Using Filters to Clear the Brew?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

angry_gopher

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2018
Messages
74
Reaction score
15
Location
YCT
It happens that my wife has a wine filter system similar to Buono as part of her disused winemaking gear. My questions are how much do the filters affect the taste of the beer and how do the numbers correspond to the rate of filtration?
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
15,334
Reaction score
5,846
Location
Pasadena, MD
Most homebrewers don't filter their beer. If you leave it in the fermentor for 2 weeks it should be quite clear already, otherwise cold crashing at 32F for a few days with or without (gelatin) finings should clear it up in most cases.

If you were to filter beer, you need to make sure the beer doesn't get exposed to air or it will oxidize, leaving stale, wet cardboard flavors and kills pretty much any hop aroma and flavor.

Most filters would require some pressure to push the beer through, either by pump, CO2 or N2. Any carbonation the beer has tends to come out of solution when it hits the filter, so it may become a foamy mess unless you can keep the beer and filter system cold and under pressure. If you were to use filters, you need to use a few in succession like 5 micron, then 1 micron, and finally 0.2 micron, or the finest one will plug up in no time, depending on how cloudy the beer is.

I'm not familiar with wine filters or the Buon Vino, looks like the latter has a built in pump system, but cannot be purged with CO2, apparently.
 
Last edited:
OP
A

angry_gopher

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2018
Messages
74
Reaction score
15
Location
YCT
I've been thinking this over for the last week or so. I have a kegging system in place already, rather than using the air pump supplied with the filtration system why not just push with CO2 directly into the serving keg? I'm sure I can come up with an easy way to do it.

ETA - now if only I could find Grolsch cap correctly sized for carboys.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
15,334
Reaction score
5,846
Location
Pasadena, MD
I've been thinking this over for the last week or so. I have a kegging system in place already, rather than using the air pump supplied with the filtration system why not just push with CO2 directly into the serving keg? I'm sure I can come up with an easy way to do it.

ETA - now if only I could find Grolsch cap correctly sized for carboys.
Since you have that filter system, I guess you want to put it to good use? Sure, you can push your beer into a 2nd keg, through that filter pack with graduated pads from coarse to fine, but you may be surprised how fast it clogs if your beer is visibly cloudy.

Here's what I would do:
First cold crash your fermentor for a few days, with some gelatin, at 30-32F. Then transfer to a keg, add some gelatin, purge well (or do a 100% Starsan prepurge) pressurize to 30-40 psi, disconnect from the gas, and put in a cold refrigerator for a few days to 2 weeks at 30-32F. Most yeast that remained in suspension will have sunk to the bottom of the keg by then. Carefully, without agitating, lift the keg out of the fridge, and push the (almost) clear beer into a 2nd (100% Starsan pre-purged) keg. You'd blow off the first few pints as they will be extremely yeasty. As soon as clear beer comes out, connect to the 2nd keg using a liquid-to-liquid jumper hose.* Stop the transfer (pull the liquid QD quickly off the keg) as soon as yeast starts to enter the jumper tube, or better yet, your keg is nearly empty (on a scale, go by weight).

* This where you can insert your filter pack between the 2 kegs.
Make sure to purge the filter system with CO2 before transferring beer.

BTW, you can't pressurize carboys, so unless you like to suck flat beer out of the carboy, I'd stick with kegging. ;)
 
OP
A

angry_gopher

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2018
Messages
74
Reaction score
15
Location
YCT
Since you have that filter system, I guess you want to put it to good use? Sure, you can push your beer into a 2nd keg, through that filter pack with graduated pads from coarse to fine, but you may be surprised how fast it clogs if your beer is visibly cloudy.

Here's what I would do:
First cold crash your fermentor for a few days, with some gelatin, at 30-32F. Then transfer to a keg, add some gelatin, purge well (or do a 100% Starsan prepurge) pressurize to 30-40 psi, disconnect from the gas, and put in a cold refrigerator for a few days to 2 weeks at 30-32F. Most yeast that remained in suspension will have sunk to the bottom of the keg by then. Carefully, without agitating, lift the keg out of the fridge, and push the (almost) clear beer into a 2nd (100% Starsan pre-purged) keg. You'd blow off the first few pints as they will be extremely yeasty. As soon as clear beer comes out, connect to the 2nd keg using a liquid-to-liquid jumper hose.* Stop the transfer (pull the liquid QD quickly off the keg) as soon as yeast starts to enter the jumper tube, or better yet, your keg is nearly empty (on a scale, go by weight).

* This where you can insert your filter pack between the 2 kegs.
Make sure to purge the filter system with CO2 before transferring beer.

BTW, you can't pressurize carboys, so unless you like to suck flat beer out of the carboy, I'd stick with kegging. ;)
First, I'm far more worried that the filter would remove some of the beer's body and affect the taste and pads are cheap. 2nd, I'm not doing a true counter pressure fill, if the carboy can't handle 2 PSIG, I'd say it has other problems (the filter system I have was built in the 80's and used an aquarium aerator to force transfer the liquid). 3rd. I'm not stuck on this plan I'm just trying to establish it's potential for speeding the clearing process. From a strictly taste POV your position of the tried and true is definitely the way to go, it isn't broken. Why play chicken with good beer?

FWIW, I'm sticking with the old way for now, but I'm really tempted at some point to try it by splitting a batch. Filtered vs unfiltered. I would bet the cleaner crisper lagers would benefit and others such as Hefeweizens would suffer badly.
 

taylorjohn11892

Active Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
38
Reaction score
1
Location
Spartanburg
It isn't worth it at a home brew level. My beers come out very clear with gravity doing its job. I have used a filter before but it was such a hassle. Perform all of the above and you should be fine.
 

Blazinlow86

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
1,680
Reaction score
731
It isn't worth it at a home brew level. My beers come out very clear with gravity doing its job. I have used a filter before but it was such a hassle. Perform all of the above and you should be fine.
Agreed. I don't think it will improve the taste unless your process is flawed and you have abunch of junk left behind. with proper process I can turn out a very clear beer in 2 weeks. Pictured is a pale ale without any finings after about 14 days.
20180508_194035.jpeg
 
Top