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Old 02-20-2008, 11:59 PM   #1
The Pol
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Default Beer Tools... what is not to like?

http://www.beertools.com/html/articles.php?view=242

I have heard BAD things about this software, but why? It LOOKS and SOUNDS great. Does anyone have this revision?
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Old 02-21-2008, 12:06 AM   #2
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I have it and I like it a lot, although it lacks some significant features like an inventory, session recording, and the ability to time your fermentable additions. I only do extract recipes with the occasional partial mash, so I can't speak for what the software has/lacks for all-grain brewers.

The interface is very good and recipe formulation is a snap. I'm very much looking forward to testing the new beta, hopefully due soon.

My 2 cents.

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Old 02-21-2008, 12:12 AM   #3
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I appreciate your response! It LOOKS great... basically what matters to me is this.

*Recipe formulation
*Mash scheduling
*Water calculations
*Water profiling
*Mash volumes
*INGREDIENTS!!!!

Does it have an option to print your brew stats?

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Old 02-21-2008, 01:22 AM   #4
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I have it, but don't use it because of the lack of inventory. There are some good recipes online though and that is cool. Also the lack of sessions was a big turn off. I haven't used it for the water or mash scheduling though, so don't know how well they work. I basically use it to get recipes.

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Old 02-21-2008, 01:47 AM   #5
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I went through BeerTools Pro to try and answer your questions:

Recipe formulation: I like it... It has a pretty good ingredient database (grains, extracts, adjuncts, hops, yeast, and special ingredients), plus you can add your own ingredients. I like the visual representation of the critical specs (OG, FG, Color, Alcohol %, and Bitterness) and where they lie in relation to the BJCP guidelines for the style. Scaling is easy, as well as turning on/off ingredients to see how they affect the end product-- good for "what if" scenarios.

Mash scheduling: Looks pretty comprehensive, but I'm not an all-grainer. You basically create a schedule by adding whatever steps you want and it graphs them out. It also has presets for single-step and double-step infusions.

Water calculations: It has a tool to let you do water calculations. Not something I do either, but looks pretty comprehensive. It has a database of waters from around the world and mineral salts, and you can add your own.

Water profiling: Not sure what you mean, but you can add your own water to the database and type in the specs.

Mash volumes: Combined with the mash scheduling.

Ingredients: Like I said, it has a pretty good ingredient database (e.g. Extra Light Extract from MoreBeer), and you can add your own.

Printing looks nice (again, not a feature I use). It prints out the ingredients and timing, stats with style comparison, and the mash schedule.

I'd be more than happy to take screen shots if you'd like to see any of these features in more detail... just let me know.

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Old 02-21-2008, 01:50 AM   #6
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What's wrong with Beer Tools Pro?

It's not BeerSmith.

If you want to speak to someone who can really lay out all of the differences between BTP and BeerSmith, hope that Bobby_M chimes in on this thread.

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Old 02-21-2008, 03:07 AM   #7
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I used the trial of Beer Smith and it seemed really out dated... it seemed clumsy. Id love some screen shots of Beer Tools Pro... it may give me the extra info about what is available in the program. I love being able to just select a recipe and page through all of the tabs. I like the Microsoft "Windows" look to it.

I dont like that Beer Smith seems to have no integration from page to page. When I set up a recipe and a mash schedule, when I go to the water needed page it does not know how much mash water I am using, how much grain I am using etc... I have to enter all of that information again. I love the programs where when I enter another pound of grain, it updated every facet of the program (mash schedules, water needed, infusion temps etc) The water profiler on Beer Smith is not automated, I have to "guess" at what salts and in what ammounts I need to add and get it right using trial and error. The mash calculator has no option for fly sparge. It just seems clumsy. It also does not have many water profiles to choose from, and even if it did, I cannot use it to calculate my salts, it is only trial and error.

Basically all the items that I listed, are the things that I desire to have, and it appears to have them all. If you can get me some screen shots, Id appreciate it. If there are AG recipes that you could pull up so that I could see the associated screen shots, that woud be awesome too. Thanks for the responses.

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Old 02-21-2008, 03:14 AM   #8
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I love Beer Tools Pro. You can do sessions by saving with different numbers or keep your differences in the notes - no big deal.

I suppose an inventory would be nice, but it doesn't bother me that it's not there.

For creating recipes, and that's my main reason to have a program, I haven't seen anything better

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Old 02-21-2008, 03:21 AM   #9
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Yah, I dont care about inventory... I dont have one to begin with! I can see the one pound of hops in my freezer, and the grain is at the LHBS. Thanks for your opinion.

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Old 02-21-2008, 04:08 AM   #10
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Inventory is the big failure. If you don't care about it, then you won't find it bad. I just used a Beersmith enough times to appreciate it even when my inventory was lacking. I have at least 15 different specialty grains in the garage fridge, but then again, maybe I don't. BTP won't tell me. I'm too lazy to keep a separate file somewhere and I shouldn't have to. If you create a recipe in beersmith, it prints you a shopping list for the items you don't have in inventory. You can plan out your next few batches in advance and you'll know what you'll need to buy so you don't run out.

The other gripe I have is the lack of even a few decent mash schedule presets. Um, there's no "batch sparge" preset, not even one. It's like they don't acknowledge it exists.

I also think it would be nicer to have all the tasks laid out in a single screen that's scrollable instead of having to grab a drop down to swap between the ingredients and schedule. Awkward.

But, it's only $25 to trial. A new release is promised this year to include a few of these things.

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