Making craft beer with an electric brewery is like cooking with an electric stove instead of a campfire. We took off our beer goggles and tested the best models on the market to answer one question: what is the best home electric brewery out there? Read up to see which one is right for your man cave.
Warning: An automated brewing system sounds like every man’s dream, but it can quickly become a nightmare if you try to go cheap. We tried some budget models and the beer tasted, well, you don’t want to know. Make sure you get quality.
- 1 What’s an All-In-One Beer Brewing System?
- 2 Our Top 5 Automated Brewing Systems for 2018 (September Updated)
- 3 #1 PicoBrew PICO Model C (Our Favorite)
- 4 #2 The Grain Father
- 5 #3 BeerDroid
- 6 #4 PicoBrew Zymatic
- 7 #5 The Beer Machine Model 2000
- 8 How to Choose the Best Electric Brewing System For You?
- 9 Automated Brewing System vs. Doing It Yourself
- 10 What’s The Best Beer Brewing Machine?
What’s an All-In-One Beer Brewing System?
An all in one beer brewing system is an automated electric brewing system that simplifies the homebrewing process. Brewing beer at home used to require hours of labor and complex equipment. Now it’s as easy as getting a few packaged recipes and letting the machine go to work.
Our Top 5 Automated Brewing Systems for 2018 (September Updated)
#1 PicoBrew PICO Model C (Our Favorite)
The first one we tried was the PicoBrew PICO. Light, compact, and easy to clean, this simple model was one of the first available on the market. With over 100 PicoPak (recipes) to choose from made by award-winning breweries, its “BrewMarketplace” was what stood out to us.
What’s really unique about this electric brewer is that you can easily adjust the beer to your liking or even customize your own PicoPak. So, if you like your IPAs extra bitter (like you should!), just go to the company’s website and adjust your recipes. Insert the PicoPak into the machine, press a button, and wait 10-14 days (you can monitor the process from an app). Then enjoy. Seriously, a all-in-one automatic brewer from the push of a button. Since you can brew up to 5 liters at a time, it brings the price a single beer down a decent amount.
- Simple to operate
- Delicious ready-made recipes
- Customization options
- Easy to sanitize
- You are limited to the PicoPak recipe library
#2 The Grain Father
Next up is an automatic beer brewer – the Grain Father, an all-in-one system that lets you be more a part of the process. We wanted to test a model that felt more like real brewing than pressing some buttons.
The sleek look and deep feature set come with a simple temperature control mechanism, allowing the home craft brewer plenty of control over their creation. The recirculating mash lets you create all-grain recipes fairly convincingly.
The Grain Father comes with a stainless steel body, expandable grain basket (to fit different types of grain), and a built-in electric gauze filter. It isn’t as convenient as other models since it requires hands-on participation, but some DIY beer lovers will like that. You definitely need to follow the manual. The work was worth in our opinion though, since the beer came out pretty delicious. Check out the video below to see it in action.
- High-quality equipment
- Great for DIYers that live in small spaces
- More authentic brewing experience
- The brewing process requires more experience and work
- Some have complained of water and wort overheating before the pump kicks in.
– or –
If you think the BeerDroid looks like something out of Star Wars, you’re right. The first thing that hit us with this electric auto brewer was the futuristic design and wi-fi connection. What we liked about it was the simplicity—the LED screen tells you when it’s ready to be kegged—and the brewing recipes—their “BrewPrints” recipes are all-natural and pretty tasty. The selection isn’t as extensive or prestigious as #1 product, but it’s still pretty good.
You can brew about 2.6 gallons and monitor everything through an app. There is also a “Custom” setting that allows you to have more control over the process, but honestly, it didn’t feel that authentic to us or worth the time. In the end, the beer came out pretty good but didn’t blow us away.
- All-in-one auto brewer
- Simple to operate
- Cool design
- Easy to clean
- The inauthentic experience isn’t offset by the quality
- Small library of recipes
#4 PicoBrew Zymatic
We tried the Zymatic to get a more hands-on experience and brew larger batches. The Model C (the little brother) is a great electric model for beginners or beer enthusiasts who want a simple machine at home to make good beer. The Zymatic is for those with a bit more experience who want to be more hands-on. It really just depends on you.
This heavy-duty, stainless steel behemoth weighs in at 50 lbs and generates 2.5 gallons of brew per cycle (roughly 10 more beers than its little brother per batch). The company allows the same access to their BrewMarketplace and the same customization options. The difference is that the ingredients are pre-loaded into the machine. Since there is more work involved, you can bring the price per beer down further than others, but of course, it’s offset by the workload. The quality of the beer tasted the same to us.
- Brew large batches
- Simplifies brew day
- More authentic experience
- Higher price point
- More work involved
- Requires internet connection
#5 The Beer Machine Model 2000
The Beer Machine Model 2000 requires some assembly and comes with a few confusing parts, including a plastic body that resembles an old-school pressure cooker. That being said, it does come with some pretty cool features, including a custom pressure gauge to read brew quality, carbonation level, and dispensing pressure.
It even came with 6 reusable bottles. Honestly, the model is a bit of a conundrum—it’s geared toward hobbyists and only makes small batches, but it’s not nearly simple enough to set up and operate as other models. Still, we got what it promised us: decent liquid gold in about 10 days. So it looks cool and makes some solid brew. We can’t really argue with that.
- 10-day waiting period
- Fits in the fridge
- Reader helps you gauge the brew inside
- A bit more assembly than we liked
- Not a lot of customization options
- Plastic body leaves a bit to be desired
How to Choose the Best Electric Brewing System For You?
If you’re new, this is the hardest part. In our opinion, these following 3 most important factors are the most important for electric brewing systems:
- Batch Size: Do you drink more than socially (be honest!) or do you plan on having a lot of friends over to your man (or woman) cave?
- Recipes: Do you want to be master of your creation or are you fine with recipes? Some models only let you buy from their library of recipes, so you can’t actually make your own beer.
- Work involved: The whole point of an electric brewer is to make your life easier, but some of us still want to feel like a brewmaster and not like we’re using a Keurig to make coffee.
Automated Brewing System vs. Doing It Yourself
As much as we like the idea of doing away with the expensive electronic equipment and saving hours of our precious labor, there are still some benefits to doing it yourself. Let’s cover the differences between DIY and an all-in-one brewing system:
- You save money in the long run
- Total control over your brew
- A fun and passionate community
- A sense of fulfillment
All-In-One Brewing System:
- Little work involved
- Great recipes from world-famous breweries
- No expensive equipment to maintain
- Great for beginners
What’s The Best Beer Brewing Machine?
After reviewing a bunch of these automatic brewers, in our opinion, it really comes down to how much convenience you want. We enjoy brewing beer as much as the next person, but sometimes it’s nice to have the machine do all of the work for you. We can’t say any of the beer was better than the craft beer you buy in the store, but that’s not really the point is it?
If we had to choose, the best would have to be the PicoBrew PICO Model C, hands down. It really covers all of the bases—awesome beer, extremely simple, unrivaled convenience, and a library of amazing recipes from delicious breweries. You’re getting an electric brewery for the convenience, right? So why not get the most convenient model that also serves the most delicious beer? Put the packet in, press a button, and wait two weeks for 1.5 gallons of craft brew. At its current price, it’s easily the best of the bunch.