PicoBrew Pico Model C review: Beer brewing has never been this clean or easy

The Pico Model C is like a Keurig coffee maker for home brewing—but what exactly do you give up?

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Ultimately, the whole setup is worthless if it doesn’t create good beer. So how did the beer actually taste? Well, I shared two different brews with a number of people at the office, and we all agreed the Model C created good beer with no discernible off flavors. But that should come as no surprise given the machine’s extremely controlled brewing process, and the limited opportunities for any contamination. I also brought a keg to a family party with less discriminating tastes. Drinkers were not only impressed with the beer, but the keg itself added intrigue.

So it’s easy to use, it doesn’t require a lot of time, cleaning is a breeze, and it makes good, fresh beer. Everything sounds great, right? Well, yes—if that’s all you’re looking for.

Pico Model C Equipment Daniel Masaoka

On the downside, everything that makes the Model C easy to use also locks you into the PicoBrew system. For instance: If you want more than one brew on hand, you’ll need to buy fermentation kegs that are only useful with this machine. You’ll also need to buy PicoPaks, which currently don’t afford much customization.

And unlike with the PicoBrew Zymatic, which uses bulk ingredients you can purchase at any home brewing store, the Model C is entirely reliant on proprietary PicoPaks. Which means if PicoBrew goes out of business, the Model C becomes obsolete as well. Finally, you shouldn’t buy the Model C if you’re looking to save money on beer. At the time of this writing, a 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA PicoPak costs $26.99, while the same amount of that beer in retail can form costs about $24.50 (14 beers at $1.75). 

But in the end, the Pico Model C does what it claims to do—and does it well—at an overall affordable price. I’d recommend it for the beer lover who just wants to make beer without all the hassle. For me, however, that hassle is also part of brewing romance.

At a Glance
  • The Pico Model C makes beer brewing incredibly easy, controlling temperatures and timings, and using pre-filled ingredient packs. New designs also make the system more dishwasher friendly and foolproof.

    Pros

    • PicoPaks make setup a breeze
    • New fermentation kegs can be cleaned in the dishwasher
    • Recipes from legit breweries

    Cons

    • Smallish batches of just 5 liters
    • Custom equipment locks you into PicoBrew system
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