BrewPal for iPhone- anyone else using it?

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GoBrewers

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For my first AG brew last weekend I used this little $0.99 app and was extremely happy with it. It calculates strike and sparge volumes and temps, IBU values, provides yeast strain data, and does brix/grav/ABV calculations.

There are a few other features, too, but IMO the ones I mentioned above are the brew day essentials. I tried messing around with the free trial of beer tools pro but I couldn't get past the confusing interface.

My question for you software vets: do your programs (promash, BTP, etc) offer more useful features for all that extra $$?
 

keelanfish

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I've been using BrewPal for my last couple all grain brew sessions as a check to some online recipe calculators. So far I've been very pleased with the results with the exception of the strike water temp calculator. I've found for my system it overshoots by about 3 or 4 degrees.
 

Belmont

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I'm using it. I thought there was a setting for adjusting system heat loss but I don't see it. I've had some issues with that as well. I need to figure out about how off it is and adjust mentally. I use it to remind me of how much and temp of strike water and my hop schedule. Looks like he added some features with the last release. Pretty good software for $0.99. I was going to build one myself until I came across his. Saved me a lot of development time.
 

jfenton78

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I have BrewPal. I don't use it religiously, but it's fun to bang out a recipe during a meeting. For a simple formulation applications its pretty good. The only thing I'd like is to be able to do is edit the data base. I've got some grains and hops that aren't in it. But is still worth $1. Its functionality is pretty similar to Qbrew.

I'm still waiting for Kent Place to release Beer Alchemy for iphone or the program from Trouser Mac.
 

macabra11

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Does anyone know how to clear a recipe in brewpal? Every time I open it, the recipe I was working on before opens. I don't want to have to erase every setting individually to start from scratch.
 

HarkinBanks

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Does anyone know how to clear a recipe in brewpal? Every time I open it, the recipe I was working on before opens. I don't want to have to erase every setting individually to start from scratch.
More>Load/Save>Start a New Recipe
 

keelanfish

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I have used it on several batches now and in fact used it last night on my hefe. Software works great, but I have the same problem as others regarding strike temp. I consistently overshoot by about four degrees.
 

nurlabys

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Hi everyone, I'm the developer of Brew Pal. Glad to hear you are using it on brew days :)

Addressing the strike temp overshoot: do you know if your grains are at the starting temp in the Mash & Sparge tab? As a workaround you could tell Brew Pal that your grains are at 90 degrees or so and it will reduce the strike temp by 3-4 degrees. You can set this option globally by changing the "Ambient Temperature" in the Settings tab. I'm almost always within one degree on my system, but then again my grain comes from a 68 degree basement! Also, there is no option for mash tun heat loss, but I might add that in a future version.

Brew strong

Dave
 

keelanfish

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nurlabys - first, thanks for the software. It's affordable, convenient and works well. It's actually the only brewing software I have ever used. I like that it is a work in progress with frequent updates.

I brewed EdWort's Bavarian Hefeweizen last weekend. 11 gallon batch, 14 lbs wheat, 8 lbs pilsen and 1 lb rice hulls. Target mash temp was 153 and my grain temperature was 87.

Inputting those values, Brew Pal calculates Strike 7.5 gallons @ 163.

I preheated my mashtun (10 gallon round igloo) with 2 gallons @ 163 for 10 minutes, then filled the mastun to the 7.5 gallon mark ensuring the water in the mashtun stayed at 163. Then I added the grains constantly stirring and checking the temp. Even after about 10 minutes and I felt the temperature had completely equalized, the temp was at 156 and I added some cool water to get it to 153. After 90 minutes of mash the temperature had dropped to 151.

I have checked my thermometer against other thermometers and also calibrated in ice water and boiling water and have found it to be within 1 degree. I also used the same thermometer for all parts of the process, so the relative temperature readings ought to be accurate.

I've found this same thing with my last few brews. On my next brew I'll heat strike water to 3 degrees below the calculated value and see what happens.
 

BPD

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have not brewed a recipe with it but playing with it has been fun. Good job. looking forward to a couple of updates mentioned and we discussed.
 

macabra11

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For the developer: I think it would be cool to somehow incorporate the "Style Guide" section into a new recipe creation. So that I could pick a style (i.e. American Pale Ale) and it would give me a base ingredient list to start from. Or something along those lines.

Basically, a recipe cheat sheet that shows what needs/should be in the beer to make it true to style.
 

weirdboy

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nurlabys - first, thanks for the software. It's affordable, convenient and works well. It's actually the only brewing software I have ever used. I like that it is a work in progress with frequent updates.

I brewed EdWort's Bavarian Hefeweizen last weekend. 11 gallon batch, 14 lbs wheat, 8 lbs pilsen and 1 lb rice hulls. Target mash temp was 153 and my grain temperature was 87.

Inputting those values, Brew Pal calculates Strike 7.5 gallons @ 163.

I preheated my mashtun (10 gallon round igloo) with 2 gallons @ 163 for 10 minutes, then filled the mastun to the 7.5 gallon mark ensuring the water in the mashtun stayed at 163. Then I added the grains constantly stirring and checking the temp. Even after about 10 minutes and I felt the temperature had completely equalized, the temp was at 156 and I added some cool water to get it to 153. After 90 minutes of mash the temperature had dropped to 151.

Did you adjust your ambient temperature in the settings? I noticed you're in GA, if it was hotter than 68F (I believe that's the default) or at least if your grain was hotter than that before you added it, that's going to screw up the strike water temp calculation.
 
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I'm still waiting for Kent Place to release Beer Alchemy for iphone or the program from Trouser Mac.
Kent Place Software does have an iPhone App called BrewMath. It doesn't do recipes, but it does have several features that I use, such as attenuation, carbonation, and SG correction.

My favorite feature of Brew Pal is the timer.
 

weirdboy

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Kent Place Software does have an iPhone App called BrewMath. It doesn't do recipes, but it does have several features that I use, such as attenuation, carbonation, and SG correction.

My favorite feature of Brew Pal is the timer.
Wow, really?

That's my least favorite feature. I can't stand it. It makes that ticking noise that I find really annoying, it doesn't have a way for me to time hop additions or dropping in the IC, and the fermentation timer, measured in days, isn't useful because you have to be in the app for it to work. And on brew day during a mash or boil, if you happen to be answering a phone call or whatever when the timer goes off, you're going to miss it.

I use the built-in Clock app on the iphone for all my timer stuff when I'm brewing. I just set up a series of timers for all my additions, fermentation, etc. and then I get alarms at those times no matter what I'm doing.
 
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I haven't used the fermentation timer, but I do see what you mean about the hop additions. I mainly use it with the manual timer, with the sound off, but the built in clock works just as well.

For a $0.99 app, it has plenty of features to choose from, I just chose to use the timer. I haven't played with all of them, so I can't give any feedback on them.
 

keelanfish

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Did you adjust your ambient temperature in the settings? I noticed you're in GA, if it was hotter than 68F (I believe that's the default) or at least if your grain was hotter than that before you added it, that's going to screw up the strike water temp calculation.
No, I didn't change the ambient temperature in the settings (I didn't even know it was there before). However, I did take a grain temperature reading of 87 degrees and input that into the Mash & Sparge calculator. If it doesn't factor in heat loss of the mashtun over time, how would ambient temperature factor in to calculating strike water temp?
 

kanzimonson

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I'm getting some extremely low values for IBUs when I use this app... They're usually half of what I calculate by hand. And yes, I'm correcting for gravity of my boil, and making sure I have the right AA%, utilization factor, and everything else you use to estimate bitterness. With this big of a variation, I don't trust the app.

I also don't like the water calculations - I can't customize it enough for the way I brew, and as a result it says I need way more water than I normally use, which would require a bigger brewpot.

I'll admit that I probably need to play with the settings to fix the water issue, but the IBU calc is killing me. If it weren't so cheap, I'd try to return it.
 

weirdboy

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I'm getting some extremely low values for IBUs when I use this app... They're usually half of what I calculate by hand. And yes, I'm correcting for gravity of my boil, and making sure I have the right AA%, utilization factor, and everything else you use to estimate bitterness. With this big of a variation, I don't trust the app.
Which equation are you using? By default it uses the Tinseth formula, which will produce comparatively lower numbers than the Rager formula for the same additions in my experience. Just looking at the recipe currently loaded into my copy, the IBUs jump from 18 to 25 depending on which setting I use. Also if your boil volumes don't match up that is going to affect utilization and give you different IBUs than what you are calculating by hand.
 

Timekiller

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Seems like a neat tool. Just got my ipodT yesterday. Played around with the program for a bit, but Ill use it on my next brew.
 
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