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Picobrew - Pico Model C Brewing Machine - Black

Brew craft beer at home with this PicoBrew craft beer brewing system. Its convenient automation system recognizes different types of PicoPaks, and it adjusts the system accordingly to ensure a good brew each time. This PicoBrew craft brewing system fits nicely on the kitchen counter for easy access and storage.
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    Overview

    What's Included


    • 5L Serving Keg and dispensing bung plug
    • Brew Keg
    • Cleaning tab
    • Hops Pak Cradle
    • Keg cozy
    • Measuring bucket
    • Owner's manual
    • PicoBrew Pico Model C Brewing Machine
    • Racking tube
    • Step Filter + Lid

    Ratings & Reviews


    Overall Customer Rating:
    95% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (55 out of 58)

    Features


    1500W heating capacity

    Steam heat brews evenly at a specific temperature and with more precise control than boiling on a stovetop, preserving your beer's flavors.

    Wi-Fi connected

    Allows you to monitor your brew remotely.

    Detachable brew kegs

    Significantly increase productivity by using additional kegs to brew multiple batches on the same day. Reconnecting the hoses and starting another batch is quick and easy.

    Black powder-coated exterior

    Provides a stylish look and durability.

    Countertop design

    Designed to fit under most kitchen cabinets.

    Step filter

    Enables even flow and reduces foam during the mash phase.

    RFID PicoPak detection

    Your Pico brewing machine recognizes each specific PicoPak and its associated recipe based on its RFID tag.


    Customer rating

    Rating 4.8 out of 5 stars with 58 reviews

    95%
    would recommend to a friend

    Pros

    Cons

    • If PicoBrew opened up the software and allowed custom grain/hops, I'd probably buy extras of their proprietary components (e.g. brew kegs) just so I could use it more, but at the price point of the PicoPacks and especially the lack of any real design input, the machine that should be essential for any brewer is nerfed, rendering it a novelty.BBNickname
      See all reviews that mention price as a con

    Most relevant reviews

    See all customer reviews
    • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

      5* machine if it offered brewers flexibility

      Posted
      BBNickname

      Full disclosure: PicoBrew solicited this review in exchange for a free PicoPak (explained in review). They requested I write an unbiased review. So here it is: I’ve been homebrewing for around 12 years and typically make 10-15 gallon batches using an all-grain manual setup. I purchased the PicoBrew C because of its automation and small batch capability. I hoped to use it for small-scale experimentation but mainly for quick, fresh batches of hoppy brews. If you’re interested in how this works, I suggest watching the instructional videos on the PicoBrew website. What’s shown there is exactly what you can expect from the brewing experience. PicoBrew C completely automates the mash and brewing processes and does a surprisingly good job at the cleaning parts too. Fermentation is pretty much up to you...which isn’t a problem at all since it’s highly dependent on your specific environment (e.g. temp, pressure, O2, etc). In short: PicoBrew C is a wort making machine. I’ve brewed two batches (one lager, one ale) and both have turned out well. In fact, they don’t have any of the common off-flavors or mistakes you’d associate with homebrews. In other words, the hardware and automation works well! However, it’s at the expense of any kind of meaningful flexibility. The only control you have over the brewing process is an abstract and, frankly, meaningless ability to choose the ABV and Bitterness levels. These levels aren’t actually ABV percentages or IBU settings, but instead seemingly arbitrary 1-to-5 measures. That’s it. Otherwise you’re at the mercy of the pre-programmed brewing instructions for that particular “PicoPak”. These are prepackaged containers of grain and hops with unique identifiers so the machine can ping the PicoBrew servers and retrieve instructions on the brew cycle and validate that it’s a valid PicoPak. In other words, you can’t brew your own beer. You can only brew PicoBrew’s beer. They offer a “freestyle” design app that allows customers to build a malt and hop pack, but the options are limited and again offer absolutely no input on the brewing cycle. Here’s the conundrum: the machine works really well and it’s capable of automating an entire brewing session; however, PicoBrew has chosen to lock users out of the ability to design their own beers. “Bitterness” and “ABV” levels aren’t satisfactory inputs. Nor are the options offered in the freestyle designer. The machine is clearly capable of doing everything brewers need: setting dough-in temps, mash temps, cycle times, etc, etc, etc. It can do all of these things, but users are locked out of that flexibility. To make matters worse, the PicoPaks are expensive, so you’re probably better off economically to just buy beer. Are you learning to brew? This isn’t the machine for you. Because the PicoBrew reduces the brewer’s inputs so much there’s no “learning” necessary to use it. If you want to learn how to brew, grab an inexpensive kit from your local shop and make a few batches of bad beer. You’ll learn more in a month doing that than a lifetime using a PicoBrew C. If PicoBrew opened up the software and allowed custom grain/hops, I’d probably buy extras of their proprietary components (e.g. brew kegs) just so I could use it more, but at the price point of the PicoPacks and especially the lack of any real design input, the machine that should be essential for any brewer is nerfed, rendering it a novelty. If opened up this would easily earn a 5* rating but until then 2*

      No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Awesome and easy home brewing

      Posted
      MattA
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      I just got into homebrewing a few months ago and I received the PicoBrew Model C as a gift. At first I wasn’t sure if I would use it as I’ve got all the equipment to brew 10 gallon all grain batches. But, as soon as I started my first brew I fell in love. I’ll be brewing my 7th batch today, so, needless to say, I’m hooked. Synopsis: - PicoBrew automates the wort making process, making it super easy to brew beer - Both experienced and inexperienced homebrewers will love how fun and easy it is to brew small batches of YOUR own beer - If you are wanting to get into homebrewing, don’t hesitate to buy this, you’ll love it, it inspired a new hobby for me Pros: - Easy to clean, automated brewing - Monitoring the brewing process via the website on your phone is just plain cool! - Still get that great grain and hops brewing smell (If you like beer, you’ll fall in love with the smell of brewing) - Beers come out consistently good Cons: - Small batches (this can actually be a pro in some cases) - Limited ability to customize your brews - PicoPaks can be hard to find and a bit expensive (Pro tip: You can get them at your local Best Buy) - No PicoPak in the box (order one with your Pico or you’ll be disappointed if you want to brew the same day you setup your Pico) Details: I love the PicoBrew as it lets me easily experiment with different styles of beer as well as getting to try beers from breweries I wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to try. I have to admit I was a little skeptical about the latter, as I really didn’t think that I, or this machine, could brew a beer like the big guys. I was wrong, with the PicoBrew, you really can. If you’ve ever homebrewed, you know that it basically consists of watching water boil and sanitizing. It’s a multi-hour process, and while rewarding in the end, is really time consuming. It requires constant monitoring, I have 2 kids and I have to have my wife watch them while I brew on the 10 gallon setup. The PicoBrew automates the wort making process. You don’t have to constantly monitor temperatures and the open flames of the burner, etc. You don’t even have to be there while it’s brewing, you can monitor progress on your phone or PC via their website (which is one of the coolest things about it). No babysitter needed when brewing with the Pico! As I mentioned above, once you smell the grains and hops boiling, you’ll love it. Though, if you or your house mates don’t like that smell, put it in the garage and avoid conflict. I mention above that one of the cons is limited ability to customize your brews. If you’ve never brewed beer, that’s probably not a big deal to you. If you have, you’ll feel a bit limited. However, one of the most delightful things is that you can customize your own PicoPaks online, from the grains, to the hops, to the yeast. Once you get a little more experienced, I highly recommend making your own PicoPak. I was amazed that they took the time to etch the name of the beer I made into the PicoPak! See the pics in this review for examples. PicoPaks can be hard to find and they are expensive. Watch for sales on their website. I looked forever to find them locally, turns out you can get them at Best Buy of all places. At this point I’ve always got a batch of PicoBrew beer and my own homebrew on draft. If you’ve got a kegerator, invest in one of the Pico Pro kegs (or buy a 1.75 gallon ball lock keg). In my opinion, kegging beer and carbonating with CO2 makes a better brew and it’s much faster from ferment to drinking. Even if you don’t, just using the included keg is fine. You might also considering the bottling kit, makes it much easier to share your brews, which is one of the most fun parts about home brewing. For me, I got so into it, that I ended up buying a kegerator so I could more quickly enjoy my own brews. I’m actually homebrewing more on my 10 gallon setup as a result of trying new things on the Pico. I love having the easy quick batches from the Pico to compliment my big batches. If you are thinking about buying the PicoBrew, just do it, you’ll love it, and maybe you’ll have a new hobby as well.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      PicoBrew delivers the goods

      Posted
      badun
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      I’ve been a home brewer for about 10 years and have experienced varying degrees of success. I’ve made some really good beers and some really bad ones, but most have fallen into the middle ground of “Meh”. The #1 reason for the failures and the “Meh” is lack of attention to detail. Basically, if you want to make good beer you must make the time to ensure that not only does brew day go as planned but that every subsequent step is done correctly and in the right time. Life seems to constantly interrupt me when the beer needs me most (ex. Going out of town unexpectedly when the beer is ready to be kegged) so I’ve been interested in solutions that automate at least some of the brewing process. Automated beer making solutions are becoming more prevalent but until the Pico C came along they all have exceeded my budget. I was very excited when news of the Kickstarter campaign for the Pico C came out because finally there was an automated process that I could afford! I signed up early enough to get significant discounts and anxiously followed the updates until I received my Pico C in October. A quick word about the Kickstarter campaign: Crowd funded businesses are rife with stories about overpromising and underdelivering products. Or businesses disappearing before a single product is delivered. Pico did an outstanding job of setting realistic expectations and then managing to them. In short, PicoBrew did everything well and if that same degree of care continues they’ll be around for a long time. Delivery day finally came, and I took possession of my Pico C, along with a Helles Lager brewpack. The unit was well-packaged and all pieces were present and accounted for. I was somewhat disappointed that the instructions are only available through a downloadable PDF file. I understand that the printed page is obsolete as soon as it is published but for something that requires step-by-step instructions to assemble and use I would prefer a pre-printed manual over an online version (or printing it myself with too much white space and superfluous graphics). Gripes about the manual aside, the Pico C looks like a well-engineered machine and I think it looks better in black than its stainless sibling. Setup was easy. I chose not to use it in my kitchen because my family hates the smell of brewing beer, but the footprint is small enough to where a workbench in a garage (or the top of a keezer) is plenty big. The initial cleaning was easy; I just set it up and walked away while the Pico C did its thing. The control panel is very easy to use and once one is familiar with the steps it provides sufficient instructions that it can replace the manual. The unit is a bit noisy in operation. Not garbage disposal loud but enough to where a housemate who is not a beer lover may find it reason enough to banish the brewer to a different part of the house. Brewing was a breeze. Once sanitation and setup are done it really is as simple as pushing a button and letting the Pico C do its things. Post-brewing cleanup is also very easy in comparison to doing everything by hand. The brew keg is well designed, and I love the fact that the whole process minimizes exposure to taste altering elements. Fermentation is when we get to the part where the brewer must be diligent. Leave the beer too long in the keg and it will develop off tastes. Take it out too soon and it may not finish fermenting. In other words, you can’t brew and set the keg aside for a few weeks, you must stay on top of it. That’s no different than any brewing process, of course. Now we get to the good part – the taste test! I did not use the supplied dispensing keg but instead used a small ball lock keg that I hooked up to my keezer. The verdict: This is good beer! It tasted clean and fresh, unlike so many of my efforts in the past that suffered from burned pots, contamination, fermentation accidents (it’s amazing how high a carboy can shoot your wort when there’s too much pressure built up!), etc. I really enjoyed the PicoBrew beer making process and the result. Here are some suggestions and deciding factors before you buy: An absolute beginner needs to be sure that he or she will stay interested in making beer before investing this kind of money. I’d start out with a small batch system before spending the money on a Pico C if you aren’t sure you will stick with it. If you’re already brewing and happy with your results (especially if you do all-grain) then the limited options and small amount of beer per batch probably don’t make the investment worth your while. Speaking of small amounts of beer, the output is sufficient for the hobbyist, but you aren’t going to keep a large crowd happy unless you make several kegs. Do not try to convince yourself or others (especially significant others) that it’s cheaper to make your own beer with the Pico C. I’d argue that no home brewing system is cheaper than buying commercial beer simply because one is always buying new, cool equipment! That said, the cost per ounce of beer is higher with the Pico C than some other brewing methods. The standard size of the brew pack likely means that Imperial-style beers (or any high gravity beverage) are out of range for the Pico C. There simply isn’t room for all the grain that’s needed to get the ABV up in the higher ranges. Perhaps PicoBrew will find ways to supplement the packs but if you’re a fan of high gravity Belgian ales you may want to shop around. I caution beginners to be very conscious of brewing temperatures. By far the hardest variable for me to control has been temperature. I live in a very hot region and the year-round temps of my house are at the upper limits of most beer styles. The Pico C actually helps me in that regard because the smaller keg size fits easily in a swamp cooler (I use a tub of water with a towel wrapped around the keg) or, even better, a mini-fridge with a temperature regulator set to the ideal brew temp. The instructions provided with the Pico C don’t cater to specific styles of beer so I urge the buyer to learn about optimal temperatures for styles and types of yeast. A few nits aside, I am very pleased with my Pico C. I just racked my second batch (which also tastes good) and I look forward to a steady schedule of brewing. I am quite sure that the creative folks at Pico will find new ways to get me to invest in them!

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      PicoBrew PICO Model C - Great Brewing Value

      Posted
      Chookies
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      I joined the Pico C Kickstarter campaign as a “Super Early Bird.” I'd been interested in a PicoBrew for quite a while, but with the announcement of the more affordable Pico C I knew that the time was right. I'd know of the solid reputation of PicoBrew products and I had confidence that the Kickstarter would reach their goals. The goals where reached quickly (I pounced on the Pico C as an early bird, which allowed for me to be one of the first Pico C recipients), and I received my unit in late September. The Pico C arrived with nearly everything required to complete a start-to-finished product. In advance, I made sure I had a few gallons of distilled water (reverse-osmosis works, too) and plenty of StarSan to keep things clean. I also bought a PicoPak of Half Squeezed IPA because I wanted my first batch to be an ale (the unit shipped with a PicoPak of Helles Lager). After the initial rinse I loaded the vessels with distilled water, attached the Pico C to my wireless network, loaded up the PicoPak, and watched everything happen. It takes about two hours and it makes whatever room in which you're brewing smell great (or terrible if you're like my kids and don't know any better). I let the wort cool for 24 hours, then added the yeast, and waited about a week for the brew to ferment. I tossed in the provided hop packets for the dry hopping about 3 days before chilling the brew in the refrigerator overnight to crash the yeast. After a full day in the refrigerator I racked the beer from the fermenting keg into the serving keg. The Pico C ships with what is required to do natural carbonation (adding sugar to the serving keg to allow for natural carbonation), but I was anxious to try it so I invested in a CO2 kit and food-grade CO2 cannisters so that I could be ready to try it in 36 hours instead of the extended time required for natural carbonation. I followed the directions (from the Pico Pro manual) to carbonate with CO2 and everything worked perfectly. Great, fresh beer carbonated just right. I've heard the comparisons between brewing with the Pico C and making coffee with a K-Cups. There are some comparisons for sure, but there is enough interaction (in other words, lots of stuff to wash and keep clean) in the Pico brewing that I would classify as real brewing. You experience all of the stages of the brew process and all of the great aromas along the way. I would love for there to be a way to mix up my own ingredients at home and create my own kits, but for now this can only be done by Pico as a service they provide for those of us who want to create their own recipes. So Pico-packed PicoPaks are the only way to go. They're great, but it would be great to get more creative with my own. Overall, I'm extremely satisfied with the Pico C. I've only made beer so far. I will make some Kambucha tea at some point. The device also supports Sous Vide cooking, but I haven't tried that yet. I look forward to buying more kegs (when they are available) so that I'm not limited to one batch at a time. I've pre-ordered the PicoStill add-on, too. I guess one could say that I'm in it for the long haul. I hope this baby holds up because it will be really put to the test at my house...

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Your Home Wants One

      Posted
      Chris
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      I'll start this review by saying I'm new to home brewing, but I have many friends who are experienced home and commercial brewers. I also live in San Diego, so there is no shortage of excellent local breweries (and beer snobs). Finally, I'll state the main reason why I haven't been brewing yet is that I'm incredibly lazy. I backed this project on Kickstarter with the intention of eliminating my excuses and objections, and to stop leeching homebrew from my friends. THE GIST: The Pico has fulfilled it's promise to deliver a simple, easy-to-use appliance that makes great tasting beer. THE GOOD: If you can pour water and follow simple instructions, you CAN do this. The machine walks you through all of the steps with clear instructions, and really does do all the work for you. So while my home brewing friends have to set aside an entire day as a "brew day", I can pop in a PicoPak, turn on a movie, and have completed wort ready to cool by the time the credits are rolling. There's no fussing over temperatures, messing with grains or extracts, scalding yourself with boiling hot wort, or cleaning and sanitizing giant stainless vessels. Speaking of cleaning, the machine cleans itself. For real. Add water, hit a button, and walk away. The brew keg gets put in the dishwasher. It really is that simple. And the beer? Well, so far I've only completed one pak, the Helles Lager from Lucky Envelope Brewing, but my friends argued with me that I couldn't have made this on "that machine" with "that yeast" at "that temperature". And they were surprised at the quality of the beer that had not been "properly lagered" for months. Needless to say, they were impressed... even the bearded beer snob hipsters. THE BAD: This machine isn't going to kickstart your career in the brewing industry, or allow you to open your own brewery. It's not really going to save you money, and you'll probably put on some extra pounds from drinking all that beer. Joking aside, this machine makes small batches. The 5 Liter mini-keg goes quickly when you have a group of eager beer-swilling friends over. But the intention here isn't quantity. It's quality and variety. A lazy guy like myself can choose from a hundred different styles of beer, and make them almost as easy as popping a Blu-ray into the player. You're going to need to learn patience. It takes two to three weeks (sometimes more) from brewing to drinking. So while it's very easy, it still takes some planning if you want to have a batch ready for an event. There really isn't a magic bullet here... fermentation is still a natural process that takes time, and no matter how much you salivate over the beer locked inside that keg, you'll still have to wait until it's done to drink it. My second batch is carbonating now, so I'm trying not to drool on the keyboard as I type. There's a great selection of PicoPaks (100 and counting!), and more being added all the time. You can even design your own, and try those recipes your friends keep saying will make them famous. But then again, there are only so many ingredients to choose from. The Freestyle PicoPak designer on the website is very cool and easy to use, but ultimately your're restricted to the grains, hops and yeasts that PicoBrew makes available. You can't just go to your local homebrew shop, buy some exotic ingredients and experiment with complete freedom. Maybe there will be a reuseable, fillable PicoPak in the future, but there isn't one today. And so far that I have seen, you can't add adjuncts or flavorings like coffee, spices or fruit in the designer. That being said, I remember buying a Keurig coffee maker when they first came out, and only had a dozen or so coffee flavors, so I'm confident that it will only grow and improve as the ecosystem matures. My last and only real gripe with the machine is that it is quite loud. It reminds me of that first Keurig brewer I had... it's a constant purring and humming throughout the brewing process, almost like a lawnmower idling outside. I solved this by putting the Pico in my dining room, so I could hear that movie playing... THE FINALE: I had to really think hard to come up with issues for the Pico C. Realistically, the bad is minimal compared to how great it is to make something even your twirly-mustachioed friends will raise an eyebrow in approval for.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      Craft Brewing At Home Made Easier

      Posted
      Blair

      DISCLAIMER: PicoBrew solicited this review in exchange for a free PicoPak, but in doing so they did not, in any way, encourage me to submit a positive review. They only asked for an honest, unbiased review, which I am giving here. My overall rating of the Pico Model C unit itself is a full 5 stars (but I took off one star for reasons I'll hit later in the review). I actually received my unit with a problem that ruined the free PicoPak that came with my order (through their KickStarter campaign). One of the pumps in the unit was jammed, which prevented water from being pulled from the reservoir and into the step filter (the clear, plastic container that holds the PicoPak). After submitting a ticket with PicoBrew, I was quickly given some troubleshooting steps to try and we were able to solve the issue without needing a return or exchange. PicoBrew also replaced the PicoPak free of charge and was exceptionally courteous during the whole process. Because of the very good experience I had with the support team, I did not take off any stars for receiving a semi-defective unit. I have now been able to go through the full brewing process with a PicoPak, the Gourdeous Harvest Ale. The process of setting up the machine and its associated gear is very straightforward and easy to follow. There are two "surprises" that I noticed when I first set up the machine. 1.) the unit is a bit bigger than I was expecting, but it still fits well on a typical kitchen counter under hung cabinets (see attached photo). 2.) the unit is louder than I was expecting. When the pumps are running, it makes quite a bit of noise, but it is nothing that is deafening or uncomfortable. But if you are brewing with the Model C, you'll probably have to turn up the TV volume or have a conversation at higher volume. The display on the Model C does a great job of informing you of what steps need to be taken for each of the processes (e.g. brewing a PicoPak, rinsing the unit). Like I said earlier, the process of setting up the unit to brew the wort (unfermented beer) was very straightforward. After brewing, however, things got a little more complicated, as is expected with all the variations that are possible during the fermentation and carbonation processes, which have little to do with the Pico C unit. In my opinion, this is where the Pico C manual starts to taper off significantly in being helpful to a home-brewing novice like myself. This is the reason for me taking off one star. During the fermentation process, the manual instructs you to let the brewing keg sit out overnight so that it can cool to room temperature. However, my friends who are home-brewers told me that it is more ideal to get the hot, freshly-brewed wort down to room temperature as quickly as possible. This is why chilling apparatuses can be so complicated/expensive for traditional home-brewing setups. I wish the manual would state if the cool-down process should differ from traditional home-brewing methods, or if chilling the keg as fast as possible is OK to do. In general, I think the manual could do a much better job of pointing out differences between the PicoBrew method and traditional home-brewing methods since there is really no community for discussing the usage of the Pico C (at least not yet). Therefore, if you try to Google something that the Pico C manual glosses over, you will not find much information specific to the Pico C, if anything at all. Since this is brand new method of brewing beer, PicoBrew should have elaborated more of the nuances of the fermentation and carbonation processes. Another area where the manual fell short was the carbonation process. It does state that you can do forced-carbonation if you buy CO2 cartridges and a regulator for the serving keg, but it does not provide any information on for how long or at what pressure you will need to do that. If this is information that comes with the regulator, then the manual should say something like "check your CO2 regulator manual for instructions on the forced-carbonation process." As of the time of writing this review my first beer is still keg conditioning (carbonating), so I cannot yet speak on the quality of the beer that I have produced using the Pico C. As I have stated earlier, the unit is quite easy to use and the brewing process is very simple. From what I have seen of the brewing process for a typical home-brewing setup, PicoBrew saves you a LOT of headache by automatically knowing what temps to boil at, which ingredients get boiled, for how long, etc. Instead, you can just sit back, enjoy a beer you just brewed, and wait for the Pico Model C to tell you when it is done! I will update this review once I have completed a brew or two to comment on the quality of the beer that I have produced!

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      The perfect "low effort" brewing machine

      Posted
      Alec

      To start with, I want to address one of the most frequent criticisms I see with this machine: it takes all of the craft out of brewing, and doesn't teach you anything about the process. I'm going to wholeheartedly disagree with this. I compare the Picos to my slow cooker. The difference between the recipes I put in the slow cooker and when I cook stovetop are miniscule, just sometimes I really do not have the smallest desire to monitor what I'm making as it cooks, and frankly that's my least favorite part of cooking. I like playing with ingredients and proportions, and honestly I love cleaning less junk. The Pico is perfect for all of that. The short of it is that the machine delivers exactly as promised: you insert the pack and water, you press go, out comes your wort. Cool however you prefer, pitch your yeast, and ferment. The provided decal to monitor fermentation temperature has worked well for me to keep my beer in range during the process and seems reasonably accurate to my thermometer readings as well. Racking is, again, absolute cake, and cask conditioning is no problem. The quality of beer I've produced so far has been exactly what I expected. It tastes good and fresh, I've had no off flavors, and the batch size is absolutely perfect for our consumption at home. To boot, if you buy two packs at once, shipping is free, so the pricing does not work out badly at all! I've read some horror stories on the homebrew forums on off flavors that crop up during fermentation, but from my experience alone I can't say I've had this happen. Of course, in the few steps you do need to be involved in (sanitizing, temperature monitoring for pitching and fermentation, even crashing) there is a lot of room for user error if you don't pay attention. But being that I wanted my first solo home brews to be perfect, I was probably overzealous in these stages, and mine turned out without a hitch. My second beer was a custom pack that I designed on my own, which is my absolute dream. No painstaking measurements, no traveling to multiple stores to find the ingredients I want, just write it up and it shows up at your door. Here's the kicker though. If you want it to taste how you want, you still have to learn how styles work, how fermentation temperature can affect the other flavors you may want (I, for example, had to fine tune my temperature for some ester production that I actually needed to occur), and you better be careful with those hands on steps I mentioned above. Still as easy as advertised in regards to the process of brewing itself, but now I got to put my flair into it. Best part? Still mostly hands off, right down to the clean-up. The machine definitely could use some add-ons, which is where my one star knock down comes from. If you don't want to rack into the mini keg, the machine won't help you out. I would love to see an update to the current program and a bottle-filler add-on to the fermentation keg that allows me to bottle as well. I know that this is about fresh brew, but sometimes storing and transporting a bottle is just plain easier. I would also love to see an option for a "re-usable" pico pack, or a filter insert that allows you to put your own grain and hops into the machine. Pico's selection of ingredients is very satisfying for now, and since I first joined their website they have already added more options, so I am not so much worried about variety, but proportions for custom packs are somewhat limiting. The smallest proportion of barley allowed by their production right now is still mountains more than I need to attempt to clone one of my favorite beers from afar, Four Peak's Kilt Lifter. Plus, as people get more and more into brewing with these machines, I think a lot of folks like myself may really want to get into the nitty gritty of measuring themselves, and I am hopeful that this will eventually be added on by the time I'm adventurous enough to want this. In summary, she performs as advertised. It's easy to use, easy to clean, and makes good quality beer if you put in your part of the work. Maybe some new things could be added down the line to make it even better, but for now I'm absolutely thrilled to have gotten in on the product.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      A win for the home-brewer with limited time.

      Posted
      OKCjw
      • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

      YUM! This has to be a game changer in the reach of home brewing. I have always toyed with home brewing but it generally takes more time than I have to give. With the Pico C Brewer I can start the brew process and walk away. The machine walks you through each step of the process like its your first time every time so If you forget something don't worry it has you covered. This has been compared to a Keurig for beer and while it does greatly simplify the process you won't be drinking a cold beer 45 seconds after you hit start so be realistic in your expectations. Just know the results will be delicious. Note: Wifi is required. The Pico C connects with Pico Brew to load the brewing specs for the specific picopak you are using. It also provides all of the analytics for the brew process that you can watch in almost real-time from your account on their website. My experience should be a good gauge of what to expect. Tip 1-If you don't have reverse osmosis water go buy 5-10 gallons of distilled water for rinsing and brewing before your brewer arrives. Unpacking: If you are like me when this arrives you are like a kid on Christmas morning ripping into the boxes to see what magical treasures await. Do your self a favor and take it slow and gentle. You will want to keep the box with the brewer in it. I'm told this box is required for warranty purposes. Plan to spend the next 30-45 minutes cleaning. Brewing: (after the initial cleaning mentioned above) Brewing is so simple. Turn on the Pico C, select brew and follow the instructions. When everything is set and the brew is set in motion the machine will make a lot of noises. Its pumping, pushing, and heating liquid to steam so don't do this if you just put the baby down for a nap. After 2-3 hours the beer is brewed but its time to let the science begin. After Brew Cleaning: At this point you have disconnected the brew keg so it can cool to room temperature. Its time to clean everything else. Rinse the system. As a guy who hates cleaning this really is a pretty simple process. The Pico C will walk you through most of it. The next day after the wort has cooled to room temp you add the yeast to the brew keg. This begins the fermentation process that will take a week or more depending on the beer and temperature. The manual gives you time frames based on temperature ranges. I've ordered a PicoFerm that will aide in this process. Once fermentation is complete you "Crash the Yeast" by cooling the brew keg in your refrigerator. This takes a day or so. Then depending on what type of beer you are brewing you may add dry hop packs that come with the picopak. Otherwise its time to move the beer from the brew keg to the serving keg or bottles if you are bottling. You hook the brew keg back up to the Pic C and "rack" the beer. From here you add sugar from the provided packet to carbonate the beer. Carbonation takes close to double the time it took to ferment the beer so don't get in a rush. After about 3 weeks you are ready to cool and then consumer a tasty beverage. I thought for sure when I opened up that first keg it would be bad because I had to have messed something up on my first try. Nope. Somehow this marvel of modern technology took my ineptitude out of the equation. It was delicious. So fresh. I really felt like I was drinking at the brewery. I will be ordering more brew kegs so I can have more beers going at the same time. Tip 2: This is a no brainer but if you are using the serving keg the beer is best when first opened. Unless you are force carbonating, it will degrade in quality fairly quickly as the days pass. If you are looking into a way to start homebrewing but don't have the time to really mess with the science/process this is the perfect option for you. I love it and will be an avid Pico C Brewer for the foreseeable future!

      I would recommend this to a friend



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