LG to unveil home brewing hardware at CES 2019

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/12/12/lg-to-unveil-home-brewing-hard.html

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Yay, Juicero for drinkers?


Another Juicero of beer. There are a number of small format brewing systems that give you control over the process from start to finish: Braumeister, Grainfather, Robobrew… Some of my best home brews have been brew in a bag (BIAB) done with nothing more than a heat resistant mesh bag and a big pot. Maybe it is a bit embarrassing for BB to be spruiking these push button systems that undermine the maker ethos of home brewing?


1.3 gallons is not a lot of beer. That’s just a little over 2 and a half growlers. Most homebrew kits make 5 gallons.

You don’t need a basement or garage or whatever to brew beer in. I’ve made beer in standard kitchens on several occasions. The only issue might be the smell, which some people can’t stand. Personally I love it and can recognize when any of the local microbreweries are having a brew day just by walking by. But brewing isn’t mysterious or hard; you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to get started (a big pot and a fermentation bucket with an airlock are really all you need) you just need to keep things reasonably sanitized and be patient.

What really gives me pause about these machines is the idea that they only accept proprietary kits. I would love the idea of being able to “rapid” prototype small batches before scaling up to a bigger batch. This is something the high end PicoBrew lets you do.




Never understood “push button” beer makers. If you want that little interaction with your beer, buy your favorite brew at the corner store. If you want to make it, make it. Having the “thrill” of it being made in your kitchen vs someone else’s would wear off pretty quickly. And the LG appears to leave you with what is imho the worst part of making your own beer, the bottling of it after it has fermented.

Lacking space isn’t an excuse for not making 1.3 gallons, you could easily make it in your kitchen with a 1.5-2 gallon pot. That pot easily fits into a kitchen sink, which you then dump in ice to cool it after your boil. If it was a pressure cooker pot, you could even use the same pot as your fermentation vessel. Add a mesh bag, grain, hops (or herbs if you fancy a gruit), yeast and star-san, a bottling wand and some flip-top bottles and your ready to go.

I agree, having something that would allow me to load my own grain/yeast/hops for a small, experimental batch would be nice. But spending $2000 (Picobrew Zymatic) for that convenience is pretty laughable.


The major problem in the article is the brewing process, any of them, won’t “skunk your beer.” You can make lots of different off flavors during brewing, but “skunking” isn’t one of them.


The Picobrew C is less than $600.00.

Not keeping your kettles and pipes and hoses and tanks clean will, though. Cleaning equipment is 99% of what a brewer does. Mashing doesn’t affect beer a much as getting unwanted microbes in your wort does.

Disclaimer: I was a brewer for 6 years at the Bayreuther Bierbrauerei AG, so yes, I went through formal training and all.


Beyond the lack of experimentation or tweaking to the brew, I’d think that you’d get awfully bored with five beer choices very quickly. I would, anyway. A huge part of my enjoyment of beer, wine, or liquors is trying the huge spectrum of variations, flavors, and types out there. But I don’t see beer the way I see coffee – it’s a special treat, not a utilitarian liquid that serves a purpose.


I see beer as being very much a utilitarian liquid that serves multiple purposes, the main one being: beer.

Pods and shit are like bread machines and all the other ultimately useless kitchen crap you see littering yard sales every spring. Folks should learn to make beer in a bucket, fer cryin’ out loud. Or buy some made by people who actually give a shit about what you wash down and into your body. This kind of nonsense is akin to eating freeze dried coffee crystals and proclaiming it to be great even when every fiber of your being is screaming: Kill me now!

Ah, well. Toys will come and toys will go. Beer is forever.


Wait til hipsters find out it only makes Budweiser.


Back in my homebrewing days (long before any push-button maker was available) some of us had the same attitude toward anything that could be seen as a shortcut, with pre-hopped malt syrups being the great divider between those who were into actual brewing, as a hobby involving some skill, and those who simply did the fermentation step themselves because it’s the cheapest beer you can get without actually knowing how to make beer.

In other words, users of pre-hopped concentrated wort were seen by hardcore hobbyists as “brewers” just as much as those who today merely press a button and wait 2 weeks.

And even today, I wouldn’t bother with homebrew unless I had the time and space to do full mashes. Which I don’t, so I don’t.

My point? Not much of one, really. I just find it interesting that the emergence of these devices seems to have shifted the line where snobs (like me, I confess) gather to look down on the short-cutting pseudo-brewers.

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It makes me feel young. I grew up in St. Louis not very far from the AB monster brewery. On hot humid day when the wind was right you could definitely smell it.


They will probably discount the machine but screw you on the proprietary capsules. Then after you use it for a year you will get tired of it and there goes more of your money into the lost closet of shit.

But, these gizmos are totally self cleaning, right? Why else would anyone pay hundreds more than the cost of a plastic bucket?

Brewing is a messy hobby. Not just the chore of cleaning, but boiling gallons of sugary liquid and transferring said liquid from vessel to vessel inevitably involves some sticky splashes and burn hazards, no matter how careful you are. I can definitely see the appeal of a closed, self-cleaning system.

In this case the pods are a deal breaker, but something like a bread machine that would allow you to put in grains, hops, water and yeast and get beer out, and self-cleaning to boot? I’m afraid to google any of the other devices mentioned in this thread for fear that one of them fits that description and I’ll need one.

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I’m glad these machines exist. However you want to make beer, make beer. I foresee the owners of these machines quickly becoming bored by the selection, and looking online for options, at which point they’ll move on to more elaborate homebrewing setups. And then they can join the ranks of “real” brewers (whatever those are) looking down on the machine owners, just as “real” enthusiasts of any formerly niche hobby look down on newbies they don’t consider worthy as that hobby proliferates. I’m just glad people are homebrewing. The more the merrier.

Btw, I was a professional brewer for 6 years. I’ve worked on all types of systems, from a 20BBL state-of-the-art dream rig with all the bells and whistles, down to a beer we mashed in a French press and fermented in a Gatorade bottle. Yeah, really. You can make good beer with just about anything. Equipment is almost never the issue. It’s about skill and care.

Not only that but just going BIAB at 3 gallon batch sizes lets you brew excellent beer very easily in a very small space.

I’ve used my immersion circular for BIAB as well, making temp control and staging pretty no shit.

So there’s not even a reason to buy into an expensive “system” to brew easily at small scale if you don’t want to.

These kit/capsule based systems are essentially luxary versions of Mr. Beer kits.

The entire home brew scene is shifting towards 3 gallon or less batches and brew in a bag approaches. We’re even seeing dispensing equipment in those sizes. Just bought a 1.75 gallon keg as a gift for someone to play with. And they don’t even home brew.

Seamus lives in an RV. I’ve done 5 gallon batches in a small apartment. It doesn’t work well. 3 gallon equipment is proliferating for a reason. And 1-2 gallon kits as well. A lot of people don’t have a “standard kitchen” large enough to wrangle 5 gallons.

Skunking refers to spoilage from hops being exposed to light, creating flavors similar to a skunks smell. Dirty equipment can’t do that. And it’s hard to do that during brewing. You’d have to park your fermenter in direct sunlight.

Interesting. One reason I gave it up was that I found the amount of work that went into 5 gallons was excessive for the amount of finished product. (Another was the space requirements.) I’d have been happier if I had a place to build a 10-20 gallon rig, which would have given me 2-4x the production with considerably less than 2x the labour. Maybe I’ll look into one of these very small systems… at least bottling would be less work.