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Brewie+ vs Picobrew Z

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Math_Teacher

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I want to get into brewing my own beer. I have looked into it before, but a overwhelmed with the process. I wanted to get something that automated most, if not all, of the process. The two machines that have really caught my eye are the new Picobrew Z and the new Brewie+. Both are newer versions of their older brewing machines. Both are on discount for pre-orders. I figured this may be a good time to pull the trigger on one, and my wife gave me the okay!!!

I want to know what the brewing community thinks on both machines for someone who literally knows nothing about brewing. Which system would be more reliable, best customer service, more hands off, what "extras" that I need to begin brewing (kegs, coolers, etc.), easier learning curves. Anything you can tel me would be much appreciated. I have seen mixed reviews on both, some saying the Brewie is the way to go, others saying PicoBrew is better. I'm looking for easiest "start and forget" process. I'm too busy to sit and stay for hours watching my beer brew. I have about 10 days to make a decision to still get pre-order pricing. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

Dilbert Fizzwinkle

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Look at the history of both companies. That should tell you everything you need to know to make a smart decision.
Brewie = B20. Lots of promises and lots of failures.
PicoBrew = Pico S, Pico Pro, Pico C, Zymatic and Pico Z. Lots of Promises and lots of success.
Do the math! (I just couldn't help myself!)

Pete
 

Inspire

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Beware another spam thread for their marketing. Is this acceptable for this forum? If so, I will stay away in future and leave these threads as it is. Are there any mods in these forums still?
 

Yooper

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Beware another spam thread for their marketing. Is this acceptable for this forum? If so, I will stay away in future and leave these threads as it is. Are there any mods in these forums still?
Yes, of course there are moderators, and we are definitely here.

I am thinking of getting a pico for myself at some point. Sometimes it'd be nice to make a smaller batch instead of spending four hours at the bigger rig. I liked the size of the zymatic, and thought that would be a good fit for me possibly.
 

Dilbert Fizzwinkle

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Beware another spam thread for their marketing. Is this acceptable for this forum? If so, I will stay away in future and leave these threads as it is. Are there any mods in these forums still?
Are you trying to say that I am a spammer? Or is it spam to point out a company that clearly does not give a damn about their customers?

Pete
 
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Math_Teacher

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Please let's keep this civil. I'm not looking for stupid arguments. I know I'm asking for opinions, so there will be disagreements. Inspire, if you feel like Brewie is better, I'd like to know why. If there is something better than the PicoBrew Z or the Brewie+ at a similar pricepoint, then I'd be happy to hear about it. I just want to get some more information before I drop a bunch of money on something that I can't "try before I buy". I couldn't really find any good comparisons online or on YouTube. I found a couple, but a few seemed like the reviewer already had an opinion and did not seem very objective. Plus, since I'm wanting to buy the newer version of each, the older reviews don't really give me too much info since both companies are sure to try to one-up each other for their new version. So I don't know how they would compare, hence why I'm asking at a homebrewer's forum. I know no one will know for sure, but any insight is what I'm looking for. Thanks.
 

Pkrd

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They really are targeted at two different types of brewers.
  • Ones that like to brew beer.
  • Ones that like to not brew beer.
I think a lot of us are in the first camp and so naturally will be biased towards pico.
 

Joedirt70

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Morning everyone,

First before anyone questions my new account, I've been following homebrewtalk threads for a while and finally figured it's time to open an account. Ive never owned a pico before but I did crowd fund brewie. I have been one of the lucky brewie owners which have had great successes (delivery day june 17). Yes, brewies software still needs a lot of work and their customer service isn't the greatest. I have seen their service improve, the biggest issue was the service center in USA wasn't active during all the shipments which is why you hear stories about the long service time. So far I love my brewie, sometimes I have issues with software but they are always updating the software. I believe most of the issues have been in the US, don't know if its caused by the different voltage or not. While their are a lot of negatives, there are also a lot of positives. I've enjoyed mine and I actually place an order for the b+ as I'm interested in making 10 gallons instead of 5. I'm still thinking if 5 extra gallons is worth $1800 though so I don't know if I'll keep my preorder (ordered it through morebeer, 60 day return policy)


This is how I see both machines

Pico

Pros
-great customer service
-been around longer
- has more user experiences
- can use picopaks if you want to spend that type of $$$

Cons
-can only make 2.5. Gallons per machine
-2.5 gallons cost the same price as brewies 5 gallon
- requires a 5 gallon keg for each 2.5 gallons of brew ( one of the biggest negatives for me)
- I heard their super loud.
-plastic parts/step filter
- ALWAYS requires network connection.
-I also heard the are now/have been, owned by a company that keeps messing and ripping of the homebrew industry (don't know how true it is, read it in a reddit post)


Brewie
Pros

- cost of picos 2.5 gallon, but can brew 5 gallons
- it's actually built really well, I was impressed with the finish
-auto cooling
- touch screen/ easier interface in my opinion.
- doesn't require network connection
-their currently building an app and social platform, I expect the app to be released probably around May (I don't know what pico has in terms of app/website I'm sure they have something similar)
- doesn't require a keg to operate, one less thing to clean. why would I want to wash 4, 5 gallon kegs for a 10 gallon batch?
-automatic water inlet

-overall brewie has more features then any pico can offer, just a matter of time for them to work out all the kinks.
Cons

- quite a few people have stated issues, ranging from a lot of different things
- software could use some work, which their currently working on all the time
-customer service probably takes 2-3 weeks to reply to messages I believe. They recently updated the software to where they can remote in and see what's causing the issue which hopefully could resolve a lot of service center returns as well provide improvements to the software.

- the weight sensors have caused some overflows for some, I think it's due to people not calibrating it after moving it a lot or after 3 brews like they recommend. (I believe they ditched the weight sensors and are using pressure sensors now in the B+)

Overall, currently I'm pleased with my brewie. I would still choose it over the pico. If they could improve their customer service brewie would destroy pico, but who knows if that will ever happen. I'm really hoping the B+ is the machine everyone wants and has a lot of the issues fixed from the b20. Brewie has been trying to correct a lot of the broken machines, I'm thinking their almost caught up fulfilling orders.


But it's up to you, regardless $1800 is a lot of money especially if it causes nothing but problems. I recommend following the brewie owners group on facebook, lots of good information. A lot of negative but I would keep In mind, if you don't have a problem your probably not going to talk about it. There's a poll going on right now and I'm excited to see the results of it.

Anyways, my fingers are tired of typing. Best of luck!
 

Pkrd

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I want to get into brewing my own beer. I have looked into it before, but a overwhelmed with the process.
Extract brewing is pretty easy. You might want to get half a dozen batches under your belt before buying into specialised equipment like brewie or pico.

It doesn't have to be like the picture below, how Brewie portrays it...
 
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Anyhowe

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Brewie spamming is considerably more reliable than their machines.
 

Joedirt70

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Well haha, this doesn't help my case but I'm currently away for work. I don't have the B+ only the b20. I would gladly share some pictures when I get home although it won't be until May.
 

Goblism

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I have contemplated cancelling my z for the brewie as the brewie seems to look better on paper. Problem is that the features are only that, on paper. Between the spamming by brewie and lack of working machines I doubt it's worth the risk until they have an established working machine. Also how the brewie company is treating currently b20 users has me concerned as many of them have had faulty machines and need to pay to upgrade to this new unit when they haven't even got the old unit working. Company hasn't taken care of essentially those who put their necks out for the company to even be established, so why would I expect them to do any better for a new customer.

Zymatic seems to be fairly well developed although I worry about the ability to make heavy beers. I haven't had a pico beer yet either so still makes it a little bit of a gamble for me to go with the z2.

I have fallen out of this hobby some in the recent couple years due to recent grad school and now raising 3 kids. I am hopeful that an automated system like z or brewie will get me brewing a lot more often. I still have my electric 10 gallon rims unit that I can use when I want to make beer more traditionally as well. In the end whichever system allows me to brew more often is what I will have.
 

Joedirt70

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I have contemplated cancelling my z for the brewie as the brewie seems to look better on paper. Problem is that the features are only that, on paper. Between the spamming by brewie and lack of working machines I doubt it's worth the risk until they have an established working machine. Also how the brewie company is treating currently b20 users has me concerned as many of them have had faulty machines and need to pay to upgrade to this new unit when they haven't even got the old unit working. Company hasn't taken care of essentially those who put their necks out for the company to even be established, so why would I expect them to do any better for a new customer.

Zymatic seems to be fairly well developed although I worry about the ability to make heavy beers. I haven't had a pico beer yet either so still makes it a little bit of a gamble for me to go with the z2.

I have fallen out of this hobby some in the recent couple years due to recent grad school and now raising 3 kids. I am hopeful that an automated system like z or brewie will get me brewing a lot more often. I still have my electric 10 gallon rims unit that I can use when I want to make beer more traditionally as well. In the end whichever system allows me to brew more often is what I will have.
I don't blame you, it is a tough call due to how expensive both units are. The only features brewie hasn't provided and they have promised is the social platform and the app, everything else they just need to improve the coding. Define "brewie spamming" why does everyone here keep saying that? B20 users are pissed that they have already released an updated version after only 8 months and everyone wants an upgrade. Mine as well as others works just fine they just want the latest and greats machine which brewie said their not going to upgrade everyone for free. It's like a smart phone, you buy one and 4 months later something greater comes out. Everyone wants the latest piece of technology. Yes i was hoping to be able to trade my b20 in for and b+ for around $400 cash, but I wouldn't do it for anymore than that. Mine is working just fine. Brewie is replacing and repairing all the b20 with issues, in fact I've actually hear of a few who was offered a free b+ upgrade. I placed a b+ order on release date, still chose it over the z. I don't know if I'm going to keep my order as I don't know if I can justify $1800 to double my current batch amount. I don't have a pico so I can't answer questions on it but if you have any questions about the b20 I'll answer them the best I can.
 

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So here is my perspective on a thread that likely should not even exist given the threads on the topics that already exist...

The early adopters have the excuse of assuming a reasonable group providing a reasonable product. But that ship has long sailed. Based on the history of the two companies and products, dropping money on the Brewie is like taking $2k and going to Vegas. It could be fun, you might come out ahead, but you go there with the notion that the money is gone and you don’t bitch about losing it.

Or put another way, buying a brewie at this point and then bitching about the problems is like jumping in a lake then complaining you are wet.
 

Joedirt70

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I'm not trying to sell the brewie, I just want people to know there are a lot of customers that haven't had any problems and enjoy it. I don't have the time nor do I want to argue with someone that is just trying to argue and be negative. I'm assuming you don't have a brewie but yet you know everything about it? If anyone actually has any questions about the brewie and my opinion and arent just going to bash on everything I say, let me know I'll be happy to help.
 

Anyhowe

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#dirt. Nope and nope. Just read the threads, and make your choice. I really don’t care what anyone buys. Just giving my opinion as I think the OP asked for.

Btw there are people with the Picobrew that at happy and not posting too.
 

Ragtop232

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I'll express my opinion here as well, as this is what the OP ask. IF the Brewie works as advertised, it beats the Pico Z hands down. Look at all the different moving parts of the Pico Z. Keg, hoses, extra chiller, koozie, plastic grain basket, ungodly noise, need connectivity to WIFI to brew and the list goes on. Brewie is most definitely the best thought out machine in my opinion. Now, if they can deliver is another question. I think they rushed the 1st generation to market and are now paying the price of disgruntled customers.

I personally don't own either and will never own a Picobrew because the workflow just offers no advantages to systems that cost half as much. However, if the Brewie works and gets all the bugs worked out, I'm a buyer for sure.

Jim
 
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Anyhowe

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I'll express my opinion here as well, as this is what the OP ask. IF the Brewie works as advertised, it beats the Pico Z hands down. Look at all the different moving parts of the Pico Z. Keg, extra chiller, etc. Brewie is most definitely the best thought out machine in my opinion. Now, if they can deliver is another question. I think they rushed the 1st generation to market and are now paying the price of disgruntled customers.

I personally don't own either and will never own a Picobrew because the workflow just offers no advantages to systems that cost half as much. However, if the Brewie works and gets all the bugs worked out, I'm a buyer for sure.

Jim
Not pertinent to the OP and don’t want to hijack but for #rags :

with the Z I brew in a single 5 gallon keg while doing whatever else I want to do around the house. I drop in a corney tower and cool in 4 minutes. I push a button and the Z rinses. I add yeast to the same 5 gal keg and ferment in that same keg. 7 days later I transfer to a serving keg and clean the one 5 gal. Keg. Dead simple with only one vessel to wash. Not sure what the workflow issue is that causes you problems.

Brewie may or may not be as simple. Idk. But don’t kid yourself, these are a revolution to brewing.
 

Ragtop232

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Anyhowe, why do you feel the need to rebut everything someone says here that is contrary to your opinion? I'm stating my opinion and I think you clearly stated your opinion above as well.

I don't see how this is constructive to the original posters request for pros-cons on these 2 systems. By all means state your opinion and experience with them, but I don't think you add anything to the conversation by somehow feeling a need for rebuttal on everyone else's opinion that differs from yours. Again, just my opinion.

Jim
 

Anyhowe

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Anyhowe, why do you feel the need to rebut everything someone says here that is contrary to your opinion? I'm stating my opinion and I think you clearly stated your opinion above as well.

I don't see how this is constructive to the original posters request for pros-cons on these 2 systems. By all means state your opinion and experience with them, but I don't think you add anything to the conversation by somehow feeling a need for rebuttal on everyone else's opinion that differs from yours. Again, just my opinion.

Jim
Sorry to offend. It just seemed like your workflow issue was not well informed. My bad
 

Rhymenocerus

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My $0.02. I have followed the Brewie development over the past 3 years with unrelenting fervor as I really wanted to believe they could get it right. Unfortunately, to date, they have not proven that to me or their current customer base. I would be more than happy to deal with "growing pains" of a new automated machine but only IF the company showed a genuine interest in making it right. I think their lack of support and severe delays in servicing units is unacceptable. I would agree that the Brewie is superior on paper but Pico has a solid track record and Brewie as a company may not be around long enough to "fix" your machine if they get this release even half as wrong as their last. I hope I am wrong on this because I really wanted the Brewie to work and was ready to throw my money at it but it just seems like a huge gamble. Therefore, a Z2 is pre-ordered.
 
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Math_Teacher

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Thank you for all the information. I am appreciating it. Since I'm brand new to HomeBrewing, I do not have any supplies or equipment whatsoever. What are the essential items that I must also consider the cost of with these two machines. I know the Brewie says that it does its own cooling, does that mean that I do not have to buy anything for that phase of the process? I know the Pico Z you have to cool it yourself. To do that, what all would I need to purchase? Do both systems just use running water from a tap for cooling?
 

Joedirt70

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If your interested in the brewie+ wait until after its released as there will be reviews. I'm really hoping that they have actually improved and resolved the issues with the current generation. You could always pre order the Z and wait until the brewie has reviews and cancel the z if you are interested in the brewie. If they have passed $2 million in orders it might be a couple of months before you are actually shipped your pre order, might be enough time for brewie reviews. The brewie has a built in water to water wort chiller, when the boil cycle is over it continuously runs through it until a desired temp is achieved. But it ultimately depends on your tap water temperature.
 
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Ragtop232

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If you are starting from scratch, here are things you'll need no matter the system you choose:
  1. Hydrometer or refractometer
  2. Fermenters
  3. Airlocks
  4. Hoses
  5. Kegs or Bottles
  6. StarSan (or other sanitizing chemicals)

If you choose the Pico-Z, you will need to research the best cooling method but I think there's a special made immersion chiller that will fit in the corny keg made my Jaded.

Cheers,
Jim
 

toadyus

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Never ever pre-order anything! I'll await the reviews and purchase on Black Friday...I really really hope Brewie get's things right this time because they have my money if it works.
 

aviatorman

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I have a Brewie and am quite happy with it. Yesterday, I brewed a batch while I was working around the house upstairs and monitoring it with the app which was the whole appeal to me when I ordered on Kickstarter in October 2015. Yes, there are bugs, the app is still in Beta. Customer service has been hit or miss for some people but I've had a good experience. I'm on my third machine under warranty, first had an SSR really issue that was a recall, second the machine worked great but was slightly damaged by UPS during shipment but worked and I received a new one a week after filling the claim. All I can say is the first generation B20 was essentially a working prototype and early backers we're basically beta testers. Most of the issues are related to software problems which for the most part are minor bugs now as well as some hardware flaws that are fixed with Brewie+...ie..faster pumps, more memory. I haven't used any of the Picobrew systems so I can't compare but I'm happy with my Brewie.
 

Anyhowe

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I have a Brewie and am quite happy with it. Yesterday, I brewed a batch while I was working around the house upstairs and monitoring it with the app which was the whole appeal to me when I ordered on Kickstarter in October 2015. Yes, there are bugs, the app is still in Beta. Customer service has been hit or miss for some people but I've had a good experience. I'm on my third machine under warranty, first had an SSR really issue that was a recall, second the machine worked great but was slightly damaged by UPS during shipment but worked and I received a new one a week after filling the claim. All I can say is the first generation B20 was essentially a working prototype and early backers we're basically beta testers. Most of the issues are related to software problems which for the most part are minor bugs now as well as some hardware flaws that are fixed with Brewie+...ie..faster pumps, more memory. I haven't used any of the Picobrew systems so I can't compare but I'm happy with my Brewie.
Hmmmm. Have I read this before? Including the damaged by the shipper don’t blame Brewie message.
 

Ragtop232

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Anyhowe, it's possible. This sounds like someone that is happy with their Brewie. Why do you still feel the need to be a forum police with anyone that likes their Brewie? Is it because you are so closed minded that anyone that does not agree with your view you feel the need to discredit them? We all know you are a PicoBrew fan, which is your right, but this is very obnoxious and bordering on attacking other forum members for expressing their views.
 

Anyhowe

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Anyhowe, it's possible. This sounds like someone that is happy with their Brewie. Why do you still feel the need to be a forum police with anyone that likes their Brewie? Is it because you are so closed minded that anyone that does not agree with your view you feel the need to discredit them? We all know you are a PicoBrew fan, which is your right, but this is very obnoxious and bordering on attacking other forum members for expressing their views.
Although the other bread was deleted as spam so I can’t quote it, it is almost the same post from again a 1st time poster right down to the don’t blame brewie for the shipping by problems.

I don’t care what people buy; buy a rusty steel pot for all I care. I just rely on threads and forums like this for information on a variety of topics. Spamming threads ruins it for everybody. Is this a spam? Idk, I was just pointing out that it is almost exactly the same as another post now deleted. YMMV.
 

Ragtop232

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Anyhowe, my point here is somehow you think you are now the conscience of the users here having to point out what you deem as spam. Again, I don't think you are qualified to think for me or be my conscience or anyone else here for that matter. I don't think you give the forum users enough credit. Most here know BS when they hear it, and most probably see your ramblings or my ramblings as such.

This will be my last comment on this subject. We have already hijacked this guys thread when all he wanted was information about both systems. I would hope the forum administrators, the ones that actually have that title and not the self appointed ones, watch and police the threads without others interjecting personal thoughts on who or what is worthy for others to read or the validity of what others post.

Jim
 

aviatorman

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Hmmmm. Have I read this before? Including the damaged by the shipper don’t blame Brewie message.
Yes I'm real, I live in Lakeville, MN. I've home brewed for about 8 yrs and have done it the old school way as well. If anybody is local you're more than welcome to join me on brew day.
 

aviatorman

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Sorry you think I'm spam. Just trying to give a true and honest opinion based on my experiences. And FYI, I have pictures of the damaged machine as well as packaging and even emails I could share. The reality is (this probably sounds like spam to you) is that their customer service has had a major overhaul in the last few months and I have had good experiences. I realize that's not the case for everybody. I'm hoping and anticipating that continuing based on their soon to be additional service centers opening in New Jersey and California that will relieve the strain off of Memphis. Yes, I want to believe because I backed a company that has what I want and it's getting pretty darn close to meeting my expectations.
Although the other bread was deleted as spam so I can’t quote it, it is almost the same post from again a 1st time poster right down to the don’t blame brewie for the shipping by problems.

I don’t care what people buy; buy a rusty steel pot for all I care. I just rely on threads and forums like this for information on a variety of topics. Spamming threads ruins it for everybody. Is this a spam? Idk, I was just pointing out that it is almost exactly the same as another post now deleted. YMMV.
 

Anyhowe

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Yes I'm real, I live in Lakeville, MN. I've home brewed for about 8 yrs and have done it the old school way as well. If anybody is local you're more than welcome to join me on brew day.
That would be cool for someone to set up a home brew network of people we can all visit when traveling. There should be an ap for that.
 

Anyhowe

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Sorry you think I'm spam. Just trying to give a true and honest opinion based on my experiences. And FYI, I have pictures of the damaged machine as well as packaging and even emails I could share. The reality is (this probably sounds like spam to you) is that their customer service has had a major overhaul in the last few months and I have had good experiences. I realize that's not the case for everybody. I'm hoping and anticipating that continuing based on their soon to be additional service centers opening in New Jersey and California that will relieve the strain off of Memphis. Yes, I want to believe because I backed a company that has what I want and it's getting pretty darn close to meeting my expectations.
I hope they get it all figured out too. The automation evolution is not a fad, but a real step forward in the application of the brewing process. I am hoping there are several great ones on the market in the next few years.
 

Joedirt70

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Sorry you think I'm spam. Just trying to give a true and honest opinion based on my experiences. And FYI, I have pictures of the damaged machine as well as packaging and even emails I could share. The reality is (this probably sounds like spam to you) is that their customer service has had a major overhaul in the last few months and I have had good experiences. I realize that's not the case for everybody. I'm hoping and anticipating that continuing based on their soon to be additional service centers opening in New Jersey and California that will relieve the strain off of Memphis. Yes, I want to believe because I backed a company that has what I want and it's getting pretty darn close to meeting my expectations.
Ive never had to use their customer service other than to ask questions here and there however I have noticed over the past couple months they've stepped up their game. I sent 2 emails just of recommendations/improvements they could make and I got a reply within 5 days . 5 days is kind of slow but it's not like their ignoring anyone, at least from what I can tell. I've seen some pictures of changes made to the B+ and I think it's going to solve a LOT of problems their currently experiencing. Lots of electrical changes between wiring, circuit boards.
 

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Ive never had to use their customer service other than to ask questions here and there however I have noticed over the past couple months they've stepped up their game. I sent 2 emails just of recommendations/improvements they could make and I got a reply within 5 days . 5 days is kind of slow but it's not like their ignoring anyone, at least from what I can tell. I've seen some pictures of changes made to the B+ and I think it's going to solve a LOT of problems their currently experiencing. Lots of electrical changes between wiring, circuit boards.
I would love to see any links where you are seeing the changes between the Brewie and the Brewie+. I haven't been able to find anything.
 

Joedirt70

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I would love to see any links where you are seeing the changes between the Brewie and the Brewie+. I haven't been able to find anything.
Ok haha give me a min I'll post the link. When you work 12s 6 days a week you have plenty of time to Google. I just kept googling brewie until I noticed something unusual, then I tracked it to the actual source and it ended up being a FCC filing.
 
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