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I haven't seen many people filter their hard cider to get rid of bits of yeast. what will happen if I filter?

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  • I am thinking of doing this. I did a racking into secondary fermentation. Then bottled after a few weeks of that. Quite a bit of sediment in the last cm of each bottle. Very careful pouring seems to avoid most of it reaching the glass but wondered about filtering at the racking stage. I have a cotton filter though, not coated paper filters. Would that make a difference? – user12680 Sep 18 '15 at 1:50
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Oxidation, big time. Imagine flavors of cardboard mixed with a decadent undertone of down-pouring rain.

If you do it, do it when you pour the beer to consume it, not to package it. The off-flavors take weeks to develop, and if you're pouring it to consume it, I doubt you'll be taking weeks to drink it.

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I think I tried to get a clear sample from the dregs of a bottling session this way once. The yeast went right through the filters.

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Doing a cursory google search reveals that the pore size of coffee filters* is about 20 microns. Given that yeast are in the single digit micron range (varies depending on strain, age, etc.) the yeast will pass through the coffee filter. You may retain some clumps if they've bound together on a macro-scale, but otherwise this won't work.

*I suspect that the pore size of a coffee filter is subject to brand, but this value is a reasonable and probable benchmark.

Good flocculation is the easiest way to "filter" yeast away from your product. This can be enhanced with cooling of the product, and finning agents such as isinglass (at least in beer).

Some homebrewers employ water cartridge filters when kegging to filter yeast and other particulate out of their beer. These are often available in practical 1 - 5 micron ranges at most hardware stores.

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Not sure if you're doing a secondary fermentation, but that always helps to clarify whatever your brewing, be it cider, wine, or beer. It will be much easier and produce a better result than attempting to run through filters.

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