Whatever you do, don't use the new PicoBrew PicoStill to distill liquor. At least in the US, it's illegal to distill your own spirits at home without a special license, but it's legal to own this PicoStill, and you'll be able to use it, legally, to distill hop oils or water.
Tech company PicoBrew wants to make advanced brewing easier. The Zymatic was the company's first foray into automating the process. Then, the Pico made the process even quicker and easier. Recently, the company launched a Kickstarter campaign for an affordable, trimmed down Pico C.
The PicoStill attachment will be offered as part of the Pico C's Kickstarter. Backers can get the attachment for $170 or as part of a package with the Pico C for $500. At retail, the PicoStill attachment is expected to sell for $350.
By using the PicoStill to extract hop oils, you can simplify a more advanced stage of the brewing process -- called dry hopping -- by extracting just the hop flavors you're looking for and putting those in your beer. Thus, the PicoStill is another step on PicoBrew's quest to make brewing easier.
It also could be an interesting departure from beer for the company -- but again, distilling liquor at home is illegal in the US. Professional distilleries with the proper licensing, however, could make small batches of a number of different liquors with the PicoStill as a way of pilot testing a new recipe.
The PicoStill attachment works with any of PicoBrew's automatic brewers. The attachment itself sits on top of the Pico's keg and creates a vacuum seal. You can fill the keg with clean water for extracting hop oils, then attach it to the Pico using the machine's hoses.
The Pico heats up a separate container of water and runs that through a coil within the keg. The coil heats your clean water, and the vacuumed container allows it to boil at a low temperature. Once it boils, the vapors run through the hops, extracting the oils, before cooling through another coil and condensing back into a liquid in a separate container.
You can preorder the PicoStill starting today on Kickstarter. PicoBrew hasn't announced when the PicoStill will start shipping, but the Pico C is slated for this fall. Once you have the PicoStill in hand, PicoBrew won't record or police what you're making, which won't matter, because you'll only be using the PicoStill for the completely legal purpose of extracting hop oils.