BrewFather Review, Walkthough, and User Tips

by Karl | Updated: August 17, 2020

Transcript: Hello and welcome to the video in this video, we’ll be given what I hope are very helpful hints and tips around recipe entry for Brewfather users.

I’m very proud to tell you that this video guide was previewed and then endorsed by the developer of Brewfather before being made live on YouTube.

Before I start the guide, if you are new to Brewfather than visit the website shown on screen.

Homebrewers' Choice
BrewFather Brewing Software
$1.99/mth

BrewFather runs on any modern browser and/or mobile devices. You can work offline and connect automatic synchronization when you get back online. Recipe designer, intuitive batch tracking, inventory management, and integrated with many popular devices. All to make your brew-day easier. 

Detail Page

Now Brewfather can be used on devices that have a web browser, including computers and smart devices that run, for example, Android or iOS, both these mobile platforms also have dedicated apps. There are both free and subscription plans.

New Recipes

Let’s jump straight in and create a new recipe by clicking the plus symbol in the top right hand side of the screen, then you need to set which brewing system. You’re going to use Brewfather for your own recipe.

Do this by clicking the top middle button here, change. This brings up a menu of various different systems that are available by default or more can be added, but let’s just select one at random for this tutorial.

Before you click save on your profile, it is vital to make sure that the boil time in the top right here is where you want it. And also the batch volume is the actual amount you wish to brew. To the left of this section you can also choose if the volume is target to the kettle or the fermenter easier for most to go fermenter. I would think.

Brew Efficiency

Further down we have efficiency. This is very, very important and is broken down into both mash and brew house. I guess mash efficiency is obvious that it just refers to the mash itself, but brew house efficiency is the overall figure, including all losses from the start to the finish of the beer process, to the bottle or keg.

To be true to your brewing and your recipe it is vital that you tweak these efficiency levels to what is your norm. Do be aware that every system has a sweet spot and going under and over this will have some effect. If you’re not sure then stick to the default, but I would strongly suggest that you track this using Brewfather as you brew and narrow it down so that you’re brewing true.

There are plenty more settings in this section that you can tweak over time if you actually need to. But for most keeping it simple will be enough.

If you were interested in adding equipment that is not within Brewfather by default, then please refer to this great video guide made by Brian at short circuited brewers YouTube channel. He goes through the full process in detail, and I believe this will prove to be very useful to those that need to do this. Here it is:

Once you are done here, then click save at the bottom, right? And that is your equipment set up.

Now it’s time to build an example recipe starting with the fermentables. To add some, just use the add button here within the section. This brings up this box and by using the search function, we can look for grain to match our recipe at this stage. I would just add one to each wait for now. And the method I’m showing here will work irrespective of if you are using metric or Imperial measurements.

Once you have added this in, then click the save box on the bottom right and repeat until you’ve added all the grain or fermentables that you intend to use. For most ingredients we’ll need just the first few letters to find in the search box, but some require more to narrow the search down.

So here we have three types of grain and you can see that each at this stage is a third of fermentables. It is a very good idea to view your grain bill in terms of percentage ratios of grain. You will note that most recipes are shared this way online and in books. By clicking the percentage sign here, we can now say our grain ratios. Once you have set your ratios, then do check at the top to make sure they add up to a hundred percent. You can then click set at the bottom, right.

Original Gravity

Next let’s decide how much alcohol we want. Access this by clicking the OG button here, let’s start with 1.060 hit scale and move along. We can always change this later, just like everything else in Brewfather. Do know that as soon as you hit that scale button, everything changes in your top right data area as you can see here.

You will also notice in this section that there is a reference to style here and in the top, right above the scale, there is a select button that leads us to beer styles. When you hit select, you can then see a list of styles along with the best matches for your current recipe, as it stands all offered by percentage match. This is super handy, especially if you’re writing recipes for competition.

For this example, it seems that we are an American style India pale lager territories. So let’s just go with that. Once again, this changed the data in our scale with that satisfying shift, or we can see now our guidelines as to the minimum maximum values for the style in various categories. Again, super handy. We can see on the top line here under ABV that the acceptable amount to have is between 5.6 to 7%.

This recipe is currently has 6% shown here with the blue line. This next line covers OG short for original gravity, which relates to the fermentables that we added earlier. We also shown that anywhere from 1.050 to 1.065 is acceptable. And we are currently out 1.060 as chosen earlier.

SRM

Moving down a little further now we also have a number for EBC, which stands for European brewing convention, which relates to color. Very similar to SRM or standard reference method in the US which you can switch to if you prefer out within the settings. Along with switching from metric to Imperial, if it pleases you the minimum maximum and current is displayed in the same way, which I guess need no further explanation.

We also have guidelines for FG final gravity, IBU, or international bittering units, and BUGU, which is the ratio of bittering units versus gravity units, all set, otherwise bitterness versus alcohol.

None of these are true right now because we have not added our yeast or hops. So let’s do that now, starting with our yeast. Like everything, Yeast has its own sanctuary in Brewfather and on the desktop. This is at the bottom right hand side of the screen. Maybe you already have yeast in stock, so you can simply add that in, by searching for the name or as I’m doing here, simply search for lager and see what suggestions pop up here. We’ll simply pick one at random. Once this is saved, inherit is within our recipe.

Yeast

You will see the next area down from yeast, lets you set a fermentation profile, clicking changes. I just did. It gives you access to your already made profiles like this and edit lets you add new ones. I’m going to select lager here and then set things up further.

This then brings up this section. Brewfather has a very good contemporary lager profile that works very nicely. You will know that there is also the option for pressure fermentation at the top here, which then unlocks the option of being able to set the pressure for each step.

Once you have entered all this and all this to your satisfaction. Then click the green bottom button as usual to save and you will be greeted with your profile on screen.

Also useful in this sanction Brewfather has a calculator that can be utilized to judge the current piching rate for your yeast. And also for building starters, this can be accessed by selecting the account button right here. This offered advice and selection. In this case, we have a gravity of 1.060, which is right on the edge. So I have selected the next pitch rate up to be safe.

This then tells us how many packets I needed in this case, a whopping five. So I would either change the yeast or make a starter in this case with a real recipe.

Hops

Let’s now move onto hops. We can now see from our style guide here that this one requires between 30 to 70 IBU. We are narrow 6.2% alcohol, thanks to our yeast, which is almost at the midway point for the style.

So with this in mind, one good way to go is to go midway with our bittering too, which has between 30 to 70 IBU, meaning the middle is 50. I am now going to add four hop additions in a similar way that I did with the grain. T

his hop section is just about the yeast area and to add hops, simply select the add button on the top right. Use the search box to find the hops you are looking for, just like you did with everything else here.

I’m going with warrior for my first edition, at 60 minutes for bittering. And as before, I’m simply going to add one unit to the weight. Please do note that you will get a percentage figure for the alpha acid percentage, which is essentially the bittering capability of the hop.

It is totally essential that you have this number sen to the alpha acid percentage of the hops that you are going to use. If not, then once again, you will not be brewing true to your recipe. Those that do not adjust these figures do find that often the end beer is nothing like it should be. And in some cases that ends up down the drain.

In my book, there is only one thing worse than wasted money and that is wasted beer. And in this case you will have done both. Wow, not quite true, but anyway. I am also adding hop additions for 15 minutes of flavor, zero minutes for aroma and then a dry hop for even more.

I’m not really this fast doing this just in case you wondered you can thank that modern marvel that is video editing. For this third edition we need to change the use box here from boil to aroma hop stand, which is essentially the zero minute edition, otherwise known as knockout or Whirlpool hops. Within this section you will know that you can also change this hub stand temperature as well as how long you want to do the stand for.

A similar procedure is needed for our last edition; The dry hops. When dry hopping is selected, the time element changes two days in keeping with dry hopping times.

So here are our hop additions. And right now they are all set at one gram in white, but this is certainly not enough for any beer style, let alone an IPA, but it is a faster way to enter the hops ready for the next changes.

So we will now change them to give this beer 50 IBU. There’s that safe middle ground the way or rather I decided on earlier, I suggest starting with the later additions first for flavor and aroma. I’m going to change the additions of each of these to 30 grands by clicking line of each one, adjusting and saving.

This is not terrible for this style, but merely an example really do know that our bittering hop is still at one. I will now select the IBU button here to the left of the add button and add in the chosen 50 IBU.

This will simply adjust our bittering hop to where it needs to be to give the recipe and overall IBU 50. You can now see that the hop addition automatically changed as has our scale. This is now nicely balanced, which is great. If this is what you are looking for, the choice of course is yours.

This is of course just one method.

Let’s look at one more. The vast majority of professional recipes will give an IBU score for each edition or perhaps you’re a found your own sweet spots for IBU at various stages of a recipe and wish to use these. This is certainly quick and easy to change in brewfather over to adjust to your own hops for alpha acid percentage.

In this hop addition example, we have a current IBU of 3.9 shown in the top left here. But if this particular edition requires an IBU of five, then we can simply add more hops to our amount by adjustment until we see the design IBU score.

Mash Profiles

Let’s now look at mash profiles. This area is found at the bottom left of the screen on a desktop. If we could click the change button here, then up comes various profiles that can be used for different reasons as stated by their profile names.

And it has to be said that if you are using modern malt than this is less relevant these days than it would have been some time back, but it still holds value in some areas. If you click the edit button instead, then you can go deeper, your chosen profile and also add further steps using the add step button on the bottom left of the box.

Another area that is very important to your recipes is water. This section is found at the bottom of the screen on the desktop version. We are on the left hand side of this and the information here shows the volumes that are involved in your brew, including mash and sparge water so that you can prepare.

To the right of this information You can see a figure for pH, which is currently in red, meaning that it is not currently ideal, to the right of this is the calc button.

Let’s click into this now and take a look. This section starts by giving you a nice summary of your water, looking at grain, then volumes and then your water source. Most people find it easy enough to find most of this data except for the last one. The HCO shown here. If your pH is less than 8.4, just multiply the alkalinity often shown as CaCO3 by 1.22 to convert it to HCO3.

I’ve put this clearly up on the screen now just to make it easier for those that need to use it below this, we have a target water profile. Let’s select this. Now we have profiles here to suit a wide variety of styles by default. And you can also add your own in.

For this one, I’m going to select the hoppy profile by clicking this auto button Brewfather then calculates water additions for you. And these are presented below. This can be calculated for just your mash or sparge water or both as you see fit.

If you click the settings button here, then you can also set up Brewfather so the only chemicals that you wish to use are shown – very nice.

This leads us to the last section that I’m going to cover in this guide, the miscellaneous section, which is on the desktop between your fermentable and mash profile. You can see that our water additions are already shown here.

Some examples of other items that can be put in here are firstly finding agents that can be used at various stages of the process. And also things like use nutrient. Another handy tip is that if you type in FLAV short for flavor, you can then view all the default flavorings.

And lastly, I feel that no guide in relation to Brewfather would be complete without first expressing my great gratitude to Thomas the developer for the huge amount of time and expertise he has given this software. Just when you think it cannot get any better than it does. Thomas also runs a Facebook group that can be found easily simply by searching for Brewfather within Facebook groups within this group, he offers very fast support and update information.

Homebrewers' Choice
BrewFather Brewing Software
$1.99/mth

BrewFather runs on any modern browser and/or mobile devices. You can work offline and connect automatic synchronization when you get back online. Recipe designer, intuitive batch tracking, inventory management, and integrated with many popular devices. All to make your brew-day easier. 

Detail Page

This now brings this video to a close. If you have any questions, then please let me know via YouTube or Facebook. I do hope that you’ve found this video to be useful, interesting and enjoyable. If appropriate, then please like this video on YouTube. And if you’ve not done so already, then please subscribe. I regularly post new content, happy brewing.

Lead marketer, brewer, dad, and husband. Pretty much an all-round awesome guy.