PopSci staff photographer John Carnett may be the greatest inventor of all time. What he’s created, and what you see here is the world’s first All-In-One Beer Making Machine. Called simply ‘The Machine’, it features a stainless-steel two-cart brewing system that starts with wort, or pre-fermented beer, and ends with a perfect, chilled pint.
Over several weeks, beer takes the journey from wort concentrate to tasty beverage. A cooling system regulates temperature and ensures that the final product is a frosty brew.
Concentrated wort extract goes into the boil keg along with water and hops. A propane burner heats the mix for about 90 minutes.
After the boil, the wort moves through a heat exchanger, cooling it to between 53ºF and 63ºF before it reaches the fermenting tank.
An electronic controller monitors the temperature inside the fermenting keg; When it needs cooling, a pump circulates water through a nest of copper tubing sitting on a cold plate—chilled by Freon in its interior—and wrapped around the keg.
After 10 to 15 days, depending on the brew, the wort becomes beer. Carnett swaps hoses and turns a valve to move the beer to one of two settling kegs, where the CO2 tank adds carbonation and debris falls to the bottom.
Finally, the beer moves into one of two serving kegs. Pull the tap, and the beer travels through the cold plate, so it’s chilled on the way to your glass, eliminating the need for constant cooling and ensuring a frosty brew anytime.
The next step? Add a third cart to make wort from raw grain instead of extract, though he’s got a lot of ‘testing’ to do before taking on that monumental step.