This review is not funded in any way by the makers of the Pro Brewers Siphon. I spent my own money for this product and have not been asked to review it or offered anything in exchange for my review.
My Pro Brewers Siphon finally arrived 485 days after I made my Kickstarter pledge! It was an interesting journey to track the progress and learn the various manufacturing problems the Pro Brewers Siphon team went through. They experienced many problems with tolerances, fit check, manufacturing quality – all things that anyone familiar with production would not be surprised to hear about. I was impressed with how open they were about all of this, receiving 23 updates after the successful funding of the Kickstarter, which works out to about one every 20 days until mine arrived. It cost $45 before shipping on the KickStarter campaign, and the retail price for what I have is stated to be $70.
What’s In The Box?
I pledged at a level that got me the Pro Brewers Siphon, the carboy sleeve, and the bucket clip. As expected all those things arrived in the box along with 6ft of silicone tubing, the instructions, and a thank you note.The package arrived in a white plastic shipping bag, containing all you see above. The box the siphon itself came in was a little beat up, but the stainless steel siphon inside didn’t seem to mind. The clip would be the part I’d be most concerned about during shipping, but it arrived unbent and perfect condition.
One of the features of the Pro Brewers Siphon is that you can fully disassemble it, and even boil it due to using all stainless steel and silicone, for cleaning. This is a big plus for those that have clean and sour beers in their brew house.
This is the Sturdy Clip and Carboy Sleeve; you need the sleeve to use the clip. The sleeve is generally a nice design. It fits snuggly in the neck of a glass carboy but leaving a small gap for air to enter while liquid leaves. Unfortunately it does not fit snuggly in the neck of a plastic carboy; it was obviously designed with only glass in mind. The clip helps make up for that, though, so it will still work just fine in the neck of a plastic carboy. Bonus: the siphon and sleeve will even work in the 1 gal glass I use for ciders, meads, and sour experiments.
I haven’t used it on a real beer yet, but performed some tests using a full 3 gal plastic carboy. I drained the carboy a couple of times and both times it took 3 medium strokes to get it flowing, which is inline with the instructions (1-3 long strokes). The second fill I measured 3 gallons of water into it and timed how long it took to empty. The end of the hose was sitting next to the base of the carboy in the sink. It was 6 minutes and 2 seconds on my stopwatch from the final pump to the gurgle signalling the end, of course flowing much slower at the end. Things like difference in height between source and destination and volume of liquid in the vessel impact drain time. It left behind just under 1/8th of a gallon in the carboy.
It works as well as you can expect any auto siphon style product to work. I don’t think the designer of this product intended to revolutionise the auto siphon world in terms of ease of starting or flow rate. You pump it, it flows, you wait – pretty standard stuff.
Pro Brewers Siphon Verdict
Overall I like it. It feels well built, the design appears to be generally well thought out, and the ease of cleaning and sanitising is a big plus. It’s not going to blow you away in terms of some kind of performance metric, but this isn’t a big departure in overall design from existing auto siphons. There are a few quirks to it, like tube size (see Cons below), but nothing that I think would detract from owning it. Given the expected retail price of $70 for the setup I bought I might be a bit more hesitant to buy one as it’s more of an occasional item for me. If I relied on transferring with an auto siphon with no plans to change that, I think this would be a solid investment.
I prefer to transfer under pressure whenever possible, but that’s not always possible. For those times I think this will be my go-to piece of equipment. I can see using it to transfer out of the kettle for my 2.5 gal test batches, bottling from 1 gal jugs, and possibly even using it to empty/fill my barrel from time to time. I’ve ordered a stainless steel bottling wand that I’m hoping I can use with this to make all those smaller bottling projects easier.
Pros and Cons
- Stainless steel and silicone make for easy cleaning and sanitising.
- Versatile, able to be used in buckets down to 1 gal jugs.
- Feels very sturdy, pieces have good fit.
- Looks nice, definitely has the shiny, bling factor.
- The Carboy Sleeve only works for glass carboys.
- Tubing is an odd size, requiring 7/16 inch tubing instead of more common 1/2 inch tubing. This was due to a switch to metric stainless tubes. I really like things in metric, but the US just isn’t setup for it.
- A late discovered QC issue caused a rework that shortened the racking cane by 2.5 inches. This would be a problem if you lose your prime late in racking, but can be managed. Just kind of sucks that it has to be managed.
- Price: I paid $45 on the KickStarter campaign, which I think was a good deal, but the retail price for the setup I have is stated to be $70 (not yet available). That could be a bit much for many, especially when you can get a plastic 1/2″ Auto Siphon for $15.