Okay so technically you totally can distill spirits with this. After all, this is 100% what PicoBrew made this for, and it’s the primary reason most people will buy it. But the kicker is that it’s also 100% illegal to distill your own spirits at home without a license.
With that said, I highly doubt that will stop any of the Kickstarter backers from using this to craft up some unique liquors. But even if you don’t have interest in “breaking the law,” there’s still a lot you can do with this PicoBrew attachment to improve your brews. The crazy engineers at Pico designed the PicoStill to be inter-compatible with all of their automated brewing machines including Pico Pro/Pico C, Zymatic, and Z series.
Before we dive into features and cost, here’s a quick definition of distilling for those brewers who may not know.
Distillation is the process of separating the components or substances from a liquid mixture by using selective boiling and condensation. Distillation may result in essentially complete separation (nearly pure components), or it may be a partial separation that increases the concentration of selected components in the mixture. In either case, the process exploits differences in the volatility of the mixture’s components. Source.
Let’s take a look at some of the creative ways PicoStill can take your brewing to the next level (apart from running a low-key micro distillery in your mom’s basement).
Dry Hopping Beer with Hop Oils
The first and most obvious use of the PicoStill is to extract the oils from hops for a process most beer nerds know religiously – dry hopping. Traditionally, dry hopping gets its name from adding hops (dry at the time) directly into the fermenting beer as opposed to adding the hops during the boil. The result is more hop aromas and flavor without drastically increasing bitterness.
Another method of dry hopping includes adding extracted hop oils to the fermenting beer. Similarly, the distilled oils are stripped of bitterness leaving behind nothing but intense hoppiness.
Infusing Other Flavors and Aromas
We all know the New England haze craze is still in full effect, bursting with citrus flavors and unfiltered gorgeousness. The PicoStill can actually extract citrus oils, spices, and herbs to really take your nano brews to the next level. Some of these extracted flavors and aromas that commercial breweries have access to is hard to find for a regular Joe like you and I. With the PicoStill added to your arsenal, the brewing possibilities on your Pico Brew machine are drastically increased.
Getting Creative with Food
Most micro brew pubs these days also whip up some immensely creative dishes to pair with their beers. What better way that incorporating hop flavors into food?
Traditionally, Humulus Lupulus is just way too bitter for the palate; but as people become accustomed to the hoppy flavor, new and creative companies are finding ways to incorporate the bitter hop to foods. Here’s a few examples of what you can do, including soda, candy, tea, coffee, cheese, and pizza.
And of Course… Spirits
If you have a license for distilling spirits, the PicoStill is the perfect accessory for testing new and creative craft batches. The small countertop size is perfect for quickly testing out a wacky combo to see if it has potential before taking it to the bigger stage.
Price and Availability
As part of the Kickstarter package, the PicoStill was available for $170. Shortly after that, the price went up to $249 (still at a discount price) during the pre-order window. Now that it’s over and the PicoStill is shipping, the regular price is $349. Overall I think this is a pretty good deal for the amount of creativity this opens up for your PicoBrew machine. Their website now has the attachment in stock.
Final Thoughts on PicoStill
Overall, we absolutely love what this machine has to offer. It’s truly innovative, engineered with beautiful aesthetics, and at a price point that’s revolutionizing the market – just like they did with their flagship PicoBrew machine.
Even if you have no plans of using it to distill spirits, the infused oils, spices, and herbs can drastically improve your at-home brewing and even culinary uses.