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Goblism

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With the launch/announcement of the new picobrew product I figured we would need a new thread as there have been discussions between various other Threads.

There currently is a promotion that if you use another individual's code who has purchased a unit you can get $100 off for every person that buys it. The person buying a unit will also get $50 off. I would suggest asking another HomeBrewTalk member for a code before you purchase. I would be willing to split my $100 and give a member $50 back (either gift card or cash depending on how Picobrew dispenses the $100 discount) when their unit ships (when I would receive my discount).
My code is: KYTXK that you can use at checkout for $50 off immediately and again I would share $50 once it shipped.

Edit (3/13/18): New Code for 10% off - picobrew10

Some other members have posted their codes, in all fairness I have consolidated some here for members to easily access:
DerekP: M3SFW
Jrb03: KYSNO
Macgyuver: KYW9Z
FreddyBrewger: M3RCT

ETA is July 2018 for the Z1 model, unknown ETA on Z2, Z3, or Z4

Information on the product is available here:
https://picobrew.com/Store/products/Z.cshtml

And the FAQ is available here:
https://picobrew.com/About/FAQ_Z.cshtml

I have opted to preorder the 5 gallon Z2 model and am hopeful for a shipping date in July!
TheZSeries.jpg
 
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TallDan

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I was interested, but this seems totally underwhelming. Basically stacking together multiple zymatics to increase batch size seems pretty goofy. Further, suggesting that brewers are going to start commercial breweries with a 10 gallon system is nuts.
 

brewswithshoes

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i've always been interested in the zymatic since it came out. i don't know if i'd have a need to go larger than the original size as i would use it for test batches and maybe quick batches of house beers if i didn't have time to brew. i don't think it's overly expensive for what it does. does look a bit "server" like in this new series.

maybe this will make the current Zymatics drop in price and get into a range where i'd want to dive in just to have one to play on. I'll never give up my current system, but these have their place.
 

DerekP

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Not a ton of information available to inform a purchase decision, but I went in for a Z1 on the basis of their return policy--fully refundable so long as you cancel before the unit ships. That should give me a few months to reflect on it.

The Z2 is tempting given the small difference in price at the moment, but then need for 240v is prohibitive for me.
 

cheesemonster

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I was really underwhelmed too. This is even with no details really. The Z4 is absurd where it is essentially 4 Zymatics ganged together. How is someone going to chill 4 kegs. With that said I bought a Z2 because well I like my Zymatic, and would like to brew 5gal in one shot. If they improve on the unreliable things about the Zymatic as they say they did (Fluid arm coupler, Step filter, and HEX), I'd be happy with it. But I thought when they were talking 10 gallons that they would have something other than kegs to store the wort circulating, and the machine would be more industrial in nature.

For the 10 gal + market it is just much more cost effective and actually easier to use something like the Blichmann Tower of Power along with their kettles. Cleaning 4 step filters and all the hop cages would be a pain along with chilling 4 kegs, and then cleaning 4 kegs. More effort than the time it saves you with full automation.
 

cegan09

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I was interested, but this seems totally underwhelming. Basically stacking together multiple zymatics to increase batch size seems pretty goofy. Further, suggesting that brewers are going to start commercial breweries with a 10 gallon system is nuts.
I don't think they're suggesting that anyone is starting a brewery on a 10 gallon system. Looks to me that they're marketing it as an easy to use pilot system. Something you can use to test new recipes in small batches before committing to a full run of it.

The design is a little goofy, but it's smart on their part. having 4 different sized systems that all need to be manufactured on different lines is expensive. Having one design you can just stack together to grow is fairly smart from a manufacturing side. It also opens the door for owners to grow down the line. It's a decently smart idea on their part honestly.
 

TallDan

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I don't think they're suggesting that anyone is starting a brewery on a 10 gallon system. Looks to me that they're marketing it as an easy to use pilot system. Something you can use to test new recipes in small batches before committing to a full run of it.

The design is a little goofy, but it's smart on their part. having 4 different sized systems that all need to be manufactured on different lines is expensive. Having one design you can just stack together to grow is fairly smart from a manufacturing side. It also opens the door for owners to grow down the line. It's a decently smart idea on their part honestly.
right on the front page:
"Quit your day job"

then on the order page:

"Restaurants - Attract customers and keep them coming back with an ever - changing selection of fresh, house-brewed beer and kombucha"
 

cegan09

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Well, then I was slightly wrong (assuming it's really there. I don't see that quote, but I also didn't go looking very hard)

I can kind of see it for small restaurants where beer is not the main focus. 10 gallon systems would work for a constantly rotating selection to compliment a full tap lineup of commercial beer. Sure, it's not the perfect system for that, but it would work. Buy a bunch of kegs, run the system somewhere between once a day and once every couple days, it could work.

I'm not going to fault them for trying to advertise to a wide market. Those that know it won't work for them won't buy it. Those that want to see if it could work in their place may consider it as the cost isn't that crazy.
 

TallDan

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I'm not going to fault them for trying to advertise to a wide market. Those that know it won't work for them won't buy it. Those that want to see if it could work in their place may consider it as the cost isn't that crazy.
Yeah, it takes a little more (not the least of which is licensing and permits) than just dropping a few thousand dollars on a stack of small wort makers.
 

Conodor

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The Pico Z, it says you can make your own recipes. It appears you no longer need to buy pico packs. Am i correct in understanding that you can go right to your local HBS and pick up grain/hops and brew?
 

jmark

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The Pico Z, it says you can make your own recipes. It appears you no longer need to buy pico packs. Am i correct in understanding that you can go right to your local HBS and pick up grain/hops and brew?
You've always been able to do that with the Zymatic. It sounds like the 'Z' will continue with that approach. The Pico Paks were just for their smaller Pico systems.
 

Conodor

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You've always been able to do that with the Zymatic. It sounds like the 'Z' will continue with that approach. The Pico Paks were just for their smaller Pico systems.

Thank you very much. I just wanted to make sure before i made my decision. I didn't know this was an option previously. I though it was like a K cup and you could only use their brand.

Thanks!
 

BucketBrew

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Its really interesting and sounds very cool. I wish I could test drive one for a month or two. I like the idea of a compact, programmable, fully automated step masher, sparger and boil kettle that can clean itself!!! For me who brews 5 gallon batches most of the time this would save a ton of time, and for about the price I'd pay to put together a manually operated electric brewery. Plus, with a brew day currently taking 6-8 hours, this thing could probably get me brewing more often and more consistent quality...

So how do you ferment in a corny? Do you only put half a batch in each keg or something? 5 gallons fermenting in a 5 gallon corny seems like it would cause a lot of blow off
 

VagueSkunk

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Have they said if this is expandable? Or are you stuck with the batch size of the unit that you purchase initially? Like, can you buy the smallest unit, then at a later date purchase an add-on that bumps it up to the 5 gallon model. Not seeing anything in the FAQ.
 

Oleary

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Have they said if this is expandable? Or are you stuck with the batch size of the unit that you purchase initially? Like, can you buy the smallest unit, then at a later date purchase an add-on that bumps it up to the 5 gallon model. Not seeing anything in the FAQ.
You can. I asked the question to their info e-mail ([email protected]). Here's more information from the pico brew thread:

Here are some things that have been confirmed... by the peeps at PicoBrew...

You can brew different brews at the same time. 4 different 2.5 batches on the Z4

It is expandable, Buy Z1 now and you can add 2, 3, 4 expansion rings later

Rack system is being sourced, there will be racks available later. No mentions of size.

There will still be a sample port on all Z series.

They are working on some type of plate chiller add on

The new app and recipe editor will release with Z1 release.

All new hop filter, and step filter design. Cracks should be a thing of the past.

Z1 will be slightly smaller than OGZ, somewhere around 18” wide or a little less. No mention on depth.
 

simchippy

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I originally planned to buy a Zymatic and never pulled the trigger. Then saw the Z and decided to wait. Ordered a Z1 and then after looking at the price of the Z2 I upgraded to it. I'm hoping I can do two different 2.5 gallon brews at the same time. I emailed support and they said they hope to support two different brews at the same time on a Z2 but still need to figure a few things out. Not great to hear but base on the small price difference I had to upgrade. Now we wait.
 

FreddyBrewger

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I think it’s a great system. I’ll use it to supplement my existing brew days when I’m busy. I like how it’s a closed system insomuch as it pulls water for mash & boil from the kegs. Right now, I’m not sure at what temp it dispenses back into the kegs, but I’ll probably push to my conicals with a counterflow chiller. I ordered the Z2. Also useful as a pilot system as others mentioned for when I start my own nano brewery.

By the way, I was supposedly one of the first 500 to order so I’m getting a “signature edition” and a free keg cozy. PicoBrew also provided a coupon for anyone else that wants to purchase a Z. Use coupon code M3RCT on checkout to receive $50 off!
 

DerekP

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I'm one of the first 500 suckers too. As @FreddyBrewger said, they're doing a coupon thing. So you can also feel free to use coupon code M3SFW. The coupon code giver gets $100 off and you get $50 off. I'll owe you a beer (or a few)!
 

spark146

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Here’s a stupid question: where do I go to access the library of recipes that Picobrew refers to on their website? I’ve placed an order for the Z but it sure would be good to peruse the 2.5g recipes that Zymatic users have created.
 

stpauliboy

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Here’s a stupid question: where do I go to access the library of recipes that Picobrew refers to on their website? I’ve placed an order for the Z but it sure would be good to peruse the 2.5g recipes that Zymatic users have created.
You need to register on the PicoBrew website to see public recipes.
 

spark146

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You need to register on the PicoBrew website to see public recipes.
I already have a PicoBrew account (from my Model C) but it doesn’t allow me to see recipes; only PicoPaks. Since I don’t actually have the Z yet — and I don’t have a Zymatic — it seems that I can’t access the library.

Or am I missing something?
 

JaleHouseBrew

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Have they said if this is expandable? Or are you stuck with the batch size of the unit that you purchase initially? Like, can you buy the smallest unit, then at a later date purchase an add-on that bumps it up to the 5 gallon model. Not seeing anything in the FAQ.
You can. I asked the question to their info e-mail ([email protected]). Here's more information from the pico brew thread:

Here are some things that have been confirmed... by the peeps at PicoBrew...

You can brew different brews at the same time. 4 different 2.5 batches on the Z4

It is expandable, Buy Z1 now and you can add 2, 3, 4 expansion rings later

Rack system is being sourced, there will be racks available later. No mentions of size.

There will still be a sample port on all Z series.

They are working on some type of plate chiller add on

The new app and recipe editor will release with Z1 release.

All new hop filter, and step filter design. Cracks should be a thing of the past.

Z1 will be slightly smaller than OGZ, somewhere around 18” wide or a little less. No mention on depth.
The Z1 is not expandable to the Z2 and above due to the 120 V vs 240V electrical hookup. The Z2 is expandable to the Z3 or 4.



Here is my coupon code for $50 off. It gets me $100 off of my pre-order. If someone uses it, I'll split the $100 discount I get with you, so you'll have $100 off.
 

JaleHouseBrew

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Here’s a stupid question: where do I go to access the library of recipes that Picobrew refers to on their website? I’ve placed an order for the Z but it sure would be good to peruse the 2.5g recipes that Zymatic users have created.
I just got my Zymatic that I ordered in December. I didn't get access till I had the unit since the serial number was required.

The recipe database is useful and extensive, but if you've crafted them on other sites, its not much different. Biggest thing is getting your calculated water requirement correct. It also might have an advanced recipe edit, where the writer modified the mash schedule, added a whirlpool stage, or lengthened the boil.

The Zymatic can really make about 3.5 gallons, but with a 9 lb limit, it would be a more low gravity beer.
 

stpauliboy

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I already have a PicoBrew account (from my Model C) but it doesn’t allow me to see recipes; only PicoPaks. Since I don’t actually have the Z yet — and I don’t have a Zymatic — it seems that I can’t access the library.

Or am I missing something?
I have both a Pico and a Z, so I'm not sure if they limit the Pico C menus. Here is where I find the recipes.

pico recipe.jpg
 

spark146

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I have both a Pico and a Z, so I'm not sure if they limit the Pico C menus. Here is where I find the recipes.

View attachment 558202
That must be the difference. Here's the only thing that shows up on mine. There must be some way that someone who has already placed an order for a Z can at least review the library.

upload_2018-2-15_18-8-36.png
 

jrb03

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That must be the difference. Here's the only thing that shows up on mine. There must be some way that someone who has already placed an order for a Z can at least review the library.

View attachment 558203
There’s not. You need a zymatic serial number linked to your account to gain access.
 
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I bought in as well, been looking at the OGZ and haven't pulled the trigger then the Z dropped. So I jumped on a Z2, price difference from Z1 to Z2 was so small it made me feel froggy and jump. There is very little info out but as it has been stated there are a few things that they have said it will do I just hope they are telling the truth.

Being able to do different batches at the same time will be great. If a brewery or a bar is jumping they are not using it to create their beer line, they are using it to tweak their recipes. To have 4 2.5G batches with just small difference will save so much time when trying to nail down that specific flavor or aroma they are looking for. They will then ramp up to a larger system to make product to sale. To have a $20,000+ nano brewery tied up with a "test" batch is crazy but with the Z it makes great since.

As for everyone worrying about Z1 120 and the Z2,3,4 240, Annie has said that they are upgradable except the Z4 of course. This is a very easy thing to do. 240 is just two 120 legs running in the same plug. Inside the machine it is tapped and stepped down to various other voltages. So to run the unit on 240 or 120 is nothing but a small change to a plug. This is probably the reason for the "extra" ring on the Z2,3,4 to act as a power relay or strip. The extra power ring has the 240v plug to carry the power needed to run multiple heaters, pumps, etc and the add on boxes have a plug that will connect to the power ring. Everything else will be handled through the electronics to step down to voltages required for controls. This is at least what I see happening but is only my speculation...

With all that being said everything is a grain of salt until the information is actually posted on the website and confirmed. We do have a fall back though, if you don't like that specs and functionality of the unit after they confirm what it will do you have until it ships for a full refund and cancel you order. So you are really not out anything but time.. Just my 2 cents...
 

jrb03

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I bought in as well, been looking at the OGZ and haven't pulled the trigger then the Z dropped. So I jumped on a Z2, price difference from Z1 to Z2 was so small it made me feel froggy and jump. There is very little info out but as it has been stated there are a few things that they have said it will do I just hope they are telling the truth.

Being able to do different batches at the same time will be great. If a brewery or a bar is jumping they are not using it to create their beer line, they are using it to tweak their recipes. To have 4 2.5G batches with just small difference will save so much time when trying to nail down that specific flavor or aroma they are looking for. They will then ramp up to a larger system to make product to sale. To have a $20,000+ nano brewery tied up with a "test" batch is crazy but with the Z it makes great since.

As for everyone worrying about Z1 120 and the Z2,3,4 240, Annie has said that they are upgradable except the Z4 of course. This is a very easy thing to do. 240 is just two 120 legs running in the same plug. Inside the machine it is tapped and stepped down to various other voltages. So to run the unit on 240 or 120 is nothing but a small change to a plug. This is probably the reason for the "extra" ring on the Z2,3,4 to act as a power relay or strip. The extra power ring has the 240v plug to carry the power needed to run multiple heaters, pumps, etc and the add on boxes have a plug that will connect to the power ring. Everything else will be handled through the electronics to step down to voltages required for controls. This is at least what I see happening but is only my speculation...

With all that being said everything is a grain of salt until the information is actually posted on the website and confirmed. We do have a fall back though, if you don't like that specs and functionality of the unit after they confirm what it will do you have until it ships for a full refund and cancel you order. So you are really not out anything but time.. Just my 2 cents...
I got a reply from support. Z1 is not upgradeable, 120v only. Z2 is 240v and can add on additional modules later to make it a 3 or 4.
 

Oleary

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I got a reply from support. Z1 is not upgradeable, 120v only. Z2 is 240v and can add on additional modules later to make it a 3 or 4.
The Z1 is not expandable to the Z2 and above due to the 120 V vs 240V electrical hookup. The Z2 is expandable to the Z3 or 4.

Hmm, I asked [email protected] and was told it was upgradable. I'm at work, but I'll reply to their message when I get home. I don't see me upgrading in the near future, but definitely want the capability.
 

cubsfan16

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My guess is for the Z1 they will have you send back then send you a Z2, then from there it’s just adding a module.
 
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Ok here is the answer I got for my email I sent in, This should help several questions be answered. This will be a little long for a post...



Mike B (PicoBrew Inc.)

Feb 16, 15:58 PST

Hi!

Thanks for contacting PicoBrew. Yes, our FAQ's are woefully incomplete - we're updating them daily to address the questions.

Is the Z1 upgradable? - yes! We'll have an integrated solution, most likely a power controller. You will need 220/240V available, similar to an electric clothes dryer outlet, when you go to Z2 through Z4.

Is each ring, module, independant? - Yes the Pico-Z is modular and independent. Each system can run a different brew at the same time.

Any dimensions? - Dimensions are similar to our current Zymatic, I believe that's 20" x 18" footprint or so. Pico-Z will probably be a bit narrower. Our design spec target is to fit 19" rackmount, but if not, we'll have our solution available. You won't need racks for the Z2 stack, just Z3 and Z4.

How much grain can the filter hold? - Step filter grain limits are similar to Zymatic - 9 lbs. A good Zymatic user can achieve efficiencies in the mid-70%'s and therefore about 1.090 OG; it's more about ingredient choice, mash steps/fermentability of the wort, etc. than the equipment.
I do a high-efficiency multi-step mash with a dough-in step and a good, long beta rest for maximum fermentability. And, there's no sin in using additional malt extract or even dextrose or sucrose - that's the secret to a good, dry mouthfeel IPA as well as the trick to perfect Belgian Tripel (along with good oxygenation and a bit of zinc addition post-mash). Most larger pro craft breweries use some malt extracts to adjust post-mash gravity.

Can I use a single vessel to all units? - Each Z module uses it's own keg for the brewing process, but you can use the Z pumps to transfer your wort into a larger fermenter and combine for larger batches. I know that's what I'll be doing as I brew on a 1/2 bbl system at home and have larger fermenters.

Hope this helps!
 

TheHygienist

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I get the impression that I could part out my Z2 into two Z1's if the purchaser bought a power controller. If that top piece is a power controller. Not that I would, but it would be nice to have that option if I rarely needed a 5 gallon batch of anything.
 
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I get the impression that I could part out my Z2 into two Z1's if the purchaser bought a power controller. If that top piece is a power controller. Not that I would, but it would be nice to have that option if I rarely needed a 5 gallon batch of anything.
I Like where you are heading, I always try and think of ways to improve something. I don't think you need a power controller though you need is the brain. If you look at the Z1 and Z2 the Z2 has extra rings on top of both sections, I believe that is the power controller but the top piece is what is controlling everything. If what we have been told on several occasions from different emails you will not have to worry about splitting it though, the Z2,3,4 actually operate separately overall. If you brew the same thing in each step filter you will get 2.5g x step filter amount of brew or if you brew different things in each step filter you get individual 2.5g brews.
 
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If these are the final dimensions then I will be racking mine in a wall mount rack beside my wall mounted conical and give a single vessel a try or two... :rock:

I figured the wattage of the heaters would be around where they are. If they hope to stay in the 120v area, 240v if you are running more than one at a time, they have to be around that wattage. just wish it was a little higher.

Wifi should be in the AC range by now if not at least N, those chips are very cheap. With it being in the B/G range I will have to run another router just for the Z to keep my AC network running properly. I hope they up that chip to something newer...:smh:
 

Oleary

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I finally received my response about the upgrade (same answer Macgyuver received with a bit more information):


Saloni (PicoBrew Inc.)
We haven't quite drilled down on the upgrade specifics and pricing for going from Z1 to Z2/3/4 but we will offer a path to do so. We will either provide a higher voltage option of Z1 or bring in your unit to make the updates necessary to upgrade your Z1 when you choose to scale up your Z.

Hope this helps!

Cheers,
Saloni
Leaning toward getting the Z2 just to avoid the hassle..
 

Anyhowe

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I love the 2.5 gal quantity. Maybe I need to drink more or get more friends. I easily enjoy brewing once a week (If not more). So once the pipeline is set I get 3-5 beers on tap. Any more than 2.5 gallon batches and I lose some freshness. YMMV
 

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