It’s Now Easier Than Ever To Brew Beer At Home – Here’s How
Back in the seventies, Australian beer was bland and best drunk cold and quickly. A few large companies monopolised the beer market and the one hold out was struggling.
Looking for a point of difference, Coopers released easy to use homebrew kits and kickstarted a revolution.
The resulting beers represented the first time many Australians had tried anything other than mass-produced lagers and the current wave of craft brewers emerged from those pioneering homebrewers.
Now Coopers is the largest manufacturer and exporter of brewing extracts in the world and according to its marketing manager for brewing products Scott Harris, “if it wasn’t for the rapid growth of the extracts we might not be here today”.
But over time, both consumers’ palates and homebrew kits have become more sophisticated and Harris knew that he needed a more sophisticated solution. So he invented a revolutionary new system that heralds the next generation of homebrewing.
Introducing the BeerDroid
Promoted as “the world’s first fully automated personal brewer”, the BeerDroid looks more like a sleek coffee machine than a traditional homebrew setup and lets users control the entire brewing process remotely.
That means all you need to do is load the ingredients and the machine does the rest. It sets the appropriate temperature for propagation, automatically detects when fermentation has begun and adjusts the temperature accordingly throughout the process.
Traditional homebrewing requires regular monitoring to avoid irregularities that could compromise the quality of the beer, but the BeerDroid does all that for you. And because it’s an enclosed system, there’s no need to take the lid off at any stage, which greatly reduces the risk of infection.
All this is possible because of the Wifi connectivity, which means it sends updates to your phone and you can use the BrewArt app to track or alter each batch’s progress. The entire process is so simple that you can even set it up before you head off on holiday.
The BeerDroid automatically detects when fermentation has ended and the brew is ready but if you’re not, it can move the beer into storage mode so that it remains fresh until you get back home.
Choosing your house pour
Once the beer is ready, you can bottle it like regular homebrew, but the BrewFlo addition means you can also keg each batch then pour it at the perfect temperature in your own garage or living room.
The system uses an air-filled foil liner that sits in the keg and pushes beer out via “a unique helix system”. It means the beer is completely protected from light and oxygen, which greatly increases its shelf life.
And because the system doesn’t use carbon dioxide, even once tapped the beer can be put back into storage – Harris says “we have beers that are six to twelve months old and they are still drinking really well”.
Though it operates under the Coopers umbrella, BrewArt is its own brand and alongside the famous Coopers ales, there are over 50 ‘BrewPrint’ starter kits available. These kits have all been designed by the brewing team (including three Master Brewers), and include a huge range of templates that are being regularly added to.
Each comes with a customised downloadable brewing program suited to that beer style and Harris says with a wink that “some BrewPrints nod in the direction of popular beers” – think Tea Party Lager, Queensland Gold or West Coast Pale.
But these blueprints are exactly that, and can be completely customised. Users can add their own ingredients or even build a brew from scratch “anything that requires temperature-controlled fermentation can be made using the BeerDroid”. Self-proclaimed ‘BrewArtists’ have used the kits to make cider, ginger beer and even wine at home, all controlled from their phone.
The future of homebrewing
Harris sees his invention as a natural progression for the industry, equipping homebrewers with the tools that professionals have at their disposal while still allowing them to customise each small scale brew. The BeerDroid also vastly expands the number of styles that can be made simply at home thanks to the level of control that it provides.
“For example, lagers that have historically been very difficult to brew at home due to the strict temperature control required.”
Modern bottle shops and pubs offer a range of choices once unimaginable and Harris has observed how “as people experience the world of craft beer they begin to appreciate how the use of different malts, hops and yeasts can create such varying beer styles.”
The next natural step is to experiment and put that knowledge to practical use, but what was once a time-consuming passion can now fit around everyday life. Because BeerDroid can be controlled from the office, the gym or even on holiday, it makes homebrewing more accessible than it’s ever been.
Now, as Harris puts it, “you can engage in the artisan act of brewing beer, but no longer does your beer control you – you control your beer.”
(Lead image: BENCE BOROS / Unsplash, all other images: BeerDroid/ supplied)
Published 03 October, 2019