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Introduction and Motivation

Almost everyone likes beer (including me). Therefore, I was curious if it was possible to brew my own one. As I dug through social media I realized that the traditional process requires a lot of manual labor and the crucial skill is to precisely control the temperature of the mash. I wanted to enjoy my own craft beer but without having to deal with all the manual labor, so I came up with the idea of building my own automated microbrewery. On top of this challenge I wanted to manage the process through SAP and OpenSource technologies. Motivated through my colleague Fabian Lehmann I’ve decided to write a blog about this journey.

 

Hardware

My goal was to run the brew controller on top of my Raspberry Pi 3. In order to protect the electronic parts from being flooded with mash I’ve decided to build a case. I chose this electrical enclosure but you could use anything that suits your needs. To measure the temperature I chose the waterproof DS18B20 sensor including an 4,7 kOhm resistor. To control the heat source I chose SSR relays with a low control voltage of 3V on top of aluminum heat sinks. Instead of using an breadboard I ordered this breakout board to wire all components together.

© Manuel Fritsch, CraftBeerPi, 2015

 

Assembly

Testing the temperature sensor

Testing the beakout bord

Wiring up the components

Outer appearance of the brew controller

 

Software

The cornerstone of the brew controller is being setup through the Raspbian operating system. In order to controll the actors and sensors of the unit I took advantage of the CraftBeerPi software.

Installation

OS installation

# download the Raspbian archive
wget https://downloads.raspberrypi.org/raspbian_latest -O raspbian-latest.zip

# unzip the archive
unzip raspbian-latest.zip

# write image to the desired drive
dd if=2017-11-29-raspbian-jessie.img of=/dev/sdX bs=8192

# ensure the write cache is flushed
sync

CraftBeerPi installation

# clone GIT repository
git clone https://github.com/Manuel83/craftbeerpi3 /your/desired/folder

# install CraftBeerPi
sudo sh /your/desired/folder/craftbeerpi3/install.sh

# run application
sudo python /your/desired/folder/craftbeerpi3/run.py

CraftBeerPi configuration

To configure the actors, sensors and kettle setup access the CraftBeerPi web application through http://your-raspberrypi:5000 and select System -> Hardwear Settings.

Roundup

So far I’ve setup the hard- and software and configured the brew controller with an initial setup. From here on it would be possible to brew my own beer. Based on the requirement I’d be able to define a custom recipe or import predefined content defined in BeerXML. Due my favor of the OpenSource idea I’d recommend the recipes from the BrewDog brewery. As you may notice these recipes are not defined in BeerXML but as I’ve searched my way through the world wide web I did find this very nice website hosted by Jeff Jenkinson which offers the exact recipes in the needed format.. Yipeeh yeah :-)!!!

Outlook

Obviously there has not been any SAP content involved in this project so far. Therefore, I’m going to connect the device to the SAP Cloud Platform in the following article of this series :). Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this little hobby project so far. Until next time, and I wish you all a happy brew day ;).

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