auto siphon vs racking cane vs spigot

Auto Siphon vs Racking Cane vs Spigot: Which One’s the Best?

Brewing involves step-by-step processes, racking being one of them. The importance of selecting the proper system for racking cannot be understated.

Auto-siphons, racking canes and spigots are the most common home brewing tools to use.

So, when it comes to auto-siphon vs racking cane vs spigot, which one should you choose? 

Each of the systems comes with unique perks. Auto-siphons have better hygiene and it keeps the environment clean and dry. On the other hand, racking canes are the most common requiring expertise in hand timing. Spigots come in different shapes and offer faster filling and less contamination.

Now that’s for the quick review of what’s about to come. We have put great effort to make a detailed comparison between the three. It’ll help you choose the perfect system for your brewing.

Let’s get started.

Auto-Siphon vs Racking Cane vs Spigot: Quick Comparison 

Before we jump into the main discussion, let’s have a look at this quick comparison.

AspectAuto-siphon Racking Cane Spigot 
Oxidation & Contamination The valve tip could break and cause oxidation contaminationThe timing is tricky and causes spills and contamination A fixed spigot might cause turb buildup and contamination 
Usability Easy to use and keeps the environment cleanCan be messy if you miss the timing You need to place the spigot at an optimal height 
Bottling & Filling Using a non-spring plunger makes filling pretty easy Bottling can be a bit difficult due to tricky timing with the thumb Bottling is easier with a spigot as you can manually control the flow 
PriceAround 10-20$ Around 15-35$Around 15-50$

Now, let’s jump into the main discussion.

Auto-Siphon vs Racking Cane vs Spigot: Detailed Comparison 

In our homebrewing, the process of racking is one of the less enjoyable steps. Experts have pumps that do most of the work for them, but most amateurs don’t have that luxury.

And for that, they always want to know:

What is the best method for racking wine?

The best method for racking beer is to use a siphon. The source vessel is positioned above the target vessel, and gravity does the rest.

However, it isn’t always easy to get the siphon flowing. You might be thinking about which method to use, auto-siphon, spigot, or the good old racking cane. 

Don’t fret, we got you covered and will have you producing beer in no time.

Oxidation & Contamination:

Oxidation and contamination are one of the major bummers when it comes to brewing. They make your beer taste like wet cardboard and spoil the product. 
The valve-tip is the most delicate part of the auto-siphon and its breakage can cause contamination.

Oxidation & Contamination
Source: brooklynbrewshop.com

he environment clean. However, you need to maintain it sporadically. 

So, if you want an easy racking setup, this can be your way to go.

Using a racking cane can be quite tricky. Here you need to plug the free end with your thumb and time it properly. Getting the timing right can take some practice. 

The only tricky thing about using a spigot is the height. You need to place your vessels optimally to avoid spillage. This could be your option if you want a faster way of siphoning.

Bottling & Filling: 

Siphoning and bottling the beer are the two most rewarding parts of brewing. Hence, you should have a setup that helps you bottle and fill beers easily. 

It’s very important to choose the right beer bottling method.

When it comes to filling and bottling & filling, nothing beats the spigot system. 

It is very easy to use and it’s faster than its counterparts. If you are planning on hassle-free fast filling, this is your best choice.

beer bottling method
Source: howtohomebrewbeers.com

But, if you are focused on firm & uniform filling, auto-siphon will be your best option. Using a non-spring plunger makes filling pretty easy with an auto-siphon.

However, if you want to go pro, racking cane will be your first choice. You need to master the timing with your thumb. And once you are done with it, there’s no going back. 

Price:

Last but not least, your choice comes down to price. You will always think of an affordable option for your brewing.

Auto-siphon is the cheapest option ranging from 10-20$. It also offers great flexibility and it’s simple to use. You can opt for this if you want an easy setup within budget. Racking cane comes in a larger price range and has two variations. The plastic one costs around 15-20$. The stainless steel ones are on the costlier side ranging from 25-35$.

Spigots can be your option if you want a professional setup with some style. A spigot can cost as low as 15$ and goes up to 50 or even 100$. 

This depends on the material and aesthetics. 

Most pubs and bars use spigots and they are quite fancy as well. So, if the budget is not your concern, this can be your choice.

Auto-Siphon vs Racking Cane vs Spigot: Final Verdict 

You may get better usability with auto-siphon and spigots. But, mastering the art of siphoning will encourage you to pick up the racking cane.

Not racking the wine runs the risk of diminishing the flavor. Due to not racking the wine, the dead yeast cells and other nutrients are fed to the active yeasts. Thus, getting some off-flavors.

Auto-siphon and racking cane offers greater protection against contamination and oxidation.

Auto-siphon
Source: instructables.com

You can explore some great racking cane options here:

ProductFeatureCheck Availability
Midwest Homebrewing and Winemaking Supplies Stainless Steel Racking CaneLength: 30”Made of stainless steelCheck Price
Stainless Steel Racking CaneLength: 24”Durable Stainless SteelCheck Price
Stainless Steel Professional Bottling/Racking KitLength: 17”Made in CanadaFood Safe certifiedCheck Price

These are all safe for use and does not contaminate your wine. So try them today!

Contamination can add up excess yeast in the beer and ruin the taste. You can consider these two if hygiene is your top priority. 

If you want a seamless filling and minimal spillage, spigots should be your top priority. You can also use an auto-siphon but it requires a non-spring plunger.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need an auto-siphon? 

Yes, you need an auto-siphon if you want an easy, efficient, and hygienic racking system. Home brewers need to master siphoning. There aren’t many daily reasons to practice siphoning in day-to-day life, thus most home brewers have never done it. Auto-siphoning is an essential beer-racking tool.

When should I rack my beer to a secondary fermentor?

Two weeks is the minimum useful period in the secondary fermentor. For optimal carbonation, excessive secondary aging may necessitate the addition of fresh yeast at bottling time. For light ales, it’s around six weeks. Use the exact same strain as the original. 

Should I rack beer before bottling?

By racking to a bottling bucket, your priming solution and beer can be thoroughly combined. The addition of priming sugar permits the yeast to carbonate the beer. When racking, the filled container must be at least a few feet taller than the empty container that will be filled.

Conclusion

That’s everything regarding auto-siphon vs racking cane vs spigot. Hopefully, you have come to a conclusion on which system to choose for your beer racking.

Have a great time brewing your homemade beer, cheers! 

See you soon.

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