The key to perfecting a good home brew is monitoring and recording the temperature of the beer brewing process, according to 20-year beer-brewing veteran, Leo Estevez. But taking down and monitoring all the data is time consuming and requires you to keep a constant watch over the brewing equipment. So Estevez created Bieree, a programmable smartphone-controlled beer-brewing gadget, to do the job for him.
Estevez and his design colleague Sam Dalong revamped Bieree, which is in its final run on Kickstarter, into what it is today. Bieree’s mobile app records and logs the temperature of bubbling liquids throughout the entire beer brewing process, with the kit’s thermocouple. The app’s program controls Bieree’s pumps according to the temperature. All the data is right there on the screen, so you could monitor your beer-making from another room.
But because Bieree’s app and circuit board are programmable, you have the flexibility to add in other sensors to track. You could, for example, hook up an entire refrigerator or boiler to Bieree to track their temperature profiles at different stages of the brewing process. Or you could create an entirely new custom program that lets you manually control the pumps when you want and leave the automation to only certain parts of the process.
In a basic beer brewing setup, there are two pots. Hot water cycles back and forth between these two pots during most of the brewing. So it’s key to control the pumping mechanism to regulate the near constant cycling of fluid. Bieree lets you do that with as much or as little automation as you want.
You can use any Bluetooth programming app, like nBlueTerm, to put in the commands for Bieree. For non-programmers, Bieree’s app, which runs on both iOS and Android, will already come with standard controls for automatically brewing established pints: lagers, ales, and stouts.
If a smartphone isn’t really your thing, the team devised a handheld push button called the EZ Button that lets you manually control when the pumps move the hot water to and from each brewing pot.
The Bieree system comes with all of the electrical and mechanical components to control the setup, as well as a collapsible steamer. You provide the grains, hops, yeast, water, burner, and pots, according to the size of the beer batch that you want.
A more involved package comes with kegs and pressurization valves for brewers that want to pressurize their beer with their own CO2 pressurizers. And for experienced brewers that have their own gear, a stripped-down version comes with just the electronic components that you need to connect to the Bieree app.
Estevez and Dalong started out creating small, two-to-three gallon batches on a kitchen stove but soon increased their output by moving from five-volt to 12-volt pumps. Until now, they have been able to brew up to ten-gallon batches of beer, but by the time Bieree is ready to ship this fall, they think they can perfect a higher volume of suds.
"We are redesigning the enclosure for larger pumps, which will enable anywhere from two to 20 gallons to be brewed with our device," Estevez told us.
With the electronics finalized, Estevez and Dalong will be putting the final touches on the app and mechanical components so that Bieree can adapt to whatever is in a brewer’s technical arsenal. Soon, these brewers can add programming to their toolboxes.
[Image: Flickr user Quinn Dombrowski]