PicoBrew Zymatic

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Trevor Mack

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Welcome! You are spot on.

Do a couple (or several) deep cleans back to back with a bit of soaking at the hottest temps. I'm sure there is some dried gunk up in there that needs to be flushed out.

If the deep cleans at any point run into an overheat error this is the same as what would happen on a brew session (deep clean is essentially a specific "recipe" for the purpose of cleaning all internal hosing routes). This error will be what is expected when either there is a flow blockage / air pickup or glycol loop needs to be topped off. I'll let Mike to send over his glycol top off instructions for you, they are quite detailed and have helped several in similar situations here.
 

Trevor Mack

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crossposting an announcement I saw go out to the Facebook group, Picobrewers today

IMPORTANT (Please Read) - Don't Panic and Always Carry A Towel
The availability of the picobrew.com website may seem like it is no longer available (your browser will yell and scream that it is unsafe). Please be aware that there is no attack happening, your user data hasn't been compromised and all your Picobrew equipment is still able to communicate successfully to the site, brewhouse and related APIs to brew beer / and monitor fermenting beer.

At this point it is considered safe to request your browser to simply "continue" to http://picobrew.com (not https://picobrew.com) depending on your device and browser of choice it may prompt you to "continue" even with the expired certificate. Remember for safety on the internet to never type bank account information or credit card information into a site without SSL (the https is http+ssl, think of it as "secure http")
If you have any additional questions, concerns or problem please reach out to me directly (via this pinned post/announcement or via Facebook Messenger).

The administrators of this group have reached out to the legal team representing Picobrew Funding Group Inc. for additional clarification and understanding to if this was planned, accidental (credit card expired or cancelled in the sale). Similar to the domain registration fears of last summer I believe this was an overlooked item as there is no full time support, engineering or staff at Picobrew anymore (since receivership last spring/summer).

Keep Calm and Have a Homebrew

#announcement #usersafety #dontpanic
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PLT

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Well, it’s finally happened. Got set up for a brew yesterday, made a slight change to a recipe on the Pico Brew web site and synced the recipe. Went to turn on my wonderful Zymatic, clicked on ‘brew a recipe’ and…’server error’ came up on my Zymatic ☹☹. I have been unable to connect my machine to the Pico Brew server - I tried several times yesterday and again today, no luck. Hoping someone might be able to help. I’ve heard of this ‘Raspberry Pi’ on this thread and was wondering if there is a way to brew, at least temporarily, until Mike has an up and running board for those of us that would like to stick with this Zymatic. I’m not computer literate when it comes to the programming end of things. Any input or feedback would be much appreciated.

Just a side note…as others have stated in this thread - Thank you again to Mike Howard for his well detailed glycol fix!!

-Pete
 

Trevor Mack

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I don't have a Zymatic, but someone mentioned this week that they were still working on the Picobrew servers... Maybe something else beyond the SSL Cert failure is blocking them?
 

MacToasty

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@Mike Howard I'm in a similar situation as others--any chance I could get the glycol procedures sent to me? I don't think I have the option to PM yet (new user).
 

cygnus128

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I know this came up awhile ago on this thread but I didn't see the exact info I was looking for. I've had a couple of brew days...umm...not go to plan and ended up with more foam than the foam trap could handle. Suffice to say it was a mess. I think I have my process dialed sufficiently to avoid that at this point but I'm wondering if it would work to just use a keg lid w/ pressure release valve replaced with a blowoff tube running to a bucket in place of the keg seal + foam trap. Or potentially even just a regular keg lid + gas post blowoff tube (though I could see that clogging up the in post).

I guess what I'm really mostly wondering is: does the foam trap + anti-foam really do anything except catch foam and turn it into liquid that you then discard? Does it somehow discourage/prevent foam? Also, would a long hose to a bucket create the potential for some kind of blockage and build up of air pressure in the keg during chilling?
 

Trevor Mack

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I ditched the foam trap personally a while ago. Just a few drops of anti-foam in the brew liquid is good enough to prevent a foam overload... Unless you are trying to ambient chill via the recirculation function... Now that is just asking for trouble as the oxygen reacts with the proteins to essentially create foam faster than you can deal with it and especially faster than ambient (no chill water via plate chiller or CFC) can bring temps down.

Also removing the foam trap allows for more steam release / "boil" off, which could be a good thing depending on what you are brewing and how you calculated the session.

Just my $0.02 and insight into my "process".
 

cygnus128

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I use a plate chiller so it is rarely an issue. Only really during summer months when our cold water is warmer does it potentially become an issue. Thinking that I should maybe run the chiller's water supply through an immersion circulator in an ice bath during the hottest months to deal with that.

When do you add the anti foam? During chilling as the foam starts to build up? I think I'll give that a shot. Probably weigh the starting water and finished wort so I can adjust Brewfather's calculations for boil-off. The built in Z profile as been pretty accurate for me so far but I'm sure it's assuming a "sealed" keg.
 

Trevor Mack

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I add some anti-foam in at the very beginning. Haven't had too many sessions except when I pushed for a session maxing out grain and upping start liquid have I had an issue with foam production during the main brew session.

During chill sure drop one or two drops in there to prevent it from getting out of control.
 

cygnus128

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I add some anti-foam in at the very beginning. Haven't had too many sessions except when I pushed for a session maxing out grain and upping start liquid have I had an issue with foam production during the main brew session.

During chill sure drop one or two drops in there to prevent it from getting out of control.
Awesome, thanks, super helpful. While I have you, what is your efficiency like for normal batches? I struggle to hit higher than 57% or so with a 90 minute single infusion mash. I sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of 5.2 over the grains for every batch because I'm lazy. I really should actually test pH 10-15 minutes into mashing (I even have a pH meter and lactic acid).

I am still experimenting, just curious what other PicoBrewers are hitting efficiency-wise with relatively straightforward mash schedules. On my list of things to try are actually checking and adjusting pH (of course), doing a step mash at like 140 and 158 for 45-60 minutes each, mashing in at like 104 and bringing the temp up to 154 while mashing. I did have a recipe with a dough-in at 104, protein rest for 20 minutes (which I doubt has much impact), and bringing temp up to 149 and mashing for 90 minutes. That resulted in pretty close to predicted gravity but fermented way past target FG.

The mash bill I'm experimenting with is a pretty straightforward 89% pale malt, 5.5% carapils, 5.5% 10L caramel. The last batch (with the protein rest) had a predicted OG of 1.063 and actual OG of 1.064 which is within the margin of error on a tilt. The predicted FG was 1.015, though, and actual FG was 1.011.

Sorry for the novel, just curious about other's experiences.
 

Trevor Mack

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I've hit mid 60% with my multi step mash schedule. Most beers I'm doing these days are leveraging that multi step mash. Haven't seen too many down sides with it and definitely gets more value out of our automated wort making machines.
 

cygnus128

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I've hit mid 60% with my multi step mash schedule. Most beers I'm doing these days are leveraging that multi step mash. Haven't seen too many down sides with it and definitely gets more value out of our automated wort making machines.
So this kinda thing (this is the default schedule for PicoBrew's recipe crafter when you choose high efficiency):

Heat to TempPass Through10400
Dough InMash104204
Heat to Mash 1Mash14504
Mash 1Mash145404
Heat to Mash 2Mash16104
Mash 2Mash161804
Heat to Mash OutMash17504
Mash OutMash175208
 

Craiginthecorn

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I generally get about 73% brewhouse efficiency using the high efficiency multi step mash. I noticed that a simple infusion mash is significantly lower, at around 66%. My theory is that the added drain-refill cycles in the step mash produces effects similar to stirring. I also have a high end mill which creates a beautiful, fluffy grist. I expect that I am able to mill more finely, which will increase efficiency.

I wouldn't worry much about getting maximum efficiency. It's much more important to simply determine the efficiency that you are achieving so that you can dial-in your equipment profile and recipe design.
 

cygnus128

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I generally get about 73% brewhouse efficiency using the high efficiency multi step mash. I noticed that a simple infusion mash is significantly lower, at around 66%. My theory is that the added drain-refill cycles in the step mash produces effects similar to stirring. I also have a high end mill which creates a beautiful, fluffy grist. I expect that I am able to mill more finely, which will increase efficiency.

I wouldn't worry much about getting maximum efficiency. It's much more important to simply determine the efficiency that you are achieving so that you can dial-in your equipment profile and recipe design.
Yeah, def. not _super_ concerned with the raw numbers, more consistency. Since efficiency drops so much as the mash bill increases in size, though, efficiency is effectively a cap on FG unless you start lowering the batch size which is kinda annoying.

I use a pretty nice mill (Barley Crusher). What do you have your gap size set to? I've seen a lot of discussion in the past about milling for PicoBrew machines and have done a little experimentation with mill gap size but it was over a year ago so I don't recall exactly where I have mine set but I want to say something like 0.034".
 

Craiginthecorn

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What do you have your gap size set to?
I use an SS Brewtech mill which uses only relative settings, like 3,2,1,0,-1,-2,-3. I stick with 0, but could definitely go finer. I haven't bothered determining what the actual gap is.
 

cygnus128

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I use an SS Brewtech mill which uses only relative settings, like 3,2,1,0,-1,-2,-3. I stick with 0, but could definitely go finer. I haven't bothered determining what the actual gap is.
Ooh, I've coveted that mill for awhile. From the quick start guide (https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0239/5187/files/2020_grain_mill_product_guide_2-5.pdf?3200) it looks like a 0 equates to a gap of 0.051" which is wider than I was expecting. I'll double check my settings but I'm pretty sure I'm milling even finer than that.
 

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Craiginthecorn

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Ooh, I've coveted that mill for awhile. From the quick start guide (https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0239/5187/files/2020_grain_mill_product_guide_2-5.pdf?3200) it looks like a 0 equates to a gap of 0.051" which is wider than I was expecting. I'll double check my settings but I'm pretty sure I'm milling even finer than that.
The mechanism used for milling, which incorporates large rollers spinning at slightly different speeds results in a shearing action that sort of strips the kernel of the husk, so its gap may not be equivalent to a conventional mill. It's definitely overkill for a homebrewer, but I got a great deal on it from a nanobrewery that failed to start. My one issue with it has been the crappy Chinese-made power supply. It has a habit of deciding when it wants to work. I think the surge from starting the motor sometimes causes a high momentary demand that causes a safety circuit to shut it down. It's never failed to work, but I fear that day may be coming.
 

Mike Howard

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I have been stalled lately on both the stainless steel step filter and the control board project for the Zymatic, due to time demands at our brewery and upcoming restaurant. Here is the latest updates to both of those as of 11/16/2021:

Step Filter: The manufacturing facility has the plastic step filter in hand. They are currently building a prototype and I should see that soon. We are a bit stumped on the Duck Valve setup, as I was hoping to get away from that and modify it to something more user friendly, can be cleaned and is easily replaced, without adding undo costs. Any ideas, please pass them my way. Once I get the prototype I'll know more about actual costs and will set up a group buy.

Control Board: The Control board and the software has been completed and dry tested. The last hurdle was to get the Stepper Arm to sync up to the alignment holes during each recipe step and I completed that a few months ago. My test Zymatic currently has all the lower guts ripped out so I can replace the hoses, pumps, heat exchanger and install the glycol mod. With it being in that state, I have been unable to move to the water test and ultimately brew a beer. However, essentially all the hard work is done and I just need time.

I hope to be able to get back to these projects in the next few months, but my time is at a premium right now so they will need to wait.
 

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Hey guys, my brother gave me one of these things and can't log into the network because my browser wont let me bypass the warning. I'm not sure I have the tech savvy or interest to do the Rasberry pi thing. Looks like I have a very large paper weight. :(
 

Trevor Mack

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Hey guys, my brother gave me one of these things and can't log into the network because my browser wont let me bypass the warning. I'm not sure I have the tech savvy or interest to do the Rasberry pi thing. Looks like I have a very large paper weight. :(
You need to mark the server certificate as "trusted" then you will be good to go to log into the picobrew.com network.

Tech savviness isn't needed for the raspberrypi thing as we have made it super simple. If you can or at least knew how to burn a mixtape on a CD you can setup the RaspberryPi solution. Though cause you can doesn't mean you want to, I get that.

Anyways what browser you using so I can provide better concrete examples on how to mark the ssl certificate as trusted (or feel free to search Google for more help there).
 

cmac62

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You need to mark the server certificate as "trusted" then you will be good to go to log into the picobrew.com network.

Tech savviness isn't needed for the raspberrypi thing as we have made it super simple. If you can or at least knew how to burn a mixtape on a CD you can setup the RaspberryPi solution. Though cause you can doesn't mean you want to, I get that.

Anyways what browser you using so I can provide better concrete examples on how to mark the ssl certificate as trusted (or feel free to search Google for more help there).
Thanks Trevor, I'm using chrome.
 

Trevor Mack

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Thanks Trevor, I'm using chrome.
Option A (preferred by most security folks):
just "proceed with caution" so you don't mark a untrusted source as always trusted

Option B (install the untrusted certificate locally and mark it trusted):

If you click on "not secure" and simply drag the certificate image to say your desktop (Screenshot #1).
Double click on this downloaded certificate to open in your operating system's certificate / key chain program (administrative rights are required) (Screenshot #2).
Add the certificate to your keychain/system certificates (Screenshot #3 - administrative rights likely required)
From the keychain/system certificates browse to the specific certificate and mark it as "Always Trusted"

This is a similar process for marking the local raspberrypi server certificate as trusted by a browser to use with my community run crafter at crafter.pilotbatchbrewing.com so you can simply "sync" recipes from this new crafter experience into the raspberrypi local server for making them available to the Picobrew devices to brew with.

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cmac62

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Trevor, if proceed with caution was an option I would have used it, but it wasn't with my system. I'll try to log on with my wife's computer and see what happens. Thanks
 

mudlark

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Just received a free Zymatic that was gathering dust. I set up a Pi server and am up and running, thanks so much for everything you folks have been doing!

The unit makes a bit of noise when turned on and just sitting idle. Is this normal or do I need to look into the HEX loop and see if it is cavitating or something? I took the back off easily enough but balked at going further without some more details. So far I've only had it do a simple rinse cycle. @Mike Howard I would greatly appreciate the teardown/glycol top off instructions if you can PM them.

Thanks again, I'm looking forward to reading through this entire thread.
 
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Trevor Mack

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Trevor, if proceed with caution was an option I would have used it, but it wasn't with my system. I'll try to log on with my wife's computer and see what happens. Thanks
Have you tried your phone or tablet? If using a work device I can understand that certain administrative actions aren't available usually rightfully so, though still annoying.

Let us know how it goes. If you need help getting a local server up and running feel free to PM me. Also there is a "Small Brewery Companion" windows PC App that someone else built (the individual is not on HBT that I'm aware of though).
 

cmac62

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Have you tried your phone or tablet? If using a work device I can understand that certain administrative actions aren't available usually rightfully so, though still annoying.

Let us know how it goes. If you need help getting a local server up and running feel free to PM me. Also there is a "Small Brewery Companion" windows PC App that someone else built (the individual is not on HBT that I'm aware of though).
Thanks bunches :mug:
 
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