Brewtarget is an open source brewing software, similar to the commercial product BeerSmith. For hackweek I'd like to investigate the capabilities of Brewtarget and perhaps add some features/improvements for my use case.

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Hack Week 18

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  • 5 months ago: jfehlig started Investigate and improve Brewtarget
  • 5 months ago: jfehlig originated Investigate and improve Brewtarget
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    • jfehlig
      5 months ago by jfehlig | Reply

      Before looking closer at Brewtarget, I spent some time surveying brew recipe calculator apps and services. Several months have passed since I briefly looked at recipe calculators and found Brewtarget, so I wanted to ensure I hadn't overlooked better opensource-based options. I also reached out to a few fellow brewers at SUSE to see what, if any, recipe calculators they use.

      I could not find any online calculators that were opensource-based. The most popular online calculators appear to be brewersfriend.com and brewgr.com. brewersfriend.com has a $25USD/year subscription fee but do provide a perpetual trial subscription with reduced features. brewgr.com provides a free online calculator but is missing too many features to be useful. There are a handful of other online calculators, but they are too simple and do not meet my needs.

      The description of this project already mentions BeerSmith and Brewtarget as the primary recipe calculator apps, and only Brewtarget is opensource. So onward with Brewtarget!

      The rest of the day was spent investigating Brewtarget's features, and refreshing my memory on the chemistry of brewing! AFAICT, Brewtarget could be improved to better support my brew equipment. I use a Brew In A Bag (BIAB) system that only supports a single temperature infusion mash, whereas Brewtarget recipe calculator assumes a traditional multi rest mashing and lautering.

      After getting Brewtarget to build on Factory (and perhaps packaging it), it looks like my first task is to add support for BIAB systems!

    • jfehlig
      5 months ago by jfehlig | Reply

      I spent Tuesday and Wednesday experimenting with creating recipes and comparing the results with the same recipes created by a fellow brewer using BeerSmith. I couldn't produce the same results with Brewtarget and was sure this was due to poor support for BIAB systems. So I stared at the code for a bit and was about to reach out to the Brewtarget authors when I found the following issue in the github tracker

      https://github.com/Brewtarget/brewtarget/issues/41

      So there is support for BIAB systems through settings that were definitely not obvious. After changing my equipment profile as suggested in the issue, my experimental recipes began matching those produced by BeerSmith. Yay! The github issue was closed as "fixed via documentation", but the official doc does not contain the info provided in the issue. Perhaps I'll ping the authors about at least adding a BIAB template to the existing collection of equipment templates.

      While investigating beer recipe software this week I was surprised to find a beerXML standard for describing recipes! Brewtarget supports the standard and provides import and export functions, allowing me to share recipes with the broad base of BeerSmith users. BeerSmith also supports the standard. In fact, BeerSmith's primary author (Brad Smith) is also on the "committee" developing the beerXML standard.

      I spent a fair bit of time Wednesday working on a recipe for a blonde ale. I thought that would be a good first brew to try with Brewtarget. Ale recipes are generally the least complex, and a blonde ale will make for a nice summertime refreshment when it's ready to pour in 5-6 weeks! After discovering the beerXML standard, I wanted to see if my recipe could be shared with my fellow brewer that uses BeerSmith. I exported the recipe and mailed it to him, but later found he was unable to import the file. Cool, a bug to investigate! Final verification of a fix may take a while though since my fellow brewer is off to Maui for 10 days.

      Brewtarget also allowed me to export the recipe in text so I could stop by the brew supply store on the way home and pick up the ingredients for the blonde ale. I'll get a yeast starter going tonight and plan to brew this ale on Friday! Now the hard part: naming the beer. The water used for beer came from Howard's Spring in Idaho. The beer is being made during SUSE's hackweek. Hmm, maybe Howard Spring Lizard Ale :-).

    • jfehlig
      5 months ago by jfehlig | Reply

      I made the beer Friday evening and decided to call it Geeko Blonde Ale. It's in the primary fermenter for two weeks, then on to secondary for another two weeks before kegging it! Looking forward to trying this beer.

      I've packaged the latest git master of Brewtarget and currently have it available for Factory and Leap 15.1 in my OBS home project https://build.opensuse.org/package/show/home:jfehlig/brewtarget

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