Pico Brew Reviews

Pico Brew Reviews

Pico Brew Reviews 680 356 Maye

PiecoBrew’s line of beer-making appliances makes it a popular name with those who want to “set it and forget it.” Moreover, the company offers products suited to every level of brewing, from its Zymatic (now Z Series) for pros to its Pico Pro and Pico C for intermediates and beginners. With PicoBrew’s entire product line, including PicoPaks, you can monitor the entire production process remotely with WiFi. These reusable pods bundle all the ingredients into one enclosure for a simple, self-contained operation. The simplicity of the Pico C has one big downside, however, as I discovered with the $499 model.

It’s difficult to oversimplify PicoBrew’s gear, but each model works in more or less the same way. C and the Zymatic are kitchen appliances (like an Instant Pot) that both have a drawer that holds all of the ingredients and works as a mashing tun. A keg connects the two devices to serve as both a In the machine, you put in the ingredients and add the water, then select the recipe and hit start — and the machine does the rest. A couple hours later (after the wort has cooled), you add the yeast and begin the process of turning the sugar water into beer. This type of all-in-one setup is what makes PicoBrew’s lineup of products so compelling to consumers — at least for those who don’t want to make coffee in a kettle for the entire process of brewing. In case you want to leave it on your kitchen counter all the time, the Pico C’s matte black design won’t be too out of place. I actually prefer it to the silver/chrome combination of the Pico Pro, but I have black appliances, so it fits in nicely. As it takes up quite a bit of counter space, leaving it out isn’t the best idea (H x W x D). It measures 16 x 12 x 14 inches. The brew pan did fit under my cabinets, so you can tuck it away in a corner when you’re not using it. It would probably be better to keep the kegs and other gear somewhere else.

set up

After you have unpacked all the ingredients, it takes about 15 minutes to set up for the first brew. The first step you need to take is to connect to your home WiFi and register the device. You must run a 10-minute rinse cycle with distilled water and a brew keg afterward. You should drain the water from the Pico C reservoir, dump it and rinse both the clear drawer (Step Filter) and brew keg after it is done. Now that the system is ready, we can start using it.

Pico paks

The Pico C can only be used when a Pico Pack is attached. The Pico Pro debuted these prepackaged-ingredient containers, which make the process of making beer super simple for someone just getting into the hobby. Nevertheless, they may seem like a great idea, but I find that they restrict someone like me with a bit of experience. The only drawback to these devices is that you have to order them from PicoBrew or a licensed retailer and wait for them to arrive. Depending on your shipping method, it could take up to a week for the device to arrive. Besides the fact that it doesn’t seem like a long wait, it means you can’t just whip up a batch on the spur of the moment. you cannot just go out on a Saturday morning and purchase loose grains and hops from your local homebrew shop, the Pico C can’t handle loose grains and hops. In the meantime, PicoBrew says there are only “a limited number” of physical locations that stock PicoPaks, so you won’t be able to buy them unless your local Best Buy carries them. The PicoPaks are available online at other retailers – such as Bed, Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, and so on – but if you need them shipped, you might as well order them directly from the manufacturer. As for brewing with the Pico C, it requires planning ahead — which is not my region of expertise. From PicoBrew’s website and online store, you can choose from a selection of more than 100 packs based on recipes from homebrewers and professionals. For example, there are versions of commercially available beers like the Dead Guy Ale and the Brew Free or Die IPA, just to name a few. A PicoPak can be made using a recipe of your own, known as a If you need a starting point, you can choose a base beer and modify the hops and grains according to your tastes. If you wanted to make an American IPA with Citra, you would begin with the American IPA base and tweak the hops at the first order. The process is not without constraints, however. When I hit a snag with my plan to make a single hop beer, I wanted to use the Mosaic hops in that base IPA recipe. There is no Mosaic option available with PicoBrew’s Freestyle. If you choose to make your own beer, you can choose from only eight hop varieties. While I understand not being able to stock every type of hop, it is disappointing that popular types like Chinook and Mosaic are not available. new recipes will be added on a continuous basis and will also add to the Freestyle selection. Eventually, though, those new beer brewers will want to experiment, so expanding those DIY packs is the


You need to turn on the machine and place your PicoPak into the Step Filter (the clear drawer) when you’re ready to brew. You can follow along on the digital display if needed, since PicoBrew automatically detects the Pak and enters the timing and temperature for your recipe. PicoBrew’s instructions are clear and easy, but the Pico C will walk you through the steps. Cleanup will be guided by the software as well. You can start the process once you’ve got everything in place. The display will keep you informed when you’re at which step and how much time remains. The BrewHouse interface on PicoBrew’s web site also allows you to track the process. Though it’s not quite as convenient as a mobile app, it gives enough information for users to get by. The company says it’s putting the finishing touches on a mobile app, but there’s no date in the works. Using the Pico C to brew can be noisy, so you will have to be aware of that. It is about twice as loud as my dishwasher during the brewing process. While I am brewing in the kitchen, I have to crank the volume on the TV really loud if I am watching Electric Dreams in the next room. The wait time doesn’t affect the conclusion of the brewing process, but you should know about it before investing in the machine. Once the brewing process has been finished and you’ve pounded your yeast, the fermentation process begins.

Fermentation and the PicoFerm

PicoFerm, a $59 WiFi sensor that you can attach to the top of a keg to monitor the brew’s progress, can also be used to monitor the process While it’s not necessary for making beer with a Pico (it’s available for pre-order right now), the web app will let you measure and track the temperature of the beer as well as the air pressure in it (attenuation). There is no way to monitor gravity on the site, so there is some room for errors. The site will also tell you how many days remain in the fermentation process. Two of the three batches I made used the PicoFerm. You lose some of PicoBrew’s guidance — and a big part of its appeal — if you don’t use the sensor. On the website, you can still click “ferment”, and it will estimate the process’ completion date, however, there is no actual data being collected. It seems to me that this extra cost is worth it for some. When it came to the PicoFerm, it consistently sent data as the beer fermented. Only once have I had a problem when I forgot to reconnect to the WiFi after a couple weeks between batches, which was my own fault.

Kegging and bottling

The beer is ready for kegging or bottling after its fermentation period is over, which takes about 7 to 14 days depending on the recipe. A three-liter serving keg is supplied with the Pico C, allowing you to package your beer while on the go. You only need to select the right mode in the menu and the device will pump the beer into the mini keg or bottles for you with the supplied you have brewed before and used a racking cane and bottling wand, this method works the same way, but it is You can use a force-carbonation kit to infuse your beer with CO2 in a matter of 36 hours, or you can go old school and use priming sugar to naturally condition your beer over the course of 2 Despite trying a few batches, I hadn’t been able to get the level I wanted even after a few attempts. PicoBrew worked okay, but it also wasn’t precise. This is not necessarily a knock against the program There are times when brewing parameters need to be changed over time, especially when using a new package size or At first, I was skeptical of what the Pico C would produce in terms of overall quality, but when I tasted the results, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a pretty good batch of beer, but the Bison Cream Stout at Tallgrass Brewing and my single-hop Citra IPA made with the Pico C were standouts. The Pico C makes brewing easy, but most importantly, it makes great


Although Pico C is limited, and the initial investment is very high, the device is still quite affordable. A beginner’s brewing kit can be put together for $60 or you can buy a prepackaged one for that amount. you need to perform more work to brew in your kitchen or on a burner in the garage, but you would be able to use that extra money to buy more ingredients or upgrade your system so that you can produce more beer of greater quality. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to not have to mess with it, you can opt for semi-automated methods as well. You should look into the Pico Pro for $799 if you have a draft setup. With the Pro, Cornelius Kegs instead of proprietary Pico Kegs are used (two come with the system). The amount of coffee brewed is the same as that of the C, and a PicoPak must still be used. You will have to pay for the Zymatic (which will soon be replaced by the Z Series) if you don’t want to use the PicoPaks. In the pre-order phase, the Zymatic will cost $1,999, while the Z Series modular unit will be $2,500 (saved to $1,499 during pre-order). Although both options are able to produce 2.5-gallon batches, the Z Series is able to produce up to 10 gallons total in 2.5 gallons incremental steps. A grainfather is a good option if you’re brewing with some automation but want to still speed things up. A bucket from Home Depot will do in a pinch if you don’t have a carboy, but even a glass carboy is cheap. The Grainfather, on the other hand, is a full-service setup where you can mash, boil and cool your wort at a customizable temperature. The app allows for batch sizes up to 25 liters (6.6 gallons) and allows you to control the process from the Using a timer will help you keep track of the time The water will be filled up before you sleep, so you can start brewing as soon as you wake up in the morning. With a price tag of $1,000, it’s definitely aimed at more The Brewie is another automated all-grain option that lets you use whatever ingredients you like, but it is also very expensive ($1,900), so it’s geared towards serious homebrewers.

wrap up

In PicoBrew, we set out to develop a Keurig-like device for brewing beer, and we have largely succeeded in creating one. It makes good beer for you while you watch TV or do other things on your kitchen counter with the Pico C. For beginners, the C will really come in handy since it’s simple and hand-holding, but if you get tempted to experiment, it may be quite At the moment, PicoPaks only have a very limited list of ingredients, particularly In addition, you have to plan ahead really well. When you’re good at that, you won’t get as many headaches as you might think. I am not an expert, so having to rely on PicoPaks is an inconvenience for me. My limitation meant that I could not keep up with the machine, even though it produced good beer consistently.