From craft brewers to industrial producers, the brewing industry is a crowded marketplace. For brewers looking to gain a competitive edge, choosing the right filtration system can make all the difference, helping to ensure a high-quality end product and increasing yield and boosting profits. Steve Bradley, UK Sales Director for AVE UK, outlines five essential considerations for breweries of all sizes when specifying a filtration system.
1 Product recovery
Today’s intelligent filtration systems do more than just filter beer. When discussing your needs with a supplier, make sure to ask about the product recovery capabilities of any filtration system. The most sophisticated options can filter the yeast lees and the beer, significantly reducing product losses during the brewing and filtration process. This benefits the brewer in the form of higher yield or lower waste.
For example, AVE’s OMNIA B cross flow filtration system can filter products with high turbidity and very high solids content in a single pass. Filtering beer yeast lees with up to 90% suspended solids to a nominal 0.45µm, it maximises yield by boosting product recovery from yeast sediment. For a brewery with an annual beer output of 1 million hl and an average loss of 3%, this equates to a recovery of 18,000 hl of beer from lees.
2 Beer clarification
The latest filtration systems also offer brewers the opportunity to achieve microbiological stability, product recovery and beer clarification in one single solution. By reducing the number of steps involved, brewers can reduce their CAPEX costs, staffing levels and energy demand, further helping to increase profitability.
AVE’s OMNIA B filter was recently installed at a brewery in Italy to treat high gravity lager with 36% suspended solids at the filter inlet. After being filtered, the recovered beer clarity is now 0.45 EBC – much to the surprise of the brewmaster, who had previously been disposing of the filtrate.
3 Microbiological stability
The material from which filter membranes are made is another critical consideration as it can play an important role in ensuring the finished product is microbiologically stable. The OMNIA B comprises ceramic membranes with a 0.45µm nominal porosity. This strips out almost all the bacteria, removing any pathogen concerns. Its anaerobic design is also fully hygienic, ensuring a yeast-free filtrate with less than five cells per 100ml.
4 Dissolved oxygen reduction
Low levels of dissolved oxygen are important to today’s brewers, helping to create a higher quality finished product and increasing a beer’s shelf life. For these reasons, selecting a filtration system that can reduce dissolved oxygen levels can pay dividends.
The Italian brewery mentioned above is reaping these rewards since installing the OMNIA B cross flow filtration system; dissolved oxygen pick-up remains near zero, while CO2 losses are also minimised.
5 Flavour profile retention
As each beer has its own distinct identity, it is also imperative that any filtration system does not affect the finished product’s taste, smell, or feel. Certain filtration methods can alter a beer’s organoleptic qualities, so it is essential to assess the material from which it is constructed.
As ceramic membranes are inert, they do not affect a beer’s unique flavour profile. Unlike other filtration methods involving additives, their channels can be constructed in various shapes and diameters, while their porosity can range from nanofiltration to microfiltration. As a result, ceramic membrane filters like the OMNIA B can be customised to a porosity that is ideal for the required flavour profile.
Finally, not only do ceramic membrane filters boast superior organoleptic retention, but their lifespan is on average five times greater than polymer alternatives. For this reason, AVE’s ceramic membrane technology comes with a five-year guarantee.