Using Beersmith to Make labels and custom brewing sheets

I’m a tech geek this is not a surprise to any of you, recently I decided I wanted to take advantage of BeerSmith* to automate some repetitive tasks. Not that it hasn’t been helpful for designing recipes, logging my brewing, etc. However, I’ve been hand writing out brew day todo lists since I started brewing. At first just it was a list of things to get and high level instructions. But it’s evolved into a detailed process for ever step, with timings and measurements. I’d also take notes on the sheets and plug it back into beersmith. Eventually I’d use those notes to write up brewing logs. Before the next brew day, I’d recycle the last plan for the next next batch. It’s has been effective at evolving my process, but it’s also time consuming manual process. I decided I wanted to automate it.

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I’ve known that beersmith* supports creating custom reports, but have been a little intimidated to take the leap. I’m a little ashamed how long it has taken me to make my own brewing process, knowing now how easy it is. It’s much less daunting than it appears. I think it’s worth while to write up some tips and steps I used to make things simpler. Armed with the right info, and tactical approach it’s easy.

The starting point beersmiths’ documentation of custom reports (It’s a little light on details or examples):

Here are the high level steps to creating a custom report.
1. Create .txt or .html report files using the Beermsmith tags or Beerxml tags.**
2. Save the file in Documents/BeerSmith2/Reports
3. Open Preferences -> Custom Reports -> add your new report

**The trick is knowing what tags to use, and values represent. The best way to do that is to see them in action. Thankfully user tom_hampton on the beersmith user forum created a custom report with all the available tags, you can find that here.
Screen Shot 2014 11 08 at 11 58 44 AM

Here are some limitations I found:
The formatting of ingredients (grains, hops, and yeasts), mash and sparge steps, which cannot be controlled. You can however create a css that formats the table they are in.
There are also some values that aren’t available individually, like Yeast, strike water temp, or mash step temp.

Printing the bottle labels is also tricky, in the mac version, you need to save the report, and print it from your browser in landscape, as there is no option for that within Beersmith.

In creating reports I found it easiest to use an existing report as a starting point, and modify it to your liking.

One other tip is that after you add your custom report to beermsith, you can edit it on the fly. Beersmith will pick up the changes when reloading the report with new data (change recipe / report).

After I got started on this project I found all sorts of different custom reports on the beersmith forum. I started with my brewing process, and creating recipe html for my blog, and continued on to making a label and a tap handle template. Last but not least I created a keg and carboy tag. I just couldn’t help but make them once I got started.I’m sure there are other uses,  Here are the few that I’ve come up with, and where appropriate I have linked to the original post. The directly linked reports are my own, but anyone is free to use them.

Brewing process – Report – Example

Exporting recipes for your blog – Report – Example

Carboy or Keg tags – Report – Example

Bottle labels – Source Post – Example
To print these you need to save the report, and open your browser and print them landscape.

Tap Handle labels – Source Post – Example

*-  (affiliate beersmith link I wouldn’t be linking or writing about it if I wasn’t happy with the product)

About Aaron

Homebrewer, Cyclist, locavore, Craft Beer lover, husband, father, blogger, photographer, alpaca farmer, New England sports fan, all around Geek.

3 comments on “Using Beersmith to Make labels and custom brewing sheets

  1. Hey,

    do you do any mid-processing of your recipe reports before posting to your blog? The raw output I tried is not formatted like yours. Are there any additional steps needed?

    Also, could you share your bottle labels html files? I think they can be used as blog posts as well.


    • I tend to strip some columns, but the raw output is the source I start with. If you pull the html down, rather than looking it inline, you’ll see some css I incuded to format it differently.

      As for the bottle labels, I’ll get that in there. I don’t have the link to it handy on this pc.

    • Do you use any kind of automation to complete this blog recipe entry? I really like it and would like to reuse it if possible.

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