The Clarifier is a reusable multiple stage stainless steel filter cartridge for filtering beer and wine. It is currently available in 2 and 5 micron versions, with other versions coming soon. It fits all commonly available standard 10” filter cartridge housings.
The Clarifier utilizes a multiple layered 2 stage design. The outer layer traps hops and large particles while the inner layer filters yeast cells, proteins, and other small particles in your beer down to the filter rating. It’s made from passivated micronic stainless steel mesh and food grade silicone gaskets.
All brewers want to sanitize everything that comes in contact with their beer on the cold side, with The Clarifier now you can sanitize your beer filter prior to use too. It’s easy to clean after filtering and will provide a long useful life – paying for itself compared to disposable filters after as few as 3 uses.
Filtering is effective and significantly reduces the time it takes for your beer to condition. The image below shows how much yeast and trub was removed from a 5 gallon batch of a 7% IPA using a 5 micron Clarifier. This beer had an unusually high yeast load and was dry hopped with 62 grams of pelletized hops 3 days before filtering.
The image above shows the filtration process complete with the system still under pressure. Approximately 1.375” of yeast and trub is compressed in the bottom of the filter canister, plus the amount still in suspension within the remaining beer, and that trapped in the filter. This is a significant amount of yeast and trub that would have been in the finished beer.
Instead, this is the beer only a few days after kegging.
Removing most of the yeast and trub through an easy 1 hour filtration process more effectively accomplishes what would have taken many weeks or months of settling out/conditioning in the keg otherwise. With The Clarifier you can begin enjoying your beer as soon as it’s carbonated. And, The Clarifier helps provide a jump start for carbonation as well. Forcing the beer through the micronic stainless steel under CO2 pressure helps begin its dissolution into the beer.
Care and Use Discussion
Choosing the Right Filtration Level
There are varying opinions regarding the right filtration level, as well as differing data regarding the size of yeast cells and other particles to be filtered in beer. Some literature suggests yeast cells are between 5 and 10 microns in size; other recent studies show the mean size is actually 3.5 microns and proteins in the beer account for the particles at the 5-10 micron level. In actual practice all versions of The Clarifier are effective, it’s your personal preference that determines the filtration level you desire.
Whichever filtration level you choose, keep in mind that filters are not 100% efficient so some amount of yeast will remain in your beer after one pass through a filter. So, beers with very high yeast loads will contain more residual yeast after 1 filtration pass than those with low/typical yeast loads; for beers with high yeast loads some brewers will choose to use two filtration passes or use two filters in series in one pass.
There are styles which call for unfiltered beer, and some people feel all beers are better unfiltered. On the other hand, many believe unfiltered yeast cells and trub cloud and mask the malt, hop, yeast esters, and other flavors you designed into your beer. Clarity level in beer is another factor that depends on personal taste and filtration level.
Much of brewing is about controlling the process to achieve repeatable excellent results. Filtration at your chosen micron level helps you more easily and consistently achieve your desired flavor profile batch to batch by removing uncontrolled variables. It allows your recipe to shine through.
And, it helps you enjoy your beer sooner…
The Clarifier is made from three types of stainless steel mesh that are formed into the filter cartridge. The strong base layer is formed first, then additional micronic filter layers are added following the contour of the layer before them, with each layer resistance welded at the seam to seal it.
The stainless steel assembly is then passivated and the silicone gasket ends applied. The silicone used is compliant with FDA and European Union regulations for food contact/processing. It’s a soft durable silicone which permeates the ends of the micronic mesh sealing them, and is designed to compress in the filter housing to form a very tight seal. Normal care should be taken not to abuse the silicone gasket ends.
There are many different ways to filter, and each brewer will adopt their own process that works best for them. This is an overview of one method that works well.
Filtering is accomplished by racking the beer from the fermenter into a keg and then filtering from that keg into the final conditioning/serving keg under CO2 pressure. For best results cold crash the unfiltered keg for 1 to 2 days at approximately 30F before filtering into the conditioning/serving keg. The beer should not be stored under CO2 while cold crashing. The cold crash step is recommended but not required.
The filter sits between the 2 kegs, connected to the ‘out’ ports of both; this allows the CO2 to force the beer out of the full keg through the filter and gently down the dip tube of the empty keg. The full keg is sealed while the empty keg has its lid removed. (If you are concerned about leaving the lid open on the receiving keg, one option is to cover the opening of the empty keg with a paper towel thoroughly wetted with Star San.)
Ensure the hoses connected to your filter housing and kegs are securely clamped and the hoses are rated to an adequate pressure. The pressure required will be dependent on the amount of particulate you are filtering in your beer, and the filter housing port size (¼” ports on the filter housing require more pressure to filter than ½” ports).
Please note, The Clarifier is designed for use with standard filter housings. There are filter housings available which have a non-standard cap such as the Pentek 3G housings. Non-standard housings can typically be identified by the domed appearance of the top of the cap as compared to the flat appearance of standard housings. The contact area between the filter and the cap in non-standard housings is not flat thus the seal between the filter and the housing will not be as strong. We don’t recommend using non-standard filter housings.
This set-up process typically takes less than 15 minutes. Moisten both gaskets on The Clarifier fully with an effective sanitizer such as Star San. This provides the gaskets with sufficient lubrication to seat properly in the filter housing in addition to helping sanitize them prior to use.
Insert the cartridge into the filter housing. Make sure the cartridge gaskets are properly seated into both the receiving rings on the filter housing (body and lid) before tightening. One method is to invert the filter housing cover and seat the cartridge in the cover first. While inverted, place the body of the filter housing over the filter cartridge and carefully seat the cartridge properly into the mating end of the filter housing body. Screw the filter housing together firmly for use.
Sanitize The Clarifier per your normal process prior to use. An effective method for this is to use a small submersible or self-priming pump to recirculate sanitizer through the entire filter assembly while the cartridge is properly installed in the housing. Another method is to simply soak the entire filter housing in a bucket of sanitizer, making sure bubbles are eliminated from the system. Allow the sanitizer to drain from the system after the appropriate contact time.
Follow sanitizing with a CO2 flush to remove any residual sanitizer and purge oxygen from the system. Inverting the filter assembly at the end of this step helps to allow the CO2 to flush any residual sanitizer from the system. Performing the CO2 flush while the filter assembly is attached to the empty keg helps to flush any oxygen from the entire assembly, keg and all. Simply dump any sanitizer flushed into the empty keg in this step. Effectively flushing oxygen out of the system with CO2 is an important step.
The cold crash step is important and you’ll see best results including it in your process. Target a pre-filter beer temperature as close to freezing as you can, without actually freezing the beer; 30F is a good temperature target.
Filter slowly for best results. Target a flow rate that will filter 5 gallons in 1 hour or longer. For filter canisters with ½” ports/hose start at 10PSI, for canisters with ¼” ports/hose begin at 15PSI. Slowly increase the pressure until you reach the desired flow. Monitor the flow rate and increase the PSI accordingly as more pressure will be needed as the filter takes up solids. It’s typical with ½” ports to reach a final filtration pressure between 20 and 35 PSI; ¼” ports will reach a final filtration pressure of up to 50PSI, depending on the level of yeast and trub in the beer. As a reference point, typical home water systems which use the canister filters operate at 65PSI, with a normal range from 40 to 80PSI. Remember, lower pressure and longer time is more effective.
Filter slowly, relax and have a homebrew while the filter does its work for you, including the jump start on carbonation.
The amount of yeast and trub you see in the canister after filtering will vary considerably based on a number of factors including the yeast load in the beer filtered, how much trub was present, micron level of the filter used, speed of filtration, etc… For instance, a low gravity beer with a very low yeast load will have only a small amount of yeast in the canister after filtration but when you backflush the filter to clean it you will see the yeast cloud the water as it is flushed from the filter.
When finished filtering, immediately backflush the cartridge while still in the filter housing assembly. Connect hot tap water to the ‘out’ side of the filter assembly and backflush for several minutes under full tap pressure until the outflow water runs clear. This removes the trapped particles within the micronic mesh.
Next, clean via your normal process. Recirculating a cleaning solution such as PBW through the cartridge/filter assembly per cleaner directions with a small self-priming or submersible pump is an excellent method.