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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Program Review - Q-Brew

Today, I'm starting my review of free brewing software. First, this is the recipe I'll be using in all my reviews. It's my porter recipe, which I've used for -uh- a really long time, since 1990 or so. It's a partial mash recipe, and it has a small addition of brown sugar, to impart a little molasses flavor.

3.3lb dark malt extract
.5 lb crystal malt (120L)
.5 lb chocolate malt
2 lb 2-row malt
.5 lb brown sugar
1 oz hops (6% AA), bittering
1 oz Willamette, dry-hopped
1 pkt dry ale yeast

I'm starting out with the program I've used myself for nearly my entire brewing career, Q-brew. It's available in versions for Linux and Windows, and also as source code that you can compile yourself.

When you start the program, it opens to the main screen. You can input your beer's name, your name, and choose the style and batch size. When you choose a style, the strength, color and bitterness you're shooting for are shown for you. By choosing the grain bill and hops you can make sure your beer meets the parameters for your chosen style.

Flavor components are so subjective, you can only match those with experience.

You also have the option of saving your recipe for future retrieval, or exporting it as html, xml, pdf, or txt. This is how it looks exported as text:

Style: Robust Porter
Batch: 4.00 gal Partial Mash

Recipe Gravity: 1.055 OG
Recipe Bitterness: 31 IBU
Recipe Color: 24° SRM
Estimated FG: 1.014
Alcohol by Volume: 5.3%
Alcohol by Weight: 4.2%

American chocolate malt       0.50 lb, Grain, Mashed
American two-row              2.00 lb, Grain, Mashed
Brown sugar, dark             0.50 lb, Sugar, Other
Crystal 120L                  0.50 lb, Grain, Mashed
Dark malt extract             3.30 lb, Extract, Extract

Generic                       1.00 oz, Pellet, 60 minutes
Willamette                    1.00 oz, Pellet, 0 minutes

Ale yeast                     1.00 unit, Yeast, 

Recipe Notes:

Batch Notes:

I have to admit to some prejudice, since I've used this program for over 20 years. It doesn't have a lot of bells or whistles, but it does a good, basic job of aiding in recipe formulation.