Displaced Geek

Just a city geek and father coming to terms with being replanted in farm country

Recipe Site Showdown Part 1: The Setup

Alright, after much deliberation, I’ve decided to finally suss out which of the many homebrew recipe creation/sharing sites out there is right for me. The upside? You all get to reap the benefits of my not-so-hard work.

If we didn’t draw the line somewhere, we’d be reviewing what’d feel like half the internet. As a result, I’m not even considering sites that are primarily forums (HomebrewTalk, TastyBrew, etc), or those lacking advanced recipe creation functionality (like HomeBrewDigest Recipator, beerrecipes.org, Homebrew Recipe Exchange, & brew365). It’s not that these aren’t extremely useful, only that they’re not what I’m looking for.

Additionally, I’m not borrowing an iPad, & paying $14.99 (or even $0.99) to test any apps, if you want a rundown on those, check out this post over at homebrewfinds. Same with android. We’re laser focused on free web-based recipe creation & sharing.

The Contenders

And with that goal in mind, let’s assemble our competitors!
Hopville has a banner notification perpetually reminding us that it recently(last summer) underwent a major back-end overhaul, and stating that it is still in beta, and notes missing features will continue to roll out.
Brewtoad is tagged beta on its header graphic, but doesn’t claim any reduced functionality as a result.
In addition to these 100% free options, BeerTools, BeerSmith, and BrewersFriend offer reduced functionality alternatives to their paid accounts. We’ll see how these ‘stripped down’ options compare with their all-free competition.
You can also create recipes over at Brewmaster’s Warehouse, however it’s almost solely geared towards making a shopping list for your recipe, and as such will not be reviewed here.

The Methodology

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll be boiling everything down to four basic categories.

Recipe Search:

It should be easy to find existing recipes by common criteria such as style, ingredients, and ABV. 25 points possible.

Recipe Creation:

Arguably the most important category, users should be able to import, create from scratch, & modify existing recipes as their own. Granularity of ingredient selection, assistance in matching style, and ability to “tweak” are key to this category. 50 points possible.

Recipe Sharing:

Recipe export & social sharing. 15 points possible.

Look & Feel / Ease of Use:

Pretty self explanatory, includes general website usability, and brew specific qualities like east of transition from search to creation, etc. Important but possibly a bit subjective. 10 points possible.

Alright, if my math is right, that gives us 100 possible total points from the above criteria. Which is way too perfect, and that means it’s all going to break down once we get to the nitty gritty of it, but let’s just delude ourselves for now.

Alright, I guess that rounds up the preliminary crap.  Come on back later for part 2 where we’ll actually test something.


Oh, and if I left out a really good site, let me know!

Written by Peter

January 11, 2013 at 2131

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  1. […] Previously: Parts 3, 2, & 1 […]

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