Author Topic: Software  (Read 825 times)

Offline Steve in TX

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Software
« on: December 17, 2013, 09:11:45 PM »
I have been using Beer Alchemy for 6 or 7 years. I am still using version 1 because I didn't like some of the changes the developer made in version 2. I have been playing with both BeerTools and BeerSmith, and don't really like either enough to make the jump.

So I am at a thee way fork and need some guidance.

Below are some of the pluses and minuses I have off the top of my head. Please respond with your own pluses and minuses and/or try to persuade me.

BeerSmith
$28 + $8 for mobile
+ Cross platform allowing for tinkering at work and home
+ Mobile App
+ Online syncing, though it seems like it isn't automatic
- Hours of work to move my recipes and batches over
- Look and feel, just looks cheap and I don't like the whole tab thing
- No support for batches

BeerTools
$35 + subscription
+ Cross platform allowing for tinkering at work and home
+ Web based mobile app (subscription required?)
+ Online syncing, still not automatic
+ Looks nice
- Hours of work to move my recipes and batches over
- No support for batches
- Web based mobile app

BeerAlchemy
$20 upgrade ($30 new) + $20 Universal iOS App
+ Familiar
+ Seamless migration
+ Batches  ;D
- Syncing over WiFi but no online syncing, not even with iCloud
- Mac and iOS only, no fiddling at work
- Can no longer fiddle with the final gravity when building new recipes. Only gives three levels of fermentability. I know with a low mash and 3711 my Saison can get 92% attenuation not the 84% the software tells me.
- New interface is different from before, but not awful
- New desktop app doesn't sync with the old iOS apps forcing a double upgrade

Side question - What do these developers have against two word names?

Online kramerog

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Re: Software
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2013, 07:56:38 AM »
What do you mean by batches?  Different batches of the same recipe? 

Re FG, I am using BeerSmith 1.0 and I'm pretty sure that it won't give me an accurate FG for saison.  Perhaps BeerSmith 2.0 is better.  My gut is that FG estimates work only for "normal" ales in the various softwares, not for Belgian yeasts at higher temperatures.

Do any of them explicitly support parti-gyle?
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Offline cheshirecat

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Re: Software
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2013, 10:37:11 AM »
I like Beersmith a great deal. Works very well for me and Brad (the developer) is always open to feedback. Don't understand what you mean by batches either. I have "master recipes" and then I am able to record each batch I make of it. I even have them filled in a folder for each year.

In the end I would go with you find best.

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Software
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2013, 12:20:34 PM »
I couldn't be happier with BeerSmith. Its extremely functional, the support is fantastic, and it grows with you as a brewer.

Any tool/spreadsheet/software will allow you to build recipes, but I'm sold on BeerSmith because it allows you to factor in your equipment and process. It has helped me dial in efficiency, evaporation rate, volume losses, utilization, and even attenuation. And the best part - you don't have to do this all at once. Start small, get a feel for the software, and gradually explore its features.

Can you explain the 'batches' functionality in BeerAlchemy?

I believe you can import recipes via .xml format, as long as BeerAlchemy can export them.
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Offline Steve in TX

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Re: Software
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2013, 12:46:40 PM »
So here is the basic way batches work in BeerAlchemy.

1 - Create a recipe
2 - When ready to brew you make a batch from that recipe. Batches are where you keep track of all the stats (volumes, gravity, date brewed, date racked, date packaged) on your brew and you can make modifications to the batch without affecting the parent recipe.
3 - Brew
4 - If the batch was amazing, it can be promoted to a recipe. If I am not ready to promote, the next batch can be made off of a previous batch or the parent.

The way it is displayed is great as well.  Think Window Explorer view or MacOS details view with the carrots that can be expanded and collapsed. This way it only shows recipes and not batches. I have 100+ recipes and 200+ batches, but only the recipes are visible at the start.

> Recipe A
> Recipe B
 |__ Batch 1 of Recipe B
> Recipe C
 |__ Batch 1 of Recipe C
 |__ Batch 2 of Recipe C

Also, one recipe can be sorted into multiple folders. I keep my recipes sorted by source (Zymurgy, Clones, Friends, Made by Me...) and then have a folder for planned brews. If I delete an item from a folder it is only deleted from the folder, not deleted from the database. Think of the folders as a playlist in music software.
 
Batches are also inventory aware. If I create a recipe calling for 1oz of Cascade 5% and I have 6.3%, the batch will adjust the amount automatically. I don't adjust additions below 20 minutes, so I do tweak them there, but sometimes it is smart enough on it own. Here is a screenshot of the latest version - http://www.beeralchemyapp.com/images/popover-large.png

After brewing I then mark the batch as brewed which locks it down so no modifications can be made to the recipe and adjusts my inventory.

I fiddled with BeerTools more last night and it is starting to grow on me, but no syncing and no native mobile app is still a big sticking point.

Offline micsager

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Re: Software
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2013, 03:20:27 PM »
Beersmith allows batches.  Look to the "Version #."


Offline Steve in TX

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Re: Software
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2013, 03:22:22 PM »
Beersmith allows batches.  Look to the "Version #."

I will have to mess with that when I get home and see if I like it. Thanks

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Software
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2013, 05:03:42 PM »
Beersmith allows batches.  Look to the "Version #."

I will have to mess with that when I get home and see if I like it. Thanks
Using beersmith, I find it easier to use the brew log to track what I did on a given day.  I have my recipe saved in the recipe section, and when I start brewing I add it to the brew log.  Then I go to the log and change stuff there to track hop/malt substitutions, actual fermentation profile, actual OG/FG, etc.  If I want to change the base recipe then I change the version of it in the recipe section.

But it is super annoying that when you move something to the brew log it does not change the date to the current date, it keeps it as whatever the recipe has as the date.  So the first thing I do when I switch to the brew log is change the date.
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Offline Steve in TX

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Re: Software
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2013, 05:07:33 PM »
What can somebody tell me about using BeerSmith across multiple computers? Basically, I am looking for one collection available at home, work and mobile. Automatically synced would be a plus, but one button sync is ok.

Offline james

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Re: Software
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2013, 06:21:25 PM »
What can somebody tell me about using BeerSmith across multiple computers? Basically, I am looking for one collection available at home, work and mobile. Automatically synced would be a plus, but one button sync is ok.

I keep beersmith in a drop box folder so it is available on each of my devices. Of course you shouldn't open multiple copies at once

Offline yso191

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Re: Software
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2013, 07:40:05 PM »
What can somebody tell me about using BeerSmith across multiple computers? Basically, I am looking for one collection available at home, work and mobile. Automatically synced would be a plus, but one button sync is ok.

You can keep your recipes in the cloud.  That way they are available wherever you happen to be.  BTW I too really like BeerSmith.
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Offline alestateyall

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Software
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2013, 06:38:29 AM »
Beersmith has it's own cloud where you can store 10 recipes for free or pay for more storage. I keep all active  recipes (from brew day until the keg is empty) in the cloud. This way I can access any active recipe on my phone or PC anytime. The syncing is automatic. There is a sync button but it seems that button is not needed.

When a keg is empty I archive the recipe on my PC. After archiving I can't see the recipe on my phone anymore. I could store a local copy on the phone if I wanted.

Online mtnrockhopper

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Re: Software
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2013, 06:57:21 AM »
I use Beersmith and like it. I bought the mobile version for my Kindle fire and love the syncing.
BeerSmith
$28 + $8 for mobile
+ Cross platform allowing for tinkering at work and home
+ Mobile App
+ Online syncing, though it seems like it isn't automatic
It gives you a cloud folder and all recipes in that folder are synced automatically. You can have 10 recipes in that folder for free and you can pay an annual fee to have more. For me, 10 is enough. For someone who brews a lot maybe not. The mobile app has a brew day timer so you load a recipe and it sets alarms for whatever you need to remember to do.

- Hours of work to move my recipes and batches over
BeerAlchemy will export BeerXML files which Beersmith can import. I'm sure BeerTools can too as well.

- Look and feel, just looks cheap and I don't like the whole tab thing
I guess that's personal.

- No support for batches
I don't know what you mean by 'batches'. Edit: I should have finished reading the other responses. Yes, you can do batches. It's just a little different setup.

Side question - What do these developers have against two word names?
Well, I'm sure BeerSmith is a play on blacksmith (also, it's written by Brad Smith). I don't know about the others.

BrewToad is a new one. I think it's entirely online so no worries about syncing or buying apps for different devices. Downside is you must have internet to use it. Also, another one word trademark.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2013, 07:01:47 AM by mtnrockhopper »
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Software
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2013, 07:35:05 AM »
i do like my ibrewmaster.  i like being able to tinker on my phone while i am watching my wife spend my hard earned gold.
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Offline Steve in TX

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Re: Software
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2013, 09:23:06 AM »
Drop box is a good idea, but blocked by work firewall.  >:(

iBrewmaster looks interesting, but no windows version.  :-\

Does BeerSmith manage the files for the user in a database, or does it work more traditionally where you have individual files to manage? Is there one file that can be copied to a flashdrive and opened on another computer with all of the recipes and data?