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PicoBrew Craft Beer Brewing Appliance (Discontinued by Manufacturer; Newer Item Available)
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- Pico delivers consistent, brew master quality beer every time
- Brew your favorite beers from award winning craft breweries around the world
- Choose from hundreds of different PicoPaks across all craft beer styles
- Make perfect craft beer every time with the push of a button
- Tune any PicoPak more to your liking, or create a freestyle PicoPak for a fully custom brew
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Brew your own fresh craft beer using ready-to-brew ingredient kits, called PicoPaks, available from breweries around the world. The simplicity of the PicoBrew technology enables you to brew any craft beer style with the touch of a button. Truly revolutionary!
From the Manufacturer
No beer is fresher than the one you just brewed. The PicoBrew Pico is expertly engineered to deliver consistent craft brewery quality beer every time, and great taste pint after pint.
Brew all of your favorite beers from award winning craft breweries around the world. Discover new breweries and hundreds of beers available on the PicoBrew Brewmarketplace from the brands you love, including such leading craft breweries as Rogue, Abita, and 21st Amendment.
Tune any PicoPak more to your liking right on the PicoBrew Pico by adjusting the alcohol percentage and bitterness, or create your own FreeStyle PicoPak for a fully custom brew.
Interactive technology recognizes the inserted PicoPak and optimizes settings for that craft beer recipe. The biodegradeale PicoPaks pre-package all the ingredients making brewing and cleanup easy.
The PicoBrew Pico brews five liters of beer in as little as two hours. The accessories included allow you to easily ferment, carbonate, and ultimately serve fresh craft beer in just a few days.
Enjoy craft craft beer brewed easily at home on the award winning new PicoBrew Pico.
Describe your product in 3 words.
Beer Brewing Appliance
How did you come up with the idea for this product?
Frustrated with the challenges in reproducibility and time requirements of homebrewing, the PicoBrew team set out to create a line of fully automatic craft beer brewing appliances.
What makes your product special?
More than one hunded prominent breweries have developed hundreds of craft beer recipes that can be brewed on the new Pico.
What has been the best part of your startup experience?
The most gratifying company experience for us has been the positive feedback from both craft breweries and customers from around the world. We're excited to get the world brewing!
Top customer reviews
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Also, in an age where customer service is essentially dead, Pico comes with some of the best support I have encountered from any company. Using their "Contact Us" form on the web site, I engaged Pico on three separate occasions during my first brew process and got responses in minutes for each inquiry--not hours, not days, but minutes. And my issues were resolved every time. This included email exchanges that required a half dozen responses, each of which came promptly with courteous, helpful replies.
All of that is the good news. Now here's the bad.
I have been home brewing for years. I tried this machine solely for the convenience. I know that if I order ingredients from an online retailer I trust (there are a number of them) on a Wednesday, I will be preparing a yeast starter on Friday and brewing on Saturday because their shipments arrive on time—in 2 days. The first time I ordered a Pico Pack through Pico's Brewing Marketplace, I ordered on a Tuesday with the hope of brewing the upcoming weekend. On Friday, my shipment was still in pending status. I contacted support and got the following response: "We just started to offer [this beer] a few days ago and they are a little bit backlogged. The first packs of it will be getting made within the next 5 days or so I have been told. It will not be ready for you to brew this weekend unfortunately, I am sorry for the inconvenience!"
Nowhere on Pico's site did it state that there was a backlog. If it did, I would have ordered something else. In fact, nowhere did it state what packs were in stock or how long anything takes to ship. So now when I order ingredients from Pico, really the only place I can get ingredients for this machine, their opaque shipping policies are dictating when I brew, not my personal schedule. That’s no longer convenient.
In addition, packs cost $20-$30 for essentially 14+ beers, which is competitive with quality craft beers you would buy commercially. However, you must pay $9.95 shipping. Adding 33%-50% on top of the base price makes this no longer cost competitive. To be fair, shipping is waived if you buy two packs at a time. I am passing this information along because I wish I knew about it when I bought the machine.
The Pico is a solid piece of machinery with well-thought-out technology. I am not going to comment on it because reviews are all over the place. What I will comment on is the one piece of equipment that is essentially useless--the serving keg. My advice is to never use it. I regret that I racked my first beer into it before replacing it with something else for all subsequent beers.
The well presented and easy-to-follow instructional video on "Serving" from Pico's site states that you are to use the dispensing bung plug in the serving keg to essentially gravity feed the beer into your glass, introducing oxygen along the way. This means that the shelf life of your beer is ~3 days. In Pico's FAQ is the following: "If you are dispensing with a CO₂ system, either a commercial mini kegerator, or party star tap, or our included CO₂ regulator, and there aren’t any leaks in the system, the shelf life could be anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the style."
I contacted support to get instructions on how to use the included CO₂ regulator to dispense my beer under pressure so it would not oxygenate and last longer. While I got a quick response, the solution doesn't really work--there's a reason it's not in their how to videos. Instead of a glass of beer, I got a glass of foam. The regulator and keg setup are not conducive to proper pressure control. I wound up pulling the regulator and replacing with the bung--and drinking the beer within 3 days (and tossing some down the drain).
And I haven't even mentioned how flimsy the keg is and how much of a beast it is to clean such a useless item. Again, ditch the serving keg.
So, while I do not regret purchasing the Pico, in fact I am quite fond of it, serious drawbacks abound. Pico in no way replaces my brew pots, primary and secondary carboys, mash tun, hot liquor tank, Erlenmeyer flask, stir plate, and all the other accoutrements of brewing. It's a pleasant diversion that makes beer as good (or better) than what I would do manually--because it is automated and removes many of the potential difficulties, especially during mashing when timing and temperature control can make the difference between a good beer and a great one.
And it does all this in a compact package that does not take over my entire kitchen. But it doesn't make me a better brewer and has some serious flaws, as I detailed above.
EDIT 4/3/17: As further indication of the incredible support offered by this company, they sent me a free Pico Pack to compensate for the one on back order. In the words of the rep I dealt with: "I'd like to buy you a beer." I still wish their web site would catch up to the incredible support of their people, but they certainly came up with a suitable solution to the one major frustration I had.
I got the little Pico thinking that it was an interesting machine, but not something that could challenge conventional brewing. I was wrong.
The Pico is a very sophisticated all-grain brewing appliance that brings many advanced brewing techniques to the home kitchen counter. The mashing of real grains (not malt extract) is done with steam, which cuts the brew time from the typical 4+ hours to just 2 (unsupervised!).You can check on the progress either on the machines screen (which shows the time remaining) or on you phone or PC. If you're in a real hurry, you can even ferment your beer under pressure, which will shave about 3 days off of the fermentation time.
Set up for a brew and clean up afterwards are laughably easy. The machines screen steps you through the process and -- voila! -- your done. My first batches of beer have turned out exceedingly well. With enough kegs, a person could even easily brew 2 or 3 different beers in a day. Pretty amazing. Highly recommended if you want to brew real beer from real ingredients and duplicate some of the best beers on earth.
(And, as a bonus, the PicoBrew customer-service ethos is unrivaled.)
I have brewed 3 beers so far in my Pico and the process couldn't be easier. Measure some water, connect the ball locks, pop in the grain and hop packs, and hit "start." With no user intervention, after 1.5h to 2.5h (depending on the beer), you have 5L of boiling hot beer ready to cool and ferment in your keg. It is like magic. The beers have turned out excellent and I couldn't be happier.
That doesn't mean the Pico is perfect though.
* If you love to create recipes or find and customize recipes, this is not the machine for you. The Paks are pre-set recipes, but you can adjust the ABV and bitterness. This was the trade off I made. (there will eventually be Freestyle Paks that will be somewhat customizable)
* The pumps in the unit are extremely loud. LOUD. You will not want to be in the same room.
* Cleanup still stinks. Continues to be the worst part of brewing. The cleanup (and pre-brew cleaning) instructions are a bit bare. Also cleaning the trub and krausen out of the keg is not the easiest.
* Breweries (and capacity) are still coming online for the Pico Paks, so there are not a lot of Paks available yet.
* I am not a fan of the included, gravity based serving system. Instead, I invested in a Cannonball Keg, a mini CO2 regulator that can handle 74g cartridges, a Perlick flow control tap, and an adapter to connect the Perlick tap directly to the ball lock. The result is a no compromise, compact keg system.
I should note that my first Pico unit was faulty and I ended up brewing some hoppy water. Picobrew was extremely helpful in fixing the issue. They replaced the unit and Pico Pak in addition to sending an extra Pak as an apology for it taking longer than expected to receive my replacement unit. Every time I have reached out to customer service they have been fantastic.
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Update: I should have contacted PicoBrew first. Their customer support is AWESOME!Read more