Mar 11, 2012

Brewing software

One of the big things that helped me understand brewing better and freed me to start designing my own recipes was discovering online recipe calculators. Free to use (for the moment at least) and running on the browser, these calculators do all the hard work and allow you to fuss and fret and research and change everything 100 times to make it perfect. I like that they're web based because it allows me to access and modify recipes anywhere.

I've been using the Beer Calculus recipe calculator provided by Hopville for a while now. I like it. I discovered it at just the right time and it gave me much more freedom in brewing. It has a decent sized and growing database of user recipes. It's got social networking capabilities that allow you to follow a brewer, favourite and share recipes. It's not as comprehensive as some brewing software but it's got plenty of features and it easy to use.

What I'd like to see from Hopville: an iphone app, scaling, options for BIAB.

More recently I discovered the Brewer's Friend recipe builder. It has more features, allows for brew in a bag (BIAB) the method I use for brewing, provides for recipe scaling, adjustment according to your equipment and adjustment of water chemistry. The UI is fairly ugly however. It might seem a bit ridiculous but it really makes me less likely to use it. Brewer's Friend also allows you to easily export and share your recipe.

What I'd like to see from Brewer's Friend: a redesign, some guidelines for water adjustments depending on beer style.

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