Automated Brewing Systems – PicoBrew VS Brewie VS BrewBot

Is brewing beer more science than art?

While automated brewing systems may definitely blur the line a bit, brewing has always been a healthy combination of both. So what if we automate the process a bit more? There will still be someone passionate about beer creating recipes and adjusting temperatures, timing and testing ingredients behind the controls. The art form isn’t dying – it’s simply evolving. Still… It’s weird to think think that during our lifetime, ‘hand-crafted’ beer could be something that only exists in a defunct wiki-page article. (All’s not lost – The future still has Wiki pages….and beer!)

/Begin Rant
(Feel Free To Skip This Section If You Just Want The Review)

Whether you love them or hate them, Automated brewing systems are here to stay.  But just for a bit of fun, Let me ask you this: Does Slow Brewed coffee taste better than instant? I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that most of us would prefer an artisnal double shot mocha-chino cafe’ whipped grande latte’ (Can you tell I don’t drink coffee?) rather than some cheap instant crap that was forced through an intricate maze of plastic and metal tubing. Now let me ask you another question: How many Keurig units do you think sold over the last 5 years?

More Than 15 Billion Worth.

My point is this. Convenience. Trumps. Quality.  Am I saying that these machines are going to brew crappy beer? Hell no. In fact, I happen to think that many of these designs are pretty ingenious.. Heck the damn things might even brew better than me! I guess the point i’m trying to get across is to just be cautious before you spend a few grand on such (an awesome) luxury item.  And don’t only be cautious of the price tag, the real threat of course is the slow and methodical sacrifice of qaulity for the sake of convenience. Perhaps I’m being a bit paranoid though, perhaps automating the process will get more people excited about beer. Perhaps it will improve quality across the board, free up hours of our time on brew day and usher in a grand new era of beer making at it’s finest.  I don’t know. I’ll tell you this though – If they ever make a ‘K-Cup’ equivalent for these brewing machines, They’ve gone too damn far.

/Rant Over

 

PicoBrew


PicoBrew is a small form factor, all grain automatic brewing machine that can brew 2.5 gallons of finished brew per batch. It works in tandem with a 3 gallon keg to initially supply the water to the unit, meaning that you can literally brew anywhere you have electricity. (No water attachment required). Just like it’s competitors, You can start brewing using one of the recipes from their online recipe library, create your own recipe or search the constantly updated database of other PicoBrew users recipes.

The Bottom Line:
The small form factor does come with it’s share of drawbacks, One of which is that, compared to it’s competitors it can only brew half the volume per batch. You would think that given it’s small batch size and comparatively short list of extra features, it would be the cheapest of the 3 options on this list… But the PicoBrew starts at $1,999 bucks (Compare that to the $1,599 price tag of the Brewie below). Unfortuantely its shortfalls don’t seem to end there… No water attachment, no interface on the unit itself, limited device support and probably the most concerning of all is that it completes the entire brew cycle in some sort of plastic container. While I think the concept of being able to watch the entire brewing process via the clear plastic container would be fun for newer brewers, I can only imagine it has an impact on the final taste of the brew.

Features:

Technical Specs

  • Dimensions: (WxDxH) 20.5″x14.5″x17″
  • Weight : 50 lbs
  • Connectivity: 802.11 b/g WiFi + Ethernet
  • Interface: Web-browser based PicoBrew.com software

Brewie


Brewie delivers on all fronts. Designed by handful of engineers who are passionate about brewing, It boasts the most features and lowest price of  all three systems. Able to Brew a proper 5 gallon batch, and still compact enough to not seem out of place on the kitchen counter. Brewie offers support for every major device (Android, iPhone & Windows devices), has it’s own self cleaning program built in, a built in touch screen, a massive community driven recipe library and looks pretty damn slick to boot. Brewie is slated to launch September 2015.

The Bottom Line:
Brewie is fucking impressive.

Features

  • Capacity: 5.2 Gallons
  • Recipes Library: Yes (Built into Phone App)
  • Cost: $1,599
  • Availability: Preorder
  • Hop Additions: 4

Technical Specs

  • Dimensions (WxDxH) 21.15 x 12.8 x 17.7 inch
  • Weight: 55 lbs
  • Connectivity: Wifi
  • Interface: Android, Windows, IOS & WEb Interface

 

BrewBot


Brewbot is an Arduino powered brewing monster. Weighing in at about 220 pounds, and costing over 3 grand! Stainless steel and reclaimed wood form its modern exterior and serve to artfully disguise the automated home brewery in almost any home. The team has gone the extra mile to source high quality(stainless steel vs copper) materials with an emphasis on building a quality product that will last and perform for many years.

The Bottom Line:
While the Brewbot looks like a great product at first glance, As you make your way through it’s list of features, You start to notice a few red flags. EG: There is no android or Windows phone app, No Web interface, No Touch Screen on the device itself, it doesn’t have WiFi OR an Ethernet connection and it only connects to your phone via Blue-tooth…. which Begs the question – Does it require your phone to be near to feed it Recipe instructions? While I can’t imagine that being the case…I didn’t see any specs for a WiFi connection on their kickstarter page. BrewBot is in a really weird place right now…I feel with it’s bulky design and limited list of features, it can’t hope to compete with the likes of Brewie in the same market space. The one distinct advantage that BrewBot does have though – Is that it also offers it’s Core Components Kit for the DIY crowd for just a fraction of the price ($475 USD).

Features

  • Capacity: 5.2 Gallons
  • Recipes Library:  Yes (Built into Phone App)
  • Cost: $3,642.00
  • Availability: Preorder
  • Hop Additions: ?

Technical Specs

  • Dimensions (WxDxH) 47.6″x15.7″x46.6″
  • Weight: 220 lbs
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Interface: iPhone (Android not Released yet)

All Hail Our New Robot BrewMaster – Brewie!


I’ve done the research, I’ve read through their crowd funding pages and looked through their specs and features list. Without a doubt – Brewie is absolutely the best of breed. Not only for it’s design, features list and technology…but surprisingly it manages to also have the best damn price among the three. I’m not sure what the hell the other companies are doing so terribly wrong, They have less features, with less supported devices and and somehow still are considerably more expensive? How Exactly does that work? It really becomes painfully obvious just how outmatched PicoBrew & BrewBot are once you compare their features & Specs side by side.
Automated_Brewing_Systems_Side-by-side-comparison

Over To You.

What’s your take on these Automated Brewing Systems?


**Just wanted to make it clear that this is not a paid endorsement of any kind. The opinions in this review are mine and mine alone and nobody is paying me to portray the Brewie in a posative light. It simply deserves the number one spot, because (at least on paper) It is without a doubt the best automated brewing system money can buy right now. If by chance anyone from the Brewie team is reading this – I’d be happy to do a proper review of the Brewie if you want to cut me a deal 🙂

Sign Up To Our NewsLetter!

Your No-Filler Craft Beer Website.


Straight 2 The Pint