Milk Separator for clearing beer

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Nebraskan

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Has anyone ever used a milk separator for helping to clean up the beer after fermentation? At our winery we just bought a "used" centrifuge/separator (Wesfallia) for centrifuging our wines and ciders. at $175,000 used it is a big investment. We had an older centrifuge that I used to run on occasions that has had over several millions of gallons run through it. We trade in for this new one. But, there are small milk/cream separators on Amazon and elsewhere for separating the cream out of the milk. I used one when I was a kid growing up on the farm.

Looks conceivable to use one to help clear the beer. After all, it increases gravity artificially and collects suspended solids to separate out a lot quicker than if they were left to do it naturally.
 
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day_trippr

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Do we look like we're packing $275K for a beer clearing machine?

Cheers! ;)
 

flars

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We had a milk separator on the farm. We weren't worried about adding air to the milk. Adding air to beer would be a problem.
 

FatDragon

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We had a milk separator on the farm. We weren't worried about adding air to the milk. Adding air to beer would be a problem.
This is it. Unless it's a closed system purged of oxygen, you're going to oxygenate the hell out of your beer. That's fine before fermentation, but after fermentation it's not a good idea unless you're a fan of wet cardboard.

If kettle fining, cold crashing, and gelatin aren't good enough (all of which are a lot cheaper and easier than centrifuging), you could look into an inline filter. For me, clear homebrew really isn't that important. It's fun to pull a forgotten bottle out of the back of the fridge and find it clear as spring water, but a bit of haze never put me or anyone else off my own brew.
 
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Yes, I see the point. It would only have an application at the wort end, not the after ferment "beer" end. And my conical fermenter would also allow a lot of trub to settle out before pitching yeast. I know some breweries do use centrifuges, but, like at our winery, it is also hooked up to a CO2 line that fills the bowl with constant CO2 as it runs.
 

flars

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Yes, I see the point. It would only have an application at the wort end, not the after ferment "beer" end. And my conical fermenter would also allow a lot of trub to settle out before pitching yeast. I know some breweries do use centrifuges, but, like at our winery, it is also hooked up to a CO2 line that fills the bowl with constant CO2 as it runs.
To have the option to keep the separator bowl filled with CO2 would definitely take the price up over the simple machine we had on the farm. Was the CO2 also under pressure during use?
 

kh54s10

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To me it simply seems to be too much trouble for what it will do for your beer. I get pretty clear beers with nothing but time...
 

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Yes, I see the point. It would only have an application at the wort end, not the after ferment "beer" end. And my conical fermenter would also allow a lot of trub to settle out before pitching yeast. I know some breweries do use centrifuges, but, like at our winery, it is also hooked up to a CO2 line that fills the bowl with constant CO2 as it runs.
But what would be the use of that? Clear wort has no benefits against wort with some trub in it. It doesn't make a clearer beer, basically it is of no use to clear the wort. Or is there something I am missing?
 

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But what would be the use of that? Clear wort has no benefits against wort with some trub in it. It doesn't make a clearer beer, basically it is of no use to clear the wort. Or is there something I am missing?
Clear wort does improve the odds of a clear beer. Removing uncoagulated proteins (chill haze proteins), unconverted starches, etc, means clear wort. Then, if the ending beer is cloudy, you know it's not from a starch haze, chill haze, etc. Then it's likely a hops haze or yeast haze.
 

Miraculix

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Clear wort does improve the odds of a clear beer. Removing uncoagulated proteins (chill haze proteins), unconverted starches, etc, means clear wort. Then, if the ending beer is cloudy, you know it's not from a starch haze, chill haze, etc. Then it's likely a hops haze or yeast haze.
This settling out process mostly affects solids and not proteins in solution, which would drop out of solution when chilled and then become visible as chill haze.

Even worse, by removing the trub you are effectively lowering the surface area where proteins in solution, single yeasties, basically everything that could cloud the beer could "dock on to" and then sink to the ground "bound" to the bigger particle when fermentation has finished and the liquid starts to get quiet.

I remember some experiments I saw online which basically came to the same conclusion, that wort clearness can even effect beer clearness negatively. But don't ask me where, I guess brulosophy.com.
 
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Nebraskan

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What triggered me to think of this was my last batch of Dunkel has a bit of sediment in it, even after adding Gelatin and settling before putting in to keg and 1 gallon jug. I see the sediment and noticed it has a sort of "gritty" feel to it, and it also coats the side of the glass at the end. I could stand some haze to a beer, but draw the line at gritty solids floating around. Don't know where they may have come from, unless it was the fact that I ground my mash way too fine (another story).

I know that there are some breweries that do use centrifuges, but they have the ways and means to control keeping oxygen out, and replace air with CO2 . The winery's centrifuge has a connection to the CO2 line and is set at around 15-17 lbs PSI, so it would be constant. Since product going out is pretty much in equilibrium with product going in, the loss of CO2 out of the bowl would probably be during the "dump" that discharges the solids.
 
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I was thinking something like this when I mention cream/milk separator. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008LLY2Z4/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20 Once could put a lid on it with fittings to allow beer to go into the bowl and a fitting for a small amount of CO2 gas to be dispensed into the bowl at the time of allowing the beer to flow in. Make up some fitting for the discharge so that the beer side goes into a vessel that has been purged with CO2. This is not a $175,000 investment, but within the realm of most home brewers.
 
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augiedoggy

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This settling out process mostly affects solids and not proteins in solution, which would drop out of solution when chilled and then become visible as chill haze.

Even worse, by removing the trub you are effectively lowering the surface area where proteins in solution, single yeasties, basically everything that could cloud the beer could "dock on to" and then sink to the ground "bound" to the bigger particle when fermentation has finished and the liquid starts to get quiet.

I remember some experiments I saw online which basically came to the same conclusion, that wort clearness can even effect beer clearness negatively. But don't ask me where, I guess brulosophy.com.
I have super clear wort with bacically no trub going into the conicals myself and it hasnt had any negative effects on the clarity of my beers... every now and then I get one thats takes longer to clear but its not an issue for the most part.
 

Miraculix

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I have super clear wort with bacically no trub going into the conicals myself and it hasnt had any negative effects on the clarity of my beers... every now and then I get one thats takes longer to clear but its not an issue for the most part.
I nowhere said that clear wort does lead to haze problems.
 

augiedoggy

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I nowhere said that clear wort does lead to haze problems.
Sorry I must somehow not be understanding what your saying here

Even worse, by removing the trub you are effectively lowering the surface area where proteins in solution, single yeasties, basically everything that could cloud the beer could "dock on to" and then sink to the ground "bound" to the bigger particle when fermentation has finished and the liquid starts to get quiet.

I remember some experiments I saw online which basically came to the same conclusion, that wort clearness can even effect beer clearness negatively. But don't ask me where, I guess brulosophy.com.
because to me your implying that clearer wort can impact wort clarity negatively right? Not trying to argue here but what did you mean by this then?
 

Miraculix

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You are right, I said it can do that, combined with multiple other factors of which it might not be the one that has the strongest impact. So please put the emphasis on can, it certainly does not mean that a clear wort necessarily means hazy beer.

(especially) if it is pre boil, it is beneficial to have bigger particles where smaller particles can stick to on a molecular level.

I saw this first when trying to make gee (clarified butter). When I removed the foam (proteins sticking together) as soon as it appeared during the boiling process, I also removed surface area where other proteins could stick to easily, resulting in cloudy gee. By leaving the foam in for the whole boiling process, all the little flocks sticked to the bigger ones (the foam) and the clear butter fat could easily be extracted.

However, this example only applies pre boil, but I am assuming (backed by the experiment I read about) that something similar happens with the particles when the beer starts to settle down. The smaller particles stick to the bigger ones and get dragged down by them, to say it in a simplified way.
 
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