Beer Calculus -- homebrew recipe calculator
December 4, 2009 12:26 PM   Subscribe

Beer Calculus is a freely available homebrewing recipe generator, which allows you to easily create, save and share your own beer recipe(s). The calculator includes hundreds of malt, hop and yeast varieties, adjuncts and other ingredients, different mash processes, and fermentation and storage variables, and can toggle between US and metric units. Also, if you associate your recipe with a BJCP-recognized style, the calculator will give you guidance regarding your recipe's adherence to the style's guidelines. Homebrewers, have at it!
posted by cog_nate (26 comments total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
Praise Beer-Jesus!
posted by Seamus at 12:35 PM on December 4, 2009

I must be an idiot. I tried to input my favorite recipe and got stuck after the first ingredient.
posted by Seamus at 12:39 PM on December 4, 2009

Well, now it's working for me.
posted by Seamus at 12:41 PM on December 4, 2009

I can't wait for some time off to put this to the test. Thanks for the find.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:46 PM on December 4, 2009

That odd sound you hear is me hyperventilating. I have pants of joy!
posted by Panjandrum at 12:49 PM on December 4, 2009

I like it for the most part, but I'd rather store my recipes on my own machine. Definitely good for designing a recipe.
posted by tommasz at 12:52 PM on December 4, 2009

Oh hell yes. I've cobbled together something like this between 3-4 spreadsheets, but this looks way more convenient.

Minor nitpicky beer-nerd point: the calculator gives the impression that when you choose a yeast, it will give you an attenuation value for the mash you've chosen. In reality, this is hugely dependent on factors they don't even allow for, such as mash temperature. So the attenuation values and final gravity are mostly just imaginary, but I suppose in most cases they'll be a decent approximation. Still, super useful.
posted by rkent at 12:53 PM on December 4, 2009

For you iphone users: Brew Pal.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:58 PM on December 4, 2009

Man, I should share more. I've been using this for a year, and it has improved as the community has added to it. I prefer the more robust BeerSmith software, especially since I moved to all-grain process but that's $20. This is a great tool, and more than enough for extract, partial mashers, and straightforward all-grain recipes. It's also a really good way to back up and share your recipes (I have a few up there under the username "climateboy"). Ideally, I'd pair this with a free trial of BeerSmith; that software takes a bit of getting used to, but I find it indispensable for the corrections and improvisations that are inevitably necessary when brewing 5-10 gallons of all-grain beer in my kitchen.
posted by oneironaut at 1:14 PM on December 4, 2009

Nice! I was planning on doing a brew this morning, so I might try this out -- I've been using QBrew for a while now (Linux/Mac), but we'll see how this goes.
posted by nonspecialist at 1:24 PM on December 4, 2009

Hell fucking yeah!
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 1:25 PM on December 4, 2009

Good find!

Personally, I find it´s more of a beer recipe notebook than an actual calculator. I can put in my recipe and will get the theoretical yields in terms of alcohol, bitterness and such.
What I would like to do, is work the other way around, to help me me design a beer.

So say I´d like a beer which is relatively light, but still uses some toasted malts because I like the aroma, I´d like to punch in the color (in SRM of ECU). Likewise given certain hops, I´d like to punch in a wanted amount of bitterness (IBU´s). The perfect program would tell me then how much to add, and how long to boil.
Sure, I could iteratively change my inputs, until I arrive at the beer of my dreams, but the (slowish) web-interface keeps me from doing so.

Other typical beer calculations would be: Calculating the amount of extra water/sugar to correct the SG of a wort before fermenting. Correcting for the loss of bitterness in aging hops. Estimating the amount of bottle sugar to get to a set CO2 pressure.

These things seem to be missing at this moment. However, I do appreciate the work that has gone into the tool up to now, and it allows you to save the recipes online, and its free, so who am I to complain?

A.t.m. I use another free program called Brouwvisie (It´s in Dutch). It´s not the be-all end-all of beer tools, but will let me do at least some of these things.
posted by Zigurana at 1:25 PM on December 4, 2009

This is pretty great, I'm still looking for something though which will help me with the country wines/meads that I play around with from time to time though. I tried putting in 20lb of honey under fermentables and then 4lb cherries under the misc just to see what it would do but it doesn't look like the cherries added anything at all to the final ABV percentages. Does anyone know of something that will approximate (I know it won't ever be exact) percentages for a must once fruits etc. have been added?
posted by mcrandello at 1:36 PM on December 4, 2009

mcrandello, it looks like cherries with pits are effectively 14% carbs by weight. Allowing for extraction loss, etc., I would guess roughly 10% sugar equivalent by weight of the cherries in the recipe.

For my beer recipes I've been using Promash under Windows for about the last ten years. Back then it was virtually the only turnkey option for this sort of thing (as opposed to rolling your own spreadsheet or whatever), and I am too calcified to change.
posted by exogenous at 1:56 PM on December 4, 2009

So say I´d like a beer which is relatively light, but still uses some toasted malts because I like the aroma, I´d like to punch in the color (in SRM of ECU). ... The perfect program would tell me then how much to add, and how long to boil.

Also depends on how concentrated your boil is. The Maillard reactions - they are complicated things!

Other typical beer calculations would be: Calculating the amount of extra water/sugar to correct the SG of a wort before fermenting.

This one's easy. Take your (original) specific gravity, multiply the part after the decimal by the volume in gallons. E.g. 5 gallons of 1.040 = 200. Multiply your desired OG by your desired volume likewise. E.g. 5 gallons of 1.045 = 225. Estimate that dry pale extract provides 45 such "gravity points" per pound, and add accordingly. In this situation you'd need 0.55 pounds - call it half a pound. It works for weakening the wort, too, but obviously you have to increase the target volume.
posted by rkent at 2:11 PM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

rkent, I'm sure most homebrewers can do the Pearson's Square calculation but the reason for using software in the first place is so we don't have to do the work (and to minimize mistakes).
posted by Democritus at 2:41 PM on December 4, 2009

I've been meaning to brew for ages, and will probably finally get around to it tomorrow... using a recipe I have stored on Hopville (Beer Calculus). Serendipity.
posted by uncleozzy at 3:40 PM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've liked Brewsta for a while now. I liek this spreadsheet too but I didn't see a metric-option. Thanks to brewsta I do all my recipes in metric. Brewsta doesn't have style association like this spreadsheet, but it's still neat.
posted by glip at 6:47 PM on December 4, 2009

Ugh, this is one of those threads I wish I had gotten to while it was still going. I'm more or less posting so that if anyone starts up a MeFi homebrew club of some sort, I'll get MeMail.

But on topic, I wish the main site hopville had a way to find recipes that people vouched for. There are over 400 American Amber Ale recipes, how do I find a good one?
posted by revgeorge at 6:14 AM on December 5, 2009

Hi, first post here, glad it's about beer :)

I have to chime in for Hopville, too. I'm an amateur and it's really helped me.

I brew 3 gallon batches -- these take less time to brew and I can drink them quicker, so I get faster iterations this way. For anyone starting out this is the way to go. There's nothing worse than wasting all day on 5 gallons of undrinkable sludge.
posted by print at 4:17 PM on December 5, 2009

Welcome to MetaFilter, print.

I brew all-grain with a weird split batch regime (one mashtun, two kettles, two carboys) that ends up at about seven or eight gallons of beer. I view it as a personal failure if Mrs. exogenous or I have to buy beer from the store, so I'm looking to scale up so we have more beer to share with friends and neighbors while taking less of my time.
posted by exogenous at 4:51 PM on December 5, 2009

For what it's worth, I did wind up brewing this pale ale (on Repeal Day, no less). Sort of a supercharged SNPA designed to empty hops out of the freezer. Took a little while to get started, but I saw positive pressure at the airlock this morning. Ought to be a good one.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:15 AM on December 7, 2009

Speaking of hops, in spring I will be culling down my overgrown backyard hop garden. Any mefites in the DC area are welcome to have some rhizomes (mostly Cascades which grow like weeds here) - PM me if interested.
posted by exogenous at 10:29 AM on December 7, 2009

Echoing exogenous, I'll be cutting back my Cascades rhizomes in the spring. Anyone who's interested in the MOKAN area, MeFiMail me.
posted by cog_nate at 5:13 PM on December 7, 2009

This is nice - i dont have to do the gravity calcs by hand anymore. I'm too cheap to buy a program to do something i can do by hand, but going on the interweb to do it, I'm all for.
posted by Capt Jingo at 6:22 AM on December 8, 2009

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