I love gadgets. I love tech. And I love homebrewing. That said, I’m especially excited when I come across a product that marries all of those things together. I recently acquired a TILT Hydrometer, a device that floats in your fermenting homebrew and uses bluetooth low energy technology to wirelessly transmit temperature and specific gravity data to a bluetooth tablet, smartphone or Raspberry Pi.
What is it?
The TILT floating hydrometer is a battery-powered device that floats in your fermenting beverage. The TILT measures the fermentation and temperature progress of your beverage. It then sends the fermentation and temperature data via bluetooth to any device with the TILT application installed. The TILT application is available for Android and iOS.
How does it work?
As the TILT floats in your fermenting beverage, it uses an extremely accurate accelerometer to measure the change of buoyancy (or the angle at which the TILT is floating) as the sugars are consumed by the yeast. In addition to monitoring specific gravity, the TILT also has a built-in temperature sensor.
When you open the TILT app, your device will automatically be connected and you will begin to receive data from the TILT. I’ve managed to connect with the TILT even with it inside my fermentation fridge from a distance of about 10 feet. Any farther and the bluetooth antenna seems to have a little trouble connecting to my smartphone.
I recommend that you start with the TILT floating in a glass of water. In the app, push the “calibrate in water” button and the tilt will be calibrated and ready to drop into your next beer.
If you’re tech savvy and are familiar with Raspberry Pi, the TILT creators have written a Pi script that will connect with your TILT. Keep the Pi within range of the TILT and the Raspberry Pi can upload the data to a Google sheet through your home wifi network. I have my Raspberry Pi send a reading every 30 minutes.
If you don’t want to mess with the Raspberry Pi feature, you may leave a tablet or spare smartphone within range of the TILT. Connect this tablet or smartphone to the internet, and it can be used to send data to a google sheet at a specified interval.
- The TILT is easy to sanitize. Spray it down with some StarSan and toss it into your fermentation vessel.
- Open the TILT app on your smartphone and the device is detected seamlessly.
- It’s accurate. After three fermentations, the TILT matched my hydrometer within .001 gravity points.
- Using the app, the TILT is easy to calibrate. Drop it in a glass of water and push the calibrate button.
- Works in many different fermentation vessel types. I’ve used glass carboys, PET carboys and the Fermonster.
- Super fast customer service. I had responses within minutes from the guys over at TILT.
- The new TILT battery now lasts for up to a year!!
- There is no battery level indication. Cross your fingers and hope it doesn’t die in your next batch.
- IF you’re wanting to use the TILT Pi feature, there is a little bit of a learning curve. If you don’t have Raspberry Pi experience, the setup can be a little tricky. THE GUYS AT TILT WILL HELP QUICKLY VIA EMAIL!
My Experience with the TILT
This is by far one of my favorite brewing gadgets that I’ve purchased. I can be 1000 miles away for work and know exactly how far along my beer is. Between purchasing the TILT and writing this review, I brewed two beers and one cider. All three were measured with a hydrometer to check against the TILT data. The hydrometer reading versus the TILT was consistently within .001 gravity point. That’s pretty accurate if you ask me.
The best way to get started with the TILT is to download the TILT app. It is available for both Android and iOS. The app is very user friendly. Just open the app, be sure your bluetooth is turned on, and make sure the TILT is not in the “asleep” (vertical) position. Your bluetooth device should be getting TILT readings within seconds of opening the app. Within the app you can name your beer, calibrate the TILT if you believe the readings are a little off, and have the data posted to a google sheet.
If you want to get the most out of the TILT, I highly recommend buying a Raspberry Pi Zero to go along with it. Visit the TILT Pi purchase site and “buy” the TILT Pi image. Don’t worry – it doesn’t cost anything. But you’ll still need to click the purchase button on the paypal site. I think the TILT guys use this to keep track of downloads and to be able to send you an automated email with the TILT Pi image attached.
I’ve attached a few images below of what you’ll see if you choose to use the TILT Pi image.
The home page of the TILT Pi displays the specific gravity reading and the temperature.
You can change your time zone and preferred temperature scale.
On the configuration page, the name of the beer is shown, along with a number. This name and number combo connects the beer to your google sheet.
The calibration page allows you to override the TILT’s calibration. If you believe your device isn’t reading correctly, simply enter the specific gravity reading that you acquired with your hydrometer of refractometer. Your TILT will provide reading based on the “actual SG” you entered
I love this device, and the amazing customer support from the TILT crew makes owning the device even easier. During the setup process I was having a little trouble with the Raspberry Pi side of things and the TILT customer support team was responding to emails within hour, if not minutes!
I wasn’t asked by anyone at TILT to write this review and all of the opinions expressed are my own. I purchased the TILT with my own cash money and am receiving nothing in return for the opinions stated above.
Thanks for taking the time to read the blog and, as always, if you have any questions or comments feel free to shout out below. Or email me at [email protected].