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Frequently Asked Questions:
This FAQ applies to the Brewer's Friend brewing software, calculators, and membership options.
Recipes Brew Sessions Account Information Platform Related Additional Information Contributing to BF


How do I share a recipe?
1) First make sure you are logged in (you must have an account to be able to share recipes).
2) Edit the recipe you want to share.
3) Click the 'Recipe Tools' menu at the top, then the 'Share' button.

From there you can enable sharing for the recipe. A unique URL for the recipe will be generated you can copy and paste. The recipe will then be listed in the Beer Recipe section!
How do I scale a recipe?
Click the 'Recipe Tools' menu at the top, then the Scale button.
How do I copy a recipe?
Click the 'Recipe Tools' menu at the top, then the Copy button.
How do I change which brewing equations are used?
Click the 'More...' button on the right hand side of the bar next to the mug icon (same line that starts with 'Original Gravity'). Your preferred brewing equations can also be setup under your profile.
Is there a way to see why my recipe does not match the style?
Yes, click the 'More...' button on the right hand side of the bar next to the mug icon (same line that starts with 'Original Gravity'). From there the Style's OG, FG, ABV, IBU, and SRM will be provided next to each equation. Sometimes it takes picking a different equation to make it match up.
Why do the IBUs change when I adjust a fermentable? I thought IBUs were from hops?
IBUs are mainly from hops, but the boil gravity factors into hop utilization. The sweeter the wort in the kettle, the harder it is for the hop acids to convert to bittering units.
How do I see the lovibond or ppg for a fermentable?
In the fermentables box, click the down arrow (▼) below the fermentable line, or click the '▼ All' button to see the lovibond, ppg, and other options.
How do I change the lovibond or ppg for a fermentable?
In the fermentables box, click the Add Custom button and specify the lovibond and ppg values for your ingredient.
How do I specify an extract late addition?
In the fermentables box, click the down arrow (▼) below the fermentable line, or click the '▼ All' button to see the late addition checkbox.
What is an extract late addition?
A portion of the extract (dry/liquid), usually 50% can be added at the end of the boil. This results in higher IBU values because of a lower boil gravity.
When is the extract late addition added?
In the recipe editor, additional gravity (sugars) from the late addition are excluded from the boil gravity for IBU calculation purposes. On the brew steps page, a time of 10 minutes is provided. The longer the late additions are boiled, the greater the reduction in IBU. At 10 minutes, the reduction is negligible and this value strikes a good balance between integrating the late additions into the kettle and getting it back up to boiling, with the IBU boost from doing a late addition.
Does the calculator support No-Chill hop additions?
Yes, the calculator fully supports No Chill brewing.

What is No Chill brewing?
No chill brewing extends the IBU contribution from hops because the wort stays at a higher temperature for much longer. For more information, see our blog post about No Chill brewing.

How do I setup No Chill brewing in the recipe editor?
To activate the No Chill feature, click the 'More...' button on the right hand side of the bar next to the mug icon (same line that starts with 'Original Gravity'), then look for the No Chill box.
How can I tune the Final Gravity?
Look for the 'custom attenuation' checkbox in the Yeast section. Higher attenuation means lower final gravity. An attenuation of 100% would give an FG of 0.000.

For now, attenuation is the only way to fine tune the FG. Fermentability is another route we are considering, but this is not part of a scheduled release at this time. Many factors go into FG such as ingredients (freshness, grind), mash temperature, yeast, fermentation temperature, etc. The FG reported by the recipe editor is an estimate.
Can the recipe calculator do a mead or cider?
Yes, enter a boil time of zero minutes.
Why are the numbers different from my other program?
There are many things to double check.

1) Do the amounts for each ingredient match?
2) Does the batch size match (defined as amount going into the fermentor)?
3) Does the boil size match?
4) Is the boil time the same?
5) Is the efficiency the same (defined as Brew House Efficiency)?
6) Are the same equations being used? (click the More... button to see which equations are being used)
7) For FG, is the same yeast attenuation value being used?
8) Make sure the correct factors such as the type and use of each hop addition, late extract additions, are all accounted for.

Keep in mind, rounding errors could be part of the reason. Brewer's Friend does not round until the end!

In general the numbers should agree, but if you checked all these things and there is still more than a 3-5% difference, please contact us via the forum under the Recipes for Review section and we will be happy to investigate.
Can I see which styles match the recipe I entered?
Yes, click the 'More...' button on the right hand side of the bar next to the mug icon (same line that starts with 'Original Gravity'). Then look for Matching Styles section at the bottom.

Note: The list of matches is based only on the batch statistics. It does not analyze the types of ingredients used. Often the yeast or hop profile is a distinguishing factor in a style (but not always). Getting that right is up to you.
How is batch size defined by the recipe editor?
At Brewer's Friend, brewers may choose two different options for batch size.
  • Fermentor: how much wort made it into the primary fermentor.
  • Kettle: the ending kettle volume, right before being drained.
Use the target drop down next to the batch size field on the recipe editor to set this. The default setting for batch size target is 'fermentor', but it can be changed under general settings.

The water requirements feature factors in the batch size target. For recipes set to kettle mode, it will provide an estimate for how much wort is going into the fermentor based on the equipment profile selected.

For Extract and Partial Mash Brewers:
Most extract and partial mash brewers will do a partial boil and then top off with clean cool water. Partial boil brewers should set their batch size target to 'fermentor'. In this scenario, it is important that kettle losses (kettle dead space, misc losses, and hops absorption) are kept to a minimum because these losses hold back sugars the calculator assumes are part of the OG. Leaving behind more than a few ounces of wort in the kettle and then topping off can reduce the actual OG by a point or two.

Doing a full wort boil for extract / partial mash is also supported. We recommend setting the batch size target to 'kettle' in this scenario, especially for equipment profiles that have kettle dead space or misc losses configured.

For Partial Mash, All Grain and BIAB Brewers - make sure to know the definition of efficiency!
The type of efficiency used by the recipe editor for calculations is determined by the batch size target. Fermentor uses Brew House Efficiency, and Kettle uses Ending Kettle Efficiency. For more about efficiency, see the following links:
How is boil size defined by the recipe editor?
Boil size is how much wort you will be boiling at the very start of the boil. This value is used for IBU calculations. For All Grain brewing (or any recipe set to batch target 'kettle'), start by entering an estimate. After the grain bill is setup, check the Recipe Tools -> Quick Water Requirements section to see what the system calculated as the actual starting boil volume based on the recipe and the selected equipment profile.
How is efficiency defined on the recipe editor?
There are four main types of efficiency in the brewing world.
brewing efficiency chart
More details about the Brewing Efficiency Chart

The type of efficiency used by the recipe editor for calculations is determined by the batch size target. Fermentor uses Brew House Efficiency, and Kettle uses Ending Kettle Efficiency.

For Extract Brewing:
For extract batches, the efficiency value only impacts steeping grains. Set the number fairly low to start with, say 25%, and raise it from there if you notice you are beating the target OG. The gravity impact from steeping grains in an extract batch is minimal, but the recipe editor gives you full control over how much of a sugar contribution they provide.

In partial mash brewing, 50-60% may be more reasonable, but set it low until you start consistently beating it.

For Partial Mash, All Grain and BIAB Recipes:
Efficiency is based on the batch size target:
  • When batch size target is set to Fermentor: efficiency stands for 'Brew House Efficiency', which captures your entire system. It factors in sugar losses all the way to the fermentor.

  • When batch size target is set to Kettle: efficiency stands for 'Ending Kettle Efficiency', which is how much of the sugars from the grain were converted and made it into the kettle at the end of the boil.
Ending Kettle Efficiency is always higher than Brew House Efficiency because it does not count losses from trub, hops absorption, and kettle dead space. Thus ending kettle efficiency and volume happen to be more portable across equipment. If you are brewing with your friends, you may want to set the recipe into kettle mode and share it that way.

The Brew Feature calculates four types of efficiency:
If you are interested in tracking efficiency in detail, create a 'Brew Session'. It tracks conversion efficiency, pre-boil efficiency, ending kettle efficiency, and brew house efficiency! Each efficiency value flows to the next, and the value can only go down in subsequent steps.

For more information see: How is efficiency calculated in a Brew Session?

First time doing an All Grain batch?
Congratulations! We suggest you start with a conservative efficiency value like 55-60% for your first All Grain batch. Raise it from there as you improve. If you exceed it, hey, you'll have a bit higher ABV - cheers!

Recipe Design Notes:
  • Pre-Boil / Ending Kettle / Brew House Efficiency are NOT constant across recipes - it depends on your system AND the recipe. Efficiency is only constant for similar recipes (same amount of grain, same amount of hops), on the same equipment, with the same brewing practices.
  • For beers that use more grain (eg, high gravity beers), pre-boil efficiency, and subsequent efficiencies will be lower because of higher grain absorption. When brewing a high gravity beer make sure to pad in 5%, 10%, maybe even 20% efficiency loss depending on how strong your beer will be.
  • Hops absorption impacts Brew House Efficiency. A super hoppy beer may see a Brew House Efficiency reduction of 1-3%.
How does the Fermentables box work in the recipe editor?
Fermentables are the backbone of a beer recipe. Fermentables are the sugars yeast digest to make alcohol. Fermentables give a beer color, flavor, mouth-feel, and sweetness.

Add fermentables by entering their weight and selecting them from the drop down. The drop down contains a pre-populated list we maintain that is cultivated for accuracy and brevity. The list contains grains by country, adjuncts, sugars, and extracts.

As you enter fermentables, the OG of the recipe will increase. The color each grain imparts is also estimated, and recipe's color (SRM) will change. Gravity can also effect hops utilization, so the recipe's IBUs can change as well!

Use the sort button to reorganize the list in order of weight.

Extract Batches:
For recipes using the Extract brew method, only extracts and sugars are available as fermentables in the drop down.

Stats on Fermentables:
To see what the PPG and Lovibond for a fermentable is, click the down arrow (▼) below the fermentable line, or click the '▼ All'.

If you do not see the fermentable you are looking for in the drop down, click the Add Custom button.
This will bring up a custom fermentable line where you can provide a name, the PPG (points per pound per gallon), the Lovibond value (how dark), and if the item needs to be mashed. Grains are typically mashed, but sugars are not. Usually the manufacturer provides these numbers, but you can also look at similar ingredients as a guideline.

If you want to use the custom fermentable across several recipes we recommend you add it to your Inventory as a 'Custom Fermentable'. It will then appear at the top of the fermentables drop down list.

The Mash Checkbox:
The sugar contribution from mashed ingredients is impacted by the efficiency setting at the top of the recipe. Most likely the box is checked for any grain that is crushed, but left unchecked for raw sugars.

The Late Addition Checkbox:
Use this to exclude the fermentable from the estimated boil gravity used in the calculator. To reveal this for a standard fermentable, click the down arrow (▼) below the fermentable line, or click the '▼ All' button. This is usually done for about half of the total fermentables in an extract batch, but can also be done in any brew method when boosting the gravity with sugar. Doing it this way increases IBUs (higher utilization), so you get more bitterness out of the same hops.

The OG value:
This is an estimation of the per-line gravity contribution based on the fermentable's ppg, amount, and recipe batch size. Line item OG values will not always add up to the batch OG because of small rounding differences. For recipes set in Plato mode, the per-line OG figure is really just an estimate. Reason being - the gravity to Plato conversion is not linear. This has to do with physics, not software. Instead of reporting the per-line Plato value independent of the other sugars (which would be inaccurate), the system takes the percentage gravity contribution and multiplies that by the batch OG. That is what the brewer is actually interested in anyway.
How does the Steeping Grains box work in the recipe editor?
Steeping grains give flavor, body, and freshness to extract based recipes - and are highly recommended! This section works exactly like the fermentables section above, but only shows grains in the drop down list. It is only available if the recipe is setup with the Extract brew method.
How does the Hops box work in the recipe editor?
Hops are the spice of beer, they add bitterness, complex flavor and aroma, and the characteristic signature of each beer. Add more hops, and increase the IBU contribution. For reference, each hops entry displays its individual IBU, utilization, and AAU.

Enter the hops amount, and start typing the hop variety. An auto-suggestion box will come up to help complete the selection. Not all varieties are listed, but if a match is found, and the AA box is empty, the default AA for the hop will be entered.

Use the sort button to reorganize the list in order of when the hops are used in the recipe. Very handy if you decide you want to change around hop additions, times, or even change one hop to be First Wort instead of Boil.

Alpha Acids - AA:
Alpha Acids refer to how much bitterness the hops impart. This should be written on the hops package. If not, you can use the recommend guideline from the system, which is considered the 'average' for that variety. The AA numbers vary from year to year, field to field.

Time - how long the hops will be boiled in minutes:
This field is only applicable to boiled hops and aroma hops (though a low time is usually specified for aroma hops).
For Dry Hops the time field turns to days - eg the number of days to soak the hops in the beer.
For Mashed Hops, the field is always blank and a value of 5 minutes is used for IBU purposes.
For First Wort Hops, the field is always blank and the recipe's boil time is used to calculate utilization (see more on FWH below).

Type - the form the hops come in:
Leaf / Whole, Pellet, and Plug are the most popular ways hops are sold.
Fresh hops - right off the vine, wet, not dried like all other hops.
Pellet hops impart a + 10% utilization factor, but only with the Tinseth IBU equation.
Read our blog post about the types of hops.

AAU = Alpha Acid Units:
Reported as (ounces of hops * alpha acid). For example, 1.5 ounces of Cascade with an AA value of 7 would be (1.5 * 7 = 10.5).

Customizing the Auto Complete List:
The hops auto complete list will suggest hop varieties as you start typing. It will also fill in the system default AA value for that hop when you press enter. As you setup the recipe, the editor overrides the default AA values with what you have entered on the recipe.

The hops auto complete list also includes your inventory. You may setup custom hops in your inventory, or override system default AA values. If there are multiple hops with the same name, the default AA value for that hop variety is taken from the last one in the list.

Hops Use:
Relates to how the hops are used in the recipe, with the most common being 'Boil'.
Read our blog post about Dry Hopping.
Read our blog post about First Wort Hopping.

Support for Hop Stands - select Whirlpool or Hopback in the Hop Use drop down.
A hop stand is a technique where hops are exposed to the wort after the boil but before fermentation.
  • In a Whirlpool hop stand, the whirlpool is started after the boil and extra hops are added.
  • With a hopback the wort is pumped or drained through a container holding the extra hops on the way to the fermentor.
Hop stands avoid vaporizing the essential oils and are said to result in smoother bitterness and flavor. The temperature and time of the exposure greatly impacts the utilization (for the purposes of IBU calculations). Given the wide variation in process and equipment out there, the utilization factor is left up to the brewer. A value of 10% is generally accepted, but could vary based on process. The hotter the temperature and the more time, the higher the utilization.

When selecting Whirlpool or Hopback as the hop use, two new fields will appear.
  • The utilization of the hops (normally 10%, but could be zero if done at lower temperatures or for a short time).
  • The temperature at which the hop stand is performed at.
For more information on hop stands see this excellent and detailed write up by BYO (Mar/Apr 2013).

Support for First Wort Hops - select First Wort in the Hop Use drop down.
First wort hopping (FWH) is the method by which a hop addition is added to the boil kettle prior to lautering your grain bed. For more details on the process of using FWH, Read our blog post about First Wort Hopping.

The recipe calculator treats FWH additions as boil hops for the entire boil time of the recipe. Additionally, a utilization multiplier is applied to scale up the bittering of the FWH addition. By default that scalar is set to 110%, but you can manually enter a custom utilization boost by entering a different percentage in the 'Scale Util.' field. That percentage represents the entire utilization multiplier, meaning a value of 110% represents a 10% increase over a regular boil hop.

How does the Mash Guidelines box work in the recipe editor?
The mash guidelines section is the place to provide temperatures and times for the mash process. Volumes are optional. For all grain recipes, an optional starting mash thickness field appears (normally between 1.0-2.0 qt/lb or 2.0-4.0 L/kg).

Given the wide variation in mash processes, equipment, yeast strains, and fermentation temperatures, the mash temperatures do not factor into the estimated FG of the recipe. What you can to do adjust FG is change the yeast attenuation.

The Brew feature is where mash thickness, infusion temperatures, and water volumes are tracked.

Here is our approach to mashing:
On the recipe page, enter temperatures, times, and rough amounts. The fields are all optional. From there, save the recipe, then click the 'brew' button. The system then uses your equipment profile to figure out exactly how much water your will need for the mash. (You can setup your equipment profile under the gear icon in the upper right.) Then go into the brew feature's Mash Calculator tab. From there you can adjust the mash ratio, grain temp, mash temp, and do infusions, etc. It saves every detail along the way. It also helps zero in on the target water volume for the brew.
How does the Other Ingredients box work in the recipe editor?
This is a free-form section for adding anything else the recipe calls for. Examples include Irish Moss, yeast nutrient, flavors, spices, etc.

Salts and Acids added to the Mash or Sparge will affect the Mash pH, otherwise none of these values impact the recipe stats. If you want something like raw fruit to change the gravity, that would need to be added as a custom fermentable.

This section also provides a place to input the priming method, amount, and CO2 Level. These fields are all optional.
Method: Dextrose, Amount: 3.5oz, CO2 Level: 2.2 Volumes
Method: Keg, Amount: 11.2 psi @ 40F, CO2 Level: 2.4
How does the Yeast box work in the recipe editor?
The yeast drop down contains a pre-populated list we maintain that is cultivated for accuracy and brevity.
You can contribute to this list from your inventory or shopping list. See contributing for more.

Fermentation Temperature:
The temperature you intend to ferment at during primary fermentation.

Yeast Pitch Rate:
The yeast pitch rate you are going with for this recipe. Use the link to the yeast pitching calculator for more information. The yeast pitch calculator will automatically be populated with details from your recipe.

Check this box if this recipe calls for a starter. To obtain a pro brewer's pitch rate a starter is practically required with one pack of liquid yeast for a 5 gallon / 19 liter batch. High gravity batches and lagers generally call for a starter. The exception is when using dry yeast - extra packs can be purchased to meet the desired pitch rate more easily than making a starter.

Custom Attenuation:
You can enter a custom attenuation value for the yeast. At present, this is the only way to impact the estimated FG of the recipe.

Cells Required:
Reports the number of cells (in billions) needed to hit the target pitch rate. This is based on the batch size and the OG. Larger batches and/or stronger batches require more yeast to achieve the same pitch rate. This option only appears if you have selected a target pitch rate. Click the 'Yeast Pitch Rate and Starter Calculator' link below the pitch rate drop down to pre-fill our yeast pitch calculator with values from the recipe. The yeast pitch calculator page has detailed information regarding pitch rates, pitching like the pro's, and starter requirements.
How does the Water Chemistry box work in the recipe editor?
This is where the target water profile should be entered. It is not necessarily your local water profile, unless you want to brew without any mineral adjustments. Several profiles are provided in the drop down. For details about each profile see our Summary of Target Water Profiles page.

If you have setup water profiles under your account, they will be available in the drop down as an option. The idea is to provide the exact mineral levels in ppm, and notes that include any recommended water adjustments.

To assist in going from the source water you are brewing with to the target water profile, we have two water chemistry calculators:
  • Water Chemistry – Basic – Basic calculator for adding salts and hitting desired ion levels. This calculator is built into the brew session feature.

  • Water Chemistry – Advanced – Computes mash pH using state of the art engine written by Kaiser. Supports slaked lime, acid additions, multiple water sources.

For more information on Water Chemistry:
The water chemistry article at this site is a handy guide to understanding more about brewing ions.
Does the recipe editor support Plato?
Yes! Recipes can be setup in either Plato or Specific Gravity. Click the 'More...' button on the right hand side of the bar next to the mug icon, then look for the Sugar Scale section on the lower right.

The default Sugar Scale can also be set as a profile option under the General Settings tab.

If you find a recipe you want to switch between Plato or Specific Gravity, simply edit the recipe and switch the radio button under the 'More...' option.

Plato = -616.868 + (1111.14 * SG) - (630.272 * SG^2) + (135.997 * SG^3)

Notice that this is not a linear relationship, which means plato(sg1) + plato(sg2) != plato(sg1 + sg2). As you adjust fermentables, each individual plato value will change because of this.
How do I add my own fermentables or hops to the recipe editor?
To add your own grains/extracts to the fermentables drop down on the recipe editor first add them as 'Custom Fermentables' under My Inventory. Even if they have a zero quantity in your inventory they will still appear in the drop down.

The Hops auto complete list can also be customized via the My Inventory list. You may override the default AA value (last one wins) and add additional varieties of hops.
How do I get the BU/GU ratio for my recipe, and what is BU/GU?
BU/GU is one way to measure of how balanced a beer will be. The BU/GU ratio is the amount of bittering units per gravity unit. Less hoppy beers like a Light American Lager will have a ratio as low as 0.20, while an IPA will have a ratio around 1.0 or even higher.

BU = bittering units (IBUs), GU = gravity units (OG).

Example: An IPA has 70 IBUs and a gravity of 1.060. Take 70 / 60 and get 1.17 - bitter!

Keep in mind though, details like final gravity, yeast, specific grains, and even water chemistry influence the perception of bitterness.

In the recipe editor: The BU/GU ratio is located in the More... panel, under the IBU section.
How does the recipe editor use the selected equipment profile?
The equipment profile selected for the recipe, under the More... dialog, is used by the brew feature and the water requirements feature. If no equipment profile is selected, your default equipment profile is used.

The system allows multiple equipment profiles under an account. This way you can have one profile for your main brew rig, a second for a process variation (like squeezing hops or straining wort), another for small batches, and yet another in different units.

The way we have defined efficiency and batch size targets makes this possible. Brew house efficiency and batch target 'fermentor' go together, while ending kettle efficiency and batch target 'kettle' to together.

For more about efficiency and batch size, see the following links:
What is Diastatic Power?

Diastatic power (DP) is a measurement of a malted grain's enzymatic content. The purpose of the malting process is generally to break down the protein structure of the raw grain, by soaking the grains in water and then sprouting them. The term "modified malt" or "highly modified malt" refers to how broken down this protein structure is during this process. Highly modified malt, for example, has almost all of the protein structure broken down, and that is the most common type of malt available to us. The malt is then dried in a kiln, where these sprouts fall off, leaving behind the malted barley grain. Light colored grains like pilsner malt are kilned the least, while the darker colored grains like Munich II are kilned to a darker color. For even darker grains and specialty grains, the malt is sometimes roasted to make ingredients like crystal/caramel malt, roasted barley or others like victory malt.

In addition to changing the protein structure and fermentability of the grain, malting also develops the enzymes needed for mashing so that the starches can be converted to fermentable sugars during the mashing process. Beta amylase and alpha amylase together are diatase enzymes, and we as brewers are probably familiar with them. This type of enzyme is where the term "diastatic power" derives from. During the saccrification rest (the mash at temperatures of approximately 146-158° F), these are the enzymes responsible for converting the starch from the grain into fermentable sugars. Diastatic power is an indicator of the amount of those enzymes available to do this conversion, and is described in degrees Lintner in the US. In Europe, often the diastatic power is given in degrees WK, which stands for Windisch-Kolbach units. You can convert WK to Lintner using the formula Lintner=(WK+16)/3.5. To convert the other way, WK=3.5*Lintner – 16. In general, a diastatic power of at least 30°L is required to convert a mash, although it could take longer than a mash with a higher DP.

For custom fermentables, enter the diastatic power for the grain on the manufacturer's malt analysis sheet in the box provided. This will default to 0, so if you are adding grains with diastatic power, add the correct DP in degrees Lintner in the box.

Which malts have diastatic power?

Since the roasted and highly kilned malts are processed in the way they are, few specialty malts have diastatic power. Some of the highly modified base malts, such as US two-row, may be as high as 160° L. Some malts, like Munich malt, due to the way they are processed, have enough DP to self-convert but not enough extra DP to convert other additions to the mash.

When should I worry about the diastatic power in my mash?

For most batches, the DP should not be a concern since usually you will be using a base malt with plenty of DP in the mash. There are exceptions, however; if you are making a beer with a lot of adjuncts this could be an issue. For example- if you are formulating a recipe for a cream ale using 20% flaked corn, 20% flaked rice, 5% crystal malt, and the rest an undermodified base malt, you may not have enough DP for conversion. Or in the case of a Belgian wit with 40% unmalted wheat and 60% base malt, you may need to ensure your recipe has enough DP to convert the entire grain bill. The way to determine the amount of DP in your mash is to add up the grain amounts, and then average the grain's DP together to find your mash DP. Our software will make it easy for you- with a green check showing adequate DP for your recipe.

Partial mash brewing and diastatic power

In the case of partial mash brewing, since less grain is in the mash, it is very important to ensure that there is enough base grain with enough DP to convert the rest of the grains. A good rule of thumb is to have twice as much base malt to the amount of specialty grains in the mash (ie 2 pounds two-row base malt per pound of specialty grain). Checking the DP of the mash instead of using this rule of thumb can be more accurate especially when limited to a small mash due to equipment limitations. Our software will make it easy for you- with a green check showing adequate DP for your recipe.

Calculations for IBUs using Fresh Hops
So many brewers grow or buy fresh hops. Also known as "wet hops", these hops are used fresh off of the plant and not dried before use. Generally, brewers will use approximately six times the amount of fresh hops as dried or pelletized hops due to the water content of them. Our IBU calculator has been updated to provide a better estimate of IBUs provided by fresh wet hops. Simply choose "fresh" as the type of hops in the dropdown when you add it to your recipe.
Building a Recipe by Fermentable Percentages

Many brewers make their recipe by stating a certain percentage of grains in the recipe. To do that in Brewer's Friend, in the Recipe Builder create the recipe by filling out the information at the top (like the name of the recipe, the type, and so on). When you reach the "fermentables" area, glick the "goal" tab at the top left of that area. Highlight either the OG or ABV goal that you desire for your recipe, and click "set goal". Enter the grain type in the long box, and then add the percentage of this grain desired. Continue with further recipe additions. The total percentage will tally at the bottom of the "fermentables" area. See example below:

To adjust the amount of grain, click the unshaded box with the grain amounts. You can adjust either the percentage OR the grain amounts by clicking between them, if you need to adjust either of them. See example below on adjusting the amount of grains:

Adding fermentables or changing the grainbill is easy, and will of course change the percentages accordingly so that you will reach 100%. You can continue to adjust as needed by choosing the box that you wish to revise.

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Brew Sessions

What does a brew session track?
A brew session tracks when you brewed a given recipe, the actual original gravity, the actual final gravity, and any log events you want to record in addition. Log events should be rich comments that describe any process changes you made, fermentation temperature range, tasting notes, smells, etc.

The brew session uses your log entries to automatically calculate actual ABV, actual attenuation, and efficiency.
What is a snapshot recipe?
A snapshot recipe is a special copy of a recipe tied just to the brew session it goes with. This is very handy if you take a slight detour on brew day, or make a substitution from the original recipe, but you don't want to bother with making a full copy of the original.
How do the water volume calculations work?
The system takes your equipment profile and processes the recipe to calculate how much water is needed at each step. The first time you may need to fine tune your equipment profile, then use the Brew Session -> Edit -> Rebuild Steps feature to have the water volumes recalculated.
Does the brew session support BIAB?
Yes. The water calculations are done for you, and the mash feature understands a mash tun is not involved.
For gravity readings, how are hydrometers supported in terms of calibration and offset?
When taking a gravity reading, the wort temperature can skew the reading. The hotter the wort, the less accurate the reading.

On the Brew Log entry screen there is a field for the temperature of the sample. The system uses this value to compute the actual gravity.

To complicate matters, there are two popular calibrations (59F/15C, and 68F/20C). You can enter your hydrometer's calibration when you make the log entry. This is a profile option under the equipment tab.

Some hydrometers are not calibrated correctly from the factory and read slightly off from 0.000 in water at their calibration temperature. The system lets you correct for this on the Brew Log entry screen, and this is also a profile option.

You may enter the gravity in either Plato or Specific Gravity. The system supports temperature correction, calibration, and offset for both scales.
How is efficiency calculated in a Brew Session?
There are four main types of efficiency in the brewing world.
brewing efficiency chart
More details about the Brewing Efficiency Chart

Efficiency calculations only apply to All Grain, BIAB, and Partial Mash recipes. Each type references a different point in the brewing process. The system uses Brew Log entries to compute each of them:

1) Conversion Efficiency: The percentage of total available sugars that were extracted from the grains inside the mash tun.
  • Brew Log Type - 'Mash Complete'.
  • Measurement Option A - first runnings:
    • Gravity - sample taken from first runnings.
    • Volume - strike water used (count all water added to the MLT before the sample was taken).
    • Generally, only accurate for recirculated mash systems.
  • Measurement Option B - blend of runnings:
    • Gravity - sample taken before the boil, blend of all runnings.
    • Volume - how much water went into the MLT, counting strike and sparge water.
    • Note: With Option B, the wort sample must be fully blended from all the runnings to be accurate. First runnings have a higher gravity than second runnings.
    • Best option for batch spargers. Works for BIAB and partial mash (MLT and kettle are the same).

  • The equation the system uses comes from Braukaiser's article on Understanding Efficiency. We believe this is the most accurate equation out there because of the 3rd term which accounts for the volume increase from the extracted sugars.

2) Pre-Boil Efficiency: The percentage of total available sugars that made it into the kettle.
  • Brew Log Type - 'Pre-Boil Gravity'.
  • Gravity - measured before the boil, blend of all runnings.
  • Volume - how much wort went into the kettle.
  • Volume losses from mash tun dead space and grain absorption count against this measure.

3) Ending Kettle Efficiency: The percentage of total sugars in the kettle after the boil. Theoretically the same as Pre-Boil Efficiency, provided accurate measurements at both points (minus rounding error).
  • Brew Log Type - 'Boil Complete'.
  • Gravity - OG, measured after cooling, before pitching yeast.
  • Volume - ending kettle volume when cooled, before draining.
  • Kettle dead space, trub losses, and hops absorption do NOT count against this measure.
  • There is a corner case in all grain brewing, where an 'all grain' recipe includes raw sugar or extract. In this situation, the extract / sugar additions are expected to be in the wort at this point, thus increasing the gravity reading. The system excludes the gravity contribution from the sugar for the purposes of this calculation. This is not a typical situation in all grain brewing, but if you are adding some sugar to your IIPA, then you can still get solid numbers.
Ending Kettle Efficiency is the efficiency factor used on the recipe editor when batch size target is set to 'Kettle'.

4) Brew House Efficiency: An all inclusive measure of efficiency, which counts all losses to the fermentor. This can be thought of as 'to the fermentor' efficiency.
  • Brew Log Type - 'Brew Day Complete'.
  • Gravity - OG, measured after cooling, and before pitching yeast.
  • Volume - how much wort made it into the fermentor.
  • All losses that do not make it into the fermentor are counted against this measure, including hops absorption (which varies by recipe), and trub losses.
Brew House Efficiency is the efficiency factor used on the recipe editor when batch size target is set to 'Fermentor'.

Additional Information:

Partial Mash Recipes - Pre-Boil Efficiency is not reported. This is because partial mash is a simplified brewing method that always includes extract or sugar.

The numbers do not always match up perfectly (even if you hit exactly what the recipe says), because the recipe editor uses non-rounded values for computations. See the ABV FAQ for more info about that.
How does the brew session report ABV, and why doesn't it always match the recipe exactly even though I hit the same values?
The system will calculate the actual ABV of your finished beer using gravity readings entered in the brew log. The ABV equation selected on the recipe is used to calculate the actual ABV. Read more about the equations here.

The numbers do not always match up perfectly (even if you hit exactly what the recipe says), because the recipe editor uses non-rounded values for computations. Even though the OG on the recipe reads 1.050, behind the scenes it could be something like 1.0504386. In some cases, this is enough to cause minor differences. You can experiment with this yourself by entering a gravity reading of 1.0504 in the brew log, and see the impact it has. The value will be rounded to 3 places in the log listing, but the detail is retained in the system.

We feel it is better to avoid rounding until the end inside the software, and live with the limitations of hydrometer scale resolution when calculating actual ABV.

For ABV and attenuation to be reported, enter a 'Brew Day Complete' log, and a 'Fermentation Complete' log. By entering 'Sample', or 'Racked' log entries, the system will calculate the latest attenuation and ABV. The green checkbox will not be filled in until a 'Fermentation Complete' log is provided.
How does the Mash Calculator tab work?
The Mash Calculator tab helps track the mash as it happens in terms of volume and temperature. The first step is to add the strike water and start the mash - please see the Strike Water FAQ for more on that.

Batch Sparging - basic procedure for a 2 step sparge:
  1. Add Strike Water
  2. Use the Infuse or Add Boiling tab to hit rest steps, or to adjust as needed
  3. Drain to Kettle (1st runnings)
  4. Batch Sparge Tab - infuse remaining mash water
  5. Drain to Kettle (2nd runnings)
The system will only count grain absorption and mash tun dead space on the first 'drain to kettle' step!

Fly Sparging:
  1. Add Strike Water
  2. Use the Infuse or Add Boiling tab to hit rest steps, or to adjust as needed
  3. Fly sparge - automatically accounts for grain absorption and mash tun dead space, and allocates the remaining volume to the kettle.
For RIMS / HERMS brew rigs:
  1. Add Strike Water
  2. Raise Temp / Record Temp for any rests
  3. Batch sparge then drain to kettle, or fly sparge
  1. Add Strike Water
  2. That's it since you are mashing with enough water to hit your pre-boil volume after pulling out the grain bag.
Temperatures are Estimates:
Keep some cool and boiling water on hand to make small adjustments as necessary. Record any cool or boiling water added to the mash using the Infuse / Add Boiling tabs. You may also add comments to the mash log under the comments tab on the left.

Brewing In A Cold Area:
The equations powering this feature are geared for room temp (68 °F / 20 °C). If you are brewing in a cold area, compensate accordingly. For example, if the ambient temperature is 45 °F / 7 °C, we recommend padding by up to +10 °F / +5.5 °C. Better to overshoot a few degrees and leave the lid open vs having to add boiling water to heat it up.

Additional Information:
The water volume estimate comes from the Water Requirements tab, and uses settings from your equipment profile to compute how much water will be needed. If you change your profile options, go the Brew Session - > Edit tab, and click Rebuild to regenerate the water requirements table.

Mash steps from the recipe are provided at the bottom of the Mash Calculator tab for reference. The data from the mash steps does not factor into the calculations, except as defaults where the system can pick them up.

How does the Strike Water calculator work?
The Strike Water calculator, located under the Mash Calculator tab, helps you hit the temperature of your first mash step.

This calculator is approximate. After initial strike and stir, if the temperature is +/- (2 °F) / (1 °C) leave it. Otherwise mix in cool or boiling water to compensate. Use the Infuse or Add Boiling tab to track how much was added. If the temp is only slightly over, leave the mash tun lid open for a couple minutes and it will cool down by itself.

If this is new equipment or your first time mashing with this calculator, expect some variation. It should get at least within 7 °F / 3.5 °C, if not closer, after adjusting the heat loss setting. Please see the FAQ for more details:

At this point the equation is basic, based off Palmer's equation found here. It works best for batch sparging. The limitations come from a single equation trying to model everyone's equipment (mash tun thermal properties), and varying processes. Adjust the Mash Strike Heat Loss setting in your profile as needed. Expect it to take a couple tries to dial it in.

NOTE: The strike calculator assumes your tun will absorb heat (a few degrees will be absorbed by the mash tun, this varies widely by the type of mash tun). Even if you 'pre-heat' the tun with a little boiling water, this may still be the case. Do not stabilize the tun at the calculated strike temperature, and then add grains, or you will probably overshoot.

Brewing In A Cold Area:
The equations powering this feature are geared for room temp (68 °F / 20 °C). If you are brewing in a cold area, compensate accordingly. For example, if the ambient temperature is 45 °F / 7 °C, we recommend padding by up to +10 °F / +5.5 °C. Better to overshoot a few degrees and leave the lid open vs having to add boiling water to heat it up.

When I create a brew session, will it deduct from my Inventory?
Yes, if you want it to. You even get the chance to override any values and select which lines to deduct before submitting. You may deduct from inventory when you create the brew session, or anytime after that by going to the Brew Session -> Edit tab and locating the Deduct From Inventory section.

The system uses the following comparison logic for matching inventory items with recipe ingredients:
  • Fermentables and Steeping Grains: name, ppg, lovibond.
  • Hops: name, aa, type.
  • Other Ingredients: name.
  • Yeast: name. The unit is always Each, and the amount is always 1x.
  • Only inventory items with an amount greater than zero will be matched.
If your inventory does not have quite enough to cover a given recipe requirement, a negative value will be shown (in fact, the system will tell you the exact amount you are short by). If the negative value is left in place, when you submit, that inventory line will be updated to zero.

The Inventory Deduction feature supports a wide variety of unit conversions. This allows you to keep inventory amounts in the units you prefer, while the recipe may use alternate units. Even rare conversions like Liters to Teaspoons is supported.
  • The following weight units are interchangeable: Pounds, Ounces, Kilograms, Grams.
  • The following volume units are interchangeable: Ounces, Liters, Milliliters, Quarts, Gallons, Tsp, Tbsp.
  • Note that ounces appears in both lists, make sure you know which type of ounce you are dealing with.
  • The unit Each only converts to itself.
  • The system will provide a 'Cannot Convert X to Y' warning if a match is found but the units are not compatible. At that point, override the default value provided to the correct amount.
If the same ingredient is listed more than once in the recipe the system will group that ingredient in the inventory deduction table. Example - an extract batch that does 50% of the DME as a late addition.

Current limitation - the matching logic does not support the same inventory item being listed twice. This is generally only an issue if you have hops spanning multiple harvest years, or you have entered the same ingredient with different units, or you are trying to track the same item across different containers. At present the system will only draw from the first matching inventory line it encounters. Later on, if requested, we can look into expanding the logic so it handles this situation.

Does the system correct for water/wort volume expansion?
Yes. When you enter a brew log, you have the option of entering the wort temperature (check the 'Temperature Correction' box). The system will compute the volume as if it were at 68 °F / 20 °C.

When water is heated, it expands. Typically a 4% decrease in volume is observed when going from boiling to 68 °F / 20 °C. The percentage can vary with elevation. The system uses your Cooling Shrinkage profile option in the calculation.

The equation used is linear. The floor is set at 68 °F / 20 °C, so it will not compute adjustments below that temperature, but they are negligible.
Does the system support a Fast Ferment Test and what is it for?
Yes. A Fast Ferment Test (FFT) is done by taking a small amount of unfermented wort from your recent brew session and quickly fermenting it down as far as it will go. The resulting FFT gravity reading provides a scientific basis for knowing when the batch it came from is done fermenting. FFT allows the brewer to make more informed decisions about when to package, if fermentation is stuck or not, etc.

In the brew log for a brew session, add a 'Fast Ferment Test' type log entry with gravity reading from the test after it has fermented down. The system will report the expected attenuation and ABV for the batch.

For more information about fast ferment tests, check out Braukaiser's article on the Fast Ferment Test.
Does the system have brew timers?
Yes and they are automatically setup to match the recipe and your brewing process. After creating a brew session, look for the black bar at the bottom of the screen and click the 'Open More...' button.

As you check off steps, the rows in the Brew Steps tab above will also be checked off. Certain steps get timers, like mash steps, the overall boil, and kettle additions. The system looks for hop additions, other ingredients marked as 'boil', and incorporates other items like submersing your chiller (if applicable) and sanitizing the lid of your kettle. The timers are saved in the system, so if you leave the page and come back, they will still be running.

When a step timer hits zero, a sound will play. The sound that currently plays is called Timer by Corsica_S at FreeSound.org.

The black bar at the bottom automatically disappears after advancing past the Brew phase.
What gravity scales are supported for recording gravity on brew log entries?
We support Specific Gravity (1.xxx), Plato °P, and Refractometer readings (which we call Brix WRI).

Specific Gravity and Plato measurements are normally taken with a hydrometer. The screen displays a temperature correction checkbox, see this FAQ for more information about hydrometers and temperature correction.

The system also supports Refractometer readings. The brew log entry screen is setup to correct the raw reading in two important ways:
  1. A wort correction factor must be applied that accounts for the refraction difference between sugar water and wort. To help clear up confusion with terminology, at Brewer's Friend we have decided to call a Brix measurement of wort: Brix WRI (wort refraction index). Brix WRI makes it clear the measurement pertains to wort and is unadjusted. Only after dividing Brix WRI by the wort correction factor do we arrive at the actual Brix / Plato reading. It is helpful to know that Brix and Plato are nominally the same to 3 decimal places, so the corrected reading can be treated as Plato (°P).

    The wort correction factor is an equipment profile option.

    Click here for our detailed write up on how to determine a refractometer's wort correction factor.

  2. If alcohol is present it alters the refraction by an additional factor. An equation which requires the OG must be used to correct the refractometer reading. The system displays an 'OG' box and fills in the OG automatically from your brew log. The calculator uses Sean Terrill's cubic equation.
For more information about refractometer use in general: Using your Refractometer Correctly for Maximum Accuracy in Home Brewing.

Can I get a report of my brewing activity?
Yes, look for the Brewing Report link on the Dashboard or under My Brewing -> Brewing Report.

The report can be filtered date range. The dates are optional. The data powering the report is derived from your brew sessions and associated recipes (snapshots recommended). Note: The report excludes brews that are still in the planning phase and deleted brews.

The report summarizes your brewing in the following ways:
  1. How much beer was brewed total for the time period.
  2. A count of which styles were brewed.
  3. A detailed ingredient summary which shows how much of each ingredient was used. Allows drilling down to see which recipes used how much of each ingredient.

Editable Brewing Steps
Our default brew steps are generated when you click the "brew" button and create a brew session. That works well for many brewers and we suggest you start there when using Brewer's Friend. Over time, you may find that you don't need to be told to "gather your equipment" or other steps that you don't use and you can delete those from the Brew Steps.

To customize your Brew Steps, log into your account and choose "my profile" in the "My Brewing" choice on the tool bar. Brew Steps is one of the choices in the boxes near the top of that screen. Click on that box. The brew steps are shown, in all grain steps, partial mash steps, BIAB steps, and extract steps. The chosen steps are shown with a green check mark. Check or uncheck the steps as desired. Click "apply" at the very bottom of this screen, by scrolling to the bottom. Your chosen steps will be the ones that show in your Brew Log and Brew Steps on your brewsheet.
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Account Information

How do I purchase or upgrade?
First login (or sign up), then look for the upgrade button in the upper right corner.
How do I add my profile picture?
After you sign up, and are logged in, click the My Profile link in the upper right corner. The first tab is the 'Picture and Public Profile'. Select your profile picture, then click Submit. Only .gif, .jpg and .png type images are allowed to be uploaded.
How do I make a public profile?
After you sign up, and are logged in, click the My Profile link in the upper right corner. The first tab is the 'Picture and Public Profile'. Look for the Public Profile drop down box, and change it to Public, then hit submit. A Profile URL will be generated.
Is the site free or do I have to pay?
The blog, printable brew sheets, calculators, and forum access are free. We offer a subscription model for our cloud based recipe and brew solution. A free unlimited duration trial membership is available. Give it a try and see how much time it saves in planning and building your brews. When you are ready to upgrade, see our pricing page.
What is your refund policy?
If you are dissatisfied with your purchase, let us know within two weeks of your purchase and we will issue a full refund. No refunds are offered in the event your account is banned for abuse, violation of our terms, or other inappropriate use.
What happens if my membership expires?
All your data is safe, you can still get in and view everything, add brew logs, you just can't add new recipes or brew sessions if you are above the trial limit.
Can I download my data?
A future release will include functionality for exporting your data. Our systems are fully backed up, so you don't have to worry there, but we do understand the concern and will provide a way for you to do this. BeerXML export support is currently available to individually export your recipes.
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Platform Related

What browsers do you support?
We support newer versions of the most popular browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and IE). Newer mobile browsers are also supported. We do not plan to support older browsers.
Do you have a mobile app?
The entire website is mobile enabled, which means it is optimized for smart phones and tablets. For native experiences we have the following:

Brewer's Friend for iPhone $4.99:
Brewers Friend - Available on the App Store
For complete details see our iPhone App Information Page.

The site renders really well on iPad. It is easy to add a link to your home screen using mobile Safari: Bookmark -> Add To Home Screen. If you need offline capability, the iPhone app in 2x mode is a good option.

How is the site backed up?
Multiple times per day, encrypted, in geographically distant data centers on redundant storage arrays.
What will be in the next release?
We are improving the system all the time.

Follow our update forum and our beta testing forum for news and updates.
How can I make a suggestion for a feature?
There is a specific topic in the forum for feature requests. Please see the forum and make your request there. That way we can track how interested people are, let them weigh in, and provide our feedback to the community, all in one place.
Do you support BeerXML?
Yes, we support the BeerXML Version 1.0 spec both for importing and exporting.

Importing a Recipe From BeerXML:
Look for the Import BeerXML link under the 'New Beer Recipe' navigation menu at the top.

Exporting a Recipe To BeerXML:
On the view recipe page, there is an option under the export tab.

BeerXML results:
Expect to see minor differences in recipe stats when moving between programs. This is caused by different brewing equations, rounding, etc. Make sure to double check every field, especially batch size, efficiency, and grain ppgs. For example, Brew Target wants to set its own batch size based on equipment, which can really throw off a recipe’s stats.

If you are getting confused by the results of an import or export, we are happy to look into differences with you. Please use the Contact Us page.
How does the folder system work for recipes and brews?
The My Recipes and My Brewing page allows items to be grouped into folders. The 'default' folder is where items start. Folders are sorted by name alphabetically. There is no limit to the number of folders you may have, or how many items may live in a folder. The folders on the My Recipes and My Brewing pages are independent of each other.

To move an item into a folder, drag and drop it:
drag item to folder
drop item in folder

To create a new folder, click the New Folder button:
create new folder

Ideas for folder names:
  • Brew Again
  • Don't Brew Again
  • Planning
  • Clone Recipes
  • Lagers
  • Small Batches
  • My Experiments
  • Competitions
  • Archived
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Additional Information

See our About Page
Please see Please see our About Page for more details.
See our Pricing and Features Page
Please see Please see our Pricing and Features for more details.
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Contributing to BF

Contributing Brands and Ingredients
First off, Thank you for your interest in contributing to our catalog.

Brands are subject to approval and will not show up on the site without being approved first.
Approval or renaming will happen within 2 business days but normally withing minutes.
Please use the common brand business name when contributing.
Do not use profane words or others which violate our terms of service.

You can contribute to this list from your inventory or shopping list.

In order to use user contributed ingredients you need to enable this in general settings.
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