fermenter, the carboy. This, we learned, is actually the preferred vessel for all fermentation, since we couldn’t see what was going on inside the bucket provided by Midwest Brewing Supplies. We learned this by going to All About Brewing, a very nondescript purveyor of everything beer (and soon whiskey) in El Cajon, CA, and talking to Jim. I highly recommend the expert guidance he provides, as he is a professional, a hobbyist, and most importantly, loves talking about beer and brewing. While there, I picked up a kit for my next brewing attempt: a nut brown ale. I may also pick up a yeast culture kit they have there to start growing my own yeast, but more on that later.

As for the current chapter in our journey toward mastering home brewing, today we siphoned the contents of the primary fermenter into the secondary fermenter to let it sit for another week to ferment further.

2nd fermentation We made sure, recalling advice from Jim at All About Brewing, to fill the air lock (the plastic tubing bit sticking out the top of the carboy) with a diluted solution of water and sanitizer, instead of just straight sanitizer, lest the liquid decide to drop into our brew and make it taste…sanitized. We can’t have that.

So, now we wait, which is probably the biggest pain of this whole process. The other big concern is sanitizing everything: equipment, dishes, hands, etc. We can’t have unwanted bacteria interrupting our wanted bacteria (the yeast) doing what it does best: making beer.

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