Author Topic: PicoBrew Z - Any thoughts for a new brewer?  (Read 1027 times)

Offline NewBrewer

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 10
    • View Profile
PicoBrew Z - Any thoughts for a new brewer?
« on: February 24, 2018, 02:11:07 AM »
Hey All!

I'm brand new here and very new to brewing in general.  I have a lot of interest, but not a ton of time.  I was looking at the different machines from PicoBrew and the newly announced PicoBrew Z caught my attention.  Can anyone share their thoughts on this machine in general and if they think it could be good for someone like me who is interested in brewing, the brewing process, and eventually fine tuning recipes of my own?  I like how the machine is modular and can range from 2.5 gallons to 10 gallons depending on the model selected (but from what I understand you can upgrade later on as well).  I would probably go with the 2.5 gallon model to start if I was to move forward on this piece of equipment.  Here's a link to the PicoBrew Z's page for reference - https://www.picobrew.com/Store/Products/Z

Thanks in advance for any information you can supply!

Offline tommymorris

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1995
  • Tommy M.
    • View Profile
Re: PicoBrew Z - Any thoughts for a new brewer?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2018, 02:22:16 AM »
I preordered one.

It probably is a good machine to start on. It will support PicoPaks so you can make other people’s recipes. But, you can also buy ingredients on your own and make your own recipes or recipes from the AHA website.

The machine totally automates the mash and boil process, but, there is still a lot for you to do: design recipes, mill your grains, treat your water (not required but fun and helpful), pitch your yeast, and ferment your beer in a temperature controlled environment. I say all that so you don’t think you should be doing more work. You are still very involved. Involved, but, since mash and boil are a 3-4 hour process you save a lot of time. You can set up the machine and then come back 3-4 hours later to chill, pitch yeast, and clean up. You probably will spend 20-30 minutes on the front end prepping and 20-30 minutes on the back end.

The machine will take away some hassles. All grain should be very easy. You mill grains load the machine and the mash process is handled for you. So is the boil process. So you do miss some steps.

If you do buy one, use this code for $50 off. share link http://z.picobrew.com?kid=M2YC3 (Truth in advertising, I will get a discount too.)

Offline NewBrewer

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 10
    • View Profile
Re: PicoBrew Z - Any thoughts for a new brewer?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2018, 02:36:50 AM »
Hey Alestateyall!

Thanks for the response.  I appreciate it.  The PicoPak adapter is one of the things that attracted me to this machine as I'd like to at some point create my own.  I had been looking at the Zymatic for quite sometime, and they had said there would be adapter released for it at some point, but after the announcement of the PicoBrew Z I found out they had dropped the adapter for the Zymatic.  You sound like you have a lot of experience with the machine even though it's not out yet.  Do you own the Zymatic of have experience with it?  It seems that the "Z" will be fairly similar.  I was told by PicoBrew that the Z has more industrial grade parts though and will be set to work with some new recipe system in the future.  If I jump I'd probably end up going for the 2.5 gallon, I'd love to do 5 gallons, but I'm not sure what the extra expense would be to wire a 240V Plug.  Thanks again!  Any input from anyone else would be great. 

Offline tommymorris

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1995
  • Tommy M.
    • View Profile
Re: PicoBrew Z - Any thoughts for a new brewer?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2018, 03:11:49 AM »
Hey Alestateyall!

Thanks for the response.  I appreciate it.  The PicoPak adapter is one of the things that attracted me to this machine as I'd like to at some point create my own.  I had been looking at the Zymatic for quite sometime, and they had said there would be adapter released for it at some point, but after the announcement of the PicoBrew Z I found out they had dropped the adapter for the Zymatic.  You sound like you have a lot of experience with the machine even though it's not out yet.  Do you own the Zymatic of have experience with it?  It seems that the "Z" will be fairly similar.  I was told by PicoBrew that the Z has more industrial grade parts though and will be set to work with some new recipe system in the future.  If I jump I'd probably end up going for the 2.5 gallon, I'd love to do 5 gallons, but I'm not sure what the extra expense would be to wire a 240V Plug.  Thanks again!  Any input from anyone else would be great.
I don’t have a Zymatic. I have wanted one for a while but have never pulled the trigger. I know a few people that have them. Everyone seems to rave about the Zymatic and PicoBrew customer service. I was going to buy Zymatic during their last kick starter but I thought there might be a new machine in development and decided to wait. I am glad I did, although now I can’t stand waiting until July.

I already brew 2.5 gallon batches. I have been for about 2 years and in that time I have never needed to brew a larger batch. I brewed 5 gallon batches for years. I would often get bored with the beer before the keg kicked. I don’t share my beer as much as some people. I also try hard to limit my intake. Although, that is easier said than done with fresh kegged beer in the basement.

My thought on 2.5 versus 5 gallons is, it depends on how fast you go through the beer. A 2.5 gallon keg lasts 3-4 weeks for me. I brew once per month on average. If I need more, with the Picobrew I will just brew twice in one day. I figure when brewing back to back batches you only need to clean after the second batch. So, 2 batches takes longer, but there won’t be that much more work.  I would only need 5 gallons if I was brewing for a party. In that case, I would probably want to different recipes for variety.

But, if you go through beer fast you will want the extra capacity to save time and work.

Offline NewBrewer

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 10
    • View Profile
Re: PicoBrew Z - Any thoughts for a new brewer?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2018, 03:23:49 AM »
I wonder, if you brew two identical batches back to back in the 2.5 gallon version, can you add both to the same 5 gallon keg to ferment  once your done?  How would that work?  Thanks again for your input!

Offline tommymorris

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1995
  • Tommy M.
    • View Profile
PicoBrew Z - Any thoughts for a new brewer?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2018, 03:29:51 AM »
I wonder, if you brew two identical batches back to back in the 2.5 gallon version, can you add both to the same 5 gallon keg to ferment  once your done?  How would that work?  Thanks again for your input!
Yes. You can ferment both in the same vessel. But not in a 5 gallon vessel. You need head room. 5 gallon batches need a 5.5-6 gallon fermenter (six is better IMHO.)

You could cool the first 2.5 gallons and pitch yeast. Then, when the second 2.5 gallons is ready you could pour that in (after cooling). You can even wait a day for the second batch.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2018, 03:31:57 AM by alestateyall »

Offline NewBrewer

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 10
    • View Profile
Re: PicoBrew Z - Any thoughts for a new brewer?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2018, 03:40:06 AM »
Would you use a Carboy as your larger fermenting vessel? Or what would you recommend?

Offline Robert

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1635
    • View Profile
Re: PicoBrew Z - Any thoughts for a new brewer?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2018, 03:40:34 AM »
I wonder, if you brew two identical batches back to back in the 2.5 gallon version, can you add both to the same 5 gallon keg to ferment  once your done?  How would that work?  Thanks again for your input!
Yes. You can ferment both in the same vessel. But not in a 5 gallon vessel. You need head room. 5 gallon batches need a 5.5-6 gallon fermenter (six is better IMHO.)

You could cool the first 2.5 gallons and pitch yeast. Then, when the second 2.5 gallons is ready you could pour that in (after cooling). You can even wait a day for the second batch.
That's the traditional German method called Darauflassen --  roughly "lay it on there" --  run one wort onto the previous as the first comes into Kräusen.   Used to build up yeast for a vigorous fermentation.
Rob
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline tommymorris

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1995
  • Tommy M.
    • View Profile
Re: PicoBrew Z - Any thoughts for a new brewer?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2018, 11:14:48 AM »
I wonder, if you brew two identical batches back to back in the 2.5 gallon version, can you add both to the same 5 gallon keg to ferment  once your done?  How would that work?  Thanks again for your input!
Yes. You can ferment both in the same vessel. But not in a 5 gallon vessel. You need head room. 5 gallon batches need a 5.5-6 gallon fermenter (six is better IMHO.)

You could cool the first 2.5 gallons and pitch yeast. Then, when the second 2.5 gallons is ready you could pour that in (after cooling). You can even wait a day for the second batch.
That's the traditional German method called Darauflassen --  roughly "lay it on there" --  run one wort onto the previous as the first comes into Kräusen.   Used to build up yeast for a vigorous fermentation.
I call it tripping into German goodness. Thanks, Robert, I didn’t know that.

Offline banjo-guy

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 97
    • View Profile
PicoBrew Z - Any thoughts for a new brewer?
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2018, 11:46:31 AM »
I’ve been using a Zymatic since they were first sold to the public. I wasn’t in on the kick starter. The best thing about Picobrew is their top notch customer service. I can’t overstate that. They have backed the machine 100%. I haven’t paid one cent for shipping or parts and I was out of warranty for most of my issues.

That said I’ve had a few mechanical breakdowns. I assume Pico has used early adopters feedback and experience to address these issues.

If you love hi-tech you’ll love the Zymatic and the company is great.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 11:00:06 AM by banjo-guy »

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 19440
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: PicoBrew Z - Any thoughts for a new brewer?
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2018, 04:48:05 PM »
Like banjo-guy, I've used a Zymatic since they first came out.  I also have a couple Picos, and they sell kits of my recipes (full disclosure).  I've found all the systems easy to use to make great beer.  Unlike banjo-guy, I haven't had any issues with mine.  I think they're a  great way to make beer with the least amount of effort in terms of the physical stuff you don't want to do anyway!  And the customer service is about the best I've seen in any company.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline NewBrewer

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 10
    • View Profile
Re: PicoBrew Z - Any thoughts for a new brewer?
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2018, 06:46:36 PM »
Thanks for chiming in Robert, I went ahead and did a little research on Darauflassen thanks to your comment.  And thank you so much to both banjo-guy and denny for letting me know about their first hand experiences with the Zymatic.  Denny, do you use your other picos to test the picopaks that you've created as the Zymatic never got the picopak adapter it was supposed to.  That's one of the things I'm excited about with the "Z" is that it comes with the adapter.  Also, are either yourself or banjo-guy considering upgrading to the Z with their trade-in program?  Just curious if that's a popular option with Zymatic owners.  Thanks again!  Anymore input from anyone to keep the conversation going would be great!

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 19440
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: PicoBrew Z - Any thoughts for a new brewer?
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2018, 07:25:08 PM »
Thanks for chiming in Robert, I went ahead and did a little research on Darauflassen thanks to your comment.  And thank you so much to both banjo-guy and denny for letting me know about their first hand experiences with the Zymatic.  Denny, do you use your other picos to test the picopaks that you've created as the Zymatic never got the picopak adapter it was supposed to.  That's one of the things I'm excited about with the "Z" is that it comes with the adapter.  Also, are either yourself or banjo-guy considering upgrading to the Z with their trade-in program?  Just curious if that's a popular option with Zymatic owners.  Thanks again!  Anymore input from anyone to keep the conversation going would be great!

Yeas, that's one reason I have the Picos.  Picobrew tells me they're sending me a Z4.  They built me a custom Zymatic, so I doubt I'll trade it in.  And again, AFAIK, there is no specific adapter for Paks.  I believe they redesigned the step filter so Paks would fit.  But I'm not certain.  I'll ask the next time I talk to them.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 19440
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: PicoBrew Z - Any thoughts for a new brewer?
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2018, 07:25:45 PM »
Would you use a Carboy as your larger fermenting vessel? Or what would you recommend?

Buckets or 10 gal. corny
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline NewBrewer

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 10
    • View Profile
Re: PicoBrew Z - Any thoughts for a new brewer?
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2018, 08:05:06 PM »
That's awesome Denny!  You must have a good relationship with the company.  My curiosity can't help but ask, how did they customize your Zymatic, what special tweaks did they include for you?  Thanks!