Preferred software for brewers

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Home on the Brew

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I see names such as Beersmith, Brewfather, Brewersfriend, and so much more for software options. Can I get some opinions on what people like and dislike about the different software there are?
 

bracconiere

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I use beersmith 2 still, before that promash(now defunct)...mostly just for the they tell me not accurate BH effec number, so i can tell if it's better or worse...and i like beersmith because it also let's me tally the cost.....gives a good guess at the color it will be. and i like being able to record my OGs and FGs in it to for future refernce...other then that, i'm just a homebrewer, and really don't need it....
 

Tobor_8thMan

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It's really what one gets used to using, what fits their brewing, etc.

For years I used ProMash.

Well... ProMash went belly up. Still works, but hasn't been updated in years.

Switched to BeerSmith. Wow! Light years better than ProMash. Takes a while to learn, discover, understand settings, etc in BeerSmith (I'd imagine any software is the same), but now I've been using long enough I count on BeerSmith for my recipes, brewing, etc.
 
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As I posted in my intro post today, I use Qbrew. Since I brew 98% extract I find this old SW to be the easiest to use. I have tried almost all the others , just were too complex for me. They all tend to be focused on AG. I know a few have an extract option, they do work but I started with QB 10 years ago. I have edited the QB data base to add/delete the ingredients I use or not . Still a work in process. If not in the DB file I enter in the recipe along with the data for that ingredient ..

I know no one is making any changes to the product or mod to the Data files. Last updates were from a brewer -The Screwy Brewer-

I guess once I got use to using the SW it was easier just to keep using it. After 10 years, I can brew beer and build recipes without it but I like to know about what the IBU might be, and the projected FG/ABV. Other data points are not a big deal for me. I come very close the OG/FG projections/computations from the program.
R
 

day_trippr

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fwiw, I've been running Beersmith for many years and versions up to the current 3.2.7 and like it a lot. I feeds my inner techno-dweeb ;)
The learning curve is steep though and the gui needs lots of duplication turned off in the settings to be remotely usable, but once you get through that and have a solid equipment profile results are almost totally predictable.

I also still have the Screwy Brewer version QBrew 0.4.1 installed - it's handy when someone has a simple gravity or IBU issue and you don't really want to fire up Beersmith. But I haven't used it for actual brewing in well over a decade...

Cheers!
 
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I have a Mac. And an iPad. I used to use BeerAlchemy before it went belly up. I tried Beer Smith, but it’s was too Windows95-ish to me. So I settled on Brewfather. I still have lots to learn, but it works the way I need it to, and looks much better than the Windows95 look of Beer Smith. I buy my grains in bulk, grow my own hops, and soon, I’ll be developing a yeast bank. Brewfather allows me to inventory all ingredients. And each batch can deduct the ingredients used from inventory. One thing that I wish Brewfather has, that Beer Alchemy had, was Suggest a Beer. It would tell me what recipes I had ingredients for.
 

DannyBoy270

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I use Brewfather. I like that it works well on mobile, is user friendly, and that I can easily adjust the settings to fit my process. The water chemistry tool is also a big plus for me. On the flip tho, my one knock is that there's not really a good way to keep track of split batches...at least not that I've figured out yet 🤷‍♂️🍻
 

Ridenour64

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I just subscribed to brew father. Very user friendly application that works on my iPhone which was very important to me. I know others have phone applications, but none that I knew of had a water calculator that worked on mobile.
 

brewgar

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Regarding QBREW - I too loved that simple, yet elegant, brewing software, and used it exclusively for many years. However, it stopped working after the most recent Microsoft update. It just will not open. Brewtarget still works, but was always second best to QBREW. Sigh. I cry tears for you QBREW.
 

Bago-0

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Been using Beersmith for years and like version 3. As mentioned by others it has a learning curve and could use some streamlining. Has good support from the Brad Smith and their forum. The latest version also supports web based use.
 

WESBREW

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I used beersmith for years, switched to Brewers Friend six months ago. I was just looking for a change. I’ve been using their calculators for a couple years. It’s been fun to use , nice appearance, excellent tools, transferred all of my beersmith recipies over. Huge shared recipe database, great forum community. Web based. Nice to look up recipe on phone when I’m at the beer store *also inventory feature is really good too. set it up and and it auto-deducts from inventory when you start a brew session
 
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bwible

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I use BeerTools. I like it, it’s pretty straight forward and has great features. Not very expensive. Easy to use. Available for mac and windows.
 

delium55

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Someone use Beer Engine from Graham Wheeler
 

KBW PilotHouse

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I used Beersmith for years, switched to Brewfather last year
Joe how was the switch to BrewFather? I’ve been using BeerSmith for years (subscription member) but as others have commented it has its downsides. I set up five new AG recipes in BSmith yesterday in reasonable time, but the user interface isn’t as appealing as BFather appears to be.

Hearing good things about BFather, and BrIan (Short Circuited Brewers) has a good video of it on YouTube. Seems you can’t transfer BSmith recipes to it??

I agree with positive comments on Brad (BSmith), and it seems he has a working relationship with Blichmann. I use the Blichmann BrewVision on some kettles and they interface with BSmith.

Your thoughts??

Cheers 🍻

KBW.
 
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Golddiggie

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I've been using BeerSmith since I started making my own recipes (batch #3). I have a consistent issue with printing my recipes from the app itself (requiring me to save it as a html doc and printing from a browser).

BTW, I've noticed a difference between mash temps when you move a recipe to the cloud folder. Which is why I've abandoned using that. If it can't maintain the same information between the two, then it's not usable IMO. I should be able to transition between both with nothing changing. Not the case last time I tried it.
 

KBW PilotHouse

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I've been using BeerSmith since I started making my own recipes (batch #3). I have a consistent issue with printing my recipes from the app itself (requiring me to save it as a html doc and printing from a browser).

BTW, I've noticed a difference between mash temps when you move a recipe to the cloud folder. Which is why I've abandoned using that. If it can't maintain the same information between the two, then it's not usable IMO. I should be able to transition between both with nothing changing. Not the case last time I tried it.
Same issues experienced here. I always need to check everything closely, especially with Cloud, and the printing makes me nuts!
 

Golddiggie

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Same issues experienced here. I always need to check everything closely, especially with Cloud, and the printing makes me nuts!
I just sent off a message under their 'contact' page. I suggest you do the same. The more people that tell them about this crap, the better. Since it will make it clear how it's NOT just one person.

With the lack of parity between installed app temperatures and the cloud version, I cannot (will not) use the cloud version. I'm also not about to spend more $$ to get their mobile app after already spending to get the annual license. IMO, that should be rolled into the subscription.
 

KBW PilotHouse

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I just sent off a message under their 'contact' page. I suggest you do the same. The more people that tell them about this crap, the better. Since it will make it clear how it's NOT just one person.

With the lack of parity between installed app temperatures and the cloud version, I cannot (will not) use the cloud version. I'm also not about to spend more $$ to get their mobile app after already spending to get the annual license. IMO, that should be rolled into the subscription.
Couldn’t agree more. Thanks diggie! BTW - keep me posted on your system “upgrades” if you don’t mind. Gonna revamp our system when we get a new space.

Cheers🍻

KBW.
 

day_trippr

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Regarding QBREW - I too loved that simple, yet elegant, brewing software, and used it exclusively for many years. However, it stopped working after the most recent Microsoft update. It just will not open. Brewtarget still works, but was always second best to QBREW. Sigh. I cry tears for you QBREW.
Curious about that I tried launching QBrew and it came right up.
Win10P release version shown below...

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1632499193253.png


Maybe reinstall?

Cheers!
 
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Deadalus

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I just sent off a message under their 'contact' page. I suggest you do the same. The more people that tell them about this crap, the better. Since it will make it clear how it's NOT just one person.

With the lack of parity between installed app temperatures and the cloud version, I cannot (will not) use the cloud version. I'm also not about to spend more $$ to get their mobile app after already spending to get the annual license. IMO, that should be rolled into the subscription.
When you say the cloud version, do you mean Beersmith Web version? I think so but just wanting to check to see if you might mean you see a difference between a recipe that is in the cloud folder and the desktop/personal folder.

I don't use the Beersmith Web version. I use Beersmith and the mobile app. I do agree it would be nice not to pay for the mobile app but in the grand scheme of things, if it was rolled into the subscription you would be paying for it anyway. It would be more invisible as a cost since it wouldn't be broken out to the consumer. I use the mobile app because I hate my f*%^ing printer with an Office Space level of passion. The business model of making money off the ink (like razors) is irksome all around but this printer will get the sledgehammer one day. I gave the POS a go though to see if I could print from the desktop app and I was able to print a recipe from both the My Recipes and Cloud folders to see if I might see what the printing issue might be. Other than not having any magenta ink, the recipe printed normally. Can't provide insight on the printing issue. (Windows 10)

On the Beersmith Web vs the desktop version and the temperatures, one place I would investigate to find the difference would be the inputs. Are they copying correctly between versions. Meaning is the recipe the same? The mash schedule the same? The equipment profile? Not suggesting it is a user error, just maybe a field is either not copying or a field may be defaulting to something else. Maybe I will try out the web version so I don't have to pay for the app but I will be checking closely for any variations.

I do like having a program that works on both mobile and desktop. I can work on the recipes on the desktop and then use the mobile app to run brewday timers and have the temps right there without having to print it out!
 

Golddiggie

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They call it "Cloud" in the menu, which when you click it opens another tab in the main window where you can move the recipe to it. I've both moved, and copied, the recipe to there with the same effect. Strike water temperature increases when you shift the recipe to the cloud. NO other changes made, it just does it on it's own when you look on the web page.
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I got rid of stink-jet printers long ago here at home. I had one color laser printer for more than a few years (about a decade IIRC) before it failed and I replaced it with a Xerox color laser MFP. That had issues right outside of warranty, so I replaced that with a Canon laser MFP which is going strong for longer than the Xerox (longer warranty on the Canon as well). I'm working my way through replacing the starter toner cartridges of the current printer, replacing two so far.
 

soup4lunch

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Beersmith 3 works well for me. I appreciate the V2 to V3 improvements for mead/cider recipes. Brad's incredible on responding to questions. I've recently added water treatment to my brew day, BS made it easy enough. There's a lot of pieces to dial in; I BIAB so I need to review all the temps as I brew in a quasi-climate controlled workshop but temps can be 45-85f. The running inventory/pricing is handy if I just want to brew up something.
 

Deadalus

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They call it "Cloud" in the menu, which when you click it opens another tab in the main window where you can move the recipe to it. I've both moved, and copied, the recipe to there with the same effect. Strike water temperature increases when you shift the recipe to the cloud. NO other changes made, it just does it on it's own when you look on the web page.
View attachment 743391

I got rid of stink-jet printers long ago here at home. I had one color laser printer for more than a few years (about a decade IIRC) before it failed and I replaced it with a Xerox color laser MFP. That had issues right outside of warranty, so I replaced that with a Canon laser MFP which is going strong for longer than the Xerox (longer warranty on the Canon as well). I'm working my way through replacing the starter toner cartridges of the current printer, replacing two so far.
Ok. That's the second option I was thinking you meant and doesn't involve Beersmith Web. I almost never do what you are saying there as I just keep my recipes in the cloud in order to use the mobile version. I did copy a few over from before I started using the Cloud and the mobile app but once I have gotten a recipe into the cloud I tweak versions there as I haven't filled up my limit (49 out of 125). At this point, I have recipes in the My recipes folder but I have either tweaked them in the Cloud or deemed them not worth pursuing. I will see if I can identify a change and maybe see what is happening. When revising written processes and other types of writings, sometimes it is hard to spot errors/differences because we have gone over them repeatedly and we know what's there. I have many times gotten back an edited version of something and thought how did I miss that! Sounds like it is on the software side somewhere since you are just copying the recipe. I doubt I personally have noticed this happening since I didn't have a lot of recipes in My Recipes that were versioned and so I wouldn't have likely noticed the temp change. Good to know.

Since you don't use the mobile app, are the Cloud folder recipes accessible to Beersmith Web?

That's my next step with printers, to step up to a laser. I just don't print very much at home but the kids need a printer too. I don't print much at all in general just a few things. I stash most stuff into Evernote for later reference.
 

Golddiggie

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Ok. That's the second option I was thinking you meant and doesn't involve Beersmith Web. I almost never do what you are saying there as I just keep my recipes in the cloud in order to use the mobile version. I did copy a few over from before I started using the Cloud and the mobile app but once I have gotten a recipe into the cloud I tweak versions there as I haven't filled up my limit (49 out of 125). At this point, I have recipes in the My recipes folder but I have either tweaked them in the Cloud or deemed them not worth pursuing. I will see if I can identify a change and maybe see what is happening. When revising written processes and other types of writings, sometimes it is hard to spot errors/differences because we have gone over them repeatedly and we know what's there. I have many times gotten back an edited version of something and thought how did I miss that! Sounds like it is on the software side somewhere since you are just copying the recipe. I doubt I personally have noticed this happening since I didn't have a lot of recipes in My Recipes that were versioned and so I wouldn't have likely noticed the temp change. Good to know.

Since you don't use the mobile app, are the Cloud folder recipes accessible to Beersmith Web?

That's my next step with printers, to step up to a laser. I just don't print very much at home but the kids need a printer too. I don't print much at all in general just a few things. I stash most stuff into Evernote for later reference.
You have to go to the BS recipe site/url to get to them (logging into that). With seeing the discrepancy in the strike temp, I didn't trust that everything else was still correct, so I've abandoned using it. I was really just looking for a way to reduce printed pages and/or be able to adjust things in the recipe as I was brewing without going to my computer.

I've done both a copy and move to the cloud side of BS with the same changes taking place. IMO, if you create a recipe in the local install, it should NOT change one bit if you slide it to the cloud part. Maybe it's because I have my own hardware profiles added, based off of the Spike items (I have a 20 gallon BK, but 15 gallon HLT and MT). Still, shouldn't matter.

For printers, lasers are not cheap like stinkjets, BUT you get far more printed pages per toner cartridge than stinkjet ink cartridges. Plus you don't need to worry about them drying out from not using the printer. If you don't print often, IMO, laser makes more sense due to how you can go several years on a set of toner cartridges. TRY to do that with ink. I went the entire life of my first laser printer without changing the toner cartridges. Current printers tend to ship with smaller page count 'starter' cartridges. Still, you get more prints from those than you do the stinkjet printer starter cartridges. Probably even more than a normal set of ink. Depending on how long it takes me to run through this first replacement set will determine if I get another 'standard' page count or go for the higher capacity. Right now, I'm leaning towards the standard ones. Especially if I get beer can labels on rolls along with the applicator machine. Since a good amount of toner is going to printing beer can labels right now.
 

JoeSpartaNJ

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Joe how was the switch to BrewFather? I’ve been using BeerSmith for years (subscription member) but as others have commented it has its downsides. I set up five new AG recipes in BSmith yesterday in reasonable time, but the user interface isn’t as appealing as BFather appears to be.

Hearing good things about BFather, and BrIan (Short Circuited Brewers) has a good video of it on YouTube. Seems you can’t transfer BSmith recipes to it??

I agree with positive comments on Brad (BSmith), and it seems he has a working relationship with Blichmann. I use the Blichmann BrewVision on some kettles and they interface with BSmith.

Your thoughts??

Cheers 🍻

KBW.
The switch was really easy. I find it must more user friendly, and the fact that you can use it on all phone, tablet, PC, etc and it saves automatically is a plus.

I have yet to see a downside to it really. The only thing is possible missing ingredients, but I brew "simple" so that is few and far between. I only had to add Midnight Wheat, but I took all the information from the website and plugged it in.

You can transfer recipes from Beersmith, but only from a computer (in my experience.) From Beersmith, export recipe to beer XML. Log into Brewfather and import beer xml file.....Done
 

Deadalus

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I agree @Golddiggie , it shouldn't change, it's just a folder move or a copy from folder to folder. Just a theory but maybe in the software the mashing algorithm was copied for some reason in the code, like maybe when he added the Cloud option. Then later, he tweaked the algorithm and didn't apply the tweak to the copied algorithm in the Cloud section. A non-programmer like myself, I've done that before where it is easy to copy the code for another analysis on different data. But then you maybe make a change to the analysis and you have to go and change the second one too. A good programmer will clean it up later or initially minimize the branching to what's necessary.

I had a decent inkjet with high capacity cartridges and it was reasonable for ink but it broke (3 years ago?) This one I got for $20 (Black Friday) knowing I'd be paying more again for ink but it also would refuse to communicate with the desktop every time for a long while but the nth install finally fixed it. When I catch a deal I will go with a laser printer and bust out the sledge!
 

Golddiggie

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For printers, even though mine is wireless itself, I have it connected with a cable to my router so that I can just connect up over my normal connection without doing anything more. I do the initial connection via IP address and it's done. My mother has a stinkjet that's wireless (I set it to a fixed IP) and she has had a lot of problems with it connecting one time, but then not connecting again until I'm there and look at it. Of course, that's an HP device, so yeah.

I also won't get a printer that doesn't duplex print and duplex scan via the document feed.

For the issues with BS, I see a reply in my inbox, but I've been working more, so haven't looked at it yet. I probably will later. I'm running the current release (not pre-release) of Win10 on my laptop. As mentioned, no other programs have any issue printing correctly. Which tells me that it's NOT my computer but the application.

IMO, Brad needs to allow people to set the PSI for force carbonating batches and see what volumes it gives. Since the value the app provides, for PSI is rarely an even number. Kind of hard to do 10.33psi with the regulators we have access to. ;)
 

KBW PilotHouse

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The switch was really easy. I find it must more user friendly, and the fact that you can use it on all phone, tablet, PC, etc and it saves automatically is a plus.

I have yet to see a downside to it really. The only thing is possible missing ingredients, but I brew "simple" so that is few and far between. I only had to add Midnight Wheat, but I took all the information from the website and plugged it in.

You can transfer recipes from Beersmith, but only from a computer (in my experience.) From Beersmith, export recipe to beer XML. Log into Brewfather and import beer xml file.....Done
Thank you Joe, excellent information! Looks like I’ll be trying BrewFather tomorrow based on you feedback. 👍

Cheers 🍻

KBW.
 

Kent88

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I use BrewersFriend. I wanted to use BrewTarget, as I'm a Linux enthusiast, but I just had an easier time using BrewersFriend. Only problem with BrewersFriend is when I start typing it into Google it thinks I'm going to ask about the milwaukee brewers, who I have no interest in.

It would be nice to have something available offline, but I haven't brewed in a blackout without even my cell network available as a backup, yet.
 

Knightshade

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I use brewersfriend, mostly because I watched a couple online brew days and it was referenced. They are sponsors here too, so that helped. Took awhile for me to get used to, and I'm sure I may not be using it right but...it is familiar at this point. I think the brew day timers, steps, brew log entries and all that is what really convinced me to subscribe.

They do have a phone app (iPhone at least, not sure about Android) which you can kinda use offline? It is pretty pathetic though.
 
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