Every once in a while software comes along that promises to make brewing easier. faster, more precise. Today that is beer making software BeerSmith. Does it deliver on it promises? Is it worth the purchase at $27.95? Now that BeerSmith 3 has released, how did BeerSmith 2 stack up?
BeerSmith is the brain child of Bradley J. Smith, PHD and promises to open doors to home brewing that were previously closed to most with automatic calculations, step-by-step instructions, and much more. Pricing in at $27.95 US BeerSmith 2 is available from the official BeerSmith website.
Let’s start with the features… and there are a LOT of features! Maybe too many to be honest, but more on that later. Let me just briefly highlight the best ones.
Extract, Partial Mash or All Grain Capability – If you are an extract brewer you can rest easy as this software can switch easily from All Grain to Extract and even Partial Mash with a quick drop down selection.
Comes with 19 built in recipes – If you are like me, I like examples. So the fact that the software comes with a nice selection of recipes is a plus.
Brew Steps – Once you have built a beer, a quick click on the Brew Steps button gives a nice printable version of your recipes complete with step by step instructions.
Built in Timer – My favorite feature. As a brewer, timing is everything. 5 minutes can mean a huge difference in color, or strength of hops. So the inclusion of a timer is well received by this brewer.
Easy recipe creator – Well not as easy as it would seem. You will need to have knowledge of such terms like Alpha, IBU, SG and SRM. If you are not familiar with these terms you could feel a bit lost as you fumble about making your perfect batch of beer, as the software makes NO attempt to explain these terms with the use of handy tooltips.
There are of course many more features to this program. Here’s a summary of the ones I have not highlighted above.
Recipe Scale Calculator for bigger or smaller batches
Hop Age Tool
Boil Off Tool
Water Profile Tool
pct Alcohol Tool
Yeast Starter Tool
…..and the list goes on and on. Which brings me to my next point. There are WAY too many tools, and widgets in this program. In fact you will find that you disregard many of the built in helpers all together as they are not really needed in most cases. I suppose I do find some kind of comfort knowing that these tools are available to me if I should ever need one, but to be purely honest, I have not needed to use a single one of them in the year I have used BeerSmith 2.
On the plus side, BeerSmith 2 does comes with a comprehensive and in-depth help file system to help you understand what each of these tools do the fullest. But let’s face it, you just want to make beer right? Does it help to do that?
Yes it does, and it does it well. Even with its massive learning curve, bloated useless tools, and an interface that has as much charm as a moldy sandwich. I still like BeerSmith 2 and use it regularly when brewing up custom batches. Is it worth it at $27.95 US? Yes! You will be glad you bought it.
My only real concern with BeerSmith is the painfully slow updates. You will be lucky to receive even one update a year. Another obvious flaw to this, is future version updates (such as version 2 to version 3) are not free (unless you are a paid premium member) and you will have to upgrade at the full purchase price. I feel this is a great disservice to the customers and this practice should be reviewed, revised and most wanted, removed.
Lots of Features
Built in Timer
Comes with 19 recipes
Step-by-Step instructions for your custom beer
Solid programming (no crashes on windows 7 or 10)
Free 21 day demo on the site (printing of recipes not allowed)
Too many unused features
REALLY Ugly clumsy Interface
Steep learning curve
Updates are painfully slow
Updates to new versions are not covered
If you are willing to overlook some obvious faults, understand that updates are slow (even missing some years) , and yake the time to learn the program it will prove to be a valuable tool in your future beer making adventures.
You can find BeerSmith 3 at the official BeerSmith website https://www.beersmith.com
This review is the sole opinion of The Brew Monks and in no way officially endorses or condemns the product(s) or company behind the product(s). If a product has been received for free it will state so in the review. Your purchase experience may vary.
BLESSED BE THE HOPS!