Wifey, I wanna get a Brewie! There, I have just said it out loud…
This week I happened to fall across a video for a little piece of awesome that is called “The Brewie”. I was at work at the time and I must have had strange a look on my face while I was watching it…he said “you aren’t watching porn are you?”. No, not regular porn, but it was definitely Beer Porn!
Have a look at this video below, and tell me it’s not awesome!
When I got home that night, I decided I would look into the idea further and began to research some similar systems. What I very quickly realised is that these kinds of systems really divide the brewing community.
On one hand you have people like me…the time-poor brewer who loves the beer, but hates cleaning, and would like to take some of the elements out of my brew day that cause inconsistencies. All of these things, are pretty much addressed with the purchase of the Brewie.
Then, on the other hand, you have the purists who believe that by taking out the cleaning, waiting, heavy lifting etc. out of the day, you aren’t really brewing…you are just making beer, cup of tea style!
I totally understand that this piece of technology takes some of the craftiness out of the brewing process, but it certainly seems that it will add some quality and consistency at the same time. Oh geez…this actually sounds like a metaphor for Big vs Small brewing! I’ve spoken enough about that lately, so I will leave it alone!
The biggest advantage I can see with this setup is the ability to multi task! And by multi task, I mean that I can set up the Brewie with my ingredients in the morning before work (who doesn’t love milling grains in a suit and tie), plug in the water hose, and set the timer to begin the brew day.
Once set up, I can head off to work to earn the money I need to fund all of the extra brewing I am going to do with this piece of brewing brilliance. I can even keep an eye on the progress of my brew in-between meetings and coffee-runs by checking in on my iPhone…How good is that! The best bit is that when I get home from work, I can head up to the shed, drain the wort to my carbuoy, re-hydrate my yeast and pitch it, all before dinner time!
Look, I know this takes a bit of the hands on element away from the brew day, but let’s take a closer look at what I am really going to miss out on during the brewing process…
Measuring and milling grains
Is it replaced by Brewie: Nope, I still need to collect my grains from my LHBS, manually measure them out according to the recipe I have designed, then hook up my cordless drill to my mill and grind away. In a perfect world, I would do all of this before I jump in the shower to get ready for work, allowing me to do a workday brew.
Filling Hot Liquor Tank
Is it replaced by Brewie: Yeah, but waiting for water to heat up isn’t one of the highlights of brewing!
Is it replaced by Brewie: Yeah, and stirring with the paddle while inhaling the sensational smell of the grains is something I will miss.
However, there are millions of All-Grain BIAB brewers that never stir their brews and still produce great beer! Oh, but they get to smell the wort as it mashes away I suppose, but I could too if I baby sat the system all the way through the brew!
Mash Steps, Transferring the Wort and Sparging
Is it replaced by Brewie: Oh yeah, and for the better, I think.
My setup is pretty basic…I don’t have anything more than a keg wrapped in a yoga mat to keep the temperature stable. No mash rests or temperature steps for me. At the end of my first mash period I just vorlauf, drain off the liquid to the kettle, and tip my sparge liquid over the top of the grains for the second step. Brewie controls everything and allows a lot more flexibility than my current setup, allowing for more complex (and hopefully more consistent) brews.
I see this as a massive benefit for me, personally, with Brewie.
Boiling and Hop Additions
Is it replaced by Brewie: Yes, but again, the measuring of the hops according to my recipe is still on me. Adding the hops at the correct intervals is all on Brewie now, but risking burns from boiling wort while adding hops into a hop sock ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
At the end of the day, the successful adding of the hops comes down to recipe calculations and timings…the first is still on my head and Brewie only helps with the second.
Cooling the wort
Is it replaced by Brewie: Absolutely! Despite this being a pretty time consuming exercise, the part that annoys me the most is how much water I have to use to cool my wort with my small immersion chiller.
Apart from how much water I us, I am also worried that every time I hook the chiller up, I am going to spring a leak and dilute the wort I am trying to chill. Don’t laugh, it has happened on a number of occasions to me with dodgy hose connections popping!
Brewie chills to room temperature in about 20 minutes, with far less water usage…everyone’s a winner!
Fermenting, Dry Hopping and Bottling
Is it replaced by Brewie: Nope, after draining the Brewie into my fermenter, the dry hopping is in line with my recipe, and manually added by me.
Brewie doesn’t help me with bottling, but it may encourage me to take the leap to kegging!
From my personal point of view, buying a Brewie is going to give me the best of both worlds for my home brew. I love the fact it reduces the menial tasks of cleaning and standing around waiting between brew steps.
I love the fact that I can still write and perfect my own recipes, something that I don’t get to do that much of, seeing as I don’t have much time to brew.
However, the biggest winner for me is the fact that, due to the time savings with the automation elements, I can brew more beer to share with my friends and family. I also think that the quality control elements that Brewie helps with will mean my beer will be absolutely top notch!
My verdict: I want one! I want one! I want one!
Did you hear me…MORE BEER…when is that ever a bad thing?
Now…if any of you can help me sell this proposal to my wife, that would be a great help!
Cheers to great beer brewing systems!