Author Topic: Online fermentation using Tcontrol  (Read 2355 times)

Offline Henielma

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Online fermentation using Tcontrol
« on: October 08, 2014, 05:24:37 PM »
To control my fermentation's I use my own software Tcontrol. This topic is to get an idea how this works.

Temperature of the fermentation is controlled. Cooling and heating. Furthermore the carbon dioxide production is measured and can been seen in a curve in time.

I use the following setup:

Temperature sensor is a digital sensor type DS18B20. The sensor is mounted on the outside of the PET bottle and a bit isolated with a sponge.

The interface between the fermentation and the PC is a Tcontrol-IO board. This is mounted together with the main connections for the fridge and the heater. The connection to the PC is a USB connection.


Screenshot of the current fermentation of 10 liter APA with 11 gram US 05 yeast.

When the carbon dioxide production starts an email is send to me. The total amount of measured CO2 is used to calculate the current SG of the beer. In a purple curve can later the CO2 production been seen.

A live screenshot of the current fermentation can been seen via internet.

During this fermentation I want to post more screenshots so the result in time can been seen.
Automated mashing and fermentation is not so strange

Offline erockrph

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Re: Online fermentation using Tcontrol
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2014, 06:51:28 PM »
That looks pretty cool. How are your measuring CO2?
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Offline Henielma

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Re: Online fermentation using Tcontrol
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2014, 07:59:51 PM »
As Carbon dioxide production sensor I use the following setup:


A three way valve normally gives the Carbon dioxide to the balloon. When about 2 mbar pressure is reached in the balloon a pressure switch does activate the valve for 8 seconds and after that time the balloon is empty again. The PC application Tcontrol counts the number of times the valve has been switched and calculates the current SG of the current fermented beer. 

A video of the working sensor can be found here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2HQbIWXszY

This is a post of my bio topic. The youtube clarifies the working I think.
Automated mashing and fermentation is not so strange

Offline Henielma

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Re: Online fermentation using Tcontrol
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2014, 05:36:30 PM »
After 10.0 hours I received the email that the fermentation was started. (First 0.2 liter CO2 was measured) This is slower then I'am used to. The fermentation peak is not very high. It is only 10 liter so this will also give less CO2 then 20 liter.

A screenshot of the current status of Tcontrol.



The short blue 'grass' in the black area are the moments the refrigerator is on. The fermentation produces more warmth now. This can be seen the the blue 'grass' is more dense. The green curve is the integrated time the refrigerator is on. The green curve was also rising.
Automated mashing and fermentation is not so strange

Offline AmandaK

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Re: Online fermentation using Tcontrol
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2014, 07:31:08 PM »
I wish I had the knowledge to build something like this.
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Offline Henielma

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Re: Online fermentation using Tcontrol
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2014, 09:11:17 PM »
You can use it without building this yourself. More people do this. Tcontrol can be downloaded from my site. The interface to the IO board is open. But most people use Tcontrol-IO.
Automated mashing and fermentation is not so strange

Offline Henielma

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Re: Online fermentation using Tcontrol
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2014, 08:00:13 PM »
The fermentation peak is over. Current CO2 production rate is 2.88 liter per hour. The next temperature step has been started. The temperature is now rising 0.021 degrees Celsius per hour, this is 0.5 degrees Celsius per day.



The orange curve gives the ADF in time. Almost 32% is reached now. Not a fast fermentation to my opinion.
Automated mashing and fermentation is not so strange

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Re: Online fermentation using Tcontrol
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2014, 11:36:37 PM »
That is very cool, if not entirely overkill.

Offline tommymorris

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Re: Online fermentation using Tcontrol
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2014, 12:54:37 AM »

That is very cool, if not entirely overkill.
This looks like a labor of love to me.

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Re: Online fermentation using Tcontrol
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2014, 01:10:44 AM »


That is very cool, if not entirely overkill.
This looks like a labor of love to me.

I don't mean to take away from it's incredible awesomeness. And for a commercial brewer I can see it could make a very useful tool. But for the homebrewer I think it is over kill - in other words, I don't necessarily think it is anything that will really help you make better beer. But, of course, that's ok. Overkill can be really awesome and fun. Look at the Shelby Cobra. ;)

Offline Stevie

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Re: Online fermentation using Tcontrol
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2014, 01:11:54 AM »
I think it's extremely awesome. I love how it adjusts to the fermentation. It's great.

Offline tommymorris

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Online fermentation using Tcontrol
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2014, 01:12:21 AM »


That is very cool, if not entirely overkill.
This looks like a labor of love to me.

I don't mean to take away from it's incredible awesomeness. And for a commercial brewer I can see it could make a very useful tool. But for the homebrewer I think it is over kill - in other words, I don't necessarily think it is anything that will really help you make better beer. But, of course, that's ok. Overkill can be really awesome and fun. Look at the Shelby Cobra. ;)
i didn't think you were trying to take anything away or be negative.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2014, 02:17:46 AM by alestateyall »

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Online fermentation using Tcontrol
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2014, 01:44:45 AM »
I agree it's beautiful overkill, and though it doesn't fit my brewing style (or budget) I love it. I love the software and the CO2 monitoring system. I also like the Shelby Cobra reference !
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Offline Henielma

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Re: Online fermentation using Tcontrol
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2014, 06:51:54 AM »
But for the homebrewer I think it is over kill - in other words, I don't necessarily think it is anything that will really help you make better beer. But, of course, that's ok. Overkill can be really awesome and fun. Look at the Shelby Cobra. ;)

I agree that you definitely do not need Tcontrol to brew very good beer. As long as you have a way for temperature controlled fermentation (read at least active cooling) the big step to good beer is made. Also a RVS CCT is not needed to brew good beer but many homebrewers use it.

I think Tcontrol helps you to get a more reproducible fermentation and so also helps to get a more reproducible beer. This is helpful when you want to optimize the taste of a certain beer type.

Furthermore gives the CO2 production in time a good insight of the current fermentation. This gives you feedback about your yeast starter. And it also helps you to make decisions when to start a next temperature step.

Additional functionality is that you receive an email when the fermentation temperature deviates more than 1 degrees C from the set point. This can prevent fermentation faults due to a broken system.

And I agree it is also fun to have the possibility to watch the fermentation at work, especially the first day of the fermentation to see the fermentation peak. I didn't know the Shelby Cobra, it looks like a nice car that you do not need to go to work but the car is fun I think.

A cheap way to measure the CO2 production is the system I previously used. The disadvantage is the water in it. This sensor can be simply build yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmi3uD7MiRU
Automated mashing and fermentation is not so strange

Offline Henielma

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Re: Online fermentation using Tcontrol
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2014, 06:28:31 PM »
Now we are 1 week further. The temperature has been raised to 21 degrees C.
Just measured the SG and it is 1017. Now changed the parameter L CO2/puls so the current SG in the Tcontrol screen is correct now. The setup is changed since last fermentation by adding the wooden fixture.

Automated mashing and fermentation is not so strange