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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Don't make another bad batch of beer! Give BeerSmith a try - you'll brew your best beer ever.
Download a free 21 day trial of BeerSmith now