In July, a homebrewer using a BEERMKR home beer brewing appliance won gold at the National HomeBrew Competition.
According to a release from BEERMKR, a beer brewed by Christian Chandler of Phoenix, AZ, won the gold medal in the Porters & Stouts category, beating out 164 entries in the contest put on by the American HomeBrewers Association.
The win was an important milestone in that it’s the first time that a homebrewer used an automated beer brewing countertop appliance to help develop an award-winning recipe at the HomeBrew Competition.
So how did Chandler use the BEERMKR to develop his beer? From the release:
Chandler says that BEERMKR’s small batches and ease of use let him make multiple iterations of a recipe and “really tweak things on the fly.” Chandler was able to fine-tune his recipe into a national gold medal winner. The repeatability of BEERMKRs process also helped him make consistently good beer as he advanced from the first to second rounds of the competition.
Chandler used the BEERMKR to do quick batches, which he later scaled up using a higher capacity brewing system called the Grainfather to increase batch size. While The Grainfather automates some parts of the brewing process, it still requires the user to monitor readings manually and transfer the wort to a separate container for fermentation after the brew. The BEERMKR, on the other hand, automates much more of the process of beer brewing. The brewer chooses the ingredients and builds a recipe, but from there the sensors and software of the BEERMKR monitor much of the process, from brewing through fermentation to carbonation.
In short, Chandler, an experienced brewer, integrated the BEERMKR as part of his recipe development process. He iterated recipes and brewed quick small batches with smaller portions of ingredients on the BEERMKR, and used his bigger machine to brew larger quantities once the recipe was dialed in.
So will it soon become commonplace for homebrewers to use brewbots like the BEERMKR to develop recipes for brewing competitions? I imagine so, in part because the machines essentially act as a tool for serious homebrewers to develop recipes faster. While purists might resent any use of technology when it comes to brewing up a batch, technology like the BEERMKR helps them get better at their craft by automating the boring parts like temperature control and leaving the creative parts up to them.
You can watch a video of Chandler below talking about developing his award winning recipe with the BEERMKR.