Thursday, September 15, 2016

Tilt Hydrometer Formerly Brewometer Review 1

Read Amazon Seller Horror Story Here

Read Final Review Here

So I just purchased my first Tilt Hydrometer, a very cool new Beer Bug competitor with a lower price point. Here is the manufacturer's description.

The Tilt™ (formerly Brewometer) is a patented design that allows you to monitor the specific gravity and temperature of your home brew using your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet (with Bluetooth 4.0, more here for Apple or here forAndroid). Simply drop the Tilt into your batch of fermenting beer and watch the progress from the app. The Tilt is available for sale and ships internationally!
I used the Tilt for the first time in my Wet Hop Cascadian Dark Ale I wrote about in my last post and I thought I would give a quick review of the product and workflow here.

Why I Chose The Tilt

I really wanted to start tracking how each of my beers progress to get a better understanding of why they may not always turn out the way I wanted them to. Having a log to refer back to and see where I had temp spikes or stuck fermentations would come in handy. Especially for actual fermentation temperature of the beer rather than ambient temp.

I chose the Tilt because I frequently brew 10 gallon batches and ferment them as two separate 5 gallon batches. The Tilt is cheap enough I can nearly buy 2-1 over the Beerbug and the application can track them both at the same time as long as you buy different colors. Of course I started with 1, no sense throwing away money if I wasn't satisfied.

What You Need

I'd like to say you just need a Tilt and you're good to go but that's not the case. Since it works over bluetooth you'll need a device to run the Brewometer application and connect to the Tilt. Not just any device will do either, it needs to be a fairly new device with Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities. I tried utilizing an old Motorola Droid 3 and it wouldn't connect. My IPAD 3 and my current phone, a OnePlus One both connected flawlessly.

This brings up a point. The Tilt is 40% cheaper than the Beer Bug unless you need to buy a specific device to connect and utilize it. At that point you may as well just spend the extra $80 on the Beer Bug. Fortunately most of us probably have a tablet or old phone capable of using with the Tilt, even if it's the phone you use every day. Instead of leaving it hooked up next to your fermenting beer you can just check in with it a couple times a day.

You'll also need a google account if you want to log the progress rather than just see current SG/temp because the Tilt logs data to a Google Sheets spreadsheet. There's a little setup with this but it's not terribly difficult.


The setup is pretty simple, here are the steps.
  1. Install the Brewometer App from App Store or Play Store.
  2. Turn on Bluetooth and Location Services on your device.
  3. Drop the Tilt into a bowl of water
  4. Connect to Tilt with brewometer App
  5. Go to settings and find Calibrate Specific Gravity and click Tare In Water
  6. Sanitize Tilt
  7. Drop in Wort
  8. Take a Hydrometer reading with your classic glass hydrometer
  9. Go to settings and find Calibrate Specific Gravity fill in current Tilt reading and your hydrometer reading and click add point
  10. Do step 9 again during your fermentation and at the end of fermentation
  11. Setup the google spreadsheet as outlined on the Tilt's blog
This may seem like a long list but I had it setup in about 10 minutes so don't panic!

Notes About the Sheets Template

At first I was thinking I would need a separate spreadsheet for each brew I was going to use the Tilt in but after seeing they way it posts data I quickly realized I only need one published sheet to collect data for all my brews.

It's important to set your beer name to the current beer fermenting so the posts go under the correct name. This can be fixed manually in the spreadsheet if you forget, unless you forget that too!

I like the spreadsheet with the Chart being the most useful quick view of the beer. I did end up putting together another page that is useful as a current overview and final print sheet to put with the keg at the end. It pulls from the current beer setting in the template's report page and looks like this.

Here is the built in chart of whatever beer I'm fermenting when you read this :)

All in all I'm pretty happy with this device. I like being able to see the progress from anywhere, I do peek a lot while I'm at work. I think having the data to refer back to while tasting the beers will help improve my beers overall.

I plan to use this device a few more times before deciding to buy another one. I'll post again at that point with another review in the format of The Good and The Bad.

Read Final Review Here