Java project to automate our Brutus homebrew stand
Java Shell
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.


Copyright © 2013 Jarett Creason -

This work is available under the "GPLv3" licence. Please see the file COPYING in this distribution for licence terms.

BrewNinja is a Java project to automate the temperature control for the burners on on our Brutus 10 homebrewing stand. The project is setup to run on a Raspberry Pi and work with a custom fabricated BrewNinja board to control relays and read in information. The relays control propane flow to valves and turn on and off pumps. Temperature data is read in using waterproof DS18B20's sensors attached to a one wire interface.

NOTE: This project is still in active development. The master branch with SNAPSHOT versions should be relatively stable, but use the latest tagged version (like v0.1.1) if you want to be sure. Please use the issues page to file bugs or requests.

How to Run

BrewNinja should be compiled and run on real Raspberry Pi hardware. The project will compile on other hardware, however, it uses the Pi4J library which requires the Pi's architecture. This means that when running on another architecture, the features of the program are severely limited.


  • Raspberry Pi
    I used Raspbian "wheezy" as my install image. All of this should be possible regardless of which distro you use, but do be aware of the difference between hardfloat vs. softfloat and which one your distro uses.

  • BrewNinja Code
    This code here, so clone the git repo or download the source code.

  • Java 7+
    I am using Java 8 downloaded from here. It is an early access release, but there is a specialized download to run on the hardfloat ARM architecture. This guide was handy for me to get it up and running. Potentially you could use OpenJDK 7+, but it is purportedly much slower and I have not yet tried that.

  • MySQL 5.5
    MySQL is required (although a bit heavy handed in retrospect). I installed it on the Pi using apt-get install. You will also need to create an empty database, which can just be "brewninja", or something else which you can customize in your Hibernate config file. Additionally create a user which can access that database (S/I/U/D privileges). You will also need a user with all permissions on that database which will run the database migrations.

  • Maven 3.0.x
    Maven serves as the Java package manager, and will need to be installed. Go here to download it and follow the install instructions. You need to also setup Maven security settings if you don't already have them. Follow this guide to create a master password and then encrypt the password belonging to the database user you created above for application access to the database. Additionally (I know, it's a lot), you need to edit (or create) your ~/.m2/settings.xml file and define the credentials which the Flyway database migration user needs. The "Authentication" at the bottom of this page is an example of what is needed there.

  • Log4J-2 and Hibernate Config Files
    These must be setup first before building. Copy the two config files (one hibernate, one log4j2) located in src/main/resources/ as new file names. Replace the word "example" in each file name with something different (like your name). This keyword is then passed in as an argument to Maven on compile and your custom config files will be copied to the correct location where they will be read by Hibernate and Log4J-2 at runtime. Make sure and customize these files by adding in your database credentials and location and any special logging you'd like.


Once all requirements are satisfied, change directories on your Pi to the location of the BrewNinja source code.

If you're not running Java 1.8, you must put JavaFX on your classpath. To read more about why, look here.

sudo mvn com.zenjava:javafx-maven-plugin:2.0:fix-classpath

Next, fill your empty database it with tables and data:

mvn flyway:migrate

Then, compile:

mvn compile -Dproperties=<keyword_for_config_files>

Finally, to run, you use the exec-maven-plugin:

mvn exec:java -Dproperties=<keyword_for_config_files>

In addition, once installed, the brewninja startup service script can be configured and used to create a system service that allows brewninja to start on system boot at the desired boot level.

Customizing the Data

After first running the flyway migration, you can customize the burners, GPIOs, and temperature sensors in the database. Currently, there is not admin interface to do these things.

Using the Interface

Once running, this should be fairly intuitive. However, much more functionality will be coming in the future.