Pico Pro - Craft Beer Brewing Appliance Reviews

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Pico Pro - Craft Beer Brewing Appliance Reviews

Average Customer Rating:
(5)
(based on 1 reviews) 
MVP Brewing Purchase of the last 5 Years
by:Malcolm (11-17-2017)
Seattle
Comments:I've had the Pico Pro for 6 months now and have to say it's the best brewing equipment purchase I've made! I used to brew 6.5 gallon all grain batches but after getting married and getting a house I found that I had little time for a 6hr brew day. Storing all of that equipment takes up precious space as well. The Pico Pro fits nicely on my countertop. Additional equipment and Picopaks fit in cupboards nearby and when I'm ready to brew I can get set up in about 5 mins. The brew process is as easy as selecting your recipe, adding distilled water and pressing start.
There are a wide variety of styles and recipes available on the BrewMarketplace and more are being added all the time. One of the great things about this machine is the ability to make beer that you might not otherwise have access to. Some of the smallest breweries sometimes make the best beers and you can make them at home with the Pico Pro. If you want more variety, you do have a choice to alter standard recipies slighlty before brewing but if I'm going to make something different I opt for the Custom Pico Paks. By selecting my own hops and grains from Pico's website, I can make custom recipes paks. I like to scale down my old all grain recipes and make them into Pico Paks. Contrary to what I have seen posted on some forums - this machine does all grain brewing- not extract, not syrup!
After about 2.5 hrs you are left with a little more than 5 litres of wort in a fermentation keg and a used Pico Pak. While the keg is cooling you simply dump the Pico Pak grains in the compost. Add some more water to the machine and run a rinse cycle -and you're done cleanup! Every few brew Pico Pro will prompt you to run a deep clean which requires a dishwasher pak - no special cleaners to buy! You can put your keg in a waterbath to speed up cooling, put it out in the snow or just wait 24hrs. Either way, once it's cooled add you yeast and let it ferment.
There are two options to ferment -with the standard old school "bubbler" or with their special fast ferment lid and pressure relief valve. I usually like to ferment at 70F so I don't usually use the fast ferment option but it is great for wheats and saison when you want to up the temp and get some fruity, wild flavours suitable for those styles. Temperature plays a big role in how the final beer will taste and the stick on thermometer Pico provides makes it easy to monitor keg temperature at a glance. When fermentation is complete, put the whole mini keg in the fridge for 24hrs, to allow the yeast to drop to the bottom. Then transfer off the yeast using the quick connect transfer tube to another brew keg. Connect the CO2 regulator to force carbonate. This sounds like a lot of work but each step takes just a couple of minutes. After 36hrs of carbonation, connect the party tap and you're ready to drink the freshest beer you can get!

Though the Brew Marketplace has a wide variety of Picopaks there are a few ways I have found to add my own twist. You can suspend a muslin bag in keg during the boil, adding spice, citrus rind, hop, etc. You can go to your local homebrew store and purchase any yeast you want to get the flavour you are looking for.
Final cleanup of the fermentation keg takes a little more effort - removing the posts with a ratchet and getting your hand inside the keg to be sure that every little ledge and spot if clean. I mixed up out and in post after keg cleaning- be careful not to do this. They will screw on but later you'll find that the appropriate quick connect will no longer connect! Just keep them separate or clean them one at a time to avoid this mistake - nonetheless - they're easy to switch back to the correct positions.
Overall - I love the machine! It's much easier, cleaner and quicker than all grain brewing the old way and I love the final product! I can still make some of my old recipes using the Freestyle Picopaks and I can get creative with a few tweaks to yeast, dry hopping and boil additions. Can't wait to try more Pico Paks from interesting breweries from all over the world!
Bottom Line:I would recommend this product.