The Spinning Cone Column has been used commercially to adjust alcohol levels in wine and beer for over 20 years. Reduction of the alcohol content of a wine is accomplished using a two-pass process: A portion of the wine to be treated is separated from the bulk wine and processed through the SCC twice. The first pass captures all the delicate volatile aroma compounds of the wine which are then stored separate to the remainder of the wine. The aroma-stripped wine is passed again through the SCC to remove the majority of the alcohol. The de-alcoholised wine portion and the flavour portion are then blended with the bulk of the wine to give a finished product at the desired ethanol content. Other methods of alcohol reduction such as evaporation or filtration cause the loss of many vital flavour compounds and require a far greater volume of wine to be processed.
There are over 700 users of Spinning Cone Column technology for alcohol reduction of wines in California. These wineries have found that even a slight reduction of alcohol can lead to improved flavour complexity.
For low alcohol beer (<0.5%abv) and light alcohol beer (0.5% to 2.5%abv) the SCC system is normally supplied with two SCC columns operating in series. The first SCC column is used for recovery of aroma and the second SCC column to remove alcohol. Returning the alcoholic aroma fraction recovered from the first stage back to the de-alcoholised beer imparts the full flavour of the starting material back to the finished beer. The same 2-stage SCC system can be used to produce a range of low alcohol and light alcohol beers with flavour add back by simply blending the de-alcoholised beer with some full strength beer.
For non alcoholic beer (<0.05% abv) only one SCC is used as it is not possible to achieve a final alcohol level of less than 0.05%abv with add back of alcoholic beer aroma.
In this manner, a clean, refreshing, non alcoholic beer can be produced without the undesirable cooked or over processed characteristics that are often associated with non alcoholic beers that are produced on other technologies.
The low thermal impact of the SCC system due to the low temperature and low and uniform column residence time of approximately 20 seconds ensures that the quality of the de-alcoholised beer base is optimized.
Benefits of the SCC system for dealcoholisation include:
• Light varietal notes of wine are recovered intact
- Gentle treatment of the wine or beer using low temperatures under vacuum
• Low energy consumption
• No requirement for separate degassing due to the unique design of the SCC internals
• Flexibility of system (can be used to remove alcohol from various products in the winery or brewery)
• Ability to process must, lees, beer with either yeast present such as Wiezen (wheat) beer, unfiltered beer or green beer
• Continuous process operation
• Modular design for future capacity increases
• Plant supplied as factory tested, complete modules
• High quality alcohol spirit produced as by product