About this project
Immersion is the world's smallest lager fermentation device, giving brewers the ability to create world class lagers without a refrigerator. Immersion can bring your beer down to 35º F below ambient in a matter of days and hold it there for as long as it is plugged into the wall. Immersion has the same footprint as your carboy so no additional space is needed to create a lager! Now it is possible to brew a lager in your closet, bedroom, living room, or any tiny corner of your house.
How It Works
Immersion uses a patent pending solid state cooling system that pumps heat out of your fermenting beer using tiny heat exchange chips.
These chips rapidly move heat from one side to the other causing a vast difference in temperature between the two sides.
The cold side is connected to a hard anodized heat transfer rod that is submerged into your fermenting beer and the hot side is connected to a heat sink on the top of the device. When powered on, the cooling engine rapidly pulls heat from your beer, through the rod, and out the heat sink on the top, allowing you to achieve cold crash temps in the mid 30s in just a matter of days.
The unique design of Immersion allows brewers to not only lager without a refrigerator, but maintain a precise temperature to ferment any kind of beer. The user interface on the top of the device is used to set a temperature and the system will maintain it.
For example, if you are brewing a lager that requires primary fermentation at 52º F, set the device to 52º F and it will maintain that temperature for as long as it is powered on. Three weeks later when primary fermentation is complete and you need to do a diacetyl rest, increase the temperature to 65º F and Immersion will cut off power to the cooling unit and allow the ambient temperature of your house to increase the temperature of the beer. Once the temperature reaches 65º F, Immersion will power back on automatically, meticulously maintaining the set temp of 65º F. When the rest is complete and you need to lager condition the beer, simply select the temperature to cold crash, perhaps 35º F, and Immersion will cycle until the set temperature is achieved. For as long as it is plugged in, Immersion will maintain that temperature.
Like any cooling system, insulation is needed to keep the cold environment isolated from the hot environment outside. We have created a durable, machine washable, insulated puffy jacket for your fermenter that keeps the comfortable warmth of your house away from your lagering beer.
When not in use, Immersion can be stowed in the tiniest of places by simply removing the heat transfer rod. As apartment dwellers ourselves, we've designed this system to be as compact as possible. It is tiny enough to fit on your closet shelf!
BrewJacket Immersion is compatible with brew buckets, Better Bottles, and Big Mouth Bubblers from Northern Brewer. All three need to be modified slightly, but we take care of that for you. All fermenters must be between 5 and 6.5 gallons.
- At the $299 funding level, we include your choice of pre-drilled bucket lid, or bulkhead connector for Better Bottles (you will have to drill a 1/2" hole in your Better Bottle neck).
- At the $324 funding level, we include a pre-drilled Better Bottle
- At the $354 funding level, we include a pre-drilled Big Mouth Bubbler
Note: If you already have a Big Mouth Bubbler, you can send us your lid and we will drill it for you. There is currently a lid shortage for Big Mouth Bubblers, so we cannot send lids by themselves, but we expect that to end by the fall.
What's in the Box?
- BrewJacket Immersion Cooler
- Insulated jacket that fits both carboys and buckets
- #10 pre-drilled stopper for the rod
- Your choice of a pre-drilled bucket lid or bulkhead adapter with co2 one way release valve for better bottles
- Universal power supply, 100v-240v; Cord provided for your country of choice
What Has Changed
You may have noticed that we had a kickstarter campaign last summer that was not successfully funded. If you were one of our backers, we thank you with all our hearts! While we were pretty bummed that we weren’t funded, we weren’t discouraged. Our first kickstarter allowed us to open a conversation with thousands of beer brewers and build a surprisingly small but critical list with necessary changes to make the device that brewers need.
The main change we needed to make was bringing the device from two rods down to just one.
With a two rod device, we were forcing brewers to use plastic buckets instead of carboys (which many brewers use, some exclusively). We spent the past 8 months re-engineering the rod system and we’re extremely happy to have achieved a carboy friendly design, which we didn't think was possible when we launched our first campaign last summer. An awesome side effect of going single rod is we need less material to build the device, which means a lower price!
How It All Started
Immersion was born out of necessity in Atlanta, GA. As a homebrewer in a small apartment, I simply had no space for a second refrigerator. When I became more serious about brewing, I was forced to move my entire brew setup over to a friends house that had far more room to put things like swamp coolers and lagering refrigerators in order to create the styles of beer that I wanted.
In my tiny apartment, all I could do was re-route cold air from my air conditioner to keep the hot Atlanta summers at bay:
There had to be a better way to do this. I began experimenting with other ways to drop the temperature of fermenting beer. As a computer nerd, I was familiar with Peltier units as a way of cooling overclocked CPUs. Peltiers, or thermoelectric modules, are an array of dissimilar metals that transfer heat from one side of them to the other when a current is passed through. I began experimenting, but ran into some walls that I simply couldn't proceed beyond with my level of expertise, but came up with a design to test:
I put the project on hold while I relocated to Ithaca, NY for grad school. A few months later, I met an incredibly talented engineer who also loved beer in an entrepreneurship class and we began brainstorming ways to make the device come alive, and the first proof of concept was born.
The proof of concept rocked. We brewed around 30 beers on it and the quality of the beer I was producing skyrocketed. I could now ferment like a professional brewer in my house! I was stunned with how big of a difference stable temperatures made on a fermenting beer and I was no longer forced to brew just saisons in the summer. I could lager. Now that we could see the technology working, we began tweaking everything to make it the best way to ferment beer imaginable.
As you can see form the picture above, we didn't have a good means of insulating the fermenter. We tried everything from sleeping bags (too floppy) to hot water heater blankets (too scratchy - pictured above).
My amazing wife Paralee is far more talented than I am in the art of apparel, so she volunteered to work on jacket designs. The one in the picture above featured a vinyl outer layer with a silica aerogel insulation making it incredibly low profile and insulated, but the stuff was just too dusty to use and we had a sticky film over everything in our living room for a month after that. She switched to modifying sleeping bags and with enough layers, we got to the performance we needed for the Immersion. Our current design has an insulation value comparable to a modern freezer! We're now working with an end-to-end clothier producer who will be producing our final jackets from pattern to delivered goods.
Who We Are
BrewJacket is a grad student run startup at Cornell University. In October 2013, it was accepted into Cornell's accelerator program, eLab, where it is actively working to become a viable company when its members graduate in May 2014.
Aaron learned to brew in Athens, GA when he was at The University of Georgia. He has an awesome wife named Paralee and a big fluffy dog named Albus who loves to go mountain biking and skiing with Aaron and Paralee. Aaron is finishing up his MBA at Cornell where he met Matt and Evgeniy.
Matt encountered Aaron during an entrepreneurship class at Johnson where he let Aaron talk him into pulling all nighters to create a business. Matt, lover of beer, was convinced and is the firm’s Chief Technical Officer. Matt is currently working towards his Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University with the support of his loving wife Lianyi and rugrat to be on the way.
Evgeniy Tkachenko was a later addition to BrewJacket. Having previously known Matt from Cornell, Evgeniy shares the same love of beer as is expected from a true Russian. Evgeniy decided to bring his experience as a mechanical engineer in Texas to BrewJacket in hopes of brewing the perfect beer. In his spare time, Evgeniy enjoys trying new beer, learning about everything, and being a nerd. He is the firm’s VP of Engineering.
Use of Proceeds
The funds we receive from this Kickstarter campaign will be used largely to produce the first set of Immersion devices. Our goal of $45,000 will cover the setup costs of injection molding, pattern finalization of the jacket component, electrical engineering costs, and importantly, purchasing enough raw materials to allow economies of scale to make Immersion affordable to homebrewers.
After we are successfully funded, we will contact our manufacturing partners and place component orders for the number of units we were able to get funded. Our electronics partner requires a 6-8 week window between order and delivery, our clothier requires a 8-12 week window, our metals partner requires a 3-4 week window, and our injection molder requires a 6-8 week window. We plan on successfully closing our kickstarter in the middle of June 2014, and allowing our manufacturing partners to send us our parts. Our shop is located in Cornell University's PopShop, which is a communal work space for student startups located at 325 College Ave, Ithaca NY. Upon graduation, we plan on moving the company to Boulder, CO. For the first set of units, Matt, Evgeniy, and Aaron will be the assemblers. However as we begin scaling up in production, we have been in contact with a set of people who are excited to come on board. We have a number of early delivery components already and once funded, we will begin working on assembling and sending those to our early release backers. These we expect to deliver by August 2014, with the remainder of the units delivered by October 2014.
Risks and challenges
Setbacks are natural, and we hope to not have any, however if we do here is how we will address them:
First, we are very fortunate to be in school have access to an amazing network of faculty and alumni here at Cornell to provide guidance and support. From engineering, to legal, to business, to the environment, we have experts that are all within walking distance that can assist us with any issue that may arise.
From a labor perspective, we have been in contact with a large number of undergraduate students who are extremely interested in being involved in this project. There are even programs Cornell where the university will pay for the undergraduate to intern with a university affiliated startup, so if we find ourselves in need of additional help, we will not be held back.
From a financial perspective, while we have done our math and know our numbers work out right, there are always contingencies that complicate things, such as a number of components changing price, or a quantity minimum being changed. If this does occur, with a successfully funded project, we have a number of investors interested in becoming more involved in the project and having the backing of the Kickstarter community will prove the demand exists for Immersion and cash infusions will be easier to come by. Aaron was also a manager for the BR Venture Fund at Johnson and has experience dealing with startups looking for additional capital.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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