Preferred software for brewers

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BrewDrinkRepeat

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I use Beer Tools Pro, and still feel like it's the best brewing software out there (functionality, GUI, etc.). I'm not convinced Beersmith or Brewfather (the only others I would consider if I had to switch today) do anything that is significantly better, and they are much harder on the eyes (especially BeerSmith, which is just fugly.)

On the downside, Beer Tools Pro is not maintained to the same degree as the others. A new update (2.11) was recently released, and IIRC this was the first new update in several years. That said, I haven't found it to be wanting for anything; when it first came out, and especially when 2.0 was released, it was light years ahead of anything else on the market (especially for Mac users, where options were always limited)

Now, to be clear, if someone's main purpose is simply a recipe database, *any* software will work.

The real value of brewing software is when you calibrate all of your equipment (to be able to accurately predict the brewday), manage your ingredient inventory, etc.

A buddy of mine is still using ProMash... if it works, it works!
 

day_trippr

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Ahh...and with that I should qualify my earlier contribution that I do recipe creation with BS3 on a Windows box, push that to the Cloud, then pull it down to an Android tablet running BS3 "mobile" for use on brew days. I want the inventory control and broader utility suite on the PC...

Cheers!
 
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Home on the Brew

Home on the Brew

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Thank you everyone for the comments. It seems that I was not the only one to learn something from this thread, which is great.
 
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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.
Not sure what the WIN OS issue is related to?, I run WIn 10 latest update with no problem. I thought I had it set to run in compatibility mode, no its running native under Win10 . Dont know if I can provide any advice to get it running for you again
 

AZ Maverick

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I use Beer Smith 3 and Brewer's Friend.
I use Beer Smith 3 mainly for creating recipes and I use Brewer's Friend kind of like a sanity cross check regarding my recipe.
I can't seem to get the mash efficiencies to come out right on Beer Smith (not that it matters).
Both programs have similar features that I think some work easier on one than the other (I really like the calculators on Brewer's Friend).
 

bwible

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I use Beer Tools Pro, and still feel like it's the best brewing software out there (functionality, GUI, etc.). I'm not convinced Beersmith or Brewfather (the only others I would consider if I had to switch today) do anything that is significantly better, and they are much harder on the eyes (especially BeerSmith, which is just fugly.)

On the downside, Beer Tools Pro is not maintained to the same degree as the others. A new update (2.11) was recently released, and IIRC this was the first new update in several years. That said, I haven't found it to be wanting for anything; when it first came out, and especially when 2.0 was released, it was light years ahead of anything else on the market (especially for Mac users, where options were always limited)

Now, to be clear, if someone's main purpose is simply a recipe database, *any* software will work.

The real value of brewing software is when you calibrate all of your equipment (to be able to accurately predict the brewday), manage your ingredient inventory, etc.

A buddy of mine is still using ProMash... if it works, it works!
I had the old version, 1.5 and used that for years with no complaints. The biggest difference was the update to the BJCP categories. It does inventory but I mostly only use that for hops. I never print anything. I have my own brewlogs and I write them by hand. There is an online recipe database. I think BeerTools has some connection to the people at BYO magazine. So its software designed by brewing people for brewing people.

Costs $24.95 which most of the time is about the cost of 1 batch.

I had an old program a very long time ago called BrewWizard if anybody remembers that. It came on a single 3.5” floppy. I had an old laptop running Windows 3.1 that I had that on. I only finally got rid of that laptop in 2019 when I moved. But I had not used BrewWizard for probably at least 12 years.
 
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TestTickle

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I've used Beersmith for a few years now and it has never let me down. About a year or so ago, I decided to give Brewfather a spin. For mobile users, Brewfather is definitely better, IMO, but I just can't let go of the PC version of Beersmith. For me, creating and tweaking recipes in Beersmith's PC version is superior. The web-based version of Beersmith looks promising, although at this time there are still some limitations. As for the Beersmith mobile app? Don't even waste your time.

I am hoping that Brad will fine-tune the web version of Beersmith and add some of the features that intrigued me with Brewfather such as Tilt integration and fermentation tracking/notifications.
 

day_trippr

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fwiw, while I create and manage recipes (and inventory) using BS3 on my Windows box, I use BS3 mobile on an Android tablet on brew days, as it provides the strike water temperature tool and the timer function along with the basic recipe amounts and timing. I push the recipe up to a slot in my BS Cloud space and pull it down to the tablet, and away I go. I can also back-annotate brew day data via tablet input.

I don't think BS3 mobile is ready to be a standalone product...yet. I expect it will, eventually...

Cheers!
 

Deadalus

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fwiw, while I create and manage recipes (and inventory) using BS3 on my Windows box, I use BS3 mobile on an Android tablet on brew days, as it provides the strike water temperature tool and the timer function along with the basic recipe amounts and timing. I push the recipe up to a slot in my BS Cloud space and pull it down to the tablet, and away I go. I can also back-annotate brew day data via tablet input.

I don't think BS3 mobile is ready to be a standalone product...yet. I expect it will, eventually...

Cheers!
If you are creating the recipe in the local folder (My Recipes) and moving it to the cloud, @Golddiggie is reporting an issue with strike temperatures changing. I didn't try particularly hard but I didn't have the issue happen when I tried to test it. I will check on it in the future just to see.
 

Deric

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Long time BeerSmith user. Had a few issues recently (likely my fault not BeerSmith's). Gave quick test runs to Brewer's Friend and Brewfather.

I like Brewfather. 2 brews in ( one each on 2 different systems) and all numbers seem spot on.

Works seamlessly on all platforms (so far..). I brew at home as well as with my brother at his place on a larger system. It's nice being able to access/share data in real time.
 

yorkeken

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Mac user… started with BeerAlchemy years ago, then transitioned to Beersmith. Was hearing good things about Brewfather so began running both to compare. Now a premium Brewfather user and very happy. I imported all my recipes easily but had to work on the inventory as some of my ingredients had slightly different parameters (grain color/alpha acid %, etc.) that the Brewfather software didn’t recognize but it was relatively easy to fix. Ability to use it across all my devices a real plus. Also seems to be a bit easier to use once you get familiar with the layout.
 

jrgtr42

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I use Brewers Friend myself. I used Brew Toad before that, until they croaked (🤪) and I really liked their interface. Brewers friend seemed pretty similar, so |I went that route - plus it was free to start - I didn't want to pay anything until I got used to using it,and see what it can do.
I don't really brew to styles; I don't enter competitions or anything, so it's more to get the numbers I should expect, and to keep my recipes and variations somewhere other than my brewing notebook, which as everyone here knows, could get wet etc in the heat of a brew day.
 

KBW PilotHouse

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Mac user… started with BeerAlchemy years ago, then transitioned to Beersmith. Was hearing good things about Brewfather so began running both to compare. Now a premium Brewfather user and very happy. I imported all my recipes easily but had to work on the inventory as some of my ingredients had slightly different parameters (grain color/alpha acid %, etc.) that the Brewfather software didn’t recognize but it was relatively easy to fix. Ability to use it across all my devices a real plus. Also seems to be a bit easier to use once you get familiar with the layout.
Any problems using BeerSmith on Mac? I’ve had a few issues (printing, not updating correctly when scaling batch size) but more so with my recipes on cloud & using mobile version on iPad.
 

hout17

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Any problems using BeerSmith on Mac? I’ve had a few issues (printing, not updating correctly when scaling batch size) but more so with my recipes on cloud & using mobile version on iPad.
I love that they support multiple platforms. I have it installed on my win10 desktop and also installed on my Linux mint laptop. There are a couple of tiny quirks graphically in mint but other than that it works very well. The cloud works great too.
 

doug293cz

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I can't seem to get the mash efficiencies to come out right on Beer Smith (not that it matters).
...
BeerSmith does not use a predictive model for efficiencies, even though it is fairly straight forward to predict mash efficiency if you know your typical conversion efficiency. What is does is use the brewhouse efficiency, that you specify, and the equipment losses that you also specify, to back calculate the "estimated" mash efficiency. The big bogey in this is the lauter efficiency which depends on your sparge process and grain bill weight to pre-boil volume ratio.

Brew on :mug:
 

SonomaBrewer

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Any problems using BeerSmith on Mac? I’ve had a few issues (printing, not updating correctly when scaling batch size) but more so with my recipes on cloud & using mobile version on iPad.
Tried it about a year ago. At that time, interface visually horrible on my Mac. Pretty clearly programmed for PC and uses some sort of OSX translation that renders it ugly and less effective.
 

yorkeken

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Any problems using BeerSmith on Mac? I’ve had a few issues (printing, not updating correctly when scaling batch size) but more so with my recipes on cloud & using mobile version on iPad.
Not really… one quirk (and I believe it’s the same with Brewfather), is when I make any adjustments to my equipment profile, I have to refresh the recipe by changing the profile to another option, then back again to trigger the adjustments. Perhaps this is similar to your scaling issues. I never used the cloud service and never print so can’t speak to those items. Beersmith was fine for me but I’m liking Brewfather better. The seemingly less detailed screen appearance provides all the information I need in an easier to view format.
 

duncan.brown

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when I make any adjustments to my equipment profile, I have to refresh the recipe by changing the profile to another option, then back again to trigger the adjustments.
I actually think that's a feature, not a bug. It allows me to tweak my equipment profile without changing the parameters of old batches that were made before the tweak.

I use Beersmith on the Mac and other than printing, I love it.
 

TestTickle

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Not really… one quirk (and I believe it’s the same with Brewfather), is when I make any adjustments to my equipment profile, I have to refresh the recipe by changing the profile to another option, then back again to trigger the adjustments. Perhaps this is similar to your scaling issues. I never used the cloud service and never print so can’t speak to those items. Beersmith was fine for me but I’m liking Brewfather better. The seemingly less detailed screen appearance provides all the information I need in an easier to view format.
The profiles are basically master “templates” that you can attach to a recipe. Changing a profile will not change a recipe for the reason @duncan.brown mentioned above (that would really be a mess if it did).

You can however edit the profile in the recipe. There should be a little edit button next to the profile selector (at least there is in Windows). There, you can make changes that will immediately be reflected for that recipe. It will not change the master profile or affect other recipes. This goes for any other type of profile (mash, water…).
 

KBW PilotHouse

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The profiles are basically master “templates” that you can attach to a recipe. Changing a profile will not change a recipe for the reason @duncan.brown mentioned above (that would really be a mess if it did).

You can however edit the profile in the recipe. There should be a little edit button next to the profile selector (at least there is in Windows). There, you can make changes that will immediately be reflected for that recipe. It will not change the master profile or affect other recipes. This goes for any other type of profile (mash, water…).
I have several different profiles for different systems. When I take say a 10 gal recipes and scale them with the 5 gal system profile the liquid volumes always need to be closely checked and often adjusted. The 5 gal profile works well if not scaling a larger batch, cloud issues not withstanding…

Cheers 🍻
 

KBW PilotHouse

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I actually think that's a feature, not a bug. It allows me to tweak my equipment profile without changing the parameters of old batches that were made before the tweak.

I use Beersmith on the Mac and other than printing, I love it.
That’s a great point that never occurred to me!! 🤪 I can imagine going back to brew one of your flagship recipes and not recognizing the equipment profile had changed!!

Thanks for pointing this out!!

Cheers🍻

KBW.
 

KBW PilotHouse

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Not really… one quirk (and I believe it’s the same with Brewfather), is when I make any adjustments to my equipment profile, I have to refresh the recipe by changing the profile to another option, then back again to trigger the adjustments. Perhaps this is similar to your scaling issues. I never used the cloud service and never print so can’t speak to those items. Beersmith was fine for me but I’m liking Brewfather better. The seemingly less detailed screen appearance provides all the information I need in an easier to view format.
Yep, that’s similar to my scaling issues. And Duncan.Brown’s feedback may have just explained why that’s been happening. I like BeerSmith and may stick with it in the long run, but I’ll switch to BrewFather this weekend based on input - thanks! I have 3 new recipes to do next week so I’ll do smaller batches, then scale them to larger and see how it goes. I do like the screen better on BF as you also mentioned.

Cheers🍻

KBW.
 

AZ Maverick

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BeerSmith does not use a predictive model for efficiencies, even though it is fairly straight forward to predict mash efficiency if you know your typical conversion efficiency. What is does is use the brewhouse efficiency, that you specify, and the equipment losses that you also specify, to back calculate the "estimated" mash efficiency. The big bogey in this is the lauter efficiency which depends on your sparge process and grain bill weight to pre-boil volume ratio.

Brew on :mug:
Ah - I BIAB and I don't sparge so I suppose that really screws things up.... 😜
 

Gresco

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I've been using BeerSmith for a couple years now, on and off. Used Brewfather for a while, and loved it. But ever since BS came out with their web version recipe editor, I find it generally easier to use, only because I am already used to using BS. I like it's layout more that BF. Brewfather is a great app though and has everything you need for a brew day, and it's maybe a little simpler to get started with. I also like their brew day sheets (recipe print out) over the BS ones. I wish there was a way to customize the BS sheets, as it always displays (to me) redundant data (such as the estimated vs measured data). Brad Smith is very good at responding to any inquires, as is the Brewfather creator on their FB page. Can't really go wrong with either.
 

EarthwormJim

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I wish there was a way to customize the BS sheets, as it always displays (to me) redundant data (such as the estimated vs measured data). Brad Smith is very good at responding to any inquires, as is the Brewfather creator on their FB page. Can't really go wrong with either.
This can be done, look here. It can be difficult getting started if you are't familiar with html.
 

Deadalus

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This can be done, look here. It can be difficult getting started if you are't familiar with html.
Aha! I was looking around in the program folders for what might be the template that the recipe prints from. I saw the reports section but didn't realize you could add something there. Thanks!
 
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+1 for Brewer's Friend. I don't even use all of the features, but as I have transitioned from one equipment profile to another, it has adapted with me. Works great on my Mac when brewing and making updates on the fly, iPhone for when I am shopping at the LHBS, and I keep printouts in my binder so I have a historical record of my beers as I have adapted recipes over the years.
 

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
Well Joe, I did it…I switched to Brewfather and paid for subscription yesterday when trial period ended. Recipe transfers from BSmith - simple. Building inventory list - easy but took some time.

What I really like is full access to everything from iPAD when brewing. That’s a big downside to BSmith, but it’s served me well and may still renew subscription in February.

Cheers🍻

KBW.
 
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