Hello, help in brewing beer please.

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by troutrunner, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. troutrunner

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 24, 2014
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    Hello to all out there in electrical circuit land.

    I am interested in building controllers for brewing beer, certain processes in brewing need pretty near exact temperature control to make the beer to a consistent spec.

    A little background of me, I started life as a motor vehicle technician many moons ago, I do have a fair grasp of electrics but need these modernising and refining. I have done many jobs throughout my life and tried many things. I have been brewing all grain beer for years and strive to get a consistent product and now wish to take it to another level, selling it.

    Anyone that contributes to my progress is welcome to have some samples, I need many guinea pigs..............

    I am now away on a narrow boat for 10 to 12 days on a market research trip with a bunch of CAMRA members and will answer when I return. Thanks for reading this and considering helping me for a payment of free beer
     
  2. sirch2

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2013
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    I'll certainly help you drink it :)
     
    wayneh, Papabravo and troutrunner like this.
  3. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
    10,148
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    As I see it you have three rather large problems.

    1. Accurate temperature measurement
    2. Rapid temperature control
    3. Some idea of the control strategy

    Which one of the three should we tackle first?
     
  4. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    I'll drink to that;)

    I make my own also in small batches.
    I also used to maintain the automatic filling, bottling and electronic inspection equipment for the 3 main Canadian breweries in the province before they moved out and consolidated their operations.
    That is one area you will also have to look at, bottle inspection, you would be surprised at what is found in returned bottles, unless you intend canning.
    We have had quite a few micro-breweries pop up in the last decade.
    Good Luck.
    Max.
     
  5. SVS

    Member

    Aug 16, 2012
    89
    4

    Best thread ever...
    Sorry . I don t have any experience in brewing ..

    But Starting to learn from today....
     
  6. elec_mech

    Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2008
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    I met someone at a local expo who wanted to do something similar. I don't drink and I don't make beer, but I love electronics and based on the short conversation I had with the other beer maker, I think this is easily doable. I assume Papabravo hit on the key items, so let us know what it is you want to tackle first and what you need the circuit to do, i.e., check temperature every X seconds with an accuracy of Y and do A, B, or C based on the temperature value.

    The guy I spoke with wanted a circuit he could set the max and min temperature range and have an LED and buzzer let him know when the limits were reached. Sounded like a fun project, but I never back from him. Perhaps because he also offered free beer and I made the mistake of saying I don't drink beer. Shoulda just nodded. :)
     
  7. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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  8. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    The instrumentation you need is the easy part, and even control circuitry is "easy". The actual control mechanism - how to move the heat around - is the hard part. The plumbing, if you will. Papabravo's point #3.

    Do you want to use an immersion heater, boiler, chiller coil, heat exchangers, and so on? A chemical engineer would start by looking at the quantity of mass to handle and the amount of heat that needs to be moved in or out, and then start to look for appropriate equipment.
     
  9. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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  10. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Gas flame heated, steam heat, electric heat? Accuracy of control expected? Electric heating is much easier but all is possible.
     
  11. snav

    Active Member

    Aug 1, 2011
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    PID controllers have become dirt cheap. Provide for all manner of std inputs/outputs. AS previous poster said it's all about the plumbing heat source and pumps/valves etc. Also consider all the variables. Had a controller once that had to keep product hot enough to be mixed/transported but know when to Flood with coolant(ruin batch, massive cleanup) to prevent catastrophic exothermic reaction.
     
  12. troutrunner

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 24, 2014
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    Thanks for all your replies, I have been away on a Narrow boat doing market research with a few other Real Ale folk, so hence my late reply.

    I will read all your posts in due course and work out my reply [​IMG]
     
  13. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    That's my kind of job, doing research on beer!
    Hopefully a Salubrious trip!
    Max.
     
  14. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
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    Hello,

    I don't drink, but you might find some info on the forum in this query:
    Beer brewing forums

    Bertus
     
  15. troutrunner

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 24, 2014
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    I now have some digital controllers for the temperature, I will take some photy's and put up a link to the instructions soon.
     
  16. Metalmann

    Active Member

    Dec 8, 2012
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    I have always thought about brewing beer, but I always fell back on my wine recipes instead.;)

    Beet wine was the strongest.
     
  17. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    One of the major problems I would think in selling in micro brewery fashion is the bottle washing/inspection/filling procedure, especially the automation thereof, there has been an attempt here to allow patrons to bring refillable containers called Growlers.
    So far its been slow in acceptance.
    Max.
     
  18. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    Growlers are partly an unintended consequence of the arcane laws applied to small breweries. They cannot bottle beer and retain their "brew pub" status, but the growler is a loophole that allows retail sale of carry-out beer. I tried to buy a growler for a group of us because it was more economical than individual beers, but it turns out there are strict rules that the growler cannot be opened on the premises. The pub is on a river, so I had to carry the growler to a boat before we could enjoy it. Worked for me.
     
  19. Tug Wilson

    New Member

    Sep 22, 2014
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    Hi everyone, This is probably in the wrong place, so if I'm out of order please remove or move as you think fit. I'm having problems getting my Sestos Digi temp controller working correctly, the instructions that come with the model are to say the least in bad English, which is not surprising as it is made in Hong Kong. has anyone used one who can help me get to grips with this instrument.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
  20. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
    10,553
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    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
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