Beer Geek, Control Freak
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Decision Guide

(this is avaliable as a PDF for downloading and printing)

BrewTroller Decisions

BrewTroller is all about possibilities.  There are a lot of decisions that need to be made before you even get started.  These include what kind of brewery, what your heat source is, how much automation you need, and much more!

The more planning you do ahead of time, the faster, and easier your brewery build will be!  Nothing is more frustrating than needing that once switch or relay that you forgot, and not being able to brew when you thought you would while waiting for it to arrive!

The 30,000 foot view

Its time to think big picture, it really is the best place to start.  It means asking yourself “What kind of Brewery do I want?”  Think in the broadest sense here.  Some of the common options are:

  • HERMS (heat exchange recirculating mash system)
  • RIMS (recirculating infusion mash system)
  • BIAB (brew in a bag)
  • Hybrid Systems (2 vessel, or 4 vessel)


This is where you will make the decisions about the type of brewing you want to do, the complexity of your brewery, and even future plans.

If you don’t yet know what these things are, now is the right time to stop, and do some research.

 

Now that you’ve made the big decision, its time to start narrowing it down.  There are a few important questions to ask yourself that will fundamentally change how you will approach the rest of the decisions you will make.  The BIGGEST question is, “What is my heat source?”

  • Electric
  • Gas
  • Steam

Each of these 3 heat sources require a different approach to interfacing with a BrewTroller.  There are different types of components that will go into your control panel depending on what you choose.  Although Steam is uncommon in the home-brew world, BrewTroller can handle all 3 options, so choose what works for you.

Getting into the details

Once you’ve made a decision on your heat source, its time to ask a few more questions.

  • How much automation do you want?
  • Do you want Web/Phone control?
  • Do you want Auto/Off/On control for outputs?
  • Do you want auxiliary displays (PIDs)?
  • Do you want to measure Volume?

Each of these questions will help you determine what accessories or other components you really need.  This is all personal preference.  I know one brewer who prefer to keep most of the automation out of the brewery and he feel it takes the artistry out of it.  Whereas, another likes the use of motorized ball valves and volume measurement to enable repeatability, and allow him to concentrate on things other than flipping ball valves.  It’s all a personal preference.  It’s your brewery, build what you want.

Conclusion

I would encourage you to answer all of these questions, and think of others, and write them all down.  Look at the overall direction of your decisions and then decide on a path forward.  This guide just scratches the surface of the possibilities.  We at BrewTroller are happy to help you answer any questions, just contact us on the website.  There is also a user forum available, a BrewTroller Users Group, and the BrewTroller Page on Facebook you can use to connect with other users.

We hope this guide has helped you to make the initial decisions on how to get started with BrewTroller.   Our suggestion for a next step is to look at the BrewTroller Buyer’s Guide to give you an overview of the products we offer to help you get started!

 

Cheers!