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Old 01-03-2012, 05:27 AM   #1
JoyousRuction
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Default What are the most useful features in brewing software?

I have only really played around with the recipe formulation aspect of brewing software and have not played with many of the other features. I feel like I may be missing out on a lot of useful functionality. If you use brewing software, what features are you finding the most useful?

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Old 01-03-2012, 01:51 PM   #2
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As far as Beersmith 2...

Yeast Starter calculator
Inventory
Recipe Scaling
Mash Temperature calculations
Hydrometer correction
Water volume requirements

That's the first bunch that come to mind...I'm sure I'll think of more.

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Old 01-10-2012, 03:44 AM   #3
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Thank you for the insight! Is anyone else using brewing software for other tasks?

(and yes, I know this is a shameless bump)

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Old 02-11-2012, 07:46 AM   #4
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I am also looking to get brewing software now that I have gone AG. I read a number of reviews on Beersmith. Has anyone used this on HBT?
What are your thoughts?

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Old 02-11-2012, 11:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruNut View Post
I am also looking to get brewing software now that I have gone AG. I read a number of reviews on Beersmith. Has anyone used this on HBT?
What are your thoughts?
BeerSmith is one of the best brewing pieces of "equipment" that I've bought. I've been using it since my 3rd or 4th batch and can't imagine brewing without it. Download the free trial and play around with it for a while. It may take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, I think you'll like it.
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Old 02-11-2012, 02:33 PM   #6
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I'm both an ex-programmer and an ex-engineer, so I'm a bit of the geek side of things. I like to understand the math that makes things happen, so I have a number of spreadsheets and such to handle most of my calculations (yeast starters, estimated SRM, FG/ABV, etc.).

I like a few pieces of software for the more advanced calculations that involve multiple steps of factoring, lookup tables, etc. I used ProMash for water addition calculations until I discovered Bru'un Water. I like BeerSmith (haven't tried the 2.0 yet) to calculate my hop utilizations and mash volumes/temps for multiple-step mashes. BeerSmith can be handy for quickly comparing your intended recipe with a particular BJCP category. I keep meaning to, but haven't gotten around to trying out BeerTools Pro yet.

I've yet to find a package that can effectively log and display what you intended to brew vs. what you actually brewed (e.g. planned 1oz 4% Cascade and during brew found only 1oz, subbed .5oz 8% Centennial). As a LOT of us do brew-day-substitutions, that would be a handy feature to find (is that in BS2?). I have a brew log in Excel for recording that. I also have yet to find a full-service brewing app that includes adequately customizable brew day notes or tasting notes other than just open text boxes...

Personally, I don't find the inventory systems to be useful and use Excel instead.

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Old 02-11-2012, 07:06 PM   #7
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@darkbrood
IBrewmaster allows you to change ingredients or anything on the fly.

In general I love recipe formulation especially comparing to the bjcp standards. I made up an IPA recipe comparing to the bjcp and tweaking to stay within its standards. Served today and I am happy with the results.

Of course it is not an exact science but I think the calculations of ibu's, og, fg, and srm color were pretty spot on.

Just like weighing yourself on different scales will have a different number but if you keep using the same scale you can track subtle changes.

I tried trials of beer smith, beer alchemy but settled on iBrewmaster.

I dont think you'd be disappointed with any of those.

Back to my IPA...

Cheers
Mike

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Old 02-12-2012, 04:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkBrood View Post
I'm both an ex-programmer and an ex-engineer, so I'm a bit of the geek side of things. I like to understand the math that makes things happen, so I have a number of spreadsheets and such to handle most of my calculations (yeast starters, estimated SRM, FG/ABV, etc.).

I like a few pieces of software for the more advanced calculations that involve multiple steps of factoring, lookup tables, etc. I used ProMash for water addition calculations until I discovered Bru'un Water. I like BeerSmith (haven't tried the 2.0 yet) to calculate my hop utilizations and mash volumes/temps for multiple-step mashes. BeerSmith can be handy for quickly comparing your intended recipe with a particular BJCP category. I keep meaning to, but haven't gotten around to trying out BeerTools Pro yet.

I've yet to find a package that can effectively log and display what you intended to brew vs. what you actually brewed (e.g. planned 1oz 4% Cascade and during brew found only 1oz, subbed .5oz 8% Centennial). As a LOT of us do brew-day-substitutions, that would be a handy feature to find (is that in BS2?). I have a brew log in Excel for recording that. I also have yet to find a full-service brewing app that includes adequately customizable brew day notes or tasting notes other than just open text boxes...

Personally, I don't find the inventory systems to be useful and use Excel instead.

You mean like this? I got tired of not having an effective way to log that as well and decided to add that functionality to my Brew Workbook. Pretty much everything needed maps from the recipe page to the brewday page for ease of use. When I take my pre-boil gravity it estimates my final gravity so I can adjust my hop schedule if need be. Each beer I make now is logged fairly completely so I know exactly what I made each time around.
recipe.jpg   brew.jpg  
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by DarkBrood View Post
I've yet to find a package that can effectively log and display what you intended to brew vs. what you actually brewed (e.g. planned 1oz 4% Cascade and during brew found only 1oz, subbed .5oz 8% Centennial). As a LOT of us do brew-day-substitutions, that would be a handy feature to find (is that in BS2?).
It was in Beersmith 1 as well...

On brew day, select your recipe and click the button that says "copy to log".
Go to Brew Log, and double click the recipe you just copied to open it. Click on the date field and set the date to "today".

Now make whatever changes you want to ingredients, mash, etc. for this brew using whatever substitutions or process changes you have for that session. Use the notes field as appropriate for logging brew day notes that don't fit into one of the predefined fields in the ingredients, mash, water, etc.


The Brew Log should be your log of what you have actually brewed, as opposed to the Recipes section which is what you should use to design recipes.


I don't think the documentation is very clear about the difference between the two, or the process you should use with the software, but that is what I have done for several years and it works well for me. For each brew day, I have a separate copy of that recipe in the Brew Log with specific changes/notes based on what I did that day.

There isn't really a good "comparison" where you can view deltas between the source recipe and the brew log, though. However it wouldn't be too tough to make something quick & dirty using a diff tool.




I keep hearing people complaining specifically about that "missing essential feature" but it is because they don't know how to use the software, not because it isn't there. I think Brad could do a much better job at making certain aspects of Beersmith much more intuitive, and that is definitely one area that could use some improvement...along with simplifying the UI in general.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:42 PM   #10
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You know when you see/hear a recipe grain bill in "%"
Beersmith has a option were you change from "#" to %.
Also oz to grams for hops.
Thats what i like. Plus the handful or different calculators are great

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