Home-brewing can be summarised in the hobby of “make beer at home” and for sure is a wide spread passion all over the world including Italy where I live. Home brews are basically small scale craft beer makers and generally speaking people passionate not only in food and beverage but also DIY enthusiast that love experiments, recipe creation, row material transformation, process control and all the typical makers attitude.
I don’t know if is the process of beer making, that is typically a step process with support of specific technology, or the typical mindset of the home brew, but as a matter of fact almost all home brewers are very proud of building their own instruments and equipment. In my long home-brewing experience I have found that one of the common passion in the community is the self-building and DIY of the equipment needed for beer production. In the many forums, blogs or magazines talking about the hobby there is almost always a section dedicated to DIY equipment.
On the internet you can find plans for almost any possible device needed for automation and control of the beer making process—in some cases these try to emulate and scale the professional equipment, but sometimes even more advanced and creative!
I’m definitely part of this DIY home brewing community, and sometimes I’m asking myself if I enjoy more the construction of a new beer gadget or beer making…or even beer drinking!
After many different experiment in the past with different technologies I came across the Arduino, and at least to me, it seems the 5th ingredient for beer making—together with water, barley malt, hop and yeast. The marriage of Arduino with brewing is perfect… perhaps because I live in Ivrea, not so far from the Arduino started.
I tried first to port all my basic systems—based on standard off the shelf technology such as the PID thermo regulator, and PWM controller—into the Arduino ecosystem so that I can start other—more advanced—projects. During one of these initial projects I met another Italian guy who shared a similar passion passion for beer, the same ideas, and same love for the Arduino. Everything stared from a post of mine on an Italian blog… this stimulate people to enhance and develop my initial “all in one ” brewing system idea and from another similar Arduino-based project in Australia from Stephen Mathison.
Thanks to the massive and fundamental contribution of Salvatore Petrone and Masimo Nevi I’m very proud to present Open Ardbir. It is a control system to fully automate the beer production process with a single vessel brewing system (RIMS).
The core of the system is an Arduino Uno and a shield has been developed in order to connect temperature probe, the SSR relay for heating element, the Pump relay, and a buzzer, as well as an LCD display and 4 push buttons for interaction and programming.
You can use it manually like a PID controller, or in a full automated process, in this case once the user has set the recipe parameters and started the process they are guided step by step from initial set up, to mashing, boiling and hop addition. Every step and operation are clearly highlighted in the display and trough sounds
Each parameter can be customised in system configuration menu and recipe can be saved for future reuse. The home-brewer can use the Open Ardbir in their own set up and there are many different hardware implementation around the controller since the integration is quite easy (PUMP / temperature sensor and heating element).