Picobrew...Thoughts

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Svingjo, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. Svingjo

    Svingjo Initiate (0) Jul 21, 2012 Canada

    #1 Svingjo, Jan 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2019
  2. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (448) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    another appliance meant to make life easier and instead manages to complicate what does not need to be fixed.


    craft beer has been about tradition and innovation. I don't see how this gizmo solves any problems.

    besides, this is clearly aimed at homebrewers. or rather, people who might like the idea of beer made at home but are not willing to read 10 pages in a book. can't say if the beer is any good. but I can take a guess...

    this thing does seem to be a lot better than most of the other bullshit kickstarter beer related junk of late.
     
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  3. OddNotion

    OddNotion Zealot (584) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey

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  4. Svingjo

    Svingjo Initiate (0) Jul 21, 2012 Canada

  5. Naugled

    Naugled Defender (655) Sep 25, 2007 New York

    The other thread says about all of it, but to answer your original posting, I think this has zero implications on the craft brew industry. It looks like a nicely engineered appliance with no real market to me. Time will tell.
     
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  6. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Disciple (303) Nov 10, 2010 Virginia

    <== wonders why Members can't be bothered SEARCH-ing to see "how many of you have seen this ..." before starting a new thread.
     
  7. devildogbrewing

    devildogbrewing Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2014 Michigan

    I don't think it will take over the market. Most brewers enjoy the full process! I know I do
     
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  8. devildogbrewing

    devildogbrewing Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2014 Michigan

    More on that.... I have a site that has basic home brewing supplies for noobs... I won't be putting it on there EVER
     
  9. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,617) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    Figured I'd bring this thread back as technology has gotten a little better & new models have been released. I'm specifically interested in the models that allow you to add your own ingredients rather than branded kits.
     
  10. deadwolfbones

    deadwolfbones Initiate (153) Jun 21, 2014 Oregon

    Still sounds boring to me, but I guess if you have cash to burn and don't really want to do the brewing it's kinda cool.
     
    Jason likes this.
  11. sethsticles

    sethsticles Disciple (342) May 6, 2014 California

    I like the idea of the old zymatic or new pico z. I just don't like it enough to drop that kind of cash. I prefer smaller batches and personally I am more interested in the recipe design, tasting, then refining the recipe than I am the process on brewday. If I had a more automated option then I would brew more often and be able to revisit recipes a little easier.
     
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  12. fuzzbalz

    fuzzbalz Disciple (333) Apr 13, 2002 Georgia

    I'm sure that it will make beer, and that's a good thing. Having said that, everyone one has different lifestyle's, living situations, and many many reasons they might want a more automated brewing system. I recently invested in a KS automated brewing system (not from pico), and I did so so I could brew smaller batches of new beer styles that I may like and want too brew a larger amount of. I've been brewing for 20+ years and I welcome a new and easier way to skin a cat!
     
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  13. Prospero

    Prospero Savant (983) Jul 27, 2010 Colorado
    Trader

    Just bought a Pico C (~$200 on eBay after the BOGO Black Friday deal). I presumed others were interested in essentially 50% cost.

    For $200 it's slick. ($400 is a bit steep). The caveat is the Pico C PicoPaks are mediocre at best. The Pico C FreeStyle Paks you can create online are almost worse as your malts, hops, and yeast are even more limited.

    On the OTHER hand.... if you have 1 large muslin bag and 4 smaller muslin bags for hop additions, you don't need to buy ANY kit at all and you can use loose ingredients all you want without having to order anything from Pico ever. One downside is you're still limited to about 8% ABV or so unless you add extract. You're also limited to 50% efficiency on the grain by my math.

    The MANUAL brew session is nearly identical to BIAB with sous vide if you're familiar with that. Set the step temperature and the amount of time to hold temp. Then an alarm goes off. You set the next step & time... repeat. Set the boil temp & time... next hop addition... you get the point. it's not as self-automated as the kits, but gives you a TON of control over the brewing process vs. the kits, if you're already a seasoned homebrewer.

    I'm glad I bought it as it'll be fun to brew small 5L (1.3gal) batches to put into a mini-keg to take over to friends houses or to have to experiment with small batches.
     
    #13 Prospero, Dec 20, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
  14. Prospero

    Prospero Savant (983) Jul 27, 2010 Colorado
    Trader

    Pico FreeStyle Pak (create your own pack) options:
    https://www.picobrew.com/BrewCrafter/index

    Grains:
    Maris Otter
    Pilsner
    Two-Row Pale
    CaraPils
    Chocolate Malt
    Crystal 20L
    Crystal 60L
    Crystal 80L
    Crystal 120L
    Flaked Oats
    Roasted Barley
    Rye
    Vienna Malt
    Wheat Malt (White)

    Hops:
    Cascade
    Centennial
    Citra
    Saaz
    Summit
    Simcoe
    Northern Brewer
    Amarillo

    Yeast:
    Automatically selected for you based on your base recipe.

    Again, I'd highly recommend just buying your own muslin bags and going the MANUAL brew route.

    If you're into coffee, it'll do cold brew coffee too.
     
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  15. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,617) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    I had time to do their Atomic Amber Z recipe about a week ago ... should be done fermenting soon and then off to bottling. I'll post the updates soon.

    I'll be doing two English Bitter recipes from when I used to homebrew back in the 1990's - early 2000's. I'm talking 4% or under EKG or Fuggles ... opting to use a London Ale strain rather than dried yeast for those batches.
     
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  16. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,617) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    While I know the fate of these machines is unknown I'm still brewing on the Picobrew Z that was loaned to me from a PR company. The Atomic Amber Z recipe was decent but offering up dried yeast didn't help much as I could pick up those traits right away. I've brewed three different Ordinary Bitters over the past couple of weeks using Wyeast London Ale 1028 and I'll be tasting batch #1 tomorrow. Looking to brew and ESB before switching to a California Ale Yeast to do some old school PWN & West Coast recipes.
     
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  17. deadwolfbones

    deadwolfbones Initiate (153) Jun 21, 2014 Oregon

    There's nothing wrong with dry yeast, imo.
     
  18. riptorn

    riptorn Disciple (381) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    What is it about dry yeast that might cause one to think, "This beer was definitely made with dry yeast"?
    Honest question there.....I've only used dry yeast.
     
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  19. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,773) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    Keep your doors locked. The company that is liquidating Picobrew's assets may try to repossess that machine since it is a 'loaner' to you. :wink:
     
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  20. riptorn

    riptorn Disciple (381) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Too late to edit........
    My first question should have been about whether you were referring to dry yeast in general, or the dry yeast offered (presumably by PicoBrew) with the recipe.
     
  21. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,617) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    Its not all dried yeast as I did brew a BrewFerm Saison extract kit earlier this year and the dried Belgian yeast worked perfect.

    The Atomic Amber uses Safale US-05 Beer Yeast ... not a fan of it at all and this is not the first time I've tried that yeast but I didn't have a choice at the time.
     
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  22. deadwolfbones

    deadwolfbones Initiate (153) Jun 21, 2014 Oregon

    Since many award-winning beers have been made with US-05 (aka Chico), I'd humbly suggest that it's not the yeast but the way it was used (ferm temp, pitching rate, etc.) that might be the problem here. I know the Pico regulates temp pretty carefully, though, so I suppose it's possible you just don't like Chico @Jason. Do you like Sierra Nevada beers?
     
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  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,654) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I brew with US-05 a lot, probably 9 times a year. I personally think it is a great yeast. YMMV?

    Cheers!
     
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  24. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,948) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Will the real Chico please stand up?

    A little off topic, but nonetheless interesting, IMO...

    Looking at the latest SureGork clade chart (Sept 2019), it looks like US-05 and WLP001, both often referred to as "chico," are not only not the same strain, they don't even appear to be close siblings. Based on the chart, I'd call them "cousins." Interestingly, Wyeast 1792 (no longer sold, but reportedly the New Belgium house strain) is closer to US-05 than US-05 is to WLP001. And although Wyeast 1056 (the third "chico") doesn't appear on the chart (at least by that name), ->> this article <-- strongly implies that Wyeast 1056 belongs to another group entirely.
     
  25. deadwolfbones

    deadwolfbones Initiate (153) Jun 21, 2014 Oregon

    Hey, fair enough. But the fact remains that many award-winning beers (both homebrew and pro) have been made with US-05 and it's a widely loved strain in many styles.

    But of course taste is personal and Jason has every right not to like it!
     
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  26. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,617) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    Yes... Love SN because they know how to brew high quality beer, their facilities are top notch. Perhaps it just comes down to the packet of dried yeast that I was given was garbage. Perhaps I screwed up somewhere as well. From the batch I brewed from the recipe kit I was given ... it was just OK, I expected more. The batches after that have been good to great with White Labs yeast.
     
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  27. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,617) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    I'm still brewing on the system that was given to me, I do have to say ... it does a great job at keeping temp and all. I'll post some notes soon.
     
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  28. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (545) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    I always got the best results culturing yeast from a bottle of SNPA. All the "Chico-ish" strains I can buy fall short (1056 is probably closest).

    Unfortunately SN started using a separate strain for conditioning so that option is no longer available.
     
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  29. wasatchback

    wasatchback Disciple (371) Jan 12, 2014 Bahamas
    Trader

    Since when? Never heard that.
     
  30. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (545) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    About 2015, I think. Heard it from @honkey and have no reason to question what he says.

    I would be very happy to hear that this is not true, but I fear that it is.
     
  31. honkey

    honkey Disciple (333) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Brewery Trader

    That is indeed what I was told years ago and I do believe it to be true. Several yeast strains have been released in the last 10 years that are intended for bottle or cask conditioning. Sierra Nevada does remove their yeast after fermentation and they definitely do add yeast back in. In my opinion, that is the best practice for bottle conditioning if you have the ability to do so and it wouldn’t make much sense to add Chico back into it when those other strains can condition so much faster. In fact, I’ve conditioned casks in as little as 24 hours after pitching Lallemand’s CBC yeast.
     
  32. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,654) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Hopefully @SierraTerence will chime into this discussion and provide further details.

    Cheers!
     
  33. Sixpack595

    Sixpack595 Devotee (481) Dec 12, 2002 Michigan

    How much cleanup is really involved in these machines? That's probably my biggest issue with brewing at this point.
     
  34. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,617) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    A huge pain in the ass ... lots of time and water wasted trying to soak and spray each part out. After everything is washed out then you need to run a cleaning cycle as well because there is a good amount of wort still in the machine.
     
  35. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,617) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    Update ... so the 1st machine that was loaned to me didn't work at all so they sent a second one. I was about 10 brews in and earlier this week I just had started a brew up and there was a loud electrical pop and about five seconds later the machine died. Thankfully no water hit the grain yet though water was leaking everywhere else. I would have been royally pissed off if I spent $2500.00

    Thankfully I had enough equipment that I could piece together and brewed and IPA from the salvaged batch yesterday and clean up was so much easier.
     
  36. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (545) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    After 33 years, my homebrewing is still low tech, gravity and elbow grease, and I like it that way. Being a chemist, I do pay attention to water chemistry, mash pH, fermentation temp, sanitation etc. but the basic process doesn't need much fooling with.
     
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  37. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,617) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    Completely agree, I'm glad I held on to so some of my older equipment. Was quite easy to whip that batch up, just like riding a bike more or less. ;-)