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Ceramic membranes have been used in a range beverage production for a number of years now and recent trials have shown how this can be extended into the manufacture and production of beer.
Traditional filters have been using a consumable media. This includes the traditional Diatomaceous Earth filter with its inherent OH&S issues and the management and disposal problems. This means regular replacement of filter media, the labour and downtime that occurs with this and the additional usage of human resources as the media is continually replaced which have significant ongoing costs. Often filtering systems are also combined with a centrifuge for clarification. With multiple stage handling, transfers and processes this results in increased product shear and dissolved oxygen pick up.
A BETTER SOLUTION
Ceramic membrane filters have been used for many years in other beverage filtering applications. In recent years the wine industry has widely adopted cross-flow filters with ceramic membrane with the membrane life being over 10 years. Across the wine and cider industries cross-flow filters are an accepted process. The below pictures show cider being filtered with a cross flow filter.
Technology currently used in the wine and brewery sectors for cider processing show that commercial filtration of craft beers even with significant dry hopping can be filtered with ceramic membrane cross flow filters. This will eliminate the need for the sock. From the trial we can see the expected increase in clarity and a very low to negligible DO pick up.
With this ceramic cross flow technology being used in other beverage industries processing products with solid concentration above 40% at filter inlet with 95 or more% recovery it will be possible to process whole beer fermenter volumes without refrigeration cooling, centrifuges and other filters providing a possible one step clarification from fermenter to package ready, resulting in time and energy savings and an increase in brewery capacity.