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Why Filtration Matters for Beer

From diatomaceous earth to sleek new centrifuges, there’s a step that many of your favorite beers go through, and while you might not immediately taste a difference, you can sure see it.

Jon Page May 25, 2019 - 8 min read

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Photo by Jon Page

Late nights, clogged filters, and the threat of oxidized beer—these were a few of the headaches plaguing brewers at SaltWater Brewery in Delray Beach, Florida, not long after the brewery was founded in 2013.

As demand for cans of its flagship Screamin’ Reels IPA increased, so did SaltWater’s reliance on filtration to create a shelf-stable product. In the beginning, the brewery ran the 7 percent ABV IPA, brewed with Summit and Columbus hops, through a plate and frame filter, but the process resulted in a 13 to 14 percent loss of beer. Fast-forward a few years, and SaltWater upgraded to a lenticular filter, which reduced beer loss to 10 percent but required extra time to sterilize.

A better, less time-consuming approach arrived in 2017 when the brewery installed a centrifuge from German company GEA. The investment was worth every penny, according to Dustin Jeffers, SaltWater’s head of operations and cofounder, as the device limited beer loss to 4 to 5 percent.

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