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Beer Production

Keeping Hops and Malt from Ever Being Wasted

Industrial centrifuges for beer clarification and production

Transforming grains into refreshing beer involves a complex process. Beer, in its many forms during production, is created step-by-step in the brewery’s hot and cold processes. Flottweg’s highly efficient beer centrifuges meet the specific requirements of breweries while optimizing the entire process for maximum yields with the utmost level of quality.

More than just beer is produced in the brewing process: Brewers grains, surplus yeast, and spent hops are all by-products that no longer play a role in the production of beer. There are also wastewater flows, such as Kieselguhr, which is a form of diatomaceous earth used in manufacturing. When these waste materials are not handled directly by the breweries, they must also be sold or disposed, which leads to wastewater, disposal, and transport costs. Additionally, valuable wort and beer contained in the separated by-product are lost.

Efficient mechanical dewatering is made possible by the Flottweg belt press, which separates liquid components from the spent brewers grains. The separated solids are well suited for further processing due to their very high dry substance content. This turns what would be waste from breweries into valuable resources.

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Flottweg decanters, Sedicanters®, and separators increase brewing process efficiency: The Flottweg decanter separates up to 75% liquid wort from the separated hot trub and returns it to the brewing process. The same is also true for dry-hopped beers: when the decanter is used in the cold process to separate the spent hops, it will reduce  wort and beer losses. The Sedicanter® is an extremely effective centrifuge assembly that recovers beer from top and bottom fermenting yeast. Flottweg separators are mostly used in the advanced stages of the brewing process. They optimize the fermentation and filtration process or are directly responsible for the final clarification of the beer.

With many decades of experience in separation technology, Flottweg finds custom and comprehensive solutions for specific brewing processes. The equipment can be smoothly integrated into everyday operations and adapted to the hygiene control requirements of breweries. The straightforward and robust design of all production lines ensure easy operation and maintenance. The basis for this, among other things, is the high-quality, wear-resistant components that Flottweg develops and manufactures entirely in Germany.

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Centrifuges for Beer Clarification and Production

The Brewing Process with Flottweg Separation Technology

Flottweg separation technology is used at several points in the brewing process. The decanter minimizes the wort from being wasted. It separates wort from hot trub and returns it to the hot wort clarification process.

When hops are added during fermentation and storage (called dry-hopping), the hop pellets dissolve in the beer and settle to the bottom of the tank known as “spent hops”. Decanter centrifuges separate the liquid beer from the spent hops and uses pressure to return this to storage or bottling.

Sedicanters® make it possible to reduce beer evaporation by recovering beer from surplus yeast. Separators optimize the filtration and manage final clarification.

A beer’s character is already influenced in brewhouse. Hot trub is created during whirlpooling when wort, hop debris, and precipitated protein are separated. Up to 75% liquid wort is still contained in hot trub. The Flottweg decanter separates the trub from liquid wort and uses pressure to return it to the hot wort clarification process. This minimizes wort losses and reduces the production costs per hectoliter of beer.

The Flottweg Simp Drive® automatically regulates the differential speed based on the scroll torque. This is how the Flottweg decanter automatically adjusts to different load conditions and always ensures maximum yields.

  • Significant reduction of wort losses
  • Reduced production costs per hectolitre of beer
  • Automatic regulation for maximum yields

Recovery of beer from spent hops

Dry hopping has developed from being just a trend in recent years, especially in aspiring breweries from the craft beer scene, to an established technique in the entire brewing industry. Adding hops during fermentation and storage allows for additional aromas, especially the essential oils of the hops to fully infuse into the beer. Hop pellets are dissolved in the beer during extraction and settle to the bottom of the tank to form sedimentation known as “spent hops” . High-quality beer is contained in this hop sludge. In general, this sludge is separated from the beer by simply removing it (similar to yeast harvesting) before further processing (separation, filtration). In some cases, this removal of the hop sediment can lead to significant amounts of beer being wasted; around 5–20% of the tank content is typically lost. 
The Flottweg decanter separates the spent hops from the liquid beer phase and uses pressure to return this to storage or bottling. This significantly reduces beer  evaporation  and relieves the load placed on downstream centrifuges and filtration. Dry hopping can be further automated with Flottweg decanter centrifuges. This allows for a reproducible production process and the highest quality of beer.

  • Significant reduction of beer losses
  • Particle separation up to 99%
  • Load reduction on centrifuges and beer filtration
  • Reduced wastewater load
  • Fully automatable  
  • Additional beer recovery from yeast sediment or from alternative flavor carriers (herbs, fruits, peanut butter, coffee)

Beer recovery from surplus yeast

The main purpose of yeast in the fermentation tank is to convert sugar into alcohol and various aromatic substances. After it has carried out this work in the tank, the yeast then settles to the bottom and in subsequent storage. Thanks to a high degree of separation the patented Flottweg Sedicanter® provides two separate valuable materials from this suspension: beer that contains almost no yeast is returned to the further brewing process and a compact yeast cake that is used as animal feed or vitamin-rich food supplement. This also means there is less brewery wastewater because more beer is sent back to the process.

The Flottweg Sedicanter® separates suspensions with fine or soft solids with an acceleration rate of up to 10,000 g. The flexibly adjustable impeller allows the Sedicanter® to be integrated into the existing process in the best way possible and always guarantees high yields.

  • Reduction of beer evaporation
  • Gentle processing of beer
  • Yeast cake with a high dry substance content
  • Lower wastewater loads
  • Easy to integrate into existing processes

Beer clarification

Green beer produced in the fermentation tanks works its way into storage tanks. The upstream separator clarifies the green beer to ensure constant conditions in secondary fermentation: The required yeast cell counts are set by the brewers to define the secondary fermentation in the storage tanks.

How long the filter lasts depends on the quality of the raw materials and the yeast load. Most of the yeast can be removed from the beer by the Flottweg Separator before filtration. This prolongs the filter life and means filter aids such kieselguhr do not need to be procured, handled, and disposed. Beer evaporation, cleaning, and wastewater costs are reduced.

When the Flottweg separator is used for final clarification, the beer’s turbidity is predefined before bottling. Turbidity measurements taken at the inflow and outflow monitor the yeast concentration, thereby regulating the turbidity adjustment in a fully automated manner to ensure uniform quality.

  • Prolonged filter life
  • Reduction of filter aids
  • Less beer evaporation
  • Lower cleaning and wastewater costs
  • Lower personnel costs
  • Precise turbidity adjustment

For All Tastes

The Rhinegeist-Brauerei in Ohio brews more than 90 types of beer with great passion and creativity. There is something here for every taste. The beers run through the Flottweg separator during clarification. 

It continuously removes different amounts of yeast and hops – to the great satisfaction of the brewmasters, as this video shows.


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