The PicoBrew system is a homebrew machine. The system allows you to purchase pre-fabricated “packs” made to replicate actual production brewery recipes. There are also packs that clone popular styles and popular brewery beers.
Setup is actually pretty simple. The box the unit comes in is massive. There is the machine itself, but there are also all the accessories that are needed, i.e. the two kegs for brewing and serving and tubes and such for cleaning and transferring liquid.
Upon setup, you will need a wi-fi connection so that the machine may register itself and so that when you do insert a prefabricated pack, it can look up the specifics, and you can adjust the alcohol or bitterness level if you want.
The process isn’t just a like a coffee Keurig machine, though. It is still a hands-on process, the machine just facilitates a lot of the liquid transferring, and handles the boiling/heating of the liquids. For the most part, you can just let the machine do it’s work and you don’t need to monitor the temperature as much as you do with a stove-top home brew type system. You are given the option to follow the same standard fermentation schedule, or you can do a fast fermentation and a force carbonation (as opposed to a standard carbonation). A lot of the cleaning of equipment is still handled by hand as well.
The two kegs it comes with are handy too. They take up as much space as a gallon carboy would, but they look a lot cooler. The existence of the kegs themselves eliminates the need for bottling the beer as you can serve it right out of the keg upon refrigeration.
Additional purchases that you will need and can be bought locally are water, sterilized water or vodka, hydrogen peroxide, fragrance-free dishwashing detergent, and a large bucket or container for cleaning.
The beer I chose to brew was a Pliny the Elder clone. The resources and instructions for the process are all available online via PDFs, and instructional videos. The e-mail correspondence is very quick as well, if you have any questions or concerns. The machine also serves as sous vide machine, for those that want to impress your friends or need to convince your significant other that it deserves counter-space.
All in all, I am happy to have this unit in my house. I am in the process of brewing my next beer and will update on the process as I get used to it.
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