Friday 5 April 2024

Why Brewfather is the Best Software for Homebrewing

If you're serious about your homebrewing, you really have to be using some kind of software application to help manage the many aspects of brewing. From recipe design, to calculations, conversions and inventory management, a good piece of homebrewing software can make all these tasks so much simpler, and really are a must-have in your brewing line up.

In this post, we're going to cover the variety of reasons why we believe Brewfather is the best application for homebrewers to be using.

1. Cost

You can sign up to use Brewfather for free - although the free version does have a limitation on storing a maximum of 10 recipes/batches, and the inability to import or export data from the software. What you do get though is access to essentially all the tools and features you'll need for recipe creation. When you sign up for free you also get a free 30 day trial of the Premium version - with no strings attached. It's definitely worth signing up and checking it out for yourself.

We used the free version for quite some time, but once we hit the 10 recipe/batch limit we had no hesitation in upgrading to the paid Premium version, and have never looked back.

2. Cloud-Based

There's a number of benefits to using cloud based software. Being cloud based means that (with the exception of a mobile phone app) no software is required to be installed on your device, and all of your user data (eg. recipes) are automatically saved and backed up, to the cloud. On a PC/Mac, Brewfather is accessed via a web browser, or on an Android or iOS device there is a dedicated Brewfather app. Any changes that you make on one device are immediately visible on all other devices, meaning a seamless experience across devices. This seamless, cloud based experience means you can work on a recipe on your home computer, and then pull up that same recipe on your phone in the brewery to kick off your brew day with the latest changes being there instantaneously. 

And if your computer or mobile device gets lost, stolen, damaged or replaced, all your Brewfather data is still available to you the next time you sign in. No more messing around with saving or backing files and transferring files between devices.

The software is also being constantly improved and updated, and you'll often be prompted to update recipes using new and updated calculations that have been applied to the back end software. So besides updates through your mobile device app store, there's no more worrying about keeping PC or Mac applications up to date.

3. Device Integrations

Brewfather integrates tightly with a number of brewing peripheral devices such as the Tilt Hydrometer, iSpindel, RAPT Cloud (for the RAPT Pill & Temperature Controller), Plaato Keg, Plaato Airlock, Brewpiless, Brewtools Cloud plus many more.

As an example, we've setup integrations with our RAPT Pill and Hydrom digital hydrometers which give a nice neat graph within the software that is directly linked to a 'batch' that has been brewed which we think is awesome. Here's an example below from our recently brewed Mexican Lager - showing the gravity (red line) as well as temperature.

4. Recipe Database

There is a pretty comprehensive recipe database (Library) featuring brewing recipes for just about every beer style you can imagine. You can search the database and filter/sort by number of views, downloads and upvotes/likes.

What's more, is that if you find a recipe you like, with a single click you can download the recipe into your own library where you can go ahead and make tweaks/adjustments to it such as scaling it to your own batch size, or applying the equipment profile for your brewing setup and it will automatically adjust everything for you.

You'll also find many recipes shared from others in the brewing community (like popular brewing YouTubers) that share via Brewfather links.

5. Ease of Use

We've found the software incredibly easy and intuitive to use, meaning you don't need a computer science degree or much technical knowledge to jump in and start creating or tweaking recipes. You can make it as simple or in-depth and complex as your heart desires. 

The interface is neat, and the recipe creation process is so easy, with countless malt varieties already in the software from all the popular maltsters, with all the required values pre-populated. Just enter your weights/volumes and off you go.

It's similar for hop varieties too, with only Alpha Acid %'s really needing to be adjusted as these will vary somewhat depending on where you're getting your hops from.

There are equipment profiles for all the popular brewing systems, allowing calculations for things like boil off rates, dead space volumes, and efficiencies to be automatically applied to recipes as you're creating them.

What this means is that you're basically just filling in the blanks when creating a recipe. Enter your fermentables, hops, yeast and the software will work out the rest for you and display it in a great, easy to read format with graphs showing expected values, and highlighting whether or not they fit within the accepted range for the style of beer you're making. Tweaks can be easily made and all the values update instantly so you can see what impact each change makes.

There's also a Brew Day Tracker which can walk you step by step through your brew day, including mash and boil timers.

6. Tools

There are heaps of tools included in the software that are essential if you're looking to get the most out of your brewing software, and your brews. Things like the water calculator can help determine what brewing salt adjustments are required to hit the numbers for a desired style, something we use extensively for every batch to get our mineral content and pH values correct - and in our experience it's incredibly accurate too.

There's also other calculators for things like strike water temperature, yeast pitch rates, hydrometer temperature correction. You name it and Brewfather probably has a tool or calculator for it. So no more searching for online calculators - you've now got them all in the one spot.

Inventory Management is another great feature, which we don't currently use as we don't buy our ingredients in bulk, but w can certainly see the benefit of this for those homebrewers who do, or even for professional brewers who need to keep track of brewing ingredient inventory.

Final Thoughts

If you're not using any particular brewing software, or the software you're currently using doesn't offer all the great features we've outlined above, then it's definitely worthwhile checking out Brewfather. You can sign up absolutely free and use almost all of the features of the software to really get a feel for what it's like. We've been using the software for several years now, and have always been incredibly pleased with how well it works, and all the great features it offers. 

The Premium version is definitely worthwhile considering for around AU$30 per year once you start reaching the limitations imposed on the free version, though some may be quite happy to use the free version indefinitely, and that's absolutely fine.

Cloud based functionality, and easy to use interface and a plethora of different brewing tools make Brewfather a one-stop-shop containing everything homebrewers of all experience and skill levels would possibly need to get the most out of their brew days.

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