The heck is the point of this? (Pico Pro)

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Trail

Oh great, it's that guy again.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 25, 2011
Messages
828
Reaction score
141
Location
Claremont
I'm looking at this frigging thing and trying to understand. It looks like a K-cup machine for beer. You just pop in a pre-sealed carton with grains and hops and... get a keg of inoculated wort?

I don't get it. I don't mean to be fightey about this, I just legitimately don't understand.

Who is this for? Is anyone buying these and saying, with a straight face, "this is some beer I brewed"? Is the idea to get authorized "homemade" copies of professionally brewed beers? Is the idea to get mass-produced beer but fresher? Ain't gonna taste great if it's only fermented a week.

On the other hand I don't get how it could be for convenience. It costs $30+ per pack and you can't drink it for a week + carb time. That $30 buys a few six packs _today_ and it's been fermented at the correct speed and you have a nearly identical level of personal involvement in it's brewing. I guess you have to keep it cool while the fermentation is happening? That's not super convenient.

Maybe somebody has positive spin to put on it. I'm gonna check on my carboys and go to bed before I get any grumpier.

 
Joined
Apr 23, 2009
Messages
34,386
Reaction score
13,428
Location
☀️ Clearwater, FL ☀️
haha. Yea, it's not for me, but for somebody who doesn't want to get head-over-heels involved in the process, doesn't want a mess, and has a few benjie$ to blow, might be a fun gadget.

Prepare for a ton of confirmation from this OCD DIY homebrewing forum.

BTW, my OCD kicked in when I saw the gal mixing the yeast into the keg with a wooden spoon.
 

SlitheryDee

General Manager
Joined
Mar 24, 2017
Messages
393
Reaction score
112
Location
Ferriday
I feel like this is a device for people with disposable income who love beer, but have no real interest in home brewing. There are plenty of those people out there.

Interestingly enough I could see such a device as being a rich man's gateway into the kind of homebrewing we do just like the Mr. Beer has been the gateway for so many of us regular plebs. For someone in whom it sparks a real interest the limitations of the device would quickly make themselves apparent and they would seek out ways to make larger batches with a greater control over the ingredients in a more hands on process. That leads them straight to us.
 

Revvy

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Dec 11, 2007
Messages
41,296
Reaction score
3,708
Location
"Detroitish" Michigan
Lemme do the math... Basic Brewing Starter Kit for 5 gallon batches + a few other goodies like a wort chiller Let's just say 250... Annova Pro Sous-vide machine 99 bucks on sale.

800 for this machine... And you're limited to what "kit" recipes they provide? And as a sous-vide machine you're also limited by the size of the "vessel," which doesn't look like you could do more than a few chicken breasts, certainly not a 3 days leg of lamb.


Notsomuch for me, looks like it's a gateway like someone else said for folks who want to play a bit but will be limited in what they can do.

On the other side, in a couple years we'll find these cheap at garage sales and hack them for our own experiments. :)
 

kh54s10

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 6, 2011
Messages
18,723
Reaction score
5,461
Location
Edgewater
Interestingly enough I could see such a device as being a rich man's gateway into the kind of homebrewing we do just like the Mr. Beer has been the gateway for so many of us regular plebs.
That is a really expensive gateway into home brewing!!

It might be interesting if you could use it as a test brewery. But you are limited to using their Pico Packs.

I like how they show a great big bin of grain and a huge amount of leaf hops in their video.......
 

Zuljin

I come from the water
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2012
Messages
38,971
Reaction score
11,775
Location
Z Bourne
haha. Yea, it's not for me, but for somebody who doesn't want to get head-over-heels involved in the process, doesn't want a mess, and has a few benjie$ to blow, might be a fun gadget.

Prepare for a ton of confirmation from this OCD DIY homebrewing forum.

BTW, my OCD kicked in when I saw the gal mixing the yeast into the keg with a wooden spoon.
*magical fuzzy beer inoculation stick
 

tmendick

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Messages
843
Reaction score
274
Location
Omaha
If it was more of a mini Zymatic where you could use your own recipes instead of the their packs, I would buy one as a system for comps and experiements.
 

day_trippr

Covid-19 Vaccine Effectivity Test Subject
Joined
May 31, 2011
Messages
35,844
Reaction score
18,214
Location
Stow, MA
...aka "Future Craig's List Item".

It's the Margaritaville of home brewing...
 

SlitheryDee

General Manager
Joined
Mar 24, 2017
Messages
393
Reaction score
112
Location
Ferriday
If it was more of a mini Zymatic where you could use your own recipes instead of the their packs, I would buy one as a system for comps and experiements.
I don't see why a handy person couldn't fabricate their own container in the shape of a pack and fill it with ingredients. To get the machine to work just buy one of the pico packs that has a brewing schedule that would also work for your beer and take whatever it is in the pack that the machine scans to determine what to do. Slap that on/on your faux pack and start it up.
 

kh54s10

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 6, 2011
Messages
18,723
Reaction score
5,461
Location
Edgewater
Unless I am missing something you are also limited to bittering charges of hops and possibly dry hopping.

I see in the marketplace tab that there is a Beta version of a Picobrew Freestyle. I don't know if this is for the little one or not and you have to sign in to work it......

I am also dubious of being able to pour a properly finished and carbonated beer "several days later"....
 

markstache

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2013
Messages
244
Reaction score
100
I don't see why a handy person couldn't fabricate their own container in the shape of a pack and fill it with ingredients. To get the machine to work just buy one of the pico packs that has a brewing schedule that would also work for your beer and take whatever it is in the pack that the machine scans to determine what to do. Slap that on/on your faux pack and start it up.
I seem to recall hearing an interview with a Picobrew person on a podcast in which he said that the individual packs had an ID code that had to be unique. So even if you tried to reuse a pack and do a similar recipe based on your own ingredients, the machine would refuse to brew with it. I threw up in my mouth a little when I heard that.
 
OP
Trail

Trail

Oh great, it's that guy again.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 25, 2011
Messages
828
Reaction score
141
Location
Claremont
homercidal said:
I'm sure you mean, THIS DEVICE.
Yeah, my bad. I'd had a few to drink last night and was chaotically clicking around their site while muttering and swearing.

markstache said:
I seem to recall hearing an interview with a Picobrew person on a podcast in which he said that the individual packs had an ID code that had to be unique. So even if you tried to reuse a pack and do a similar recipe based on your own ingredients, the machine would refuse to brew with it. I threw up in my mouth a little when I heard that.
That's what I read as well. Just like K-Cup 2.0. Is there nothing our society can't ruin? :(
 

SlitheryDee

General Manager
Joined
Mar 24, 2017
Messages
393
Reaction score
112
Location
Ferriday
I seem to recall hearing an interview with a Picobrew person on a podcast in which he said that the individual packs had an ID code that had to be unique. So even if you tried to reuse a pack and do a similar recipe based on your own ingredients, the machine would refuse to brew with it. I threw up in my mouth a little when I heard that.
Jeez...It's going to take someone hacking the software then.
 

betarhoalphadelta

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Messages
6,254
Reaction score
7,020
Location
Mission Viejo
That's what I read as well. Just like K-Cup 2.0. Is there nothing our society can't ruin? :(
They can even ruin kegging:

http://sf.hopsy.beer/the-sub



I looked at this thing. It's $150 for a draft system that will pour 2L pre-made proprietary "TORPs".

Each of those 2L vessels costs minimum $18. Most are closer to $20, with a few being even more expensive. Which means in order to match the same 5 gal keg that most craft breweries distribute in, you'd need 10 of them. Somewhere near $200, when a sixtel of craft beer will cost probably <=$100. And you have WAY more variety.

A home draft setup, including fridge, can be built for maybe $200-250 easily. So ONE keg worth of craft beer already covers the cost difference between DIY and buying this abomination.

But hey, someone is going to buy this and think they're cool.
 
OP
Trail

Trail

Oh great, it's that guy again.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 25, 2011
Messages
828
Reaction score
141
Location
Claremont
Wow. Four whole pints per delivery?! Hope none of their customers have friends.

The only way this can work is if people assume setting up a draft system is Really Hard.
 

Draken

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2012
Messages
461
Reaction score
27
Location
Matthews
Pico has a custom kit coming. You can customize it all. Might be good to test recipe or so. If you have ridiculous money to spare.
 

Revvy

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Dec 11, 2007
Messages
41,296
Reaction score
3,708
Location
"Detroitish" Michigan
They can even ruin kegging:

http://sf.hopsy.beer/the-sub



I looked at this thing. It's $150 for a draft system that will pour 2L pre-made proprietary "TORPs".

Each of those 2L vessels costs minimum $18. Most are closer to $20, with a few being even more expensive. Which means in order to match the same 5 gal keg that most craft breweries distribute in, you'd need 10 of them. Somewhere near $200, when a sixtel of craft beer will cost probably <=$100. And you have WAY more variety.

A home draft setup, including fridge, can be built for maybe $200-250 easily. So ONE keg worth of craft beer already covers the cost difference between DIY and buying this abomination.

But hey, someone is going to buy this and think they're cool.
I think maybe in some way this is more evil.... I mean proprietary 2l kegs? SCAM. You can by 5 liter minikegs of many beers, including Bell's Oberon and Two Hearted Ale in many grocery stores. Talk about creating a captive market.
 

Punity

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
Messages
3,626
Reaction score
374
Location
Cosi
My buddies brewery just got on board with them and will have his own pico pack soon. I congratulated him but then wept for the poor bastards who this is brewing.

I watched a video on a guy using it and its just as big of a pita as brewing on a stovetop. Not really saving time.

But it promises 1 week ferms and then force carbing at room temp.

I call bs on this making the beer that is labeled on the pack.
 

Punity

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
Messages
3,626
Reaction score
374
Location
Cosi
Its not just as simple as putting in the grain bins and hops bins pushing the start button and away you go.

IMO its much more simple to setup a stovetop brew then spending the money on this overpriced Kuerig.

Heres a good video that shows the full process.

https://youtu.be/3fk1FRuOES8
 

NadoHawk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
187
Reaction score
4
Location
San Diego
They can even ruin kegging:

http://sf.hopsy.beer/the-sub



I looked at this thing. It's $150 for a draft system that will pour 2L pre-made proprietary "TORPs".

Each of those 2L vessels costs minimum $18. Most are closer to $20, with a few being even more expensive. Which means in order to match the same 5 gal keg that most craft breweries distribute in, you'd need 10 of them. Somewhere near $200, when a sixtel of craft beer will cost probably <=$100. And you have WAY more variety.

A home draft setup, including fridge, can be built for maybe $200-250 easily. So ONE keg worth of craft beer already covers the cost difference between DIY and buying this abomination.

But hey, someone is going to buy this and think they're cool.
I got one of these last week for when I have outdoor parties and don't want to keep going to the kegerator for the garage. Even then, it's cheaper to just fill a growler at your local brewery. I can get a growler as low as eight dollars at Karl Strauss of Fridays.

But they offered a deal where I would get that device for free if I bought 5 pre-selected Torps with free shipping. I chose the Bay Area pack (because why get one of these if you can just fill up at a local brewery?). So 106 total for 5 Torps and the device seemed like a good deal.

The one major complaint with this device after using it is that once you tap it, you really can't swap it out because it's basically a glorified Party Pig and the Torp immediately depressurizes.

I was hoping to use it for homebrewing, but I already messed up one of the Torps by cleaning it. Basically, I hope to fill one of these from my keg and then take the device with me. I might be nice to one of the local breweries that serves these Torps so they can explain to me what the process they use to fill.

This service really makes sense for people like me who had great beer while traveling in the Bay area and who normally cannot get the beer down in San Diego. Even with a 10-dollar delivery fee, it is so much cheaper than going back up.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
303
Reaction score
125
Location
Charlotte
I have seen these PicoBrew units for 299, not the 699 that they are listed for everywhere. This is the pro version, and even the new C "Cheaper" version is still 500. I feel at that price point it is not a bad thing to invest in to run small batches. I have my 6 gallon kits and run those on things I want to have around for awhile but the process and the clean up is a lot. At least with this machine it is like the K-Cup machines, brew and throw away clean up is a lot easier.
 

BrewerBrad82

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 13, 2013
Messages
1,373
Reaction score
1,189
Location
Minneapolis
My BIL has one of these. He is indeed the type with way to much money to spend.

My major complaint: The Pico never actually boils the wort, it just recirculates it from the keg and back into the machine, keeping the temperature around 200F ish. Since there is no boiling action, every single beer I have tasted that BIL "brewed" ended up tasting like nasty DMS creamed corn ale.

I'll pass.
 
Top