PicoBrew Pico Model C Review (2020). READ before buying?
Submitted by Sasha.
I get very excited with changes in technology when it comes to the art of home brewing. When I first started, there weren’t too many options available that were dedicated to perfecting beer brewing. Fortunately, the landscape has changed irrevocably with more and more people trying to brew their own beer in their homes. After hearing many good things about the PicoBrew Pico Model C, I decided to check it out for myself.
Features of Pico C
The Pico Model C is an offering from Pico Master dedicated to the home brewer. Pico is compact enough to fit into any home kitchen and can brew up to 5L of beer in under 2 hours. Other features of this system include:
- The Pico Model C is designed to work harmoniously with the PicoPak pre-measured grains and hops. The Pico Model C can read each PicoPak and access its corresponding recipe through its RFID tag.
- The Pico Model C boasts of precision and control for each step of the brewing process that produces reliable results every single time.
- The Pico Model C cab process up to four different hops which allow the brewing of a wide range of beers.
- It uses steam heat at a specific temperature for a more controlled brewing process.
- It comes with the ability to connect to the internet via Wi-fi in order to make monitoring easy.
- It allows for the use of additional kegs to brew multiple batches on the same day.
- The system allows you to personalise each recipe by adjusting the bitterness or alcohol percentage.
Once I looked at the system and familiarised myself with its capabilities, I ordered the Pico Model C and selected a beer recipe. They have on offer recipes that have been sourced from over 150 partner breweries around the world and the option to customise a recipe yourself. For the sake of testing out the equipment the way it was designed to be used, I decided to pick one of the recipes offered with their service instead of a customised recipe. The Pico Master has a wide selection of beer recipes. What makes this exciting is that these recipes come from small craft breweries whose beer I would not be able to taste unless I travelled to them. The Pico Master system allows me to brew and taste beer from all over the world. I picked the Black Beauty Cream Stout by Packing House Brewing Company.
The Pico Model C box finally arrived contained the actual brewing system, a serving keg, and a brewing keg. I connected the Pico Model C to my home internet via the Wi-fi using the control panel on the system. First, the step filter and Brew Keg has to be rinsed in tap water. Then, using distilled water, I had to select the First Rinse option on the control box and allow the rinse cycle to clean the equipment. This was done in 7 minutes.
My PicoPak had also arrived, containing the blend for the Black Beauty Cream Stout. First, I placed the Pico Hops Pak into its slot and then went in the Pico Gain Pak in front of the Step Filter. I filled the Brew Keg with distilled water until it reached the fill line in the keg. I then filled the water reservoir with around 3.5L of distilled water. I switched it on and selected the Brew PicoPak option. The Pico selected the recipe automatically by reading the RFID code on the PicoPak. At this stage, I also had the option of changing the alcohol content or bitterness of the beer.
The brewing process took around two hours. I allowed the Brew Keg to cool down and added the yeast in within 24 hours after connecting the fermentation seal. I had to store the keg in a temperature-controlled area at a temperature within the Fast Fermentation rate set by the temperature decal on the brew keg. Since the ABV of this particular stout is under 6.5%, I stored it for 7 days at 68° F.
I cleaned the serving keg, racked the beer and then added the carbonation sugar to the serving keg. The carbonation process takes twice as long as the fermentation; about two weeks. After chilling the keg for a further 12 hours, the stout was finally ready to drink.
The Black Beauty Cream Stout is rich, creamy, and has notes of chocolate and coffee. Though the alcohol content is not very high, the flavour and complexity of the beer make it worthwhile to brew. The beer has a sweet aftertaste and finishes off smooth.
- Competitive price point
- Access to recipes from over 150 breweries
- Customisable recipes
- Use of distilled water provides greater control on the flavour
- Uses precision to control the brewing process
- The cleaning process can be very involved
- The chances of contamination are high due to the many step cleaning process
Why Pico Model C is Worth Your Money ?
For a first-time brewer, the brewing and cleaning process might prove difficult especially if you are not aware of how you can infect your beer. This system isn’t even for those looking to learn how to brew their beer. Since the machine takes care of the entire brewing process, including the recipe formulation, there isn’t much to see and learn other than how to clean your equipment thoroughly.
I think this system is perfect for those who love craft beer and want the ability to taste different beers from all over the world. While the beer might not be the perfect replica, with some practice, you can get it to taste close to the original.
As for me, I will continue to experiment with this system and definitely try out the different beer recipes available.