iBrewMaster – My New Favorite App!

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I’ve been singing the praises of BrewPal since it came out some time ago. I still think for the money, it is hands down the best app you can buy for the iPhone. But now that I have an iPad, I wanted something that would take advantage of the larger screen real estate. iBrewMaster came up again and again as a favorite on some of the forums where I like to lurk, so I dropped the $9.99 and picked it up. After some initial confusion with the UI (this app does quite a bit) I became more comfortable with it. Even though I had to RTFM (google it if you don’t know) a few times before completely understanding the mash scheduler, I quickly adapted to the rich interface and began seeing the power this app hands you. I don’t think it’s too far to say that this app could easily run an actual brewery operation on the scale of say, your local brew pub.

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The first thing you notice is that all your brew day information is presented to you on a single page. It’s quick and easy to read with every bit of data you require listed right in front of your face. Unlike Brew Pal, you can manage individual batches of a brew, setting all sorts of timers for mash and boil, plus the added benefit of fermentation notifications. The grain, yeast and hop libraries are extensive and easy to quick-search, in lieu of scrolling through the entire catalog. There is also the ability to add your own entries or tweak the defaults.

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Another interesting feature is the social networking and recipe sharing aspects to the app. You can log into Facebook and it will post your brewing activities, if you really feel that your friends need that sort of information about you. But more interesting, you can upload your recipes and download recipes created by the community. This creates a very unique feature that, in time, will probably eliminate my need to scour forums looking around for clone recipes. You can also activate a clever feature that downloads all the recipes for Northern Brewer’s kits with a all-too convenient “Buy It” button attachment that goes directly to NB’s site for quick purchase of said kit.

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Finally, and this was the huge bit of functionality missing from other apps, is the ability to scale your recipes. I brew in 10 gallon batches, but everyone publishes their recipes in 5 gallon batches. Now with a click of the Scale button, you can ratchet your recipes up and down for ease of use.

Simply put, this app is an excellent step forward inthe world of brewing with the iOS framework. I can’t say enough good things about it. The authors are constantly updating the application with new features and respond quickly to inquiry and requests. If you’re looking for an iPad/iPhone brew app, I really have no issue parting with the 10 bones for this one ($6.99 for the iPhone only version). It’s well worth the cost.

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