Siphoning is actually a very important part of brewing and therefore requires a little more attention. It is during the siphoning that things can go horribly wrong if care is not taken. Therefore, please follow the guidelines as closely as possible to avoid contaminating or aerating your Mead.
- Sanitize everything thoroughly.
- Move your Mead onto a table at least a day before you intend to siphon. This will give the yeast time to settle out again and will minimize transfer.
- If you have a way to fill the receiving vessel with CO2, do so before starting the flow. This will help minimize the oxygenation.
- Always have the end of the siphon tube below the surface of the Mead to avoid exposing the flow to the air.
- There are three easy ways to start the flow: sucking, water priming, and using an AutoSiphon.
Sucking – easy, but runs the risk of contamination from the mouth. If this is the method you choose, you can minimize the risk by taking a good mouthful of some strong alcohol, such as Vodka or Peppermint Schnapps, and gargling for a minute (spitting out is optional at this point).
Water Priming – a very easy and effective method of starting the flow. Place your secondary carboy or bottles in an empty container, such as a large pan or bucket. Fill the racking cane and hose with sanitized water (do NOT use bleach water or any solution that requires rinsing). Place your clean fingers over the ends of the tube to prevent the water from draining out. Hold the exit end lower than the surface where the Mead is resting and point it into the container your empty carboy is resting in. Place the other end into your Mead and take your finger off the exit end. The water will start to flow, pulling the Mead with it. When the Mead starts to exit the tube, quickly cover the end again with your finger and move the tube into your carboy/bottles. Take your finger off and the Mead will continue to flow.
Autosiphon – a nice little tool that allows the user to start the flow just by pumping the racking cane. Very easy to use and sanitary, but does not fit into the neck of most 1 gallon wine jugs.
See Chapter 18 for techniques in bottling.