Rise of the brewery bots
I feel like an old friend you haven’t seen in years who just pops in and says “hi! Wanna be friends again? Let’s have a beer, and talk about our new beer robot overlords!”
Hi, I’m DJ Spiess from fermentarium.com. Thanks for hanging out with me again! I think it’s been 6 years since the last episode. If you’ve been to fermentarium.com, you’ll notice the site is a bit upgraded. It’s a reboot, and I’m going more video. I hope you check it out!
Speaking of upgrades, let’s talk about brewing 2.0 and the really cool rise of the automated brewing systems. All hail our new beer robot overlords!
Brewing beer can be an all day process. All-grain brewers out there who have had a brew day go bad know what exactly what I’m talking about. Should have been 4 hours, but now we’re holding a flashlight under our chin while adding the last hop addition.
There’s several systems out there with people trying to help us out. These are automated home brewery systems. The idea is simple. Make a device where we pour ingredients in, and come back to finished wort.
Or even better, beer.
All of the systems we’ll look at automatically brew the beer, and then transfer to a keg to ferment. So we are still out of reach of a completely enclosed brewery, but I think that’s ok. Fermenting in a keg isn’t that bad, and we usually want to take kegs to places away from the brewery, like outside to a nice park.
The first brewery is a kickstarter project called the PicoBrew. As of this video, they have already raised the money they need by 4 times over. So there’s demand for this type of product.
The PicoBrew is a beginner system, and it allows us to brew 5 liters of beer. That’s a little over 1 gallon. The system’s a little larger than a coffee maker. It comes with it’s own clear plastic fermenter, and a small 5 liter keg for dispensing.
The keg size looks to be like one of the little disposable Kirin or Heineken beer kegs you can get at the liquor store.
The cool thing about it is we can just add a kit, and the system recognizes the beer. It knows what temperatures to brew at, and so on. It also handles all the transferring of beer for us. Kinda cool.
Catch is we have to use a one of their kits. It’s like a Keurig coffee maker for beer. If I’m reading their website right, we can preorder one for $608, which comes with one beer.
PicoBrew’s older brother is the Zymatic. The Zymatic is an all-grain brewing system, and a bit more homebrewer friendly. You can use your own ingredients, and has 4 timed hop additions..
The Zymatic comes with software that allows us to tweak everything about our beer. This can make our brew sessions highly repeatable. That’s good. The software is a web interface you access over wi-fi.
The Zymatic does 2.5 gallon brews, but we can use any recipe kit. If you’re using your standard homebrew shop recipe, just divide it in half.
The Zymatic is $1850 on Amazon.
The Brewie is an indie-gogo project that is also fully funded. It compares more with the Zymatic, but is only $1599. The cool things about the Brewie is you can control the device from your Android or iPhone. That means you can set it up, and control the brewing on the go.
It also allows much more control over the brewing process, such as multi-step mashing, sparging, and automatic cooling. It also includes a automatic water inlet, so you can schedule brews. The Brewie brews 5 gallons of beer.
If you’re not screaming take my money yet, it also is self cleaning.
Last there is the BrewBot which is still in development. It produces a 18 liters, which is a little under 5 gallons. The brewBot is about $3300 after adding in shipping.
The BrewBot looks to have a iOS app, but it’s not clear about Android. All control is handled through the interface on your phone. The phone connects through “a sensor interface”. I’m guessing that means Bluetooth.
One advantage of the BrewBot is we can also just get the parts and put it together on our own if we like. I think this option is for those who just want to automate their own system.
So those are the the systems I could find, but I’m sure there’s more out there. What systems have you heard of, and is this something you’d use? I think I find the Brewie the most intriguing. Let me know what you think in the comments.
I also want to hear what you’d like to see in this show. Let me know what I’m doing right or wrong!
I haven’t heard from many of you in years. So let’s be beer buddies again! I’d love to hear from everyone.
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And with that, I’ll see you next week!
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Credits and Links
- Picobrew: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1708005089/pico-craft-beer-at-home
- PicoBrew Zymatic: http://www.amazon.com/PicoBrew-Zymatic/dp/B00TYV0TQG
- Brewie: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/brewie-world-s-first-fully-automated-home-brewery#/
- BrewBot: http://www.brewbot.io/
Cold Funk – Funkorama by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
I live in Denver, Colorado. This blog is everything about beer, wine, cider, mead and other spirits.
I am a avid homebrewer and winemaker. I’ve been making my own beer and wine for many years. I started making beer when I was in college (mostly because the drinking age in the United States is 21). My first few beers were horrible. The beers are much better now, and I often supply my neighborhood with free beer! It is a great hobby! If you’re into computer programming, you might want to check out my programming site, DeegeU.com.