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Automate your brew

The $400 Picobrew Pico Model C simplifies your brew day. Using prepackaged ingredients called PicoPaks and distilled water, the Model C automatically whips up a batch of beer for you. Click through to see how the process works. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET


You can order a variety of PicoPaks on the Picobrew website. PicoPaks make 5 liters of beer, which means you get roughly 14 bottles of beer from each batch. 

At this point, Picobrew has a wide variety of PicoPaks including lots of different beer styles from a worldwide assortment of brewers.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET


The Model C sticks to a traditional method of brewing, so PicoPaks include ingredients like malted barley. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET


PicoPaks also include packets of hops. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET

The step filter

Place the sealed PicoPak into the big plastic container called the Step Filter with the label facing out. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET

The hops cradle

You'll also place the included container of hops in the Step Filter after placing the hops into these metal brackets called the hops cradle. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET

Ready to roll

Once the PicoPak is in place, slide it into the main body of your Picobrew Pico Model C. You can use the display to connect your Pico to the internet. The Model C will read a tag on the PicoPak and automatically know what it's brewing, adapting its settings accordingly. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET

Add water

Next, you'll need to add distilled water to a reservoir on top of the main body. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET

The brewing keg

You'll also need to add distilled water to a separate brewing keg. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET

Attach hoses

The lid of the brewing keg snaps shut, and then you need to attach clearly labeled hoses connecting the keg to the main appliance. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET

Hit start

Finally, you're all set and ready to hit start. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET

Ready to compost

You can compost the PicoPak when you're done. The cooking process takes about 2 hours and makes a batch of hot, unfermented beer called wort. 

You'll need to let your wort cool, then add yeast and give it a few days to ferment. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET


Once your beer is fermented, you'll use the Pico to transfer it to this separate serving keg. It's still not quite ready to drink. You'll need to add priming sugar and set it aside again to carbonate.

Wait a week or two, and you'll finally be ready to try the hoppy fruits of your labor. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET

A new Pico

The original Pico is now called the Pico Pro, and Picobrew still offers it. The Model C trimmed the price, switched the body from stainless steel to plastic, and made brewing a little simpler.

All of the changes were smart ones, and the Picobrew Model C is the best automatic brewer I've tested. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Joshua Goldman/CNET
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