Beer, Evaluation of Final Product and Filtration Efficiency

The concentration and size distribution of particles in beer may be measured using the Coulter Principle also known as the Electrical Sensing Zone (ESZ) method. A suitable electrolyte solution is required to perform the analysis.The sample is prepared by dissolving a certain volume of beer in the electrolyte and then analyzed using a Beckman Coulter Multisizer 3 to determine the size distribution and concentration for the particles present in the beer. The results are reported as number of particles per milliliter for the desired size range.

The use of the Multisizer 3 provides a fast, easy, accurate and automatic method to determine the particle content in beer. The use of this instrument also provides reliable results not dependent on the operator’s judgment making it possible to compare data from different work shifts and/or breweries.


The determination of particle concentration in beers is important for evaluating and/or correcting several steps during the brewing process and finishing of the product.
  • Evaluation of the Final Product. Each kind of beer has its own characteristics and distinctive flavor; these properties will be influenced to some extent by the content and size distribution of particles present in the final product.The stability and therefore the shelf life of beer are also affected by its particle content.
  • Evaluation of Chill Haze Effect. This is the most common, and in some sense, the most important type of beer hazesince it is relevant to many beer types. As the name suggests, this haze appears when the beer is suitably chilled; the haze disappears upon warming. The temperatures at which the haze appears and disappears depend on the physical stability of the beer.The more stable the beer, the closer to 0 °C before chill haze occurs.The haze involves complexes of highmolecularweight proteins and polyphenols (tannins). These compounds form weak, temperature sensitive
    hydrogen bonds that are broken as the beer’s temperature increases, allowing the resulting compounds to form a complex with water molecules and go into solution.
  • Filtration Efficiency. Brewers have been using some type of filtration for centuries. If properly used, it can serve as an effective nonadditive tool in beer clarification. Filtration is used in conjunction with fining agents to render beer brilliantly clear and stable with respect to temperature changes.

    In this paper we will refer to the evaluation of the final product and filtration efficiency.


A 50 µm aperture tube is used for the evaluation of the final product.The linear dynamic range for any aperture is 2% to 60% of its size, i.e. a 50 µm aperture tube will be capable of analyze the particle concentration and size distribution from 1 µm to 30 µm. Set up and calibrate the instrument according to the Multisizer 3 Operator’s Manual. For determining particle concentration the control mode for the instrument must be Volumetric Mode, select 500 µL.


  1. Running a Background
    Entering background information in the Multisizer 3 Software. By entering the background information, the software will be able to calculate the concentration of particles in the Isoton.
    • Sample Volume: 20 mL
    • Electrolyte Volume: 0
    • Analytical Volume 500µL
    • Running a background
    1. Place 20 mL of Isoton® II in an Accuvette® II.
    2. Place into the analyzer the Accuvette® II containing the Isoton, flush the aperture tube before the run.
    3. On the Multisizer software set the background. The background will be automatically subtracted from all subsequent 
    1. Analyzing the Sample
      • Entering sample information in the Multisizer 3 Software.
        Enter the required sample information in the software: analytical volume electrolyte (Isoton) volume and volume of beer used for the analysis. By entering the sample information, the software will be able to calculate the concentration of particles in the beer.
        • Sample Volume: Enter the amount of sample to be use in the analysis
        • Electrolyte Volume: Enter the amount of Isoton to be use in the analysis
        • Analytical Volume 500 µL

          Entering sample information in the Multisizer 3 Software
      • Sample preparation
        After removing gas from the beer, measure exactly 15 mL of Isoton® II into a 20 mL Accuvette® II. Pipette 5.0 mL of beer into the Isoton, these quantities may be different according to the kind of beer, for example for Wheat Ales a smaller amount of sample and more Isoton will be needed. Cap the Accuvette and stir gently to dissolve thoroughly without creating bubbles. Prepare each sample at the moment it will be analyzed.
      • Place into the analyzer the Accuvette® II containing the sample, flush the aperture tube before the analysis.
      • After each run rinse the aperture and electrode before proceeding to the next sample.
    2. Reporting the results
      Results are reported as the total number of particles per mL from 1 to 30 µm and /or particles per mL larger than 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15 and 20 µm.


      Particles / mL Larger than
       1 µm  2 µm  3 µm  4 µm  5 µm  10 µm  15 µm 20 µm 
     BECK'S  10.213 2.493 1.012 538 281 88 51 7
     BUDWEISER 16.950 1.776 697 426 341 183 110 44
     COORS LIGHT 11.731 1.702 586 273 154 38 16 0
     CORONA EXTRA 3.601 751 377 231 147 59 29 11
     FULLER'S LONDON PRIDE 744.862 107.715 35.884 16.347 8.423 693 118 24
     GRANT'S IPA 330.673 58.915 15.908 5.800 2.655 205 48 9
     HEINEKEN 81.292 13.888 5.302 2.968 2.071 877 354 76
     MILLER LITE 3.144 747 378 298 217 76 45 14
     MILLER MDG 12.638 1.845 456 181 110 22 4 0
     PRESIDENTE  29.508 5.801 2.332 1.177 615 124 62 23
     SAMUEL ADAMS 352.452 80.701 27.613 12.089 6.204 700 133 32
     SAM ADAMS WINTER LAGER 87.196 12.763 4.501 2.048 961 69 7 0
     SINGHA 99.980 24.166 9.879 4.857 2.678 255 37 12
     THE KNIGHT'S ALE (WHITE ALE) 15.36 x 106 1.545 x 106  1.368 x 106 1.278 x 106   661.568 1.654 306 79
 Particles/ml 1-30 µm)  Particles/ml 1-30 µm)
 Beck’s (Germany)  10,213  Miller Lite (USA)  3,144
 Budweiser (USA)  16,950  Miller MGD  12,638
 Coors Light (USA)  11,731  Presidente (Dominican Republic)  29,508
 Corona Extra (Mexico)  3,601  Samuel Adams (USA)  352,452
 Fuller’s London Pride (UK)  744,862  Sam.Adams Winter Lager (USA)  87,196
 Grant’s IPA (USA)  330,673  Singha (Thailand)  99,980
 Heineken (Holland)  81,292  The Knight’s Ale (Belgium White Ale)   15.36 x 106

The above data does not represent by any means a comparison for different brands of beer.The samples were randomly selected from brands and kinds of beers available at the market, therefore they have different characteristics and they have been manufactured at different dates and stored under diverse conditions and length of time.The only purpose of this table and following graphs is to show how the results are reported.


Comparison Graph for Different Kinds of Beer

Comparison Graph for Different Kinds of Beer

Belgian Wheat Ale

Belgian Wheat Ale


Set up the instrument and follow the same procedure described for the final product steps 1 through 2.4. Perform the analysis for beer getting into the filter and coming out from the filter.


The efficiency of the filter is determined by comparing the results before and after filtration.The amount of particles removed as a percentage of the particles present before the filtration gives the percentage of efficiency.



The filtration process may also be monitored for specific size ranges.The total number of particles removed not always provide a complete picture of a filtration deficiency, sometimes it is necessary to target certain size range for adjusting the filtration process.

Particle Diameter (µm) Filter IN Number per mL larger than

Filter OUT Number per mL larger than

Efficiency (%) 
 1  35.296 1.875 94.68
 2 5.427 744 86.29
 3 1.560 327 79.02
 4  498 135 72.95
 5 244 77 68.30
 10 56 19 66.66
 15 22 8 63.61
 20 4 0  100



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