4 Ways to Siphon Beer (Hose, Racking Cane, Auto Siphon, Carboy Cap )

As a homebrewer, there will be times when you’ll need to transfer beer from one vessel to another. Whether you’re seeking to separate beer from the yeast residue collecting at the bottom or to bottle your brew, siphoning presents one of the cheapest ways to achieve this goal.

Siphoning or racking is transferring beer from one container to the next using gravity. A siphon is a device that facilitates this transfer. But how exactly do you siphon beer?

Depending on the nature of your siphon, there are four different ways to siphon your beer. This article outlines how to siphon beer with the following gadgets:

  • Hose
  • Racking cane
  • Auto siphon
  • Siphon starter

How to Siphon Beer With a Hose

How to Siphon Beer With a Hose

We start with the simplest and arguably cheapest siphon setup. For this technique, you only need a hose and a simple siphon pump, which you can find on Amazon for under $10. Follow the steps below to siphon your beer with a hose. But first, what do you need?

The Materials You’ll Need

  • Two silicone hoses
  • One double-ended siphon pump
  • One full fermenting vessel
  • One empty fermenting vessel


  1. Connect each silicone hose to each end of the siphon pump.
  2. Place the full fermenter on a tabletop and the empty one on the floor.
  3. Dip the newly-assembled siphon into boiling water to sanitize it.
  4. Let the siphon cook with the water for at least five minutes.
  5. Dip one end of the hose into your beer-filled fermenter and the other into the empty container.
  6. Gently squeeze the siphon pump until the siphon is initiated.
  7. Let the beer flow to your contentment. download

Using a Hose: Pros vs. Cons


  • The setup is cheap
  • The siphon is easy to set up
  • You don’t have to use your mouth to suck beer.


  • It can only transfer small amounts of beer at a time.
  • Squeezing the siphon pump can be tedious.


Did you manage to get a steady stream of beer? If not, below is a checklist to help you troubleshoot:

  • Ensure that the source container sits higher than the destination vessel.
  • Ensure the tube tip in the source vessel is dipping below the beer level.
  • Ensure there are no pores or cracks on the silicone tubing or the siphon pump.

How to Siphon Beer With a Racking Cane

Siphon Beer With a Racking Cane


The racking cane is the unofficial entry-level siphon device for many homebrewers. We start with the racking cane before growing and evolving to more sophisticated contraptions.

Below are the steps you must follow to siphon with a racking can. But first, you’ll need some supplies.

The Materials You Need

  • One racking cane
  • One full fermenting vessel
  • Two empty fermenting vessels
  • Some sanitizer


  1. Place the full fermenting vessel on a tabletop and the two empty containers on the floor.
  2. Sterilize your racking cane by soaking it in sanitizer for about five minutes.
  3. Fill the racking cane with sanitizer.
  4. While sealing one end with your finger, dip the other end into the full fermenter.
  5. Point the other end at one of the empty vessels.
  6. Release your finger to drain the sanitizer.
  7. Once the sanitizer drains and the cane start to spill beer, swap in the other empty vessel.
  8. Dispose of the sanitizer-contaminated beer.

Siphoning With a Racking Cane: Pros vs. Cons


  • Racking canes are cheap
  • Racking canes are durable


  • Initiating a siphon since the racking cane lacks a pumping mechanism.


If you’re having trouble initiating a siphon, use the checklist below to troubleshoot:

  • Ensure that the full fermenter is more elevated than the empty vessel.
  • Ensure your racking cane’s long end is dipping below the beer level.
  • Check the racking cane for cracks; if any, replace the device.

How to Siphon Beer With an Auto Siphon 

Siphon Beer With an Auto Siphon 


An auto-siphon is a gadget that consists of a racking cane and some silicone tubing. The difference between a racking cane and an auto-siphon is that the latter has a filtration and pumping system.

What You Need:

  • One auto-siphon
  • One full fermenter
  • One empty fermenter
  • Some sanitizer


  1. Place the full fermenter on a tabletop and the empty container on the floor.
  2. Dismantle the auto-siphon to its racking cane and hose components.
  3. Sanitize your auto-siphon and tubing by soaking them in a bucket of sanitizer.
  4. After a five-minute bath in the sanitizer, reassemble the auto-siphon.
  5. Dip the racking cane end in your full fermenter and the tubing end in your empty container
  6. Pump the auto-siphon until the siphon is started.

Siphoning With an Auto Siphon: Pros vs. Cons


  • It’s easy to get a siphon started
  • You dont have to worry about sucking yeast sediments as the auto-siphon filters beer.


  • In comparison to other siphoning techniques, the auto-siphon is relatively expensive.


Below is a checklist in case you fail to initiate or maintain a siphon:

  • Ensure the beer source is on a lighter elevation than the destination vessel
  • Ensure the auto-siphon’s tip is dipping below the beer level in the source vessel
  • Check for cracks and pores on the tubing and the pump.
  • Check the pump’s tip for any blockages.

How to Siphon Beer With a Carboy Cap

Siphon Beer With a Carboy Cap

A carboy cap is a rubber seal with two finger-like protrusions. It is used in combination with a racking cane as a siphon starter. To use a siphon with a carboy cap, follow the steps below:

What You’ll Need

  • One carboy cap
  • One racking cane
  • One silicone tube
  • One full fermenter
  • One empty fermenter
  • Some sanitizer


  1. Place your full fermenter on a tabletop and the empty one on the floor.
  2. Sterilize your racking cane and silicone tubing by soaking them in a sanitizer bath.
  3. After a five-minute soaking, connect the tube to the short end of the racking cane.
  4. Fit the carboy cap on the neck of the beer-filled fermenter.
  5. Insert the racking cane into the short protrusion of the carboy cap.
  6. Push down the racking cane until it dips below the beer level.
  7. Insert the tube’s free end into the empty container.
  8. Suck the long protrusion on the carboy cap until the siphon is initiated.
  9. Let the beer stream into the empty container.

Siphoning With a Carboy Cap: Pros vs. Cons


  • The setup is relatively inexpensive
  • It provides a safe way to initiate a siphon by sucking


  • It doesn’t work on kettles and buckets.


Use the checklist below to troubleshoot any siphon problems:

  • Ensure the source vessel is at a higher elevation than the destination container.
  • Ensure that the racking cane’s tip is dipping below the beer level.
  • Check the racking cane, carboy cap, and silicone tubing for pores and cracks.


Siphoning presents a cheap way to separate freshly brewed beer from the spent yeast that settles at the bottom of the fermentation tank. It is also an effective way to transfer your beer to empty bottles.

There are multiple ways to siphon beer, and you can choose your preferred technique based on your budget or the materials you have at your disposal.

Whichever technique you choose, ensure you sanitize the devices before using them on beer. Introducing contaminants can lead to the development of off-flavors and ruin the quality of your brew.

When using a hose, it’s also critical that you dont suck out the beer with your mouth. If you have to use your lips, find a carboy cap. Did you find this information helpful? Let us know in the comment section below.

4 Ways to Siphon Beer

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