Got some more gear the other day through a friend. In amongst the gear was another Buon Vino Minijet filter unit for wine makers.
I got one a while back in this haul but only ever used it as a small pump for transfers until I broke the inlet barb on the pump itself. 😦 It has since gone to a better place (thank you, Scott).
This most recent acquisition came with some filter pads which was one of the things slowing me down with the last pump: Just getting to somewhere to get the pads. With everything in place for the filter and a beer ready to go with an empty keg ready to fill I went for it!
I was mostly interested in seeing how easy it was to filter and whether it actually made a difference to the end product. It might seem kind of obvious but in my set up if it makes things more complicated and doesn’t make the beer appreciably better then I’m not interested.
Set up was fine. I had all the lines in place and was able to sanitize easily and quickly. I was supposed to soak the filter pads in water as per the instructions but I figured with beer everything needs to be sanitized so I used Star San instead. This may have been a mistake, I don’t know yet. 😉
Once the pump was set up I needed to get various receptacles in place. The carboy of beer needed to be close to the pump, the keg needed to be on the floor and I needed a line to go from the bottom of the filter to a bucket to catch the drips from the filter itself.
Everything in place and away we go. It all seemed to be going fine, I had beer moving from the carboy, through the filter, and out the line to the keg. I let the unit run for a bit into a container to clear any sanitizer from the lines before connecting to the coupling head. Fine. Connect to the coupling head and keep going.
Big problems at that point! Beer was back flowing through the filter pads and just leaking out all over the table top. My first thought was that the filter pads were too fine and were already clogged with yeast and protein from the beer. I shut everything down and tidied up as much as possible before realizing that I hadn’t engaged the coupling head on the keg. D’oh! The beer had nowhere to go but back through the filter.
No problems this time. Generally smooth sailing. I was worried about some foaming issues coming out of the filter but that subsided in fairly short order. Beer was moving in the right direction!
My only two issues with the process were losses of beer during filtration and flavour. The line coming from the bottom of the filter to the bucket was fairly busy. I didn’t measure exactly the amount that was in the bucket at the end of filtration but it was easily a litre or two. Not great if I’m just filtering a rent beer .
The other issue was the flavour of the beer that I had right at the beginning. This is where I’m wondering if the soak in Star San was a mistake. The beer tasted a little bit funny. Now, I was filtering a Pils that I make and I made this last batch with Tettnang hops which I have never used before so there may have been some new flavours there that I’m not used to but this seemed like more than that. This was easily described as “soapy”.
Since then I’ve posted on a couple of forums to see if anyone has experienced the same thing with either Star San or the Tettnang giving a soapy flavour. Response has been mixed with the likely culprit being the hops.
I’ll do it again. The end result is a beautiful looking beer and the basic process is only a bit more involved than my standard transfer to a keg. I almost need to do it again to refine the process.
A couple of things do make me a bit resistant to doing it again. The first main thing is that one set of pads costs about $3. I can buy a fair bit of gelatin for that price to help clarify many batches of beer. The other thing is the wasted beer. This is definitely something that can be fixed it’s just a matter of figuring that one out.
I’ll post a pic of the finished beer later, right now it’s 10am. 😉