whether it is to a bottle, try
keg, or another fermenter. It seems simple enough to do but there are some tips and tools that can help in the process.
When I started homebrewing I was told to simply stick the racking cane in the bucket and siphon the liquid out and that is pretty much what I did. I stuck the racking cane all the way to the bottom and started sucking on the tube to start a siphon. That was more than 20 years ago, though, and I have since learned a better technique. Now what I do is start racking from the top, holding the tip of the racking cane just under the surface of the beer. As the level of the beer gets lower, I gently lower the tip to keep the flow going. What this does is it allows me to transfer the beer while not sucking up too much of the trub, or junk at the bottom of the fermenter.
This process is easy for me because I typically siphon the brew into a secondary fermenter or a keg. It gets a little more dicey when you are trying to siphon your homebrew into two cases of bottles. However, some good tools are out there that can help you use both hands on the business end, instead of having one managing the racking cane full time. One device is the Fermtech 1/2" Racking Cane Spring Clip, which can clamp to either a plastic bucket or a glass fermenter. I don't have one of these myself, but I can see how it can be a great hands-free device.
I have a different type of clip that helps me. Honestly, I think that first device was not in existence when I started brewing more than 20 years ago. I have a clip specifically for plastic fermenter buckets. It attaches to the side of the bucket and the racking cane can slide up and down inside the groove. For glass carboys I use a carboy neck racking cane holder. This locks the racking cane in place in the carboy but allows the brewer to slide it up and down to the optimal location for where he or she wants to draw from. Unlike the Fermtech spring clip device, it allows for the use of different size racking canes, thus allowing you to buy one product that will work with all your equipment. It is more equipment to own, but it works just fine for what I do.
What are your tips, tricks, and tools for racking beer?