Fluid Separation Technology by Trucent

How Does a Beer Centrifuge Work?

Centrifuge for Craft Beer Clarification

Every centrifuge—including a beer centrifuge—is basically an accelerated settling tank. In a settling tank, gravity pulls materials of different density apart, with yeast bodies and hops sludge collect at the bottom.

There are two ways to make that work faster: apply more gravity (more force means the materials are pulled apart more quickly) or make the tank shallower (so they don’t have to go so far to separate). A beer centrifuge, in essence, does both.

How a beer centrifuge works

A beer centrifuge speeds up the settling process in two ways. First, it replaces gravity with a force many times stronger. This is accomplished by spinning the beer in a cylindrical bowl. The faster you spin the beer and the larger the diameter of the bowl, the more centrifugal force you apply. More force means faster separation. Instead of just collecting at the bottom of the centrifuge (as it would in a settling tank), the densest material is forced to the outside wall of the bowl.  

Second, the beer centrifuge reduces the settling distance by providing many more settling surfaces. These come in the form of a “disc stack” inside the centrifuge bowl. This is a vertical arrangement of cone-shaped plates (i.e. “discs”). These convert the large, deep bowl into many shallow settling pools. Yeast bodies and sludge quickly accumulate on the discs as the bowl spins and can be directed to the discharge ports.  

But the discs don’t just just speed the separation process (and thus decrease retention time). Owing to the precise shape, arrangement, and spacing of discs, the disc stack can give you a great deal of fine control over what’s happening inside your centrifuge. Enhanced control makes it possible to separate several materials in a single pass, shunting them to separate streams. 

CentraSep DB Series of Brewing Centrifuges

A centrifuge with the right combination of disc angle, spacing, and shapes can better handle industry/material-specific needs—for example, controlling how materials will be separated, how much strain is put on the fluid you’re feeding into the centrifuge, and allowing for adjustments in operation to cope with changes in liquid flow and solids composition.  

The CentraSep DB Series is just such a centrifuge, fine-tuned for handling beers of all kinds. It’s a standalone, flexible, programmable clarification module that runs with minimal operator intervention. The CentraSep DB’s high bowl RPM and specific disc design deliver higher centrifugal force and a greater Equivalent Area of Separation than other centrifuges. This design makes it much easier to dial in your brightness and turbidity specs for specific styles. The CentraSep DB centrifuge even allows you to leave in desired haze while removing particles that may cause poor shelf-life and consistency. From a NEIPA to a Pilsner, a programmable control system means you can set up the centrifuge to properly handle each of your brands at the touch of a button.

These features mean that the CentraSep DB can operate with extremely high efficiency on a single pass. After installing a CentraSep DB, most breweries can immediately increase production by 30 to 50 percent through a combination of reclaiming beer bound up in the sediment that collects at the bottom of fermenter tanks and massively decreasing batch time. Depending on the style of beer, you can reduce batch time by days or weeks without adding any tanks or additional workers.