Author Topic: "Wish List" for next release of BeerSmith  (Read 7177 times)

Offline mm658

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"Wish List" for next release of BeerSmith
« on: August 17, 2014, 04:54:11 PM »
Here's one home brewer's "wish list" of various bug fixes and enhancements I'd like to see made in the next release of the BeerSmith desktop software:

Extract-specific
1--> For extract batches, on the the Vols tab, it is calculating water amounts in the protected fields of the mash section (sparge volume and a grain absorption amount, for example).  The problem is that the grain absorption amount is being included in the calculation of "total water needed."  Amounts in the mash section should not be calculated, nor used in the total water needed for an extract batch.
2--> Please consider adding the volume of LME or DME in a recipe to the post-boil volume calculation.  (See this thread for more info:  http://www.beersmith.com/forum/index.php/topic,9547.msg39410.html)

Partial Mash-specific
3--> For partial-mash batches, extract added DURING the boil is being included in the calculation of estimated PRE-boil gravity on the Mash tab, and it should not.

Yeast Starters: Recipe Tab, and Tool
4--> Within a recipe, it would be helpful to display the Brew Date (which is currently available on the Design tab) on the Starter tab, as well.  This would clear up the confusion that some people experience when examining the viability information.  It's unclear, at first, whether the viability is "as of today" or "as of the brew date".  Placing the Brew Date on this tab would make it more clear that the latter is correct.  It would also give the opportunity to adjust the brew date from this tab, if desired, to change the viability and starter data.
5--> On the Yeast Starter Tool itself, it would be nice to have a "projected brew date" or "usage date" field, in addition to the Production/Harvest Date.  That way, the user could test viability & starter size based on different usage dates, rather than only seeing viability as of today's date.  I realize that the production date can be "backed up" to mimic a gap between given production/brewing dates, but that is not intuitive and can get confusing.
6--> I have suggested in the past a re-evaluation of the yeast viability algorithm (see this thread for specifics: http://www.beersmith.com/forum/index.php/topic,7584.msg30390.html).  I'll mention that again here.  I feel that the BeerSmith calculation is a bit too "optimistic" for older yeast packages.  I prefer a more pessimistic (or realistic) view, and it would be great to be able to rely on BeerSmith as the "single source of truth" for all brewing calculations, rather than having to go to other sources to get what I feel are more accurate viability numbers.

Carbonation Tool
7--> On the Carbonation Tool, please consider providing carbonating entries for table sugar (sucrose/cane sugar), and honey, in addition to corn sugar and DME.
8--> On the Carbonation Tool, it would also be nice to show the required amounts in dry volume measures (tbsp, tsp) in addition to weight, where applicable.

General usability suggestion
9--> If possible, it would be nice to have all "measured" versions of fields default to equal the "estimated" versions of the same fields, unless/until the "measured" values are manually changed.  For example, when creating a recipe, make the Measured OG/FG values always match the current values of Estimated OG/FG, until the user "overrides" the Measured values.  It can be confusing to see defaults in the Measured fields that have no connection to the recipe being formulated.
10--> In the list of fields available to customize the design view on the recipe design tab, I think it would be more logical to rename fields so that they were grouped by data item rather than characteristic.  For example, the alphabetized list currently groups all of the "Estimated" fields together, all of the "Measured" fields together, all of the "Primary" fields together, then "Secondary" fields together, etc. 
My suggestion is, instead of this:
Est Bottling Vol
Est Mash Eff
Est Pre-Boil Gravity
. . .
Measured Bottling Vol
Measure Mash Eff
Measured Pre-Boil Gravity


The preferred sort (IMO) would be:
Bottling Vol, Est
Bottling Vol, Measured
. . .
Mash Eff, Est
Mash Eff, Measured
. . .
Pre-Boil Gravity, Est
Pre-Boil Gravity, Measured


Feature addition/improvement suggestions
11--> Idea for a new feature:  a Diastatic Power calculator -- either as a standalone tool, or preferably, as a field on the Recipe Design tab.  This would come in handy when formulating an all-grain or partial mash recipe, to ensure that the grain bill has enough diastatic power to convert.
12--> Sean Terrell has done some good work recalculating refractometer FG formulas.  Incorporating this information into BeerSmith would be beneficial, IMO.  See http://seanterrill.com/2011/04/07/refractometer-fg-results/  and http://seanterrill.com/2012/01/06/refractometer-calculator/  for information.
13--> This is more of a question, actually.  I believe your ABV calculation is ((OG-FG)*131.25)/100.  There are a few other calculations I have seen, which yield different results (varying up to .2-.3% ABV), and as a matter of curiosity, I'm wondering if you have considered the pros and cons of these other formulae before deciding on your particular calculation.  Among those I've seen:
(76.08 * (OG-FG) / (1.775-OG)) * (FG/0.794)
(((1.05/0.79)*(OG-FG)/FG))
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 08:24:26 PM by mm658 »

Offline grathan

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Re: "Wish List" for next release of BeerSmith
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2014, 07:01:08 PM »
You'll shoot your eye out kid...

Offline mm658

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Re: "Wish List" for next release of BeerSmith
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2014, 08:29:17 AM »

Offline brewfun

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Re: "Wish List" for next release of BeerSmith
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2014, 09:21:42 AM »
Just a few points about the list.

8 ) In brewing, weight is always the most accurate. Weight measures do not correlate to volume since there may be more compaction in one sample than another. Plus, differing sugars have differing granularity size, another impact on volume and honeys have varying densities. You'd have to add the instruction to sift all ingredients.

9) Noooooooooooo....  ;) I keep my base recipes in one file and copy to the brewlog for production and any needed batch adjustments. Having populated measurement fields would drive me nuts, and probably away from the program. I have set my measured fields to zero, by default. This tells me that a measurement still needs to be taken and entered. Besides, what happens if I update my equipment or mash profile? How do I know that the measured values are still "real" or if they've been overwritten?

13) This seems more like an request to include all three calculations. Like not knowing the exact time as soon as you have two watches; more than one calculation for anything creates doubt. Except that like a watch, it's all an approximation. So, like the IBU calculations, I suppose you just should be able to choose which one you like the most.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline Dodes

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Re: "Wish List" for next release of BeerSmith
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2014, 11:48:19 AM »
9 - I don't think that having some precomputed measured values is good. I would propose to zero it out (which I'm doing right now on every new recipe) and probably allow to edit it *only* in the brew log. There should be the difference between the recipe and the actual "brew session" of the given recipe where the measured items should be filled.

Offline mm658

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Re: "Wish List" for next release of BeerSmith
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2014, 12:52:05 PM »
My responses to brewfun and Dodes:

8 ) True enough, weight is always the more accurate way to measure.  But I believe a fair number of brewers prime based on volume, and at the amounts we're talking about for a typical home batch, I don't think differences in sugar granularity are going to make that dramatic a difference.  So, it wouldn't hurt anything to provide volume IN ADDITION TO weight.  (My suggestion was to add volume output to the tool, not to replace weight with volume.)  Just my opinion; I could be wrong...

9) I'll agree that zeroing out measured amounts is a reasonable alternative.  So my question to you becomes:  how does one MAKE those fields default to zeros (or 1.000) currently? Or does it have to be done manually? Whenever I open a new recipe, it opens with OG pre-populated at 1.046 and FG pre-populated as 1.010.  That is the worst of all worlds -- it's not my suggested "use the estimated numbers until entered otherwise" and it's not "zeroed out."  It's two numbers that have nothing to do with anything.  And if you have to override them manually, that's functionality that's ripe for enhancement.

13) ABV calc -- It's not a request to include all three calculations in the software -- it's more a background question along the lines of:  "was this calculation chosen because research shows that it's the best choice, or because it happened to be the one most people come across first?  Or some other reason?"  Personally, I don't know which one is "best" - I'm more curious than anything. 
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 12:55:47 PM by mm658 »

Offline Dodes

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Re: "Wish List" for next release of BeerSmith
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2014, 02:31:06 PM »
mm658,
9 - Yes the zero-out functions isn't implemented. I do it manually, the best it is done in the Fermentation tab, setting the focus to "Meas Pre-Boil Volume" and then setting the value to 0, use Tab and repeat it for all values; It is really fast:)

But it is only workaround, it would be great if this function would be implemented. There could be also the option somewhere in the settings, what the default value should be (i.e. Zero out; or Computed values; or Estimated values; or some default values (1.000 SG))

13 - Maybe having the choice for ABV computation in the settings could solve the issue (the default would be as it is now) - as it is done for the IBU computation.

Offline brewfun

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Re: "Wish List" for next release of BeerSmith
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2014, 04:50:59 PM »
9) I'll agree that zeroing out measured amounts is a reasonable alternative.  So my question to you becomes:  how does one MAKE those fields default to zeros (or 1.000) currently?

The default recipe.

Start a new recipe and populate it with your equipment, mash, fermentation and carbonation profiles. Then add the most common ingredients you'd use on every batch. Base grain, finings, nutrient, favorite yeast, base bittering, etc.  Then go through and zero out all of the manual entry fields. 

This can be a one time setup, so include all of the tedious items you put into every recipe. 

Give the recipe a generic name, like "Baseline" or "Starting Point." In the home ribbon, click the "save as default" button. It will ask you to confirm.

Now, everything starts where you want for your brewery.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 04:52:52 PM by brewfun »
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline mm658

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Re: "Wish List" for next release of BeerSmith
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2014, 08:25:53 PM »
Thank you, brewfun, for reminding me of the existence of -- and method for using -- the default recipe.  Great info, there.
I have stricken request #9 from my wish list!

KernelCrush

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Re: "Wish List" for next release of BeerSmith
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2014, 06:13:46 AM »
Quote
7--> On the Carbonation Tool, please consider providing carbonating entries for table sugar (sucrose/cane sugar), and honey, in addition to corn sugar and DME.
You can easily add an additional carb profile for additional sugars, just copy/paste/rename an existing profile and change to the values you want.  You can get the effectiveness of honey and table sugar by clicking on profiles, carbonation.

Quote
11--> Idea for a new feature:  a Diastatic Power calculator -- either as a standalone tool, or preferably, as a field on the Recipe Design tab.  This would come in handy when formulating an all-grain or partial mash recipe, to ensure that the grain bill has enough diastatic power to convert.

Attached is a no frills calculator.  Be sure you enter Linter, not KW.



Offline mm658

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Re: "Wish List" for next release of BeerSmith
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2014, 07:08:46 AM »
Thanks, Kernel.
My replies:

7 - Good point, but I see the existence of those additional carb profiles for various sugar types that are already available (e.g., the information is in the software already, to a degree) as more reason to add that information to the Carb Tool.  There's no reason to exclude it from the Tool when it's already available elsewhere. 
Also, the other part of my request is to add volume information in addition to weight, which is not currently available anywhere in BeerSmith.

11 - Thanks very much for the calculator!  Please don't misunderstand, I'm not trying to sound ungrateful here at all, but my reason for requesting that such a feature be added to BeerSmith is specifically so that tools like this DON'T have to be used. :)  If BeerSmith can be built out to be the one and only tool needed for the whole brewing process, then it's that much more useful (and to Brad's benefit, much more compelling of a purchase).  That is the intent of many of my enhancement requests in the original post -- to make BeerSmith the single go-to application for all phases of the home brewing process.  ;)

KernelCrush

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Re: "Wish List" for next release of BeerSmith
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2014, 07:21:09 AM »
7.   I see your point.  I kinda look at that like ingredient profiles.  If BS supplied 50,000 ingredients there would always be requests for more

11.  Yep, this has been requested before, myself included.