Behind the Brewery Scenes: DE

The world of brewing beer may seem like it’s all fun and games at first, but dig a little deeper and new words, equipment, product and different processes are unearthed. Today, we discuss a product called diatomaceous earth.

At Four Peaks Brewing Co, we pride ourselves on the bright (clear) beer selection we offer. Achieving this level of clarity in our beer isn’t something that just happens by way of luck. We invest a lot of time and energy making this happen. An essential component to filtering process is a product called diatomaceous earth (DE or DTE)

Unused DE.
Unused DE

DE is made up of the tiny spiny remains of aquatic creatures. These creatures are called diatoms and are made up of a substance called silica. Making up about 26% of the Earth’s crust by weight, silica is a plentiful natural resource whose registered uses include pesticides, skin care products, toothpastes, foods, beverages, medicines, paints, and water filters.

How DE is used in the brewing process
Filter w/ used DE

At Four Peaks Brewery, this powdery substance is used in conjunction with stainless wire mesh through a filter machine (pictured). This allows for optimal clarity in the beer without affecting the color or taste of the filtered beer.

Bret adds DE to the filter during a cycle.
Bret adds DE to the filter during a cycle.

Note: Great care must be taken not to inhale DE. Respirators are used throughout the process to protect the brewers from breathing this material into their lungs.

A brewer adds the diatomaceous earth to the DE filter. Then these crushed, spiky corals layer on top of each other creating enough space, or what Brewer, Rob Rodriguez, describes as a “maze” for the beer to pass through leaving behind unwanted particles.

Single Tank Series English Summer Ale
Single Tank Series English Summer Ale

The result is crystal clear brew!

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