Just curious what most brewers are using these days as far as software goes. We are going to have to make a decision in the near future about this.
Any others I haven't heard of?
This is a summary of answers so far. I'll try to keep it updated.
Here are the answers. Below, you'll find who likes them, links, and other relevant data.
$27.95 • Free Trial • Windows
Jack Smith: I just started using it; I've used it for three recipes. I'm quite happy with it. The few minor annoyances I have found are:
$29.95 • Free Trial • Mac • PC
$24.95 • Free Trial • Windows
Denny Conn and many commercial brewers
$0.99 • iPhone
Free (Open Source) • Windows • Mac • Linux
$29.95 • Free Trial • Mac • iPhone/iPad ($4.99/$9.99)
Pros: Full-featured and relatively user friendly, two-way sync between Mac and i(Phone|Pad)
Cons: Cannot view batches chronologically, cannot view recipe and inventory at the same time
$9.99/year • 2 year and lifetime subscriptions available • Free trial (first 5 recipes/brews) • Web Based • iPhone/iPad (Free/$8.99))
I just started using Brewer's Friend. (I was previously using BeerSmith and BrewTarget.) I like that the software web-based, so I can reference it at homebrew club meetings or brew sessions at a friend's house.
Disclaimer: I'm a web developer who found this homebrew site through some of the web development siblings on the Stack Exchange network. I appreciate that Brewer's Friend is a small start-up site under active development and that probably colors my view.
Most calculations I do by hand & keep my recipes in a log book. Yet to see how well that scales. For IBU calculations I use Beer Calculus.
I use BeerSmith. It has a ton of handy tools (including a recipe scaling feature, PJ). There's a trial version if you want to try it out.
I user BrewersHub - http://brewershub.com. It's free, easy to use, and has a ton of calculators.
Beersmith here. It does everything I need. The brewday instruction sheet you can print out is nice too. Makes it easier to not forget steps/ingredients.
They all seem to have a bit of a learning curve. You can download a free trial of Beertools, Beersmith and Promash. So try them all and see which one you like best.
Like Steph said, Beersmith has recipe scaling. Seems to work ok for 5>10>20 gallon - no first hand experience with larger size though.
I am a co-founder of Brewgr.com, so I am biased, but with a continually growing user base and recipe list, I feel it should be listed here as well. I feel Brewgr is a good option for brewers because it focuses on simplicity and provides a clean interface.
Also, Brewgr is now open source software, so if you're a developer and want to make it better, you can, and we'll push your changes out to the live site so everyone can benefit.
I found an iPhone/iPod Touch app called Brew Pal that has been really great. It is very convenient to be able to carry in my pocket and also take with me if I am brewing at a friends house. The timers and calculators have been very helpful to me.
I have been using Qbrew. It works for me and best of all, it's free.
I'm using the free open source app called BrewTarget. It works for me.
I like using BeerSmith myself. I can't confirm this, but I have heard that some of the other software packages don't update as often. Scaling is pretty nice as well.
If you have an iPhone, there's a $1 app called Brew Pal. It works great for sparge calculations (strike temp and volume), grain bill, hop schedule. You can even calculate the efficiency of your brew system. You can also email the recipe to yourself after you've entered it all into the app. Its great, and portable. -Bryan
I use a Mac and have used the free (though no longer supported) Homebrew Formulator for a few years. It's simple, straightforward and easy to use.
I've played around with both BeerAlchemy and BeerTools Pro but neither one really grabbed me, much less enough to spend money on the paid version when I'm already pretty comfortable with HBF.
I've used Promash for nearly 13 years and love it. It's also what most of the commercial brewers I know use. I've worked with Beersmith, too, but far prefer the way Promash works.
Used promash for a few years, then beersmith, both through a windows emulator (on a mac). Currently BeerToolsPro, very happy with it especially since its a native mac program, also available for windows. Able to open .xml and .rec files too.
I've used a ton of different tools, and BeerSmith is the best I've used. It is not only fully featured, but it actually still has a developer working on it (many are unsupported at this point).
I used a few of the online systems (Hopville, then BrewToad, etc.) until I got tired of the interfaces - I thought they were cumbersome and inefficient, and I had no idea how they were doing their calculations. So I created my own Excel document, with numerous tabs, that I use for several things - recipe development, stock on hand (hops in storage, etc.), all my costs (equipment & ingredients), tasting notes, etc., etc. ... I can also print out recipes, notes, and schedules, and if I don't like the way something is set-up, I can change it. It took me a while to find the necessary formulas for everything I wanted to do, and to develop my own spreadsheets for calculating IBUs and whatnot, but I learned a TON in the process, and now I'm free from depending on someone else's ideas for what the software/interface should be, not to mention the cost. I know not everyone is inclined to do something like this on his/her own, or has the knowledge (though I'm no Excel whiz, either) ... but if you ARE inclined - and I think it's safe to say that a lot of us homebrewers are, by nature, DIY-types - I strongly recommend learning what you can from other softwares, gathering and understanding the relevant formulas, and then developing your own system using some sort of spreadsheet program. Just start chipping away at it, and in a few months you'll have a fairly robust system that you can always tweak and improve. Cheers!
Seems I was using Pro Mash at the very beginning with what was then a then a brand spankin new 286 computer... I vaguely remember that it worked well but was not that intuitive. I believe that was around version 1.2. So for most of you, that was like back in the stone age.... For many years I did all the calculations by hand. It wasn't until I started building my 1 bbl system that I started to look for a viable replacement. As you all know Pro Mash at that time was for all intent and purposes, dead. The next was Beer Tools Pro... Good program... But still missing the mark. Just as a note, I still write recipes with this program and compare it with Beer Smith, which I use now. And really like! Especially because of the grain, hop and yeast up dates. But like all programs, until you use them and get comfortable with them, change is hard. And as another side note.... These programs are cheap. Commercial programs are way more expensive. So ultimately, It all depends on how much time you're willing to give to learn a program.
I might be quite alone having this opinion, but I generally dislike depending too much on brewing software. To me, having some sort of "magical box" that is supposed to make the decisions, distracts you from the actual brewing process. This might perhaps be a somewhat romantic sentiment, but brewing is something that is best enjoyed when done by heart, rather than when being a result of some other guy's (or gal's) clever computer algorithms.
I've tried software like Beersmith and similar, and they are often overly complicated (which brewing most definitely should not be). Many programs are also proprietary and lacks transparency, which puts you the brewer in a vulnerable position. There are essentially only a few calculations that you actually need to do when brewing, and none are so complicated that an average idiot like myself can not do them by hand.
So, to the software:
For convenience I have used the free software R to create a few of my own brewing calculators. It is perhaps not for everyone, but making your own stuff makes brewing more transparent, and gives you a lot more control over the process. I dream of someday turning my scripts into a Shiny app so I can use it on my phone or online, but that's far ahead.
Edit: I occasionally use spreadsheets to work out recipes, but this opens up for a myriad of formula errors if you are not careful.
Tl;dr: brewing software is something extra, and not something essential. Do it yourself for best control and satisfaction. Free software R is my weapon of choice.
I use pencil and paper. I like knowing what's happening and not having to figure out software quirks, plus I also hate brewing with a computer. I find paper is the most versatile as well, you can bend it to fit whatever hare-brained process you choose to use on the day.
I use Beer Tools Pro. It's sleek, which I appreciate, and it seems to do all that I need right now. Which isn't much. I'd like to hear some opinions.
One thing I'd really like to see is recipe scaling. Going from my 5 gallon to some number with a bbl after it.
best mac software & inventory editor is beer alchemy by kent place software (30 bucks 4 3 licences)...also beer alchemy reader is free for iphone and beer alchemy touch for iphone is 15 bucks...@ferment_nation also uses it
I use a spreadsheet I found, and have since modified, for my brewing. It's a 'good-enough' approach for me.
I couldn't find a brew day timer I was happy with so I wrote one for iOS which is available for $1.99.
There's also brewers-assistant. It's an online app, completely free to use and has all the usual functionality plus email notifications , timers, etc.
There is also Strange Brew (strangebrew.ca). I've used it for about 8 years now and it does everything I've needed it to do. You can download a trial version or there is also a free Java version (with less features) available on sourceforge.
The author of it also has a hilarious random beer name generator on his site, check it out.
I have no complaints with Beersmith. I love the program.
Here's another vote for BeerSmith. As a nerd, I love XML output.
BeerSmith user here. Never tried the other pay-apps, so I can't compare. I tried the 30 day free trial, then bought it. $20 well spent. The author is a homebrewer and author as well (blog/book).
Beersmith has an iphone app that I use for calculating ABV based off of temp/OG vs temp/FG its pretty sweet and its so easy that I can use it even after a few samplings of big beers