Monday, March 5, 2012

Brewtarget - Software Review Collaboration

A few of the members over on discussed writing a collaborative blog post to review the numerous brewing software available today.  If you don't already use some sort of brewing software, I recommend checking out all the reviews (links below) and using some.  Brewing software takes a lot of the science and large equations out of the brewing process and makes recipe formulation a snap!

I use and chose to review Brewtarget.  Brewtarget is and open-source (free!) software which is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.  It utilizes Beer.xml which allows it to be compatible with many of the other brewing softwares -  you can easily import/export recipes with friends!

A really important aspect of producing great beer is knowing your system.  Brewtarget is highly configurable to meet the needs of your brewery and help you learn your system through the following configurations:

  • Equipment - You are able to setup different equipment profiles which will remember your pot sizes, evaporation rates, mash temp initial losses, grain absorption etc.
  • Measurements and Formulas -  Easily switch between metric and U.S. measurements as well as color formulas (Mosher/Morey/Daniel) and IBU approximations (Rager/Tinsenth)
  • Editable Database -   Customizing Grains, Yeast, and Hops is very easy on the front-end interface
  • Scale Recipe Calculator - Easily adjust a known recipe (like from Brewing classic Styles) based on volume or efficiency.  This comes in handy!
  • Brewday Help:  Software contains a timer, a correction calculator if you miss your OG, a priming and a pitching rate calculator
Pictured below is a screenshot of the recipe tab in Brewtarget showing a Munich Helles I brewed last weekend.  As you can see the low and high ends of the BJCP style guidelines are shown to the left (blue) and right (red) of my recipe.  If you are within the style guidelines you values will be green.  If you are high or low your predicted numbers will turn blue or red.  You are also notified of the hop/malt balance of your beer below the colored pint glass.  All ingredients in a recipe can be edited directly from the recipe formulation screen

After using Brewtarget for over a year and seeing the updates that have been made since version 1.2.1 (Currently on 1.2.4) I am really impressed with the software.  The developer is always willing to promptly help when bugs are encountered and constantly adds new requested functionality to each software revision.  The only thing I wish Brewtarget did better was produce a more styled recipe printout for sharing on the web.  It currently outputs recipes to your computers clipboard in a basic text/tab delimited output, and its not the most aesthetically pleasing.  Other than that I really love the software and suggestion you check it out!

Other Software Reviews:
Leave a comment with your thoughts on the different brewing software below.


  1. I haven't happened across BrewTarget before but it looks like a nice slick app and it has as similar feature-set to Brewmate (also a free app). I might have to try it out sometime to see how it stacks up against Brewmate. Just from comparing screenshots one thing I prefer on Brewmate is having all the ingredients on the same screen instead of different tabs for grains, hops, etc.

    The text version probably has to be basic without any formatting by default if it's plain text. Brewmate has a similar plain text output but also has an option of 'Forum friendly' output which can include BB code for formatting.

    1. @Aidan I agree Brewmate's ingredients all being in the same location without clicking to a new tab is a nice feature. I do often find myself wanting to know what the hop schedule or yeast was on a recipe without having to click over. It looks to me like design outweighed functionality in this aspect. I feel Brewtargets tabs and use of white space make it look a little cleaner. Whereas, Brewmate is a little more cluttered, but everything is right there and is more functional!

      I like 'forum friendly' option Brewmate offers and I will check it out.

  2. I agree with your one negative item on the review. The output of BrewTarget for printing or sharing on the web is a disaster to put it bluntly.
    The developers answer was to use 'code' tags when posting on HBT, or use monospaced fonts. The use of monospaced fonts didn't improve the output. I had submitted a bug report to improve the output, and the developer immediately closed it out.
    Maybe some more users of BrewTarget can also put in requests for this.
    Until THAT improves, I will use Brew Mate.

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