10 Things Brewmaster Annie Johnson Can’t Live Without

From kettles to apps, flasks to forums, these resources help the Sacramento-based home chemist concoct her award-winning beers

(Annie Johnson and Flickr user QuinnDombrowski)

PicoBrew Zymatic ($1,699-$1,799)

(Pico Brewery )
A new brew machine by Seattle-based PicoBrew is “an amazing small scale brew system” that could change the way homebrewers and even large breweries experiment with recipes, Johnson says. While a normal large-scale brewing process yields 55 gallons, the Zymatic produces less than three gallons, making it easy to test out new hop varieties or pilot new recipes without the commitment of a huge batch. But what makes it so remarkable is that it's automated, Johnson says. Brewers are still responsible for throwing in the yeast that leads to fermentation, but all other steps are programmed, meaning recipes are as simple as a few clicks of a button. “I was skeptical at first,” Johnson says. But after being invited to brew on a pilot machine and tasting the results, she was floored. “It took me five years of trial and error [to brew that specific recipe], and the taste when using the Zymatic was incredible,” says Johnson. In her opinion, the machine is best for homebrewers with some experience who are either tight on space or like to brew outside-the-box varieties with different herbs and spices. “It does complicated beers very well,” she says.
Pre-order one here

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