Frequently Asked Questions

ZYMATIC

Frequently Asked Questions


Beer and Brewing

Can I brew all styles of beer?
Yes. The Zymatic® brews all styles using the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) Guidelines.
How many gallons can the Zymatic® brew?
The Zymatic® can brew up to 2.5 gallons of finished beer per batch. This is usually about 3 gallons of wort prior to fermentation, but depends on the recipe. The reasons behind this yield are two-fold: grain capacity of the step filter, and water capacity of the keg/fermenter. For a lighter beer, it's certainly possible to do a slightly larger batch. For more alcoholic beers, the yield may be slightly less than 2.5 gallons of finished beer.
Where do I get the ingredients?
Support your local homebrew store. They are great places to acquire grain and hops where you can select your grains and have them milled to ensure freshness, prior to taking them home to brew.

You can also order online from a number of sources such as our friends at Mountain Homebrew in Kirkland, WA who have our recipe kits. Here is the link to purchase recipe kits that are ready to go for the Zymatic®.
How “big” of a beer can I brew with the Zymatic®?
We've been able to brew all-grain beers up to 1.090 OG in the Zymatic®. For extremely high gravity beers you can add some DME (dry malt extract) directly in with the rest of the grain. We've been able to brew beers up to 1.100 O.G. this way. It is possible to go bigger and those techniques are explained fully in our PicoBrew Forums.
I'm a crazy hop-head. How hoppy of a beer can I make?
We've brewed some pretty hoppy imperial IPAs on the Zymatic® in excess of 100+ IBU’s.

There are four hop cages in the step filter which give you four hopping steps, but you can always pause the machine mid-boil and swap them out for new ones if you really want to hop it up.
What kind of brewing efficiencies do you get in the Zymatic®?
This is dependent on the grain load but is typically 70 - 80%, as you might expect for a recirculating mash. The important part is that you don't have to calculate this and adjust your recipes accordingly. We have taken the data from hundreds of batches to make sure that when you build a recipe using our tools, you get the beer you expect coming from the machine.
Can I multi-step mash?
Absolutely. Using the Advanced Recipe Crafter you can program multiple temperature/time rests for your mash.
Can I brew gluten-free beer?
Absolutely. Our library is equipped with our favorite gluten-free recipes and you can create your own recipes using our recipe software as well. For those who wish to brew gluten-free recipes, common grains to use are buckwheat, millet, rice, corn, and quinoa. It is important to note, barley is a common ingredient used in liquid yeast so it is best to stick with dry yeast if you are avoiding gluten!

Product

What are the dimensions and weight of the Zymatic®?
The Zymatic® is 20.5 x 14.5 x 17 inches (W x D x H) and weighs 50 lbs.
What's the whole process, from grain to glass?
Decide what you want to brew (select, import, or create your own recipe), adjust the recipe to your liking or leave as-is, load the ingredients, fill a keg with the specified amount of water, turn on the Zymatic®, let it synchronize to the internet and load your recipe, select it by name and the brewing begins.

While it brews, the Zymatic® logs brewing session data to the internet so you can keep track of it on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

At the end of the brew cycle, chill the beer or disconnect the keg to cool, pitch (add) yeast, attach an airlock, and place it somewhere cool to ferment.

Remove the ingredients containers, dump the waste into your compost bin, rinse the main container and replace it in the machine.

Attach a keg of water or other water source and run the rinse cycle on the machine to keep it clean for the next brew. Every few batches you'll want to run a full cleaning cycle which is as simple as attaching a keg of water and adding a dishwasher tab. This deep clean takes longer but is an unattended process just like the brew cycle.

The ingredient containers can be easily cleaned in the dishwasher.

Wait for nature to do its magic with the fermenting beer. This can take anywhere from seven days to three weeks depending on the beer style you have brewed, fermentation temperatures, and a number of other factors.

Transfer your beer from the fermenting keg to a clean serving keg, carbonate, and put it on tap in your refrigerator, KegSmarts, kegerator or bottle as you prefer.
How long does the process take?
The set-up process simply involves creating a recipe or using a recipe from our recipe library, and then loading of the ingredients into the Zymatic®, which takes around 15 minutes. The brew cycle takes approximately four hours.
How do you chill the keg before pitching the yeast?
To chill your keg, you have a few options.

The easiest and cheapest way to chill effectively is with a five gallon or larger bucket and some ice. Using a small round plastic can or standard sized buckets from home improvement stores are just the right size, the thin stainless wall of the keg is a great heat transfer surface, and 14lbs of ice (usually two bags) will chill most kegs down to pitching temperature within 30 - 40 minutes. Just remove your keg sleeve, place the keg into the filled bucket, start the cooling step, and the Zymatic® will monitor the wort temperature as it reaches target pitching temperature. One of the great things about the Zymatic® is that your fermenter is sterilized during the brewing so it's nice not to break that seal any more than you have to making the brewing process a closed system.

Another option is to attach a chiller to the system and use the pumps to push the wort through. We have extensive “How-to” information on our PicoBrew Forums for this as well as brewing videos.

For your final option, you can leave the keg sealed overnight in a cool location for 14-16 hours and simply pitch your yeast when cooled.
How does it connect to the internet and download recipes?
The Zymatic® connects directly to the internet so that you can control it from any web browser and not worry about whether an app is available for your platform. You can connect to the Zymatic® through Wi-Fi or Ethernet (An Ethernet cable is provided with your Zymatic®).
Where do I get recipes?
The PicoBrew recipe library is filled with examples from every major style to get things started but we can't wait to see what you add. We support sharing of recipes so that when you come up with something great, others can enjoy it, too. You can also create your own recipes using our recipe crafter. The recipe crafter makes it easy to adapt another homebrew recipe for the Zymatic® system and brew it repeatedly. The software also allows you to create entirely new recipes by selection of grains, hops, yeast and other adjuncts.
Where does the boil happen?
The Zymatic® typically maintains a temperature just below boil. This near boil occurs in the heat exchanger, adjunct compartments and keg. Through testing we have found that there is nothing magical about boiling - it's just traditional since beer was created a long time before thermometers and process controls. In a conventional homebrew system, boiling is important since the temperature control is not as precise - keeping the entire batch at 207° steadily for an hour is impossible for most home brew systems. Also in home brew systems, a vigorous boil ensures mixing of the wort. In the Zymatic®, this mixing is done by circulating the wort. We have run extensive testing for hops extraction, off flavors and clarity, and have found no detraction from having a “boil” temperature slightly less than boil.
Do I need a fermenter?
Yes, your keg is the fermentation vessel. You can either buy a keg from us or source your own ball-lock 5-gallon Cornelius keg.
Is the Zymatic® backed by a warranty?
Yes, the Zymatic® is backed with a one year limited warranty. With the right care and cleaning, the Zymatic® is designed for years of great service in the home. We guarantee you receive a working machine and will receive full customer support.

Home Use

Do I need any special power connections?
The Zymatic® is designed to run on a standard household outlet (110V/15amp). We'll ship a GFCI-protected power cord with the machine.
Do I need a water connection?
No. You fill a clean keg with water and attach it to the machine. There are no external plumbing connections.
How do I clean the Zymatic®?
After every brew cycle, flush clean water through the machine. This takes no more than a few minutes and is the most important thing you can do to keep your machine clean and healthy.

The step filter and all its components can be cleaned in the dishwasher. It's important to use a dishwasher tab instead of standard liquid or powdered soap because they contain the enzymatic cleaners that break down leftover wort (sugar) deposits.

Every few cycles, run a cleaning cycle through the machine with a full keg of water and a dishwasher tab placed in the step filter. Follow up with a simple flush cycle to leave only clean water in the machine. We do this every five batches on our machines, but we'd also recommend this if you plan to leave the machine idle for extended periods.

As needed, run an extended cleaning cycle on the machine with the cleaning powder we provide. We have additional cleaning tablets available through our web-store. There are also instruction videos on our main website to help you along the way.

Software

How do I create recipes?
You can create recipes with our recipe crafter that is free with your picobrew.com account. The crafter is populated with extensive types of grains, hops, and yeast and other brewing ingredients. There is no limit to your creativity.

The recipe crafter software is also capable of scaling a recipe from other beer.xml recipes to be brewed on the Zymatic. You can import and export beer.xml recipes.

Store

What's included with the Zymatic® machine purchase?
  • The Zymatic® machine itself and one 5 gallon ball-lock Cornelius keg
  • Hoses and connectors for standard ball-lock keg connection
  • Power, networking, and USB cables
  • The step filter and four adjunct containers which hold your grain and hops
  • Replacement inline filter screen
  • Our custom silicone Keg Seal for attaching the foam collapse and airlock (fits a standard Cornelius keg opening, does not fit a “race-track” opening)
  • The foam collapser and food grade anti-foam.
  • Keg insulating parka, keg cleaning brush
  • Cleaning tablets, cleaning wands and powdered brewery wash
  • User manual
Why isn't shipping included?
Shipping costs especially for large items like this vary dramatically by location. It's going to be cheaper for you if we handle this separately. If you are in Alaska or Hawaii it may be significantly more, but you probably know that. Please email us for shipping estimates. We'll also collect sales tax where we are required to by law.
Can I come pick up my Zymatic® instead of paying for shipping?
Unfortunately not. We'll ship your Zymatic directly from our fulfillment center to get it to you as quickly as possible.
What is the extent of customer service provided?
There is no bad brewing on our watch and there are no dumb questions. We have a full customer service platform designed to help you from software to brewing. We have forums, customer support email, and how-to and process videos.
Return policy
PicoBrew’s high standards for our products are our top priority. As such, we hope our customers are thoroughly happy with their purchases. Our products come with a 15-day return policy after the purchase date for exchange or credit for purchases that are made directly from our web site or retail partners that do not satisfy the customer.
Refunds & Exchanges
To be eligible for a refund or exchange, you must first email us at support@picobrew.com to alert us of the damage, then return the damaged item to us after receiving a return authorization number. Upon receipt of the damaged item we will ship out a replacement, if available. If a replacement is not available we will refund the full purchase price of your item.