F is for Filter
F is for Filter – part 6 of our A to Z guide to craft beer terms.
To filter or not to filter – a question most established craft breweries have to tackle.
“Unfiltered” is sometimes marked on the side of craft beer bottles – almost like some kind of badge of honour or authenticity. And while there’s nothing wrong with leaving beer in an unfiltered state, there’s certainly nothing wrong or “less authentic” about running it through modern filtration systems. From home brewers all the way up to SABMiller – a lot of the industry chooses to filter.
So what exactly does filtering do?
In a nutshell, filtering beer removes yeast, large proteins and some tannins from beer. What would normally take weeks or even longer can be done in a matter of minutes. So instead of Devil’s Peak having to sit on your delicious First Light Golden Ale for an extra three weeks, we can simply pump it through the filter and into keg or bottle. Pretty cool!
Additionally, there are some impurities in beer that will never precipitate out, even with the use of fining agents such as gelatin. Removing these impurities can result in a cleaner and much clearer beer than is possible through natural aging and settling.
For Devil’s Peak, choosing the right filter size was important. While we wanted to remove the unwanted elements, we didn’t want to strip any of the flavour out! Your Blockhouse had to stay just as hoppy as you’ve come to expect.
“We’ve gone with .65 microns because this is the size that eliminates yeast while preserving flavour,” says JC, brewer at DPBC.
“As our Saison is bottle conditioned, we do no run it through a final filter.”
And as you can see from the picture above, the filter is quite some contraption. Just one of the things we do to bring you the best tasting beer in South Africa!