PicoBrew Model S

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geogaga
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Re: PicoBrew Model S

Post by geogaga » Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:47 pm

I bet they should be stackable too. Z was.

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barneey
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Re: PicoBrew Model S

Post by barneey » Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:11 pm

Tony if you can remember, make a note of all the water used including the top reservoir (before & after) grain used & gravities. Cheers

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Re: PicoBrew Model S

Post by UKtony » Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:20 am

barneey wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:11 pm
Tony if you can remember, make a note of all the water used including the top reservoir (before & after) grain used & gravities. Cheers
#1 Biab 5L Salad bin, 2L ish from top tank to get ~5L to the fermenter. 100% Pale MO 1.3Kg Picobrew guessed SG 1047 but actual is around 1040. The quality of the wort was low with no real hot break so very cloudy. Flow to mash outlet was pulsing rather than continuous which I'm not sure is correct and it did not prompt for the recirculation step so I think I mistook the mash out step for the boil. Attempted to rinse today and the one-way valve on the keg pump was blocked with grain flour :-( Also, the mash line was partially blocked hence the surging. I suspect this one is for the slugs, fortunately, I used some very old Citra pellets and harvested yeast so the only loss is 1.3Kg of grain.

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Re: PicoBrew Model S

Post by Flannery3me » Sat Oct 03, 2020 7:16 pm

Hi Guys.

I'm planning to 3d print the hop basket for the Pico pro but I can't find a tub to fit anywhere. I believe someone said Wilko has them but I still can't fine one the right size. Any suggestions?

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Re: PicoBrew Model S

Post by UKtony » Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:51 am

Wilko 4L plastic container is what you want. It takes about 1.3Kg of grain in a bag

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Re: PicoBrew Model S

Post by Flannery3me » Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:17 am

Great thanks. Couldn't find the exact one but found something close. How is everyone else getting on with this, I've done a few manual brews and they've turned out better than I expected (a lot of people said the efficiency was really low) it may be as I used a fine crush but either way I'm happy for what I paid for it. I've got a hops carrier printing now, and will set up the pi server later. I can't find any schematics on the Pico packs as I'd like to really fully understand how it functions so I can see what else I can improve. I plan to put the grain in a bag and then some holes in the tub for the grain then just hope the 3d printed hop carrier does the rest as I'm still unsure exactly how this functions. It would be great to hear any tips or suggestions from anyone who has had success

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barneey
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Re: PicoBrew Model S

Post by barneey » Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:03 pm

All using the Autobrew function

I've tried a few ways to mash, the worst has been around the low 50's on mash efficiency, the highest has been around 65 to 68% so a huge difference.

Container with holes no mash bag, container with holes with mash bag. Container with no bottom & mash bag. Repeated the aforementioned using a wort aerator to spread the recirculating wort more over the grain. (might be worth lifting one trouser leg up in the air & see if that makes a difference :D ). Containers with lid on/ many holes at the top..... The list goes on......

My best results do far have been as follows:-

1) Wilko tub 1.4 to 1.5kg in a mash bag.
2) a couple of small 5mm holes drilled into the bottom of the container.
3) connect a piece of tube (I used the GF conical pipe) to the wort recirculation, bury this within the grain. Pull the draw strings up around the tube.

The system then sort of acts as a BM with an upward style flow mash, ie all the grain gets wet as the container fills with wort & then over flows through the grain bag at the top, spills over the side to recirculate again. The 2 small holes are enough to keep the wort in the container / keep the grain wet / steeping throughout BUT also provide enough drainage when the hops cycle is underway. (might also be worth maybe another hole or 2 near the bottom on the side of the container.) You should get 65%+.

I still have a few more experiments to trial but am at the moment lacking the time to do them.

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barneey
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Re: PicoBrew Model S

Post by barneey » Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:10 pm

Thought it was worth a mention that the shipping prices are now back to the lower levels ;)

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Re: PicoBrew Model S

Post by UKtony » Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:40 pm

Three brews in not that impressed

#1 Failed due to issues with pump
#2 Seemed to work but efficiency too low
#3 Seemed to work but efficiency too low

#2 and #3 fermented and racked to a cornie, carbonated and the result was poor in terms of taste etc

After #3 did a deep clean which resulted in more leaks from the tubing of the 6-way valve. Replaced all tubing with 7mm O/D 5mm I/D silicone tubing which is slightly thicker than the Pico so now the mash flow does not close off fully.

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Re: PicoBrew Model S

Post by UKtony » Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:06 pm

#4 abandoned as is the machine

During the mash the lower step filter connector started leaking. Tried reversing the rubber gasket but no joy. Had enough of this system which just seems to be one pile of single-point failures and more time spent fixing issues than saved.

Happy to break for spares

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Re: PicoBrew Model S

Post by Flannery3me » Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:59 pm

Sounds like you've had a rough time. I must admit I've not had the problems you had bit when it arrived the valve tubing was nipped and had fused together. I assume due to how long it had stood, I was pretty annoyed but I stuck a pen ink thing (you know! the pen ink thing in pens) and then it's been great ever since. Just done a manual brew today and it was all fine. I've also got my pi set up and printed a 3d printed hop basket and done a few brews on that and so far so good. I would say though when I fixed the pipes I had a good look at the innards and there's definitely potential to make something bigger out of the parts. Let the seller know your problems he's pretty good

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Re: PicoBrew Model S

Post by UKtony » Sun Oct 25, 2020 7:51 pm

I suspect the latest problem is down to the non return valve causing positive pressure on the step connector which is not designed for this. the whole thing is an example of poor quality and cheapest price.i will contact the eBay vendor and point them to this thread

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Re: PicoBrew Model S

Post by UKtony » Sun Oct 25, 2020 7:51 pm

I suspect the latest problem is down to the non return valve causing positive pressure on the step connector which is not designed for this. the whole thing is an example of poor quality and cheapest price.i will contact the eBay vendor and point them to this thread

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barneey
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Re: PicoBrew Model S

Post by barneey » Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:56 pm

Tony, doesnt sound great from your experiences using the machine. I've been laid up sick (bad leg) for a while so have been unable to brew / lift anything.

The efficiency is low on these machines, hence the reason for me trying the upward mash technique to at least get it into the mid 60s. Other brewers I know have also successfully completed brew with good results, apart from the hop schedules need to be somewhat increased to get a good result, no doubt due to the more of a simmer than a full on rolling boil.

I still have lots of experiments to trial with my machine (including adding an element / HERMS into the pipework. + I want to take a machine fully apart to see if the bits can be used on a more traditional 3V system. The seller is a nice bloke, so maybe able to help you with the issues you have encountered with the machine "parts" so far.

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Re: PicoBrew Model S

Post by Flannery3me » Tue Oct 27, 2020 12:01 am

I agree. I've been able to brew from grain from my kitchen in the cold and clean up quite quickly without the need for my wife to divorce me. For the price I'm super happy, but this is always going to be a DIY project. I think it's great to see how people are sharing how to increase the efficiency of these machines but I've seen machines 10 times the price with the same efficiency. The company who made it is gone but your also not paying 600 dollars for it when you couldn't even do a manual brew. Now you can do a manual brew and with the pi server and a bit of DIY you've got a full automatic machine. I've got a new 3d hop basket design that I want to test first but then I'll upload the design, looking at design ing an attachment for the increased efficiency mentioned above but also thinking about using and upside down plastic funnel as it fits perfectly. Who knows bit I'm enjoying trying

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