Types of Microbrewery Pumps and Filtration Equipment

A brewery pump selection and maintenance guide is important for maintaining the quality of your brew. Pumps come in different types, shapes, sizes, functions, and with various levels of expertise needed to operate them.  This article presents a high-level understanding of most common micro brewery pump and filtration equipment used in the brewing process.

Here is some more detail about the recommended brewery pump, bubble trap (airlock), and sanitary strainers for your brewing operation.

Craft beer has elevated consumer palates everywhere and is one of the fastest-growing small business segments.  Both large commercial breweries and smaller craft beer brewers take the production process very seriously. That means pumps are an integral part of any successful brewery’s operation–they transport viscous or non-viscous liquids for each brew during every step in the making process.

brewery pump filtration strainers

Brewery pumps can be divided into two basic categories: centrifugal (which push liquid out) and positive displacement (pump which rely on back pressure). Pumps can affect the flavor profile, careful attention to choosing well-suited pumps is essential; once put into place though they must also be maintained periodically so that peak performance isn’t lost over time.

Centrifugal pumps vs. positive displacement pumps

In a nutshell, centrifugal pumps are better suited for general applications where there isn’t a great need to meter out precise amounts whereas positive displacement or pressure compensating pumps work well when more precision is necessary (e.g., brewing). Positive displacement pumps also tend be much less expensive than pressure compressing ones which makes it worth considering if you’re looking for a microbrewery pump.

What is a centrifugal pump?

Centrifugal pumps are most commonly used in breweries and include the following four types: multi-stage, open impeller, liquid ring, and submersible. They work well for transferring non-viscous liquids at a high volume with little to no solids content under pressure of less than 100 psi. Learn more about what types of brewery pumps are typically used.

How to select a brewery pump size?

The most common technique for selecting a brewery system pump is to use the curve of discharge pressure. When plotted, these curves help determine what size and type of brewer will best suit your needs while considering head height (the maximum height that can be delivered by this pump).

The actual flow rate achieved by a centrifugal pump will depend on the physical layout of the system, pipe friction as a function of length and pipe diameter, elevation difference between fluid source and destination. The selection process must also consider net positive suction head available (NPSHa) an power required to drive it. A positive displacement pump can produce its rated flow for any physical environment.

Determine the flow rate for your brewery process to make sure you are selecting a pump that is appropriate. You can also use this information when calculating pipe diameter so it fits within fluid transfer operation range guidelines and minimizes friction loss. The Brewers Association offers a seminar specifically on pump sizing.

What is a sanitary positive displacement pump?

The most commonly used sanitary positive displacement pumps (PD pumps) in the brewing industry are part of a diverse family with wide-ranging applications. For example, you may be surprised to learn that PD is best suited for thick liquids or those which contain high concentrations of solids such as mash-in wort, liquid sugar and yeast slurry.  This type of pump is also the most commonly used food grade pump.

Do I need a strainer?

Of course, stainless steel sanitary strainers are essential to the brew process as well as lenticular, activated carbon and aquafil polyether-sulphone membranes.  Beer filters is an evolving process technology for those who want to enjoy their favorite drink without the hassle of pasteurization. With these, you can filter out all living organisms and still keep the desired taste as filtration only removes live yeast from beer. The process begins with one or more rounds through different layers of porosity that gradually decreases the amount of yeast in beverages as the beer is filtered.

Filtration is split into three stages, primary, trap, and secondary. Filtration, in particular, can be difficult to perfect without compromising the quality of your product. There are three major stages when it comes to filtration: a primary process strainer (removes solids), a trap (remove DE or other process additives) and final membrane filtration where more intense removal takes place by removing organisms that could spoil packaged beer for consumption.

Beer is a fermented beverage that relies on yeast, and sometimes bacteria, to create flavor. To ensure safety of the final product it must be filtered at four stages before packaging: 1) Primary filtration removes solids with bulk yeast from beer 2) Trap filtration removes process additives like DE 3) Fine filtering can reduce yeast levels in some beers 4) Final membrane filters remove pesky microorganisms .
-Primary Filtration Removes Solids And Bulk Yeast From Beer
-Trap Filtering Effectively Remove Process Additives Like Dextrose Esters

What is primary filtration used in brewing?

Primary filtration is a clarification process to remove bulk yeast from fermented beer. Typical inlet turbidity values of 60-120 EBC and yeast cell count of about 10 million cells/mL. Sedimentation alone cannot provide the level of clarity required for downstream processing stages, so this stage helps to remove haze forming materials like protein-polyphenol conglomerates or hop resins before they reach later stages. For stabilization, PVPP (Polyvinyl polypyrolidone) is added which can help with removing either proteins or phenols depending on what type you add during the process.

DE filtration is the most widely used for the first stage of filtration but must be followed by trap filtration. Major primary filtration technologies include diafiltration, cross-flow separation, and membrane. The latter two are the best options for microbiological stability.

What is trap filtration for brewing?

Trap filtration or particle filtration is the next stage as the beer leaves bulk filtration to protect its quality. The type of depth filter needed for this is rated at 3-5 microns and will be used in conjunction with other filters like those that remove any remaining particles from DEs.  Depth filters are made with media that is melt-blown or spun into continuous polymer fibers. Those fibers are then formed either a thick tube or flat sheet of material, like fiberglass. Standard depth filters in the most common type because they capture particles through the thickness of their wall and can be found as partified within trap filter housings. Polypropylene is typically used for these types of standard depth filters since it’s strong enough to catch larger debris without breaking while remaining lightweight so it’s efficient.

What is final filtration used in brewing?

The final filtration processes involve a type of filter that can be used as either the pre-filtration stage or the fine and final stages. It is common for smaller craft breweries to use depth filters, which are typically found in traps on larger systems.

Fine and Final Filtration are two important steps before packaging beer; they precede “polishing” with a finer material such as sandpaper sheets or cloths made from diatomaceous earth (not flour). The last step prior to bottling usually involves some form of polishing by using deep bed depth filters containing materials like paper pulp, glass beads, metal filings – anything abrasive enough to remove any remaining yeast cell debris without harming surfaces within your bottle’s neck.

The membrane filter is one of the most important things you’ll ever install in your brewing line. It protects against bacteria from water or other fluids traveling throughout line and microbial protection of for your product shelf-stability.

With all processes that utilize pressure to pump liquid, we recommend the use of sanitary pressure relief valves for safe operations.

To learn more about equipment and improving your beer production or even what is a bubble trap, we recommend you join the Brewers Association https://www.brewersassociation.org/.

By Published On: January 4, 2020Categories: Brewing, Industrial Marketing