Being able to move from the simplicity of The Calculator to the power of BeerSmith2 is a major breakthrough.
BeerSmith2 as Compared to BeerSmith1
As stux and ianh will tell you, the mathematics of brewing software gets exponentially more complex as more features are added. This means that all brewing software to date, including BeerSmith1, has weaknesses and limitations and that users have to learn these faults. BeerSmith2 is full of advanced features and is very transparent, meaning that like, 'The Calculator,' one can easily see how a change affects the end result. This transparency allows the brewer to really understand what they are doing rather than just pressing buttons.
BeerSmith2 Definitions and Terminology
BeerSmith2 has quite clear definitions and a hover feature so that hovering over a brewing term will describe it. This combined with more transparency enables brewers to start talking a common language just as we have always tried to do here.
'Instantaneous' Conversion of Recipes
One annoying and very time-consuming thing for brewers is converting recipes to suit your equipment. Using 'The Calculator' can take an hour of detective work and typing to get what might be a good conversion but there can be no guarantees. Any recipe posted in BeerSmith2 format can be converted with three quick mouse clicks.
Four, maybe Five BIAB Equipment Profiles
BIABrewer has written four equipment profiles for BeerSmith2...
1. Pot (5 Gal/19 L) - Mini-BIAB: (3 Gal/11.5 L) into Fermenter.
2. Electric Urn (10 Gal/40 L) - BIAB: (5 Gal/19 L) into Fermenter.
3. Pot (13 Gal/50 L) - BIAB: (6 Gal/23 L) into Fermenter.
4. Pot (18.5 Gal/70 L) - BIAB: (10 Gal/38 L) into Fermenter.
Anyone can use or modify the above profiles to fine tune them. All the profiles work on an 81% Efficiency into Kettle and a 70% Efficiency into Fermenter (BeerSmith's Brewhouse Efficiency) with the exception of Mini-BIAB which is 5% lower.
5. Maxi-BIAB: As stux will tell you, Maxi-BIAB is, mathematically very complex. BeerSmith and BIABrewer made efforts to include this in the release but time has not permitted. The current thinking is that it will be included in a later build.
BeerSmith2 Sample Recipes
Owning BeerSmith 2 allows you to brew over 300 recipes all downloadable at no cost. 19 sample recipes come with the program and one third of these have been supplied by various brewers under the name of BIABrewer.info. These recipes are robust or best of show winners. Some are both such as, "Dr Smurto's Golden Ale".
Four of the six sample recipes supplied are linked to the BIAB Equipment profiles linked above. Two have been linked to traditional equipment to show users how easy it is to scale a recipe to suit their own equipment.
BeerSmith2 will support a BIABrewer.info 'Add-On' where users can click to download recipes we support here on BIABrewer. BIABrewer will create a new thread that publishes any recipes in the add-on in the format of a BIABrewer Recipe Template and 'The Calculator' file.
BIABrewer imagines that it will also be possible to include Equipment Profiles in this add on.
BeerSmith2 allows unlimited windows. This means you can compare/adjust several recipes, profiles etc. In the old days of BeerSmith 1, you either needed two copies of the program or pen and paper!
The Calculator/BeerSmith2 Study
To understand brewing calculations, software and logic, you need to set aside a few hours of study. You'll need to set aside more than this if you want to be a master. There is no 'miracle cure' out there that can convert garbage recipes into great ones. There are also no 'miracle cures' out there that can convert 'great recipes' on someone else's equipment to your equipment (unless they have published it in BeerSmith2 format).
BIABrewer.info recommends that all brewers commit some time to understanding the logic behind any software they use.
Should A BIABrewer use 'The Calculator' or BeerSmith2?
BIABrewer would not recommend you buying BeerSmith2 until you can fully understand the logic of the first sheet of 'The Calculator.' Once you have understood the 'Volumes' sheet of 'The Calculator,' you should take on a 21 day trial of BeerSmith2 and simultaneously commit time to exploring and understanding stux's 'Hop Bill' page of his Maxi-BIAB Calculator. Doing these two things will teach you the most.
Once you are at this stage, you'll see that BeerSmith2, is the easiest program to work from day to day but, dubious recipes requiring detective work are far more quickly solved in spreadsheet form if you know what you are looking for.
What Do I Get if I Purchase my BeerSmith2 Key from BIABrewer.info?
We think BIABrewer.info is the best place to get your key from because besides supporting the site...
1. We will automatically upgrade you to an 'Enthusiast.' This changes your username to bright green which is a sign that you have actively supported BIABrewer.info.
2. We will shortly create a forum for Enthusiasts only. Here you will be given the opportunity to actively assist in projects being undertaken by BIABrewer.info.
3. Being an Enthusiast will also sometimes result in you being invited to contribute more actively to the site's day to day maintenance. Do not accept these invitations - they are nothing but hard work!