Beer Dealcoholization FAQs
For unfiltered Hefeweizen beers, what is the limit of yeast cells before you run this through the system? Also how much is the oxygen (O2) pickup in your system?
We recommend feed beer with less than 0.5 Mcells/ml, after clarification or centrifugation. The reason is not due to cleanability as we can clean the unit after Cleaning-in-Place (CIP). If there are a lot of solids in the beer, then a layer will form on top of the packing material causing uneven distribution in the stripping surface. It is possible to go up to 3 MCells/ml, but then more frequent cleaning is required (daily CIP instead of every two days of production). Oxygen pickup is not an issue because oxygen stripping takes place during dealcoholization, which means that the beer usually has less dissolved oxygen after stripping.
Is there any waste from dealcoholization?
Dealcoholization does not cause evaporation of the beer, so product loss usually do not occur during the dealcoholization process. Product loss only occurs during dealcoholisation in the pre-run and post-run interphases with deaerated water (DAW), but it can be also considered product in a normal volume production as the interface will be about 1 min (1-2 hl) compared to large volumes for the production of 0.0 beer.
Can you package directly from the module or is it best to collect the product in a tank? Does the product need to be pasteurized before packaging?
Due to low capacities compared with fillers, it is common practice to fill a tank in the bright beer tank (BBT) area to run nominal capacities in filler lines. The use of a flash pasteurizer or sterile beer filtration is also recommended.
What is the footprint of the smallest unit that can produce a volume of 5 hl/h?
The footprint of Alfa Laval’s smallest 5 hl/h unit is approximately 8 m x 2.5 m x 6.3 m (L x W x H). The unit is the Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module 10.
How can we dissolve the taste and aromas from hops after the Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module without alcohol? Some aromas require alcohol in order to dissolve.
Dry hopping can be done after dealcoholization. External aromas and hops can be added using the Alfa Laval AlfaDose module in order to add the right ratio of aroma and alcohol.
Given that alcohol provides one of the barriers to spoilage organisms, would you recommend pasteurization for the 0.0 product?
Yes, we recommend pasteurization in the range of between 30 and 35 pasteurization units (PUs).
How long can you run the Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module before requiring Cleaning-in-Place (CIP)?
Assuming the use of clarified beer, the Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module can operate for two days before requiring CIP.
Will any unit dealcoholize 13%? Or do you need a particular size to achieve this reduction?
Yes, any standard Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module (sizes 10, 20, 50 and 100) can handle a product feed of 13% alcohol, such as wine. It is important to note, however, that the higher the alcohol at the feed, the higher the utility consumption.
Do you need to dry hop after dealcoholization? Does dealcoholization remove all of the hop aroma? You may be able to blend back, but surely you will lose the majority of the aroma?
It is possible to dry hop after dealcoholization. Alfa Laval recommends achieving maximum hop flavour and aromas in 0.0 beers. Using the Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module, it is possible to recover 50% of the aromas and dose some of it into <0.5% beer. However, this is not possible for 0.0 beer.
What percentage of aroma is recovered? Are there particular aroma compounds that are completely lost during the dealcoholisation process?
The percentage of aroma recovered depends on the parameters of the de-gassing and aroma recovery condenser. About 50 % of the aroma for incoming beer is typically recovered if the recipe is <0.5 %. For 0.0 beer, the aroma recovery rate is about 25%, depending on aroma composition in feed beer because we cannot re-dose aroma for incoming beer. If given a certain composition of aromas in feed beer, we can simulate recovered aromas and lost aromas in our stripping software.
Do you have a benchtop R&D unit that we can use to test to see what the flavour profile is like after dealcoholization?
We can determine the flavour profile after dealcoholization for you using software simulation. Or you can test the Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module through a short-term rental to validate the flavour profile of your products and recipes.
Is CIP required between different batches of beer types, filtered and unfiltered beer, etc.?
Yes, the Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module requires rinsing or CIP when processing two different types of beer—for instance, wheat and lager—one directly after the other. However, CIP is not required when processing two batches of the same beer type using the same feed beer.
What is the stripping gas?
The stripping gas consists of vapours of soft process water.
How to switch from a 0.0% recipe to 0.5% recipe?
When using the same feed beer, switching production using a 0.0 beer recipe to one using a 0.5% ABV beer recipe takes less than seven minutes and there is no need for CIP before making the switch.
Have the operating cost been calculated for each size? So producing 5 hl/h costs less than 4/hl?
Yes, in Europe the estimated operating cost for the Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module 50 and 100 (large sizes) is 2.8 EUR/hl and for the Dealcoholization Module 10 (small size) 3.8 EUR/hl.
I don’t think yeast will be able to perform after dealcoholization. Does this mean I don’t have to worry about hop creep?
If you follow Alfa Laval’s recommendations to keep yeast content at < 0.5 Mcells/ml, then you should not experience hop creep.
What about 0.5% ABV beer?
The Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module can produce 0.0 beer as well as 0.5%, 1.2% and 2.5% ABV beer. You simply need to select the recipe.
What is the true value of alcohol after dealcoholization? Surely it cannot be 0.0? Is it below 0.05% ABV?
By definition, 0.0 beer must be less than 0.05% ABV. The Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module can lower the alcohol volume in beer to 0.01% ABV. The most common value requested by breweries is 0.03% ABV.
What about hop creep when dry hopping or post stripping?
There is no residual yeast present after dry hopping 0.0 beer, which means that hop creep is not an issue.
What is aroma? Is it wort? Stopped fermentation beer?
Aroma can be dosed wort, mother beer, hops and other commercial aromas.
I think the best sensory taste for beer is achieved by mixing dealcoholized beer and stopped beer fermentation. Is it possible to blend these beers in the Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module?
Yes, it is possible to blend these beers in the module using an Alfa Laval AlfaDose unit after dealcoholisation.
Is this actually only possible with filtered product? Would yeast be deactivated at this "low" temperature?
Max. product temperature is 45°C under vacuum conditions, if less cells are required a polisher can be recommended (< 50.000 cells/ml).
Can you please share the answers to the questions answered after the presentation ends?
If the final product is hazy, should we add some alcohol again with a yeast addition? Or can you then only go for a protein haze post-dealcoholization? And how would a protein haze affect the dealc process?
0.0 beer will not require yeast, but protein that can be dosed after the Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module using the Alfa Laval AlfaDose unit.
Can you compare dealcoholization with vacuum distillation?
Vacuum distillation evaporates about 15-20% of the feed product, causing beer losses and giving a burnt flavour to the beer. Stripping the beer through dealcoholization produces better taste, without the product losses or burnt flavour.
Since there is much less alcohol in the product, does the finished beer need to be pasteurized to prevent infection? Or is infection not really a concern?
We recommend either flash pasteurization or beer sterile filtration to extend 0.0 product shelf-life and to minimize the risk of contaminants like bacteria.
How are the aromas collected to preserve taste?
To preserve taste, the aromas are collected in the condenser after the degasser. The aromas also through the stripping column in a single pass for only 90 seconds, making it a short and gentle process.
How much does the colour of the beer change after the dealcoholizer step?
Not much due to the short residence time and low temperature (< 45°C).
What are the taste impacts of this method compared to using systems based on reverse osmosis (RO)?
RO systems cannot produce 0.0 beers cost-effectively. For 0.5% ABV beers where aroma recovery is possible, the difference in the flavour profile is minimal. Both solutions are available in Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module and Lowal Dealcoholizer.
Can you comment on the thermal method here compared to the Alfa Laval reverse osmosis membrane technology with regard to the quality of higher hopped beers. Some people believe that, even at 42°C, dealcoholization contributes to flavour degradation and the removal of volatile hop oils, which would make membrane technology preferable to achieve a richer aroma profile.
We recommend dry hopping 0.0 beers after dealcoholization. Some of the hop oils are not compatible with reverse osmosis membranes.
Are there any craft breweries in the US that currently use this technology?
Only craft breweries in Canada are using this technology at the moment. However, we expect to have projects in the US underway soon. Our rental production unit will be available soon.
What is the minimum ceiling height for the smallest Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module?
The minimum ceiling height for the smallest module corresponds to the column height of the Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module 10, which is 6.3 meters.
Can you provide the names of the breweries that use this system?
Yes, we have a reference list with all Alfa Laval Dealcoholization Module and stripping solutions that produce 0.0 beer and <0.5 % ABV beer.
What is the correlation between capacity of the module and height of the column?
The capacity correlates with the diameter of the column while the efficiency or target duty (inlet-outlet % ABV) correlates with column height.