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Does filtering beer lead to high levels of Arsenic?(anyone drinking be

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costanzo

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Filtration of beer has had the big stick in recent times. Now, a new study has show that there is twice the level of Arsenic in filtered beer than water. We'll look at the issue of filtration here and try to piece it all together.

High Levels of Arsenic in Beer

Beer enthusiasts may be alarmed at hearing that crystal clear beer filtered using the most common method worldwide may have higher than normal arsenic levels.

A recent German study showed that many filtered beers have levels of arsenic twice that of drinking water.

That's because of the filtering medium "Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.)" derived naturally from the ground and can contain many metals including iron, lead and cadmium,the last 2 being also poisons.

D.E. Used in other drinks and processes

D.E. is used in the wine industry as well and in filtering systems in swimming pools so it is not new and its use is widespread.

"The wine industry has been moving away from using diatomaceous earth for decades, says , a lecturer and vintner for the California State University, Fresno — not because it contains arsenic but because it contains silica, so breathing it "can do damage to your lungs," he says. He has switched largely to cellulose-fiber filters to reduce the risk to students.

The downside, Giannini says, is that the cellulose can give the wine a bit of a papery taste. "What I'm doing is blending the two, to minimize the paper taste and minimize the use of DE."

Other options for filtering wine and beer include polyethylene filters, centrifuges and cross-flow filtration, which doesn't use a filter medium at all.

Washing diatomaceous earth before use reduced the amount of arsenic it released, Coelhan says, but that method hasn't been tested commercially.

Indeed, scientists have some work to do to find out whether diatomaceous earth really is causing problems with arsenic in beer and wine.

"The proper study would be to compare unfiltered beer to filtered beer, beer filtered using diatomaceous earth, beer filtered using perlite, beer filtered using cross-flow filtration," says , a professor of brewing science at the University of California, Davis. He's skeptical that diatomaceous earth could be causing troubling levels of contamination.

Abandoning diatomaceous earth altogether won't guarantee there's no arsenic or other heavy metals in beverages, UC Davis wine expert and chemical engineer Boulton told The Salt. "The sense that if you didn't use diatomaceous earth, there would be no heavy metals in beer at all is a little out of touch with nature."-source http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/04/08/176587506/arsenic-in-beer-may-come-from-widely-used-filtering-process

One must take into consideration that beer in moderation is actually good for you as many studies have shown.
But in light of these recent studies what are the long term effects of filtered beverages using D.E.?

The fact we can measure contaminants to lower and lower levels will always be fodder for the media. Nothing has really changed just that the detection limits become better and so raise legitimate questions about safety.
Yes, we should make sure the levels of contaminants are not a public health risk.

We could go to the nth degree about all foods we eat and even organically grown foods probably contain trace amounts of these poisons. So what should we really be concerned about?
The fact that we live on a planet that most likely has trace amounts of poisons in our food supply should we not be concentrating in raising the awareness of the good nutrients that appear to be lacking in our daily intake such as anti-oxidants etc. and getting better at farming to maximise these nutrients in order to keep a healthy balanced defence system in the body? And then look at safe levels of "poisons" that may be acceptable in our food chain and look at ways to minimise these.

That way we won't get hung up on isolated news stories that the media like to brew on.

We need to keep a balanced view of the big picture.

Unfortunately, the question of safety will continue to rage as long as we have doomsayers amongst us.

Should you filter beer anyway?

But as a homebrewer we may well be tempted to use the arsenic argument as another reason to add to the armour of reasons not to filter because of what we have been led to believe that filtration results in less flavour in beer.
But is this true or is there more to it than a simple removing of flavour?

I'd like to take that discussion in my next article on filtration.
So stand by and I will try to enlighten everyone about the subject of filtration and flavour soon.

Till next time if you enjoyed this article you may read other brewing articles in my blog here (http://www.costanzobrewing.com/beernews) .

Brought to you by Vincent Costanzo, Better Brewing, Better Beer.
 

Scottye

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I will just never understand why homebrewers filter their beer. If you yake all the steps to make your beer more like the comercial beer, then why not just head to the bottle shop. Really unless I do a side by side comparison, which I haven't and won't, I doubt I will notice the difference. I keg it and it pours out clear enough for me, it looks like beer and it tastes great.
There may be a whole swag more for me to learn so I await the next article.
 

treefiddy

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Your drinking water contains bugger all arsenic, and by drinking commercially filtered beer (because homebrewers don't use DE) you are ingesting twice the concentration of bugger all arsenic.

If you drink that much beer every day that the arsenic would be a problem, you would probably have other problems also.
 

barls

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considering almost no home brewer filters with de, this really doesnt affect us apart from the minor levels that are found in commercial beer.
stating that doesnt most of the industry use perlite as a de replacement.
also its good to see you actually contribute something other than ads for really expensive brewing courses.
 

Thefatdoghead

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VonScott said:
I will just never understand why homebrewers filter their beer. If you yake all the steps to make your beer more like the comercial beer, then why not just head to the bottle shop. Really unless I do a side by side comparison, which I haven't and won't, I doubt I will notice the difference. I keg it and it pours out clear enough for me, it looks like beer and it tastes great.
There may be a whole swag more for me to learn so I await the next article.
I filter most of my beer depending on style, just so I dont have to wait months to be drinking my beer. I think, It does have a cleaner taste that I like as well.
 

TidalPete

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Planning & cc'ing your kegs for a month or two can get you (Almost?) the same result without stripping any flavours & aroma in the long term by filtering.
Your opinions re filtering long-term kegs seem to have changed Gav? Happy to hear why AYC?
Gav80 said:
I filter most of my beer depending on style, just so I dont have to wait months to be drinking my beer. I think, It does have a cleaner taste that I like as well.
 

Hippy

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While I totally agree with what you have said TP, I filter for a different reason. I still allow my brews enough time to mature flavour wise. I just find that my filtered kegs are easier to handle and store in my fridges, as they don't get cloudy every time I move them from one fridge to another or when I rotate empty kegs out of a fridge and replace with a full one.
Having said that, filtered beers are a shitload brighter too, but beauty is only skin deep and each to their own.
 

Nick JD

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VB has arse juice in it.

Just warning the people out there.

Next week - I'll show you guys how not to get arse juice in your beer.

And pronounce another eye-catching headline that will rival Today Tonight and A Current Affair in a sleazy way to grab your attention.

Yey!
 

TidalPete

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Glad to hear your opinion Hippy & each to his own. :)
I spent the funds on a one micron 'Absolute" filter last year that I am yet to use.
To my advantage, I have a 500 litre keezer with 4 x taps. This allows me to have 4 x beers on tap with another keg carbonating (Ready to be swapped for an empty keg) + another 4 x kegs sitting there cc'ing away & waiting their turn.
Space allows for 10 x kegs but my auto-fan build takes up a little room but I am very happy with this setup.

Nobody really needs a 500 litre keezer as you can get the same result (If you have the space??) by -----------
1 -- Getting a fridge/keezer to suit your needs.
2 -- Allocating another fridge/fridges to house your cc'ing kegs.

I just chose to do both at the same time.

Perhaps a small mistake on my part was buying the Absolute filter in the first place but that's what happened. Any local offers for the filter????? PM me.
Due to general wear & tear :p I am planning on downsizing my brewery ITNF so my 500 litre keezer may well be up for grabs? but that's another story.
Hippy said:
While I totally agree with what you have said TP, I filter for a different reason. I still allow my brews enough time to mature flavour wise. I just find that my filtered kegs are easier to handle and store in my fridges, as they don't get cloudy every time I move them from one fridge to another or when I rotate empty kegs out of a fridge and replace with a full one.
Having said that, filtered beers are a shitload brighter too, but beauty is only skin deep and each to their own.
 

Bribie G

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Where can I buy diatomaceous earth?

edit: don't sell your keezer, I've seen it and it's a thing of beauty ... nooooooooooooo
 

Crusty

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Bribie G said:
Where can I buy diatomaceous earth?

edit: don't sell your keezer, I've seen it and it's a thing of beauty ... nooooooooooooo
Some aquarium shops stock it.
 

Phoney

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Bribie G said:
Where can I buy diatomaceous earth?
I bought a 20kg bag of it from a produce store. I spread it around the chicken coop to prevent bird lice and it also helps to decompose their poo around their run.

I'll stick to using my filter cartridge for filtering my beer though, don't want to get arsenic poisoning Lol.
 
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