I mentioned last month that we’ve started a homebrewing as a couple, both for fun and to see if we can save a bit of money. Like many of our friends, we enjoy trying out craft beer at both locally and when we pick up groceries at the store. Now that we’re homebrewing we having fun trying out different recipes and kits, finding styles that we love and discovering ones we’re not so fond of.
As of this week, here is a list of what we brewed so far.
- Chestnut Brown Ale
- Everyday IPA
- American Amber Ale
- Chocolate Maple Porter
- Gluten Free Orange Spiced Belgian Ale
- Traditional Dry Stout
- Smoked Wheat
- Summer Saison
While we’ve had some fun using recipe kits, we’ve started to look at modifying recipes and at some point this summer make our own brew from scratch. One tool that I’ve purchased to help us with our next stage is the beer software BeerSmith.
You may wonder why we paid money for software. Can we just grab a free app or program to convert recipes into different batch sizes or even do it by hand? The short answer is that we’re looking to do more than just play around with conversions. The long answer boils down to:
- Stay organized and consistent: My husband is using a spreadsheet to track all of our brews, but he’s mainly focused on the process part of it as we’ve been mainly used recipe kits which has documentation for the ingredients. With creating our own recipe I want to document the effects of tweaking the ingredients and process. BeerSmith allows me to keep track of both.
- Makes shopping easier: The software allows me to create a shopping list for our trips to the brew shop by pulling the data from the recipes we want to try out. Ins addition, if the brew shop wants to it can create files of their inventory, allowing you to get an estimate of your costs ahead of time.
- Design better beer: It sucks to brew a batch of beer and not have it come out the way you want. While some mistakes are due to your process, you can minimize mistakes with ingredients, by getting an idea of how the brew could possibly come out based on your ingredients. If you’re looking for a balanced I.P.A. you can tweak your malts and hops until you find something you like without spending money on several batches.
When I was looking at options, I discovered BeerSmith and tried them out. I loved it as it provided exactly what I needed and then some. It’s easy for me to document recipes, tweak them, pick up some new ones from the community and when I’m ready, share our brews online with others. It’s only $25 (there are discounts at some brew shops, so ask your local store).
They have a 3 week trial, so if you’re looking for a robust program, try out BeerSmith.