44

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.

BeerSmith?
ProMash?
BeerTools?
Any others I haven't heard of?

  • I don't use it but there is an awesome iPhone app, (itunes.apple.com/us/app/brewbuddy/id309198427?mt=8)[BrewBuddy], to control a bcs-460 brewing system. – tbeseda Dec 10 '09 at 17:51
  • 4
    Should this question be converted to a community wiki? Seems much more appropriate. – Dean Brundage Jan 23 '10 at 15:08
  • 1
    Probably. The top answer is a wiki – hookedonwinter Jan 23 '10 at 17:57
  • What type of brewing are you doing? How many people are involved? Please provide details when asking a question – Joe Phillips Jan 13 '11 at 16:11
  • Are any of those tools used as a beer diary, such as taking pictures and making notes? I use Flava on my iphone (can be viewed from web on desktop) for short clips and pictures and I write notes about tastes and I can sort types of entries by Hashtags such as HB, Commercial, Review, AllGrain, Extract. – Another Compiler Error Jan 15 '14 at 21:53

33 Answers 33

42

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.

  • BeerSmith
  • BeerTools Pro
  • ProMash
  • BrewPal
  • BrewTarget
  • BeerAlchemy
  • Brewer's Friend

BeerSmith

beersmith.com

$27.95 • Free Trial • Windows

Who uses it

What they said about it

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:

  • You have to choose an individual ingredient and amount. Too much clicking. You can't multi-select a handful of malts then go back and edit their amounts.
  • You can't have multiple sets of notes on the recipe if you brew it more than once. Maybe I'm doing it wrong. It would be nice to have a single recipe with separate notes from every time you brewed it.
  • The priming sugar calculator does not offer table sugar as an option.

BeerTools Pro

beertools.com

$29.95 • Free Trial • Mac • PC

Who uses it

What they said about it


ProMash

promash.com

$24.95 • Free Trial • Windows

Who uses it

Denny Conn and many commercial brewers


BrewPal

brewpal.info

$0.99 • iPhone

Who uses it

What they said about it


BrewTarget

www.brewtarget.org

Free (Open Source) • Windows • Mac • Linux

Who uses it

What they said about it

  • Pros: It's free, full featured software with extremely accurate and tunable equipment. Includes hop utilization and boil temp (especially useful for high altitude brewers), metric, American or English units, massive extendable database with recipes and ingredients, BJCP styles, calculators, mash tools, works across platforms (mac, linux, windows), can share database across devices (laptop, desktop) with tools like Dropbox. Open source - can contribute if you know java, mysql, xml, and others.
  • Cons: Runs in Java, so can't use it on a mobile device and must have JRE installed. So feature rich, it can be a bit intimidating to learn.

BeerAlchemy

www.kentplacesoftware.com/products/BeerAlchemy.shtml

$29.95 • Free Trial • Mac • iPhone/iPad ($4.99/$9.99)

Who uses it

What they said about it

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

Brewer's Friend

http://www.brewersfriend.com/

$9.99/year • 2 year and lifetime subscriptions available • Free trial (first 5 recipes/brews) • Web Based • iPhone/iPad (Free/$8.99))

Who uses it

  • Beer Smith now had a Mac version. – FishesCycle Nov 17 '11 at 19:33
  • I wrote an Android app a few years ago called BrewDroid. I haven't maintained it, but I just made it free a few days ago :) – notlesh Apr 30 '14 at 22:52
  • @TobiasPatton: They have versions for Linux and Android too. – TMN Nov 23 '16 at 19:06
8

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.

Features:

  • Recipe calculator including expected OG and FG, IBUs, SRM color, and other common measures of a beer. (This includes multiple formulas/methods for calculating each.)
  • Recipe scaling.
  • Water conditioning calculator for areas with regionally variable water supplies.
  • Shopping and brewday checklists.
  • Batch logs for entering gravity, tasting notes, volume collected, etc.
  • Tracker for progress of batch.
  • Style guides.

Disadvantages:

  • The recipe base is rather scant at this point.
  • Unit conversions between imperial and metric (temp, volume, etc) are a little clunky.
  • No mobile phone interface.

Advantages:

  • Portable. Create a recipe at work, view it at home, brew it at a friend's house.
  • Under active development. New features seem to come around frequently.

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.

  • I use both Brewer's Friend (BF) and Beersmith (BS). The latter I use to build a recipe, but I like the brew sessions capability of BF and it is little better with line item units of measure. – Todd Sep 4 '15 at 21:08
  • @JackSmith BeerSmith does have a table sugar option for priming. At least mine does (and I didn't add it) – uSlackr Jun 18 at 16:27
7

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.

http://beercalculus.hopville.com/recipe

  • great program/site – Arlo427 Jan 23 '10 at 18:05
  • I use Beer Calculus/Hopville as well. Excellent site. – Hopwise Jan 13 '11 at 16:53
  • I agree, I like Hopville for the Beer Calculus as well as saving and browsing recipes – djr5002 Jan 14 '11 at 0:19
  • I absolutely love this site, i can't recommend it enough. Web based is the way to go, especially if you plan to share / collaborate on recipes. – JasonStoltz Jun 8 '11 at 11:32
  • Now known as Brewtoad: brewtoad.com – Greg M. Krsak May 23 '14 at 0:58
5

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 use BeerSmith as well, I love it. I gave BeerTools a try after I had been using BeerSmith and didn't like it nearly as much. I still use BeerSmith for every batch. – dzachareas Nov 24 '10 at 22:10
  • I enjoy how easy it is to tinker with recipes. on BeerSmith and the tools are nice. However, not being able to change the units of measure at the line item is tiresome (e.g, pounds vs ounces). Also is very easy to mistakenly edit the wrong recipe - for instance when one is whipping up a variant. – Todd Sep 4 '15 at 20:42
4

I user BrewersHub - http://brewershub.com. It's free, easy to use, and has a ton of calculators.

3

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'm surprised everyone is raving about the scaling feature on Beersmith. Unless I'm missing something, it seems like it scales incorrectly on custom equipment or with custom efficiency. – Keith Hoffman Oct 10 '12 at 20:37
3

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.

Cheers!

  • Why no distinction between 2-row american and marris otter? – Todd Sep 4 '15 at 21:04
  • 1
    Not sure what you're seeing. The software allows both options, as well as the ability to add custom ingredients. Maris is spelled with a single "r", so it could be that you searched using the "rr" as is in your comment. – Matthew Sep 5 '15 at 4:20
  • I am a java developer. And as soon as I leave my office where your link is blocked, I will checkout Brewgr. I take it I can find you on GitHub? – rbreier Oct 3 '16 at 16:19
  • Yes, it is on Github. – Matthew Oct 3 '16 at 20:22
  • Cool site. I have been tinkering with it a little, I am excited to do my first brew session. I forked your repo but haven't had the opportunity to dig into it. Professionally, I am a Java Web developer, but any OO language is cool with me. I'll find you guys some bugs in no time. :) – rbreier Oct 5 '16 at 19:33
2

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've used Brew Pal and can't fully recommend it. It can give you really weird gravity estimates. I've tried contacting the author with some bug reports and have never heard back. – Hopwise Jan 13 '11 at 16:51
2

I have been using Qbrew. It works for me and best of all, it's free.

  • I started with Qbrew. The beauty of it is that it's so simple, which makes it very accessible to the novice. But that simplicity is also its limitation. It only calculates pre-boil gravity, does not take evaporation losses into account when it comes to estimating hop utilization, and it simply assumes that all yeasts have the same attenuation and FG will be OG divided by 4. That said, I often still use it for quick Q&D calculations. – Frank van Wensveen Aug 16 at 10:37
1

I'm using the free open source app called BrewTarget. It works for me.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/brewtarget/

  • I tried this one, but it seems like it doesn't do much with water volume calculations; setting quarts per pound in your mash, and all that seems missing. – Dale Jan 3 '12 at 2:28
  • I have used brewtarget for the past couple of years, the recipe creator and calculators are easy to use, but when it gets to the mash calculations it is a learning curve. i would have to say this is a much better program then it was years ago. lots of updates since this post. check it out, its free. – jsolarski Aug 25 '17 at 19:22
  • Doesn't appear to have been updated in 6 years. – uSlackr Jun 18 at 16:38
1

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.

1

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

1

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.

1

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.

1

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.

1

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).

1

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!

1

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.

1

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.

  • My software doesn't make decisions for me - it does record what I ask it to record, calculates what I ask it to calculate, compares what I want to compare. Using BeerSmith provides me with a lot of guidance for my brew day and it does the math right. I've done many of the calculations and I've looked up the reference materials. Maybe doing those things made me more informed, but they didn't make the beer better. Attention to detail, cleaning/sanitizing, good ingredients and careful control made the beer better. – uSlackr Jun 18 at 16:35
1

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 like software, because I can use it as paper if I want to. my paper is never available unless I bring it with me. My software is everywhere. – uSlackr Jun 18 at 16:29
0

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.

  • Recipe scaling seems really important to a lot of intermediate brewers. Perhaps a new web app? – tbeseda Dec 10 '09 at 18:31
  • +1 for beer tools pro - also would like to mention that it can open .rec/BeerXML files. It's my choice for software on the Mac. – revdrjrr Feb 14 '11 at 21:04
0

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

0

I use a spreadsheet I found, and have since modified, for my brewing. It's a 'good-enough' approach for me.

  • I've had it up to here with BeerSmith2 in that it's backwards (you enter an efficiency and it forces that down, instead of entering the data and calculating the efficiency). What spreadsheet do you use? – Dale Jan 18 '12 at 23:40
0

I couldn't find a brew day timer I was happy with so I wrote one for iOS which is available for $1.99.

http://brewtimer.appmark.it/

0

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.

www.brewers-assistant.com

0

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.

Random Beer Name Generator

-1

I have no complaints with Beersmith. I love the program.

-1

Here's another vote for BeerSmith. As a nerd, I love XML output.

-1

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).

-1

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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.