Factors that Influence Distilled Spirits Filtration

Water Quality

When cutting to proof it is critical that the water be of high quality. The water must be free of visible particles and ions that can lead to precipitation in the final product. Water hardness varies considerably by region. If water hardening components such as calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) ions are present, they may cause turbidity in the final product, where they appear as white-beige amorphous flakes or crystals.    

Spirit production plants using water treated by either ion exchange or reverse osmosis can considerably increase their efficiency and regeneration intervals. Pall’s “large diameter” filter solutions, Ultipleat® High Flow filter elements with Profile® UP media and Profile® Coreless filter elements can be adapted to individual production requirements and different raw water qualities. Replacing large multi-round traditional cartridge filter assemblies, these filters accommodate high flow rates with simple handling and faster change-outs at low investment and operating costs.

For smaller installations, Pall offers the Ultipor® GF Plus.  

The Pall Aria™ System is a cost-saving alternative to disposable solutions. With complete automation and membranes that can last up to 10 years with consistent and reliable performance, the Pall Aria system offers the lowest operating costs. 



White and Brown Spirits

Pall Aria FB Filtration System
The Pall Aria FB membrane system has been specifically developed to satisfy water treatment requirements in a single step.

Ultipleat High Flow Filter Elements with Profile UP Media
Ultipleat High Flow filter elements are designed for high particle removal efficiency in high flow rate food and beverage applications.

Profile Coreless Filter Elements
Profile Coreless filter elements combine Pall proven Profile depth filter technology with a design that eliminates the core to provide a convenient, cost efficient and environmentally-friendly solution for liquid clarification applications.

Ultipor GF Plus Filters – AB Cartridge Style
Ultipor GF Plus filters effectively remove submicron haze particles or endotoxins from a wide variety of aqueous solutions.

Filtration Temperature

Temperature is an important consideration in the filtration of spirits. For some products – white spirits, for example - filtration at ambient temperature is sufficient. However, most brown spirits require filtration at +4 °C (39 °F) to -8 °C (18 °F). At ambient temperature, most components are in a dissolved state, while at low temperatures the components can come out of solution, precipitate, agglomerate and appear as milky-white, wax-like flakes in the final product. Therefore, filtering a chilled product enables these turbidity-causing substances to be more easily removed. See Chill Haze Removal for further information.

Filtration Flow Rate

The filtration of spirits typically involves a combination of surface and depth filtration as well as adsorption. To achieve sufficient filtrate quality, it’s critical to use gentle flow velocities during filtration to ensure that maximum adsorption is achieved.  

Flavor Additives

In some cases, distilled spirits like vodka are mixed with liquid sugar, flavors, or herb extracts. The liquid additives should be pre-treated so they do not negatively influence the quality of the final product. Fine cartridge filters like the Ultipor® GF Plus or the PREcart PPII are used for particle removal of these additives. The raw material quality, volume, and viscosity are important considerations when selecting filters. Please consult your Pall representative for solutions to your specific process challenge.