BrewNanny keeps a watchful eye on your home-brewing technique
By Nick Lavars
March 27, 2014
While a mouthful of home-brewed beer delivers a certain degree of satisfaction for hobbyists and expert craftsmen alike, seeing the hops, yeast and water come together to create a refreshing drop can take some serious know-how and even more serious man-hours. BrewNanny is a device designed to help ease the burden by using built-in sensors to monitor and offer guidance throughout the brewing process.
Lyon Labs' BrewNanny replaces the air trap, or fermentation lock, a component common in typical beer brewing and wine-making kits. This seal works to release carbon dioxide produced as fermentation takes place, while preventing air from entering the container.
With a built-in microcontroller and sensor to monitor C02 pressure, BrewNanny can determine the current alcohol content of the brew, the rate of fermentation, how much sugar remains to be turned into alcohol and when the process should be completed.
Along with the ability to gauge C02 release, BrewNanny also features sensors to monitor air temperature, brew temperature and light level. All this data is collected and transmitted over Wi-Fi to a dashboard, accessible through a web browser and an iPhone or Android app.
The BrewNanny platform converts this information into a number of gauges to offer insights into the health of the brew, all of which can be adjusted to the user's desired settings.
Temperature gauges for both the air and liquid are color-coded to indicate a safe, warning and alarming temperature range. An illuminance gauge monitors light, while a pressure gauge indicates the level of C02 build up inside the container and the point at which it is being released. With the "safe levels" pre-determined by the user, BrewNanny then sends out alerts via text or email as soon as something goes awry.
Further to real-time monitoring, the dashboard stores all readings (taken hundreds of times per minute) and translates them into a customizable bar graph to enable historical viewing of the fermentation. This also means successful brews can be archived and shared with fellow home-brewers via BrewNanny's website.
In contrast to the smart-phone-controlled Brewbot machine, which we took a look at last year, Lyon Labs emphasizes that its BrewNanny isn't intended to handle the brewing process for you. Rather, it is to be used as a tool to guide the hobbyist in refining their beer crafting technique.
The creator of BrewNanny, IT professional Gary Lyons, has developed fully-functioning prototypes and has taken to Kickstarter to up-scale production. The BrewNanny base model is available at a pledge level of US$248, while an extra $100 will put you in line for the BrewNanny Pro, geared towards those who want to explore software and hardware modifications. Lyons hopes to begin shipping in June 2014 if everything goes as planned.
You can learn more about the functions of BrewNanny in the video below.