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Brewing Beer With Free Software

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the free-as-in-freedom-beer dept.

Beer 83

An anonymous reader tipped us to an interview with Phillip Lee, author of Brewtarget, one of the best pieces of Free brewing software available (it's even in Debian). The interview discusses some of the technical decisions made (why Qt and Cmake?), and mentions a bit of the plans for future development: "The way the database was designed previously really hadn't been changed since the my first code in 2008, and we were running into a brick wall with some of the features we wanted. After we move to SQLite, there will be quite a lot of new features like being able to search through the ingredients in the database and stuff like that. I also plan to add some water chemistry tools for people that like to alter the ions and salts to fit a particular profile." (The last bit about water salt modifications comes as a relief to at least this brewer.)

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The original Free as in Beer (5, Informative)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#39332907)

Anyone interested should google Greg Lehey. He was the guy that practically coined the phrase, "Free as in Beer." He has been using FreeBSD to assist in beer brewing for many years!

Re:The original Free as in Beer (3, Interesting)

motorsabbath (243336) | more than 2 years ago | (#39333205)

Many of the day-to-day calculations we use in our craft brewery are simple Perl scripts run on FreeBSD. Who needs more? The real work is done with a pencil and a calculator anyway! ;-)

Re:The original Free as in Beer (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 2 years ago | (#39333675)

I use BeerSmith myself. It provides a database for keeping up with recipes, keeping track of inventory, automatic recipe scaling, a brewsheet for brew day detailing my volumes for batch sparging, strike temps for water, etc. It also gives me a good idea of how a beer might match a particular style if I'm trying for that sort of thing. I don't need all of that but I don't need to homebrew.

Re:The original Free as in Beer (1)

aXis100 (690904) | more than 2 years ago | (#39333905)

I use beersmith too and am very happy. Plus, it's really not expensive - if it saves me from making a mistake on a single brew it has paid for itself.

Re:The original Free as in Beer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39335365)

Most of my real work with beer is done with my liver.

Re:The original Free as in Beer (1)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39336913)

I'm an advocate of the pen-and-paper method too. Beer should be about the experience, the feel and the art of it. Too much technology takes the fun out of brewing for me.

That said, my scales broke before the last brew I did. I had to guess at all the quantities - also I didn't have my standardised grist hopper (B&Q bucket) so my estimates were a bit off. The beer turned out at 1.074OG! Oops.

Re:The original Free as in Beer (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39337123)

my estimates were a bit off. The beer turned out at 1.074OG! Oops.

Never mind, you can just have a chaser with it.

Free Beer (4, Interesting)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39332985)

On a related note: this might be more of an Ask Slashdot topic than a comment, but has anyone on here tried Free Beer [wikipedia.org] ?

If so, was it any good?

Re:Free Beer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39333137)

No, it's terrible. Typical freetarded bullshit.

Re:Free Beer (4, Informative)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334655)

Version 1.0 looks like a terrible recipe, to put it mildly. It's got insane amount of sugar for such a light beer. Then again, the project seems to have started out from the idea of applying open source ideals to beer recipes, disregarding the fact that there already were thousands and thousands of recipes shared freely in the homebrew community, on various messageboards now and on usenet and mailing lists before that. From 2.0 and up, it might be good, although I have no idea what the guarana berries are good for.

At any rate, the project is nothing new and nothing special. There are plenty of better resources for brewing good beer, by more knowledgeable brewers. I suggest homebrewtalk.com and forum.northernbrewer.com, along with howtobrew.com as a great introduction. As recipes aren't copyrightable, the creative commons license is a bit nonsensical for this.

Re:Free Beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39334665)

Haven't tried it, but looking at the recipe I'd imagine it would be quite nice. A simple tasting beers that would appeal to the mass population rather than a smaller subnet of beer offcianados (err snobs ;) )

Looks like a good beer for hot weather...

Water utilization? (5, Interesting)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39333049)

My biggest complaint with brewing software is its water utilization tools, or lack thereof. It's kinda nice to know exactly how much you're going to need in advance, without using the marked wooden spoon method. I say this as an all-grain brewer who grows his own hops.

Re:Water utilization? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39333201)

ProMash does a great job with this. By far the best brewing software I've used.

Re:Water utilization? (1)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 2 years ago | (#39352737)

ProMash does a great job with this. By far the best brewing software I've used.

It works pretty well under Wine, too. I've looked at some of the alternatives, but I'd need a way to import at least the recipes that I've accumulated in ProMash.

Re:Water utilization? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39333245)

It's called a sightglass.

Or, you should know how much water you need overall for your system. For a 5 gallon batch I know that I need 9.2 gallons of water overall to put 7 gallons in the boil kerttle. After a 90 min boil this will leave me with 5.5 gallons into the fermenter, allowing a half gallon for trub loss.

Hop absorpotion varies (1)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39335173)

Especially for IPAs. Some of us use a lot of hops.

Re:Water utilization? (0)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39333263)

I've only dabbled in home brewing, but water use is not an issue for almost everyone. To make a five gallon batch you'll need about 5 gallons of water, plus in unknown amount for washing...

Re:Water utilization? (5, Informative)

cwaters (458118) | more than 2 years ago | (#39333483)

Sorry to say but that's just not correct. You want to hit your target gravities to get your beer to come out as expected, and to do so, you need to look at how much water you are boiling off over a period of time. There are a lot of other factors with regard to this as well. Your altitude will cause you to have differing levels of boil off as well. Ever seen a recipe with high altitude variations for preparation? It's the same principle. If you want five gallons of beer, you need to know about how much water you will loose per hour at a given boil rate. This goes for both all grain and extract methods. All grain makes it even more important to know about water consuption for reasons not to do with boil off.

Re:Water utilization? (2)

honkycat (249849) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334049)

This is all true, but boil-off rates will vary from brewer to brewer, even if they're next-door neighbors with similar equipment. A brewer who uses a slightly wider brew pot and a really aggressive boil will lose more water per hour to boil off than someone with a narrow pot and a gentle boil. I find it hard to imagine any software predicting this reliably, it's something you just need to measure for yourself.

Re:Water utilization? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39334147)

BeerSmith let's you set a boil-off rate, but it's represented as a percentage. That's not how boil-off works. If you have a 10 gallong batch or a 5 gallon batch at the same vigor of boil in the same conditions, they'll each boil off the same amount of water. So I have to manually adjust that for my 10 gallon batches or I end up off on final volume.

Re:Water utilization? (1)

honkycat (249849) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334961)

Yeah, I've seen this in some (and heard of it in many others). It's a very odd design choice, as it's flatly incorrect, but I think it reflects home brewing's "folk engineering" roots. Equations for various calculations get passed around by people who have the know-how to apply them but either lack the background or inclination to find and correct basic errors like this. (I do seem to recall hearing of at least one software package that switched this to a volume-per-hour input, but I don't recall which.)

Re:Water utilization? (2)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334281)

Just curious - how much do you boil off? I've never bothered to measure. When it goes into the fermenter I add water to reach the desired OG; I can't imagine how it would make any difference if you add the water at the beginning or at the end but I suppose some aficionados would see it differently.

Re:Water utilization? (2)

honkycat (249849) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334327)

It's of order 0.5-1 gallon per hour for a typical setup.

If you are brewing carefully and precisely, it is significant enough that you need to account for it because it will affect your hops utilization. It can easily amount to 15%-20% of your total volume, so it's an appreciable quantity.

Re:Water utilization? (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334391)

For an extract brewer, adding water after-the-fact has some hop and specialty grain utilization impact but little else. On top of that, for an extract brewer you have additional volume because the extract has volume, too. 5 gallons plus 1qt of extract (the rough volume of 6lbs LME) yields somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 gallons post-boil. For an all-grain brewer, your only sugars are what you can wash out of the grain. Adding water after-the-fact generally means you got a terrible extract efficiency and will end up with a much weaker beer than you were intending.

Re:Water utilization? (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334421)

Sorry, that's supposed to be 2 qts. LME ~= 6lbs.

Re:Water utilization? (1)

ukemike (956477) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334571)

Higher sugar content during the boil can result in more caramelization. So if you are attempting a light colored beer you will end up with something darker by boiling some lesser volume then adding water to hit your target OG. Also adding water that isn't sterilized increased the possibility of non-yeast bugs eating your sugars and making your beer yucky.

Re:Water utilization? (1)

Takehiko (20798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39337573)

Other than how vigorous your boil is, the two things that affect your boil off rate that most people don't think about is the diameter of your boil kettle (surface area open to the air) and the ambient humidity. The only real danger in adding water at the end of the boil is to make sure the water is infection from something in the water. But if you use bottled water or have really clean tap water it's not a problem.

Re:Water utilization? (3, Insightful)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334663)

You want to hit your target gravities to get your beer to come out as expected

When I first started brewing I was like this. I would measure during the boil, and make sure I added exactly the right amount of extract or water to hit the target. And then I stopped caring, and brewing became more fun. It is so much easier to not bother, and it really makes not that much difference if your beer comes out at 4.5% or 4.9%. The little bits of randomness are what makes every batch unique. I barely even bother measuring water consumption these days, just 25l at the start, and I switched to Brew In A Bag, and the beer still comes out fine. Turbo mead cider: take a few litres of apple juice, add a couple of kilos of honey, and yeast. Wait a few days, and (optionally) drink straight from the fermenter. Lazy brewing: it's great.

Re:Water utilization? (2)

pclminion (145572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39335759)

I used to take this to extremes. I did a series of batches I called "human senses only" where I measured everything with no instruments. I'd throw grain into the pail until it looked "good 'nuff", I'd mash-in with more and more water until it looked "about right," hell I even gauged strike temperature by feel -- I use a beer keg as a HLT and used a combination of putting my hand momentarily against the vessel and looking at the bubbles of dissolved gas as the temp came up. I boiled for what felt like "about an hour" and added hops at what seemed like the right times.

Believe me, you REALLY get to know your rig this way, and it's incredibly fun. Just stay sober while doing it, because it distorts your sense of time and space! And yes, as you'd expect, the most difficult part is getting the strike temperature right. If you fuck that up you can ruin the batch right from the beginning.

Having to stop drinking beer was like a friend dying :-(

LOL! Wrong (1)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39335165)

5 gallons of water for a 5 gallon batch? I guess hop absorption and steam boil off nothing to you? For an IPA, more like 7 gallons for a 5 gallon batch.

Re:LOL! Wrong (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338131)

I guess hop absorption and steam boil off nothing to you?

Well...honestly...no.

I started out, like some others have posted here, being pretty 'anal' about every measurement, temp, weight....etc.

After awhile I found, well, it all is just like cooking and using nature. You just don't have to worry about being THAT precise. I figure if I have the right temp of volume of water for the weight of grain I have to mash with...well, that's about the largest thing I'm worried about....everything else is measured enough to be 'good enough'.

And doing this...I've had some great batches of beer. It isn't like I'm turning out a product for sale, that has to be consistent from batch to batch. I'm doing this for fun....

Again, to me it is like cooking food...which I love to do too. I rarely follow a recipe....usually only the first time if it is a particular style or cuisine I've not tried before, but after that...well, I know enough cooking to often 'wing it'.....and I never have complaints about the food I produce. Same with beer....relax, enjoy the process. As long as your reasonably close on recipe and reasonably sanitary...nature will take care of the rest. Pour a cold one from the last batch, and enjoy will making the new one!

Re:Water utilization? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347565)

Yeah, that's not true. Boiling liquid for an hour tends to cause some boil off... For a full boil 5 gal batch, I use a tad under 7gal in the kettle.

Re:Water utilization? (1)

Manfre (631065) | more than 2 years ago | (#39333637)

Shameless plug for http://brewedbyus.com./ [brewedbyus.com.] We do not have this feature yet, but we are in the process of adding more all-grain features since the other developer and myself have just started to move from extract to all-grain.

Re:Water utilization? (2)

silky1 (1609493) | more than 2 years ago | (#39333701)

Beer smith does a great job and more active support than Promash. Ultimately though paper and pencil is the best way to get your system calibrated then you can plug all those numbers into a beer making software of your choice to make future batches easier to produce. I like the idea of "free" home brewing software and am even interesting in helping the development, but I always found the ones I tried to me lacking enough to make them hard to choose over the commercial versions.

Re:Water utilization? (2)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 2 years ago | (#39333765)

Growing your own hops doesn't have anything to do with water utilization. Even if you're using fresh hops, the amount of additional moisture is negligible.

What exactly are you trying to get out of your water utilization? Are you trying to get a fixed starting volume or are you trying to adjust pre-boil volume to nail an original gravity? BeerSmith and ProMash can both handle the former. For the latter, the only brewer I know who does that uses ProMash but I think he does his own calcs for that part.

Re:Water utilization? (4, Informative)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39335195)

Growing your own hops doesn't have anything to do with water utilization. Even if you're using fresh hops, the amount of additional moisture is negligible.

Where did I say that? I was merely pointing out I am not a novice brewer. But since we're on the top of hops, I brew IPAs. We use a shitload of hops, and they absorb water like crazy, so a nice, adjustable hop absorption tool would be a nice part of water utilization.

Re:Water utilization? (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 2 years ago | (#39335591)

Being a better brewer isn't a linear pursuit. Growing your own hops is a really cool thing to do if you have the climate for it, but it doesn't really indicate your knowledge of water absorption or even your general abilities as a brewer. I was being a bit dickish about it and I apologize for that but I stand behind my assertion.

As far as calculating hop water absorption, the closest thing you'll find is the "other absorption" category in ProMash. You'd have to set that by hand each time. When I made something hoppy enough to worry about it, I always assumed 1pt or wort was lost per 1oz of leaf hops but I operate in what is now considered a very narrow range. The hoppiest thing I ever made was the Sister Star of the Sun IPA recipe. It was mindblowing at the time for having 7oz of hops in a 5 gallon recipe. I think that gets a chuckle these days in the IPA community so certainly take my advice on hop absorption with a grain of salt but it's a good starting point. I imagine hop absorption will be very technique-specific.

Re:Water utilization? (1)

greendoggg (667256) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334591)

I've used BeerSmith [beersmith.com] for several years, and after a little bit of fine-tuning the parameters to match my equipment, I get very accurate water estimates. My last batch was as close as I can measure to 5 gallons in the fermentor, with no adjustment. It even has a 21 day free trial if you want to try it out. I've found it worthwhile.

Re:Water utilization? (2)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334675)

Brewtarget can calculate evaporation during boil and mash/sparge water volume. I'm not entirely happy with the mash wizard, but the volume given seem to be fairly accurate for my system.

make beer (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39333139)

$ make beer
  make: *** No rule to make target `beer'. Stop.

I guess brewtarget is the configure script?

Re:make beer (3, Funny)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334051)

sudo make beer

Re:make beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39335789)

I do not think I would like any Target beer.

Probably wouldn't like Wal-Mart's either.

I want some of Popcorn Sutton's stuff.... [youtube.com]

Now, there's a man who knows his stuff!

( Jesus turned the water into wine, Popcorn turned the water into Moonshine. Rest in Peace, Popcorn. )

Re:make beer (1)

wandernauta (2041244) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338485)

Try Homebrew:

$ brew beer

Free as in... (2)

wjcofkc (964165) | more than 2 years ago | (#39333361)

I'm so confused.

C'mon guys, it's really simple... (4, Funny)

awshidahak (1282256) | more than 2 years ago | (#39333445)

The beer is free as in speech, not as in beer.

Doesn't Work (5, Funny)

kbob88 (951258) | more than 2 years ago | (#39333635)

This software doesn't work at all! I downloaded it and it installed fine. Then I ran it, and waited for like hours, and no beer yet! Here I am sitting with my mug under the USB port, and nothing is coming out. Jeez. Damn open source software. The USB port is for input / output, right? Well, where's the damn output?

It said something about hops, so I did lots of hopping and even a little jumping, but to no avail.

Wait a minute, it's saying something about adding water. Let me go pour some water into the keyboard and see if that helps...

Re:Doesn't Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39333959)

you should just order a Tab

Re:Doesn't Work (2)

Stele (9443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334405)

You're doing it wrong. You need to put your mug in the cup holder.

Re:Doesn't Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39334581)

5 funny? Is this what slashdot has become?

Re:Doesn't Work (1)

Tyrannosaur (2485772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334643)

5 funny? Is this what slashdot has become?

was it ever different?

Re:Doesn't Work (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339571)

The AC obviously has a humor deficit. I laughed out loud at it. Funny? No, it was hilarious.

Re:Doesn't Work (1)

Tyrannosaur (2485772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39341985)

I liked it, the humour was a little forced though

Re:Doesn't Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39334807)

Hops might mean several computers away. Check your roommates PC or possibly your neighbors. They might be enjoying your beer!

Re:Doesn't Work (1)

HexaByte (817350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39355559)

That's the problem, you're stuck on USB. The output is thru the serial port because barley is a cereal.

I love Brewtarget! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39333867)

I've been a homebrewer for about four years now, for the last year or so have been using Brewtarget exclusively. My friends that taught me still use Beersmith and refuse to look at any other piece of software, mostly for the water chemistry tools. Personally I find using chemicals to alter water chemistry in brewing purposeless and distasteful. The whole point of brewing for the first 10,000 years of our civilized existence was to turn brackish water into a potable, drinkable beverage. It seems just plain wrong to chemically alter your water so it is "the same" as water from Belgium or the Rockies or whatever. Obviously if someone has so much minerals in their water and it imparting the iron funk or something like that I can understand it, but just get a filter and call it good. Then again I also don't use campden or heat my meade and wine musts so I'm pretty much a heretic in whatever brewing company I'm in.

Anyway, I love Brewtarget and I'm glad to see they have some new features to be implemented soon. Also glad to see so many home brewers in the FLOSS world, not many #homebrew posts on the *Diaspora I've noticed.

Re:I love Brewtarget! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39334511)

What's wrong with heating the honey for mead? I always assumed it was just good practise hygiene wise to heat the honey and kill off any natural yeasts before starting, unless of course you're aiming for an entirely natural fermentation with no modern methods? One might argue the old methods aren't always the best...

"Take rainwater kept for several years, and mix a sextarius of this water with a pound of honey. For a weaker mead, mix a sextarius of water with nine ounces of honey. The whole is exposed to the sun for 40 days, and then left on a shelf near the fire. If you have no rain water, then boil spring water."
http://www.squidoo.com/oldest-mead-recipe [squidoo.com]

Re:I love Brewtarget! (1)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334575)

Heating honey damages its flavor, and I think (don't hold me to this part) can cause a bit of haze in the final product. Think of honey flavor like you might aroma hops -- the longer you heat it the more aromatics evaporate... do it long enough and you end up with sugar that happens to be bee puke.

Instead ... you can do what wine makers do (since they rarely boil anything): dose it with a bit of sulfite to knock out any native yeast and bacteria, and then pitch brewing yeast after letting it out gas a bit (read: let it sit overnight). The yeast we use for brewing is basically sulfur tolerant and so, between the natives being supressed or dead and pitching a few hundred billion of 'em, the brewing yeast dominates.

The GP, however, appears to like fermenting a bit on the wild side and letting some of those natural yeasts and bacteria compete with the yeast he's throwing into the must... different strokes for different folks.

Re:I love Brewtarget! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39334743)

Now that you mention it that is interesting, you're the first person I've ever heard suggest using a dose of sulphite in honey instead of boiling it. I don't know why I've not heard this before.

I mostly brew wine and never boil/heat anything (except sometimes to make dissolving sugar easier), mead is the only thing I've ever actually boiled. All the old (from the 60's) recipe's I have for mead involve boiling it and skimming of any scum that floats to the surface until there's no longer any scum, could it be that that was only necessary because honey wasn't as thoroughly filtered back then as it is now, and it's just sort of stuck with us?

Re:I love Brewtarget! (2)

honkycat (249849) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334883)

There's an ongoing debate about whether heating / boiling honey for mead is a good idea or a waste of perfectly good honey. The prevailing wisdom, at least among the outspoken, is that boiling is not necessary and can remove some desirable flavors. However, there's also evidence that, like many techniques, it's neither absolutely good nor absolutely bad, merely another choice that affects the results (this was based on a quasi-scientific double-blind taste test with a mead brewed from a strongly-flavored honey). It certainly seems to be the case that a full boil is not necessary, and even a pastuerization step is probably paranoid.

As for sulfites, these aren't particularly new to meadmaking afaik. They're discussed in Ken Schramm's "The Compleat Meadmaker" and I know I'd seen them suggested online prior to reading that book.

Re:I love Brewtarget! (1)

honkycat (249849) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334901)

The yeast we use for brewing is basically sulfur tolerant and so, between the natives being supressed or dead and pitching a few hundred billion of 'em, the brewing yeast dominates.

Practically speaking, even without sulfites, commercially-available brewing yeast strains are so potent and pitched at such high rates that it's unlikely any wild yeasts suspended in the honey would stand a chance in competition.

Re:I love Brewtarget! (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338077)

Heating honey damages its flavor

The GP, however, appears to like fermenting a bit on the wild side and letting some of those natural yeasts and bacteria compete with the yeast he's throwing into the must... different strokes for different folks.

Really it creates new caramelized flavors and colors. (Some may consider this damage.) Which some brewers like myself desire. The amount depends on the batch I am doing, some get more caramel than others. I would suggest not bringing a mead must to a full boil, that will start to break down the sugars. (I am not sure what the affects of this are. I have wanted to do a test batch with lightly heated vs boiled the crap out of it; to see the difference.)

However I agree with the wild aspect to uncooked. Also some people desire the very light color of uncooked meads.

Re:I love Brewtarget! (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334731)

Bacteria doesn't grow in honey, heating it will make no difference except making it easier to pour. You can pour honey straight from supermarket jar into fermenter and it will be fine.

The whole is exposed to the sun for 40 days, and then left on a shelf near the fire.

That sounds like a fermentation step - open fermentation with wild yeast - not a sterilisation step. That disclaimer is odd: "Never, ever try to reproduce this recipe using the methods described. Wild fermentation is never advisable, if you are lucky you will simply get very very ill, if not death or fates worth than death could await those foolish enough to drink a beverage fermented in the open air." Funny, that is how the commercial breweries did it for centuries. [photobucket.com]

Re:I love Brewtarget! (1)

honkycat (249849) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334927)

Bacteria doesn't grow in honey, heating it will make no difference except making it easier to pour. You can pour honey straight from supermarket jar into fermenter and it will be fine.

The one exception I've seen cited for this, and it passes the basic sniff test, is for honey that's crystallized. Much of the anti-fermentation/anti-spoilage power of honey results from its extremely high concentration of sugar. When it crystallizes, those crystals are regions where sugar has crystallized and pushed the water out of the solution. As a result, it's possible to leave a pocket with much lower sugar concentration where yeast/bacteria can get a foothold. In these cases, pasteurizing or perhaps boiling might be a worthwhile exercise.

Re:I love Brewtarget! (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339793)

This is what I had read/heard as well. As the long as the honey is reasonably fresh, it should be unnecessary to boil it due to the low water content. I can't say it'd ruin it though either; I've seen a Youtube video from Valenzano winery, they make their Jersey Devil honey wine by cooking the must, not just boiling the water, and it's not too shabby.
To date, I've only made batches of mead one gallon at a time, but this weekend I'm going for my first 5 gallon batch. I'll probably stick with boiling just the water, let it settle down a bit, pour it into the sterilized carboy/bucket and then just add the honey. It's worked for me with all the other batches, never had a bad one. *shrug* Though, now I'm tempted to boil at least some of the honey and see how it affects the flavor.
BTW, no here has claimed this, but any source that claims that honey can't go bad (which I've also read) is just wrong. I had once salvaged a couple of pounds of very old clover honey (about 5 or 6 years old) from my parents pantry, it had never been opened but it was absolutely nasty. It had also gotten very dark. I had to throw it out.

Re:I love Brewtarget! (3, Insightful)

ukemike (956477) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334723)

Personally I find using chemicals to alter water chemistry in brewing purposeless and distasteful.

You know you are adding salts, sure they are chemicals, but saying "adding chemicals" makes it sound like you are adding polychlorinated biphenyls or something horrible like that. Calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, magnesium sulphate, etc... these are all salts, and are found naturally in water.

I personally love playing with the salts to improve the quality of my beer. It's not because I am trying to emulate the water from some particular place, but because different beer styles turn out better when the salts in the water support the chemistry of the brewing process. for instance the the hop flavor and aroma just works better in really hard water.

A travesty (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334297)

Why is this fine application not available on Gentoo?

/me runs off to write an ebuild

Re:A travesty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39334419)

I thought the same. Please post on bugs.gentoo.org when you're done. Otherwise, I'll likely do a simple ebuild in a few days.

Re:A travesty (1)

ben kohler (1109391) | more than 2 years ago | (#39335571)

http://paste.pocoo.org/raw/564895/ [pocoo.org] brewtarget-1.2.4-r1.ebuild

Winemakers get no love! (2)

InsaneLampshade (890845) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334325)

There does seem to be a complete dearth of similar free software for the home wine brewer... to the point where I ended up deciding to learn how to program, and wrote something for myself in the space of a few weeks:

https://code.google.com/p/winebrewdb/ [google.com]

Frankly it's pretty inflexible, I only wrote exactly what I needed, no more, no less, and god knows how my "coding standards" compare to anything in the real world. But hey I'm no java developer, and it is free (as in speech and beer (or should that be wine?)) & multi-platform (probably)!

Re:Winemakers get no love! (4, Funny)

Stele (9443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334417)

I don't think they included Wine support since it's a native Qt app or something....

Re:Winemakers get no love! (1)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334593)

Interesting -- I've gotten a bit into Cyser making, and noticed the dearth of software for that too. The big thing for me has been dealing with e.g. apple cider -- it contributes gravity and volume, and none of the brewing software I've found handles doing math for ingredients like that.

Re:Winemakers get no love! (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 2 years ago | (#39335619)

What math? All the base ciders are different (as are honeys), different densities, etc and I doubt there will ever be a database (and if there were, I wouldn't really believe a single number in it). Do you really have a target O.G.? (Maybe you do, but I don't.) If you're off your target, are you really going to do anything about it? No matter what you've got, you're gonna pitch and be happy with it.

Don't think of meads and ciders as being drinks for brewers who flunked math; think of them as drinks for people who are beyond math. If you're worrying about numbers, you're not having enough fun. ;-)

Re:Winemakers get no love! (1)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | more than 2 years ago | (#39335739)

Well, that's what I've been doing ... five or six pounds of honey, five gallons of cider, some fruit extract, mix it all up ... ok, this is the gravity...

It still feels wrong that I'm not using science to control the entire process (eh, I started off brewing beer...)

Re:Winemakers get no love! (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338195)

Well if you are low on gravity, no problem, just add more honey. If you are high... well you can add steralized water before you pitch. At least to an extent depending on how big your equipment is. (I primary 5 gallon batches in 6.5/7 gallon carbouys. Mostly for the anti-spillover features, however.) Personally I would be considering being too high on gravity a good thing. :)

I do a lot of mead and the occasional cider, but I have found cider to be much more difficult to get consistency. I created a cyzer by adding a bunch of honey to a finished cider that was too dry and too sour to drink, then re-pitching yeast. It turned out wonderful, however it also turned out hard to replicate.

Seriously? (1)

idbeholda (2405958) | more than 2 years ago | (#39334997)

You don't need open source software to make a brew. Brewing requires but a few simple things, believe it or not:

Deionized water
Sugar of some kind (Molasses, honey, brown sugar, white sugar, powdered sugar, etc)
Yeast (for higher concentrations, use champagne yeast, for lower concentrations, any old yeast will do)
Flavoring (hops, fruit rinds, fruit pulp, spices, herbs, etc)
Sterilized fermentation containers


But more importantly, one doesn't really need a reason to drink.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39337045)

Sugar in beer? Blasphemer! Trappist!
Water, malt, yeast, hops.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338499)

You must be a German (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinheitsgebot [wikipedia.org] )

Re:Seriously? (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339487)

Deionized water

I'm sure medieval monks had that.

Re:Seriously? (1)

idbeholda (2405958) | more than 2 years ago | (#39346177)

This isn't the middle ages.

It has to be free because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39335623)

All that crap needed to run the software is far from being free. Actually all that crap is way overkill for brewing beer unless you plan on doing a brewery startup.

What if (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39336755)

I don't like beer?

Easy All Grain Beer (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39337111)

I found this site and it has made all of the difference. The main idea is that most brew recopies are for pros that have expensive equipment and are trying to make the most beer for the grain they have. It's an efficiency thing.

This site shows how to easily make an all grain brew with pretty simple equipment with the idea that you aren't going to get perfect extraction from the grain but who cares just use more grain since it's cheaper than a pro setup.

http://www.classiccitybrew.com/homebrew.html [classiccitybrew.com]

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