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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2009 * Archive through May 19, 2009 * Calculators and spreadsheet and programs OH MY!!! < Previous Next >

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Colin Brietzke
New Member
Username: Colin

Post Number: 7
Registered: 04-2009
Posted From: 67.175.160.65
Posted on Friday, April 24, 2009 - 02:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So, I am getting back into brewing seriously after a 5 year hiatus. At that time I did not use any calculators or software suites and was wondering what recommendations the group had. I will be doing all-grain and ideally would like a suite if people feel that they are worth the money.

Hmmm... as I look at my bank statement maybe I should consider cobbling together a bunch of free web apps or spreadsheets

Ideally, I am interested in something that will do the water math, and be able to handle at least 6 hop additions.

So, what have you used, what works best for you, and why?

Thanks,
 

Michael
Advanced Member
Username: Hoppop

Post Number: 970
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 24.74.164.235
Posted on Friday, April 24, 2009 - 03:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Pro Mash...nayyyyy....have used for 8 years, or so.

http://www.promash.com/
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 10235
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.141.103.148
Posted on Friday, April 24, 2009 - 03:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ProMash or Beersmith are the best comprehensive brewing software packages out there. They are both available in free trial versions and well worth the minimal cost of the full software.

Neither does a complete job of handling brewing water chemistry, however. For that use John Palmer's water spreadsheet (http://howtobrew.com/section3/Palmers_Mash_RA_ver2d.xls), or if you're a real science geek A.J. de Lange's spreadsheet (http://ajdel.wetnewf.org:81/Brewing_articles/BURP_OCT08) may be the last word on the subject. If you use the de Lange spreadsheet, be sure to download the separate instructions (http://ajdel.wetnewf.org:81/Brewing_articles/NUBWS_Manual.pdf).
 

Colin Brietzke
New Member
Username: Colin

Post Number: 8
Registered: 04-2009
Posted From: 67.175.160.65
Posted on Saturday, April 25, 2009 - 02:56 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cool, that looks pretty comprehensive. Anyone else have any opinions?

Thanks,
Colin
 

Dale Hair
New Member
Username: Dale

Post Number: 6
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 71.123.153.94
Posted on Saturday, April 25, 2009 - 03:20 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There is also BeerTools Pro At beertools.com
There are windows and Mac versions and they say they are working on a linux version.
I haven't seen any progress on the linux version since beta testing of version 1.5
 

Colin Brietzke
New Member
Username: Colin

Post Number: 9
Registered: 04-2009
Posted From: 67.175.160.65
Posted on Saturday, April 25, 2009 - 03:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ooooooh,A Mac version sounds fantastic. How do others think BeerTools compares to ProMash or Beersmith?
 

Colin Brietzke
New Member
Username: Colin

Post Number: 10
Registered: 04-2009
Posted From: 67.175.160.65
Posted on Saturday, April 25, 2009 - 03:46 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill, thank you or all of the hyperlinks. Your effort is much appreciated.
 

Jeff Preston
Intermediate Member
Username: Jeffpreston

Post Number: 385
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 142.161.159.119
Posted on Saturday, April 25, 2009 - 12:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I tried BeerTools for a while since I'm using a Mac but still prefer Promash. I recently used Bootcamp to install windows on my Intel based Mac and now am back to using Promash.
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1750
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 76.240.222.118
Posted on Saturday, April 25, 2009 - 01:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've got ProMash running under Virtual PC on my Mac.

I also have BeerAlchemy from Kent Place Software that is native to the Mac.

Both have their plusses and minuses. BeerAlchemy can import Promash files reasonably well, and it has a "slicker" - newer-looking and easier to use (at least to me) interface. Kent Place updates BeerAlchemy pretty regularly. When I got it it was at version 1.5 (in 2007), and 1.7.2 just got installed

ProMash has some excellent supporting help & tutorials built into the program, plus an online discussion forum, and about a billion recipes from other people available. But like I said, BeerAlchemy can import ".rec" files now.

But most of the time, I still fall back to my tried and true Excel spreadsheet I got from Glenn Tinseth's web site many moons ago. I've tweaked it quite a bit over the years to match my brewery, and to update some things like color calculation.
 

Colin Brietzke
New Member
Username: Colin

Post Number: 18
Registered: 04-2009
Posted From: 67.175.160.65
Posted on Saturday, April 25, 2009 - 10:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So, does anyone care to compare the relative benefits/drawbacks of BeerAlchemy, ProMash, BeerTools and BeerSmith. Are they all basically the same or do some of them have any upsides that make them a winner for specific applications?
 

Connie
Senior Member
Username: Connie

Post Number: 1383
Registered: 10-2000
Posted From: 76.17.52.96
Posted on Sunday, April 26, 2009 - 08:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't think ProMash is current, no updates in quite a while.
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 7198
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 140.211.82.4
Posted on Monday, April 27, 2009 - 06:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

How do you define "current"? If it does what you need it to do, isn't that current?
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 10247
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.141.103.148
Posted on Monday, April 27, 2009 - 06:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ProMash author Jeffrey Donovan still seems to be providing limited support, and there is considerable support from other users on the ProMash support forum. But it's clear that future updates are on hold.
 

Connie
Senior Member
Username: Connie

Post Number: 1385
Registered: 10-2000
Posted From: 76.17.52.96
Posted on Monday, April 27, 2009 - 08:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey Denny, No need to defend ProMash. I use it, but the fact remains that it is pretty much a dying program without the updates. I doubt that I'm the only one disappointed by the limited support ProMash receives. YMMV
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 10249
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.141.103.148
Posted on Monday, April 27, 2009 - 11:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I know Jeff Donovan had very ambitious plans for a major update of ProMash, which were put on hold because of family health issues. Whether he will yet return to this project I don't know; I'm sure his real job has taken on added importance and perhaps he has lost interest. But the fact remains that the current ProMash version, while far from perfect and now more than six years old, is still as good as anything else available. There are now other options (Beersmith, BeerTools Pro, Beer Alchemy, etc, depending on your operating system), and they're certainly worth examining.

In the end you have to remember this is a hobby and mostly a labor of love for the authors of these software packages. It's not like an iPhone app where someone can price it at $20 and sell 50,000 copies. The market for brewing software is tiny; if developers had to support themselves it would cost $500, which as cheap as homebrewers are would also be a self-fulfilling prescription for failure.
 

Kevin Kowalczyk
Advanced Member
Username: Itsfunbrewingbeer

Post Number: 550
Registered: 10-2007
Posted From: 67.167.4.225
Posted on Monday, April 27, 2009 - 11:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Who you calling cheap, Bill?
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 7199
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 66.182.20.155
Posted on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 12:57 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I just wonder what kind of updates you're looking for, Connie. At this point, I don't feel the need for updates because it does everything I need it to do. Maybe something I haven't thought of?
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 10250
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.141.103.148
Posted on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 01:11 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If the shoe fits, Kevin. I know my own size.

The worst I can say about ProMash is that its user interface and appearance are dated, a throwback to the Windows 95/98 era. However, the functionality and accuracy remain quite high; after all, there have been very few real advances in brewing in the past 10 years. ProMash is still quite full-featured, with only a short list of new enhancements I'd like to see. Its treatment of water chemistry does not reflect today's emphasis on residual alkalinity, and there is no ability to calculate mash and water pH. The mash designer also could be expanded somewhat. Obviously there could be a lean version for smart phones and handheld devices.
 

Tom Meier
Advanced Member
Username: Brewdawg96

Post Number: 902
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 75.76.167.200
Posted on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 01:57 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There are a few items that would be good in updates:
new hop varities, latest BJCP guidelines, the dark belgian candi syrup everyone is using lately. Sure, one could type all that data in, but it would be nice to be able to have full support and download the files, as it was done back 'in the day'.

After using Beer Tools Pro once, I realize how much I love Promash. Beer tools seems to have taken the concept of brewing software too far, and then went further.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 10251
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.141.103.148
Posted on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 02:58 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The 2008 BJCP style guidelines, a revised hop database with new varieties, and a more detailed list of grains and sugars (I don't believe it includes Belgian candi syrup) are available from the ProMash website (there are links to these in messages in the discussion forum). All of them are furnished by users. I have downloaded the styles database; it doesn't have the revised list of commercial examples, but it does seem to reflect all the other changes.

(Message edited by BillPierce on April 28, 2009)
 

Connie
Senior Member
Username: Connie

Post Number: 1386
Registered: 10-2000
Posted From: 76.17.52.96
Posted on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 03:52 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Denny, perhaps you didn't notice these things missing
And that the updates are being made by the users rather than the developer?