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Werew0lf

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I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of problems I have had on BOTH of my Picos.
Two. Two problems and Pico immediately sent out a new Pico so I could use the box to pack up the old one and send it back under warranty.

I have brewed nearly forty manual recipes, and probably twenty PicoPaks.

YMMV but I have gotten good mileage out of mine.
That's great that you've been able to get some good use out of your pico. I hope to do the same, but if they go under I don't think I'll be able to send mine in if I have a problem. At that point it would become, as some have said, an expensive paper weight. This is my worry right now, having received mine just before the shipping hold.
 

Lbarouf

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That's great that you've been able to get some good use out of your pico. I hope to do the same, but if they go under I don't think I'll be able to send mine in if I have a problem. At that point it would become, as some have said, an expensive paper weight. This is my worry right now, having received mine just before the shipping hold.
well, some of the parts can be sourced. But one would have to understand the machine, and be willing to do the repair. I mean, it's possible, but not for everyone. If you had the machine since the kickstarter days, maybe you won't mind. But I get it if someone is pissed because they just got it. If you got a deal on the Pico C, at like $200-$250... can't complain. Even if all it did is manual brewing, you still have a great and precise wort making machine. If you clean it and don't let wort sit in it, it won't clog easily and will work. If the community keeps its machines, we should be able to help each other as well. Who knows, maybe folks like Kevin will also stick around some forums.

time will tell. But I do hope some investors will pick it up and do something good with it.
 

Lbarouf

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Can a manual brew be adjusted for 1 gal? I'm wondering if there's an easy way for a newbie to use a Pico, post bankruptcy, using manual brew method, with online 1 Gal recipe packs. Would filling the step filter with the adjusted amount of water be sufficient?
 

Knightshade

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Can a manual brew be adjusted for 1 gal? I'm wondering if there's an easy way for a newbie to use a Pico, post bankruptcy, using manual brew method, with online 1 Gal recipe packs. Would filling the step filter with the adjusted amount of water be sufficient?
I did this just over the past weekend. Had a couple of things that I might try next though. I cinched up the bag pretty tight, because I noticed w/a looser bag, it just ballooned up. That may have created a problem within itself though, because it doesn't appear that 1G of water covers the grains all that well. My SG was low, so I ended up adding almost a half pound of DME.

So I think you either need to cinch up the bag loose, and put all the extra underneath somehow, while keeping the string out of the way, or come up with some type of sparging plate. I have a stainless steel steaming basket that I was thinking of using next time.

Related to this brew, was an intent to capture more traffic. I set up a local access point which routed all traffic through my laptop so I could capture it. I also manipulated my DNS to point to a local web server on my machine for picobrew.com. This didn't work, because the Pico is expecting a connection of some type to actually be established, a full TCP Handshake.

So then my friend set up a listener in AWS, with a specific connection string which got us a little bit further, but the Pico still threw up an error. Finally, the connection string got even more detailed which allowed further progression in the packet capture, but the Pico was still throwing a DNS error.

So 4 different captures, all with progressive steps. Analysis continues.
 

Filippo

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before beginning i would like to share the hope that picobrew will go on with their business but in the worst case i would like to avoid having a big paperweight so this research it will only in that direction.
@ knightshade:
I'm looking thru the data u uploaded and seems that the base handshake is very similar on what was developed here:
https://github.com/hotzenklotz/picobrew-server/wiki/PicoBrew-API
with the exception that the beginning of the session is a bit different instead of the pull request of recipes of
zymatic:
http://www.picobrew.com/API/SyncUser?user=3ccfxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxa39&machine=5xxxxxxx0000
and answer is the list of the recipes

Pico
we have the request to change the state
http://picobrew.com/API/pico/picoChangeStatepicoUID=b09xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx7&state=6
and the answer seems to be a simple 200 OK

if u have some pcap to share with example server you are setting up plsease share it so i can help if i can.

ps. sorry for the crappy english i'm italian.
 

Werew0lf

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I am also planning a 1 gallon brew in the next day or two. I'm following a recipe from brewer's friend and there is a hop addition at flame out. Since I am letting the wort cool overnight and not using a chiller, as with other methods, should I still add the hops as soon as I turn off the heat or should I wait a bit til it cools to 170-180F, like I have seen suggested? Should I leave the hops in overnight until it cools to pitch temp? If not, how long should I leave them in, (I have seen anywhere between 5-20 minutes suggested)?
 

Filippo

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i've done similar thing yesterday and added the hops during the circulation phase for 15 min... don't know the result i can tell u in 7 days...
 

Sebastian Weetabix

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I fell into the trap. Us Pico owners has been pissing and moaning about how long will our Picos work.

Here is the definitive answer. From ONE YEAR after the last sold unit.

As long as PicoBrew sold ANY Pico unit without CLEARLY STATING as is where is NO WARRANTY, we are covered.

I am no longer going to worry about it because I know a guy that bought a Pico C just a couple of weeks ago.

I is gonna make me some beer!
 

Knightshade

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Where are you getting that info regarding a year out? The last I looked their domain expires in September, presumably with their web hosting fees. The way the Pico is currently configured, best case they won’t be doorstops til after that.

In other news, my buddy’s Pico blew up over this past weekend doing his first manual brew. Right before his last hop addition, he stepped away, came back and the unit was off with water leaking at all 4 corners.

Assuming that Pico is on their way out anyways, he decided to take it apart and see if he could fix it. There is a fairly flimsy piece which looks like a reducer that is not reinforced in any manner. Burst, water splattered all over, electronics all wet. So he is looking at all in ones, and I had started looking at them a couple months back anyways.

I guess we might all have a better idea of where these units stand in a couple days regardless.
 

Knightshade

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Yes...we did. Anybody have eyes on their next system? Fairly certain I'll end up with a Foundry. Trying to figure out if I'm doing big or small.
 

jimdkc

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The Pico C was fun, and I'll continue to use it as long as I can.

I have a 6.5 Gallon Anvil Foundry on order. Looks to be the ideal solution for 2.5-3 Gallon batches.

Also going to experiment with using a Sous Vide immersion circulator for BIAB mashing in conjunction with a standalone induction burner for boiling for small 1-2 gallon batches.
 

bobbob911

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A Eulogy for PicoBrew ... I have one of the very first original units (Maybe the very first one shipped to Canada), as well as having had a whole year of the BrewUnlimited option. I can’t count the number of paks I brewed but I hope I amortized the cost of the unit pretty well!

All that being said, I would honestly say that less than 20% of my brews were “Good” and almost none were truly Great. I could never ever get a really clean IPA, and most Stouts ended up a little on the syrupy side. I even invested in a chest freezer fermentation setup with little success.

In the meantime, the world moved on. The beer scene in Canada is orders of magnitude better than it was, the value of the Canadian dollar dropped by 25%, and I can now get 20L kegs of great fresh beer from at least a dozen great breweries, often dropped off to my door, for less per litre than a PicoPak cost for the raw materials.

So, fun while it lasted, but the announcement will just make it easier for me to toss my machine currently gathering dust in the basement. The 5L corny kegs make great Growlers, and the chest freezer is storing supplies for the Apocalypse 😂

Cheers
 

Knightshade

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Living in SoCal, I sometimes wonder why I even bother. I have at least 15 breweries within a 5 mile radius of my house, many of whom are multi year GABF award winners. I just started brewing this year, with this Pico that was purchased in December of last year. I brewed approximately 5 paks, all off which were meh. About 3 paks in, I tired of waiting 24 hours and gundecked a cooling solution with my garage sink and an aquarium pump and re-purposed an extra fridge into a fermentation chamber. I went through about a dozen manual brews and some of those were a little better (with some definite drain dwellers!), but quickly came to the opinion that the manual brew process compared to traditional is a massive PITA.

I was going to run through a manual brew this morning just to get rid of some grain that I've got. Stepped through a rinse and said the hell with it.

Perhaps my already jaded opinion of manual brewing on the Pico combined with its impending (current?) death has soured my desire to do anything with this machine. Assuming that it isn't a doorstop in the coming weeks, I'll hand it off to a buddy who might be interested in it.
 

Lbarouf

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Just wondering who is behind the bridge financing. ZVentures or any InBev companies? 🤔
 

jimdkc

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I brewed a "Manual Brew" on the Pico C this weekend. I ended up with a starting gravity of 1.049, when the recipe was aiming for 1.057. Disappointed, but it will still be beer!

When emptying the grain bag, I found the reason. Good-sized dough ball right in the center of the grain. It was slightly damp, but was lighter in color than the rest of the grain, leading me to believe that it never came up to temperature and the mash was incomplete. There's not really a good way to deal with this situation on the Pico system. But, this was my 4th brew, and it was the first time I didn't hit numbers (previous brews were 2 Pico Paks and 1 Manual Brew).

I'm thinking of maybe building a mesh basket of some sort that would fit into the step filter to replace the grain bag. It would have an open top (or a lid) so that the grain could be stirred several times during the mash. Although removing and replacing the step filter during operation is not ideal, it's better than having dough balls and incomplete mashes!

I think this might also increase the grain capacity of the Pico C (just a tad over 4 lbs, reportedly, but in actuality, 3.5 lbs. looks like it's pushing it!).

Does anybody know if this has been considered or tried by anybody else? (Apologies if this has been brought up before!)
 

Knightshade

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In my last MB when I got as close as I’ve ever gotten to hitting numbers, I mashed in at 110 for 10 minutes, paused and moved the bag around, mashed at 152 for 60 and paused twice.

Believe I’ve seen people say they out in a bag that encompasses the entire filter so it is open. Makes it easier to stop and stir.
 

Lbarouf

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I brewed a "Manual Brew" on the Pico C this weekend. I ended up with a starting gravity of 1.049, when the recipe was aiming for 1.057. Disappointed, but it will still be beer!

When emptying the grain bag, I found the reason. Good-sized dough ball right in the center of the grain. It was slightly damp, but was lighter in color than the rest of the grain, leading me to believe that it never came up to temperature and the mash was incomplete. There's not really a good way to deal with this situation on the Pico system. But, this was my 4th brew, and it was the first time I didn't hit numbers (previous brews were 2 Pico Paks and 1 Manual Brew).

I'm thinking of maybe building a mesh basket of some sort that would fit into the step filter to replace the grain bag. It would have an open top (or a lid) so that the grain could be stirred several times during the mash. Although removing and replacing the step filter during operation is not ideal, it's better than having dough balls and incomplete mashes!

I think this might also increase the grain capacity of the Pico C (just a tad over 4 lbs, reportedly, but in actuality, 3.5 lbs. looks like it's pushing it!).

Does anybody know if this has been considered or tried by anybody else? (Apologies if this has been brought up before!)
Funny, I was thinking the same the other day while day dreaming. Mine would have been with a paddle. horizontal, coming in from the front, on an axis, and you would push and pull while also turning the handle to help mix the center of the grains. Manufacturing it would be less than easy, but I'm thinking, if I can buy used step filters, I could attempt building it.
 

jimdkc

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I think I have a plan of action...

I'm going to fashion a false bottom out of either a stainless steel grill topper or a stainless steel baking/roasting rack (depending on what I find locally). This will replace using the hop cradle to keep the bag away from the step filter valve.

Then I'm going to sew a mesh bag that's custom fit to the step filter out of some voile curtain panels that I bought a while back. This should allow me to stir the mash occasionally, avoid those dough balls, and maybe increase the Pico's grain capacity a bit.

Then I'm going to try mashing 5 pounds of grain and see what happens!
 

jimdkc

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Yup! Very much like that! I have a pencil sketch that looks a lot like your engineering drawing!

How does that work for you?

The other part of my plan is a custom bag that fits in there allowing the grain to make better use of the space for more complete immersion, and to allow for easy stirring.

Good to hear that the servers will remain up for a while!
 

Sebastian Weetabix

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Gregory Whitten is a software guy. Mitchell is a hardware guy.
Mitchell is gone, Whitten is the new owner. What if Whitten’s goal was to acquire the hardware patents, farm out the construction of Picos to someone in Mexico or another low labor costs country and re-write the software for ONLY off line brewing.
Whitten would want to keep the servers up and running until he could come up with an update to allow OUR Picos to brew off line.
It would be insane to throw current Pico owners under the bus without any kind of an update simply because of the ensuing bad publicity.
Just my two cents worth.
 

jimdkc

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I used an angle grinder with a cut-off wheel to cut the barbecue topper like this:



It was a pretty easy "follow-the-dots" pattern!

IMPORTANT: If you do this, be sure to verify by taking your own measurements! Don't just assume that your topper has the same hole pattern as mine!

Then I switched to a grinding wheel to clean up the edges, and finally cleaned up the edges further with some emery cloth. I'm going to also clean it with a green 3M pad and Bar Keepers Friend. This should help passivate the edges to prevent rust.

And it fits like this:

 

Trevor Mack

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At the very least, we have a year of unrestricted brewing to get through!
I, for one will be doing my part to not waste a minute!
I fell into the trap. Us Pico owners has been pissing and moaning about how long will our Picos work.

Here is the definitive answer. From ONE YEAR after the last sold unit.

As long as PicoBrew sold ANY Pico unit without CLEARLY STATING as is where is NO WARRANTY, we are covered.

I am no longer going to worry about it because I know a guy that bought a Pico C just a couple of weeks ago.

I is gonna make me some beer!
Recent news is that a bunch of folks that bought units, accessories and paks once Picobrew full knowingly entered receivership (legally meaning they don't know what will happen on the other side) have been given refunds for select hardware (that produced, designed or specific to Picobrew machines) and unused/unbrewed paks. Guess those that went on a brewing spree are a bid sad they missed out on some $$.

Anyways, if they refunded since say February I'm guessing these machines which aren't asked to be sent back are then off the hook for supporting for a year as they at this point are "sorry we shouldn't have sold this to you, but we also don't want them back" type of "gifts" vs legally bound sales/purchases.
 

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