Bierbot Bricks for Craft Hardware Systems
Want to use BierBot Bricks for your Craft Hardware Solo, Duo or Trio brewing system? You can easily configure BierBot Brick Devices for the entire range of Craft Hardware Brewing Systems. In this post I’ll show you how, and provide system specific recommendations for setup and usage.
In my first post about the BierBot Brick, I reviewed the BierBot Brick software and hardware ecosystem. If you’re already familiar with BierBot Bricks and ready to setup your Craft Hardware Brewery, this article is for you.
The great news is that BierBot Bricks are flexible enough to accommodate any of the Craft Hardware brewing systems, across all size ranges! This includes our BIAB Premium, 2 and 3 kettle HERMS systems, and 2 and 3 kettle Direct Fire systems, even with multiple heating elements per kettle.
In this Article
Note: you will need one BierBot Brick for each 230V heating element. Using more than 3 Bricks will require a Premium Membership and cost 20€/year.
The stock temperature sensor is a tight fit with the Craft Hardware thermowells. There is a easy fix for this: carefully cut away the rubber boot on the cable. Just slicing off a small bit from the probe side of the rubber boot makes it loose enough to slip out of the way along the cable. The sensor remains waterproof.
BIAB Solo Premium
For the BIAB Premium system, you will need either 1 or 2 Bricks, depending on the system size. You use the same heated kettle for mashing and boiling. The Equipment setup uses a single “BIAB / MLT/ HLT” Device. The device will be selected for both the mashing and the boil steps. The temperature sensor is installed in the brew kettle underneath the false bottom.
The HERMS Duo requires 1 or 2 Bricks, depending on the system size. It uses a single heated kettle (HLT/BK) for mashing and boiling. The control temperature sensor during mashing is installed in a Tee at the output of the HERMS coil. For boiling, the temperature sensor is moved to a thermowell in the HLT/BK. The Equipment setup uses a single “BIAB / MLT/ HLT” Device. The device will be used in both the mashing and the boil steps.
The HERMS Trio requires 2 or 4 Bricks depending on the the system size. It features a heated HLT for mashing and a separately heated brew kettle. You will need to setup two devices, one used for mashing, the second used for boiling. The control temperature sensor for mashing is installed in a Tee at the output of the HERMS coil. For boiling, the second temperature sensor is installed in the brew kettle.
Direct Fire Duo
The Direct Fire Duo requires 2 or 4 Bricks depending on the system size. The MLT temperature sensor and the HLT/BK temperature sensors are installed in their respective kettle thermowells.
Things are trickier with this system because we have a directly heated MLT and a separately heated HLT. For sparging, we need the HLT water to be at the correct temperature. That means it will need to be heated at the same time as the MLT. Here we run up against some limitations:
- Each heating element can only be assigned to one BierBot device.
- If a device is being used in an automated brew session, it cannot also be used in a manual brew session.
- You cannot combine the HLT and MLT elements into one device for mashing. Each kettle needs separate temperature control.
Luckily we have an easy workaround: automate the MLT kettle for mashing with one device, and run a simultaneous manual brew process with the second device to heat the HLT/BK water. When launching your automated mashing program make sure you choose to the skip the boiling step. After mashing is done, the automated program will end and you can run the boil with the manual process.
Here is the device setup for this scenario:
And here is what your brew session will look like, with one automatic and one manual session (you can open each in separate browser tabs):
Now if you really want to automate both the mash and the boil steps, you will need spare Brick(s) for the HLT. This way you can create 3 devices: one for the automated MLT, one for the automated HLT/BK, and one for the manual HLT/BK process. During mashing you will run a manual process for the HLT/BK heating. When you are ready to boil you need to unplug your heating element and temperature sensor, and plug them into the automated HLT/BK Brick.
Direct Fire Trio
The Direct Fire Trio has 3 or 6 heating elements depending on the system size. Each of the 3 kettles has a thermowell installed in the kettle wall (already included with the Direct Fire Trio set). The same caveats as the Direct Fire Duo will apply here so please see the details above. And we will need an additional small workaround to minimize the hardware requirements. Here I’ll show you how to operate this system using only 2 or 4 Bricks.
For this system we will automate the mashing steps, and run the HLT heating simultaneously using a manual process. The boil process will also be run manually using the same device as the HLT. For this to work you will need to unplug the HLT heating element(s) and plug in the BK heating element(s) to these manually controlled Bricks. You will also need to move the control temperature sensor from the HLT to the BK.
This means the Direct Fire Trio will use the same device setup as the Direct Fire Duo:
Furthermore your brewing session will look the same as the Direct Fire Duo screenshot above, with separate Mashing and HLT/BK heating processes.
Do you own a Craft Hardware system and have found the perfect PID parameters? Please let us know so we can share them with other users!