July 27, 2015
Touchscreens on your refrigerator, wifi connected crock pots, motion sensing trash cans; tech is coming to a kitchen near you, but it doesn’t always make sense. Many times adding a layer of tech to kitchen gadgets have lackluster effects (I’m looking at you BlendTec touch screen blender, even if it is awesome), but occasionally a simple addition of Bluetooth or WIFI extend an appliance’s use. For the Anova Precision Cooker, bluetooth makes it easy to remote monitor what you are cooking, but also allows you to adjust the temperature from another room.
A sous vide can come in a few different forms, but each are designed to cook food over a long period of time, using a specific temperature, all while ensuring everything is heated evenly. After placing the meat in a ziplock bag or vacuum sealing it, it’s placed in a pot and the sous vide constantly keeps the water heated and moving around the meat. This weekend I gave the Anova sous vide a whirl to see how well it works, if the bluetooth addition actually was useful, and how it compares to the gadgets it replaces.
Rather than use it as it was intended and cook food with the Anova, I brewed a heavy all-grain IPA. It will be about a month and a half before we know how well the beer turned out, but one thing’s for sure, it drastically cut down the amount of monitoring, stirring, and adjusting of a burner. Although it’s certainly not a perfect tool, it made the process a lot easier.
The Tech Upgrade
For a typical brew-in-a-bag style brew, there are two primary stages during brew day: creating the mash and creating the wort. Both stages require keeping your water at a specific temperature, and that’s where the Anova comes in. Typically homebrewers will use a propane burner outside, or the traditional gas or electric stove top. All of the typical heating options are imprecise, requiring constant adjustments and temperature monitoring. Because the Anova sous vide is designed for long-term cooking at an exact temperature, it solves that problem with ease. Bluetooth on the other hand is a bit rocky.
Bluetooth has a range of about 32 feet, but either the app or Anova itself had random connectivity issues (there was a thin wall between locations). Aside from that, when you can remotely monitor the device, it makes monitoring easier. Rather than getting up and stirring the mash and wort every 10 minutes, the built in directional pump keeps the water flowing. During the actual wort boil where you add in most of the hops, this also requires you to keep precise temperatures and constant stirring.
Overall the Anova helped automate the beer brewing process, kept temperatures exactly where they needed to be, and allowed us to do other things nearby. If there was a way to make the Anova better, wifi would be great, especially for some of the longer all day recipes. The design is sleek and comes in three different colors, and easily comes apart for cleaning (brewing is messy). Anova’s interface is also incredibly easy to use without the app, with only a few buttons and a dial to adjust the temperature. For those looking to up their cooking game or even attempt to use a sous vide for brewing beer, I’d highly recommend the Anova.
The Anova is a KickStater success story as they raised more than $1.8M from 10.5K backers.
As a warning, the Anova is only designed for water, so you’re at your own risk by following in my footsteps.
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