Thursday, July 12, 2012

BeerSmith Cloud Recipe Site

I have used BeerSmith brewing software for a few years now, after winning a copy of it in a homebrewing competition.  BeerSmith is a full-featured software package that provides a number of elements to make your brew day easier and more accurate.  It allows the user to enter information about their equipment and ingredients and uses that data to customize recipes and even provide a checklist of brew day instructions.  It can also track ingredient inventories and predict how much a recipe will cost at the store.  I find it an extremely helpful tool for planning brewing sessions and use it to keep track of what recipes I have completed in a year, though I use my brewing logs more frequently for reference.  In fact, most of the recipes you see on this site come directly from BeerSmith reports.

The BeerSmith software package has seen a number of changes over the past year.  Version 2.0 was unveiled at the 2011 National Homebrews Conference (NHC).  The version saw a large number of user interface improvements and a different organization structure.  More recently, Brad Smith, the developer of the software package, released version 2.1, which included cloud support.  After signing up for a free account, BeerSmith users now have a cloud folder that can store recipes and make them available across multiple computers.  The number of recipes that can be stored varies from 10 (free) to much larger numbers, which involve monthly fees.

With the cloud support comes the new site.  Users have the ability to mark their cloud recipes public, which enables other people to read them.  The site organizes the recipes in a number of different ways, including by style, and allows other users to rate and comment on them.  This social media aspect of the site has some intriguing possibilities, providing the site sees enough usage to supply the necessary data.  At the time of writing, the site has 5,638 users and 2,210 shared recipes.

I took advantage of the BeerSmithRecipes site the other day, while planning a brew day during lunch at work.  I knew I wanted to brew a lighter alcohol beer because I have a number of bigger beers on tap right now.  I was thinking something of a British ale ilk and knew I had not brewed a mild in some time.  So, I searched the database for mild recipes and paged through looking for inspiration.  I found an intriguing recipe called Amarillo Mild that used amarillo first-wort hops to develop a profile that preserves a mild flavor base and bitterness, but with American hops.  I also liked the malt base used in the recipe, which had less crystal malts than other recipes.  So, I copied the recipe into my account's cloud folder and it was waiting for me at home that night.  Very easy.  I also plan to leave feedback on the recipe after I taste the results.

I encourage you to look around BeerSmithRecipes and get a feel for it, especially if you are a BeerSmith user.  I think the site has a lot of potential and hope it goes far.



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