Drew McGlashen had been brewing his own beer at home for quite some time, but was looking to perfect his craft–he wanted to find a way to remove the characteristic “home brew taste” from his batches of beer. He knew that keeping the temperature of the fermenting yeast as close to the ideal level as possible while brewing was the best way to do this, but also that maintaining a constant temperature in the fermenter would require close monitoring and continuous attention. At the time, McGlashen was teaching a high school electronics class, and he was inspired by the idea behind the UberFridge to automate his temperature monitoring with the microcontrollers he was using in his course.
“Basically, the beer goes into my standard 40L fermenter, which then gets put into a fridge along with a heat mat. An Arduino microcontroller with a couple of digital temperature sensors attached measures the temperature of the beer and the fridge air and uses a PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) algorithm to keep the beer temperature within half a degree of the target temperature. The microcontroller controls a relay circuit to switch on the fridge when the beer is getting too hot and the heat mat when it is getting too cool.”
McGlashen also used Temboo’s Google > Spreadsheets > AppendRow Choreo to track the temperature of his brewing environment on a Google spreadsheet. He logged the temperature every 20 minutes, and also took a reading “if something interesting happened, like the fridge got turned on, or a variable was updated to better reflect the heating properties of my heat mat and quantity of beer I was fermenting.”
He found the fermenter’s data logging abilities to be especially useful when he traveled out of town: “I could keep an eye on the progress of my fermenting beer from my phone. With a simple chart in the Google spreadsheet I could watch the data in real time. I am sure other people like myself who love making stuff with technology and making beer would enjoy a project like this.”
His next step will be to add more sensors so that he can track other variables such as fermentation rate, and he also wants to integrate Google Calendar into his tracking system so that he can look back at data from the past and compare the fermentation processes of different brews to their tastes. He’s planning to use Temboo to enable him to adjust the temperature of the beer remotely as well. And, of course, he’s not just focusing on beer: “I will definitely be using Temboo with my electronics classes in the future to get their projects recording information online!”
We thought the whole enterprise sounded like a tasty Temboo application! Be sure to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’ve come up with any similarly creative ways to connect your hobbies and interests to the Internet of Things!