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PicoBrew's automated beer maker too pricey for most home brewers.We're cloudy on the benefits of the PicoBrew Zymatic, especially for $2,000.
[MUSIC] Hi, I'm Rick Brown for CNET. We're here today to sorta a hands on first look at the Picobrew Zymatic Automated Home Beer Brewing machine This system will sell for about $2,000 when it hits retail. It was $1,800 if you got in on the Kickstarter. The idea behind this is that it's supposed to make anybody to get a recipe on line. Loaded on the Zymatic and then automate the home brew making process. The system is connected to the Internet and it will go up to your profile on the PicoBrew website where you've assign recipes that you wanna make. So there's a whole library of recipes on PicoBrew. You can also make your own and the machine will automate the whole process as far as heating up the grain. Boiling through the hops, and then once you're able to chill process, it's pretty much the same as when you make the beer at home, you set beer aside, let it ferment for two weeks or so, and you can keg or bottle it however you prefer. So today we're making a chipotle porter, at least that's what we're hoping to do. So we have six different kinds of grains mixed up in this pot right here. We're gonna take those grains and dump them here in the main chamber. Then we're gonna add the hops, so to start with that we're gonna measure it out real quick. Put one set in one chamber, another set in the other chamber, and then load those in in the back of the hopper. Now we're all set with out ingredients, so we're gonna load the whole hopper into the Zymatic. I already have water in the keg, now we'll go over to the menu, I'll select the recipe from my profile. Hit Brew, and we'll see you in a couple weeks to see how this turns out. Now, we have some other plans for how we're gonna test out this system. We have one of the local brewers here in Louisville, Kentucky from Against the Grain. They're gonna help us test this thing out. For myself, I have basically no experience home-brewing, so I'm coming at this from a, as a total rookie. And hopefully at the end of all this, we'll have a pretty good idea of how well the Zymatic can meet the needs of any different level of home brewer. [MUSIC] All right, so we're here with the very first beer from the Picobrew Zymatic. It is ready to tap. It's been carbonating here for about the last week. So, I'm going to shut off the CO2. I'm going to disconnect this hose. Got my tap hose here. See how it goes. I bet it's going to be pretty foamy. So again this is a Pico Pale Ale. This is the very first beer I've made with the Zymatic. Definitely some user error involved along the way. But overall it seems like a relatively respectable pale ale. Pale ale. [MUSIC] So last week, we tried out our pale ale. This week we've made a new beer. This is a chipotle porter. Just about to take this one off the gas, as well. So where this one, we wanted it to be kinda bittery and hoppy. The idea for this one is because it's a darker beer, we want it to be a little bit of a richer flavor. And that's sorta the test for the PicoBrew with this. [MUSIC] All right, here we go. [MUSIC] That's a good beer. Definitely like this better than that one. Very full flavor. All right so we've got one more beer to go and after that we'll have a full review. [MUSIC] All right, so this is the last test for our PicoBrew Zymatic review. We're here at the Against the Grain brewery here in Louisville. We've got a bottle of their Citra **** Down beer right here. They also have it on tap. And. Here is the growler to the stuff we made back in our lab Adam Watson the brewer here, did make this stuff on the Zymatic. So, the whole idea is just to kind of see how well each of these translates. And we're going to do a blind taste test. We got four panelist of four drinkers behind us. So I'm gonna set this up and we'll see what they think. [MUSIC] All right, coming at you. We had everybody put on blindfolds. We had everybody taste one beer at the same time. And they were able to tell with 100% accuracy what beer came from what brewing process. All right, which number was the stuff we brought? [MUSIC] This is of a keg. [MUSIC] This is the stuff we made of the Picobrew. [MUSIC] Very different. Very different. The big flavor difference is a very, very strong diacetyl presence. Which, to be fair to the, the system is largely a product of fermentation rather than the actual work production process. Adam used the term buttery, and that's what I think I would apply to this one tap. And I guess if we're being accurate, the. A PicoBrew is saying, isn't a beer making machine, it's a work making machine. Then once you have work, the yeast make beer. So there's definitely some things we like about the PicoBrew Zymatic quite a bit. The fact that it gives you a running log of the temperature, throughout your brew process. Gives you some good data. The fact that you can share recipes and kinda like, store your recipe online, download it to the system. And all that is pretty useful, and it does kinda simplify the process of dumping in grain, putting in hops, getting it in the right time and temperature. Overall, though, it is certainly not an automatic beer machine. Until we get the fermentation process right, you still have to cool your wort coming out of the brewer. So there's certainly a lot of hands-on involved here still. Whether that makes the $2,000 Zymatic worth it if it's not gonna quite automate the whole process for you, that's sorta between you and your passion for making beer and your wallet. But overall, this thing pretty much does what it says it's gonna do. There's still a lot left for you to know if you want to make beer with this thing at home. [UNKNOWN] brand we're here at the grain production facility here in Louisville Kentucky. Like to thank the guys here for helping us out with all this. This has been our review of the Pico Brew Zymatic Beer Maker machine.