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Why Filter Water for Beverage Production?

Last updated: 2/2022

Applies to: producers making wine, beer, cider, seltzer and kombucha on any scale.

Why Filter Water?

The organisms that live in water are generally not spoilage organisms for alcoholic beverages as most are killed in the presence of at least 1% alcohol. However, water is a fantastic solvent, and it can contain many other notable impurities including:

  • Minerals leading to hard water and buildup (Ca, Mg)
  • Heavy metal ions that cause off-flavors, buildup, and corrosion or are not safe for human consumption in high quantities (Fe, Mn, Al)
  • Taint precursors (Cl, Fl, Br)
  • Other organic solids that contribute to turbidity (Silica)

Throughout the year, both city and well water can experience significant variations in concentration of these impurities. City water supplies may change sources based on supply and demand, especially in drought conditions. Notably, some city water programs may also use bromine-based cleaners which can contribute to haloanisole problems. Well water quality can vary based on the water table and activity of neighboring businesses and properties. Water filtration can help keep the quality of water used in beverage production consistent despite these variations.

When is Filtered Water Important?

When cleaning and sanitizing equipment/any surface area that comes into contact with the product. Water impurities can cause scale on equipment, which can be hiding places for biofilms. Water impurities may also interfere with the efficacy of cleaners.

When preparing depth and bottling filters as organic solids and minerals will prematurely foul filter media (including crossflows).

When preparing additions like yeast, nutrients, bentonite or anything that will be added to the beverage to avoid adding taint precursors. Some water impurities may lower the efficacy of some products: e.g., sodium bentonites will not swell in hard water.

When water is the main ingredient in the formulation such as beer, hard seltzer, kombucha, mead, etc. All the above mentioned problems will be exacerbated.

Water Quality Testing

Water quality results will help determine what is needed from a filtration system as certain water quality parameters will require special consideration. For example: high water hardness may indicate the need for a water softening unit prior to filtration. High levels of chlorine may lower maximum flow rate to ensure appropriate contact time with chlorine-removing media.

Water testing services are affordable and widely available in most areas. Ward Laboratories also offers a Complete Winery Water Test Kit* including all our recommended parameters.

ORDER A KIT

*A water test kit from Ward Laboratories includes the cost of the analysis, a sample bottle, box, and prepaid label with 2-day shipping through FedEx. You can also choose to package and mail your own sample.

SCOTTCART AQUA

SCOTTCART AQUA is a multi-stage cartridge filtration system that ensures taint, particle, and microbe free water, suitable for many applications in the production facility. It is sold in a pre-assembled kit or can be customized based on individual water quality and throughput requirements. The pre-assembled kit includes three housings and three cartridges:

STAGE 1STAGE 2STAGE 3

Housing Size

30"20"20"
CartridgeClarify
Purify
Finish
Cartridge Description
An embedded carbon cartridge that removes flavor, color, and taint precursors (e.g. Cl).
A 1μ polypropylene absolute rated depth cartridge pre-filter that will get your water to a solid-free state.
A 0.3 μm polypropylene absolute rated depth cartridge that will remove any leftover microorganisms.

This kit can run comfortably at a high-end average of 720gph depending on the amount and nature of the load that has to be removed. For heavier taint levels, a flow rate of as low as 180gph is recommended so that sufficient contact time between the carbon and water is maintained.

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Not sure what you need or looking for a custom water filtration setup? Reach out to connect with one of our experts.