BeerSmith 2.1 and the BeerSmith Recipe Cloud – A Preview

by Brad Smith on April 25, 2012 · 36 comments

Almost 11 months have passed since BeerSmith 2 was launched, and I am only a few weeks away from launching version 2.1 of BeerSmith (launching 15 May). The new version includes two major feature enhancements – a brew day timer and the BeerSmith cloud storage.

Mash and Boil Timer

The Brew Day Timer

For quite some time now, many of you have asked for an integrated timer to use on brew day. In BeerSmith 2.1, I’ve added a separate timer tab you can view for any open recipe (much like the current design, mash, and fermentation buttons). For all grain brewers, the top half of this screen has a mash timer and a list of each mash step. As each step expires an alarm is played and older completed steps are removed from the instruction list. For extract brewers, the mash timer acts as a steep timer and it will show a list of grains to be steeped along with a timer that tracks steep time. You can configure the steeping options (time and temperature) from the Options->Brewing dialog.

The lower half of the timer page has the boil timer, and shows step-by-step times and additions to be used during the boil. Again if you start the timer, it will play an alarm as various steps are reached and remove older steps a few minutes after they are completed until your boil is finished. It also lists first wort hops and steeped aroma hops (end of the boil hops) so you don’t miss those additions.

BeerSmith Cloud

The BeerSmith Recipe Cloud

The BeerSmith Recipe Cloud

Many of you are now working from more than one computer and wanted an easy way to transfer recipes between them. All of you wanted a library of BeerSmith recipes you could easily download to use in BeerSmith. The BeerSmith Recipe Cloud delivers both.

It starts with a relatively simple addition – a single “cloud” folder available from the View menu/ribbon. Here you can copy/paste recipes to and from your cloud folder, and as long as your computer is connected to the internet those recipes will be stored online on our recipe server. Your recipes are tied to your account, so if you log into another computer with your cloud account, you can view, download and edit the same group of recipes there. This gives you an easy mechanism to share recipes across machines.

BeerSmith 2.1 Cloud Folder

Since your cloud folder is stored online, I thought it would be great to make it easy to publish those recipes. So any of your recipes (which are private by default) can be marked as shared in your cloud folder and they will then appear on our BeerSmith Recipe web site for the public to search and use.

I did not stop there, of course. I then built a large searchable recipe website with social media features on the new site so you can find recipes, rate your favorite ones, follow your friends to see what they are brewing, comment on their wall, bookmark recipes that interest you and much more.

Search a Huge Recipe Database

You can find recipes by typing just a few words such as “irish stout”. Bookmark the ones you like to download later. Download them either in BSMX format or by making a private copy which instantly goes into your cloud folder. You can later access these directly from BeerSmith. If you like a recipe, leave a rating and comment on it so others can find the top rated and most commented recipes. The beta testers already put hundreds of recipes online, and I expect we’ll have thousands shortly after launch.

The social media features are nice as well – you can follow friends, see what they’ve been brewing and commenting on, leave comments on their wall, and send private messages. I’m also working with online vendors to get many of their kits published with order links after launch so you can search commercial recipe kits that link directly to their order page.

Follow Your Friends

Finally, since the new site is web based you can log in and view your cloud recipes from any computer or mobile device with a web browser – which is handy if you don’t happen to have your desktop computer with you. At the moment you can’t edit the recipes directly on the web, but you can view, download, bookmark and share recipes from your web login. I’m also planning to integrate the cloud service with mobile apps (iPad, iPhone, Android) in the future so you’ll have an integrated brewing experience across all of your devices.

What does it cost?

BeerSmith 2.1 will be a free upgrade for all BeerSmith 2 users. A basic cloud account will also be free. It has limited online storage (currently 10 recipes in your cloud folder), but gives you enough room to download several recipes at a time (which you can easily cut/paste to your main My Recipes folder), share the ones you are working on across machines or the community, and engage in commenting and bookmarking on the new site.

If you find the service meets your needs you can purchase additional space and resources starting at around $1/month (introductory price). I also have higher level accounts for professional brewers, groups and vendors. My goal was to keep the service very affordable but also cover the costs of operating and maintaining the site as it grows.

View Your Cloud Recipes From Any Browser

When Will It Launch?

The launch is planned for mid-May 2012, and subscribers to my newsletter will get first access to the new version a few days early.

I will be offering substantial discount on subscriptions for the first month after launch. My goal is to encourage people to sign up and grow a large database of recipes for everyone to use. I’ll continue the discounts through the National Homebrewer Conference which ends 23 June 2012.

If you enjoy the new site, I encourage you to upgrade your account, as it will not only give you the space to download and share great homebrew recipes, but also will support further development of cloud features and mobile apps I plan to integrate with the cloud.

What’s Next After This?

I’ll be attending the National Homebrew Conference in Seattle (I’ll be speaking and have a booth – hope to see many of you there) and then I plan to start development on some mobile BeerSmith apps for iPad, iPhone and Android which will also make use of the cloud for cross platform integration. I also will continue to develop and enhance both BeerSmith 2 and the new BeerSmith cloud service.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan April 25, 2012 at 10:30 am

….and still no smart phone application?

Dan April 25, 2012 at 10:31 am

Brad

This is fantastic news. All of these things I was wanted BeerSmith to do. Also on the app front that would just be a complete package. Keep up the great work.

Robert April 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Would like to have the brew profile go with the recipe.. I do BIAB and have spent a lot of time trying to dial that in.. embedding the equipment and other profile settings within the recipe would help me greatly!

Aaron April 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Ok I love the cloud idea, my buddies and I have been talking about Beersmith getting this for a long time. I am pretty disappointed that it only allows for 10 recipes though. Why allow for a limit on the number of recipes? Why not utilize it based on space? I’m not sure what you’re going to be offering in terms of spacing but even $1/month is going to be expensive unless its unlimited recipe storage for that much. Consider that dropbox, skydrive, box.net, amazon cloud drive, etc, ALL offer well over 1GB in free space. You’re offering ~50KB. I’m sorry, but offering at least 10MB for free is the bare minimum starting point for recipe storage.

ABREWCADABREW April 26, 2012 at 1:59 am

Very excited by this, Brad!

I’m especially looking forward to seeing what the social media integration can do for my friends and “fans”.

Will there be alarms and reminders for brew days, racking days, and bottling? Any updates with the inventory system and calendar? Mobile apps? Mobile apps? :D

Didn’t mean to pelt you with questions, like I said, very excited by this!

Joe Nagy April 26, 2012 at 10:43 am

Very excited about the cloud as I do most of my recipes on my desktop but often use the laptop as well. I’m able to link them with Windows 7, but this will be much more accessible. Can’t wait!

Brad Smith April 29, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Thanks – the timer is currently only for the Mash and Boil. My thinking is that the calendar is more suitable for marking off days. I’m not making major changes to the inventory or calendar yet, but I have added a feature to be able to export inventory (and other reports) in CSV format so you could put it in a spreadsheet (as requested by many pro-brewers). The mobile apps are next on my agenda as soon as I get through the recipe cloud launch.

Brad Smith April 29, 2012 at 8:57 pm

The subscriptions for the cloud site are based on space, and designed to help offset the cost of developing, maintaining and running the servers. The starting paid level is 75 recipes which most beta users have found to be sufficient for personal sharing across machines, as well as publishing selected recipes. The cloud storage is not intended to store all of your recipes, but really to allow you to transfer and share them.

Several people have compared the recipe cloud I’m building to various free file sharing services with XX gigabytes of storage. The comparison is really not a good one, and perhaps my use of the word cloud was a poor choice. Being able to store a bunch of files on a file storage service is quite a bit different from having them in a huge database where you can search, sort, review, edit and share them and also have them fully integrated with the program.

Providing each user 1 GB “for free” or “very cheap” also sounds great until you start running the actual numbers. 1000 users is 1 TB or 41 million recipes. 10,000 users (not unrealistic) is 10 TB or 410 million recipes. Double those figures for storing an indexed database, and you now need a 20 TB database plus the hardware and bandwidth to support, search and serve that big database. Add in many thousands of free “basic” users and you can double or triple it again. Not a huge deal if you are Google or Amazon and have your own server farms, but probably not realistic for a small business like mine.

My goal was to allow people to participate and try the service out with their free basic account, and if they like what they see they can sign up for a higher level account — just like people can try BeerSmith for free and purchase it if it meets their needs.

Brad Smith April 29, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Working on the apps next – as soon as the cloud launch is finished!

tom May 1, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Sounds amazing, cant wait to have cloud storage to back up recipes. Being able to share with the community is a great idea!

Dan C May 2, 2012 at 10:56 am

I am anxiously awaiting an ipad app for Beersmith! I love the latest software and really am in need of a mobile app to use with me on my ipad instead of dragging my computer to the brew room. Can’t wait!

James May 2, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Great news about the cloud service. I think that will be a much needed addition to not only your current product, but also the Internet in general. Googleing recipes and then wading through all the crap is disappointing and frustrating to say the least. I’ve been using the recipe database at beertools.com for quite some time and really enjoy it. Yours however appears set to take over as the leading recipe database on the Internet. I will look forward to that day when it comes and when I can say “yeah, I’ve been a member since day 1″

–cheers!

Kim May 6, 2012 at 10:33 am

Will the new version feature new yeast strains (like San Diego Super Yeast from White Labs) and new Hop varieties (like HBC-369)?

Tom S. May 7, 2012 at 7:14 am

Brad.

I am in awe of your abilities. Love the program.

If I could make a suggestion for the smart phone app.Having the ability to edit a recipe on the fly with the app would be great. Not necessarily suggesting a full blown recipe construction ability, but something to tweak what your making would be nice.

Prost

Chris B May 7, 2012 at 9:55 am

The cloud service sounds great… but I would like to use this space as the main repository for my recipes… I don’t see why you would have your recipies stored locally and then have a “select few” online to share…. does not make any sence to me??? Maybe I don’t care about the sharing/social aspect of the cloud as much as the idea that I can have a universal recipe.bsmx file to see from multiple machines ( this, IMHO personally the biggest drawback in BeerSmith)

Perfect example….
Lets say I have the “cloud version” of my recipe open… I make notes on it during brew day from the back yard while on my laptop… maybe even do a tweak or two… add gypsum or whatever… then I save it… (I assume it saves to the cloud?) So now the “cloud copy” is up to date but my copy that is in the house on my desktop or laptop is now outdated?? That concept pretty much sucks… how is anyone to keep track!!

I currently have 50 recipies and my recipe.bsmx is only 1 meg. I plan on buying the 75 recipe service … but I will use the “cloud” to hold ALL my recipies … this way every change is avalilble to any computer I choose to run Beersmith on. I would not use LOCAL space at all…

I also don’t get the statement of building a “large social database” for everyone to share … but then limiting it to 10 recipies… or even 75… Don’t get me wrong, I have no problen paying for storage but I think it should be a larger recipe cap, seeing that 75 recipies would be under 2 megs storage … based on my system 200 recipies would be only 4 megs storage… maybe 5 megs if you make a lot of notes. that does not seem too much to me…

Brad Smith May 9, 2012 at 7:56 am

Chris – if you choose to you could certainly store more recipes online, or even all of them, and perhaps use the local storage to keep backup copies. It depends on how much space you need. I will be offering higher level memberships for those who need more space. I’m very interested in seeing how the launch goes, as I’m estimating we’ll have many thousands of recipes shared within the first few weeks – especially when I look at the numbers the beta testers have posted.

Brad Smith May 9, 2012 at 7:57 am

Thanks – I’m certainly going to focus on developing apps for the mobile platforms next and likely integrating those with the cloud for a shared experience.

Brad Smith May 9, 2012 at 7:58 am

Kim – I’ve not added those yet but could easily package them as an add-on. Do you have references for the data so I can find them (other than white labs which is easy to find)?

Hoptomology May 10, 2012 at 11:08 am

That’s great news Brad!! It’s been frustrating not being able to access the same recipes on my macbook and my PC. (Dropbox & others won’t work) Plus, finally a brewing timer!
Can’t wait!
Cheer,
Hoptomology

Joseph /BrewingBiker/Richter May 13, 2012 at 1:16 am

Eagerly looking forward to this upgrade!
Beersmith ROCKS! Don’t even consider setting up a brewday without it!

Willem May 14, 2012 at 6:58 am

Good upgrade, though i am very interested in the following additions in the future;

> Larger ranges of grain, hops, yeasts etc being added on a regular basis (on a self update cycle).
> Smart phone tandem app, timer, recipe info etc. Good to have on the go.
> More equipment profiles for off the shelf products like BM’s & Brew Magic setups.
> No chill options for doing no chill cubes etc.

Geoff May 14, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Brad,

I’m loving the idea of cloud storage for recipes! Did you happen to add back in the ability to list recipes based on current inventory levels? That was a great option in BS1 that I dearly miss in BS2.

Brad Smith May 21, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Not yet – but it is very high on my list for the next update.

Kalle May 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Thanks for a great piece of software!

I’m only a wee beginner, but already love both the program and the recently launched cloud service. (I actually bought the program just a few hours ago, when realizing the cloud was launched!)

Just one question: Are you planning to make it possible to store the inventory online as well? I’ll be using the program on two computers myself, and probably sharing the cloud account with my brewing companion. Keeping an inventory up to date on four different computers will be…well, difficult.

Thanks again!

Best,

/kalle.

Ed Meanrd May 31, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Brad, this is all great news. The cloud idea is Fantastic!

I am patiently awaiting and Android port. I have a tablet that I think would be AWESOME to use on brew day.

Keep up the great work!

dan McLean June 4, 2012 at 11:29 pm

I upgraded to beersmith 2.1, haven’t tried the recipe cloud yet. Great upgrade. Can’t wait til I can use it on my android phone, but already it will improve brewday for me. Thanks Brad.

Brad Smith June 10, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Not currently – but I am looking at eventually expanding the cloud concept to be able to store other data – particularly for mobile and cross platform sharing.

White Labs Brewing Co June 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Hello,

We are currently trialing your program for our newly started brewing operations at White Labs. It looks very nice and I like using it so far. We are using the calendar quite extensively and I have a couple of ideas / questions:

1) Can the calendar sync to the cloud?
2) Is there a neat way of assigning batch numbers to the brews in the calendar without making a new recipe each time I want it to show a batch number in the calendar? We will mainly be using 10 base recipes but will need to assign new batch numbers every day for traceability.

Thank you
Troels Prahl
Yeast and Brewing Applications Scientist
White Labs Inc.

Brad Smith June 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Hi,
– The calendar does not sync to the cloud currently. I am looking at upgrading the calendar in a future version to make it easier to use and will look at synch at that point as well.
– I would use the version numbers in a recipe to show various copies of a recipe. What I usually do is copy the finished versions to the brew log so they don’t clutter up my regular recipes too much.

Thanks,
Brad Smith

David Towne September 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I moved beersmith to a new laptop. I figured out how to bring my recipes and equipment profiles over. I would like to know how to show default fields to display to move over please.

David

Brad Smith September 25, 2012 at 6:29 pm

You should be able to move the BSCols.BX2 over from your old BeerSmith2 directory.

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