Humans have made fermented beverages for about 8,000 years and have always strived to improve the process. Over that time the fermentation vessels, fermentation practices and raw materials have all benefited from the increased scientific capability of the modern world. Today’s winemakers and brewers have at their disposal a wide range of commercial products to aid the fermentation process. Nutrients and other additives have been developed to help yeast produce desirable aromas. The one area during the most critical phase of fermented products creation has however not been solved until now. During fermentation aromas are stripped from the process by the produced CO2. If you can smell aromas, they have forever left the developing product, and, none of the advances mentioned above can bring them back.
The aroma concentrations that can make wine, beer and other fermented beverages so desirable exist at microgram per litre or lower levels. It does not take much CO2 stripping to have a large impact on the remaining aroma concentrations. To address this issue of aroma loses many solutions have been tested. Specific yeasts, nutrients, additives, hops, fermentation vessels, fermentation temperatures have all been trialed to compensate for the loses. At best these marginally retain the aroma in your finished product.
The AromaLoc™ Solution
AromaLoc™ has invented and patented a method to solve this problem. These lost aromas can now be retained in the finished product. The AromaLoc™ process does NOT capture the aroma and then return it to the beverage after fermentation. AromaLoc™ is a totally additive-free and a hands-off process. AromaLoc™ prevents aromas from leaving the beverage, and we do this without tampering with the beverage or interfering with the fermentation process. We manipulate only the headspace composition above the beverage and this translates into changes in the fermenting liquid below.
The AromaLoc™ method was conceived in 2012, and over the last seven years dozens of trials have been conducted. We have developed a machine that is durable and simple to use. Our method cannot accumulate more aroma than is produced so there is no danger of aroma overload. Undesirable aroma compounds are not preserved because they have chemical properties making them flow right past our membrane system and out to the atmosphere. Some ethanol and fusel alcohols are also discarded. Our technology reliably enhances the organoleptic properties of wine, beer cider and other fermented products. Even if your wine, beer or cider is good now, AromaLoc™ will make it better.
Most winemakers think a cold fermentation is required to produce an aromatic wine because it is generally thought that more aromas are produced during cold fermentation. Cool fermentations take longer to complete, are harder to control, expensive to cool and subsequently tie up both your resources and tank space. While this can lead to some aromas being retained, there is evidence that warmer fermentations actually produce more aromas. The problem with conventional warmer fermentations is that the rate of CO2 production is high and this strips the aroma faster. Plus warmer liquids do not retain dissolved aromas in the same concentration as cold liquids. We are conducting white wine trials at 20-25C temperatures and are finding that AromaLoc™ can preserve these previously lost aromas and make a superior product. We are actively pursing this research due to the obvious benefits to the producer. We are confident that wineries will ferment at higher temperatures when using AromaLoc™ which will reduce the total cooling capacity needed, and the power consumed to operate them.
The best time to operate AromaLoc™ is of great interest to us and we have anecdotal evidence that, for wine, it is best to start the machine around peak fermentation and run it until CO2 production falls to low levels. For beer our current trails are confirming that the machine should run as soon as CO2 production starts and continue to run it until very near the end of fermentation. We are always trialing how to better use the AromaLoc™ process to produce the best finished product.
Using current practice, all the stripped aromas and alcohols exit the fermenter to the environment. This can be a problem and it has led to legislation in California to limit this source of pollution as it contributes to photochemical smog. AromaLoc™ recycles organic chemicals (aroma) back to the headspace to increase aroma in the wine which also limits aromatic chemical pollution. If you currently collect fermentation CO2 the product will be cleaner than you currently obtain due to the lower levels of organic contamination, using AromaLoc™.
Trials to this point have been done at several boutique wineries in British Columbia’s Okanagan wine region, large commercial breweries, a craft brewery and ultra-premium USA wineries. Small volume systems have been tested by home brewers and wine enthusiasts as well as U-Brew facilities. We learned a lot pioneering this product’s development, and based on blind tastings with industry qualified professionals and hobbyists, and on GC/MS analyses, we have fine tuned the process to be scalable from 20L to virtually any size.
We realize this sounds “almost to good to be true” but this is not the case. During seven years of research and development we have conducted dozens of fermentation trials. In all AromaLoc™ trials the juice or wort is inoculated with yeast and well mixed before filling the control and AromaLoc™ trial fermenters. The results are blind tasted by industry professionals using both the control and AromaLoc™-treated products. Examples of recent tasting results on wine are shown below. The tasters included 16 wine professionals, most were wine makers and one holds a master of wine designation. The blue lines are control and red lines AromaLoc™ treated. We are regularly getting at least 20% increases in rating categories and as can be seen the increased aroma affects different characteristics of the beverage also.
These findings confirm the home brewer and winemaker up to the largest corporation can benefit from the AromaLoc™c process.
Patent offices agree on the uniqueness of our method and we are now patented in Europe with similar patents forthcoming in North America.