What do you want to see in session recording?

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What do you want to see in session recording?

Postby lathe » Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:38 am

What do you want to see in session recording?

Let us know what you think makes session recoding useful.
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Postby splashmike » Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:58 am

First, thanks for starting this sticky. I just brewed last weekend and was really unable to use the program as part of the brew process because it lacked anything regarding the actual brew session. Its seems great as a recipe forumulator, but totally lacking in resources for the actual brew day.

My suggestions are as follows:

1. There needs to be a way to organize ingredients, etc. into a schedule for addition to the boil. I'd also like to see something ala Beer Smith that sets up the schedule for the brew day. Make starter, crush grains, steep grains, add hops, etc. I'm thinking of some kind of brew day planner. Things like shopping lists and inventory managers would make the program much more usable for me. Calendars are also important whenever date entry is available. I can figure out how many days I primaried, secondaried, force carbonated by quickly accessing the calendar.

2. There should be some way to document the type of fermentation, single stage, two stages, etc., the number of days, the temperature and so on. A calender in the date entry areas is always helpful.

3. There should be some way to document additons (e.g., dry hops, other things).

4. There should be an area for notations to comment upon the brew process as it proceeds.

Again, thanks for working on this feature.
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Postby slothrob » Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:50 pm

It seems that most of 1. and 3. is coverred by the Ingredients window. At least the way I use it. Except perhaps for the time of dry hop additions, other than the general primary/secondary choices.

4. seems to be covered by the notes section.

2. would be covered by the Fermentation tab that has been discussed elsewhere.

I like the idea of the calandar for scheduling.

I guess I saw the session feature more as a file organization scheme. One that allowed recipes to be classified as proposed recipes or made ones (sessions) with dates attached to them. Perhaps there would be a browser window that could be opened from the menubar that allowed you to choose which type would appear in the browser window. Basically 2 folders of stored files.

Then, it would be nice if pure recipes could be protected with a check box, so that when you edited one for a brew session it would default to saving it as a session, with a number or date appended.
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Postby splashmike » Sun Jan 14, 2007 1:10 pm

If this was just session management, I apoligize for getting into fermentation isssues, but when I think about the "session" I really am considering the entire brew day process. Although this begins with choosing the receipe from what will hopefully be a convenient viewing system, it also includes planning out the day, getting the ingredients ready (which is why I mentioned inventory and shopping lists), planning the boil (while you can organize your ingredients into an order, its clunky, and I don't think that there is a way to indicate the boil time for things like steeping grains, which come fore the extract in an extract session). I'd also like to see a way to add some things other than ingredients. For example, I sometimes forget about buying a muslin bag and it would be nice to add that to the brew day list of ingredients and other things needed to brew. If you bottle, you might want to make sure you've got enough caps.

Slothrob, your suggestions abut viewing files and brewed sessions is right on the mark.
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Postby bemert » Sun Jan 14, 2007 1:26 pm

I am looking at a way to log my brew day - all my actual numbers and compare them to the anticipated numbers I received when I put the recipe in BTP. There should also be an easy way to look up sessions. For instance, I brew a Scottish Ale fairly often, I would want to be able to easily see each session, perhaps by date, and pull up that session to look at the data for that brew day. This might be easily done by creating a key for each session in a database and then opening the seesion file for that key (obviously the session file name will have to pertain to the key). Sorry - don't mean to program for you, just thinking how it mght be able to be done.

Notes - There are recipe notes, and brew day notes, these are two different items and both need to be available.

Fermenting schedules: A calander is a must, brew day, ferment time in primary, ferment time in secondary if necessary. Being able to view a calander or even graph of the dates for that beer would be great.

Just my 2 cents...

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Postby Brant » Sun Jan 14, 2007 1:33 pm

I took a stab was what an "inventory feature" was, but I was afraid to assume what "session recording" meant. ;)

My guess is that it relates to this thread, which presents a lot of ideas: http://www.beertools.com/forum/viewtopi ... ht=primary. I think the file manager concept has been referred to as a "recipe browser". But I might have them backwards....
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Postby jctull » Sun Jan 14, 2007 6:31 pm

As others have said, most important in session management would be a means of recording actual measurements from the brewed beer. Things like gravity pre-boil, S.G., volume in kettle pre-boil/post-boil, a dedicated notes area for making general comments, and a way to record times of key events, like mash start, sparge start/finish, etc. Key calculations should be made, like attenuation, efficiency, etc. Perhaps showing deviations from the predicted or user inputted values would be helpful, but maybe as tooltips to keep down the clutter.

I already mentioned this to you Jeff, but an alarm system would be awesome. Use the powerful predictive information already calculated from the equipment expectations for things like time to heat mash, boil water in the hot liquor tank, etc. to allow the brewer to set reminder alarms. The simplest, and most important series of alarms would be reminders for events during the boil. Based on the actual time logged for start of boil, the option to have alarms for hops and other additions would be a great and useful feature. You could even have the system speak the notice (on a Mac anyway; not sure about windows). At least the capability to select the alarm sound and volume, and maybe even the ability to pause iTunes if it is running. :-) See this application for a nice alarm implementation for ideas.

I also want to be able to record events during the fermentation, including gravities and temperatures taken along the way. A chart of the gravity over time would be nice. Transfers, lager schedule, etc.

Finally, a rating system would be great. Something like the iTunes star system is fine. Click a star level for your beer so you can sort by favorite beers in the potential recipe browser.

I think that sums up my thinking on what a sessions capability would include. I am also keen on a recipe list feature as others mentioned, but I am not sure if this ties into sessions or just recipes in general.
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Postby slothrob » Mon Jan 15, 2007 10:46 am

jctull wrote:As others have said, most important in session management would be a means of recording actual measurements from the brewed beer. Things like gravity pre-boil, S.G., volume in kettle pre-boil/post-boil, a dedicated notes area for making general comments, and a way to record times of key events, like mash start, sparge start/finish, etc. Key calculations should be made, like attenuation, efficiency, etc. Perhaps showing deviations from the predicted or user inputted values would be helpful, but maybe as tooltips to keep down the clutter.


This is what confuses me a bit about this feature. These things are exactly what i record in the program, now. I write a proposed recipe, that has expectations for things like eficiency and boil-off and mash temperature and times. Then, on brew day, I make the changes that allow the file to reflect the way things actually went.

The only thing I do, that may be different, is to save the actual record as a different file than the proposed recipe so that I can later recall the original proposal and decide if I want to remake that or the recipe as performed. What I expected from this feature was an organizatioal scheme for these files, not a set of parallel fields that recorded proposed vs. actual events.

Maybe I'm just being thick, but do I really use the program that differently?
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Totally lacking in resources for the actual brew day???

Postby billvelek » Mon Jan 15, 2007 1:15 pm

splashmike wrote:First, thanks for starting this sticky. I just brewed last weekend and was really unable to use the program as part of the brew process because it lacked anything regarding the actual brew session. Its seems great as a recipe forumulator, but totally lacking in resources for the actual brew day. ... snip
Holy cow. :shock: Are we talking about the same program? While I look forward to a few more bells and whistles, like an Inventory feature, etc., I have found BTP to be VERY useful while brewing. I print out a hardcopy that I carry into the kitchen -- with a pen. As I add each grain to the tun, I check it off. I then use the schedule information -- which I think seems a little awkwardly arranged, as I've mentioned before, but still useable -- to measure temp and volume of each infusion. I use my pen to mark down differences in temp after stabilization. Without the schedule info, it would be pretty much trial and error and doing things based on past experience -- but not very accurate. Then when I do my boil, I get my hops ready based on my ingredient list; if your hops are not already listed in the order they will be used, it is easy to fix that before printing. I take a timer with me and add my hops at appropriate times during the boil. Anyway, I personally find BTP to be VERY useful during actual brew day, but everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Cheers.

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i use btp on my brewday

Postby warthog » Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:40 pm

i think that the usefulness of btp as a brew day tool can be improved.

right now, i do a 'save as' on the recipe that i have open that brewday. i save as [recipe name] 'as brewed [data]. to keep a record. i think this is a little clunky.

what i would like to see is an integrated way to record actuals vs recipe during the day, as well as a scheduling tool that could be used to remind me of my next step and the timing (i am often doing other tasks -cleaning/sanitizing- during mash). currently i use a kitchen timer to remind me. if this were integrated into btp, it would be very helpful.

i envision something like this:

step: mash - 152 F for 60 min.
step: mash - 152 F for 59 min.
...
...
step: mash - 152 F for 01 min.
ding!
step: mash out - 170 F for 10 min.
step: mash out - 170 F for 09 min.
...
ding!
step: collect 6 gallons
step: heat to boil - approx 25 min
step: heat to boil - approx 24 min
...
ding!
step: boil -90 min enter og: 1.040.
....
ding!
step: add 1 oz EKG
step: boil - 60 min
...
you get the idea. the steps and times come from the schedule function.

along with this, allow the user to enter actual time (press enter) to start the timer. ideally all of this is kept in a log file, linked to the recipe with the date and time (right now i write all of this stuff down in a lab notebook).

to add further coolness to this feature, it could recalculate vessel/heat source parameters based on actual use over the course of an actual brewday.
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Postby jawbox » Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:42 pm

Looks like we might be wanting two things here.

1) Brewday report: Similar to Beersmith that breaks down the process into steps to keep you on track. I like the idea of alarms within the program.

2) Session Log: Record actual results against anticipated numbers from your original recipe, plus a way to catalogue by style, date of session etc.

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Postby splashmike » Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:34 pm

Bill,

Admittedly, I'm comparing the program to Beer Smith, which is what I currently use and, also, Pro Mash (the demo of which I have tried but which I do not own); both of which programs are highly regarded by myself and others. I guess I would have expected the latest brewing software to start where these two older programs left off, but, instead, it seems to still be catching up in many ways. It certainly looks nice, and functions well as a recipe designer, but, in my opinion, it simply lacks the functionality that currently exists in Beer Smith and Pro Mash. I really don't see how the developers can expect this program to appeal to the brewing community in its current state when, out of the box, it lacks much of what already exists in two very good programs.

Having said the above, I was not brewing (started in 2004) when Pro Mash was first introduced and I don't think I was brewing when Beer Smith was released either, so I can't comment on whether those products also went through the same growing pains to get to the state that they are in today. The developers seem to be earnestly working on obtaining community feedback and improving the product, which is great and very much appreciated.
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Perhaps I'm "Thick" Too!

Postby ColoradoBrewer » Tue Jan 16, 2007 9:15 am

slothrob wrote:This is what confuses me a bit about this feature. These things are exactly what i record in the program, now. I write a proposed recipe, that has expectations for things like eficiency and boil-off and mash temperature and times. Then, on brew day, I make the changes that allow the file to reflect the way things actually went.

The only thing I do, that may be different, is to save the actual record as a different file than the proposed recipe so that I can later recall the original proposal and decide if I want to remake that or the recipe as performed. What I expected from this feature was an organizatioal scheme for these files, not a set of parallel fields that recorded proposed vs. actual events.

Maybe I'm just being thick, but do I really use the program that differently?
Well, I may "thick" as well because I'm doing exactly what slothrob does and it works for me. Or maybe I don't understand what is meant by session recording. To me it just means being able to record results from crush to glass and leaving the original recipe in tact. I had envisioned it as being something similar to ProMash where recipes are saved with one file extension and brewing sessions with another, but some of the suggestions seem to go far beyond that. As far recording events along the way is concerned, the notes tab works well enough for me to record data that doesn't have an actual field for for input.
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Postby just-cj » Tue Jan 16, 2007 5:31 pm

I may have mentioned it before, but I think having the recipe and the actual brewday data in the same file is a lot more convenient. Then have a "compare" menu item -- click on that and the differences between how you designed the recipe and how it actually came out on brew day would be highlighted. Even have it so that you can brew the same recipe several times, with each of the brewdays recorded in the same file. To me, this is much more convenient than having two separate files, one with my recipe and one with my brewday.
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Postby Brant » Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:18 am

I'm not a big fan of the ProMash way, either. I found it inconvenient that I couldn't create a session without creating and saving a recipe file for it first.

My approach in BTP is to edit the original recipe/session file to record what actually happened on brew day, and to add text in the Notes tab to indicate what I meant to do instead, but screwed up (such as mashing at 154 instead of 152, or some such). I later follow up those Notes with any ideas for improvements, based on how the beer turned out. I haven't been using BTP long enough to have done a repeat brew to see how this system really works, but I think it will suit me fine, because all of the information is there.

On the other hand, if I am starting with a recipe that I haven't brewed before (such some recipe that someone else gave me or that I got from beertools.com), I'll save that original recipe file in a special recipes folder for future reference. I usually create my own recipes from scratch, though.

I guess I'm thick, too. :D

So, about a session recording, I think a fermentation log is all I'd really like to see, just because fermentation details are verbose and it's easy to forget to enter everything in an unprompted notes field. And the more I've thought about it, the more appropriate I think a multi-list interface for it would be, like that mash schedule's list.
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