Brewing Applications By: Tom Ayers
Now that I’ve wrapped up my brewing system series I’m going to jump into some of the apps I use. I have an android phone and I love all of apps that are available from brewing related activities. Some of them are specific to brewing and some are more general beer apps.
The app that I use the most is the homebrewtalk.com app. It is available on android and apple phones. It is a pretty simple app that makes it easier to surf the HBT forums in a smartphone friendly manor. When I first got my smartphone I would use the web browser to surf the forum which worked but the application is far superior in that you do not have to zoom in and out and the interface is cleaner. Additionally, it is faster and automatically signs you in once you set it up.
The next app I use a lot does not have a whole lot to do with brewing, but a lot to do with beer. It is called untappd (iphone and droid). Basically it is a social networking app for beer drinkers. It allows you to “check-in” to beers and beer venues. You can track and rate the beers you drink while sharing your preferences with your friends. i searched and searched for an app that met my needs in this area, there are lots of options. I really wanted an app capable of tracking the beers, my rating, and thoughts on them. Untappd does a pretty good job. You can rate the beer 1-5 stars and make comments if you’d like, it would be better if it had ratings for aroma, flavor, appearance, etc (I know I’m a nerd). I would get really annoyed when I was at a beer bar and I ordered a beer I thought I never had before only to realize I had upon seeing the bottle. This app helps me avoid that. Additionally, when I was studying for my BJCP exam it helped me to constantly try new beers. The only downside is it makes you realize you drink too much, ha ha.
Ok back to brewing. I use Brewzor (droid only best I can tell) for recipe design and calculations. There are a ton of brewing recipe, timer, and calculator apps available in the app store but I’ve found this one to be the most complete and flexible. It is basically a slimmed down version of Beersmith for your smartphone. I don’t actually use it a ton for my brew day recipes, but I do use it a lot when I’m designing recipes away from my computer or need to look a calculation up on the fly. The other thing it is great for is giving people recipes at club meetings or other get togethers. I put all my recipes into this app. On brew day I still use Beersmith which I personally believe is the best brewing program for the homebrewer (check out Ben’s articles for more information). Now if they would just make an app for my Droid.
Another app I use occasionally if the Basic Brewing Radio app (Droid and Apple). Basic Brewing Radio is one of the oldest and best podcasts available for homebrewers. This app gives you access to all of the podcast ever done by Basic Brewing Radio, which goes back to July 2005. He does a weekly podcast so there is plenty to listen to. Please note this app does have a cost associated with it (I get nothing for recommending it and am in no way affiliated with the creator I just think it is a great app). The Brewing Network also has an app, but it is not that great, however their content is so I recommend going directly to their website and downloading.
The next app I use is the BJCP app (Droid and Apple). Since, I’m a wanna be judge and I brew for competition regularly I use this app a lot. It includes the BJCP guidelines for every style including Mead and Cider. When I judge I always have this with me as my reference for the style I’m judging. Note if/when you take the tasting test you do not get to have the guidelines with you so start studying, you’ll need to memorize styles 1-19.
Other apps that are worth a look are Ratebeer, Beercloud, Beerwhere, and BN Mobile.
Next time I’m going to talk about packaging beer for competition since it is that time of year. Until then drink up and brew on.
As always, if you’d like more homebrew information, follow me on twitter @Tom_Ayers. If you have any questions, comments, or topic requests send me an email at AyersBrewing@gmail.com and I’ll be sure to respond. Cheers and happy brewing!