Home brewing is a hobby that can take up a lot of time and space. There have been quite a few attempts to wrap the multi-step process up in a neat little package, though, and the MiniBrew is one of the more interesting ones.
The machine is the result of a Dutch company’s attempt to simplify, streamline, and speed up at-home beer making. The process is semi-automated, according to the company. It takes about three-and-a-half hours, but the combination of an ingredient package and the iOS (with Android to come later) app should give step-by-step instructions.
You need to select the recipe, add the ingredients, start the “mashing” process, and then let the machine do its thing. The machine boils, cools, does yeast pitching, and handles primary and secondary fermentation. It’s pretty thoroughly automated, although after the brewing process, you may have to add yeast and extra hops before fermentation. All of that will take some time, with the machine’s sensors and software guiding the majority of these actions. But thanks to a recent update to the MiniBrew, it’ll take a bit less time than before — as per an update posted to the machine’s Indiegogo page (which it relaunched last month after an initial debut in 2015), you can now enjoy homemade beer in anywhere between five and 15 days.
In addition to this improvement, the new MiniBrew also comes with active cooling directly on the keg. That means that even after you’ve poured your beer, this cooling feature will keep you beer in “perfect condition” for up to six months. That said, the MiniBrew team notes, you probably won’t be able to keep your homemade malted beverages around for that long (due to demand, of course).
Comparatively speaking, the aluminum brewing machine is decently sized, and not much bigger than some espresso makers we’ve tested out. You’ll get about 1.3 gallons worth of beer with each brewing. That’s a little less than three growlers.
While the company’s goal is to let anyone (with superfluous cash) brew beer, there is some ability to customize what you’re making. There are already 50 beers in the company’s repertoire, and you’ll get ones suited to your liking when you dial your taste preferences into the app. Like a bitter beer with high alcohol content? You’ll likely get a different set of results than someone who wants a light, sweet beer.
It’s going to take a lot of batches of beer before the MiniBrew pays for itself, though. It’s available on Indiegogo right now, with the new early bird price point of $599.
Article originally published in October 2015. Updated 12/13/2016 by Lulu Chang: Added news of revamped Indiegogo campaign, with new price point and features.