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GEA Westfalia Separator Group
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Special beers

Special beers are enjoying increased popularity; in Germany, this applies to top-fermented wheat beer, in Africa, there is sorghum, which is obtained from the millet species of the same name. Centrifugal separation technology from GEA Westfalia Separator plays a growing role in the production of these special beers, too, separating unwanted solids.

Hefeweizenbier – Turpidity adjustment with separators

Particularly in the manufacture of German “Hefeweizenbier“ (beer brewed from wheat), it is important to present the customer a product with a consistent quality of the turbidity. Problems occur particularly in high storage tanks because the yeast concentration varies due to sedimentation. The use of separators is suitable in this case to compensate the concentration. The stored beer is separated. Simultaneously, unseparated beer is added through a bypass to ensure constant turbidity values throughout the entire production cycle. For this purpose, the turbidity is measured at the outlet of the separator and after mixing. The control valve in the bypass pipe is then controlled by these two values and the nominal value.


  • Consistent beer quality
  • Continuous operation
  • Simple process control


"Malternative" beverages which are made with hybrid fermentation or fruit additives in particular are often difficult to clarify (the yeasts or bacteria sediment more slowly, and may even form substances which clog the filter). However, even the common refining methods are frequently not the optimum solution. In order to reduce the solids in all production stages or to achieve a defined content, the separator is accordingly the toll of choice – with maximum product quality and minimum product losses, because genuine specialties are rare and thus expensive.

Decanters for sorghum beer

The situation is somewhat different with sorghum beer, a traditional African beverage which is produced from sorghum by means of a combined yeast / lactic acid fermentation and which has a shelf-life of just a few days. This beer with a sourish taste is often home-brewed but is also produced in many sorghum breweries. This traditional beer production is, for example, denoted Dolo in West Africa, Pombe in East Africa and Merisa in Sudan. Sorghum is also of significance for industrial beer production because it is suitable for the production of gluten-free beer for people suffering from gluten intolerance (celiac disease). According to unofficial sources, around 36 million hectoliters of sorghum beer are produced annually in South Africa alone in medium-sized and large-scale breweries. It therefore even surpasses the production output of lager in South Africa.


In contrast to lager, not only turbidity, as in top-fermented wheat beer, but even solids are desired in the ready-to-drink sorghum product. To adjust this solids content as desired and to classify the particles, decanters from GEA Westfalia Separator are used which are capable of operating with very high solid concentrations in the feed. Decanters can run continuously virtually “round-the-clock”, are fully automatable and deliver high yields. In this way, GEA Westfalia Separator supplies a customized solution for every special beer.