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Thread: Sterilizing Plate and Frame

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Sterilizing Plate and Frame

    I am about to use a Plate and Frame and was wondering what processes brewers are following for sterilizing, both pre and post filtering.

    I read the manual for our filter and it says I can sterilize with hot water from my HLT until each bleed valve is dispensing ~180* water. Then, to reduce foaming, I am supposed to cool down the filter with 'clean' cold water. I don't have 'clean' cold water. I've read posts here where folks are following this, but how do you know your cold water is sterile?

    Also, I was planning on backflushing the filter from the HLT after filtration, and then pumping sanitizer into it, closing the valves and covering it with a grill cover. It will be used 1-2 times per week to start off. Thoughts?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Nov 2002
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    Polson, Montana, USA
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    I cool my filter down with city water that comes in at around 50 degrees F. When I'm done with the filter, I backflush with hot liquor and follow with cold liquor (city water), then I spray each plate, both sides, with the high pressure hose and hand-scrub each plate, both sides, with starsan. The inlets and outlets get pressure-blasted and starsan-ed. I've used this procedure for several years now with great results.
    prost!
    dave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Strongsville, Ohio
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    We run the sanitizing water (from the HLT but into the kettle to boil then cool a bit) through our heat exchanger. This way we can "dial in" the temp if we're too hot by running a little cooling water through the HEX. We dump the initial water goin through the press (too loose the paper taste) then recirc back to the kettle. Once we've reached our temp for the given time exiting the filter we crank the chilling water going through the HEX to cool it down. We then blow down the Press with CO2 and start sending beer through. I'm hoping this minimizes Oxygen pickup using pre boiled water and flushing with the CO2.

    The water going through the HEX replaces some the water we took out of the HLT to sanitize. After weve cooled the press down we dump the water from the kettle, or save it to heat back up for cleaning the fermenter.

    Of course, you need a clean/sani HEX and kettle before you do this..

    JackK

  4. #4
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    Oct 2002
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    Tadcaster, Yorkshire, UK
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    Just a thought about the back flushing. The P&F filters are not designed to be backflushed as there is no suppport for the sheet on the frame side. This can result in stretching, or even small tears in the support sheets. The mall tears may lead to powder breakthrough. If the support sheet is stretched, it will not lie flat on the support plate, but in fact have small "bubbles", particularly during the early stages of filtration. As these "bubbles" flatten out, if you are lucky, cracks are likely to develop for short periods until filled with more powder. These cracks can let both small powder particles, yeast, protein and bacteria through into the bright beer.

    I would also be wary of using scrapers / high pressure hoses as these can alos remove / damage the finished surface on the support sheets, making pass through of yeast / KG etc more likely. Simply use a hose to wash off, slightly restricting to create a fan, but not a pressure hose suitable for cleaning floors / cars / bikes etc. Absolutely no problem using high pressure once the sheets are off for replacement.

    Not keen on sanitiser of any sort as it is so difficult to ensure it is removed before you introduce the beer. Normally you should use hot water - 80 to 85 C at all eight of the outlets, and don't forget to include the KG dosing and precoating pumps, and probably the dosing tank as well in the sterilisation sequence. Some filter suppliers also allow you to use steam, though I suspect this is old coated cast iron plates & frames, not stainless steel. I have never used steam on stainless filters
    dick

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Ashland, Oregon
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    Quote Originally Posted by dick murton
    Absolutely no problem using high pressure once the sheets are off for replacement.
    How common is it that folks spray off and reuse the sheets? I just assumed that he was talking about spraying down the plates.
    --
    Brandon Overstreet
    President, Co-Founder
    Swing Tree Brewing Company
    300 E. Hersey St. #7
    Ashland OR, 97520
    c. 541-591-8584
    boverstreet at swingtreebrewing.com
    www.SwingTreeBrewing.com

  6. #6
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    Dec 2003
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    Strongsville, Ohio
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    I've always back flushed and havnt had a problem.....but Have never been filtering extremely fine with mass bottling for distribution in mind.

    Have never reused sheets once the press has been cracked back open.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2002
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    Polson, Montana, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brancid
    How common is it that folks spray off and reuse the sheets? I just assumed that he was talking about spraying down the plates.
    I usually wait until I have 2-3 batches to filter at once, rack up the filter and filter all, one after another, with cold-hot-cold backflushes in-between. I'm able to get multiple batches filtered through one set of pads. After that, the pads go into the garbage.
    prost!
    dave

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    Lansing, MI
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    The kind of plate and frame filter Dick is talking about is not the same kind we use in the brewpubs. I forget the technical name for what we commonly call plate and frames here.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2002
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    Winston-Salem, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott isham
    The kind of plate and frame filter Dick is talking about is not the same kind we use in the brewpubs. I forget the technical name for what we commonly call plate and frames here.

    Press filters?
    BrewerTL

  10. #10
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    Lansing, MI
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrewerTL
    Press filters?
    I think you're right.
    Last edited by scott isham; 08-10-2009 at 07:53 AM.

  11. #11
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    Jul 2005
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    Chandler, AZ
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    VanGundy,

    Are you really saying that you don't have potable water at your brewery? If your water coming into the brewery is chlorinated, then it should be sterile enough to cool your filter before you start pushing beer through. If not, then you have a more serious problem than what you've presented.

    Cheers,

    --Gabe

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    Tadcaster, Yorkshire, UK
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    Re terminology for the type of filters being used in brewpubs - this undoubtedly explains a lot. Someone please do me a favour and drop me a couple of photos of one, both closed and opened up. Might as well at least try to stop foot in mouth sysdrome

    Thanks

    dick.murton@aol.com
    dick

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
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    618
    Dick-- LOL. I call them Sheet filters or Plate and Sheet. No frames. Funny though, GW Kent calls it plate and FRAME:
    http://breweryparts.com/index.php/eq...-40x40-cm.html

    As for sani- Hot water rinse followed by a potable water cool down is fine. Ive been doing it for 10 years in a pub setting. If still worried sani your rinse/cooling water. Youll need a reservoir for that though, 10-15 gallons (cut off keg) should be enough if you have a CLT or run it though a glycol heat exchanger.
    Operations Director, Tin Roof BC
    ted@tinroofbeer.com
    "Your results may vary"

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Tadcaster, Yorkshire, UK
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    Sorry but the the photos are not clear enough to distinguish between plate and frame filters and plate only filters. However, at least some look like traditional plate and frame filters. I agree that some appear to be plate only filters. Shame they don't give side on or blow up views. Plate and frame filters have hollow chambers alternating with the plates, over which the sheets are hung. The frames allow kieselguhr cake build up. This type of filter should definitely not be backwashed for the reasons I noted above.

    Straightforward plate or sheet filters, i.e. alternating plates have sheets hung over them, with similar design plates for the inlet flow alternating are absolutely fine for backwashing as they have support over the whole surface. However this type of filter is really not as suitable for filtering large quantites of beer as P&Fs where the KG does the real work, but are great for "sterilising" or PVPP treating if the sheets have PVPP embedded.

    Sounds as though we have the age old problem of using the same name for differnt kit / different name for same kit that I have experienced every time I move sites, let alone companies.
    dick

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    7
    Thanks everyone!

    Sauce, I will try your method of running the HLT through the HEX and just crank on the chiller when it's time to switch over to the cool down. The nice thing is all of this is sterilized filtered water and I can run it straight back to the HLT. I will def smell/taste the water to make sure there are no paper flavors appearing. That's one of those "duh why didn't I think of that" things, but I'm glad I asked!

    Dick, no KG being used here. I will be fining the beers before filtering to reduce the chances of a long painful day. For people filtering in the 2-3 micron range, is significant dropping of the yeast necessary (i.e. finings) or are any of you simply cold crashing a few days and running the filter without problems?

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