Some of us here at CBG are homebrewers, including myself (CBG Dan). We recently heard about a new homebrew kit on the market called the OneDerBrew, and it intrigued us. So we decided to check it out.
It turns out that OneDerBrew is made right in the Chicago suburb of Antioch. So we headed to Antioch to meet with Steve Pearson who created the system. A homebrewer himself, he came up with the idea while trying to figure out a way to homebrew in less steps. As a homebrewer myself, bottling is a tedious process that I myself do not enjoy. (I haven’t moved to kegging).
The name OneDerBrew refers to the one step process of putting your wort into the fermenter and then being able to serve carbonated beer directly from it. How does this system accomplish this? Well, it ferments under pressure, and thus once fermentation is complete the pressure force carbonates your 5 gallons of beer at the same time. The system is made up of a conical fermenter, a pressure release valve to prevent too much pressure, and a pour spout to server your beer once ready.
At the Antioch location they are in the process of setting up a small homebrew shop to sell the kits along with beginner recipe kits, and working on creating some on site brewing classes using the system. You can also pick up the kit at your local brew and grow, amazon, or the onederbrew website.
So, onto my experience with the system. I picked up some brewing ingredients for an IPA from my local home brew shop Grow Masters in Gurnee IL and scheduled a brew night. The actual brewing process is no different. You can do extract or all grain, its up to you. It’s all in the fermentation where this system comes into play. Following the instructions provided I added my wort to the fermenter and attached the cone with the supplied seals. I suggest you watch the final assembly video on the OneDerBrew youtube channel. It is very detailed and will guide you through step by step final assembly of the system. With the pressure release valve set as shown in the video you will reach 10 psi of pressure which I found to be fine.
After 3 days of fermenting I poured some out and checked my gravity to see if fermentation had completed and it had, I then put the entire fermenter into my fridge to let it cool and settle. I tasted the beer every day to see the progress. Very yeasty at first as expected since yeast was still settling. This lessened every day. As of the writing of this article it has been 1 week from brew day and the beer is 100% drinkable and the yeast aroma and flavor has subsided. As with most homebrew it will only get better with time. This batch could use more time to clarify and settle; however, it is 100% drinkable and carbonated after just 1 week. There is a yeast extraction release port at the bottom of the cone, so at this time I could get the yeast out to reuse if I was going to start a second brew, thus cutting down on yeast costs. I did connect a tube to the port and extract most of the yeast myself just to get it out of the fermenter, but this is not necessary.
Overall I am happy with the system. It can be used in other ways as well. You do not have to ferment under pressure, you can leave the pressure relief valve completely open, just attach a blow off tube as you normally would to prevent oxygen from getting in. Then once fermented you can bottle it, or using co2 you can force carbonate through the same port you attached your blow off tube. If you plan to bottle I’d recommend using the spare shut off valve in place of the pour spout during assembly, it would make it a little easier to attach your standard siphon tube to transfer to a bottling bucket.
There are only a couple disadvantages to this system that I could think of. You can’t dry hop easily. You could pop off the safety bung at the top and add hops to do so, but then you won’t get the advantages of the pressure and will have to bottle normally, or force carbonate with co2. Also if you would normally add adjuncts at bottling such as for fruit beers you will have to bottle normally as well. The ring that holds the cone and bucket together is easy enough to put on, but takes a little time wrenching it down. They are working on possibly making this easier but for now this was the most consistent way to ensure a good seal. Also it takes up a good amount of space in your fridge, so the addition of a mini fridge or dedicated fridge would be ideal if your serving from it.
Who do I feel would benefit from a OneDerBrew system? Well there are a few use cases so many homebrewers can. The casual homebrewer who wants to be able to have beer served in a week or so. Someone who wants an in between to bottling and kegging, or any homebrewer who would like an inexpensive conical fermenter. I’m sure many homebrewers can think of additional ways to utilize this fermenter as well. So pick up one today and make up your own mind.