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> Chat Transcripts - Guest Jeff Donovan, returning guest, author of ProMash
post Oct 10 2004, 08:31 AM
Post #1


Group: banned
Posts: 666
Joined: 16-March 02
From: Mooresville, NC
Member No.: 201

Jeff Donovan will be our return guest this Sunday. Jeff is the author of ProMash Brewing Software and a well respected Brewer. Commercial and Homebrew. ProMash is used by more Homebrewers AND commercial Brewers than all other programs combined. He will be able to answer virtually any questions that you may throw at him.

JDonovan: heyya ale
ale: Hey Jeff
BobH: hi ale
huleoo: Hello Ale!
ale: Hey
ale: I'm sure that we all know Jeff, author of ProMash...
invalid: yep (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/smile.gif)
ale: ...He's a return guest, and pretty much a regular on our Chat...
ale: ...Tonight Mr. Donovan has the floor...
JDonovan: howdy all. good to be back...fire away.
invalid: ?
ale: ...ProMash is a program that is used by more brewers, both pro and homebrewers, than all others combined.
ale: Go Invalid
invalid: About how long does beer stay alright in the primary before yeast starts causing off flavors?
JDonovan: Depends on the yeast, if it is from re-use or new.
JDonovan: Best to get the beer of the yeast cake as soon as possible.
JDonovan: could not give an exact time without knowing more factors
JDonovan: end
ale: BTW, Mr. Donovan will be answering all brewing questions....not just software related,
ale: Go CDUB
CDUB: Is there a promash update in the works? If so, any new bells and whistles?
JDonovan: There is and yes, lots. There is no date for release though, it will be awhile yet as the scope of it is enormous
JDonovan: end
ale: Well, I'll jump in...
ale: Jeff, You've brewed pro in the past. correct?
adavis: ?
JDonovan: yes
ale: where?
twocents: good evening.
JDonovan: Speak Easy Ales and Lagers in San Fransisco (going like gang busters now) and a bit here at Island Brewing in Carpenteria.
ale: Do you consider yourself more of a "beer guy" or a "computer guy"?
JDonovan: it depends on what month it is Ale
ale: fair enough, Go ADavis
adavis: I'm going to be making a rye pale ale. Any suggestion on the % of rye to add?
JDonovan: sometimes one, sometimes the other. I am not brewing professionally much now though and lately it seems I have been at the computer much more than at the kettle.
JDonovan: How much of a Rye bite are you looking for adavis?
adavis: Don't really know, I've never even had a rye beer before.
adavis: It just sounds good.
JDonovan: well, I've used it in quantities up to 10%
JDonovan: for a Harvest ale with distinctive grainy/rye flavor
JDonovan: more a bit less pronounced, I would start with 5%, see what ya think and go from therer.
JDonovan: I love a good rye beer.
JDonovan: end
adavis: Thanks, I'll try that. We don't have much selection here in SC. If I want to try it, I have to brew it
adavis: end
ale: What kind of extract can a brewer expect with Rye?
JDonovan: As far as sugar extraction on the Rye alone?
JDonovan: hmmm
ale: ..as an adjucnt?
ale: I know that rye is really sticky
adavis: ?
JDonovan: sticky as in how?
ale: tough lautering.
JDonovan: don't we all have velcro floors?
ale: LOL
JDonovan: eh, no I have never had a problem lautering it but I have only used it in up to 10% of the grist. So long as it is well mixed with the base malts I don't think you will have a problem.
ale: FTR - Rye is great in Porters.
JDonovan: You could if you went to higher percentages I'm sure
ale: Go ADavis
adavis: Sorry, I guess I wasn't done...5% of my base malt, right? end
JDonovan: 5% of the overall grist advis.
adavis: thx
JDonovan: sure thing
JDonovan: ya ale I love a touch of rye in just about anything. Done Rye Porter, RyePA's, Rye Harvest Ale
ale: Jeff, How long have you been working on ProMash?
JDonovan: well....the actual concept since about 1994
ale: How big a project has this been?
JDonovan: released Version 1.0 officially in Sept 1998
JDonovan: It has been a huge project.
adavis: ?
twocents: ?
ale: Do you feel comfortable naming any of the breweries that you've worked with/'use ProMash?
JDonovan: to finish ale the scope is large, chemists on payroll, some of the finest names in brewing on the dev team, etc.
JDonovan: I generally try to not mention the names of the professional's using the product without first asking them.
JDonovan: Jim Wagner from DuClaw Brewing is a big user who does not mind though.
ale: fair enough
JDonovan: The guys here at Island Brewing
JDonovan: about 700 others
JDonovan: hehe
JDonovan: end
ale: Go adavis
adavis: I batch sparge. What's the best way to adjust Promash for the usual loss in effiency?
JDonovan: Well ok gonna shot a list here:
JDonovan: 1) You're gonna need to do batch or two to fist determine *what* the actual efficiency you are achiving is.
JDonovan: 2) If you have a recipe made for a certain known efficiency, and the batch sparge efficiency is different
JDonovan: 3) Use the Efficiency Scale checkbox and then change the efficiency to your know. Your ingredients will then scale to that efficiency number.
JDonovan: 4) Uncheck the efficiency scale, save-as the recipe with like _NoSparge appended to it or something
JDonovan: you're done
JDonovan: end
ale: Go twocents
twocents: next update? any additional features you can think of? can you use it for mini mashing?
adavis: great, I'll do it end
twocents: ga
JDonovan: I can think of dozens, but I would rather not discuss the details. I will tell you one thing....when we are done with it the Mash Designer will look like nothing ever seen.
JDonovan: we have spent 8 solid months on the new math for that alone
JDonovan: and it will take everything into account, including the ambient temperature of the air when you brew
JDonovan: There will be much more, but I would rather not get into specifics. As mentioned earlier, it is still a long way of from release.
twocents: will it handle minimashes ?
JDonovan: There will be a final 1.x release at the end of the year that is mostly a bug fix for all known bugs and at that time we will announce the plans for the next major version of ProMash
JDonovan: the current ProMash will handle mini-mashes
twocents: thanks..
JDonovan: end
ale: Jeff, what's your day job?
skotrat: wow... I get here and it's over.... Typical!
JDonovan: I write technical analysis/portfolio hedging software for institutional investors.
skotrat: hedging? like shubberies?
JDonovan: that's what we tell the pakis skot
JDonovan: end
invalid: i own a cactus
skotrat: so did I miss a good chat?
skotrat: begin
ale: Skotrat, it's not over, Jeff is just intimidating.
JDonovan: me? really?
ale: yes.
skotrat: Hey Jeff.... Will future versions of Promash include a more extensive malt and yeast database? Also... has the new BJCP style guidelines posed any problems or concerns?
JDonovan: hmmm I would hope to not intimidate....just a person like everyone else.
ale: What first direced you to developing ProMash?
JDonovan: The BJCP guidelines have posed a couple of problems with the number of categories that have no solid specification for range of item, like SG
JDonovan: when the BJSP puts in 1.055 os max OG, fine. When they put in 1.055+ it's a problem.
skotrat: Ahhh they have done that all over the new ones
ale: Was there something out there that you needed to improve upon?
JDonovan: So for the catrgories that have these types of items, we have scaled the designator up/down by 10% across the board.
JDonovan: the remainder has been fine with no problems
JDonovan: end
JDonovan: ale at the time the simply was not anything out there that could do what I wante dthe software to do.
JDonovan: I started it for my own use only, much as other brewing software authors have done
BlueDevil0206: wassup!!!
JDonovan: sorry trying to read all the questions between each other
JDonovan: end (I think)
ale: \Go CDUB
BlueDevil0206: huleoo. jocasa's mead was great, did you get anY?
CDUB: What is your favorite brew book? Have you thought about writing one?
JDonovan: My favorite brew book is "A Textbook Of Brewing" by deClerk. Both volumes.
JDonovan: I had a technical book published in 1993 by McGraw Hill, and I have no desire to put myself through that process again.
JDonovan: so, no, no plans
JDonovan: end
CDUB: Thanks Jeff
ale: Whoa---that's deep.
timhines: .
ale: Jeff, I have another question for you...
JDonovan: go ale
JDonovan: (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/wink.gif)
ale: ...Do you have a favorite homebrew author?
ale: Someone that yo respct over the others?
JDonovan: hmmmm that's a tougher one. I would have to say that I have 3
JDonovan: none that I respect any more than the other
JDonovan: 1) A Brewers Companion by Randy Mosher
JDonovan: 2) Designing Great Bees by Ray Daniels
ale: I know that I'm putting you on the spot here>
JDonovan: 3) How to Brew by John Palmer
JDonovan: all of these books belong on every brewers shelf. I know each of the authors and respect each for different reasons.
JDonovan: for instance
JDonovan: Randy is the gadget master....awesome stuff (OH YEA RADICAL BREWING IS GOOD TOO), Daniels made people think about *creativity* in brewing, John's work in many areas (PH for instace) is un-paralleled
JDonovan: end
ale: Jeff, You're a man after my own heart. That's exactly the list I would have put together
JDonovan: hehe right on ale! there are all great text
JDonovan: sorry my keyboard has it's usual spelling problem tonight
JDonovan: I still haven't returned it
ale: I have one last question for Mr. Donovan
ale: Jeff, In your opinion, how much of brewing relies on art...
ale: ....and how much on science?
erichonour: ?
JDonovan: well, I would say that I would have to give equal weighting to both.
JDonovan: To create a really great beer, one that stands out from the others, one really is an artist who has given careful consideration to the ingredients and what he is expecting the beer to be.
JDonovan: To replicate that beer on demand, that's were the science comes in.
JDonovan: I am the first one to tell you that great beer can be made with NO software.....
JDonovan: I am the first one chime in that I prefer to use the software to track everything, results, system performance. etc.
JDonovan: When I am thinking about a beer I want to create, I am never in front of a computer.
JDonovan: When I go about actually creating it, I fire the beast up.
JDonovan: end
ale: Go erichonour
erichonour: I've been away racking some beer to secondary, so I may hve missed this. Are there any plans whatsoever to port ProMash to the Mac? Why/why not?
ale: BTW, Jeff, Great answer!
JDonovan: The why/why not is simple. The market for brewing software is small. The market for software that runs on a mac, even smaller. I have a hard enough time keeping up with the Windows tech support.
JDonovan: I hear the frustration of Mac users though.
JDonovan: and the future plans have taken that into consideration. But I cannot say with 100% certainty that there will be a 100% pure mac version.
JDonovan: If we we're selling the software at a pace where say it could be stocked by Comp USA, sure, get a team, port the software, hire some new tech support.
JDonovan: Brewing software is not that way however.
JDonovan: end
erichonour: thanks
invalid: mac users are masochists
invalid: lol
invalid: ?
ale: For the record, it's now past 9:00. Jeff's off of the hook.
ale: Go CDUB
skotrat: OFF THE HOOK!!! BUT it is only 6pm on the west coast
JDonovan: no problem, I can stay a bit longer
CDUB: What breweries do you think are setting the standards or raising the bar?
CDUB: no pun intended
JDonovan: It's hard for me to say CDUB....On a semi-national level Northcoast, Rougue for sure.
JDonovan: I would say Rougue has probably done more to set the standards than any other.
JDonovan: John Mair is a legend
CDUB: Thanks Jeff I'll research those...
invalid: his music sucks, tho
JDonovan: haha
skotrat: ?
ale: go Invalid
invalid: I was just wondering if you originally created your software to help out with your own brewing or had designed it with commercial opportunities in mind
ale: Go Skotrat
JDonovan: I originally created it for my own use only. After a couple friends saw it (who happened to run an HBA) they were the ones that convinced me to do something commercial with it.
JDonovan: After that there was another 1.5 years of development and testing from a huge beta team, and Version 1.0 was release in 1998.
JDonovan: end
ale: Sorry guys. distracted.
twocents: ?
skotrat: You seem to give back to the Homebrewing community in many ways whether on a monitary level or on an overall support level that is just about untouched by other commercial HOMEBREW entities... What sets you apart in your mind and why is giving back
skotrat: such a concern and need of yours when it seems as though others are not concerned?
invalid: cool beans
ale: I'm sorry Jeff, distracted....
invalid: skotrat, clear and concise
ale: Who's next?
skotrat: In other words... I am glad that you are involved so heavily
invalid: super and nice
invalid: (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/smile.gif)
twocents: think I was... simple q anyway
twocents: what programming langauge do you use?
JDonovan: hmmm...well, thank you for that comment! The reason is primaraly because the people involved in brewing are the best their are.
JDonovan: And I want to see this industry continue tp spread the joy of brewing to others.
ale: Go Skotrat
JDonovan: It has given a lot back to me (more than monetary) and I hope to continue to give back as well.
skotrat: [burns voice] EXCELLENT[/voice]
skotrat: It is good to see...
JDonovan: twocents it was written in Straight C, sits on top of the raw Windows API, and is compiled with VC++ 6.0
twocents: my straight c.. and c++? straight c is older, isn't it?
JDonovan: thank you skot!
JDonovan: Straight C is older yes
ale: Go TwoCents
JDonovan: Without C, there is no C++
twocents: already done with q ale.. thanks..
twocents: thanks J
twocents: I've played with c++ but never professionally
skotrat: two cents did stay in a holiday inn express once though
JDonovan: Problem I see with most programmers these days is not knowing the foundations of which they work on. Too many coming out of school knowing C++ and nor a shred of C.
JDonovan: It's importance depends only on whether you want to do it professionally or as a hobby.
ale: BRB
twocents: just did it at school...
twocents: what skorat???
JDonovan: did you do C first?
twocents: no
twocents: it wasn't taught at the college I went to..
twocents: doesn't matter, I am not in related field anyway.
twocents: bet I could get a book on it and teach myself though
JDonovan: Yea, big difference in how most schoold handle this. When I went to school it was Basic, then Assembly, then Pascal, then C and then finally C++.
twocents: I think C could not handle a 'class'
twocents: or maybe, just had it's own.. you can create your own 'class' with c++, but this is beer.. think I'l end this now..
JDonovan: if you know C++ you can learn C without problem. Biggest trap is pointers. Get to know pointers and pointer math and you'll be blazin.
invalid: pascal was a horrible philosopher. i hope the programming language is better
invalid: pffff
tdiddy8101: ?
invalid: (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/tongue.gif) ~
tdiddy8101: or is it open floor now?
JDonovan: the programming language was much better invalid
twocents: thanks JD
invalid: hehe
JDonovan: (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/wink.gif)
tdiddy8101: JD as a new brewer what does a program like promash offer me? I've only done a few extract kits
JDonovan: Right now it's going to allow you to start understandind the math involved in brewing, how those kits came to be put togther the way they are, allow you to track your progress and hopefully, inspire you to move to the dark side and go all-grain!
skotrat: Nytol!
JDonovan: It will handle everything for extract brewing, but it can be intimidating. That's probably the biggest problem. But we have an open forum in the ProMash site to help, etc.
skotrat: Thanks Jeff...
JDonovan: Night Skot!
tdiddy8101: does the software allow me to input information about extract kits and keep track of them in an easy fashion?
JDonovan: So, if you spend a little time to learn it, it will be software that can/will grow with every aspect of your brewing. From extract kits, formulating your own extract recipes, partial grain, all grain.
twocents: url for your site JD?
JDonovan: http://www.promash.com
JDonovan: Yes it will allow you to do that tdiddy.
twocents: ty
tdiddy8101: thanks
tdiddy8101: I'm downloading my free trial version now =)
JDonovan: cool cool....tdiddy there are tutorials on usage and a help screen for every dialog in the program. Do not hesistate to use them or ask me question about the software on our forum, or here.
JDonovan: Ok gents, it's about time to fire up the BBQ here, any questions before I depart?
twocents: you in california?
JDonovan: yup
JDonovan: Santa Barbara
twocents: lovely place
twocents: there is a truck stop I think?
tdiddy8101: lucky
JDonovan: yes, it is...we love it here.
twocents: betteravia?
ale: I want to thank you!!!
JDonovan: yes
twocents: you are near 160, or 161, or somehting
JDonovan: near 101
twocents: take that over to bakersfield sometime
twocents: yes
twocents: I used to drive a semi
twocents: and thanks JD for coming here..
JDonovan: cool 2 cents, next time you're in the area shoot me an email, I can take ya to a brewery or two here.
twocents: My trucking days are over... (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/sad.gif)
ale: I've got to run.
JDonovan: Hey thanks ale for having me back, thanks to everyone for putting up with me!
twocents: If i get that way..
twocents: I'l be sure to do hta
twocents: (((((((((((((9ale)))))))))))))))))))
tdiddy8101: thanks
JDonovan: Time to go, c-yas all next week!
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