Sunday, November 14, 2010

qBrew - Homebrewers Recipe Calculator

 qBrew is the beer recipe calculator of choice for homebrewers looking for a free software program that's intuitive and easy to use. qBrew comes installed with it's own beer style, grain and ingredients database and is ready to use right away with minimal setup. qBrew will automatically calculate the gravity, color and bitterness of your recipe as you add in grains, extracts, adjuncts and hops, it works for both ales and lagers as well.

 ** Special considerations: The qBrew application was written by David Johnson, last updated May 25th, 2008 and is also available as an open source download from his original qBrew Site. While the original .qbrewdata database file did not contain ingredients for Mr. Beer products users of qBrew have added them and other hop varieties, yeast types and fermentables.

 Many brewers, myself included, have devoted their time to researching and adding updates to the original qBrew database so that we can share it with other brewers. I would like to thank  EricG at the Mr. Beer Community for providing additional ingredients and explaining how to get the most out of your recipes. Finally thank you to the countless other brewers out there who have shared their understanding of the inner workings of the qBrew formulas and how they are used to calculate your recipe's characteristics.

 qBrew lets you to override any of the numbers associated with a given recipe ingredient, in case your current supplier has a different alpha acid percentage for the hops your using or for differences in grain or brewing efficiency. The default recipe numbers are loaded into qBrew from the database and can be changed in your recipe to match your actual numbers without changing the database default numbers.

 The upper section of qBrew is where you enter the recipe title and brewer name and select the style of your recipe. The characteristics of the style are then displayed showing the minimum and maximum numbers for the Original gravity, Bitterness and Color. As you enter your ingredients into the lower section of qBrew the characteristics of your recipe are calculated and displayed in bold letting you know how the ingredients can influence your expected results.

qBrew's Grain/Extract/Adjunct Entry Screen

Download the qBrew recipe calculator program installation

      Click here to download qBrew 4.1 for Mac OSX

Download the latest qBrew database (Includes Mr. Beer/Coopers and BrewDemon refills)

Updated November 12, 2014   ** Includes 10 Favorite Recipes Inside**

 The November 2014 qBrew database has been greatly expanded to include new beer styles, an expanded selection of yeast strains and a more detailed reference of grains, including malt flavor characteristics to help you craft your next recipes. Keep your qBrew recipe calculations, ingredient lists and much more up to date with this easy to install database update.

** Includes the new BrewMax (LME/DME) SoftPacks and Deluxe Refills like Classic American Light Deluxe, Porter Deluxe and many many more existing new recipes!

** Includes the new BrewDemon Basic, Plus and Signature HME refills like
American Prophecy Ale, Hellfire Deep Red Ale and Shedu Oatmeal Stout!

 ** For the new Mr. Beer/Coopers extracts enter them as 1.87 pounds for Grains and 1.00 ounce at five minutes for Hops, see sample recipe included in this update

Ingredient Database Installation For Windows XP/Vista Users:

      Click here to download Screwy's latest qBrew database (.qbrewdata) 

The November 2014 Ingredient Database Zip File

Locate the .qbrewdata file in the C:\Program Files\qBrew\ folder and rename it to .qbrewdata-orig.  Unzip the .qbrewdata file from the file you downloaded and copy it to the  C:\Program Files\qBrew\ folder, qBrew will load this latest database file when it runs.

Ingredient Database Installation For Windows 7 & 8 Users:

Locate the .qbrewdata file in the C:\Program Files\qBrew\ folder and rename it to .qbrewdata-orig.  Unzip the .qbrewdata file from the file you downloaded and copy it to the  C:\Program Files\qBrew\ folder, qBrew will load this latest database file when it runs.

** Special thanks to Andrew (hindey19) for the Windows 7 instructions **

There's a directory called C:\Users\your_user_name\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files (x86)\QBrew. Delete the .qbrewdata file in there and open up QBrew again. The updated file will be used from the QBrew folder.

Ingredient Database Installation For MAC Users:

      Click here to download Screwy's latest qBrew database (qbrewdata-MAC) 

 Extract the compressed qbrewdata.MAC file from the file you downloaded and rename it to qbrewdata (remove the .MAC extension).

 Open a new Finder window, go to your Applications folder and Ctrl+click the qBrew application. Select 'Show Package Contents' then navigate to Contents->Resources and rename the qbrewdata file in this folder to qbrewdata.orig.

From the original Finder window, drag the new qbrewdata file into the Resources folder in the new window. Restart and qBrew will load this latest database file when it runs.

You can also copy and paste the file into the new directory using Command-C and Command-V respectively instead of having to jump between windows.

Setup qBrew Defaults:
  Run qBrew and select Configure from the Options menu then the Recipe tab.

Select Pellet for Hop type and enter 2.13 gallons for the Mr. Beer keg size

  Verify that the default settings are setup on the Calculations tab. 

.75 Mash Efficiency Default Calculations Setting

Example Mr. Beer based recipe:

Mr. Beer Extracts Weigh 1.21 Pounds

 Grains: Enter fermentable grains, extracts, sugars and fruit.

 For creating recipes you first enter a new line on the grains tab by right clicking in the lower section and selecting 'Add Ingredient'. Left click on the default grain inserted into the lower grid and select the type of extract you are using in your recipe. You then enter the weight of the extract by left clicking in the 'Weight' column and adjusting the default value to match your recipe, for instance Muntons extract cans weigh 3.3 pounds while Mr. Beer extract cans weigh 1.21 pounds. Both unhopped malt extracts (UME) and hopped malt extracts (HME) are available for entry on the grains tab.

For Hopped Malt Extracts (HME) Use A 5 Minute Boil Time

Hops: Enter the variety of hop, weight, alpha acid, boil time and type.

  Insert a new line and change the default hop variety to add to your recipe by selecting it from the drop down list and adjusting the weight, alpha acid, boil time and type to match your recipe. The hops tab saves your hop variety and their current percentage of alpha acids as well as the boil times used for this recipe. Screwy's .qbrewdata database file contains the full list of Mr. Beer HME values.

Example: If you were going to add more bitterness to this extract recipe you might add a new line for 1/2 ounce of Cascade hops boiled for 30 minutes. For flavor add another new line for 1/4 ounce of Cascade hops boiled for 12 minutes and a new line for 1/4 ounce of Cascade hops boiled for 5 minutes for aroma.

Special Note When Entering Hop Additions: If you want to add up all the IBUs for your hop additions enter all your hops before adding in your grains. As you add in your grain additions qBrew's built in formula will begin subtracting the malt's sweetness from the hop's bitterness in order to indicate the balance of the recipe. The formula qBrew uses to calculate this balance is the same one used by my Bitterness Balance Calculator to display the recipe's overall balance between hopped bitterness and malt sweetness in a hopped beer style.

The formula takes into consideration the beer's original gravity, actual attenuation and bittering level but does not take into account phenol, ester or other complexities. The beer drinker should use the desired IBUs as a reference point and decide for themselves what they consider to be balanced.

Select The Type Of Yeast And Quantity

Miscellaneous: Enter the type of yeast used for fermentation

  Insert a new line and change the default yeast value to add to your recipe by selecting it from the drop down list and adjusting the weight if necessary.

Enter Recipe And Batch Notes For Future Reference

Notes: Type in any recipe and batch related notes for the recipe, this will come in handy in the future when you try to reproduce the great beer you just drank. All brewers should take notes and keep records of the beer recipes they brew, including the brewing process that was used. If you're like me you will want to tune and tweak your favorite recipes and brewing processes trying to improve on them each time you brew.

Calculated Characteristics For Your Recipe

Characteristics: We setup qBrew to use a realistic mash efficiency of .75 as this is an  acceptable average efficiency for most home brewers. Any differences in the percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV) calculations performed by qBrew and those stated by any extract supplier are related to differences in efficiencies used when determining the extract's rated ABV.

  Good brewers rely on consistency when calculating their recipes and during their brewing process. qBrew lets you to create recipes based on beer's key ingredients and then calculates the expected characteristics of the beer using formulas widely accepted by homebrewers. As you brew your recipes some fermentable volumes or boil times may need to be tweaked as needed to match your brewing process.

Hop Calculation Tip: When entering all your hop additions on the 'Hops' tab before entering any ingredients on the 'Grains' tab qBrew will calculate the IBU for those hops. Record this number in the 'Notes' tab for later reference as this number will change when ingredients are entered in the 'Grains' tab.

Hops, Grains And Water

Click for more...Hops In Your Beer


  1. I finally got qbrew to work! thanks for posting the instructions again. I was wondering if there is any way to add honey, brown sugar, molasses or other sugar based fermentables into the qbrew program?

  2. Also the booster, is there a way to put that in the qbrew program or is it in a tab somewhere?

  3. Glad to hear that, as for the sugar additions they are all located in the database already, you enter them into qBrew using the 'Grains' tab.

  4. Since this is a Java app, it will also run on Linux. I used to use this and StrangeBrew up until Brewmaster's Warehouse spoiled me with its brew builder.

    Ubuntu and Debian both provide install packages, so you can just "sudo apt-get install qbrew" and be up and running.

  5. Special thanks to 'eulipion2' of for providing the MAC installation instructions for qBrew in this post.

    Thank You Rick.

  6. Thanks Screwy for providing the updated data file! Much Appreciated!

  7. Just a note here: qbrew does run on Linux. However, it is NOT a java application (thank God). It is written in C++ using QT for its GUI. I looked through the source code and there is absolutely no java.

    I'm probably the only person that would stop using it if I saw java, but I think you all should know what you are using anyway.

    1. hey Phil,

      do you know if anybody is working on Qbrew... it looks like an orphan project for now. I am tempted to work on it a little.

  8. Thanks for the updated database and the instructions for updating on a MAC. :)

  9. You're welcome, hope you enjoy using qBrew as much as I do.

  10. As a Linux user, I found that you can copy the extracted qbrewdata file for MAC to /usr/share/qbrew and it works like a charm. Just remove the MAC extension as noted above. (This must be done as Root user.)
    Thanks for the updated and improved database.

  11. Hey, how do you tweak the program for dry hopping?

  12. I just enter the hop variety, weight and 0 minutes for the dry hop time. Since the dry hop addition won't be adding enough 'bitterness' to really impact the IBUs, with dry hopping it's all about the aroma more than anything.

    1. Thank you! That makes perfect sense. the tool is so easy to use. i am kind of angry i don't have my little mr. beer kit any more because I never knew what you could do to tweak them for small batches. well back to my all grain marathon number two for me!

  13. Thank you for continuing to update the database - greatly appreciated.

  14. Mac updates are greatly appreciated! Thanks.

  15. i cannot seem to find the brewmax softpack LMEs in the update. i am a first time user and i wanted to put the brewmax softpack in but all i can find is coopers light lme which is what ive been told to put instead

  16. The BrewMax softpack liquid malt extract LME is listed as 'Coopers LME - Light', they are one and the same.

  17. This is awesome. Perhaps a version for android is next? :)

  18. Hey do you still add the 1oz of hops with a 5 min boil for the old 1.21 mr beer bewitched red ale

  19. I haven't really brewed a Mr. Beer extract recipe in several years and I'm always experimenting with different hop schedules so it's hard for me to say for sure at this point.

  20. in linux install from the software center (ubuntu, debian and mint)
    for the new screw-database the original is in /usr/share/qbrew/qbrewdata
    so unzip the downloaded database in your home, rename .qbrewdata in qbrewdata (remove the dot), then open a terminal in that folder and do:

    sudo mv /usr/share/qbrew/qbrewdata /usr/share/qbrew/qbrewdata_ORIG
    sudo cp ./qbrewdata /usr/share/qbrew/

  21. It would be nice to have a "View All" tab to consecutively display all data in one panel for a printout.
    Is this at all possible?

  22. I use the menu navigation File > Print Preview to print all the recipe information or the File > Export to save all the information as an HTML web page.

    1. Vince,
      I hadn't explored that feature yet... I will survive with the preview only, but that does require fiddling around with resizing the small preview panel in order to read it.

    2. It's really not that difficult to use, although I prefer to use the HTML export function more often.

  23. I've been using "WORT" on my android phone and tab. Downloaded qBrew on pc and move recipes back and forth through dropbox. Great match! Love both programs.


  24. I wonder if there is any way for the program to check back here and see if any updates are available, download and install them, either automatically or manually? Or could this option be added to a newer version?
    Thanks, Tony

  25. Well Anthony the The qBrew application was written by David Johnson and was last updated way back on May 25th, 2008. While the application itself has remained the same since then, I have continued to update the ingredient database periodically and post the updates right here at for all to use for free.

  26. Thanks for that, I know we all appreciate the work you and others have put into this program. One thing I noticed when I was putting in a couple recipes, a 1 gallon extract w/steeping grains recipe and then upsizing it to a 2G recipe, was the inputting of small extract and steeping grain amounts. Some of them were in tenths of an ounce.
    This recipe's ingredients: 1 lb 5 oz of LME, .8 oz of Chocolate Malt, .1 oz of Pale Chocolate Malt, 1.2 oz of 90L Crystal Malt.
    Thanks, Tony

  27. When we add hops, what if it was a after flame out addition and steeped for 10 minutes? I am taking a wild guess that if we add time, it is assuming it was during a boil not a steep.

    I noitced when I put my flame out addition in Qbrew for 0 minutes it changed nothing for the recipe, but when I changed time to 10, it changed bitterness considerably. Would we leave a flame out addition time at 0 for the recipe? I am guessing so since this is what mainly a aroma addition?

    1. Hops added at flameout, or sometimes called knockout, are used to add aroma to the wort. As you pointed out when adding knockout hops to qBrew in any amount, the IBU value of the recipe will not change and this is to be expected.