Brewpi froze my beer!

After many months of faithful operation this morning I flew home to this:
(pic taken after plugging and replugging the onewire SSR board in a panic)

I unplugged and re-plugged the cable to the Onewire SSR expansion board, there was no change, the fridge resumed cooling (freezing!)

I repowered the brewpi and the sensors all came back and sanity resumed

The Raspi was not interfered with

What did I do wrong? 60L of beer is ruined. Seriously pissed off right now.

excuse my ignorance by why is it ruined? Can’t you just let it thaw out?

Unfortunately, in my experience beer is never the same once it has been frozen :o(

I’m allowing the temperature to rise slowly and not opening the kegs (changing the equilibrium) for at least a few days just in case it didn’t separate but given the time the fridge was below zero…

All my other beer fridges have a temperature alarm on them, I guess this fridge needs one too.

Okay, this is bad. I’d like to get as much data as possible to find the cause.
I’ll PM you to get in contact and talk about what happened via Skype.

I had a similar experience as well this weekend, and am happy to provide any information that may help. I have a beer fermenting, and was nearing the end of fermentation so I checked it yesterday for activity only to find it frozen. Looking at my BrewPi, it seemed to not be registering from the temperature sensors anymore as the temps showed “-” where actual temps read. I guess it decided to kick the freezer on with that info, or that was the last state it was in maybe when it felt it lost probes? It was like this for about 2-3 days it appears. I rebooted the BrewPi, and everything came back online ok and the BrewPi kicked on my heater and seems to be working again. I should note I did not touch the probes, simply rebooting the BrewPi fixed the issue. Now for my beer…we’ll see how that turns out. Fortunately I think fermentation was complete and I’m aging this in a bourbon barrel for some time, so maybe it will be salvageable.

Please add me ok Skype too. (skype name is my full name).
BrewPi is programmed to disable actuators when the sensor has been lost.
But it looks like we have a glitch. I have not been able to reproduce this myself, so all info is very welcome.

Random thing to put into the mix a few people in the homebrew forum experience some logging issues due to clocks going back. Might not be relevant but just something to throw into the mix

My clock appears to have been stable at least

I checked the log files of both @esteban and @jaspass. Both logs show serial write timeouts at the time the controller went offline.

We just had a dev meeting and we think this was caused by a critical bug in the Particle Firmware that our application is built on. Particle already fixed this bug so this will be solved when we upgrade our dependencies to the latest version.
It could cause a complete device lockup where even interrupts were not working anymore. This could be confirmed if the RGB LED on the bottom stopped breathing. Did you guys check that by any chance?

We have also integrated a watchdog timer that will reset the device is the main loop is not run for 60 seconds.

We’ll try to speed up a release so this is fixed ASAP.


That is great news Elco. Thank you for identifying so quickly! I didn’t catch the RGB LED at the time, but should it happen again before the release is ready I’ll verify. Great job!

I had the same issue runnning legacy build. I couldn’t figure out the problem and eventually whit using the brewpi.

For what it’s worth; the best beer I ever made was a Doppelbock that froze during lagering. So long as it was not sitting on gross lees I don’t see an issue there. Even if it was it may still be fine. Taste before disposing of it, you may be surprised.

Thanks for the efforts and the update Elco!

Has been running fine again with no issues, but eager for the update :slight_smile:

LBussy: Yes I’m keen to test this beer just to see how it fared. It was properly racked etc. However, I have to drink my way through the first 20L that were in the keg fridge first… WIP

Nah I didn’t check the RGB LED sorry. I was in panic mode :-/

If it happens again I will indeed.

Hi Elco,

I had the BrewPi lose sensors again (this time no damage to beer, caught in time). Last time it kept by freezer on, this time it was the heat. Resetting corrected issue and back on track. This time I checked out the RBG LED while not detecting sensors, and it was slowly pulsing blue. I hope that helps. Let me know if I can provide anything.

What kind of blue was it? Unfortunately Blue can refer to at least a couple of the colours used.

Also, what device are you using, a Photon or a Core?

@jaspass, @esteban, please upgrade to firmware 0.4.4. I think this will resolve the issue.

1 Like

This happened to me yesterday as well. Everything was running fine yesterday afternoon. Sometime around 9:00 the software glitched and the freezer kicked on and ran the beer down to ~34 before i caught it at lunch today. Unplugged the brew pi amd plugged back in and everything was back online. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure that I have the most up to date firmware. @elco help!

I upgraded as instructed and haven’t had this issue.

Is your beer okay?

Will have to wait and see on the beer. I am not sure it completely froze. The thermowell was readin 34F. So, I let it rise back to 67F. It is a Belgian Golden Strong and was right at 48hrs. I figure the Belgian yeast has probably checked out but to get it to attenaute fully I pitched a 1.5L starter of US-05 once it was back up to 67.

You are right about needing to upgrade. I am running v0.4.3 after all. And the error logs were full of serial error write timeouts.

Is there a way to upgrade the firmware without changing any of the PID settings?