Membership questions? Log in issues? Email

Author Topic: One Question Please: Pico or Sabco (both awesome, main differences?)  (Read 3706 times)

Offline happy

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 2
I'm going to buy a new system.

The Sabco systems are awesome and I'm looking at the "Craft Brewer RIMS" ( 

There is also a comparable Pico system in 15 gal (

The obvious difference is that the Sabco costs $2,600 and the Pico costs $1,900.

Aside from price, I'm having a hard time "seeing" the differences.  From what I can tell the Pico uses copper valves whereas the Sabco uses all SS.

The extra $700 could buy me a nice fermentation setup, but is it worth the trade off going from SS to copper?  Any other differences I'm missing?

Thank you so much for your input. I really appreciate it.

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 6858
Re: One Question Please: Pico or Sabco (both awesome, main differences?)
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2013, 06:42:58 pm »
Based on what I see on their site, the pico system is not an all in one sculpture. Sabco also use brand new converted kegs compare to the pico using reconditioned. Second point won't really matter after a year of use.

Offline Jeff M

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 821
  • Currently upgrading to Brewery 3.0
Re: One Question Please: Pico or Sabco (both awesome, main differences?)
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2013, 07:36:12 pm »
I think the main difference int he price is that sabco spends a fortune on their wbesite compared to the pico system;)  For my money id go 100% stainless steel.  buy it once, maintain it, done!
Granite Coast Brewing Company.
Building a clone of The Electric Brewery to use as a pilot system for new recipes!

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 10715
  • Milford, MI
Re: One Question Please: Pico or Sabco (both awesome, main differences?)
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2013, 07:48:45 pm »
The pico system was/is made by Mike O'brien, who is in my club. I have a mostly pico system from Mike, as does a multiple Ninkasi winner. I don't know how many Mike is making these days? Contact him for a quote.

« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 07:17:18 am by hopfenundmalz »
Jeff Rankert
AHA Lifetime Member
BJCP National
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline AmandaK

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1850
  • Redbird Brewhouse
Re: One Question Please: Pico or Sabco (both awesome, main differences?)
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2013, 01:50:52 pm »
Have you thought about freight costs? SABCO's website says free freight right now, and with a large system like that, it could become pricey.
Amanda Burkemper
KC Bier Meisters Lifetime Member - KCBM 3x AHA Club of the Year!!
BJCP Assistant (to the) Midwest Rep
BJCP Grand Master/Mead/Cider

Our Homebrewed Wedding, AHA Article

Offline dcbc

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 280
Re: One Question Please: Pico or Sabco (both awesome, main differences?)
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2013, 01:48:38 pm »
Just looking at that level of sabco system, unless I'm missing something, I'm not sure why you wouldn't just piece it together yourself.  There is no automation in that level of their system that I can see.  It's 3 keggles with fittings and presumably a false bottom, 3 floor burners, a march pump, some hose, and some TC fittings.  The Pico system seems like it offers a chiller and a second pump as well.  I could be missing a few components.   

For what it's worth, you can order keggles predrilled with valves, thermometers, and sight glass at keggle or do it yourself.  Grab a few floor burners and a pump from just about anywhere else, and get the TC or whatever other kinds of fittings and hoses at bargainfittings, brewhardware, brewershardware, or wherever.  You'll spend a ton less and have virtually the same setup. 

I'd guess that you could do it for about $1,200 if you piece it together (that's assuming you buy the keggles retail).

For about the price Sabco is asking, you could have a professional welder build a very nice stand for you to your exact specs (in my case 2" box steel with pump and chiller mounts), buy yourself some nice shiny kettles with valves and thermometers (20 gallon bk and MLT, 15 gallon HLT) with the extra recirculation ports welded on professionally, add a pump with a switch, CCFC chiller, and burners (2 in my unautomated setup), quick disconnects, silicone hose, gas plumbing, casters, etc., and have something quite a bit more impressive that could accommodate much larger sizes (future proof) and be automated later if you so chose. 

Message me and I'd be glad to give you the specifics on how I got to that number.  But the bottom line is, if you can't weld, it's not as expensive as you might imagine to have someone build something for you.

Good luck with whatever you choose.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 02:23:39 pm by dcbc »
I've consumed all of my home brew and still can't relax!  Now what!

Offline happy

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Following up on this.

Thank you all for those replies.

I decided to go with what dcbc said and piece it together.  That reply made me think a little more about exactly what I was trying to achieve.

I decided I wanted to build a constantly recirculating direct-fired-mash system and I thought the idea of aluminum clad kettles fit that method better than keg-kettles would, so I ended up with morebeer 15 gallon kettles, 2 blich burners, 2 pumps, therminator, 2 ss brewbucket 6.9 (I think) gal fermenters, some temp controllers and (finally) a fridge, blich beergun and couple kegs. I waited forever and got the absolute best price on everything.

Next on the list is the tower of power and I should be squared aware for a while..maybe a more suitable grain mill (you know, that Corona thing they sell will try to kill you before you get through 20lbs of grain).

My only regret is my kettle choice. If you're going this route, and you buy 15 gallon kettles you're kind of stuck at 10 gallon batches (thermometer probe is barely wet with an even 5 gallons in the kettle - and without a pickup tube there's about 1.5 gallons of deadspace at the bottom).  In fact, sizing them all the same was a mistake, I believe. 

After having worked through a few batches now I think that a good 10 gallon set up would be HLT & BKs of 15 gallons and a MT of 20 gallons (I am looking at some kind of double IPA next and I'm not sure about 40lbs of grain in a 15 gallon MT with over 12 gallons of water in there....I don't think that is going to fit). For a 5 gallon setup (which is what I wish I had gone with, due to batch cost....double IPA over $100!), I'd go with 10 gallon BK and HLT and 15 gallon MT.

In any case, having jumped into AG without any brewing experience, you can imagine what fun I've been having:

My system is complete!  ;D
Oah, wait, I have to put that stuff together.  :D
I can do it!  ;)

Yep, 170, that's what it said.  :)
Mash temp.....seems pretty dang high..  :-\
Maybe I can stir it to reduce the temp?  ???
Maybe I shouldn't have stirred it so much..  :-[

OK. Dont' worry about that..get it in the BK...  >:(

Have your 6th Lagunitas IPA...  :P

Tell your wife it will be done soon...  :-*

OK, have another, but don't let it boil over...  :o
Clean up that boil over...  :'(

Ferment, maybe it'll be fine.  :-X

Wow, you can really screw up a batch and still come out +/- .... 8)

Thanks again.