Thank goodness for little helpers.
The brew is ready, or as ready as it’ll ever be. It’s definitely darker than I’d like, but as mentioned earlier, fermentation was quite active and therefore encouraging, despite some oversights on my part. So it was bottling time.
I’m terrible with siphons. I always end up with water and beer on the floor and frustration in my brain. I usually recruit (read: demand) my wife to assist me with priming the siphon and wrangling all the tubing so that as little water as possible ends up on the floor. It never works as planned. I lose my cool and the towels come out to deal with the mess.
So I recently invested in an “auto” siphon, which supposedly makes siphoning a dream. It does not require the user to prime the pump, that is, fill it with water beforehand to create a vacuum and the attendant suction in order to get the beer flowing up out of your fermenter and into the bottles. No, it’s much simpler. According to the directions, simply lower it into the beer and with “1-2 strokes” the beer will start flowing.
That’s, “1-2 strokes … unless your name happens to be Richard Bolster.”
Forget one or two pumps, I’ve got to pull the handle up and down several times before I get a hint of a trickle. And the pumping action is difficult; there’s way too much resistance. It feels like trying to pump up a fully inflated bike tire. I usually end up sending beer (and air) back into the batch, causing me to use words that aren’t printable here. Eventually, I get the thing going but the flow is never smooth and steady the way I remember my conventional siphon being. Why is it never this easy? I know, I know, it’s my fault.
In this particular case, not only did I have the usual trouble getting my flow going, I was also lacking my wife, who was working. I did have one child napping and a seasoned brewer’s assistant more than ready – no clamoring – to help. The only problem with my assistant? She’s four. But it was bottling day, damn it, and I needed help. And so she did. And ably, I might add.
With my carboy on the kitchen counter, and me holding the confounded siphon in place, I wasn’t able to reach the bottles on the floor. Either I needed a better set up or I needed someone else to insert the tube and, crucially, depress the business end of the filler to release the beer into the bottles. But with my siphon all ready to go I wasn’t about to move things around. So, my little gal did the job. And the two of us, 41 and 4, legal drinking age and not quite, father and daughter, bad influence and pure innocence, filled just shy of two cases of what we hope will be good beer for Dada to drink.Last modified on