GOLD Membership Explained

January 12, 2003 at 6:35pm

Author(s): Jeff Fowler, Lathe Poland

It was late 2000 that the GOLD membership was conceived. It was an outlet for Jeff to develop some more advanced features for the calculator. In the process of building the advanced features into the calculator we ended up with two very different calculators.

The first (the one we now call Basic) originally started development in 1996 by Jeff Fowler so that he could more accurately predict the results of his homemade beer. There was a definite need for feature addition, in fact that first version had only 13 grains to choose from. There simply is no comparison between that early calculation engine to what we currently have in version 3.5. It was clear soon after the development of the “new” features that Jeff had created a completely new program. Thus in early 2001 we introduced the BeerTools GOLD membership.

GOLD Membership Explained
What does it do? Why is it worth becoming a member?
Of the thousands of e-mails that we get in a week at BeerTools my favorite e-mail to answer is the “Why should I upgrade to GOLD?” To some, becoming a member of the GOLD community seems like becoming a member of a international secret society. This lack of information and sometimes mis-information is our fault. So in order to clear up the mystery we will attempt to address this question in as much detail as possible.

The World’s Biggest Online Beer Recipe Database
Imagine if you bought a new TV that came with 3,000+ free movie rentals. That is basically what you get from the recipe database. It is true that as a basic member you can see the recipes in the database. As a GOLD member however, you can pull them into your interface examine how they line up with the style targets, and customize them to your taste. This database is full of award winning recipes. The quality is augmented by the recipes that are brought in from the BeerTools Generator. Generator recipes are always 90 to 100% in line with style guidelines. The ability to jump from the generator to the calculator and back again makes it possible to quickly assemble a quality beer recipe TO STYLE. This is among many features Australian brewer Ray Mills said he appreciates. “...Thanks to BeerTools ...I have reached the level of brewing where I have just been awarded the most successful brewer in the Australian National Competition, BeerTools gives me the opportunity to get the right balance to style...” GOLD members also have the ability to save up to 25 recipes and keep supply inventory within the GOLD interface.

REVERSE Calculation
This is one of GOLD’s most advanced features. No other piece of consumer brewing software allows the user to perform reverse calculations in a visual interface. You can base your calculation on the desired result instead of plodding along with trial and error. You simply tell the program where you want your targets to fall in the graph by clicking on it. When making corrections the Zapomatic determines the ingredient weights and via the advanced “clipping” profile you decide how much freedom you want to give it.

Advanced error checking is a great time saving feature. It prevents you from sending incomplete or bad data to the server. While we are talking about time saving features the “Set to Zero” button allows you to completley clear the form. So instead of messing around with a run-away recipe you just clear it and start a new form.

Educational Tool
Because the interface is graphical it has an obvious educational benefit. When you start changing weights and ingredients you immediately see the impact it has on your beer. One of the most often heard comments is, “Since I have started... I have learned so much about brewing from you.” or, “I now feel like I can tackle all-grain brewing.” This tool really helps you through the learning curve of extract to partial or all-grain brewing. No other brewing tools offers such a user friendly/intuative interface.

Some basic users are put off by the 15 dollars needed to join the GOLD community. But if you think about it, GOLD is equivalent to buying one cup of coffee a month. Lets face it if you start using the advanced features in GOLD you can be drinking something that YOU made that is much better than a cup of coffee. The tools are constantly evolving and you never have to pay for upgrades and new versions. Finally, when you become a GOLD member you are helping ensure that it will be here in the future. Click here to take GOLD for a test drive.

This is what GOLD members are saying:

“Quite a while ago I realized how cool BeerTools is and how useful it has become to my brewing. When Jeff began offering the Gold membership I immediately paid for it; not so much for the added features (although I DO use all my recipe slots), but just out of gratitude for bringing such a great website to us brewers. If you surf the other homebrew or recipe sites out there you know how cool BeerTools is; and the fact that it is still evolving, not some stagnant website with a database, is awesome and deserving of my support. That's just my 2 cents.”
Push Eject

“Its only $15 for a whole year and I think it is worth it. There are some more tools that you get and some other things. (secret stuff...)”

“I switched to gold some time ago and have not regretted it. Here are some features I enjoy... 1) I can Load any recipe from the database into the recipe calculator and modify as desired. 2)Keep a stash of your personal recipes in your own little library 3) Scale, view characteristics, and so forth whilst building the recipes instead of having to reload the page 4) Maintain inventory control. Final reason, for around a buck a month, you can show your support for the finest homebrewing site on the web!”