Saturday, August 1, 2009

Filter Your Beer - If You Can

I normally don't bother filtering my beer. It usually clears nicely in the keg after a couple weeks of sitting under cold conditions in the kegerator. I add Irish moss in the last 15 minutes of the boil and with the aging in the keg, the beer is very clear after the first pint is drawn off, taking with it some yeasty dregs that settle near the pickup tube.

However, because the hobby of homebrewing for me is about trying different techniques and equipment, I decided to filter a couple of kegs to have the experience and witness personally the results of filtering. I chose a beer that was relatively young and one that I inadvertently forgot to add clarifying agents during the boil. It had some haze, more so than what I'm used to so this was a perfect candidate for my filtering project.

The process I used was typical, force the beer out of the keg through the filter and into a clean, sanitized and pressurized keg using c02.

I attached output ball lock connectors to the hoses that run to and from my filter. I placed a 1 micron filter in the filter canister. After attaching the connectors to the full and pressurized empty keg, I slowly released some pressure from the empty keg which allowed the beer to begin flowing. When I was done and had transferred all the beer into the new keg I examined the filter. It showed that a lot of particulate matter was trapped but after drawing off a pint and examining the freshly filtered beer, there was little evidence that the filtering had improved the clarity. The beer was slightly less hazing than before the filtering process. A good experience but hardly worth the effort.

I have been told that filtering the beer would strip the flavor in the process of clarifying but in this case it tasted the same and was just so slightly less murky.

Has anyone had success with this filtering business? Let us know how to do it with success.


Sean T. McBeth said...

I attempted filtering a dry apple wine with a store-bought Britta filter. I ended up with no less cloudy, slightly less colorful, significantly lest tasty apple wine and a manky Britta filter.

I don't mind cloudy beer. To me, cloudy says "not made in a giant factory".

Anonymous said...

Did you use a 5 micron filter?
My understanding is that chill haze and yeast particulate do not get filtered out until you are down in the 1 micron range.
Mark Crain

mark said...

I did use a 1 micron filter. Still, it didn't do the job to my satisfaction. I can only think that maybe I ran the beer through too quickly.

Ken said...

Read Mike "Tasty" McDoles thoughts on filtering here:

Mike is a respected homebrewer who filters all his beers and I value any homebrewing advice he has to offer. said...

I agree with your respect for Mike. He's a great, award winning homebrewer with a lot to offer. Thanks for the reply.

Anonymous said...

when filtering beer does it cause the beer to lose c02 ?

Beer Diary... said...

Using the system that I outlined above, you will not lose any of the co2 because the keg that beer is transfering to is under equal co2 pressure as the keg that the beer is coming from. Additionally, the filter housing is under pressure. So, as the pressure in the new keg is released the liquid moves toward the lower pressure. I hope this helps.

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