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Click to Order Makes a Splash at NHC 2015

June 26th, 2015, by Samantha Schaff

In all the years of attending the NHC this may have been the most exciting in recent memory for all of us on the Brewtoad team. We recently launched  a new feature in partnership with MoreBeer!.

Click to Order is a fantastic new piece of the Brewtoad offering where ingredients for any recipe can be ordered with the click of a button and shipped directly to the buyers’ door! Delivering this to our users was a pipe dream for many years and took a lot of Toad power to make happen. But through a lot of blood, sweat, beer, and tears all the pieces came together and we couldn’t think of a better place to “unveil” it than at the NHC!

The feedback and reaction of Brewtoad fans had to ordering their homebrew ingredients directly through the Brewtoad site was awesome! But we have to say  the reactions of those that had little to no exposure to what Brewtoad/Click to Order now has to offer that was the most thrilling to us. The idea of combining recipe creation and calculation software with ingredient ordering… how novel! All in all, it was another great AHA event and the fact that we got to share Click to Order with the homebrew community was the cherry on top. Can’t wait to see what kind of trouble we can get into next year in Baltimore.

If you haven’t stopped by the Brewtoad site to check it out and place an order yourself, then head over now! There are recipes needing to be made and beer needing to be drank. Only you can make it happen!

Stay Hoppy.

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The Creation of the Toad

June 26th, 2014, by Amy Blake

The idea of making a Brewtoad costume may have started as a joke, but when our Office Assistant, Lisa, and I were asked if a Brewtoad costume could be made for the National Homebrewer’s Conference in Grand Rapids, MI in June, we were definitely up for the challenge.

Lisa, the saving grace of this entire project, started doing some research on DIY mascot costumes. She had a vision and didn’t stray from her idea of constructing a usable costume. She found a helmet that seemed relatively simple to make so we ordered supplies and were ready to go. If you want to see the original tutorial Lisa found, please look at the Affordable Costume Tutorial.

This is the Brewtoad logo we were aiming for:


After 6 weeks of crafting, cutting and gluing, our toad was complete. The mascot costume turned out great (it’s a super glue miracle!) and made the trek to the National Homebrewer’s Conference! Below are some pictures of the process and construction of the costume.



Creating the shape of the helmet, using insulation foam board.


 Cutting out the bottom of the foam board piece by piece.


After gluing together all the pieces, we shaved the helmet into a circular
shape using a hot knife.


The final helmet shape before adding eyes and fabric.


 A 9-volt battery operated fan was added to assist with cooling in the costume.


 Finished eyes for the toad, using styrofoam balls and fleece fabric.


Fabric assembly and spacing before the final adhesive was used.


 The helmet fits!


 The toad having a great time at the National Homebrewers Conference.


We’d like to thank everyone who helped collaborate on this project. Cheers!

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Fermentable Usage Statistics

November 21st, 2013, by Kyle (Backend Dev)

One of the hardest problems when designing a homebrew recipe is knowing which ingredients are appropriate for the style you’re brewing, and how much of those ingredients to use.

In the past, the best way to answer these questions was to survey a number of recipes and look for similarities.

At Brewtoad, we’re always thinking about how to make homebrewing easier. We think fermentable usage statistics are a long overdue step in that direction.

We’ve chewed through over 200,000 recipes and analyzed the usage rates of every fermentable in our database and broken that data out by style. We’ve also identified which fermentables are suitable for use as base malts.

Fermentable Usage Statistics

This new feature lets you answer questions like “what are the most common specialty grains in an American Amber Ale?” and “what is the maximum amount of roasted barley I can use in a Dry Stout?”

We’ve also integrated this data into the recipe ranking algorithm, so recipes with fermentable usage rates which better fit the usage statistics will rank better thank those which do not.

Look forward to similar usage statistics for hops in the near future.

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Brewtoad’s New Recipe Editor

October 2nd, 2013, by Kyle (Backend Dev)

Here’s a sneak peek at Brewtoad’s new recipe editor.

We’ve been working hard on streamlining the user interface and making custom ingredients easier to work with, and while this video doesn’t necessarily reflect the final design, it’s pretty close.

So we want to throw something out there and get some feedback.

Design Screenshots

A more detailed blog post describing some of the new features we’re rolling out in the coming weeks is in the works, but for now, here’s a high level summary of what’s changing:

Generic Fermentables

The way we currently handle fermentables has a few issues. We receive quite a few reports of missing fermentables, and quite a few users have been confused about how to add their own custom ingredients. We also don’t have a reliable way to group like-fermentables. This limits our ability to determine, for example, what the average usage rate for US Caramel 60L, irrespective of the maltster.

Also, many brewers simply don’t care which specific malt they’re using. While caramel 60L from the US is certainly different than its UK equivalent, the differences between Briess and Rahr caramel 60L, for example, are much more subtle.

We believe that generic fermentables solve these problems nicely.

Now, instead of being forced to choose a specific malt from a specific maltster, you can choose its generic equivalent.

Of course, we’re still making the old custom, maltster-specific fermentables available for those of you who have more specific preferences. In fact, we’re adding even more ways to customize your recipe’s ingredients…

Everything can be Customized

Another common request we’re happy to finally address is the ability to customize the ingredients you’ve added to your recipe.

In the past, changing the PPG, color, or other properties of a fermentable required that you create a brand new custom ingredient. This is no longer the case. Now you can change any property of any fermentable, right from the recipe editor.

And this doesn’t just apply to fermentables, almost every property of every ingredient can now be directly modified. You can even create completely custom, one-off ingredient rows.

Lean and Mean

The recipe editor has been rewritten from the ground up to be smaller, faster, and easier to extend. This means faster, more frequent updates and fewer bugs.

Mobile Friendly

The new recipe editor will work as well on mobile phones and tablets as it does on laptops and desktops.


Love the new design? Think you’ve got better ideas? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

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Screw the Activity Graph! I Just Want My Recipes!

July 26th, 2013, by Kyle (Backend Dev)

You spoke and we listened. You wanted easier access to your most recent recipes and brew logs? And threaded comments? No problem!

Dashboard Updates

We’ve redesigned the dashboard to put your most recent recipes and brew logs front and center. We’ve also added a number of new links to the dashboard sidebar including your equipment profile, custom ingredients, and more.


Threaded Comments

Recipe comments are now threaded. When another brewer replies to one of your comments, a notification will appear on your dashboard.


Return of the Digest Email

Digest emails are back (and smarter)! Now you’ll only get a digest email when activity has actually occurred around you and your recipes (no more empty emails from Brewtoad).

Don’t forget, you can change your email preferences in your account settings. We also include a handy one-click unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email.



Questions? Comments? How are we doing? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

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NHC 2013

June 28th, 2013, by Kyle (Backend Dev)

Another year at the National Homebrew Conference!

Like most of the attendees, we’re exhausted, just a little hung-over, and thirsty for the future.

We talked to a ton of you about homebrewing, the Hopville acquisition, and the future of Brewtoad. To say we’re excited would be putting it mildly.

We’ll be updating this post with more pictures and news once we’ve gotten a little more sleep, but for now, a few shout-outs to some of our friends. Without you the conference just wouldn’t have been the same.

Obey the Toad!


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Brew Logs Have Been Updated With an Awesome Number of Fields

June 11th, 2013, by Kyle (Backend Dev)

Toss those notebooks and spreadsheets, we’ve got you covered. Brew logs have been updated so you can track every part of your brew day.

What are brew logs?

Log Everything

In order to handle the drastic increase in the amount of data, Brew logs have been split into sections corresponding to each part of your brew process from mash to fermentation.

Screenshot-Edit Brew Log | Brewtoad - Chromium-1


Finally! Upload pictures of your beautiful brew, or the mess that resulted from an overactive fermentation.

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 4.06.03 PM

Endless Notes!

Of course, your notes don’t stop when you pitch your yeast. We’ve added the ability for brewers to add tons of notes at any time.

Mash checks allow you to record temperature, pH, and specific gravity. Mash runnings checks allow you to record volume, pH, and specific gravity, and fermentation checks allow you to measure temperature and specific gravity.

MashRunnings Fermentation

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 4.14.09 PM

Beyond Tasting Notes

With over 25 flavors and aromas to choose from, now other brewers will know exactly what your beer tastes like.


Is there something missing?

Drop us a line at and let us know if there is a piece of data we’re missing and how you use it in your brew process.

The future

This is just the beginning, once we’ve got enough brew logs we’ll be able to increase their integration with the original recipe and the current filter system. We want you to be able to create a list of all saisons that have actually been brewed, and filtered by their averaged taste profiles!

Stay tuned for even more brew log updates; we’re not done yet!

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Introducing Brew Logs

May 23rd, 2013, by Kyle (Backend Dev)

Get Your Brew On

We’re happy to announce the first release of brew logs.

Brew logs provide a convenient place to record your brew day notes and measurements. Brew logs are attached to recipes and you can create as many as you like.

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 2.17.35 PM

Brewed someone else’s recipe? No problem! You can even create brew logs for recipes you don’t own.

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 2.12.56 PM

And this is just the start. In the coming weeks, we plan to add a ton of additional features and functionality.


The dashboard has also received a major overhaul. You can now see all of your activity for the last 30 days, as well as your most recent brew logs.

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 2.01.11 PM

Mobile Friendly

As a part of our ongoing effort to provide a first-class user experience on mobile devices, we’ve updated the recipe filters to work on phones and tablets as well as on desktop and laptop computers.

Improved Navigation

The site navigation has also been updated to make the most frequently accessed parts of the site only a click away.

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 2.07.03 PM


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Mash Water Calculation is Coming and We Need Your Help

May 20th, 2013, by Kyle (Backend Dev)

Calling All (Grain) Toads!

Mash water calculations. You want ‘em, and we want to build ‘em.

This is your chance. We really want your feedback, and given how many requests we’ve gotten for this feature, I expect a lot of you will weigh in with your opinions. Bring ‘em. I’ll update this post to reflect the ongoing discussion.

Equipment Profiles

Equipment profiles will define certain defaults like batch size, evaporation rate, top up water, mash tun volume, preferred sparge method (none, batch, continuous/fly), preferred mash thickness, etc.

If you want, you’ll be able to have more than one mash profile, and you’ll be able to choose one to use by default.

New recipes will use your default equipment profile, and we’d add an input to the recipe editor to allow you to change your equipment profile on a per-recipe basis. This will automatically set your recipe type, batch size, top up water, and evaporation rate, and will also dictate how we calculate your mash water.

Update 5/21: Work on equipment profiles has begun! This is just a first approximation. More fields will be added and the UX will almost certainly evolve. Consider this a teaser.

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 8.42.19 AM

Existing Mash Steps

Mash steps, as they’re currently implemented on the site, will need some additional fields added to them. Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Type (infusion, decoction, or direct heat)
  • Time (length of rest, in minutes)
  • Temperature (rest temperature)
  • Infusion Volume (volume of water required to reach the rest temperature (for infusion steps only))
  • Infusion Temperature (temperature of water required to reach the rest temperature (for infusion steps only))
  • Other fields TBD for decoction and direct heat steps (decoction volume, decoction boil time, direct heat ramp time, etc.)

Where Do Mash Steps Belong?

I would argue that mash steps shouldn’t be attached directly to a recipe, but instead to a brew log.

This way, if another brewer wants to brew your recipe exactly as you entered it but with a different mash/sparge style, they don’t have to create a variant of your recipe to do it.

This data would also be interesting to aggregate. For example, we could display average measured OG numbers for any recipe with brew logs, broken out by no-sparge, batch sparge, fly sparge, etc.

If we move the mash steps to brew logs instead of the recipe itself, we’d probably want to add a “recommended mash temperature” input to the recipe editor. This value would then be used for the saccharification rest temperature when automatically calculating mash steps. Maybe add a “protein rest suggested” option as well?

Denny Conn’s Equal Runnings Batch Sparge

I usually use this method of mashing, as I find that it strikes a good balance between efficiency and simplicity. It’s easy to calculate and quite popular among homebrewers. This seems like a good place to start.

This technique is described in detail on Mr. Conn’s website, “Cheap ‘n Easy Batch Sparge Brewing”.

User KenN has already contributed an excellent spreadsheet with all the math, so adding support for this will be a snap.

What Else?

How do you mash? What features do you absolutely need? No sparge? What about partial mash? Multi step infusion? Decoction?

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Separating The Wheat From The Chaff

May 18th, 2013, by Kyle (Backend Dev)

What makes a quality recipe?

This question gets asked all the time. It’s both very important, and very difficult to answer.

In truth, it’s a lot easier to identify bad recipes than good ones.

40% ABV? 3000 °L? Nope!

Today we’ve taken a few steps which we hope will increase the overall quality of our recipe database and make it easier for new and experienced brewers alike to find quality recipes on Brewtoad.

  1. We’ve added validations on the potential and color of fermentables.

    Potential must now be between 0.000 and 1.047 (inclusive). This upper bound is based on the potential of pure sucrose.

    Color must be between 0 °L and 1000°L (inclusive). This upper bound is arbitrary and we may lower it in the future, but for now we wanted to err on the side of caution.

  2. We’ve fixed custom ingredients which were not valid according to the requirements described above. Most of these were fermentables with a potential of, e.g., 35, which we corrected to a more reasonable 1.035. Those which were still not valid after this correction were capped at 1.047.
  3. We’ve added a validation to recipes which prevent them from being published if they have an ABV of less than 0% or greater than 30%.
  4. All recipes with an ABV less than 0% or greater than 30% have been converted to draft status and no longer appear in the public index.

NOTE: These validations are NOT enforced on draft recipes. In fact, we plan to remove almost all validations on draft recipes so that you can save them no matter how far along you are in their creation.

If your recipe is one of those affected and you think we goofed, let us know!

On Ranking

Back to the question of what makes a quality recipe. Clearly, identifying obviously out of wack recipes is only one piece of the puzzle.

Ultimately, we use a number of external clues to decide how to rank your recipes. Your recipe’s number of comments, variants, cheers, and view count all contribute to its rank. Its ingredients, however, do not.

In the future, we plan to expand our ranking algorithm to use even more data from the recipes and their brew logs.

We’re obviously leery about trying to be too smart here. In the end, you like what you like, and a lot of this is entirely subjective.

Weigh In

If you’ve got any ideas about what else we can do to improve the quality of our recipe ranking, we’d love to hear them!

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