Introduction: Jiggle Syphon

Brewing beer at home is a pastime many of us enjoy and I have built my own brewing equipment that does it the way I want it to happen. I enjoy grain brewing, nothing wrong with using malt extract, I just enjoy it. What ever method you use getting the boil from 100C to 20 (ish) C so that the yeast can be pitched in should take place in 20 minutes as this really helps to knock the proteins out resulting in a better beer and we all want that!

I pass my boil through a chiller (see elsewhere) but starting a syphon is a problem. The self priming syphons from your brew shop don't like high temperatures and sucking on the tube is a) unhygienic and b) dangerous with boiling water!

My solution is a jiggle syphon. If you have not heard of this type of syphon it is basically a one way valve. As you push it down into a fluid the tube fills, as you lift it the valve closes and retains a column of fluid in the stem of the syphon. As the syphon is pushed down again more fluid is added to the column and syphoning starts.

Step 1: Syphon Tube

Cut 10mm (microbore) copper tube to length. Two things to remember, it needs to be long enough to form a 180 degree bend at the top where the hose will be attached. Secondly make sure the syphon is long enough to reach the bottom of your deepest boiler/brewing vessel.

I use 10mm microbore as it doesn't syphon too quickly and draw excessive yeast/sediment.

Once you have determined the required length cut with a centimeter or so oversize. If you bend 10mm copper there is a good chance the tube will collapse. The smaller the radius the more likely the tube will distort. To avoid this fashion a funnel of sorts and tape to the open end (see picture) and crimp the other end. Fill the tube with salt. Tap the end on the floor every so often to ensure the tube is completely full. Crimp the open end of the tube with pliers. I used a CO2 bottle (approx. 5cm) to form the 180 degree bend. Once satisfied with the bend cut off the two crimps and tap out all of the salt. Make sure all the salt is removed by blowing through the tube!

When in use I adjust the depth required by sliding some loose fitting tubing up or down. The tubing has a hanger gaffer taped to it. This also acts to protect pinkies from the hot copper!

Step 2: The Jiggle Bit

Take the 15mm stop end and carefully drill a 6mm hole in the end. Slide the stop end over the reducer and drill a small right through. With the stop ends I have as close to the edge as possible. The purpose of the wire that is pushed through is to stop the ball bearing lifting too high when "jiggling". The ball bearing is 10mm and the clearance only needs to be a millimeter or so. Push the copper wire through, don't forget the ball bearing! Make sure that when you "jiggle" this assembly the bearing has room to move up and down.

Step 3: Soldering

If you choose solder fittings to put this together please bear in mind that there will be flux residue both inside and outside of the finished syphon. Whilst I'm not adverse to adjuncts in my beer I do draw the line at solder flux. To ensure my finished syphon is clean I boiled the jiggle in a solution of washing soda. No doubt there is probably something better but it worked for me. Please note "washing soda" not "caustic soda"!

It is probably worth pointing out that I made this with parts I had to hand so feel free to experiment with any bits you have laying about.

Happy Brewing :)