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Old 12-12-2007, 12:43 AM   #1
MikeInCtown
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Default Will software help a noob?

Going to be getting started on my second brew soon which will be a mini mash with about 5lbs of grain IIRC. Eventually I want to go AG. (soon, but not until another batch or so.) Anyay, I'm wondering if a program like Beersmith will also help you understand some of the details with AG brewing, or would that be something you need to have learned before you get into the programs?

As an example, I like the commercial light lagers of some brands but I see many different recipes to make the same clone. I'd like to be able to plug in the different recipes and see how much they differ, if that is possible, and then come up with my own possible recipe with any changes that may make the brew better for me.

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Old 12-12-2007, 01:31 AM   #2
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Software doesn't help you make good or bad recipes. They'll advise you of your projected OG and IBU and how they fit into different style catagories, but they won't tell you if you're using way too much crystal malts for a style. I personally couldn't brew without software, at least I wouldn't want to but I wouldn't recommend starting your own recipes from scratch as soon as you get it.

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Old 12-12-2007, 02:00 AM   #3
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I think you are better off getting a book or two to learn the basics and then the more complex aspects of beer. "Designing Great Beers" and the new version on "How To Brew" would be couple of good choices. You can evaluate both Promash and Beersmith if you want to play around with the software.

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Old 12-12-2007, 02:08 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info. I have the whole How to Brew book saved on the PC, so I'll keep reading. I think I'm getting pretty good at understanding the basics of what everything is but don't understand the differences in hop varieties or grain varieties. I figured seeing stuff in the programs would be a slight help.

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Old 12-12-2007, 02:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeInCtown
Thanks for the info. I have the whole How to Brew book saved on the PC, so I'll keep reading. I think I'm getting pretty good at understanding the basics of what everything is but don't understand the differences in hop varieties or grain varieties. I figured seeing stuff in the programs would be a slight help.
Download Beersmith, I think you get 21 day full version trail.
Also >> HopInfo
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:29 AM   #6
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Sorry, one last quick question. Can I save the recipes that I have used already in the programs? That would be helpful off the bat as it would save me from typing out so darn much in Word. (write down ingredients that come with the kit for later possible use again)

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Old 12-12-2007, 03:08 AM   #7
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I use Promash and I don't think you could import that info into the program, so you would have to re-input. Promash is sort of select the item and then adjust the weight or time whatever you want to do. You might be able to save the recipe in the comments or the Beer Session portion of the program.

Someome that has Beersmith will have to help you with that but I am doubting it.

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Old 12-12-2007, 01:29 PM   #8
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I think playing around with a program will help you understand how OG can be affected by different malts. It isn't going to tell you how something is going to taste though. For hops it'll tell you IBU's but if you put a pound of hops in at flameout, the IBU's aren't going to change, but the flavor most certainly will.

I do think it will be helpful for you though if you plan on doing some mini mashes before you jump to all grain.

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Old 12-12-2007, 01:31 PM   #9
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I agree that reading www.howtobrew.com and understanding the concepts/process is prb better than letting the software do the driving. Once you get the basics down, the software is great for running the numbers and seeing what changes happen as you tweak recipes.

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Old 12-12-2007, 01:50 PM   #10
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Since you are already doing PMs and are looking into AG soon, software would be a good idea.

I use BeerSmith and I brew AG and I it has helped me a lot.

Of course, software is just a tool. It is not a substitute for understanding what you are doing. You can easily make sh!tty beer using software.

It sounds like you are on the right track by reading How to Brew. Also, practice makes perfect. Don't let the software override your intuition.

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