Q: We produce 7,000bbls/year all draft. We cannot explain to the owner why we should or should not filter our beer into package except that "cause everyone does." We currently only have a plate and frame filter. It is terrible and we find it strips flavor of our hoppy products, and we are a American craft brewery... everything is hoppy. So I guess my question is why should we filter?! I know about colloid stability. Our package shouldn't be sitting on shelves long because its only going 20 miles, I'm not to worried about that. What else do I need to be worried about? Our beers drop clear. Yes its not totally brilliant, but that is also something we don't really care about. In summary is there anything you can add or give insight to about rationales about filtration into package?
A: Filtration is not a requirement for bottled or canned beers but keep in mind that even beer shipped only 20 miles away will probably end up sitting out at room temperature were yeast and sediments forming in the beer might form meaty-bready flavors which may not impress your customers. The answer to your question of whether to filter or not depends entirely with what you want your customers to experience. Some beer styles are meant to have a haze, i.e. hefe-wizen, Saison and many IPA's are sold with a hazy golden hue that "glows in the glass." In today's beer world haze is much more acceptable than it used to be. Brewers may want to preserve all the flavors they can without stripping anything out through a filtration process. A little bit of yeast present will actually act to prevent oxidation and is not necessarily a bad thing in smaller packaging operations which tend to experience high air pick up. If your beers are meant to be served brilliantly clear you will need to stabilize and filter. If your customers do not expect a brilliantly clear beer but you do want some degree of clarity then you might be able to use finings to clarify out most of the yeast and chill haze prior to packaging and avoid sediment formations. There are a variety of products on the market available for this purpose, it is a low technology solution for basic physical stability issues. I would certainly recommend against using any kind of process that adversely affects the flavors that you want to sell. More important for hop led package beers is to invest in crown caps with liners that will not scalp the hop flavors from your beers. Consult your suppliers to see what they can offer.