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Siphoning with carboys at the same height... bad idea?

Hi Everyone!

Tomorrow is the day I transfer my first batch from primary to secondary so I can free up my primary for a new wort on Sunday. Here’s the dilemma I’m facing: In NB’s How-To video on racking to secondary, he stresses the importance of using gravity for your siphoning, meaning the primary is on a raised platform like a table and the secondary is on the floor. Is this absolutely necessary when using the auto-siphon? The reason I ask is, in order to get my primary above my secondary, I’d need to carry it across my basement to the nearest table and I’m afraid of splashing and causing oxidation. Then I thought, well why don’t I just move the table over to the carboy? But even then I would still need to pick up the carboy and carry it about 6-8 feet out of the closet to the table, so there’s still risk. Is it okay to siphon at the same height? Has anyone does this before?

Sorry if I sound overly paranoid. This is my first beer and I want to give it my best.


That shaking that would result in lifting the carboy is not going to cause any negative effects.

Okay. I suppose if I move really slow it won’t jostle too much. I’m not sure how much movement would cause oxidization in the beer, so perhaps I’m being overly cautious. Thanks for the reply.

You’re probably going to cause more oxidation by the act of siphoning than you would be by moving the carboy.

First things first, siphoning from one carboy to another at the same height will not work. If your home brewery conforms to the laws of physics, half the beer will flow into the second carboy and then you’ll be stuck.

Now for your concerns about oxidation. Just take it slow and don’t worry about it.

And finally, if you want to leave as much trub as possible in the first carboy, position it on the table a few hours prior to siphoning. When you move it, a lot of the stuff on the bottom will get stirred up and you may wan’t to give it time to settle back down.

lol Well, I guess I don’t understand the physics behind how the auto-siphon works then. Thanks for explaining that. And sounds good. I’ll use all that advice. Move it ahead of time to let it settle, take it slow and stop worrying :slight_smile:

Thanks a bunch, guys!

also, there should be a layer of co2 in your carboy left over from fermentation. So the slight movement would not oxidate your batch. That being said, I’d still be gentle with it.

The carboy head space should be FULL of CO2. You are not going to hurt the beer at all. If you’re worried about stirring it up, move it now and transfer it an hour later.

I hate to be the advertisement, but do you have a brew hauler? You can get them all over the Internet, and LHBS; the host has them here:

When I transfer, I pull the carboys out of a converted freezer and upstairs to the kitchen counter. Even my sissy-arms can hold the full carboy out with very little sloshing. Prep the spaces, if you use plastic carboys, they blow lots of air out on pick up, and suck lots back in when you put it down, so make your move in one shot to minimize the air suckage.

Also, the “Auto” part of Auto-Siphon is just “auto” start. One pump and you are good instead of the other ways of starting a siphon.

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