SBC Project: RPi Electric Homebrewing and Sous Vide

In our SBC Project series, we feature unique and interesting single-board computer (SBC) projects from the maker community. If you’d like to share your Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black, or other SBC project with thousands of other makers, complete our short form and we’ll get in touch!

In this post, we’ll meet Stephen Smith of Tiverton, Rhode Island.

What are you working on, Stephen?

A wireless vessel temperature controller for homebrew or sous vide cooking.

What hardware/software are you using?

Raspberry Pi, Python, Javascript, Java (Android)

Why did you get involved with this project?

I wanted to brew in the basement, safely and without propane. I have a utility sink, which I use all the time for cleaning the equipment and draining my wort chiller. Well, I got tired of carrying a vessel of hot liquid up and down the basement steps to brew outside with a propane burner.

Therefore, I decided to go electric and needed a way to control the vessel. Using the Raspberry Pi and some off-the-shelf inexpensive components, I can control and monitor the temperature. Since I wanted to be able to do other stuff around the house while waiting for the vessel to hit the target temperature, I turned the Raspberry Pi into a web server. A desktop browser or Android smartphone app can be used to control and monitor the temperature on the vessel. (However, the browser can also work with up to 3 vessels.) I don’t have to worry about it going over the target temperature and the Android app alerts me when the temperature is reached.

raspibrew temperature

What has been your biggest challenge with this project?

Easiest Part (after doing some research):
The easiest part of the project was hooking the Raspberry Pi and the plugin electronic modules together. There is no soldering components except for headers on the boards.

Definitely the best way to go for price, ease of use and functionality.

Hardest Part:
Lots of research. I had to learn a lot of Javascript and using Bootstrap for the web page. Also, drilling the holes in the vessel because there was no turning back if I made a mistake.

Any additional comments, notes or resources you want to share with the maker community?

This system is an inexpensive and flexible wireless web based controller for brewing, Sous Vide and similar applications.  With homebrewing it was originally targeted for electric brew in a bag (eBIAB), batch sparging in a cooler and extract methods but has recently been expanded on the desktop to multi-vessel and pump/stirrer control.  So, if you already have a propane system and looking to go electric or starting from scratch and looking for a way to control your setup this is an alternative.

The most recent updates for this application are found on the RasPiBrew project page on Github.

You can learn more here, on my website.

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