Gear Lust – Pico C Makes Home Brewing Easier

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    PicoBrew’s home brewing appliances have gotten increasingly better. The company has yet to reinvent the wheel, but they’ve just made a few tweaks through the years, and this evolution has led to the Pico C.

    Here’s what happened when we took it out for a spin or three.

    What’s in the box

    The Pico C is 16.5 inches tall and 12.5 by 15 inches wide and deep, which is smaller than a regular microwave oven. This home brewing appliance comes with an OLED display, and a knob next to it lets you cycle through the menu.

    The step filter and its lid are located below (it’s where you place the PicoPak). Two hoses, one labeled “in” and the other “out,” stick out of the back like a split tail. Up top, a lid comes off and there’s a reservoir where you put in distilled water.

    The other three boxes that come with the Pico C contain:

    • A 5-liter serving keg.
    • A brew keg and keg cozy.
    • A racking tube.
    • A bucket.
    • A hops pack cradle.
    • A few cleaning items (e.g. a keg brush and detergent tab).

    Before brewing

    Pico C’s first rinse requires distilled water, and it’s rather annoying. You can use tap water, but you’ll have to descale after every 20 uses.

    The steps to pre-brewing makes up for this, however. Simply choose “first rinse” on the display, and it offers shortened versions of the instructions found in the manual. It’s a quick process, and using the “in” tube as a vacuum to suck up the remaining water from the reservoir is satisfying.

    The home brewing process

    The step filter is designed so the hops and grains packs, along with the cradle, fit snugly inside. The lid has “this side up” embossed onto it to avoid spills. The brew keg and reservoir both need distilled water for the brewing step as well.

    When you put the PicoPak in the step filter, the appliance uses the pack’s RFID tag to read what beer you’re making. In response, it adjusts all the settings for you.

    You can personalize the settings to your liking (e.g. changing the alcohol content, bitterness) but the machine doesn’t prompt you. You turn the knob to the right when the display reads “start brewing” to make the adjustments.

    While this step is mentioned in the instructions, it would’ve been nice if it was built into the process. Because we somehow forgot while brewing.

    Pico C’s brewing process doesn’t vary drastically from its predecessors. The biggest changes are to the 1.75-gallon brew keg. Pico Pro uses ball-locks to snap the hoses to the keg, while the Pico C’s hoses just fit snugly over the “in” and “out” nodules from the keg’s top.

    The keg itself is squatter, and uses a dip tube inspired by smoothie cups. It’s easy to clean.

    Home brewing takes about two to three hours of fairly loud whirring. Your home will fill with a scent that’s somewhere between baking bread and a barn. You can compost the PicoPak, and the step filter and lid are conveniently dishwasher-safe.

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