National Beer Day: How Diatomaceous Earth Is Used to Filter Beer

National Beer Day

Are you celebrating National Beer Day? While it might seem like an unlikely connection, it’s time to celebrate diatomaceous earth as well. That’s because you might have this mineral to thank for your favorite brew. In fact, diatomaceous earth has the longest history in the industry as a filtering medium. In honor of this fun national holiday, learn how diatomaceous earth is used to make beer.

Why Filter Beer: Taste and Appearance

In the age of the growing craft brewing industry, there’s a beer for every taste and appearance preference, and filtration is one thing that enables a wide range of offerings. When you filter, you impact:

Taste. Oftentimes, a clear beer can expand the definition of flavors you can get because you no longer have the yeast, tannins, and proteins that impact the taste. Cloudy beers are often described as “citrus,” which is a flavor that can cut through everything. Getting subtle flavors in a muddied environment is a difficult thing for people to do, so a clear beer offers the opportunity to bring in flavors that people don’t expect to get.

Appearance. There are some that are served as cloudy, and others that are served as clear, which refers to clarity. When brewing beer, floaters—particles you can see in the liquid—are often considered undesirable (though some enthusiasts consider it “dessert”). Before filtration was a popular option to get rid of these floaters, beer makers would let the brew sit until the right clarity was achieved. Some still use this method, though if consumed or poured without letting it settle again, the consumer will have that hazy beer with particles mixed in with every sip.

Celebrate National Beer Day Thanks to Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth for Filtration

Diatomaceous earth is used to filter many products, including beer. Diatomaceous earth is the naturally occurring fossilized remains of diatoms (single-celled aquatic algae) and a near-pure sedimentary deposit consisting almost entirely of silica. This mineral is revered for its filtration properties because of its:

  • High Porosity. The pores within and between the cell walls are so small, they trap bacteria, clay particles, some viruses, and other suspended solids from liquids, leaving liquids cleaner and with drastically reduced solids and contaminant levels. For beer, it filters out yeast, tannins, and proteins.
  • High Flow Rate. Diatomaceous earth filter cakes extend the flow rate of the material being filtered and prevent clogging. This helps brewers get their products to market faster.
  • Longer Filter Cycles. The high solids-holding capacity of diatomaceous earth allows for much longer filter cycles (allowing more solids to be removed) than what would be possible with other filtration methods.
  • Less Clogging. The biggest advantage of diatomaceous earth is that it doesn’t clog. Oppositely, with a membrane filter, you get clogging which can create problems for your production.
  • Mechanical, Not Chemical Filtration. There are chemical options for filtering products, but not diatomaceous earth! It is a mechanical filtration method that requires the liquid to flow through a porous filter media and deposit the solids on the media. This ensures taste or safety isn’t sacrificed during filtration.

How You Can Use Diatomaceous Earth to Filter Beer

In order to use diatomaceous earth as a filter medium, you need a compatible filter. Fortunately, diatomaceous earth is compatible with a variety of filters you might already have for your brewing process so you can make an easy switch if you’re already filtering your product. You can use diatomaceous earth with the following filters:

  • Plate: This filter includes a frame, also known as chassis, where quadratic plates and frames are mounted. The plates have filter sheets on both sides, sealing the plates and frames against each other. Pre-coating and body feed are used to form filter cakes. After the filtration cycle, the diatomaceous earth can be spray-washed so the sheet can be used again.
  • Leaf: This filtration method includes an upright cylinder with many round filter elements arranged in a hollow shaft. A fabric made with chrome-nickel steel is the base for building filter cakes. This method is known for its flexibility and ability to maintain the filter cake.
  • Candle: Candle filters are cylindrical, upright conical pressure tanks. They hold hundreds of candles fixed to a top plate which is then suspended in the housing. Diatomaceous earth is coated around the candle cartridges. This method is frequently used in high-production breweries.

In Honor of National Beer Day, Reach out to Dicalite Management Group for Your Beer Filtration Needs.

At Dicalite Management Group we understand how important it is to choose the right filtration method for your product. Our Dicalite 4200 Diatomaceous Erath is a top choice for beer filtration. This high-grade diatomaceous earth is mined from the deposit at our Burney, California location and is a direct-run product, ensuring Dicalite 4200 is more consistent on our customers’ filters and requires less adjustment due to DE variations. This allows the customer to focus efforts on process variations without concern for the additional variations from the filter aid. Call us today at 866-728-3303 to request your free sample.

If you’d like to learn more about using minerals for filtration, download our free e-book A World of Filtration Experience today.

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