The most expensive way to Homebrew

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MintonHVAC

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Over the last 2 years I've been designing engineering and fabricating a Brewing System that utilizes a PLC and HMI.
Along with the hardware are valves, pumps, mixers and inline refractometers.

Have not shown this to anyone or ask for any feedback on this system yet so any and all commentary is welcome.

I would like to have feedback from the community as it is still being built and don't want to look over any possible functionality or features that someone might like to see on a system like this.

Currently the project has cost $72,000.
The original budget for the project with $75,000.

Project completion date is late April 2018

If you wouldn't mind taking a look at some of the pictures and just let me know what you think. I'm hoping one day I can offer this two home and Commercial Brewers alike as a product.

The intent of the project is to be able to brew a beer exactly the same way every time in a small batch.

Are there any features or automated steps that people would like to see in a system like this?

Grain handling in hop handling and waste management is part of this system,
Including CIP.

Once done with the batch of Brew the system handles the spent grain to a biodigester. The biodigester by products are used for other things.

Absolute untransferable waste < 1/3 gallon.

Max Batch size 20 gallons.

Heating Source RIMS.

Temperature sensing technology RTD.

Influent flow meter.

Water / glycol heat exchanger.

304 and 316 stainless steel components.

The only other metal component is a air vent on the stainless steel gearbox for the leather mash tun mixer that is made from brass.

Heating element 8500w.

Vfd control pump and mixer controlled via analog voltage control from plc.


Bricks feedback from process Loop atago CMA 800 Alpha inline refractometer with Fairline fitting. 4 to 20 milliamp feedback to plc.

System valves take 20 seconds to open or close with feedback to the plc.

System panel requirements 50 amp @ 240 polyphase 60 Hz.

The four half barrel fermenter shown are going to be used in conjunction with the Brewing System


Thank you for taking the time and thank you for your feedback.
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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I think you need to get the costs down under $50,000 if you want a viable market...
Yes the production model will cost a lot less. Anytime you're prototyping something you can plan to spend about 4 to 5 times the actual cost. There's been many revisions in mistakes made and when buying a single item from a company it does cost a lot more versus buying a hundred of them.
Thank you for your feedback it is greatly appreciated!
 
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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Pretty much sums up my impressions. I mean this is clearly over my head but it looks quite awesome.
Thank you for your feedback any and all is greatly appreciated.
 
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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This is the final wiring and design of the inside.

Also the heat exchanger.

Plate Heat exchangers have plugged up in the past and not easily cleaned.

We use a shell and Tube style heat exchanger that has proven to be very effective.


There's also the beginning pictures of the waste/ spent grain management system.
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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That is a thing of beauty but I have to wonder who your target market is going to be? Rich Arabian princes who are also homebrewers are likely few and far between.
Yes this product is definitely not for the typical home Brewer.

This project started as a concept to figure out exactly what makes a good beer good and a bad beer bad.

I needed to remove all human error factors and variables from the equation and document everything in a database.

Due to the nature of this product it also enables for low oxygen Brewing.
Which is something incredibly difficult to do under normal Homebrew circumstances.

Trying to find an inline dissolved oxygen meter is seemingly difficult.

I really do appreciate your feedback.

I guess you could say I'm trying to make the Lamborghini of Homebrew setups.
Yes there may not be a huge market for it but there is a market for it.
 
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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This is the influent Water Management setup.

You simply type in how much water you want in and the flowmeter meters a precise amount within about half an ounce in 5 gallons accuracy.

There's also safety timers and limit switches to prevent unforeseen incidences.
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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Through the stages of the implementation process updates will be posted to this feed.
 

cegan09

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I'd love to see a walk through of how it all works from start to finish. It looks incredible. A corner case market for sure, but damn there's a lot of thought and work into that setup.
 

gunhaus

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:ban:(BUCKETS RULE!) Seriously, it is an amazing set up! Just a tad bit above my pay grade i am afraid. I see people questioning the market, but I would think there very well could be a number of markets for such a system. I can see real applications for R&D at a number of levels. Good luck with it - it is an interesting build!
 
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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Ok, I guess it's cool, if your into that kind of stuff. But that takes all the art out of brewing.
Yes many people have mentioned this, I understand it takes the art out of brewing beer. The project was not designed to have an artistic side to it. The purpose of the project is to brew really good beer and figure out exactly why. I want to know what 1 degree or 1 minute longer does to a beer.
If humans were good at this type of thing we wouldn't have computers and drive our cars for us. Now sure that is completely off topic but the point is relevant. I want to create real recipes with real facts backing them. This entire project its open source and any data collected from the project will be released to the public. The only bit of information that cannot be released is the actual PLC program. I have created the manual controls page for testing but the automated process is being contracted out and has cost upwards of $15,000.

The program's going to be protected and the plc's in the production run will be write only. For warranty purposes.

If one wishes to not have a warranty anymore or their warranty period is up we would be more than happy to send them a copy of the program. That has no read or write attributes and they will be able to do whatever they would like with it.

One of the nice things about the PLC we are utilizing is the option to create an oem package on a USB drive.

The end-user simply turns off the system plugs the USB drive into the PLC and turns the system on.

This updates the current program without the need of a computer.

The PLC never loses its program and is stored in flash memory. The battery on the PLC is only for the real time clock.

Theory of operation actual design and information on products used is completely up for grabs.
If anyone has any questions on the system feel free to ask.
 
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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Does it have a "dishwasher" feature that automatically cleans and dries everything after a messy brew session?
That is a very good question. So in a way yes it does. The system will be fully automated including grain management and grain disposal. After the system is done brewing a beer the spent grain is transferred automatically to a biodigester that reefer men's the spent grain and cellulose to produce biofuel.

The only time you touch the actual grain is when you're loading grain into grain silos.
The miniaturize grain silos are currently being manufactured and when they are done I'll share pictures of those with everyone. There is an auger that takes the grain from the silos to a weighing station and then to a mill. After the grain is Milled it is then augured to the lather mash tun.

I guess the only thing you have to wash manually when you're done and before you begin is your hands.
Oh and the Pint glass you used to drink Frosty cold one.
 
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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Does it make a good drinkable beer
Currently, no. It is still months away from Brewing its first beer. Sometime early May or late April a live YouTube broadcast of its maiden voyage will be recorded. The link will be posted when the time comes.
 
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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:ban:(BUCKETS RULE!) Seriously, it is an amazing set up! Just a tad bit above my pay grade i am afraid. I see people questioning the market, but I would think there very well could be a number of markets for such a system. I can see real applications for R&D at a number of levels. Good luck with it - it is an interesting build!
Yes it is. Thank you for your feedback. I've spent many years saving up the money for this crazy endeavor. I've written down the list of everything I hate about brewing beer at home and this is my solution to making it turn into everything I love.
 
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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I'd love to see a walk through of how it all works from start to finish. It looks incredible. A corner case market for sure, but damn there's a lot of thought and work into that setup.
I definitely keep everyone up-to-date! Thank you for your feedback.
 

gunhaus

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I find this very interesting and potentially very helpful to us home brewers. I mean it is always about growth and development. I remember well enough when temp control was scarcely a topic. When most of us never hear of water science. When all manner of things that are common today were undreamed of for home brewers. If a system like this can prove that Yeast X ABSOLUTELY performs best at 65.6 degrees, or that a specific series of temp changes eliminates off flavors, and a million and one other little variables I would like to hear it.
 

DonGavlar

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Man thats awesome! Please post back in here when the video of the first brew goes up, will definitely be tuning in!
 
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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I find this very interesting and potentially very helpful to us home brewers. I mean it is always about growth and development. I remember well enough when temp control was scarcely a topic. When most of us never hear of water science. When all manner of things that are common today were undreamed of for home brewers. If a system like this can prove that Yeast X ABSOLUTELY performs best at 65.6 degrees, or that a specific series of temp changes eliminates off flavors, and a million and one other little variables I would like to hear it.
Yes exactly! There are many questions to be asked and answers to be found. Once the system is up and running series of test can be performed to figure out exactly the answer to the questions. Beer backed by science!
 
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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Man thats awesome! Please post back in here when the video of the first brew goes up, will definitely be tuning in!
Yes we will definitely be posting the live YouTube broadcast link when the time comes. Thank you for chiming in.
 
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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do you keg or bottle
Because most of our beer is consumed rather abruptly, we find the kegging beer it's the most effective way to dispense without introducing excess oxygen or light.
A commercial refrigerator like the true gdm-12 is a great refrigerator because there are no condensing tubes in the walls of the refrigerator and you can easily install Taps anywhere on the side.
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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Because most of our beer is consumed rather abruptly, we find the kegging beer it's the most effective way to dispense without introducing excess oxygen or light.
A commercial refrigerator like the true gdm-12 is a great refrigerator because there are no condensing tubes in the walls of the refrigerator and you can easily install Taps anywhere on the side.View attachment 555945
And you can typically pick them up used for about a hundred bucks!
 
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_BullDog_

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Suddenly purchasing the new Unibräu system seems less of an issue....

That is an impressive setup!
 

AZCoolerBrewer

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For someone who can put together something like that it seems like the PLC program shouldn’t be unobtainable for you. I hope your vendor isn’t trying to say it’s their IP. Since you designed the system, you need to have direct access to the program to make the changes you will surely need to make when everything comes online. Then cut them loose when the program is solid enough to run your brewery “good enough” and you hone it down to run nice and smooth.
 

ddibbern5

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System looks awesome! Can’t wait to see it in operation!
Who’s controls are you using? I don’t recognize the red brick PLC. Red lion maybe?
 

ClaudiusB

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Great project!
The miniaturize grain silos are currently being manufactured and when they are done I'll share pictures of those with everyone.
How many silos will you have?
I can't wait for your silo pictures.
My system was designed for six silos but I never built more than four for the most common grains I use.
There is an auger that takes the grain from the silos to a weighing station and then to a mill. After the grain is Milled it is then augured to the lather mash tun.
How long is the run from the mill to the mash tun?
I transport all my grain with air conveyors. The longest run is 30ft.
 
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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System looks awesome! Can’t wait to see it in operation!
Who’s controls are you using? I don’t recognize the red brick PLC. Red lion maybe?
The PLC is made by AVG. The 15" HMI is also made by AVG.
 
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MintonHVAC

MintonHVAC

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Great project!

How many silos will you have?
I can't wait for your silo pictures.
My system was designed for six silos but I never built more than four for the most common grains I use.

How long is the run from the mill to the mash tun?
I transport all my grain with air conveyors. The longest run is 30ft.
Only about 20 feet!
 

stosh

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Holy **** (can I say that here?).

I used to work on Lamborghinis and believe you me this is well beyond anything they ever built (and a lot cheaper).

Can anyone say "group buy"...
 
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