BeerSmith - BeerTools - Promash. - Which is best? What do you have?

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Which of the big three do you use.

  • BeerSmith

  • BeerTools Pro

  • Promash

  • another software


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digunderground

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@ shay

Not concerned about free.. lol this is an expensive hobby. I just want to make sure the software is worth it if im paying.. Thanks for the input!!!

-DIG
 

Chriso

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Mac users, do you have "other" windows apps you want to use as well? I ask because I am a newly-minted Mac user, and I just run my BeerSmith in Parallels Desktop. VMWare Fusion and CrossOver both do the same thing. I've also heard you can set up WINE for free.

BeerSmith here, no matter how much work it takes me to get it loaded on non-Windows OS.

I do have a few improvement suggestions / conversation points, but I'm not done drafting them. That'll be for a new thread on some other day.
 

Stevorino

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I go promash simply because the Brewing Network uses it and I get a lot of recipes from those guys.
 

Bobby_M

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I have beertoolspro and I think most people would like it. However, they've been running the 1.5 beta for a really long time now and are rumoured to be working on the user manual since it was so lacking in the previous releases. I have a hard time recommending it until 1.5 goes public.
 

BeerPressure

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I used the trial versions of ProMash, Beer Tools, and Beersmith. I think i am going to end up going with beersmith.
 

bookburn

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I have tried all 3. Beersmith and Beertools appear to be well supported because when I purchased the licensed versions I received my license keys within minutes. I cannot say the same for Promash because it has been 5 days since I applied for a registration key and have not gotten it. I have even left a message on the Promash message board but still no reply.

Creating recipes with Beersmith and Beertools is somewhat intuitive but it does take some playing around with the software to add ingredients and plan out various mash and hop schedules. I like both these products but Beertools does have a subscription service that allows you to expand on the number of recipes you can track online through their interface, as well as post your recipes for comments from others who use the software.
 

Bobby_M

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Frankly any integration with the website recipe database should be discounted when considering BTP. I would never trust a user submitted recipe. Even around here, I only brew something when a few other people give it a thumbs up or someone claims a comp win.

With that said, I use BTP and it does just about everything I want. The inventory feature could be better and so could the printout, but overall it's solid and looks good too. It's not for people that want it to hold their hand. It has NO presets.
 

Panzermann

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Not sure how to utilise any of them at this point, any tips would be appreciated. For now I am on my first kit (Bock).
 

bsay

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Beersmith

What do you like about the program you use?
It does all of the calculating for me, which is nice.

What is it missing?
It has a few quirks that annoy me sometime. Like when I want to add 3 ounces of malt, and the measurement is by the pound, I have to figure out what 3oz. is in points of a pound. The delete button on the keyboard also does not delete ingredients from a recipe, which I think it should (instead, the delete button on the program has to be pressed). Finally, the inventory management system is a little wonky, but I don't use it, so it doesn't bother me.

What does it do really well?
Calculates all of the "stats" of my recipes very accurately.

Why did you go for the one you did?
Tried it, liked it. The annoyances are small, and I'm sure will be addressed in future versions. Wish it was an open source project, I'd contribute heavily to it I'm sure.
 
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Like when I want to add 3 ounces of malt, and the measurement is by the pound, I have to figure out what 3oz. is in points of a pound.
You're about to like BeerSmith even more. Type "3 oz" into the quantity, and it will automatically convert to pounds. That technique works with most of the quantity fields in the program, and it will even convert between metric and English units.
 

FlyGuy

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What is it missing?
It has a few quirks that annoy me sometime. Like when I want to add 3 ounces of malt, and the measurement is by the pound, I have to figure out what 3oz. is in points of a pound.
Nope, actually it will do it for you. Just type in '3 oz' and it will convert the units for you.
 

Chriso

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You're about to like BeerSmith even more. Type "3 oz" into the quantity, and it will automatically convert to pounds. That technique works with most of the quantity fields in the program, and it will even convert between metric and English units.
I danced a big ol' floppy jig of joy the day that someone mentioned that to me. Best Feature Ever.

You want 5 lb, 3 oz? You type 5 lb 3 oz, and you get it. Buahahahaha!
 

edgewoodbrewery

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I have Beersmith. I just started using it though so I really don't have an opinion on it right now. I do like the inventory feature though!
 

billtzk

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I use BeerSmith now, and I love it. I started using it about three months ago. It'll run with wine under Linux, which is a big plus for me. It is an extremely versatile tool. I used to do most of the calculations it does by hand, and some where very tedious to do. BeerSmith is a huge productivity aid.
 

Pelikan

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I voted "other," as I use the Recipator. I'm surprised no one has mentioned it yet. From where I'm sitting, it does everything I'd want a recipe program to do (and then some).

I don't mean this as an affront, but it seems the pay-for brew software is little more than glorified recipators with some added frills like inventory, etc. I'd love for someone to prove me wrong though. I'm itchin' to spend a buck on the next gizmo, but when it comes to software I really can't justify the cost in light of the online calculators.
 

lordbeermestrength

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I use that too... I think I mentioned it in another forum. It isn't as nice as promash, though. Promash has a lot more calculators that I find useful.

But I like to keep track of my recipes with recipator, saved on my hard drive in folders by style. I like it a lot for that.
 

nosmatt

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Beersmith.
but, not an honest vote, i have never used the others. i have no idea what is best. beersmith is intuitive however, and i like that

the only thing i have a problem with, is sparging. i guess i just need to mess with it more, but a seperate sparge column in the recipe area would be great.
i use other online calculators to determine strike temp for sparge 1, and for sparge 2 since beersmith does not have what i want.
i must be overlooking it being it is so damned comprehensive...
 

Jolly McStanson

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I love Beer Smith, but iv never tried the others. You can tweak Beer Smith to do what you want. The more I fiddle with the program the more I learn. Also they have great support. If you have a problem go to there web site / forum, and ask your question. The moderators or someone else will always have an answer.

There was a concern with batch sparging so they re wrote the program to accommodate. I thought that was great.
 

ArcaneXor

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At this point I use StrangeBrew Java and various web-based calculators. I downloaded the trial of BTP and have been a bit frustrated by it, but I'll play around with it some more. Right now I am leaning against buying it.

I'll try Beersmith at a later point
 

Whisler85

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i havent bought the full version of any of the programs yet, but so far, I'd say Promash is more user-friendly, and definitely easier to navigate

just tinkered around with beersmith for the first time- it seems to have more features than promash

like someone said earlier, it would be nice if you could open multiple windows in beersmith- i do all my windows organizing with windows, not tabs
 

Runyanka

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Does beersmith have a tutorial on how to use it once you buy the full version vs the trial version? I have the big three trial versions downloaded now (beersmith, BTP, and pro mash). I am new to brewing, and to be honest with you, I dont know what half the dang parimeters it is asking me to input mean. I would like to learn beersmith for I like its interface, just with i knew how to use it for all its worth. I reall want to know questions like; how much striking water to use in mash and temp, how much sparge water to use and what temp, and so on. Thanks for the help.
 

saltwater43

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I've tried Beersmith and Promash, but for the New AG brewer (4 batches), Beersmith was the easiest to learn. We bought Beersmith. Now, if I could just get my sparging technique down.
Chuck
Merritt Island, Florida
 

blue_bmw2

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Although i haven't started brewing yet, two days and we will be cooking! i do have a copy of Beer Smith that i got from a friend who brews. I've started looking at it by entering my inventory and such. The only problem i have is finding all the information on a type of hops or malt when they came in a kit. I bought a kit to do as my first beer and i have to manually enter some of the hops in the software such as the Argentine Cascade hops. I can't figure out where to go to get all the information about the hops as LD Carlson's website, the make of the brewers best kit that i bought, doesn't contain any of the information. Any help would be wonderful!
 

Reverend JC

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just picked up beersmith after using trial versions of each for some time trying to find the most intuitive and complete program. I love it.
 

G-E-R-M-A-N

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How is beersmith with fly sparging calulations? I am using BTP right now, but having a problem understanding how to use it with fly sparging. I am thinking of pickup up beersmith, to use it and compare.
 

edennis

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I have used beer smith, pro mash, and beer alchemy. Beer Alchemy is my favorite. Beer Smith is a close second. Beer Alchemy is a little more user friendly than Beer Smith. However, Beer Alchemy is Mac only I think.
 

MagicLarry

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I started with promash, but I must say beer smith is just so much more user friendly. Plus updates are available still unlike promash. +1 for beersmith!
 

Crazytwoknobs

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I started with promash, but I must say beer smith is just so much more user friendly. Plus updates are available still unlike promash. +1 for beersmith!
Yeah, what's the story on that? Is version 2 not coming out ever? I looked around the website a few weeks ago and couldn't find anything about it.

I'm leaning towards Beersmith, but I won't have a computer near where I'm brewing, nor do I have a printer, any tips? Just take good notes?
 

Bobby_M

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I figured this thread would be good as any for this. About two years ago when I first started all grain brewing, I used Beersmith. I thought it was pretty easy to use and intuitive. However, for the past year and a half, I've been using BTP and despite the learning curve and lack of preset mash/sparge schedules, it's running like a rolex for me. In my quest for understanding, I downloaded Beersmith again to see why it has 60% penetration at HBT. I think the GUI is a total [email protected]%& with a bazzilion things to click. What's with the tiny catalog of ingredients also? I'm sure it's just resistance to change more than anything else, but it looks like I'll be sticking with BTP for at the least the near future.

Can someone do a video screen capture walk through showing how you'd craft a recipe, enter equipment stats and design the mash schedule?
 

3 Dog Brew

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I own both Beersmith and ProMash. But I only use Beersmith now. The top three packages all have most of the same basic features (e.g., recipe calculation, brew day scheduling, inventory management, etc.), but there are a few things about Beersmith that make it stand out for me. ...

Far and away, buying Beersmith was the best $20 I spent for my home brewery. Very highly recommended.
This is exactly my experience as well. I had used ProMash for a few years before switching to BeerSmith and converting all my recipes, although tedious, was well worth the effort.
 

janzik

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I figured this thread would be good as any for this. About two years ago when I first started all grain brewing, I used Beersmith. I thought it was pretty easy to use and intuitive. However, for the past year and a half, I've been using BTP and despite the learning curve and lack of preset mash/sparge schedules, it's running like a rolex for me. In my quest for understanding, I downloaded Beersmith again to see why it has 60% penetration at HBT. I think the GUI is a total [email protected]%& with a bazzilion things to click. What's with the tiny catalog of ingredients also? I'm sure it's just resistance to change more than anything else, but it looks like I'll be sticking with BTP for at the least the near future.

Can someone do a video screen capture walk through showing how you'd craft a recipe, enter equipment stats and design the mash schedule?
I paid for both BS and BTP back when I first started brewing. I really liked how BTP looked (especially compared to BS which I agree being an absolute total [email protected]%&). I just never fell in love with using it. I think for whatever reason the whole website subscription model was a turn off for me. Nevermind the fact that there really is no way to know if a recipe is any good, since anyone can really post a recipe and anyone can rate it for whatever garbage reason.

After I started collecting a quantity of ingredients I started entering them into BeerSmith's inventory and really just kept using it from there.

I still find BS lacking in ways, and I'm not sure how it compares to what BTP has to offer, since I stopped using it. I don't hate BS, but I wish things were different. Off the top of my head, without being in front of it, these are the things that stick in my mind...

It doesn't really give you the ability to "plan" a recipe. It's automatically got a date associated with it. You can keep this off your brew calendar by only putting the brews you do in your "brew log" folder (which you can change to another folder, rather than the default Brew Log).

I just don't like how that whole object model works, er lack there of one.
You should have a "Recipe" Object, which is independent of whenever it was brewed. When you brew, there should be a "Brew Session" object that contains the objects and properties of your brew day. So you would have a Brew Session Object that contains a Planned Recipe object (of the Recipe type) and an Actual Recipe (of the Recipe type), etc etc etc (This was all off the top of my head, so, I'm sure there are better ways to do this).

Something like this allows me to keep my base recipe in one place and then I can select it when I want to have a brew day and update the Brew Session object once everything is done. Mom bakes chocolate chip cookies. She's been using the same recipe for over 30 years, she doesn't print out a separate recipe card every time she makes them...

Taking this even further, it could be neat to have some sort of CVS system for recipe revisions (I used to brew this recipe with 4oz of Carapils, now I use 8oz, or whatever)

BS also doesn't give me the ability to "multitask". If I'm in a recipe and I need to go do the strike water calculations based on how warm my crushed grains are, I need to go select it from the tools menu, and then after I'm done I need to go back and find my recipe.

Inventory tracking needs to be handled better too. I need to confirm this by looking a little harder than I already have, but what I had to do was name my recently purchased bulk hops and my harvested yeast differently than what I already had. I did this so I knew that I had 3 ounces of some old ass Cascades (with diminished AA%) compared to the new 2lbs of it that I just bought. So I copied my old ass Cascade inventory item and renamed it to 2008 Cascades with the correct %. What would be nice is if I could have left the name as Cascades, but had additional fields for harvest year and source (whether it was hopsdirect, my LHBS or my back yard). Have it treat it as separate entities, but not screw up my recipe. If I added my APA recipe to BS 2 years ago, and it's my tried and true Haus recipe, I need to use the substitute button each time I want to brew it from a new source. It would be nice if I could say it needs 5.4% Cascades and then let me know with a check, an X or a switcharoo icon that will guide me to what I can use from my inventory. This also goes back to the "Planned Recipe" vs "Actual Recipe" for brew day.

I've set up my equipment as best as I think it is set (Sacc gave me suggestions for the same Coleman Xtreme cooler we both use), but BS is definitely broke for the Mash Profiles (or at least the sparging section). I actually don't even use it to calculate my sparge sizes and numbers. I collect my first runnings and then subtract it from my brew volume and then divide it in half and go for it.

I could go on and on, but I've already spent enough of screen here... I'm hoping a 2.0 will emerge, but as is, it is more than sufficient for doing what I'm doing, so for as much as I complain, I'm not losing sleep over it...
 

HalfPint

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I'm having a bit of a hard time. I've brewed dozens of AG batches, but just recently I'm beginning to have trouble. I need to start using a brewing program, but beertools seems like it has a bit of a learning curve.
 
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