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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Brew-Mate Review

Today, I take a look at BrewMate v1.22. At first, I didn't have a good feeling, because the program opens with a huge, garish splash screen.

But, once I used it I was very pleasantly surprised. I like it, a lot.  

Once the program fires up, you're presented with the main program screen, divided into three sections; grains, hops, and miscellaneous. Way down at the bottom is a menu for your yeast choice.

The first steps you need to take are fill out the basics at the top; beer name, style, batch, and efficiency. No need to be fancy with the name, yet. When you choose a style, the various parameters for you beer turn yellow, and will go back to white when you hit the target for that style.

Over on the right is a beer mug, which changes color as you add malts, so you have an idea if you're getting close to the desired appearance.

The grain window allows you to add all the usual grains, malts, sugars, and adjuncts. In the hops window, you get an extensive menu to choose from (although I'd like to see a generic option). You can change the AA of whatever you choose, whether it's pellet, plug, or whole, and exactly when you add it.

The coolest part, for me, is the miscellaneous window. There is some funky, fun stuff there. I'm definitely going to try some of those additions.

The yeast menu allows you to add standard dry yeast, some specific dry yeast, or any one of a bunch of liquid types.

Once you're done, you can save it, or export it to a text file, which I've printed below.

Robust Porter

Recipe Specs
Batch Size (G):           4.0
Total Grain (lb):         6.800
Total Hops (oz):          2.00
Original Gravity (OG):    1.055  (°P): 13.6
Final Gravity (FG):       1.011  (°P): 2.8
Alcohol by Volume (ABV):  5.82 %
Colour (SRM):             29.7   (EBC): 58.5
Bitterness (IBU):         26.4   (Tinseth)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 75
Boil Time (Minutes):      60

Grain Bill
3.300 lb Liquid Malt Extract - Dark (48.53%)
2.000 lb American 2-Row (29.41%)
0.500 lb Brown Sugar, Dark (7.35%)
0.500 lb Chocolate (7.35%)
0.500 lb Crystal 120 (7.35%)

Hop Bill
1.00 oz Cascade Pellet (6% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil) (0.2 oz/Gal)
1.00 oz Willamette Pellet (7.1% Alpha) @ 0 Days (Dry Hop) (0.2 oz/Gal)

Misc Bill

Single step Infusion at 153°F for 60 Minutes.
Fermented at 68°F with Ale yeast

Recipe Generated with BrewMate

As I said at the start, I really like this one. I especially like that everything is on one screen. No jumping back and forth. The mug is cool, although I think the color comes out a little light.

All in all, it's a very helpful program. Granted, it may lack some features of a high-end program. But, for quickly working up a new recipe, with a minimum of fuss, it absolutely does the job.