October 15, 2013
Automatic Home-Brewing Machine Takes Off On Kickstarter
[ Watch the Video: Get Your Home Brew On With Zymatic ]
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The PicoBrew Zymatic may be just the system for you. Part Ron Popeil’s workshop, part espresso machine, the Zymatic lets novice and pro alike dump in their ingredients, push a button, and walk away. Three hours later wort (or unfermented beer) is left and ready for yeast.
While the current government shutdown is keeping countless bottles of new beer out of consumer's hands, PicoBrew LLC is looking to give consumers a reason to not rely on the US market for their next bottle of brew.
Tech news sites have hailed the Zymatic as a modern marvel while large breweries have taken to using the machine to try out new batches. It’s not yet available and is stuck in its Kickstarter phase, but demand seems to be strong thus far. At the time of this writing, 14 days remain in the fundraising efforts, with $397,000 raised. PicoBrew began its campaign with hopes to raise $150,000.
“Why can't we brew beer at home as easily as we can make a loaf of bread with a bread-maker, or a shot of espresso with an automatic espresso machine?” asks PicoBrew on its Kickstarter website page.
“We started PicoBrew LLC in early 2010 out of frustration with the state of the art: home beer brewing takes entirely too much time, is too imprecise, and frankly, when you account for all of the clean-up, is 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.”
The PicoBrew looks to be the auto-tune of home brewing, boiling down the entire process into a system of buttons, buckets and beer.
While the Zymatic makes the tangible aspects of brewing simple enough, the computerized aspect simplifies the procedure even more. Users can create their own recipe with included software or borrow one from someone else. Once the recipe is fed into the system, the rest of the process is largely a “set it and forget it” affair.
The PicoBrew Recipe Crafter borrows from the 3D printing world, allowing users to create their own recipes and then share them with one another. With the Zymatic, home brewers don’t even have to bother with creating a recipe; they can simply use one someone else has created, buy the raw materials, then take the credit in one week after the fermentation process is complete.
The Zymatic starts at $1,699 (the cheaper options have already sold out) and ships with a five gallon corny keg and your first recipe. PicoBrew hopes to ship its first production units in February 2014, with the second round of production units shipping in April. The company also says it will open a website and sell the units there as well.
While brewers of any skill level can certainly make use of the Zymatic, the robotic brew machine seems better equipped for large and established breweries. Here the Zymatic can be used to create test batches on a micro scale without dedicating precious tank space to a beer that might turn out badly. This is especially true considering the level of expertise these large brewers have and their ability to troubleshoot a recipe. Novice brewers, on the other hand, might get a first taste of brewing their own beer, but those looking to learn from the process will likely find themselves disappointed.