If Willy Wonka had invented a home brew beer machine, it would have been the WilliamsWarn Personal Brewery (is it a coincidence that they share the same initials?). The stainless steel, floor-standing factory will give a chilled, ready-to-drink pint in seven days, which is impressive enough. Better, though, is the clever way it does it.
First, a quick recap on manual home brew (we’ll assume you’re using a kit and not mashing your own wort). First, sterilize everything. Second, mix the ingredients, heat them and add to the bucket. Place in a warm spot, cross your fingers and wait.
Then, drain the clear beer from the sediment beneath, into a second sterilized container, or into a pressure barrel, or bottles. Add sugar, seal and wait for the beer to get fizzy.
The WWPB does all of this inside one machine. After sterilization, you add water and it is boiled and sterilized. Then add the wort (either from a kit, or of your own making). Add yeast, then sit back and do nothing but check pressure until next weekend. This is the first innovation: the brewery ferments the beer in a pressurized container, meaning you don’t have to carbonate it later — it is fizzy from the beginning.
Next comes clarification. Draining the clear beer into another container would lose the fizz, so the WWPB injects a clarification agent into the beer, under pressure (using CO2). You then attach a small vessel to the bottom of the brew tank and the sediment settles into this. Remove the vessel and you have a tank full of clear, fizzy beer.
Then you switch the temperature control to chill, and the beer is brought to serving temperature. There’s even a tap and pressure system to dispense the beer and keep it fizzy down to the last drop. The brewery uses a 23 liter (6 US gallon) tank
If you have ever made beer, you will be suitably impressed by this very clever design, invented by New Zealanders Ian Williams and Anders Warn. You may be put off by the price, though: US$4,500. That’s certainly a lot for even the most dedicated home brewer, but for a cafe that wants to make and sell its own brew, it’s a pretty good price.
The WilliamsWarn Personal Brewery [WilliamsWarn]
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