Free UK Delivery on orders over £70*
Our Customers Love Brewing With Us
Developing Sheffield's Brewing Heritage Since 1981
Share on...

How to Syphon


Syphoning is the process of transferring a liquid from one vessel to another using siphonic action.

Syphoning in homebrewing relies on gravity.
The simplest way of syphoning is using a long thin tube and two equal sized buckets. Raise the full bucket on to a work surface or table, and put the clean, empty bucket on the floor next to it.


Then put one end (end A) of a sterilised tube into the top bucket, with the liquid in, ensuring that the tube reaches all the way to the bottom and is securely fixed in position by a syphon clamp or similar device.
Next, ensure that the tube reaches a reasonable distance into the bucket on the floor.
Finally check the tube has no kinks, and the tube is not flat at the apex. (Where the syphon tube passes over the wall of the top bucket.). Now, draw the liquid through by sucking on the other end (end B).
Once there is more liquid on the down flowing side of the pipe than there is between the top of the beer(wort) or wine (must), and the apex (highest point of the syphon, where it passes over the wall of the bucket.)
Gravity should be able to continue the siphonic action, and you can place end B in the lower bucket and let the liquid flow.
The reason for raising the bucket you are removing the liquid from, above the vessel you are filling, is because you need to have a greater weight of liquid acting on the down flow side of the syphon, than the upflow side.
This allows the extra gravitational force on the longer down flow side to counteract the lesser gravitational effect on the smaller up flow side, allowing the liquid to flow in the desired direction.
This is the most straightforward method.
There are, however, some pitfalls to using just a tube.
First, there is the risk of "hoovering" up a lot of sediment.
If you are racking off, this can defeat the purpose of racking off if bottling it can result in sediment going into the beer bottles, which can affect the flavour.
To protect against this problem use a syphon with a sediment shield.

All our syphons come with a sediment shield.

When cleaning and sterilising is such an issue in home brewing, it may seem odd to clean and sterilise a syphon tube, then put an end in your mouth to suck the beer through the pipe.

Although instances of this causing a problem are rare, it has happened occasionally.

Many people prefer to use a pump action syphon, which makes syphoning easier and the process cleaner.
Unfortunately, you will no longer get the little treat of a first taste.

Pump action syphons come in two sizes. The large syphon (about the height of a 6-gallon bucket) and small syphon (about the height of a demi-john).