Besides this overview, please note that there are also videos about BeerTools Pro which can be viewed on YouTube.
There are several steps which users should follow in order to make the most of BTP ; doing so at the very beginning will save you frustration and enable you to begin to use the software to its full capacity as soon as possible. However, before proceeding with those steps, it might be useful to first identify areas of the program screen, and to then summarize how one typically uses the program from start to finish.
Top one-third of the window (when viewed full screen); this area remains in view regardless of which "Display" is selected or which "Result Tab" is chosen. It contains fields for:
- Recipe/file name
Middle one-third of the window which contains a drop-down selection menu on the right side at the top of the this middle section (labeled "Display"). The "Display" menu allows users to change the middle of the window to display recipe and session data such as:
- Volume adjustments
Bottom one-third of the window which contains a series of tabs for:
For each ingredient that is added, there are three bar-graphs on the right side of the display. The first (one on the left) represents the proportionate amount of a type of ingredient, and also gives a percentage value; e.g., grains are proportionately compared by weight to the total grain bill, and appear in a tan colored graph. On the other hand, hops (light green graphs) are proportionatly compared by weight to the total weight of hops, with percentage values also given. The second (middle) bar-graph is unlabeled in the column heading when you are displaying ALL ingredients, because it represents different things for different ingredients; with grains it represents the amount of fermentables, measured in original specific gravity, which that particular grain contributes, but with hops the middle graph represents the percentage of alpha acid utilization -- which is affected by boil time, and 'maximizes' at about 30% or less depending upon the formula you've selected to calculate hops utilization. For example, the maximum is 25% with a 60 minutes boil using 'Basic' %utilization and with no 'corrections' in your utilization for gravity or pellet-type hops (see menu-bar command: "Session | Utilization"). The third bar-graph (the one on the far right) is also unlabeled in the column heading when you are displaying ALL ingredients, because it, too, means different things depending on the type of ingredient; for grains, it means the amount of color contributed by that particular grain, measured in the specific units that you have selected in your 'preferences' (i.e., "EBC", "SRM", or an "L" for "Lovibond"). But for hops, the third graph represents the proportionate amount of alpha acids, measured in milligrams/liter of beer, which will be contributed by that particular hop addition. When you limit your display to a particular class of ingredients (e.g., just grains, or just hops, etc.), the appropriate column headings will then appear in the second and third columns. Similar ingredients should always total 100% in the first column, whereas values for similar ingredients in the second and third columns should total to the value shown in the 'Recipe' column under the 'Analysis' tab, i.e., gravity points from grain should total to the 'Original Gravity', while color units should equal the total for 'Color' in the recipe, and 'mg/L' for the hops should equal the total 'Bitterness' in the recipe.
Summary of typical use
Upon opening BTP, you will be presented with a Session page showing either a complete recipe or the start of formation of a new recipe, depending upon how you have set your default, etc. The Session page always begins with an Ingredients display and Style tab, but before working on ingredients, it is best to start with the general section first, where you will insert information, as needed, to determine your batch size, and make some assumptions about how you brew (i.e., the efficiency, attenuation, and evaporation rate you estimate based on your experiences as a brewer). It is okay that these are just estimates because you can change them later to reflect actual values, as mentioned in the bottom paragraph. Remember to make any necessary changes in the file name, too, so that you won't accidentally overwrite something you want to keep. Then, based upon the ingredients that you add using the browse button in the display section, or any modification of quantities in an existing recipe, BTP will indicate on the style bar-graphs, in the tab section, how well your 'recipe' fits into standard style-guidelines.
If you are an all-grain brewer, your next step will be to change your display to 'Schedule' to review your mash schedule; assuming that you have already calibrated your equipment in the 'Vessels' display, 'Schedule' will tell you the volume and temperature of any water additions to your mashtun, from mashin through sparge. Within 'Schedule', you can select either presets (and modify them as you choose), or create your own mashing schedule from scratch. After you've brewed your batch and fermentation is finished (including any secondary), you will reopen your recipe (hopefully you will have 'saved' it), and then choose the 'Volume Adjustments' display which will permit you to account for losses due to trub and raking, as well as the addition of primer. Finally, you can then select 'Packaging' as your display and decide how you want to bottle and/or keg your batch, and use the 'Carbonation' tab to determine how much primer to use.
Assuming you took hydrometer readings before and after fermentation, compare those readings with what BTP predicted; if your initial reading was different than BTP, go to the 'Analysis' tab and insert your actual OG Reading and BTP will automatically display what your actual efficiency was. You can also insert your actual TG reading when all fermentation is finished, and BTP will automatically display what your actual attenuation was. When you are finished, BTP also displays information available regarding the nutritional content of your beer under the Analysis tab.
Preliminary Steps Before Using the Program for any Recipes:
First, set your preferences; this is done by clicking on the menu bar: 'Edit | Preferences' and enables you, for example, to establish whether you want units expressed in metric values such as 'liters', or in American values such as 'gallons', or in British values such as 'imperial gallons', and whether you prefer degrees expressed in Fahrenheit or Celsius, etc. Finish setting ALL of your preferences while you are there.
Second, calibrate a good thermometer and then use it to calibrate your 'Vessels' (mashtuns and kettles), and THEN (after calibrating kettles) calibrate your heat sources. Calibration instructions are contained in the BTP User's Guide. BE SURE TO KEEP A COPY OF YOUR MEASUREMENTS UNTIL YOU KNOW THAT BTP HAS 'SAVED' THEM. Close down BTP and then restart it and go to the 'Vessels' display and verify that ... 1.) they are listed ... AND ... 2.) use the edit button for each of them to see that the calibration data is correct.
Third, enter fundamental data that you know you will USUALLY use for each and every recipe (changes can be made as needed later), such as your name, batch size, typical length of boils, typical extraction rate and attenuation rate (if known), and the typical mash-schedule that you most often use. Then save that data as a 'template' and/or as a 'default'. The default will open automatically each time you start BTP, and will provide you with all of that starting info already in place. If you have several equipment configurations, or schedules that you use, store them as 'templates' and then 'load' the appropriate one when needed.
Fourth, when starting any new recipe (or modifying one without overwriting the original), be sure to change the name of the recipe in the first field at the top of the BTP screen, and then use 'Save As' to save it; if you can't find it later when trying to load it, it might be because BTP failed to append the .btp extension on the recipe name, but that can be easily fixed by adding the correct extension when you find it.
Previous getting started text
To start BeerTools Pro, double click the BeerTools Pro application icon.
By default a new recipe window will open. If you prefer to work on a previous recipe file select file/open and navigate to the desired file.
To start, name your recipe, enter the authors name and add the date. It is recomended that you choose the style of beer that you intend to make. Do so by choosing a style from the menu above the date field. You will notice that once you select a style the graph at the bottom of the page indicates you are out of style range. This is because you do not have any ingredients in your recipe yet.
For the most part, BeerTools is contained in one window. To begin, select a volume amount for your recipe. For instance, if you are making a 10 gallon batch, click your mouse in 'Final Volume' field and type the number 10. You can select a unit of measure other then gallon from the menu next to the field.
If you don't plan on doing a full wort boil set the final volume first, then lock it. The next step is to adjust the kettle volume to your desired boil volume. The volume gain/loss field will automatically reflect how much topoff volume will be needed to achieve desired final volume.
Next, add ingredients to the recipe by using the ingredients palette. To add an ingredient from the data base click on the "Browse" button. The ingredient browser window will appear. The drop down box in the upper left allows you to access the six different types of brewing ingredients (i.e. Grains, Extracts, Adjuncts, Hops, Yeast and Special Ingredients). Items can be found by either scrolling through the list or typing a name into the "Find" field. When the desired ingredient is found click the "Add" button on the lower right side of the ingredient browser window. Continue to add all the other ingredients you will use in your recipe. You will see each item added to the ingredient list as you click the Add button. When done click the "Close" button.
You will need to specify the quantity of the various ingredients you added to the ingredient list. Do this by selecting each ingredient (when selected the ingredient is highlighted in blue) and enter an amount using the up/down arrow next to the quantity field or type in a quantity. Be sure that the kind of measure correctly corresponds to the ingredient (i.e. pounds, ounces... etc).
If you desire to add ingredients that are not found in the data base, select the "New" button on the bottom of the ingredient palette. Provide as much information about newly added ingredients as possible because missing information can adversly effect the accuarcy of the results. To delete an ingredient simply select it and press the "Delete" button above the ingredient list.
Ingredients can be re-ordered in the ingredients list by simply clicking an ingredient and sliding it up or down. Additionally, The ingredient view can be adjusted to view type by selecting the "Display" menu located under the beer glass image.
Undoubtedly, as you have been adding ingredients you noticed the style graph updating. This tool helps you brew to the desired style of beer. Next to the 'Style' tab you will notice four other tabs. These are 'Analysis', 'Schedule', 'Carbonation' and 'Notes'.
The 'Analysis' tab provides detailed information about the composition of your recipe.
The 'Schedule' tab is where the graphical display of your mash schedule appears. This tab is empty until schedule steps are added to the recipe. (See Mash Schedule)
The 'Carbonation' tab brings together the necessary tools to determine appropriate carbonation aspects for natural and forced carbonation.
The 'Notes' tab is a useful place for you to keep track of information related to this recipe and its brewing.