It’s Memorial Day weekend and you have nothing to do but brew, drink, and eat. But you could make your future brewing a little more productive with the very clever — and slightly challenging — UberFridge.
Homebrewer Elco Jacobs has posted a very detailed and easy-to-follow guide on how you turn an Arduino Nano and Asus router into an internet-connected temperature controller for your fermentation needs. Total cost? A couple of hours and about $100-$125, assuming you have a fridge. Not the cheapest project, but given that fermentation temperature has a major effect on the outcome of your homebrew, it’s not the worst money you could spend.
Jacobs has posted the code needed to run the whole system on Google Code, but his guide is definitely the place to start.
Innovation in pint glasses tends to come in the form of shape or weight, though not much has changed in decades (save for the famous Sam Adams glass). But clever marketers came up with a brilliant way to make you want to fill your glass with a dark beer: screen a special QR code onto the glass that can only be read when it’s up against a dark enough background.
For those who don’t know, QR codes are modern bar codes — they hold some form of data that can be read by one of dozens of different smartphone apps. For a QR code to work, like a barcode, the scanner needs to be able to tell the basic difference between white and black to be read (or some other combination of contrasting color). By printing a light-colored QR code onto a glass that simply can’t work with a light beer, it’s possible to provide some sort of bonus material with a dark beer.
Very clever, in the can’t-believe-I-didn’t-think-of-this-first kind of way.
If you’ve ever been to a bar that has dozens of beers on tap, you may have wondered how they store the beer and how they keep everything running. Well, local beer blog Beer in Baltimore took a trip to Max’s Taphouse in Baltimore to find out. What they end up with is a really fascinating photo gallery that makes you appreciate just how much work goes into a place like that.
Ever walk into an impressive beer bar with tons of taps and think to yourself, “Where do they put all of that freakin beer?!”
We’ve heard it many times, especially at places like Max’s Taphouse in Fell’s Point. And that was before the expansion to over 100 taps!
Max’s draft beer keg system was impressive before, back when it had only 70 beers on tap. But with the expansion upstairs, came the expansion downstairs. A new state-of-the-art draft system & cooler that must be seen to be appreciated.
There aren’t just boring photos either — the bar itself has an interactive 360-degree look at their 100-beer cooler, which lets you get a feel for what it’s like to keep everything organized.
The engineering team at Yelp has created a fantastic iPad interface for their office keg. Building off of the existing KegBot platform, they built an iPad app that allows them to check-in with an RFID keycard, track user ratings, and track the amount of beer coming out of the keg. It even tracks the temperature.
Sensors attached to the keg feed data into an Arduino microcontroller, which in turn communicates directly with the iPad via a serial connection. The iPad processes that data and displays it in a snazzy manner along with a description of the current brew. An RFID reader attached to the system allows users to ’swipe in’ to KegMate and keep track of how much beer they’ve had, as well as assign a star rating for the beer currently in the keg (this is Yelp, after all).
If you were going to starting from scratch, this definitely takes some understanding of circuitry, iPad app development, and a host of other technical skills. Forunately, the team at Yelp has released everything they’ve done — the app, schematics, even part numbers — to help you put it together. If you’ve got an extra Saturday afternoon and a little ambition, they’ve made it simple enough to be an approachable project for almost anyone.
The downside? It requires an iPad, which is $500 alone, making this a $600+ project. If you’re interested in a simpler version of this, you can eliminate the iPad and use an old computer with the KegBot software.