Brew planning software
A lot of brewers (both homebrewers and professionals) use brewing software as a tool to calculate recipes. Brewing software in general is a great help prior to, during and after a brewing session. If you do not use softweare like this, here is some examples of what they can offer:
- 1.Inventory - Keep inventory of your malts, hops and yeast.
- 2.Recipes - Make your own recipes or download other public recipes.
- 3.Batches - Keep a record of all previous batches.
- 4.Calculators - Get valuable help in calculating water adjustments, ABV, yeast, carbonation.
- 5.Integration - Connect to third party devices like Plaato, Tilt and iSpindel etc.
The most commonly used brewing softwares today are Brewfather, BeerSmith and Brewers Friend. We highly recommend Brewfather, which gives you everything you need in the process from planning your recipe and to a drinkable beer. All wrapped up in a very delicate way that is intuitive.
To check out Brewfather, click on the link below.
All three mentioned brewing software support beerXML which is a data format for recipes that enables export and import between the different systems.
One key function in brewing software is the equipment profile. The equipment profile defines volumes and expected mash efficiency related to the brewing system you are using. Having this set up correctly is key in getting the correct calculations of e.g. mash water volume and SG (Specific Gravity) during the various stages of your brew day.
Default equipment profiles exists in Brewfather for all our brewing systems. In general, they are pretty good, but consider them a starting point. How your system is set up (valves and hoses), available heating power (model and settings dependent), batch size, grain weight, personal preference for boiling etc. can change what are the "correct" parameters for you.
Opening an equipment profile will display lots of parameters. Here are some that you should know.
Examples on what factors that can affect the different parameters.
- Steam condenser - Using a steam condenser will reduce the boil-off by 30 to 50%.
- Power - High level of heating power will give a more vigorous boil with more boil-off.
- Boil time - This is specified in the recipe. The longer boil time, the more boil-off.
- Diameter of the brewing system - The bigger the surface, the more boil-off. This factor is normally not a big deal.
- Mash efficiency
- Grain crush - We recommend crushing somewhere between 1.1mm and 1.3mm. If the grains are too coarsly ground, the mash efficiency will be reduced.
- pH - pH value is important with respect to mash efficiency. The ideal pH is approximately 5.4, depending on beer style. Check your local water profile and use Brewfather or other water adjustment calculators to calculate water additions to adjust the pH.
- Mash time - Increased mash time will most likely increase mash efficiency.
- Grain/Water ratio - If the mash is too thick it will reduce the mash efficiency.
- Sparging - Sparging technique and time is critical. The sparging process should take as long as 60-90 minutes to get the most out of the sugar potential.
- Malt produces - Different producers of malt might have different sugar potential for each Kg. of malt.
- Use a Trubinator to collect trub and hops during transfer to fermenter. This will let you keep the transfer longer to get more out of your kettle.
We advise that you, after every brew day, evaluate how it went and record the numbers. After multiple brews you will be able to better understand if you should adjust the equipment profile. Use social media or talk to experienced brewing friends for advice on where to improve. The main goal is to get a consistent brewing result.
Remember that the main point of having the equipment profile as correct as possible is to get the final beer as close to the recipe as possible. If the "Pre-Boil SG" is lower than the recipe, you will have to decide to either extend the boil time, add sugar/DME. Having the correct equipment profile helps you to avoid this.
On a general basis it is better to aim for a too high "Pre-Boil SG" and in the case it gets too high, dilute with water before boiling.
Visit Brewfather - docs. for more details and how to set up a profile from scratch.