filters

Discussions of interest about making wine, cider and other fermented beverages

filters

Postby tonyhibbett » Mon Nov 27, 2017 14:32

To some extent, filters have become redundant due to modern finings being so effective and cheap. However finings can't produce the same sparkling clarity nor guarantee completely sediment free long matured wine. Nonetheless, filters have their own issues. i still have an early Harris filter which uses powders. Such powders were originally asbestos! I've had a Vinbrite mk 3 for years, which initially produced consistently good results at a reasonable cost, but I had a batch of bad pads which ruptured and only continued using it when I got a good deal from Wilco clearance stock. But all too often, reasonably clear fined wines have clogged the pads after just 2 litres and the original crystalbrite pads now cost £1.50 each. To keep pace with the, albeit limited, competition, Harris now also have coarse and fine pads on offer. The coarse grade, slightly cheaper, don't actually make the wine any clearer but 'condition' it to make the standard pads work faster and longer, or so they claim, while the fine pads are slower but more economical than standard pads, although they cost just as much.
As for the competition, there is the Hambledon Bard mk 4, much cheaper at £12.50 but with even more expensive pads, and the Buon Vino mini, which uses an electric pump and cheaper pads but costs at least £155. It claims to filter 5 gallons in 15 minutes. Some users have complained much lower results and that when the pads clog, it leaks profusely and the pump eventually wears out and becomes useless. I saw a used one on ebay going for £40 + £10 postage. I was outbid at £46 and now don't regret that! It didn't include pads and the instructions were in French.
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Re: filters

Postby tonyhibbett » Fri Dec 01, 2017 13:59

I bought the new Harris filtabrite pads and was quite impressed. It made a gallon of slightly murky mead star bright and, using the same pad, cleared a gallon of hazy red. Each completed in 20 minutes. Out of interest, I tried to use the same pad to clear another gallon of half cleared, unfined wine. This was considerably slower and clearly no shortcut to bypass fining.
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Re: filters

Postby tonyhibbett » Sun Dec 03, 2017 13:34

Most of my bottled wine was fined but not filtered and although clear at the time, most now have a small but annoying pocket of sediment. The days of decanting wine are long gone and most commercial wine is now both fined and filtered. So I have resolved to filter in future, using the Harris filtabrite pads, which cost no more than the original crystalbrite pads, which have produced inconsistent results.
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Re: filters

Postby tonyhibbett » Sun Dec 10, 2017 14:21

Another used Buon Vino Mini came up on ebay for £20. It sold for £89 + £6 postage. You can get them new for £149. Old electrical items don't last as long as new ones.
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Re: filters

Postby tonyhibbett » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:38

My second attempt with a filtabrite pad did not go well. I fined a gallon of wine which made it translucent and I decided to make it transparent by filtration. The first 3 litres went well, but then air pockets appeared in the siphon tube. I cleared these (twice) and continued filtering, which was very slow, so I left it. When I returned, wine had leaked out of the filter body onto the floor because the pad had become completely blocked while there was still about a litre of wine in the top jar. This never happened with the original crystalbrite pads. I only lost 100 ml of wine, but it could have been worse. I was not prepared to filter the remaining wine, so I added it to the filtered wine which was then still much clearer than before but not quite transparent. Bit of a waste of time and money. No doubt the problem would not have occurred had I used the coarse pad first but this adds an extra cost in both time and money.
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Re: filters

Postby HLA91 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 23:49

I think a competing supplier of filter pads would force Harris to rethink their price hike which from what I've read on multiple forums has caused a lot of people to simply stop filtering altogether.


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Re: filters

Postby tonyhibbett » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:41

Indeed. One retailer says he now sells very few Harris filters. The cheaper alternative is the Hambleton Bard mk 4, but their pads are no cheaper. The only effect of this competitor is Harris adding coarse and filtabrite pads to the range.
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Re: filters

Postby tonyhibbett » Thu Dec 21, 2017 13:40

I had 5 litres of wine made with 1 litre of orange juice (+ grape and honey) which had finished fermenting but showed no sign of clearing, as is typical when orange juice is involved. A heavy dose of Clear It produced 20 mm (400 ml) of sediment (most of which is attributable to the orange juice) but the wine was still opaque. Using a Harris Vinbrite filter with a coarse pad, the wine seemed no clearer, as expected, but subsequent treatment with a crystalbrite pad was significantly faster than usual and did complete without mishap, leaving the wine acceptably clear, although not star bright. The coarse pads are a bit cheaper (£1 each) but filtration added 50p to the cost of each of the 5 bottles I ended up with.
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