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Old 03-23-2010, 12:36 AM   #1
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If I'm new to brewing and I'm only messing with extract kits/cans right now, is there any need to use any brewing software? I plan to switch to AG after I have several batches under my belt, but for now I'm going to stick with kits (just put my FIRST in the primary on Saturday).

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Old 03-23-2010, 12:41 AM   #2
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I think so. I wasn't sold on the idea when I was doing steeping grains/extracts, but once I started using Beersmith, I was smacking myself in the forehead- "Why didn't I do this ages ago!?!"

There are some advantages even for extract brewers. One is the ability to "see" the ingredients, what they bring to the recipe, and to recalculate IBUs easily. For example, if I was making a simple English brown, but I wanted to do a 3 gallon boil instead of the recipe's 1.5 gallon boil. Or if I had a different brand of extract, or crystal. All of the ingredients, including hops and yeast, are in there and you can tweak things easily.

You can save your recipes (not in the free trial, I don't think) and make notes. You can change an extract recipe easily to a partial mash, or even convert recipes from AG to extract, or vice versa.

One of my favorite features is having the BJCP style guidelines incorporated. So, if you make an Irish red, you can see if yours is "to style" and read the descriptions to see if you've met the guidelines. It helped me decide what beers I wanted to make, just by reading the descriptions, and the commercial examples!


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Old 03-23-2010, 12:45 AM   #3
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Absolutely. I used Beersmith when I was brewing extract and steeping grain recipes - and you can even use it to build your recipes, so you can experiment a little bit, rather than buying a kit. To this day, I still enjoy messing around in Beersmith.
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Old 03-23-2010, 02:26 PM   #4
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Concur with previous posters. Beersmith is cool for playing around with different ingredients to see what they bring to the recipe numbers. It's probably MORE useful for AG than Extract, but only simply because AG has an extra step that people seem to struggle doing by hand.

But, if I were going to do it all over again, I'd have gotten it before I went AG. That way I could play with it's features ahead of time.
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Old 03-23-2010, 02:29 PM   #5
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Beersmith is the shyznat, as the kids say. I also use BrewPal for the iPhone, which keeps getting better and better (and for 99cents, a hell of a bargain!)
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Old 03-25-2010, 05:01 PM   #6
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Oh, I hadn't even thought of getting software to help with brewing so that's a great tip. I'll definitely look into that! I'll check out Beersmith and BrewPal because they sound really handy. Right now I'm just using kits as well but I hope to move away from that soon. If you're into making absinthe there's a great kit here, by the way.


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