Filtered beer

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A filtered lager beer Bitburger Glass (cropped).JPG
A filtered lager beer

Filtered beer refers to any ale, lager, or fermented malt beverage in which the sediment left over from the brewing process has been removed. Ancient techniques included the use of straw mats, cloth, or straws, and frequently left some sediment in the drink. Modern filtration, introduced at the end of the 19th century, uses a mechanical process that can remove all sediment, including yeast, from the beer. Such beer is known as bright beer and requires force carbonation before bottling or serving from a keg. [1] In the United Kingdom, a beer which has been filtered in the brewery is known as "brewery-conditioned", as opposed to unfiltered cask ales. [2]



A mixture of diatomaceous earth and yeast after filtering DE and yeast.JPG
A mixture of diatomaceous earth and yeast after filtering

Beer is mechanically filtered by flowing the beer through layers of filter material; the two main techniques are surface filtration and cake filtration. [3] Filters range from rough filters that remove much of the yeast and any solids (e.g. hops, grain particles) left in the beer, to filters fine enough to strain colour and body from the beer. The normal filtration ratings are defined as rough, fine or sterile. Rough filtration leaves some cloudiness in the beer, but it is noticeably clearer than unfiltered beer. Fine filtration yields a beer which is nearly transparent and not cloudy, although observation of the scattering of light through the beer will reveal the presence of some small particles. Finally, as its name implies, sterile filtration is fine enough that almost all microorganisms in the beer have been removed. Beer which has been filtered is usually held in "bright tanks" at the brewery before bottling or additional treatment.

A beer which is filtered is stable, so all conditioning has stopped - as such it is termed "brewery-conditioned". Beers which are in contact with the yeast are known as bottle-conditioned or cask-conditioned. [4] [5] [6]

Sheet filters use pre-made media and are relatively straightforward. The sheets are manufactured to allow only particles smaller than a given size through, and the brewer is free to choose how finely to filter the beer. The sheets are placed into the filtering frame, sterilized (with hot water, for example) and then used to filter the beer. The sheets can be flushed if the filter becomes blocked, and usually the sheets are disposable and are replaced between filtration sessions. Often the sheets contain powdered filtration media to aid in filtration.

Pre-made filters have two sides: one with loose holes, and the other with tight holes. Flow goes from the side with loose holes to the side with the tight holes, with the intent that large particles get stuck in the large holes while leaving enough room around the particles and filter medium for smaller particles to go through and get stuck in tighter holes.

Sheets are sold in nominal ratings, and typically 90% of particles larger than the nominal rating are caught by the sheet. For sterile filtration, a typical size is 1 micrometre or less.

Filters that use a powder medium are considerably more complicated to operate, but can filter much more beer before needing to be regenerated. Common media include diatomaceous earth (kieselguhr) and perlite.

Cold filtering

Though all filtering is done cold, the term cold filtering is used for a filtering process in which the beer is chilled so the protein molecules clump together and are easier to filter out. [7] Breweries tend to differentiate cold filtered beers from those that have been heat pasteurised. [8] [9]

Bright beer

When a beer has been left to allow the yeast to settle at the bottom of the vessel in which it is held (usually a conditioning or lagering tank), [10] it has "dropped bright". Finings can be introduced during the production of beer in order to induce it to drop bright more readily.

Home brewed beer

Beer filtration is also common on a small scale. It is not uncommon for homebrewers (those who brew their own beer at home, often in small batches around 5 US gallons (19 l)) to filter their own beer. While they lack the sophisticated equipment of large-scale breweries, they can achieve satisfactory results using canister filters with successive, replaceable filter cartridges or pads. Most homebrewers will only filter their beer down to 5  μm to remove the majority of yeast and sediment, although some may filter their beer down to 1.0 or 0.5 μm. Anything smaller introduces risk of removing flavor and beneficial compounds. [11] [12]

Related Research Articles

Beer Alcoholic drink made from fermented cereal grains

Beer is one of the oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic drinks in the world, and the third most popular drink overall after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of starches, mainly derived from cereal grains—most commonly from malted barley, though wheat, maize (corn), rice, and oats are also used. During the brewing process, fermentation of the starch sugars in the wort produces ethanol and carbonation in the resulting beer. Most modern beer is brewed with hops, which add bitterness and other flavours and act as a natural preservative and stabilizing agent. Other flavouring agents such as gruit, herbs, or fruits may be included or used instead of hops. In commercial brewing, the natural carbonation effect is often removed during processing and replaced with forced carbonation.

Brewing Process in beer production

Brewing is the production of beer by steeping a starch source in water and fermenting the resulting sweet liquid with yeast. It may be done in a brewery by a commercial brewer, at home by a homebrewer, or communally. Brewing has taken place since around the 6th millennium BC, and archaeological evidence suggests that emerging civilizations, including ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, brewed beer. Since the nineteenth century the brewing industry has been part of most western economies.

Low-alcohol beer Type of beverage

Low-alcohol beer is beer with little or no alcohol content and aims to reproduce the taste of beer while eliminating the inebriating effects of standard alcoholic brews. Most low-alcohol beers are lagers, but there are some low-alcohol ales. Low-alcohol beer is also known as light beer, non-alcoholic beer, small beer, small ale, or near-beer.

Homebrewing Small scale brewing of beer, mead, ciders

Homebrewing is the brewing of beer on a small scale for personal, non-commercial purposes. Supplies, such as kits and fermentation tanks, can be purchased locally at specialty stores or online. Beer was brewed domestically for thousands of years before its commercial production, although its legality has varied according to local regulation. Homebrewing is closely related to the hobby of home distillation, the production of alcoholic spirits for personal consumption; however home distillation is generally more tightly regulated.

Wheat beer Beer brewed in part with wheat

Wheat beer is a top-fermented beer which is brewed with a large proportion of wheat relative to the amount of malted barley. The two main varieties are German Weizenbier and Belgian witbier; other types include Lambic, Berliner Weisse, and Gose.

Kölsch (beer) Local beer specialty that is brewed in Cologne, Germany

Kölsch is a style of beer originating in Cologne, Germany. It has an original gravity between 11 and 14 degrees Plato. In appearance, it is bright and clear with a straw-yellow hue.

Sahti Finnish beer

Sahti is a Finnish type of farmhouse ale made from malted and unmalted grains including barley and rye. Traditionally the beer is flavored with juniper in addition to, or instead of, hops; the mash is filtered through juniper twigs into a trough-shaped tun, called a kuurna in Finnish. Sahti is top-fermented and many have a banana flavor due to isoamyl acetate from the use of baking yeast, although ale yeast may also be used in fermenting.

Adjuncts Unmalted grains that are used in brewing

In brewing, adjuncts are unmalted grains or grain products used in brewing beer which supplement the main mash ingredient. This is often done with the intention of cutting costs, but sometimes also to create an additional feature, such as better foam retention, flavours or nutritional value or additives. Both solid and liquid adjuncts are commonly used.

Rye beer

Rye beer is a beer in which rye is substituted for some portion of the malted barley.

Beer style Differentiation and categories for different types of beer

Beer styles differentiate and categorise beers by colour, flavour, strength, ingredients, production method, recipe, history, or origin.

Bright beer

Bright beer is beer in which yeast is no longer in suspension. There are several methods used for clearing yeast from beer, from waiting for the yeast to drop of its own accord to filtering it.


Nigori or nigorizake is a variety of sake, an alcoholic beverage produced from rice. Its name translates roughly to "cloudy" because of its appearance. It is about 12–17% alcohol by volume, averaging 15% with some as high as 20%.

Brewers Association

The Brewers Association (BA) is an American trade group of over 5,400 brewers, breweries in planning, suppliers, distributors, craft beer retailers, and individuals particularly concerned with the promotion of craft beer and homebrewing.

Triangle Brewing Company

Triangle Brewing Co. (TBC) was a microbrewery owned and operated entirely by business partners Rick "the Brewer" Tufts and Andy "the Bloke" Miller who, in 2005, resettled in Durham, North Carolina from Connecticut. Andy Miller had extensive local restaurant management experience, and Rick Tufts apprenticed at Flying Fish Brewing Company and was an avid homebrewer long before founding a new brewery. TBC began selling beer on July 4, 2007 and was the only microbrewery in Durham. The arrival of a microbrewery in Durham is arguably part of the current downtown art, building, and cultural Renaissance.

Lager Type of beer

Lager is beer which has been brewed and conditioned at low temperature. Lagers can be pale, amber, or dark. Pale lager is the most widely consumed and commercially available style of beer. The term "lager" comes from the German for "storage", as the beer was stored before drinking – traditionally in the same cool caves it was fermented in.

Brewery Business that makes and sells beer

A brewery or brewing company is a business that makes and sells beer. The place at which beer is commercially made is either called a brewery or a beerhouse, where distinct sets of brewing equipment are called plant. The commercial brewing of beer has taken place since at least 2500 BC; in ancient Mesopotamia, brewers derived social sanction and divine protection from the goddess Ninkasi. Brewing was initially a cottage industry, with production taking place at home; by the ninth century monasteries and farms would produce beer on a larger scale, selling the excess; and by the eleventh and twelfth centuries larger, dedicated breweries with eight to ten workers were being built.

Vegetarianism and beer Concerns about the use of animal products in beermaking

Beer is often made from barley malt, water, hops and yeast and so is often suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Some beer brewers add finings to clarify the beer when racking into a barrel. Finings can include plant-derived products, like Irish moss, or animal-derived products, like isinglass and gelatin.

Clarification and stabilization of wine Wine clarification and stabilisation

In winemaking, clarification and stabilization are the processes by which insoluble matter suspended in the wine is removed before bottling. This matter may include dead yeast cells (lees), bacteria, tartrates, proteins, pectins, various tannins and other phenolic compounds, as well as pieces of grape skin, pulp, stems and gums. Clarification and stabilization may involve fining, filtration, centrifugation, flotation, refrigeration, pasteurization, and/or barrel maturation and racking.

Grodziskie Style of beer from Poland

Grodziskie is a historical style of beer from Poland that is typically made from oak-smoked wheat malt. The beer can be described as having a clear, light golden color, high carbonation, low alcohol content, low to moderate levels of hop bitterness, and a strong smoke flavor and aroma. The taste is light and crisp, with primary flavors coming from the smoked malt, the high mineral content of the water, and the strain of yeast used to ferment the beverage. The beer was nicknamed "Polish Champagne" because of its high carbonation levels, and because it was valued as a high-quality beverage to be used for special occasions.

F.H. Steinbart is a homebrew supply store on SE 12th Avenue in Portland, Oregon. It is the oldest homebrew supply store in the country and helped nurture the vibrant Pacific Northwest craft-brewing scene.


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