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Using BrewArt Beer Droid With iKegger

The brewart beer droid review

&

IKEGGER VS BREWFLO as your dispense option

 


The BrewArt Beer Droid ($799)

  • This is a great temperature controlled fermenter sold by Coopers under the name BrewArt.

  • It is wi-fi connected and links to a mobile app allowing you to see current brew status as well as change the temperature (including cold crashing) on the fly from anywhere.
  • It senses the beginning and end of fermentation without any testing of gravity or brix by the user.
  • It is designed to be used with BrewPrints but is excellent for small batch brewing of any sort due to it's 10L capacity and precise temperature control.
  • The ease of use, ability to both heat and chill (especially to chill down to 3 deg) and the easy cleaning of this fermenter really makes for an excellent product.
  • It has one well documented flaw (a weak tap spigot) unfortunately, however this problem by all reports is dealt with quickly with a replacement of the entire unit from Coopers. I have yet to have mine crack, touch wood!

BrewArt BrewPrints ($28-$44)

  • The Beerdroid is designed to be used with BrewPrints (pre-measured ingredient packages to create clones of many commercial beer styles)

  • You simply use the included sanitiser tablet to clean the droid (although there are better / faster methods in my opinion).
  • Put 10L of water in the Beer Droid and then empty the dry ingredients in (pre-milled satchels of yeast, barley, malt etc)
  • Hit the button on your phone to start the brew and the droid will automatically adjust the temperature to propogate yeast and then ferment according to the recipe you have chosen.
  • You will get a notification when the beer has finished fermentation at which point you can either bottle / keg it (using the included sugar syrup) or hit "store" to drop the temperature to 3-4 deg C.
  • If the recipe uses late addition (dry hopping) hops these are included as an extract you add as you keg / bottle

The Brewflo Dispenser ($699)

  • Is a refrigerated bench top unit designed to hold and dispense the 5L "kegs" from the Complete Kegging Package below.
  • Unfortunately this unit and the Complete Kegging Package below are in our opinion where the BrewArt idea falls short and from reading through a lot of online forums / FB pages I don't think we are alone.
  • It can only be used (without voiding warranty) with the plastic kegging package below and likewise the plastic kegs can only be used with this dispenser.
  • Both use propriety fittings that are not compatible with readily available home brew kegging equipment.
  • It takes 10 hours to chill a room temperature 5L keg to service temperature.
  • Rather than using CO2 as per usual it uses an air compressor to push air between the inside "keg" wall and the "keg liner."

The Complete Kegging Pack ($157 + $15 shipping)

  • This package contains what you need to keg two batches from the Droid (not at the same time though).
  • It consists of 2 x 5L plastic "kegs" with plastic stands for them, 4 disposable keg liners, 4 x disposable beer lines, a tube to fill the kegs from the Droid tap and a sanitiser tablet.
  • This package forces you to naturally carbonate your brew over minimum 2 weeks (more likely 4 weeks) rather than force carbonating which is usually one of the major benefits of using kegs.
  • It forces the usage of disposable plastic fittings and liners for each brew (2 x beer lines and 2 x keg liners for each 10L brew)
  • We have also included the keg caddy in this price (a filling rack that holds the plastic keg upside down while you fill it) as it seems from forums that Coopers has now said this is virtually mandatory to avoid issues with carbonation.

What We Love about brewart


  1. The Brewdroid is in our opinion a very well designed fermenter for small batches.
  2. The ability to have temperature profiles pre-programmed for all stages of your brew including cold crashing prior to kegging is excellent.
  3. The ease of cleaning the Beer Droid is well thought out, especially using the BrewPrints as the sediment falls to below the tap level. You drain the clear beer and then pull the bung under the tap to drain the sediment down the sink. No fuss, no mess.
  4. The ability of the fermenter to sense the begining and end of fermentation is great as you don't need to record OG or keep checking the gravity during fermentation.
  5. The simplicity of the BrewPrints for when you just want to make a beer quickly and easily (plus cheaply if get multiple recipes at once to save shipping costs and don't waste $6.50 on priming liquid and sanitiser tablet)

What We don't Love about brewart


  1. We dont like being forced to use disposable plastic items for each brew.
  2. We don't like the propriety fittings that don't allow you to use readily available items to expand your home brew kit or interchange parts (a 5L stainless keg fits perfectly in the BrewFlo but you need to change the connections and possibly void warranty to use it.)
  3. We don't like being forced to secondary ferment to carbonate your brew for a couple of reasons
    1. The primer syrup is very over-priced ($5 for 2 sachets of sugar syrup)
    2. It means having to wait 2-4 weeks for carbonation
    3. You can't adjust the level of carbonation you end up with like you can with a CO2 system.
  4. We don't like the uneccessary complexity of the plastic "kegging" system, see below for comparison with iKegger stainless steel mini kegs.
  5. The weakness of the tap spiggot on the Droid is a serious problem that will hopefully be rectified for future models.

so what optons are there instead of the brewflo?

how about a complete 10L stainless steel keg system for $399


  • All stainless steel parts have 5 year warranty and all other parts 1 years warranty whereas the maximum for Brewflo components is 1 year.
  • No disposable parts for each brew and especially no plastic disposable parts, saving youself up to $15 (parts plus shipping) per brew plus the environment.
  • Ability to carbonate your beer without using primer liquid saving yourself $5 and 2-4 weeks per brew waiting time per brew.
  • Includes enough 2min no-rinse sanitiser for 80 brews saving another $1.50 per brew plus an hour waiting time.
  • All components are compatible with standard existing home brew keg gear so you can expand and upgrade your system easily with readily available parts.
  • Much simpler to fill and carbonate. It literally takes 10 minutes from starting to sanitise to having carbonated beer in the fridge settling.
  • Much more consistant carbonation level. Using Co2 to carbonate rather than sugar means you can easily adjust it to exactly the level you like it by either increasing or releasing pressure.
  • Perfect pour everytime. Having a high quality stainless steel flow control tap means you can adjust how fast it pours on the fly, making sure you get perfect head everytime without wasting any precious beer.
  • Includes a insulated cooler sleeve for the keg making it just as easy to take this to a BBQ as to pour a beer at home.
  • Disconnect tap and gas connections at any time in seconds to store or transport the keg, valves stop any spillages.

Contents:

  • 1 x 10L Stainless Steel Keg (5yr warranty)

  • 1 x Stainless Steel Spear with Standard Homebrew Connections (so you can incorporate it in existing or future keg systems)

  • Premium Stainless Steel Flow Control Tap (5yr warranty)
  • Professional Quality Mini Regulator on Check Valve Disconnect (allows storing the keg lying down in the fridge)
  • Connection & Beer Line To Fill Keg From BrewDroid Tap (using standard readily available connections)
  • Insulation Sleeve For Keg (so you can take your homebrew to a BBQ)
  • One Sodastream gas bottle (enough to carbonate and dispense 4 x BeerDroid brews)
  • One bottle of 2min no-rinse sanitiser (enough to sanitise both your keg kit and droid for more than 80 brews!)

Usage:

  • Put 3mL of sanitiser in 2L of water in the keg and shake.
  • Attach tap system and regulator using click on and off fittings
  • Use CO2 to push 1L of sanitiser through the tap, (this fills the keg with gas at same time to prevent beer touching oxygen when filling).
  • Swap tap for droid filling connection and push rest of sanitiser through that.
  • Attach droid filling line to the tap on BrewDroid and fill keg with chilled beer.
  • Turn pressure up to 20-25psi and gently swirl keg for 3-5 minutes
  • Reduce pressure to 10 psi place keg in fridge and let sit for 1 hour or more
  • Attach tap and pour your beer (it will taste better with ageing though!)

now you Are probably thinking:

"but the BrewFlo is a refrigerated bench top dispenser whereas that iKegger kit needs to go in a fridge or esky"

and you would be correct...

so, here is what you would get for the same money as the brewflo with ikegger!


Brewflo dispenser with 4 x 5l Plastic kegs


  • BrewFlo Dispenser

    • Table top refrigerated storage and dispenser for 1 x 5L plastic keg.

    • Takes 10 hours to chill from room temp though.

  • Complete Kegging Package

    • 2 x 5L plastic kegs

    • Dispoables for 2 x 10L brews

  • A Keg Refill Pack $60

    • 2 x 5L plastic kegs and caps

  • 2 x Extra Keg Stands $12

    • Needed to store the extra kegs upright for carbonating

  • The Keg Caddy $28

    • Apparently vital for correct carbonation

  • Shipping for Kegs etc $15

  • 1 x Sanitiser Tablet Included

 

 

Total Upfront Cost: $943

Cost For 1 x Coopers Green Batch Using This Kit:

  • $28 For BrewPrint with Primer and Sanitiser
  • $7.50 For 2 x Keg Liners, 2 x Beer Lines (disposable plastics)
  • Total Cost: $35.50
  • 167% Higher Than iKegger Cost For The Same Brew

ikegger kegerator with 2 x 10L Stainless kegs


  • 120L Black Mini Kegerator That Matches The Beer Droid (Droid not inc.)

    • Holds 6 x as much beer as BrewFlo

    • Includes 2 x stainless steel 10L kegs with 5yr warranties

    • Space for 2 x optional 5L kegs inside too

    • Also space for glasses, ice cube trays and cans / bottles.

  • 2 x Premium Stainless Flow Control Taps

    • With all standard easily replaceable fittings to have 2 kegs on tap.

    • Optional ugrade to 4 kegs on tap at once

  • Complete Gas System

    • Including professional quality mini regulator .

    • Including sodastream refillable 400g gas bottle.

    • Connect both kegs to gas at once (optionally 4 kegs at once).

    • Enough gas to carbonate and dispense 40L of home brew.

  • 500mls of No Rinse Sanitiser

    • Enough to sanitise the droid and kegs gear for more than 80 brews

  • Includes FREE shipping to any Australian capital city.

Total Upfront Cost: $943

Cost For 1 x Coopers Green Batch Using This Kit:

  • $16.50 For BrewPrint Ingredients Without Santiser or Primer
  • $4.75 For SodaStream Gas Refill (no disposable waste)
  • Total Cost: $21.25

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Keg Size Guide
 Vessel Name (Volume) Height Diameter 330ml Bottle Equivalent 
"Bieber" (2L) 20cm 13.5cm

6

"Growler" (2L) - Insulated 30.5cm 13 cm 6
"Johnson" (4L) 33cm 13.5cm 12
"BBW Growler" (4L)- Insulated 35cm 15.5cm 12
"Choad" (5L) 26cm 17.5cm 15
"Mandingo" (10L) 50cm 17.5cm 30
"Dominator" (19L) 63cm 22cm 57
"UniTank" (35L) 90cm 38cm Up to 90