Archive for the ‘Brewing’ Category


IPA and Calculator Updates (1 Comment)

I finally bought the supplies for an IPA and I’ll be brewing it this weekend. Due to high prices and some supply issues, I will be using pellet hops for the first time in several years. I chose to buy Centennial Hops for bittering and I could only find pellets. I also purchased Amarillo Pellets for flavoring and Glacier Whole Hops for dry hopping. My previous experience was that pellets just didn’t add much more than bitterness and maybe even added a little unwanted funk, so I am curious how this will turn out. It wouldn’t surprise me if those hops were bad, because at that time I was still buying from a local shop with questionable supplies. All of the hops that I chose for this IPA typically have a very clean flavor and aroma, so they shouldn’t contribute any funkiness.

I’ve also spent a little time updating the Brewing Calculator. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s now possible to create a simple extract recipe with steeped grain. It still has a few issues, some obvious and some not, but they’re mostly innocuous. Aside from correcting those problems and a few other tweaks, I’m not sure which part I am going to work on next. I’ll probably build out the list of Malts, Hops, and Yeast so that there are enough defaults, but I might also work on enabling the print button. If you play with the calculator at all, let me know what you think.

– Chris

Brewing Calculator Concept (No Comments)

I’ve finally started working on a Home Brewing Recipe Calculator. It’s really just a concept at this point, but I’ve put together a user interface demonstration. Move the sliders to adjust Alcohol, Bitterness, and Color and the ingredients will be adjusted. It’s a way of designing a recipe without guessing how much each ingredient will affect the final product.

It’s just a rough example at the moment with only a few sample recipes, but I think it shows off the possibilities. Give it a try if you’re interested. Almost everything works, except that adding and editing the ingredients table won’t affect anything. That’s the next step.

HarleyBrewing Calculator

’til next time,
– Chris

Bottling and more software (No Comments)

We bottled the latest batch of Beerios Nut Brown Ale over the weekend and the first sample tasting was excellent. I’m looking forward to trying this once it’s fully carbonated. The final gravity was actually a little lower than I’m used to, 1.016. That’s good finish and should be a little drier than the usual 1.020 that my beers end up at.

I haven’t gotten around to trying out the Brewing Software that I mentioned in my last post, but sourceforge.net has a blog post about many of the beer and brewing related open source offerings available on their site. I’ll have to check some of them out too.

http://sourceforge.net/blog/whats-brewing-in-open-source/

– Chris

Recipe Calculator Reviews (No Comments)

I’ve been using QBrew as my recipe calculator for quite some time, and although I like it, I’m interested in alternatives that will allow me to publish my recipes as html. Here is the Beerios recipe as output by QBrew: Beerios Recipe. The output isn’t very pretty, and more importantly it’s missing a lot of info. The obvious ones are that the hops are missing the percent alpha acid, and the malts are missing their specific gravity and color. It’s also missing details about the yeast and the database of grains, extracts, and styles is very limited without a gui based way to edit it (at least it’s in xml files). I’d also like to see the final color output as a graphic, but that’s pretty nit-picky. The tool is open source so I could take it upon myself to edit it, but it has more shortcomings than I’d care to fix.

That said, I have used several other tools out there. My favorite was a web tool at BeerTools. It was both simple and powerful with a great database of malt and grain. However, to use it I had to register on their site, and to get any real use, I would have to subscribe to their site. I don’t have a philosophical opposition to paying for good software, but their tool didn’t quite seem like it was worth the money. On top of that, when I registered for their site, the password that I entered was sent back to me in plain text, so I’m not comfortable giving them credit card info.

TastyBrew also has a number of online recipe calculators, that as collection offer some great quick calculations. Their primary recipe calculator is way too limited though.

When I started brewing, I purchased a copy of ProMash. I used it several times, but never really liked it. The name implies that it’s target is the professional brewer, and it definitely felt too complicated for the beginning brewer. The interface was also incredibly clumsy and it wanted to keep track stock level and had an odd batch focused (instead of recipe focused) implementation. I felt like the software was trying to force a workflow upon me, that didn’t apply. I wasn’t convinced it would satisfy a real brewery either, as the software just seemed hard to use. I’ve since lost the disc, but I’m not sure I would try it again anyway. Between a clunky interface and missing features, I really can’t recommend this software.

There are two other tools available that I looked into several years ago and am ready to try again: BeerSmith and StrangeBrew. They’re both more complex solutions and I found QBrew at the same time. BeerSmith has a 21-day free trial, so I only used it for the one recipe that I was brewing that month. It’s a very powerful tool with way more functionality than I needed or wanted at the time. I think I am going to give this one another chance. I’m interested in the more advanced features now, and in 21-days I can enter in several of my recipes and see if it satisfies all of my needs. Something I wasn’t ready to do when I first started brewing. As for StrangeBrew, I’m really only aware it because the Bodensatz forums use it for sharing recipes. I’ll give it a try too and post my impressions of both.

– Chris

Brewing Again (No Comments)

As most of you know, we moved across the country and into a smaller space at the end of the summer. Unfortunately, this means that most of my brewing supplies are now in storage. However, I kept enough to brew one batch at a time and I’ve finally gotten around to ordering supplies for my next batch. We’re not traveling this year, so I’m going to brew a batch of Beerios Nut Brown Ale over the Holidays. It should be ready in time for the Super Bowl and the Olympics.

I have two problems though. The first is that I didn’t bring any empty bottles with me. So, I need to get 55 beer bottles before mid January. This might be a good problem to have, because I usually get empty bottles by drinking the beer from full ones. I also need to find friends willing to help me drink the beer, but free (and tasty) beer usually solves that problem for me.

I still have plans to update the website with a new look, and I’ve been checking out different WordPress Themes to use. I’d like to still have some orange (or copper) color in the site design, but I’m looking for a cleaner and perhaps more professional look and feel. If you any theme suggestions, or other design suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them.

Finally, I’d really like to publish all of my beer recipes to this website eventually. I started working on developing my own recipe calculator to accomplish that, but then I recently started working again and I’m not sure when I’ll get back to it. In the mean time, I will try to find another program for creating html recipe pages that I can post on the website.

– Chris



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