Hi there Ziggy,
BIABrewer provided the numbers, recipes and equipment profiles for the BIAB areas of BeerSmith2 and also with general beta testing. This was quite an intensive effort and we were able to see many critical changes being adopted. Unfortunately there were also some critical changes we were hoping to see implemented but Brad was unable to get them done in time or was happy with the way things are.
Our original hope was that people could start out with the Calculator and move onto BeerSmith2. In fact we offered Beersmith2 for sale here for a month or two. Even though we still have a key left, we removed it from sale mainly because it is very difficult to learn how to use correctly and, if you don't use it correctly, your figures will be wrong. Few brewers have the necessary learning time available.
We did put considerable effort into seeing if we could make BeerSmith2 fast to learn (e.g. the Beersmith2 Guide for BIABrewers
) but found this to be an impossible task.
So, our focus has now been on the BIABacus (the new 'calculator') which has features unavailable in any other software and that we think are of the utmost importance . Several members here have been putting in hundreds of hours to build an 'intelligence' into the software. The aim has been two-fold...
1. For beginners: It must be intuitive for beginners. It also must be very hard for a beginner to make a major error. Finally, the design must also act as an educational tool.
2. For experienced brewers: It must be extremely fast and powerful to use and have a functionality unavailable elsewhere. And it does. For example, the BIABacus can scale the Brewing Classic Styles 'Bierre de Linde' recipe in less than five seconds. To scale this recipe somewhat accurately in BeerSmith2 would require several minutes and also a complete understanding of the four or so pages written about this in the guide linked above.
The BIABacus is actually a whole new concept in brewing software.
BIABacus 2 will be released under a spreadsheet platform probably early in the New Year. The limitations of this platform means the BIABacus 2 will not have some 'fancy' but non-critical tools found in nearly all other software.
BIABacus 3 will be totally re-written into code which will give the developers the flexibility to do what they would really like to do.
A lot of work has been put into BeerSmith2 by Brad Smith. It is
powerful software and I use it for scaling recipes the BIABacus currently can't such as those that include sugars or extracts. However, I have done the necessary study and know when and where I need to make corrections. If you choose to buy the software, you must be committed to learning it so as you don't make large errors and so that you are aware of where and why the software does not give you expected figures.
Many brewers use BeerSmith so, as long as you take the time to learn it, it will never be a waste of money buying it. The BeerSmith website is excellent as well. Everyone
should subscribe to the BeerSmith blog.
BeerSmith2 also has a 21 day free trial you can download from here
I hope that the above, while very long, informs you a little better Ziggy,