About this project
You can still get a Brewbot. Head over to www.brewbot.io for more information or to place an pre-order.
“Science has just created a way to brew beer with an iPhone.” - Fast Company
“With Brewbot you don't have to worry about all the tedious parts of brewing. It takes care of water measurements, timing, and temperatures so you can focus on your recipe and ingredients.” - Uncrate
“It’s designed to look good, take up a minimum of space and eliminate as much possibility of error as it can to make home brewing easy.” - TechCrunch
“Brewbot has a sleek design, doesn’t take up too much space like the typical brewing equipment.” - PSFK
“The Brewbot is just the latest example of human ingenuity applied to the enjoyment of the frosty beverage.” - Yahoo News
“Sleek enough to grace the kitchen rather than hide in the basement.” - New Scientist
UPDATE #6: Announcing Brewbot Core! We are excited to extend the Brewbot community and put this technology into the hands of others. Check out our new rewards: Brewbot Core and Brewbot Core + Starter Kit
Get ready to brew amazing beers at home, the office… anywhere. We've made it simple and with your support we can make it available to everyone.
At Brewbot, we are interested in the possibilities connected devices can offer and how this technology can influence the future of brewing to make it consistent, repeatable, and within the reaches of anybody.
What is it?
Brewbot is a smart brewing appliance that you can control and monitor with your smartphone. Never brewed? No problem. Our goal was to make an easy-to-use, controlled environment that is aesthetically pleasing, and frees up brewers to focus on the recipes. You don't need to know anything about brewing to get started. You are guided through the process from beginning to end.
Why did we build it?
Brewing can be a complicated affair. The process can be daunting for anyone who is considering taking their passion for craft beer that little bit further. When we embarked on our journey into the world of brewing we made many costly mistakes. We found it could be laborious and time consuming — we were spending more time looking at timers and thermometers or fixing our setup than thinking about recipes and ingredients.
We noticed many of the inefficiencies and problems that can arise when brewing manually. With a lot of work, we were able to brew amazing beers, but they were often difficult to replicate. We saw an opportunity as designers and developers to use our skills to build a better way to brew and ultimately open up brewing to everyone.
Brewing for everyone.
Intelligent technology makes it easy to have consistently high quality craft beer at home, work or events. With Brewbot, you are the craft brewer; discovering new recipes, tweaking ingredients and experimenting with flavors. You can now have your very own brewery… and you are the master brewer.
We've been hard at work and, with your help, we are ready to take Brewbot into production. By supporting this project you'll be the first to get your hands on this smart brewing device.
Our journey to date.
We've come a long way since first brainstorming this idea.
We approached this problem to design and engineer a simple solution. As brewers, we understood what we needed and as a result we have been able to build a product that not only works, but looks great too.
Many other brewing setups take up large amounts of room. They are usually unappealing and often tucked away, out of sight. Our aim is to bring brewing out of the garage and into the home.
As most home-brewers typically do, we started our journey into brewing using plastic containers and pipes. As we iterated on our setup we were constantly optimizing and went from plastic containers to stainless steel. Because of the cost we used copper piping, but it is our aim to move to a stainless steel design.
We researched what was readily available in the catering industry and strived to use as many off-the-shelf components we could.
Using Arduino allowed us to rapidly prototype and iterate on different methods and configurations of software and hardware, giving us flexibility to focus on building Brewbot, and automating the brewing process. Arduino is a well-proven electronic prototyping platform and we were able to leverage the vast community and resources that it offers.
Using our extensive knowledge in iOS we rapidly prototyped a manually controlled interface, iterating on the design and refining the steps.
Our current prototype uses copper piping but with your help we can use stainless steel with disconnects to help make Brewbot a cleaner system that lasts longer.
Where we're at now.
Brewbot is beginning to come to life. We have built an amazing prototype and we're almost there. We know what we have to do and what we'd like to improve. On the software side, we are in the process of refining our user interface and adding features.
We are so passionate about this project that we have moved the whole team to Portland, Oregon as it is the micro-brewery capital of America. We are spending a month on the West Coast sourcing fabricators, materials and components to make Brewbot happen.
How does it work?
Brewbot demo video:
A video demonstrating water flow around the system, heating, and temperature sensing with feedback during the process.
Prototype technical specification:
- Dimensions: 121cm x 40cm x 119cm
- Weight: ~100 kg
- Boiler Output: 2000 Watts
- Brew Size: 20 Litres/5.2 Gallons
- Bluetooth LE Connectivity
- 125kW Plate Cooler
- Arduino Based Control
- Flow Sensors
- Load Sensors
- Temperature Sensors (±0.5°C)
- Stainless Steel Motorized Valves
- Native iPhone iOS 7 support
- Power Supply: 240 volts (currently UK compatible, US voltage will be supported)
- Stainless Steel Containers.
Integrated recipe system
We have built a recipe platform right into the app, allowing brewers to add and tweak recipes.
Brewbot currently talks to your iPhone via Bluetooth, giving you all the required feedback you need, from adding the grain on brew day to how long you have to wait for the brew to ferment.
Based on your recipe Brewbot enters the exact amount of water required for the brew. This can be adjusted using the app.
We have used temperature sensors, load sensors, and flow meters to ensure you understand what is happening from start to finish. These sensors assist with the automation.
Optimal brewing techniques
You can brew up to 20 litres (or just over 5 gallons) of beer. Brewbot is flexible and allows you to brew using no-sparge and batch sparging techniques which means it recirculates the water over the grain bed and cuts the brew time.
Better beer for less
Craft beer can be expensive but now everyone has the power to brew beer themselves for as little as 26p/42¢ for a 330ml/12oz bottle.
We are offering a number of facades and we have options that can be branded so it can be customized to fit in with your home, office, restaurant or bar. The possibilities are endless.
Our skills as designers and developers align most suitably to iOS, that's why we made the decision to develop our prototype for iPhone.
Working on iPhone allowed us to more easily pull together all the pieces in order to automate the brewing process and achieve our goals for the app both technically and visually. Support of Bluetooth LE in the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 gave what we immediately needed in development of our prototypes and having support on Android and other platforms would be an aim of ours beyond our initial Kickstarter.
Brewbot Core [update]
We have received a lot of feedback from brewers who already have a system in place but wish to monitor, control, and/or automate it, like Brewbot. We realise we can offer this as a product to offer the technology that makes Brewbot work to others. Community is important to us so we wanted to open this up.
Brewbot Core is unit that offers an extendable collection of the sensors and valves, fully customisable brew processes (even double sparge and step mashing), custom mapping of sensors to various outputs, have the full power of our software including scheduling system, Wi-Fi connectivity, recipe management system, cleaning modes, integration with other systems via our API, and also access to future products, such as our TV dashboard and Android app.
Features of Brewbot Core:
Built-in calendar support. Get notified when the boil is ready, a strike temperature is hit, when it’s time to dry hop, when it’s time to bottle.
A Wi-Fi base station that can be standalone or connect your brewery to an existing network. Connect to your Android or iOS device.
Send recipe data to your smart brewery format, or input via the app. Comes with the same recipe tweaking ability as Brewbot.
Custom brew processes
Setup Brewbot Core to your desired brew process, timings, sparge technique, mashing technique. Brewbot Core offers full flexibility to suit your needs.
Add your temperature and flow sensors and setup what they do and control. e.g. Set temperature sensor one to open a two-way valve.
Based on the inputs and outputs defined you will get a custom interface to manually control outputs and monitor input sensors.
Several preset functions that can be used to rinse your system out.
Want a custom sensor or add even more? Brewbot Core can be upgraded through connections and software.
Brewbot Core technical specification:
- 8 x Inputs (e.g. Temperature Probes, Flow Meters)
- 8 x Outputs (Valves)
- 2 x Pump Outputs
- 1 x SSR Switch
- PID Control
- Worldwide Electrical Support
We’ve created a fully functional prototype and it has proven extremely effective. We have spent the last several months putting it through its paces and have brewed a lot of beer along the way.
We've explored lots of ways to bring Brewbot to life but the only way we can see it getting into the hands of others is to use Kickstarter. We want to make it more affordable and the only way we can do that is by manufacturing in large numbers.
So far we have been able to fund the development of the project but now we need your help to take the product further. We believe if Brewbot existed we could empower discerning amateurs, home-brewers, and breweries to become better.
What we will do whilst in the US:
- Source fabricators to help manufacture Brewbot in the US
- Meet brewers to help refine the project
- Find suppliers to help provide raw materials
- Meet people to help with the shipping of the project.
We want to bring the same personality that we bring to each brew to every unit we ship:
- The priority after a successful project is to work on the stainless steel structure that forms the basis of Brewbot
- Once this has completed our team of woodworkers will put in place the prepared wood
- Each valve, pump and flow meter will be installed into the unit
- The electronics assembly that monitors and controls every detail of the unit will be installed, calibrated and tested
- After each Brewbot is assembled we will run through a series of tests for quality control.
We are currently focusing our efforts on the UK, Ireland, Australia, and US. If we meet our goal we guarantee seamless delivery in these countries, we will endeavor to achieve the necessary certifications for other countries but if we can't we will refund backers in the countries we can't deliver to.
Shipping and delivery:
If we get funded we want to use our funds to optimize the weight of Brewbot to keep shipping costs as low as possible. Brewbot is a sizable, ready-constructed unit and as such currently costs £100/$160 to ship within the UK and it would be a similar cost in the US. We want to reduce this cost when we go into production by sourcing fabricators in the UK and the US. We will be in touch when our project ends with individual shipping prices for your country i.e. UK and Ireland, EU, US, Canada, or Australia.
How will the project funds be used?
We have a real working prototype, but there's still a lot to do. With your support we can finish the first production-run of Brewbot and get it out into the world. Your backing will help fund:
Sourcing components and materials
We are currently using copper for piping but we want to use stainless steel. Stainless steel doesn't corrode or oxidize and can be used with more cleaning products than copper can.
Optimizing the product
We are continuously trying to optimize Brewbot particularly in two areas:
- Heating - we are using off-the-shelf induction heaters but we want to explore form and power in order to design a solution that is efficient
- Sensors - currently using temperature sensors that are within 0.5°C but with your help we can achieve an even more accurate reading.
Electronics - we are currently using Arduino but we are hoping to use our own micro-controller to optimize the threading. We need to optimize the product for both the UK and US voltage systems.
Final engineering to meet necessary safety regulations
As we will be initially launching in the UK there are three EU directives that apply in order for us to get CE approval:
- Low Voltage - electrical safety (low voltage as opposed to high voltage)
- Radio and telecommunications terminal equipment – for radio and network apparatus
- Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) – limiting emissions and requiring immunity to emissions from others (if we use induction for heating)
However, we have tried to use off-the-shelf parts where possible, all of which already have CE marking which mitigates the risk in this area.
The current Brewbot app needs refined and we will require your help to make this happen. Whilst the app is currently iPhone-based we want to offer a cohesive visual experience across multiple platforms and devices.
If you decide to help us you'll play an integral part in starting a revolution in home-brewing. Every person backing us makes the difference. We're looking forward to seeing what you can do.
Who are we?
We are Cargo, a multidisciplinary team of designers and developers based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. We come from different backgrounds but we all share the same passion for brewing.
We have designed and developed over 70 mobile applications to date but we made the decision to focus on our own product, and this is why we've put all of our efforts and energies into Brewbot.
- Founder: Chris McClelland
- Creative Lead: Jonny Campbell
- Development Lead: Niall Kelly
- Engineer: Kieran Graham
- Interface Design: Ali Sisk
- Design: Aaron Gilmore
We have partnered with Caroline and Nelson Santos who are the founders of Mette, a creative consultancy who specialise in contemporary products and environments for cooking and living, to assist with the product design. They have designed products for Jamie Oliver, Tesco, and 100% Design.
We will be teaming up with James Lamb who was one of the very first design engineers at Dyson Appliances. He has designed a long list of products for companies such as British Telecom, Johnson & Johnson, GE, Gillette, and P&G.
Along the way we've had the help and support of Dr George Cathcart who is the master brewer at Sheelin Brewery.
What do our rewards look like?
We wanted to bring the same personality to our rewards that we bring to our app and appliance.
Inspired by the visualisations in the app, we have created some beautiful generative objects. Each of the rewards are completely unique and have been generated based on our triangulation design.
We wanted to make something just for you because you are helping us bring our dream to life.
Special thanks to:
We would like to thank everyone who helped and supported us along the way, without you we wouldn't be here:
Caroline and Nelson Santos at Mette, George Cathcart at Sheelin Brewery, Andy McMillan and Andy Baio for going above and beyond to help us in Portland and for creating XOXO which inspired us to pursue this idea, Paddy and Adam at FabLab Belfast, Marty Stalker and Paul Searle for video, Filly Campbell and Simon Mills for photography, Warp and Woof for our soundtrack, Conor Midgely, Robin Price, Paul Lay, Llinos Griffiths, Miguel Ortiz, Baileys Taproom, Black Box, Hudson Bar, Max Temkin for all of his support, and everyone who encouraged us along the way.
Risks and challenges
We have built functional prototypes already and are confident we will be able to produce an amazing product, however, with all hardware projects, there is always a risk when it comes to getting a prototype production-ready.
We have tried to use off-the-shelf parts where possible, all of which already have CE marking which mitigates the risk in safety.
We appreciate your support and we are excited to have you join us in our journey to share the power of brewing to the world.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
It's not that we can't ship to your country; we can. We just need to look into the legislation and certification, and part of our Kickstarter campaign is work these issues out. For backers outside of the UK, Ireland, and US you might have to pay extra for shipping.
With your support we can get Brewbot into the hands of as many people as possible.
Android is firmly on our roadmap. We only started with iOS because the technology was there and we could easily achieve this within the first round of funding. If we are successful we will be supporting the Android platform, we have in-house experience building Android apps in the past.
Soon. Brewing with Brewbot provides a vast amount of interesting data and we have a lot of fun with this. We are really excited about what others can do, for example what designers can do with the visual data, what brewers can input in terms of recipes, and how developers can integrate with other services. We'll be sharing the API at various stages throughout development.
Brewbot has a cleaning mode which will rinse water through the system cold or hot to which you can add cleaning products or sanitizer to it. The parts will have connectors that enable you to strip down the unit for a manual clean whenever necessary.
Yes. The system is flexible whilst we ship with a fermentation tank you are free to use whatever type of vessel you wish.
Brewbot is a perfect companion for a Kegerator. Depending on the beer you brew Brewbot produces about the same quantity as a Cornelius keg so you can transfer your beer into one after fermentation is complete.
The expected retail price is £2,000. The prices on Kickstarter are for our supporters. If you pledge now you can save up to £400/$644 (based on the £1,600 pledge).
Yes. You can find our logo, photographs, and video at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/v2xzkacjq4wqq16/uGAq51B8Ff
Yes. There will be a hole provided for a tube to accommodate blow-off but also retain the stack-ability of the tank.
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