First BTP batch - feedback

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First BTP batch - feedback

Postby Clegg » Sun Apr 29, 2007 1:56 pm

Just brewed my first batch in beertools pro. I am a long term promash user and recently switched to btp due to it's features and active development team. Here are my thoughts after the first batch...

Things that are great:
- No issues during install or equipment calibration. Calibration feature is very useful.
- Well organized and easy to use.
- Excellent graphical interface.
- Ingredient database is very complete. Although some of the generic ingredients (most notably american 2 row) have different gravity than promash, which I had to adjust in order to compare recipes.
- The mash schedule designer is simple to use. My mash was a decoction mash and the steps were very easy to insert and accurate. I loved the time to boil feature in the decoction step.

Bugs:
- On my windows xp system, files are not saved with the .btp extension by default. I had to add it.
- I managed to get a corrupted save file. Possibly because I renamed the file in a command prompt with the .btp extension to address the first item. Let me know an e-mail address if you would like me to send you the file.
- The ingredient database for Bairds Vienna malt shows a gravity of 0.88 plato, think it should be 8.8.

Improvement ideas (some old and some new):
- Would like to see inventory added. For me, just a simple column in the database where I can add a value showing how much I have on hand would be sufficient.
- I brew with my laptop on hand so addition of an integrated timer with alarm would be very useful.
- I was suprised that the location of equipment was with schedule, etc. To me it would make more sense to include it as a database instead. Keep the same stats, but put them in a database. I know you are already working on this, I'll add my data to the other thread.
- Would like to see fermentation information added. This could either be at the bottom with packaging, or in the actual schedule. It would be useful to track fermentation time, temperature, type of ferementer, etc. I love the fact that the software tracks packaging, why not fermentation too?
- The strike water temperature took me some time to figure out since I do not direct fire my mash tun. Finally found the solution here in a separate thread here. I suggest showing a choice for direct fire or water transfer mash explicitly to make it more clear. Also allow that choice in the strike water calculator, it seems that it only has the option for direct fire at this point.
- I found the water volume scheduling a bit difficult. It's not entirely clear initally how dead space is being accounted for, etc. This is the one place that promash has an upper hand. My suggestions are: 1)show vessel dead space as an entry so that it is clear. 2) Allow for a hot liquor tun vessel type. I couldn't find how to account for my HLT dead space, so I just left a 0.6 gallon residual in my sparge. How about allowing me to choose a vessel and take dead space from there? 3) Similarly with the dead space in my brew kettle. Instead of having to enter it into volume adjustment, how about pulling it from my brew kettle vessel?

If you really want to go with something new, I'd propose allowing the ability to schedule the entire process. Use a mash schedule very similar to current. Add a boil schedule that graphically shows time to raise wort temperature, boil, and ingredient additions. Integrate a timer here to track progress. Then add a fermentation schedule with temperature, vessel, and time options. Especially useful with lagers to track diacetyl rests, etc. All the equipment for each step could be in the equipment database.

Overall great software guys. I've converted and plan to use it going forward. Thanks for all the effort and support.
Clegg
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re: First time

Postby slothrob » Sun Apr 29, 2007 5:12 pm

Looks like you hit and conquered a lot of the typical roadblocks.

As far as Dead Space is concerned, go to Equipment or Vessels and Edit your Mash Tun. In the top half of the screen you will see an entry for Dead Space.
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Re: re: First time

Postby Clegg » Sun Apr 29, 2007 6:45 pm

slothrob wrote:Looks like you hit and conquered a lot of the typical roadblocks.

As far as Dead Space is concerned, go to Equipment or Vessels and Edit your Mash Tun. In the top half of the screen you will see an entry for Dead Space.



Thanks. I was able to find where to enter the dead space for my mash tun, but not for my hot liquor tun? Is there somewhere to enter dead space for my HLT to compensate for the water remains in it after my sparge?

I suppose an alternate way to compensate would be to add the mash tun and HLT dead space and enter it all as mash tun dead space.
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HLT Dead Space

Postby slothrob » Mon Apr 30, 2007 5:39 am

Any vessel that is created has an identical edit window. So your HLT should have a Dead Space field just like your Mash Tun and Boil Kettle.
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Re: First BTP batch - feedback

Postby jeff » Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:02 am

Thanks for all of your feedback and suggestions!

There has been some confusion on how the mash-in editor works, and you indicate that this is true for you too:

Clegg wrote:The strike water temperature took me some time to figure out since I do not direct fire my mash tun. Finally found the solution here in a separate thread here. I suggest showing a choice for direct fire or water transfer mash explicitly to make it more clear. Also allow that choice in the strike water calculator, it seems that it only has the option for direct fire at this point.


In case you have not found a definitive answer yet, direct fire is implicitly set when the heating vessel is (1) omitted, or (2) the same as the mash vessel. In the future, we will try to make this more clear in the interface to remove the mystery.

Thanks again.
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Re: HLT Dead Space

Postby Clegg » Mon Apr 30, 2007 5:03 pm

slothrob wrote:Any vessel that is created has an identical edit window. So your HLT should have a Dead Space field just like your Mash Tun and Boil Kettle.


Yes, I have two vessels entered, 1 mash tun and 1 HLT. However in the sparge scheduler, only the mash tun dead space is considered. In this window:

Volume - Runoff = Mash tun dead space setting under vessel.

If I increase my mash tun dead space, the volume increases to keep runoff constant as it should.

However, there is a second dead space in my HLT that is not considered. I can add an HLT vessel and set the dead space, but it has not effect on the sparege data. In reaility, if I have a HLT with a 1 gallon dead space I need to start with 1 gallon more water to get the correct volume added to the mash tun.

I think this could be corrected with an added selection to the sparge window for "HLT Vessel". This would pull the dead space from HLT vessel data entered and compensate the starting water volume accordingly.
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HLT Dead Space

Postby slothrob » Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:13 pm

I see what you mean. I have no dead space in my HLT because I use a boil pot and pour the entire volume into the Mash Tun, so I never noticed this oversight.
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