Siphon tubing can be unwieldy even at the best of times. Often, my siphon tubing doesn’t quite stay on the racking crane (for some reason or another). The more experienced homebrewer knows this can be a real pain. An imperfect tubing seal causes air to flow into the siphoning beer, adding unwanted oxygen, or terminating the siphon altogether. In this brewing tech blog post, I share a quick and simple fix to this problem: using rubberbands as hose clamps for tight, slip free siphoning.
As necessity is the mother of invention, I discovered this trick late one night brewing. In particular, I noticed that my siphon was unusually gassy, causing the siphon to stop. Perplexed, I soon detected that my siphon tubing was leaking air into the wort, around the ranking cane connection, which was causing a relaxation in pressure, and ending the siphon. Without extra hose clamps on hand, I quickly realized a simple fix: wind a sanitized rubberband at the tube end to keep the hose in place. Surprisingly, this worked quite well, and is now a permanent aspect of siphoning technology in my apartment brewing operations.
What you need? Easy, one or more rubberbands. I prefer multicolored ones; they just seem more cheerful than beige.
How to assemble? Easy, again. Without making this any harder than it needs to be, first remove the loose tubing from the ranking cane. Next, wind a rubberband around the tubing end, as many times as the rubberband will allow. This will ensure a good seal. Lastly, insert your ranking crane back into the now rubberband enhanced tubing. If done properly, you should notice the tubing is more resistant around the area of the rubberband seal. Now give it a whirl. For the visually inclined, check out the pictures above.
Why not use existing clamp technology? Plastic and metal hose clamps exist, and work incredibly well. However, I prefer rubberband seals over hose clamps simply because they can be a pain to take on and off when cleaning and sanitizing tubing, no screwdriver or pliers required.
Couldn’t you use smaller tubing? Definitely, and is often a great idea with kegging setups where you want quality, high pressure seals. By simply heating the tubing end in hot water, the smaller tubing will fit snuggly around the racking cane, make a good seal. However, once again, I prefer the rubberband seals for cleaning purposes. Using the smaller tubing trick is best used for permanent connections.
Can the rubberband hose clamps be used in other brewing operations? Sure! Let your imagination go wild. I use rubberband seals around my carboy cap when connected to the racking cane or air locks. Word of caution: one area in brewing I would not use this trick is in kegging lines. Since the line pressures are much greater than in siphoning, metal clamps with small tubing work extremely well and are reliable.
Have you had any tubing problems in the past and found an interesting solution, leave those tips in the comments below. Cheers, and happy brewing!