PicoBrew Pico S Versus Pico C

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brew-in

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Hi Team,

Now that the Pico C is out on the KickStarter, I am struggling to find meaningful differences between it and the Pico S (original Stainless Steel one).

Paraphrasing: On last night's webcast, when asked, the CEO of PickBrew said there is effectively no difference. He went on to say, just buy the one that matches your kitchen decor (SS versus Black Powered Coat).

I would appreciate your inputs on noteworthy differences. Do you think the differences are worth the extra $s for a Pico S?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and time.
 

jrcrilly

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On the machine itself, the differences are the chassis material and the display module. Both are cheaper on the C. Those seem like good places to cut costs.
 
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brew-in

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On the machine itself, the differences are the chassis material and the display module. Both are cheaper on the C. Those seem like good places to cut costs.
Yeah other than the difference in the kegs and less included stuff (regulator, etc.), I am struggling to see what else is different.

Someone mentioned the cleaning cycle was different but I can't find any clear reference on that...

Even the chassis material. Initially folks thought it was plastic. Turns out is powder coated metal.....not stainless steel....but not too shabby either...
 

bford

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The C is also using slightly different kegs I think?
 

jrcrilly

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There is a new, easy-to-clean brewing keg. It is supplied with an adaptor to make it backward compatible with the original Pico.
 

tateconcepts

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The regulator is included
There is no CO2 regulator on the Pico C. It's a total step down from the Pico Pro which appears to be from what I've read, the S model previously. The Pico C looks like it might belong more in the garage not a kitchen and uses only a 5L serving keg that is naturally carbonated only and meant to be replaced after a few uses. It does not hold up well to forced carbonation and would be problematic disconnecting it to use with a kegerator from what I see so far. I'd like to hope that's not true but I'll keep you posted on what I hear back from support this week.
 

pclarks

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There is no CO2 regulator on the Pico C. It's a total step down from the Pico Pro which appears to be from what I've read, the S model previously. The Pico C looks like it might belong more in the garage not a kitchen and uses only a 5L serving keg that is naturally carbonated only and meant to be replaced after a few uses. It does not hold up well to forced carbonation and would be problematic disconnecting it to use with a kegerator from what I see so far. I'd like to hope that's not true but I'll keep you posted on what I hear back from support this week.
TateConcepts, just to elaborate on what you said, the only difference I can tell from the Pro and the S is that the Pro comes with two corny kegs where the S came with one Corny and one serving can. Also the Pro comes with a CO2 regulator that you can hook up to the ball lock so that you can use it for carbonation and serving. The S is only set up to use a CO2 regulator for carbonation and not serving. If you have the S (like me), then you can buy an ‘upgrade’ kit that has the missing materials (like future me haha).
 

lhinckley

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Pico C does not come with a Corny keg and shows no CO2 regulator in the online manual. Instead it uses a custom design easy to clean brewing/fermentation container not intended for standard keg couplings and not intended for use under pressure. A separate adapter kit converts the pot fittings for use with ball-lock connectors without the normal pressure seals so they may be used with the S or PRO for brew and ferm but not serving. The earlier model S and the PRO use a high quality standard ball-lock Corny keg(s) useable for fermentation and also for serving if you rack the beer off the trub to a second keg and adding a standard picnic tap or beer faucet to a ball fitting or use in your kegerator The S CO2 regulator can easily be used for serving from the 5L serving can and the PRO regulator for serving from a Corny keg. The C manual shows only natural carbonation, and no CO2 regulator. Each brew kit for the S included a threaded CO2 cartridge, not the smooth type used in home seltzer bottles, and the regulator is high quality. The serving cans are the standard 5L ones with which you are likely familiar. They have a small filler hole, tiny dispensing hole and are difficult to clean and empty thoroughly. The PRO regulator uses a ball lock connector and the S regulator had a bung wedge, so it could be used with an S or C 5L serving can (not interchangeable). The PRO also uses larger gas cartridges for the Cornys. For that matter, you could also use the inexpensive serving cans with the PRO instead of additional Cornys, once you work out carbonation.

Also, be careful about what water you use in the heat exchanger. Scaling is an issue since this is a recirculating (HERMS) system and needs mineral-free water or periodic descaling in the heating loop.

If you are buying now, the S model (single Corny, CO2 regulator) seems to be gone, and the PRO has the advantage of high quality serving hardware, probably worth the extra cost. AFAIK the differences in the C vs PRO machine itself are only cosmetic, display size and the keg connectors.

Oh, and the beer is good!
 
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tateconcepts

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TateConcepts, just to elaborate on what you said, the only difference I can tell from the Pro and the S is that the Pro comes with two corny kegs where the S came with one Corny and one serving can. Also the Pro comes with a CO2 regulator that you can hook up to the ball lock so that you can use it for carbonation and serving. The S is only set up to use a CO2 regulator for carbonation and not serving. If you have the S (like me), then you can buy an ‘upgrade’ kit that has the missing materials (like future me haha).
Correct, the S is now the Pro - one must buy the same upgrade kit they would for C. As an additional note, I'm not confident in what PicoBrew's strategy is here except to flood the market with similar solutions they hope will compliment their existing customer base but are targeted to new owners. As confusing as that seems, the only business synergy I see is that of the PicoPak design from the unit and back to the PBN of brewers. Upon further business analysis (while enjoying Space Dust IPA they can't seem to get), is that there is a product development issue between the model C, S and Pro. This is highly apparent with the release of the C and the new micro still. This design approach was based on the smart brew keg included with the Pico C, where neither the S nor Pro users will own. I do admit that I like the more simplistic approach to that keg and it's much easier to clean and sanitize. To use it with Pro however, one must buy the adapters however to me, other than personal spirits or something to add to one's one Pico Pro FreeStyle brew, I'm not sure why a C owner would want the still. The still is more for the experienced brewer that likely owns a Zymatic and/or a Pro for testing, which again is a problem because now I would need to by a new keg for brewing. What if I already owned a Zymatic and Pro, or something else and a Pro? Why would I want to make an investment further into proprietary designs if one is not entirely sure of their business strategy?

PicoBrew also makes it a PITA for new microbreweries who have the Pro to get into their program. In turn, they are encouraging competition. There is a means to DIYB however I'd prefer to go about it in a more ethical and profitable manner. If they do not get their act together fast with their Pro base and PBN, the Pro (S and possibly C) users will soon be able to buy a generic step filter (like the Zymatic) that holds one's mash and hops and PicoBrew will have essentially lost a large market share to become nothing but a modern Mr Coffee. I would think that their current leadership coming from Microsoft would understand this. DRM alone is not an effective means (or security control) of long term revenue and experiences the law of diminishing returns. They have a comparative advantage to address the opportunity cost of getting their PBN out to those that deliver or will deliver, if they do not after a year - no problem, make the DRM (tech I'm not delving into here) a part of their subscription model to brew your own brew as many times as you'd like on your unit (to prevent bypassing the security model). I would think it wise that they include a second optional brew that permits a reasonable variation, and additional brews as needed.

I would think that anyone buying this knew going into it that, this was meant to be "pay to play" not "plan to prep" model, much like a TiVo but with an upgrade path. The specific Pro owners however, especially those with a Zymatic "expected to be able to plan to prep as part of their pay to play". That's where PicoBrew fails to its investors and its own client base. I hope we can remedy this within the next quarter of this year. As part of that subscription model and PBN, those should be the main consideration - retaining client base and then focusing on growing that base, ensuring priority (certainly timely, which it is not) shipping, continued warranty or discounted accessories/upgrades, etc. At the moment, none of this is available.
 
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