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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brewing Software > Beer Tools Pro vs. Beer Alchemy
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Old 12-31-2008, 06:51 PM   #1
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Default Beer Tools Pro vs. Beer Alchemy

I'm currently testing both of these, but it's a lot to compare between the two, especially for someone fairly new to AG. So I ask, what do you find are the pros/cons of each?

It seems like they each have some weak spots. e.g Does BTP incorporate trub loss into calculations? Does BA give you additional infusion temperatures based on volume added, or just volume to add of boiling water? Do they adjust FG according to mashing schedule? I'm more interested in features that help with ease and precision on brewday, although the inventory stuff seems nice as well.

Or, are they both inadequate and I should get something else(promash/beersmith?), which I'd prefer not to deal with running on a mac.

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Old 12-31-2008, 08:12 PM   #2
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I use and like both.

I have a hard time getting my mash schedule set up in both of them. I use the famous NMODBS method.

I just got BA, but I like it better right now, but then again I just got my iMac, so I love everything Mac these days.

I will say that BA is a bit quarky because it was developed by a Brit, IIRC.

Let me know any neat tips for BA/ BTP that you come up with.

Tim

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Old 01-19-2009, 12:36 AM   #3
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Well I too have been grappling with the same problem, which program to use. I have used them both and I am nearing the end of my trials. Here is what I have come up with, I will start with Beer Alchemy:

Pro's:

Ease of use. It is pretty simple to add a recipe and add ingredients. I really like the lay out and the ease of adding ingredients. I also like the batch options, Extract, Steeping, PM, and AG. The mash setup is nice as well. Straight forward on how your are mashing, double decoct, single infusion, etc... Also being able to set your AA % when you add the hop is a big plus.

The amount of items (weights, liquids) that you can customize.

Con's:

The built in recipe db is lacking. Just the base ingredients that you would come across.

Ok now on to Beer Tools Pro:

Pro's:

The ingredient recipe is extensive and well formed. Not only does it list a lot of your ingredients, it lists them as duplicates depending on the manufacturer. Also the way that it displays all ingredients for a batch in one place.

Con's:

Ease of use. Defining mash and sparge techniques requires some more advanced knowledge in what you are doing. Adding custom ingredients can also ask you for a lot information that you don't have.

Having to add an ingredient, such as a hop in order to adjust the AA%.

So there you have it, I would also like to add a quirky little item that I came across. I am not to sure how the two programs calculate SRM and IBU's. As an example for a recipe that I designed and then plugged into both softwares was for an American Amber:

BA SRM: 9.8, BTP SRM: 13.3
BA IBU: 23.3, BTP IBU: 32.1

I have a feeling that the SRM has to do with in BTP you can choose manufacturer of the malts and in my case extracts (I do partial mashes). I am sure they have the SRM pretty dialed in.

As for the IBU's I have no idea what is going on. I did notice that if you create a batch of your recipe in BA the IBU's change and in the case of the Amber the "batch" IBU's are more in line with BTP, in this case 32.4 which is in line with BTP.

I may email the creator of BA and ask why there is such a huge difference in IBU's between "recipe" and "batch".

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Old 01-20-2009, 11:55 PM   #4
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I just downloaded beer alchemy recently and used it for the first time this past weekend. so I don't know too much about it yet, however while I was playing around with it I found that in the preferences you can pick between 3-4 methods of calculating the SRM and IBU.

I didn't bother with the SRM calculations (making an imperial stout, so I know it is black, I don't really care if it is 35 SRM or 45) however while I was playing with the IBU calculations, it varied from 70-100 depending on the method used to calculate.

For now I am still not sold on the program, the trial allows you to open it ~7 times so I am just going to leave it open and use it as long as possible before actually deciding to buy it

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Old 01-21-2009, 04:48 AM   #5
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The way I read it I thought it was 7 times or 30 days, meaning that it works for 30 days regardless, however if you open it 6 times in 45 days you still have one more go at it. You think being in IT I would have this straightened out, but what do I know, I just take the computers apart. Silly programmers

Ass for the IBU's, when I played it with it I could not get the number to change no matter how many times I changed it. Maybe I will play with it again.

Which brings me to my next question, what is the most popular formula for calculating IBU's? Tinseth, Daniels, Rager, or Garetz?

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Old 01-21-2009, 12:29 PM   #6
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I *love* Beer Alchemy and have been using it for a couple of years now. The recipe formulator is easy; the brew day feature is great (the 'instructions' do all the math and lay it out for you in the order you need it).

But, as noted above, the SRM calculations are way off. So when I'm brewing for a comp, I check it in BTP.

I also use BTP for its extensive (exhaustive?) ingredients database for when I have to add something to the BA database (to give the properties/data)

One good feature of BA is the ability to manage multiple stores of the same hop variety with different alpha acid percentages. And when you go to brew, it will calculate how much of each you need.

Still, I asked the developer about adding a capability to compose recipes in AAUs. His response was that due to the above feature, that would be unnecessary. I disagree, but, oh, well.

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Old 01-22-2009, 08:58 AM   #7
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Do you know if there's any way to export all of BTP's ingredient database so that it can be imported into BA? That's my main quibble with BA: the lack of a complete inventory.

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Old 02-05-2009, 07:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AFAJ Brew Guy View Post
Which brings me to my next question, what is the most popular formula for calculating IBU's? Tinseth, Daniels, Rager, or Garetz?
I've been going through Brewing Classic Styles and in there they use rager. I think the important thing is to pick one & stick with it so you'll know what those figures will translate to in your finished beer.
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MX1 View Post

I just got BA, but I like it better right now, but then again I just got my iMac, so I love everything Mac these days.
Just an FYI BTP has a MAC version also. I use the PC and Mac versions. Love my new mac too!
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:27 PM   #10
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Just an FYI BTP has a MAC version also. I use the PC and Mac versions. Love my new mac too!
Dont, wnat to pay again for the Mac port of BTP. I can just bring the laptop up and use it if i need too

Tim
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Ferm 1: Colorado Common Cream Ale
Ferm 2:

On Deck: Pin Cushin IPA

Keg 1: House Amber Ale
Keg 2: Switchback Stout

Total Gallons brewed (2014) - 40

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