Disclaimer- This is my own personal thoughts and feelings about this software package. I am not paid at all or provided with free versions of the software. What I like or dislike about the software are my opinions and like everything else, what I like might not be what you like.
BeerSmith is a brewing software that will allow you to design custom crafted beers as well as beers that follow the BJCP guidelines. BeerSmith in my opinion takes all the good features of other programs and weeds out the useless portions and stick them all together in a easy to use package. The software is fairly intuitive to use. To create a new recipe, you click the button that says new recipe. Simple isn’t it? There’s a button to convert from All Grain to Partial Mash or Extract and vise versa. Brew 5 gallon beers but thinking of stepping up to 10 gallons? No problem, click scale recipe and increase or decrease all you want. Need to track how a beer is doing and don’t want to mess with the original recipe? Add it to the brew log and make changes there leaving the original untouched.
When creating a new recipe you start with a blank recipe sheet. You give it a name (default is Beer) then select a style from the BJCP guidelines. This will populate a portion of the sheet showing you the style minimum and maximum and if the value is in bold it is out of range for the style. Adding grain, hops, and yeast is as simple as clicking the button. There’s even a button for your equipment and mash preferences. Adding grain will cause the estimated SG to increase based on the efficiency you set. As you add grain the estimated color box changes color to indicate the color of the finished beer based on the information in the grain database. There are boxes for you to input your actual OG and FG. Entering this information will instantly provide you with not only the alcohol % by volume (%abv) but it also provides you with an estimated calories per pint of beer.
BeerSmith also has a brewing calendar that shows you what is going on with your brewing. You can schedule brew days and based on the recipe it will indicate days that you should be in primary fermentation, any secondary time and then the time when the beer should be aging. For me I like to set a 14 day primary time, no secondary time and then 4 weeks of aging time. Of course nothing is set in stone when it comes to brewing and I start aging a week after fermentation is done. If that takes 3 weeks then it’ll be a month before I start aging. It’s just a nice visual to help keep track of the brews.
BeerSmith also includes your standard brewing calculators as we as conversion tools to go between US and Metric units. BeerSmith can import and export from it’s proprietary BeerSmith format as well as import/export in BeerXML format for international standards. Importing (and exporting) in a batch is very easy with a single click and instant importation. Now there are a couple quirks with importing recipes. They don’t go into your recipe database automatically. You have to cut and paste them where you want (unless there’s a setting I’m missing). Other issues I have with the software (see, it’s not perfect either) are not being able to have multiple recipes open and that small color window. Come on.. would it be hard to have a beer glass and color it? Have no fear, June 10th BeerSmith is releasing a new version that corrects some bugs as well as adding a lot of new features including support for MACs. For the price of $27.95 once it releases it’s a lot of software for the money. I use mine just about daily and have designed award winning beers using it.
I think that the new version can be close to perfect for me and I’ll be happy with it. Other’s prefer other programs and that’s fine too. I just hope that the software reviews I’ve done provide some information to help you make an educated choice for you.