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foose212 12-18-2012 05:44 AM

My Centrifuge
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Posted this in general discussion, but maybe I'll get more answers here.

I own a small pilot scale process centrifuge. I'm running it right now and I am getting a lot of foam. The foam looks like small bubbles. Do you guys think I'm getting oxygen in it doing the centrifuge, or do you think it is the carbonation of the beer?

Just so you know I primed the system prior to recirculating, and I filled the vessel with CO2.
The beer is off of a secondary where I racked it over cranberry juice. (It's a Hefeweizen, and I'm just screwing around).

Picture is below, what do you guys think? Anyone have experience with a process centrifuge?

Brulosopher 12-18-2012 12:21 PM

That thing looks difficult ;). If you primed it, I can't imagine you're picking up any more O2 than what's in your carboy. It's likely just CO2 leaving solution. Is the beer any clearer? I ask partially because you said it's a Hefeweizen... perhaps Kristalweiss now, no?

foose212 12-19-2012 03:58 AM

Ya, it does clear the beer. I mean it's still a dark colored beer so I might have a few feet of visibility in high light with the beer.

I'm thinking the next time I try this I am going to use a stronger pump and try to get the flow rate up to 5 L/min. That pump I had hooked up was only 500 ml/min

Actually it's not all that complicated, once I hook it up it's really just turning it on, and selecting a speed to run it.

King_Kolsch 01-30-2013 04:10 AM

It's probably a combination of both CO2 and O2. The CO2 is coming out of solution as it leaves the higher pressure environment in the bowl and pumped through the hose to the carboy that is sitting at atmospheric pressure - causing foam in the discharge hose and carboy.
Even though the supply hoses look packed, O2 is probably being sucked into the bowl through the seals because the flow rate is to low to keep the bowl full. The O2 mixes in with CO2 and adds to the foam.

Beer centrifuges have hermetic seals that are flushed with either CO2 gas or carbonated water to keep oxygen from entering the bowl. They also have pressure regulating valves on the discharge to keep the beer from foaming.

What is the make and model of the centrifuge you are using? Are they readily available? I may want to try it in the future after I get some more brewing under my belt.

Good luck with the large pump.


smokinghole 01-30-2013 02:36 PM

My guess is that you're running into a pressure issue. You should ideally go from pressure vessel to a pressurized centrifuge through to a pressurized vessel. If you are lacking pressure anywhere along the line you risk introducing oxygen and losing any residual CO2 in the beer. Is that thing meant for beer or is it a small centrifuge for a lab?

foose212 02-13-2013 03:41 AM

Sorry for the late response guys.
So, the centrifuge is actually a lab centrifuge, more specifically a clarifier, for bulk cell culture fluid to be cleaned prior to starting polishing steps in a biotech process. It's a Westfalia CTC. They are pretty expensive, but if you want to try it out and you live near San Diego shoot me a PM and we can meet up one weekend.
Ya, did so more research on the centrifuge, and realized that I was missing two things. My pump speed was really too slow for the centrifuge, and I need to provide back pressure on the system to work effectively. Haven't ran it again, but I'll get to it sooner or later.
I did open the Hefeweizen that I cleared with it, and it tasted it great. Actually got a lot of really nice compliments on the beer.

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