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  • Sterile Filtration

    Hi! Do you use sterile filtration (.45 micron or smaller) on your products? If so, what do you like/dislike? If not, why not? Thanks!!

  • #2
    We started out using a tower sterile filter (0.45 micron). The process was slow. We quit doing the sterile filtration and went to batch pasteurizing. Now we tunnel past. The problem I saw with sterile filtration is that I could never 100% guarantee that the container we were using was also 100% clean. It only takes one yeast.
    David

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    • AJ_Davis
      AJ_Davis commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the info David! Any ideas of what the costs comparisons are between sterile filtration, tunnel, and flash? Obviously, there are some factors that cause cost variation, like volume, but just trying to get a general idea. So far my estimates (including CapEx, consumables, energy, labor) are:

      Sterile filtration: $0.10 - $0.20/liter
      Flash Pasteurization: $0.02 - $0.10/liter
      Tunnel Pasteurization: ??

      Also, any concerns about inconsistencies between bottles/kegs when using Tunnel (as mentioned by UnFermentable in this post: https://discussions.probrewer.com/fo...l-pasteurizers)

      Really appreciate the info!

      AJ

  • #3
    AJ, volume is definitely something to consider. We are a small cidery in the North GA Mtns. and are trying to get our volume up for distribution. The last few years are volume has hovered around 25,000 gallons, I am hoping to double or triple that in the next year or two. As far as expenses go one of our biggest is labor. Quick and dirty on the old process: Twin Monkeys canner puts out 35 CPM, load meatal cages with 200 cans at a time(6 minute to fill one, we had ten), dunk cans in 160 F water bath, leave in 24 minutes, pull cages out to cool, pull out cans put in flat and palletize. In order to keep the canner running we would stack cans in giant bins ( 1000 can per bin) empty those bins when we had available metal cages to past. All in all about 5 people to run entire process. All the canning was completed in about 6 hours but past. took the next day and a half. With the tunnel the process will look something like (cross our fingers) cans come out of canner at 31 CPM, cans head into tunnel and are past. at 31CPM, come out other end go right into a flat. Total labor 3 people, total time 6 hours. I do not think the sterile past. can run that fast(without giant expense), haven't seen any flash past. that makes something shelf stable.
    It really matters what your goals are for your process. With sterile and flash you have got to make sure your entire process after that treatment is also sterile, not going to happen in our ciderhouse or with how our containers are delivered and held. Once we amortize out the the tunnel it only added 0.01 cent per can if we can push the volume. We run a low pressure boiler for the tunnel and it runs on propane, that is not expensive to run, at least not now.
    All of our kegs are not past. they are always kept in the cold chain for safety.
    David

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    • AJ_Davis
      AJ_Davis commented
      Editing a comment
      David - this info is extremely helpful! I am extremely grateful.

      Is the batch size associated with the 3 people, 6 hours for tunnel past ~1,000 gal (31 12oz cans per minute x 360 minutes)?

      Has secondary fermentation been pretty under control since moving to tunnel?

      AJ
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