The PicoBrew Zymatic system is an all-grain brewing system that is computer-based and automated to produce 2.5 gallon batches with a minimum of baby sitting the process and easy cleanup.
Features that are notable:
- It is connected online to the PicoBrew website, where your recipes and brewing/fermentation schedule are stored. You need a wireless or ethernet connection to the internet so it can download your recipes into memory. A cool feature of the internet connection is the ability to monitor every aspect of a brewing session, including stages of the brew, wort temperature, and other parameters.
- It is an all grain system. You craft recipes using your skill as a brewer, using the PicoBrew Recipe Crafter app with a browser. Every aspect of the brew is controllable by you, the brewer. Hop additions and boil times, adjuncts, mash schedules and temperatures, etc. Every variable you can control in your kitchen, you can program into the Zymatic brewing process.
- Relatively hands-off, and easy to clean. While there are certain things that still require your attention (adding Irish Moss, or sugar additions to the keg at the right time), much of this is automated. You can actually plan some other activity to do while you're brewing. And cleanup is easy: dump the grain bin, rinse it and the hop cages out, then put the grain bin or "step filter" into the dishwasher. Run a couple rinse cycles or a deep clean cycle on the machine, and put it away. Easy.
- It brews excellent beer. No problem with high gravity beers (maximum grain bin capacity is 9 lbs), and even produces washes if that is your beverage of choice.
Justifying the cost based on a return on investment of ingredient costs, etc. is difficult. I had to think about what it added to my quality of life. I haven't brewed all grain batches in a long time- it just took too much time on precious weekends to prep, clean, sanitize, brew and cleanup. With this system I'm brewing every other weekend now, and fitting it in with all the other things I have to do on a Saturday or Sunday. I'm back to brewing and drinking excellent beer, made the way I like it. That's the way to think about it. I'm glad I have one of these.
Reviewed by: RICHARD WEINKAUF