- The machine allows users to add a handful of fresh ingredients into it and push a button to make a keg of beer.
- PicoBrew Zymatic costs $1600 (£992) and claims to brew ‘high quality all-grain beer’ in a week from three ingredients
- The invention, which has exceeded its fundraising target on crowd-funding website Kicktstarter, is the brainchild of two brothers in Seattle
Plenty of people have installed breadmakers in their kitchens to make fresh loaves, but now a company in Seattle plans on launching a compact home brewing system so beer fans never run out of pints.
Just like a breadmaker, the microwave-sized machine allows users to add a handful of fresh ingredients into it and push a button to make a keg of beer.
The PicoBrew Zymatic system costs £992 and claims to brew ‘high quality all-grain beer’ in a week from three ingredients – water, grain and hops.
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Once the ingredients are poured into the machine, it takes three-and-a-half hours to make start the beer making process and then the ‘beer’ can be left in a keg to ferment for a week.
The invention, which has exceeded its fundraising target on crowd-funding website Kicktstarter, is the brainchild of two brothers in Seattle.
They came up with the idea three years ago and have invested ‘thousands of man hours’ in designing the machine.
To work the machine, users start by picking a recipe and fill a five gallon keg with water – attaching it on the side the the PicoBrew Zymatic.
Home brewers then add the grain to the main compartment of the machine (called the step filter) and pour hops into the appropriate hops cages that slot into the step filter, according to the recipe, before selecting the recipe to brew using the front panel screen on the machine.
In about three-and-a-half-hours the keg is no longer filled with water but contains beer wort – or fermented beer.
The brewer then only has to detach the keg from the machine and chill it to room temperature before adding yeast and sealing it shut.
The company says the final recipe will them be ready in a week’s time.
Bill and Jim Mitchell started their company PicoBrew in 2010 out of frustration with home brewing kits because they ‘take up too much time, are too imprecise and frankly, when you account for all of the clean-up, are not all that fun.’
‘We wanted to make the creation of high-quality beer brewing simple, amp up the art, and tone down the tedium,’ said Bill Mitchell, who spent over 19 years at Microsoft, creating computing appliances for consumers.
Having built a proof of concept model, the brothers created subsequent models to come up with a new brewing process that allows the pre-loading of ingredients with little human input aside from pushing some buttons and filling containers.
As well as building a motherboard, the pair worked on refining the brewing process – especially mash efficiency and hops utilisation – for the next generation models and moved into a lab in downtown Seattle on North Lake Union.
After three years and a dozen prototypes, the founding members of PicoBrew have raised over three times the amount of money they needed on Kickstarter.
As home brewing fans, they said they were frustrated that some recipes could not be easily used for different makers and kits, and have consequently created the PicoBrew Recipe Crafter software.
The software allows users to make recipes by importing existing beer recipes that are automatically scaled for use in the PicoBrew machine.