How it Works
Our custom-designed patent-pending system works with spirits, beer, wine, cider, non-alcoholic spirits, coffee, essential oils, and almost any other beverage in the industry. Below, we discuss how the technology works.
What is Sonication
In the simplest terms, sonication uses sound waves to accelerate the aging of a product. This 100% natural process uses a frequency so high it's undetected by the human ear and actually causes physical changes to a product. Sonication, also known as ultrasonication (>20Khz) applies sound energy to mechanically cavitate and agitate particles in a sample. This extracts flavors, phenolics, and colorants in the solution, and transforms a young product into a desirable flavor, mouthfeel, and aroma. This process has been scientifically proven to cause the same aromatic and flavor-based changes in seconds that normally occur in years, and has been used for almost a century. As technology becomes more affordable, smaller manufacturers can now incorporate this technology to save, time, money, and space, as well as increase the creativity and craft of their product.
The Sonoak Reactor produces a product that holds the characteristics of matured wine and spirits. The reactor's capability to incorporate Ultrasonic Processing is just one aspect of many to accelerate the aging process.
Most ultrasonic processing uses a frequency of 20khz. This video might not provide the most pleasant listening experience, but it gives you a good idea of where 20khz sits on the audible frequency range. When you understand the frequency, it becomes easier to understand how sound can actually work to accelerate the aging of a product.
The internal space of the reactor holds the desired wood chips or staves. Top access allows the operator to quickly and easily switch out the wood.
Sonication creates thousands of cavitation bubbles that build and build until they implode. The implosion causes shock waves and a microjet, which also generates tiny pockets of heat. The violence of this implosion breaks down the cell walls of the product, allowing for a more consistent mixture. For this reason, it often mimics the process of aging.
Barrels naturally undergo pressure changes from season to season and year to year. The pressure changes force the liquid in and out of the pores of the wood, cause slight oxidation, and extract the flavors and aromas that consumers love and associate with years of aging. Sonication replicates the effects of those pressure changes in seconds rather than years. The process generates heat within each cavitation bubble. With our glycol-jacketed tank, the heat temperature can be controlled for the desired flavor and mouthfeel. High heat extracts more tannins, a desirable trait for some products and not for others.
The pressure-rated reactor accommodates up to 30 psi, so the pressure can be manipulated to help extract desired flavors. Additionally, there is a gas inlet, so oxygen can be added for spirits or extracted for products that need to limit oxygen interaction. For wine or cider, you can simply purge the tank with CO2 and cycle the product through a closed loop, so there is no oxygen interaction at all.
Advantages of Ultrasonic Extraction and Transformation:
The Reactor Chamber
When a large amount of material needs to be processed, the flow-through chamber is preferable to the "batch" mode because it results in a much higher processing capacity, improved ultrasonic exposure, uniformity, and better temperature stability. The result is a high-quality product that maintains the desired flavor profile and carries consistency throughout the entire process.
As little as 6 gallons can be processed to run test batches.
Bulk Processing Setup
Our company put in the research and development to create the best rapid aging equipment for our own products. Rather than keeping the equipment proprietary for our own company, we wanted to make it available to everyone. We wanted the whole industry to benefit and open the doors of creativity to a host of new products for customers to enjoy.
Every aspect of the SonOak was custom designed for the use of rapid aging wine and spirits. The 3000-watt industrial generator provides ample power to the custom transducer where the sound waves interact with the product.