Packaging Breweries: What are you filtering with?
I'm working on a new production brewery. I have never canned/bottled for distribution before and most of my filtering experience was in a brew pub setting (where I have used both a Horizontal Pressure Leaf Filter w/ DE and a Lenticular Sheet Filter, both with success)
I have done a lot of research and searching on this site and have gotten lots of information, but I'm still not comfortable pulling the trigger on any of the solutions I have read about.
Are some of you using a series of different filters, in succession, to get the beer bright?
Would an appropriately sized Leaf/DE filter be enough?
Are you fining your beer before filtration with gelatin, Biofine, etc...?
In my pub setting, I use a highly flocculating ale yeast and a medium floc lager yeast. I fine them both with Biofine at appropriate dosage and then only need to filter the lager.
I'm not looking to scrub the hell out of the beer. What are the risks of just fining the ales to get them brite, then canning from there?
Any help, info and advice would be greatly appreciated.
No advice out there to be given? I would really appreciate some insight on this. TIA
I can't answer some of your questions. We don't use any fining agents.
I've noticed that on these forums and among quite a few brewers there is an anti-filtration bias, many claiming that it strips flavor. I disagree. It does strip one flavor: yeast flavor, which I don't want in most of my beers, except when called for due to style. Most of the big craft breweries who we all know and love, filter their beer.
We're a 7 bbl brew pub. We filter most of our beers using a DE filter except we use perlite as our filter media. We make sure to have all our beers at 33 F for a few days before filtering. That way all the chill haze is filtered out. The result is a crystal clear beer which remains that way.
We do use irish moss in the kettle which produces a brighter beer before filtration.
Whether or not to filter is personal choice. What type of filter and what degree of filtration you are looking for is also brewers choice. Personally I'm in the 'filters suck' camp, and have made canning work without it at my latest brewery. This is after five years of filtering the hell out of beers at some of those big breweries and seeing so much flavor/aroma stripped out. The nice thing about filters is it eliminates guess work...you know the beer will be clear and ready to go after filtration, and can schedule packaging around that with some certainty. I have had a couple days canning unfiltered beer where I've had to send a canning crew home because the finings needed another day; that doesnt happen with a filtered beer. The crappy thing about filters is they strip flavor, it's another source of potential equipment headache, and it's a much harder process than just transferring and waiting.
As far as degree of filtration I've canned off beers filtered just with a DE filter, beers filtered with a DE hooked to a PF filter, and with beer filtered with DE to the BBT and then with A PF to the bottling line. Just DE works fine and if I were filtering beer right now that's what I would use. With a DE filter I feel like the cellarman has more control of the filtration based on what grade of DE they are using, pump speeds, dosing rates, etc. I really hate PF filters.
As far as canning unfiltered beer it works fine as long as the biofine works. So far so good for me on the biofine. I have learned to keg off four kegs before starting to can so that any potential cloudy beer goes into kegs that are just served in the tasting room where we can make a decision then about whether to serve (usually the kegs clear up fine), and I do the same thing with the end of the tank as I've found draining the tank with the canning line inevitably winds up pulling some cloudy beer at the end. I've also had to can off a port on the middle of the tank a few times as the bottom third was still clearing up, so try to give yourself an option for a valve to can off of that isn't off the bottom of the tank. Other than that canning unfiltered beer is working great for me.