It was only a matter of time. As sous vide immersion circulators increase in popularity and number, it was inevitable that someone would repurpose that tech for brewing beer. That's the idea behind the BrewJacket Immersion Pro -- put the device into whatever container you use to ferment your homebrew, and it'll heat or cool the liquid appropriately until your beer is ready to drink. The ability to heat is new to the Pro version of the BrewJacket circulator, which launches today on Kickstarter.
Fermentation is typically the final, and longest, stage of homebrewing. First, you mix your ingredients over the course of a couple of active hours of cooking. Then, you take your unfermented beer (called wort), introduce it to yeast and let it sit for a few weeks while the yeast does its thing, i.e. ferments.
During fermentation, you want to carefully control the temperature of your beer or the yeast can produce undesirable flavors. That's where BrewJacket comes in. The product is essentially a heat-conducting rod attached to a control panel. You insert the rod into your fermenting wort, and the control panel sits on top. You use the control panel to pick the appropriate temperature for the style of beer you're brewing, and, in theory, you won't have to worry about your beer again during fermentation. You'll need to drill a hole into the top of your fermenting container for this to work, or you can buy a predrilled top separately from the BrewJacket site.
The BrewJacket Pro will be worthwhile for many home brewers if it effectively adds peace of mind and proper temperature control over the weeks of fermentation without introducing any off flavors of its own. It would also be a nice add-on for anyone who wants to use mechanized beer-making robots such as the PicoBrew Zymatic or Brewie that take care of the beer-making process up to, but not including, fermentation. The BrewJacket could also make brewing more appealing and accessible to those who live in small spaces, since you won't need a dedicated fridge or temperature-controlled area to store your fermenting wort.
Here are the specs of the BrewJacket Pro:
- It cools or heats up to 35 degrees above or below the ambient temperature.
- It works with carboys, buckets and conical fermenters.
- It maintains the temp within a 0.5 degree margin.
- It changes the temp at a rate between 0.5 and 0.25 degree per hour.
- It comes with an insulated jacket for your fermenting container.
Hopefully, the BrewJacket Pro works well, as it would be pretty disappointing to drill a hole into an important piece of your brewing equipment for a device that can't live up to expectations. And since the BrewJacket Pro changes the temperature slowly, you'll still want another means of crash-cooling your beer, a step between cooking and fermenting your wort that can be tricky.
If you only need to cool your beer, you can purchase the original BrewJacket Immersion now on the company's site. Or you can preorder the BrewJacket Immersion Pro via the Kickstarter campaign. It'll ship anywhere in the world with an expected delivery date sometime this fall. At retail, the Immersion Pro will cost $350, which converts to approximately £240 and AU$500 for our readers in the UK and Australia. A few early-bird discounts on the campaign will net you an Immersion Pro for less. Check back here once the BrewJacket Pro hits the market for a full performance review.