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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brewing Software > BeerSmith pitfalls?
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Old 09-14-2013, 02:09 PM   #21
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The bottom line for those who are interested in BS or any other brewing software is that you will need to customize it to make it right for the way YOU brew. Some people just use the software to create recipes and track what they have done. As such, they are not so interested in getting exact numbers. Others, such as myself, take the time and effort to make sure that my methods and style of brewing is reflected in the program variables so that the numbers the program predicts are much closer to what is actually achieved.

I do not promote BS over any other brewing software. As with most programs, the interface seems to work for some and not others; the options available work for some, and do not fit what others may be looking for. In the end, this is just a hobby. If you like a particular piece of software, then by all means use it. If you don't, then find one that does work for you.

Picking up a cresent wrench to tighten a 1/2" nut and finding it doesn't work for you because you have to adjust the opening does not make it the wrong tool for others to use.

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Old 09-14-2013, 03:13 PM   #22
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yikes. it only took me a few brews to figure out i would be fiddling with the efficiency numbers to nail down my og. would be nice if it did it automatically, but i never thought of it as a real big deal. i put my trub loss to 0, batch size to 5.5 gallons, fermenter loss to .5 gallon. 1.045 beers will nail 79% efficiency, 1.066 beers will be around 70%. if i dont adjust efficiency i would be 8 points off on the bigger beers. i pay attention and use a refract to measure my pre boil gravity. if i know its going to be off i will just cut the volume, maintain my desired OG, and adjust my hop additions. where are these aussie spreadsheets cwi?

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Old 09-14-2013, 06:22 PM   #23
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I am really unclear as to what cwi expects. I've used brewtarget, brewtoad, Qbrew, BS. All of them have their pluses and minuses, and none of hits the target OG 100% of the time. Of course even this assumes that your process - from crush, to mash-in, to pH, to starch conversion - is flawless. Simply put, it probably isn't and won't always be on the homebrew scale. Then again, it the built-in variability and challenge to get it right that makes homebrewing so much fun. Lighten up dude, it's not worth the wasted breath. If you're so negatively affected by a software you don't even use, why don't you just write your own program?

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Old 09-14-2013, 06:33 PM   #24
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^ Yup. When I use a software package, or play a game or whatever - if I hate it, then I simply don't use it anymore.

If I think those who like it and use it regularly are brain-washed, or drinking the proverbial kool-aid, then why in the hell would I spend any amount of time trying to convince them that *I* know the best way and that they are all wrong?

If they get good results, it's because they don't see the underlying problems, and don't realize that their "good" results are actually bad results. What exactly am I going to accomplish with my diatribe? I know.. maybe I'll write a bunch of paragraphs telling them exactly why it doesn't work, even though it works for them, then that will convince them!

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Old 09-14-2013, 08:18 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwi View Post
The method I use involves using 2 'software' packages- one to design, and one for actual grain/hop bills, so it doesn't really matter which I use for designing. I use BrewTarget (free) for designing, and some spreadsheets from some Aussie brewers that use "true absorption" for my final grain bills. It is kind of a pain, but the only way to predict numbers (the first time) on brewday.
I'm intrigued cwi. I'd like to try your method of a combination of software/spreadsheets that perform well for you. I occasionally feel like I'm chasing targets in BS but have always chalked it up to crush (lhbs), ingredient (grits, rice), process (faulty cereal mash, etc), or simply a high gravity beer and "natural" reduced efficiency. If there's a method out there, even if it requires additional effort on my part, that can keep these fluctuations to less of a minimum than BS then I'd like to try it out. I already have brewtarget installed and have used it for comparative purposes on a few occasions; sounds like all I need is an aussie spreadsheet and some general instruction.

I don't deny that I like BS. It works well for me and gets me close to my numbers. I've also found consistency in BS's BH eff for most (not all) recipes. I like the all-in-one aspect plus the ability to keep notes on process. It's FAR from a "bad" product, however if there's something out there that is an improvement then I'm all ears.

Finally, I support your effort to bring light to some information that you know about a well-liked software package, and I commend your efforts. Unfortunately, your words begin to fall flat and on deaf ears when your posts begin to get defensive, aggressive, and insinuate your intellectual superiority. This is where I think you lose your audience. Granted, your initial post in this thread was totally acceptable and just pointed out a couple facts; it's the follow-up posts that began to deteriorate. Regardless, keep doing what you're doing but consider your approach so as not to alienate your audience.

Most importantly: I would really like to try your combo-software method and see if it fits into my personal routine. I often times find the best softwares are free and created out of pure necessity by some very smart people.

Cheers!
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Old 09-14-2013, 09:47 PM   #26
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I'll admin to skimming this thread a little but I do not see what is wrong with measuring efficiency to the fermentor. That's where the wort goes that turns into beer. The wort left in the kettle does not.

The same goes for batch size. 5 gallons in the fermentor with a half gallon in the kettle is not a 5.5 gallon batch.

While Beersmith is not perfect and has a bit of a clumsy UI, it does get the job done for me.

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Old 09-14-2013, 10:02 PM   #27
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Many posts were deleted, during the "clean up" of this thread.

There was some good information, but many posts were rife with insults, banter, back and forth comments, etc, all of which are against our forum rules.

Keep on topic, do NOT get personal, or simply don't post at all. It's really not that hard to understand.

No further warnings will be given. Thanks!

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Old 09-14-2013, 10:50 PM   #28
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Thank you cwi; the information you provided is clear, concise, and to the point with excellent write-up. I'm going to look into the techniques and spreadsheets outlined in your post above and see if I can better predict my brewday. I batch sparge, usually 3 runnings total due to MLT size, and wonder how the BIAB spreadsheets will account for this. Regardless, thanks for the info and hopefully I'll be able to create a more consistent process for various OG beers than is currently provided by BS, which does pretty decent on most accounts.

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Old 09-15-2013, 12:19 AM   #29
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I don't know if cwi is capable of reply but, if so, I have a couple questions for you. I tried PM but apparently you cannot receive PMs anymore.

Anyway, you had said that a workaround for BS was setting trub loss to 0 and keep track elsewhere (e.g. fermenter loss). I'm good with that. I assume that I would also need to adjust my batch size larger to account for what doesn't leave the boil kettle so that I don't end up 1/4-1/2 gallon shy, correct?

You had also said: "All you do for a recipe is to adjust the BH eff until the mash efficiency matches your historical value- 90-95% is a good starting point, with going lower guaranteeing that you will get a full batch before determine you actual number."

I can get BS to adjust it's mash eff the way you stated, however it has a bug whereby I need to actually switch screens and go back to the main screen to get it to update. Regardless, the part I'm not fully understand is the "set my mash efficiency to historical value - 90-95% is a good starting point". Do you actually mean to set my eff to 90-95% or to set it to 90-95% of my expected efficiency (my expected BS BH eff is 74%)? The reoccurring theme I'm seeing in historical batches is that my BS mash efficiency is generally 78.5%.

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Old 09-15-2013, 09:15 PM   #30
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I love Beersmith! The only thing I don't care for is the yeast tab. I calculate everything out on yeastcalc. Other than that, you can tweak it to get your numbers exact. I always hit my temps and gravities.

One of the best things about it other that just the recipe calcultors is just the fact that you can use it as a recipe database. I take all my notes from brewday and add them to the software and I always have them to refer back to.

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