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Old 09-06-2012, 01:14 PM   #11
ArcLight
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What do users of brewing software need, and want?
For me only 2 or 3 things.

1. Brewing water. Here is my profile, this is what I want, what do I add. I use BrunWater and other sheets, online apps. I don't need this integrated into a master program like BeerSmith. In addition, the creators of these tend to be specialists who "know their field" well and are more likely to get it right than a generalist. (this is free)

2. The only other useful feature to me is I have X pounds of grain and Y gallons of water, what temperature do I heat the water to to get my mash temperature? (this is free)

3. Maybe also Hops /bittering utilization. (this is free I think)


Software that predicts color, ok, cute, not so important.

Inventory management, ok, could be good, if you are disciplined. You can just as well use Excel.

Timers? No use for them, my PC is not outdoors.

Sharing recipes? I use Google or come here. No need. Always have access? No need, use Google.

Detailed Brewing notes? Ok, thats good. Can be done in Excel also.

"BJCP Style Guideline enforcement" feature (I think in BrewMate among others has something like this) that tells you if your beer is outside BJCP (or whatever your local beer judging group is) style guide lines.

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Old 09-06-2012, 03:07 PM   #12
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I agree with the open source comment. That would make the most awesome brewing software ever. Have it so people can download other people's custom modules that fit into the program. Like I could code my own ideal Inventory module just the way I like it and have it still work with the original program and offer it to anyone else to use.

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Old 09-06-2012, 03:43 PM   #13
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The ability to search and sort recipies.

Like show all recipies that contain the word "pumpkin" (not just title, but actual words in recipe file as well). Or perhaps list all of my recipies by the date they were entered.

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Old 09-06-2012, 06:30 PM   #14
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The ability to list what recipes you can make (or almost make) with the ingredients you have in inventory. Also the ability to designate certain ingredients in inventory as reserved for a peticular recipe.

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Old 10-05-2012, 06:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grathan View Post
The ability to list what recipes you can make (or almost make) with the ingredients you have in inventory.
+1000

I believe this feature fits perfectly with the existing "inventory" and "cloud recipe database" features.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:18 AM   #16
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I've been using qBrew for years now and it's software that I haven't outgrown yet even when going from Mr. Beer kit to my own all grain recipes. It's open source and I've been providing free updates to the ingredients database to keep it current for three years now.

qBrew Recipe Software

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Old 11-04-2012, 11:55 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grathan
The ability to list what recipes you can make (or almost make) with the ingredients you have in inventory. Also the ability to designate certain ingredients in inventory as reserved for a peticular recipe.
+1

BeerSmith had this prior to 2.0.
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:58 PM   #18
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Obviously a brewing software needs to correctly calculate and formulate recipes with correlated expected results, so if that's a universal baseline what you're really asking are what additional features are required and what additional features might distinguish one solution from another.

Mobile ready. Personally, I am not interested in desktop solutions at all. I have a smartphone as almost everyone else does, or some other form of mobile computing device. When I have an idea or if I'm out in the garage brewing, I don't want to worry about a desktop/laptop holding any portion of my process.

Calendar integration as others have suggested, so that your sessions are logged and you can receive reminders of when to sample, rack and condition.

Version control is something that is often confusing, but is necessary for any serious brewer. BeerAlchemy has a recipe/"batch 1 of recipe" hierarchy that works pretty well.

Inventory management is a great feature. Personally, beer alchemy's inventory function is nicer then BeerSmith for example, but it lacks the pricing feature built into beersmith. I don't think either one of them have implemented inventory management very well, but BeerAlchemy is ahead in my eyes.

Of everything that could be built into software, I think the ultimate "killer feature" is pretty obvious. Just take a look at the software forum here and see how many times the same questions are repeated over and over - it's quite obvious that none of these software solutions are intuitive at all at the outset.

I think the killer feature would be a system of "wizards" that would offer a common sense, step-by-step method to establish basic calibration. When you boot up your software for the first time, it should ask you "Do you want to setup your equipment?". What follows should be a very specific series of questions in order. Are you brewing Extract, All Grain or Partial? Do you have a mash tun? Is your mash tun a cooler? What size cooler? Does it have a manifold? A false bottom? A braid? Do you have a HLT? Is it a cooler, pot or bucket? Do you plan to batch sparge or fly sparge? Would you like to know the difference between them? etc.

If this was well done, it would even request you to perform physical tests to verify specific results. ie - now we're going to calculate the boil off rate of your kettle. Set up your burner in your brewing location, pour X gallons of tap water and begin to boil for X minutes. After x minutes, measure the remaining volume of water with a measuring cup and enter the number here...

I personally think that the whole point of brewing software should be to help you with your brewing. If you find yourself going to a brewing forum to help you with some software then something is very backwards.

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Old 11-14-2012, 02:04 AM   #19
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No software is invincible. BeerSmith blows. People in this market have no vision at all, which is why I support iBrewmaster. It has its share of warts but at least the producer has a point of view.

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Old 11-14-2012, 03:05 AM   #20
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I think the calibration part would be neat. I think it's sad all of the input beersmith gets, but it's really never gonna happen. The best coding innovation and motivation comes from the youth IMHO. I post ideas on the forum at beersmith, but after watching a video of Brad for the first time tonight I realize none will ever come to fruition. He seems more like Mr. Rogers. The progress with Beertools seems stalled as well. Lots of little coders making simple phone apps that don't really do all that much. I'm sure the market isn't great enough to financially support the amount of time needed to make a well-balanced program and someone with the skills needed could easily code something more profitable.

In the end I think I am just expecting too much from the software. I need to rethink my processes to not rely so much on software to make good repeatable brews, with manageable inventory. Who needs to store a bunch of old ingredients anyways? Who needs to be reminded of when to rack off the dry hops? It's love that makes good beer, and not some calculated spreadsheet.

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