Traditional versus automated brewing

Pros and cons of traditional and automated brewing.

There are a lot of arguments about whether one should brew traditionally (or manually) or let technology take over. Some veteran brewers argue that if you are not brewing with your own hands it is not brewing at all, where as other professionals says it just make things easier. So what is the truth? Let’s check out the pros and cons of each:


Traditional (manual brewing)

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credit: Derek Wolfgram of flickr.com

Most people, when they start brewing, they start brewing manually. Nowadays there are a lot of places where you can get the ingredients to start brewing your own beer and the upfront cost is very low.

By following the recipe precisely and doing the right techniques you can brew better beer than you will ever find in a supermarket.

The main issue with manual brewing is that it is very time consuming and messy – this stops many people from starting brewing.

A whole brewing process can take about 5-7 hours and whereas many of us like to get our hands dirty, quite frankly we don’t always have a full day to spend on brewing.

Yet, if one has the time and prefers to get their hands dirty this is just as perfect as any other way.

So what are the pros and cons? Let’s see:

Pros:

  • Low upfront cost
  • Joy of doing something with your own hands

Cons:

  • Very time consuming
  • Easier to make mistakes
  • Inconsistent quality
  • Hard to document a recipe
  • Lot of cleaning

Automated brewing

With the craft beer revolution more and more people discovered homebrewing which resulted in the rise of the „beer bots” that are also known as „automated brewing machines”.

Many homebrewers are resistant to the idea of automation but truth is that more and more people are choosing to go automatic.

There are several products in this field offering different levels of automation from just temperature control all the way up to full automation covering all the steps of beer brewing including: mashing, sparging, boiling, hopping, cooling and even cleaning.

Automated systems require a bigger upfront investment than going traditional however as the cost of brewing is just as low as manual brewing the initial investment can pay off after 10 brews.

The biggest advantage of the automatic systems is that they save you a lot of time – spending just 20 minutes instead of 5-7 hours – and allow you to better control and document your brew thanks to sensors and smart automation.

Most of these systems brew the same way as you would manually but allow you to focus on the interesting part of brewing and avoid the „stand by the pot” waiting times.

So what are the pros and cons? Let’s see:

Pros:

  • Time saving (up to only 20 minutes instead of 5-7 hours)
  • Full automation (does the steps automatically)
  • Less room for errors
  • Automatic documentation
  • Easy to tweak and perfect recipes
  • Avoid „stand by the pot” waiting times
  • Cleaning

Cons:

  • High upfront cost

Summing up:

Automated brewing offers a lot of advantages and makes brewing more convenient. Even if it pays off quickly, the upfront cost can be substantial.

So if you don’t have a big budget and have a lot of time, manual brewing is a good option, otherwise you should definitely give automated brewing a shot.

Brew on a higher level

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