New invention turns your kitchen into a beer lovers paradise - Food & Beverage Magazine

New invention turns your kitchen into a beer lovers paradise

What if you could make your own craft beer in your own home for pennies a glass?  Making your own beer offers several benefits.  Among them are better quality beer at a lower cost and an the ability to make “Your Beer – Your Way!”  Along with this comes the pride in your own beer and the enjoyment of the craft.  You can make simple light beers like the major commercial beers or craft beers that tantalize your pallet.

Many people have bad memories of homebrewed beer.  You know the guy, he made his own beer and he somehow thinks it tastes good (evidently pride changes your taste buds)!  So he pushes that homemade brew on you.  You take one sip and have to fight wincing from the awful taste.  Instead you force a smile because you don’t want to offend him.  You then wait for him to look away so you can pour it down the drain.  In the past, making good beer was a true art and took years of experience to master the craft. The Brew-Boss® system allows you to make beer you will love.  Your friends will confirm how good it is by drinking you out of beer (based on personal experience)!

In the past, those that wanted to make their own beer went through a common growth process, often learning by failure.

First step was to visit a local homebrew store and purchase a “basic starter kit”.  This kit included a couple of white plastic buckets, bucket cover, an airlock, a glass hydrometer, a siphon tube, some tubing, bottle caps a bottle capper, and maybe a how-to dvd.  They might also sell you a large kettle to boil your beer in.  They would then sell you an ingredient kit that included a molasses type liquid (malt extract) that you mix with water and boil in your own large kettle.  These kits are available in many flavors that match various beer styles.  The molasses liquid is called an extract, and is basically concentrated beer that you dilute with water.  We call these “dump & stir” kits, as that is all you really are doing to make beer, similar to making Jello!  These kits range in price from $30 to $50 depending on the beer style and they make 5 gallon batches. Total cost per 12oz bottle is from $0.90 to $2.10 (includes energy cost of boiling, etc. but no labor).  As you can see, this is almost more than the cost of just buying a craft beer 6-pack at the local beer outlet!  Also, these kits limit your creativity as you can only make recipes that the kit manufactures offer.

To reduce the cost of making beer and increase the creative juices of the brewer looking to personalize their recipes, many homebrewers advance to the 2nd step and begin partial grain brewing.  With this step, the homebrewer purchases malt extracts in bulk (usually in 5 gallon buckets) and then use various grains (mainly malted barley) and other flavorings to customize their beers.  This reduces the cost slightly over dump & stir kits, but increases the creative latitude of the brewer.  This step requires little additional equipment over the basic beginner kits, but most homebrewers, at that point, start to upgrade their equipment as well.

Eventually, homebrewers that continue to expand, move into all-grain brewing.  This reduces the cost considerably and gives infinite number of recipe possibilities.  This is how the commercial breweries and microbreweries produce their beers. In a nutshell, all-grain brewing adds a step called mashing that basically converts the starches in grain (malted barley) into sugars.  The mashing step is not difficult, but represents the most difficult part of brewing.  Traditionally, the move to all-grain brewing required a large investment into additional equipment and knowledge.  There are many different types of systems that allow you to brew all-grain. Cost of this equipment can range from simple single infusion mash cooler based systems to more advanced HERMS and RIMS based systems that cost thousands of dollars. Most of these systems are gas (propane) based and must be used outdoors.  Gas based systems are costly to operate and dangerous, and most of all, don’t provide the control capability for accurate brewing.

Brew-Boss® is already an awesome product, but we want to make it even better, so good in fact it will set the bar for all other homebrew systems. Brew-Boss® is an automated homebrew system that allows the first time homebrewer to jump to All-Grain Brewing, skipping the time and costs associated with the first two steps described earlier.  It requires no prior knowledge of homebrewing, but is powerful enough for advanced brewers as well.  Brew-Boss® is the most automated brewing system available, talking you through every step!

Brew-Boss® has been providing electric brewing systems for over a year and is ready to jump to the next level with your backing.  The existing Brew-Boss® systems are built in relatively low volumes, so taking advantage of mass production techniques is not currently viable.  This increases production costs and ultimately the price to the customer.

Our goal with the new offering is to have system components purpose built in volume to reduce overall costs, making the technology available to nearly everyone.  The cost of progressing through the three steps described above would exceed the cost of Brew-Boss® by several times, making Brew-Boss® the most cost effective option for all-grain brewing, To get to the next level, we need to do the following:

  • Create Tooling for New Brew Kettles (prototype shown in video).  Currently, we expend substantial labor drilling holes in the kettles we currently use in our systems.  We have made arrangements with a supplier to source kettles with holes pre-drilled and high  quality welded tri-clamp fittings will be already welded by the supplier.  This will eliminate the drilling labor and will provide better connections than the weldless connections used currently.  This effort will require substantial financial commitments for tooling.
  • We have made arrangements with a manufacturer and have had custom made heating elements made just for us, out of stainless steel.  The current systems we supply use off the shelf water heater elements that are susceptible to rusting and are difficult to clean.  The new elements clean very easily and look like new after a brew session.  Tooling for these elements in three different sizes will require a substantial financial outlay as well.
  • We have made arrangements to have a custom made digital temperature sensor made as well.  Digital sensors are more accurate and reliable.  It will be supplied with the proper plug to match or controller.  Our current design requires labor on our part as we have to manually add the proper plug to the sensor.
  • The COFI filter shown in the video and pictures is a prototype. We need to work with the manufacture to tool up for high production numbers.  We have tested the design and are getting better efficiency than using mesh bags.  We are excited to add this unit to our offering.

The goal of this campaign is to allow us to fund the engineering, tooling, and other development costs to have our own custom designed kettles, heaters, control boxes, etc. manufactured for us rather than using off the shelf items from other suppliers. Tooling for our own products will allow us to reduce our component and labor costs, ultimately reducing the cost to the consumer.

We also want to port the Android Application over to the IOS platform.  This represents a major effort as the Android application has nearly 2000 hours of development and testing time to date.

Brew-Boss® is available in many sizes and configurations. Basically, you choose the size of your kettle, the voltage you desire, and the mash method (Mesh Bag or COFI Filter).

Complete 240VAC 15 Gallon System
Complete 240VAC 15 Gallon System

Standard kettles are 10, 15, and 20 gallon capacity.  The 10 gallon system makes 5 gallon or smaller batches.  The 15 gallon system is capable of 10 gallon or smaller batches,  The 20 gallon system is capable of 10 to 15 gallon batches.

Systems are available in two different voltages, 120 volts and 240 volts.

The 120 volt system requires two separate 15 amp circuits in your home and will only work with the 10 gallon kettle as there simply is not enough electrical heating capacity (3000 watts total) to heat more water to that to a boil.

The 240 volt system is available in all three kettle sizes in 3500 watt or 5500 watt options.  The 3500 watt version is designed for international customers that have 20 amp limitations on their 220-240 volt circuits.  The 3500 watt can also be used in the 10 gallon kettle option for USA customers, but is not recommended for the larger 15 or 20 gallon kettles.  The 5500 watt heater option requires a 240 volt 30 amp circuit and is the most powerful (fastest) heating option.

A pump is also supplied for recirculating the wort in the kettle during the mash process. All stainless steel fittings and high temperature brewery grade hoses are also supplied.

Everything fits inside the kettle, so storage is simple.  Place everything inside the kettle and stow in a closet.

The basic Brew-Boss® system is a Brew-In-A-Bag (BIAB) system that utilizes a mesh bag to contain the grains inside the kettle during the brewing process. The entire brewing process occurs in a single kettle. The basic brewing process is as follows:

  • Fill the kettle with the appropriate amount of water.
  • The controller heats the water to a starting temperature called the strike temperature.
  • Add the Grains to the kettle in the mesh bag or COFI filter.
  • The controller holds the temperatures for predetermined amounts of time while recirculating with the pump.
  • Remove the grain bag or COFI filter.
  • The controller boils the contents for the predetermined amount of time.  You add hops at the appropriate times or the Hops-Boss device adds them automatically.
  • You cool the contents to room temperature using a chiller.
  • Transfer the contents of the kettle to a fermenter.
  • Add Yeast
  • Install Air Lock on fermenter.
  • When bubbling stops (about 1 week), remove sediment.
  • Wait another week for fermentation to complete and sediment to settle out.
  • Transfer to keg.
  • Chill and carbonate.

The bag is simply removed before the boil after the sugars are extracted from the grains.

Mesh Bag Installed on Kettle
Mesh Bag Installed on Kettle

The new Brew-Boss® Advanced system uses a newly designed, patent pending, infusion filter we call the COFI Filter.  COFI is an acronym for Center Out Forced Infusion.  This design uses a special stainless steel mesh filter, instead of a mesh bag, to contain the grains during the mash cycle.  It provides better saturation of the grains as well as some other benefits.

COFI Filter Unit
COFI Filter Unit

The COFI filter unit also has a central infusion tube that has flow matched holes that force recirculated water through the grains from the center of the filter.  This increases the efficiency of the mash process.

Spray Pattern of Central Infusion Tube
Spray Pattern of Central Infusion Tube

The COFI filter also has a unique false bottom that compresses the grains when the filter is being removed by lifting from the central infusion tube.  The squeezing action forces much of the left over sweetness out of the grains.

Squeezing Action on Wet Grains
Squeezing Action on Wet Grains

For both the BIAB and COFI versions, a high temperature brew pump is used to recirculate the water in the kettle during the mash process.

The Brew-Boss® controller is equipped with its own internal wireless wi-fi router and hardware to drive the high current heating element and a pump.  A digital temperature probe plugs into the controller to allow monitoring of the kettle temperature.

The system uses the Android tablet platform as it provides voice capability as well as excellent control capability. It is planned to port the app to IOS in the future.

Android Application Screen Showing Temperature Profile Graph for Complete Brew Session
Android Application Screen Showing Temperature Profile Graph for Complete Brew Session

The Brew-Boss Android app connects wirelessly to the Brew-Boss® controller and does all the heavy lifting to control all aspects of the brew system.  It also provides the ability to customize the brew process.

The Hops-Boss is an automatic pellet hops feeder that interfaces wirelessly to the Brew Boss controller and allows you to dispense up to seven (7) different hops additions at the times you specify during the brew session.  It can also be used to dispense other finings such as Irish Moss, etc.  Never miss a hops addition again!The Hops-Boss is constructed from 304 Stainless Steel with specially machined plastic Hops-Cups (we call them Mortar Shells) and simply sits on the edge of nearly any kettle.  Each cup holds about 1.75 oz of pellet hops or over 3/4 lb for all 7 cups!

For more information, check out the kickstarter!

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