This is an odd one, if not without a certain interest just for the effort involved and how it works. For a design contest, The RX MCU Design Contest, sponsored by Renesas, an Australian designer, Matt Prattau (a.k.a. Zizzle), created the Brewbot, an automated homebrewing system that does all the work.
Here’s his introduction, from the contest submission:
Home brewing beer can be a rewarding mix of art and science. It allows the brewer to explore the thousands of possibilities available using the dozens of varieties of hops, malt, yeast and other interesting ingredients. The process can be time consuming and results can vary due to many factors, including precision, technique and consistency used by the brewer in the process.
Imagine an appliance in your kitchen that could take the time and labor out of the brewing process and brew a consistent batch of beer each time thus allowing the user to focus on the ingredients and recipe.
I always thought that the actual work of homebrewing was part of the fun, not something to be avoided, but still, you have to admire the way he did it. Here’s what it looks like. The submission page also includes links to schematics and other information about the design. He’s also set up a blog where he tracks his progress entitled Brewbot Mk2
Hack A Day blogged about the Brewbot, and had this to say:
You can see the development board there just to the left of the brew kettle. It’s network connected with a web interface that allows you to take recipes from Brewtarget and import them directly to the system. All you need to do is make sure that you load up the grain basket and boil addition modules to match your recipe. The bot takes it from there, filling the kettle, preheating that water, lowering the grains and maintaining temperature for the mash, and completing the boil with additions from the servo-controlled PVC pipe pods. Experienced brewers will notice a few steps missing, like the sparge, and a quick way to cool the finished wort. But this does take a huge part of the drudgery out of our hands. If only it had a clean-in-place system … then we’d really be happy!
But to get a real feel for it, check out the video where the designer walks you though the steps of how it works.