Revamping the Brewing Process
It's been quite some time since I have updated this blog and with good reason. I stopped brewing. Life got in the way. Home brewing is a hobby that I have enjoyed right from the start and i didnt caught up in every tiny aspect of it to make my beer perfect. I just enjoyed making beer, sitting outside watching the boil, hitting temps, FG, etc. The piece I didn't quite enjoy was all of the cleaning and the large amount of equipment that I managed to either build or buy over the years. Switching to BIAB was a nice change which did indeed make the brew day a little easier but I found myself a little short on gravity at times and had to hold the heavy wet bag for a while to get all the wort out of the bag properly. I know people have come up with solutions for this problem with pulleys and ropes, etc but that seemed like a lot of work.
Enter the new line of machines designed for automated brewing. There are several on the market these days, most notably the Picobrew Zymatic, the Grainfather, and the latest one called the Robobrew. All three of these are touted as All Grain brewing systems and in the research I have done so far, they all seem like they actually measure up. A lot of purists in the homebrew community have been snubbing their noses at these systems calling them Keurigs for homebrew and how it takes all the fun out homebrewing. I've heard all of them at this point I think but in the end what most people fail to think about is that this is a hobby and it's ok to have multiple levels of enthusiasts. There are people who play golf with custom fitted clubs and gear. There are others who use the same old set of irons that their dad gave them when they were 8. Neither are better than the other and as long as the golfer enjoys what they're doing, who cares what kind of clubs they use? They still both chase the little white ball around the course the same way.
In researching these brewing systems cost certainly plays a factor. The Zymatic retails for around $2,000, the Grainfather around $900, and the Robobrew around $500. With the Granfather and the Robobrew you still need to have fermenters to ferment the beer out. With the Zymatic, it looks like you ferment right in that keg making it a completely closed system. The Zymatic also has some software that goes with it for recipe calculation and watching the mash process from beginning to end. I haven't quite decided which one I will end up going with but with the space issues that constantly plague me, one of these will certainly be in my future.