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What homebrewing site/software should I commit to?
April 20, 2014 2:04 PM   Subscribe

I need to get systematic and quit wandering around with my recipes and data. Which sites/apps/software would you recommend? Are the paid options worth paying for?

I've been brewing beer for about a year and I've played around with lots of websites, apps, and software packages. Which means my own information is scattered around the internet. I hesitate to pay a big fee for some of the options, but I'm pretty seriously brewing (all grain, batch sparging, kegerator) and would do more if I were more organized. Are the pay options worth it? Do you have a sytem you like that's free?
I can have an android tablet and/or a linux/windows laptop available near my brew kitchen.
posted by Mngo to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I used to do all-grain brewing, batch-sparged and sized for 19L kegs. I was happy with the options in brewsta. It did everything I wanted to and had a lot of features I never used. Keeping track of my recipes and results with that program certainly brought consistency to my "house" ales that I made regularly. I also bought my grain in 25kg bags so that helps with consistency too. It's been many years since I've brewed so I dunno if the program has changed at all.
posted by glip at 4:09 PM on April 20


I use a free WordPress blog for my (nonbrewing) recipes. I put the recipe as the main post then I use the comments for any changes I made or I want to make in the future. It can be set to private if you so choose. My site is in my profile if you want to see it in action.
posted by kathrynm at 4:49 PM on April 20


I set up a spreadsheet file with calculations from Palmer's How to Brew, then make copies as needed for other recipes. Note: Error propagation can be difficult to stamp out when you only pay attention once every few months.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:16 PM on April 20


I've been using WP Ultimate Recipe Plugin for publishing recipes on my site. It's great, easily lets you scale quantities up and down.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:36 PM on April 20


(Oh and you can obviously just pswd protect all entries)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:38 PM on April 20


I use BeerSmith. At less than $30, it's inexpensive and has a lot of features. I do all-grain BIAB, and can set up my exact equipment in the system to get the right amounts of strike and/or sparge water. It prints out a nice brew day sheet with all the info you need in one place (including temps, OG, hop drops, etc.). There are so many options and tweaks you can make in the software that I haven't explored them all.

What I haven't been able to capture well are the little tricks and decisions that result in different outcomes. I don't brew often enough to remember these from time to time. I feel like blogging is the answer, but it can be hard to get motivated for that.

I don't think a food recipe structure is optimal for brewing - they are designed for a process that can vary greatly from one dish to another. The steps in brewing are pretty much the same, and it is things like ingredients, timing, and technique that differ. Having that structure already in place makes it easier to fill in the details.
posted by jeoc at 12:27 PM on April 21


I sprang for Beersmith. I can't get the android app to connect to my account, but I mostly like it on my laptop, and I think I'll like it better as I get used to it.

Looked at Brewsta, but it hasn't been updated in a while. I can't get it to run on Windows, and my Linux machine is a desktop that's too far away from my setup.

jeoc: "What I haven't been able to capture well are the little tricks and decisions that result in different outcomes. I don't brew often enough to remember these from time to time. I feel like blogging is the answer, but it can be hard to get motivated for that. "

Yeah, I think diligently using the "notes" section would help with this, but I know that I'm unlikely to do that. Same with blogging in a serious way. Maybe I could manage to do something like Instagram each step with a quick comment, but then the problem would be referring back to it. I should probably generate a hard-copy brew day sheet, annotate that, and keep them in a folder.

Thanks all.
posted by Mngo at 12:07 PM on April 30


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