The latest entry into the homebrew gear game is the Stasis, a countertop glycol chilling device to keep fermentation at the correct temperature. The Stasis is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign that has already blown past its $50,000 goal and raised more than $100,000 in pledges.
But before we get too far into the weeds with what the Stasis does, I feel like we should do a quick primer.
First, proper fermentation temperature is important when brewing beer. If the beer gets too hot during fermentation, it can create off flavors in your beer. Too cold, and the yeast might not activate.
Second, glycol, which is what the Stasis chills, is actually propelyne glycol, which is food grade anti-freeze. Yes, you read that right. It has a lower freezing point than water so it acts like a good coolant.
The Stasis connects to just about any fermentation system, and, well, this gets a little complicated, so I’ll quote the Stasis Kickstarter campaign and paste in a nifty GIF:
The Stasis then gets to work by chilling the internal tank of glycol & water mixture to 30°F. Meanwhile, an included wired temperature probe monitors your beer as it ferments. When the temperature of your beer is higher than the temperature set on the digital thermostat, a pump turns on to move the 30°F chilled glycol through the coil submerged in (or the sleeve wrapped around) your fermenter. This quickly cools your beer to the set temperature and maintains it within 0.5°F.
The Stasis is a product of Craft a Brew, which previously successfully Kickstarted (and delivered!) the Catalyst fermentation vessel back in 2016. Craft a Brew Founder and President Kyle Westfall told me that his company has been developing the Stasis for the past two and a half years.
If you read The Spoon regularly, then you know that we are pretty skeptical of crowdfunded hardware campaigns. Mostly because they seem to have a hard time actually getting to market. I asked Westfall about manufacturing and avoiding the pitfalls of others. He responded quite confidently that between their manufacturing partners in China, his frequent trips there and his business partner connections, that the Stasis will indeed make it to backers. Thankfully, the company has a proven track record to back up that bravado.
As noted earlier, we are entering into a golden age of home beer brewing as more tools come on the market to make it easier than ever. In addition to the Stasis, there is the stalwart PicoBrew system, the forthcoming BEERMKR, and the Brewie, which now includes the connected fermentation monitor Plaato.
The Stasis is roughly the size of an old tower computer, and while the device targets a very specific function (chilling Glycol), Westfall says it’s actually easy enough for even beginner homebrewers to use. Early backers can pick up a Stasis for $599 (it will retail for $749) or they can pick up a full brewing system that includes the Stasis plus the Catalyst and more tools for the homebrew n00b for $829, with the product expecting to ship this November. Maybe it is time for a beginner like me to get started.