Every step of the home beer brewing process is laid bare for observers with the sculptural Beer Tree by Freddie Paul, a Product Design student at South Bank University in London. Whereas most home brewing setups carry out the process in opaque stainless steel containers, the Beer Tree puts it on display with a design that’s reminiscent of a science experiment.
Nestled into a tree-like metal frame, one glass vessel flows into the next in a five-step process. It starts with the ‘hot liquor tank,’ proceeds to the ‘mash tun’ where the grains are added and mashed, then moves on to the kettle to boil before being cooled and reaching the fermenter. After two to five days of fermenting, the beer is ready to be syphoned into bottles and ‘conditioned’ for five more days.
The idea is that being able to visualize every step gives the brewer a more personal connection “to create a strong sense of satisfaction and pride over the final product.”
Critics have pointed out some potential flaws in this home brewing system, like the fact that the glass vessels could be hard to properly sanitize, even heating might be hard to achieve and adding ingredients could be tough. One commenter on the Beer Tree video even wondered how you’d explain to police that you aren’t using it to cook drugs. But the design isn’t meant to be a finished product; rather, it’s a stepping off point for future inquiries into aesthetically pleasing home brewing.
“This product is not for sale. It is my first prototype; I welcome your messages and comments, thanks. Beer Tree is a gravity fed home brewing kit for brewing craft ales. It concentrates on the brewing process as something to be enjoyed and celebrated. The process can be completely visualized from start to finish, involving the user more than traditional kits to create a strong sense of satisfaction and pride over the final product.”