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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Filter for bottling line - dealing with barrel char

We just began bottling our first barrel aged product, and it's turned out great. We did have a fair amount of troubleshooting we had to do during bottling, primarily related to the in line filters we use to prevent particles from finding their way into bottles.

We use an enolmatic filler with the in line filter attached. For our clear Rum, we use a .5 micron filter, but for the aged spirits, we use a 1 micron filter. During the bottling of our Amber rum, we got through the first ~200 bottles before our QA checks identified some char particles in a bottle. We paused and back flushed the filter and the rest of the system in an effort to clean it. Ultimately, we just switched to a second cartridge filter to finish the bottling run, but now we have two filters that are full of barrel char particles. 


Does anyone have advice on how to effectively clean these filter cartridges?


Yeah, that's the problem with those small pore filters, if you don't pre-filter, they will clog (absolute vs depth filtration).  You can very quickly ruin a filter cartridge this way.

Use an inline filter when you are dumping or pumping from barrels, you don't need to have an extremely fine pore size.  I pre-filter going into the bottling tank.  

Depending on the filter cartridge, you may be able to back flow pure water to help flush some particles and extending the filter cartridge life.  I do this by hooking the filter housing outlet up to my RO water system and just letting it flush (in reverse) for an hour or two.

Very surprised that you would find char in the bottles, either your filters weren't installed properly (probably not likely), or they were damaged by the back-pressure/vacuum - they could be trash at this point.  You can try the back-flush for a longer period of time, if your housing permits it, but you might want to buy a new set and look into pre-filtration (10-20 micron).


I use the same system you do (with a larger micron filter though), and I suspect you left the bypass open on the top of the filter housing.  Even if the filter was filthy, it shouldn't let char through.


so what is everyones preference for micron size of primary and secondary filters for barrel aged whisky

Reply:7 hours ago, bierling said:

We pre-filter out of the barrel and then use a 5 micron filter when bottling.


The filter cartridges I use with inline are sometimes a slightly different  length. If they are a little short the sediment can go around the end.

Does the canister screw on? It may not have gone on far enough to seat the cartridge ends. If you shake it you might hear it rattle if not seated. Mine has silicone washers that can be added or removed.