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Old 04-27-2009, 02:09 AM   #1
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Default trying to understand utility of program for extract brewer

Hi all,

I'm relatively new to brewing (1 year down - about 100 gallons brewed thus far - in fact, I will brew my 100th gallon next week with a special dogfish head 120minute clone, their recipes are great). I am exclusively an extract brewer, probably never to be an all grain (nothing against it, I just like extract brewing and find it easiest given my schedule and such).

My very simple and naive question is in brewing software and it's ability to do conversions. I was wondering why a program would even be necessary for the extract brewer (seems a bit complicated to me - I have a great notebook where I keep track of all beer logs - it's very fun and informative, and even has some hops that I spilled a few batches back, nice smell).

When I look through recipe archives, I find a lot of all grain recipes for beers I'd like to try. I found that beersmith will convert these to extract recipes. Here's the question - how good is it at doing that? If I put in a recipe as I find it in some archive, will I get a pretty good facsimile using this conversion thing, or will I just be way off. I know nothing at all about grain brewing, so will I be able to figure out what important factors to enter in to make the conversion work best? There are some terms I simply don't know/understand.

Just curious - I was debating on spending the $20 (I know - not a lot, and probably worth it, but I was looking for good reasons).

Thanks

Dave

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Old 04-27-2009, 02:12 AM   #2
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I don't know much about the conversions to AG or to Extract but Beersmith is worth the $20. It takes a little while to figure it all out but once you do, it makes calculation much easier. IBU, Carbonation, Attenuation, it does it all for you.

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Old 04-27-2009, 12:03 PM   #3
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The conversion feature works so-so. I mean, it'll convert it just fine. But it's a software program, and only can convert the info you input. So, it'll work fine, but then needs your human eyes to look at it, and make the final tweaks. It won't warn you, "Not enough base malt!" for example. But, it really is handy for beginning the conversion, for figuring the OG and probable FG, for designing recipes with grains, for saving the recipes, etc.

It helps keep inventory, has hops info (including substitutions) and yeast info. You can look up any grains to see if they are "mash or steep" grains. It's well worth the $20, but it does have some limitations.

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Old 04-27-2009, 07:51 PM   #4
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Does it scale recipes? i.e. convert a 5 gallon recipe to 2.5?

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Old 04-27-2009, 08:11 PM   #5
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I can see it being useful if you formulate your own recipes, since it will give you guidelines for OG, FG, IBU, etc. It seems a lot easier than trying to adjust by hand. I can even stretch it a bit to say that it might help with AA% differences due substitutions necessary to overcome The Hop Shortage.

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Old 04-28-2009, 12:14 AM   #6
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It does seem to me to be something that is much more useful for an all grain brewer. OG's aren't really that important for extract brewing (I've hit the mark pretty close every time, no worries), since there really isn't any conversion/extraction going on. I don't fully understand the other numbers. I simply wanted to take an all grain recipe and see if I could convert it (without knowing much of course) into an extract recipe for trying.

I do think it scales - if you play with it a bit (not too difficult really). That might be useful, but I almost always do 5.5 gallon batches (or thereabout).

It would be fun if you could take a beer flavor - know it's IBU's blah blah and put that in and get some sort of crude starting recipe for making it. Hmmm.

Dave

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