Updated: Jun 9, 2020
AleProof - our first full scale software application is coming to life! With lots of time to program recently (thanks COVID-19), the Arithmech crew has been making progress in grand fashion on the development of this very cool, very unique brewing tool.
Top recap: AleProof is a program designed to assist brewers and cellarman analyze fermentation. Unlike other software packages that emphasize recipe development and brew day, AleProof focuses almost exclusively on everything that happens after the wort hits the fermenter. It was designed to be an additional tool - not a replacement - for any brewing software you may already be using.
But enough of that. Let's jump in and see what AleProof is and what it can do for you!
The Dashboard is your home screen. When you open AleProof the first time, the Dashboard will look pretty empty. So first thing's first - let's build your system and assemble your team!
Build Your System
In AleProof, you will only build the "cold side" of your brewing set-up. To build a system, give it a name and select how many fermenters and brite tanks you have. The program is designed to work for both homebrewers and professional brewers. If you your system does not have any brite tanks, no sweat! Leave it as 0, or do what I do...use a keg as a pseudo brite tank (a brite tank is just a big fancy keg anyway).
Once that's done, save the system, and BAM! Your system is built and visible on the Dashboard. The diagram of your system is interactive with each tank being a click-able button, but we'll get into that later. Build multiple systems if you're a brewery with a pilot system and main system, for example. Next let's assemble your team!
Assemble Your Team
The first thing is to give your brewery a name. If you're a homebrewer, don't be shy, give your home brewery a name! Your brewery name will be proudly displayed on the Dashboard.
Next, add members of your team. Regardless of if you are a one-person show, or a full scale brewery with dozens of employees, add anyone who helps with brewing, cellarman duties, or recipe design.
Create a New Beer
Now that your brewery is set up, you can create your first beer. In AleProof the term "beer" refers to the recipe, whereas a "batch" is an individual iteration of that recipe. From the Dashboard, go to Menu and select "New Beer".
Give the beer a name, pick the style (BJCP guidelines) and select the author of the recipe from your team. If you're adventurous and developed a recipe that doesn't fit into the traditional style guidelines, we got you! Select "Create New Style" to set your own ranges and description. Now that you have a beer saved, you can create batches of that beer.
Create a New Batch
From the Dashboard, go to Menu and select "New Batch". From here, you can input the most critical metrics that effect fermentation - such as mash temp, the source of your yeast, and how much yeast you pitched.
AleProof comes pre-loaded with several of the most popular yeast brands and strains, but if you can't find what you're looking for, simply add them yourself and save it to the system for next time.
"Fill" a Tank With the New Batch
Now that you've created a new batch, it's time to "fill" one of the tanks in your system. From the Dashboard, click which tank you are using to ferment, select the batch you want to fill it with and click "Fill Tank". The system will update and show you the new status and what is in the tank.
Add Some Data
Clicking a full tank now brings up the Batch Data Manager - the heart and soul of AleProof.
This is where you will input data for each batch. Data is broken up into three categories: Fermentation Data, Timeline Events, and Subjective Data. In "Timeline", you'll see that the "Fill Tank" event has already been logged. Set the temp of the carboy (in this case, probably just room temp) and save. The timeline function allows you to log critical milestones during fermentation. It also allows you to transfer batches between tanks in your system.
Next, add some fermentation data. This form is designed for brewers or cellarman that are taking manual temperature, gravity and pH readings throughout fermentation.
AleProof operates on a triad of analytical methods: Batch Analysis, Yeast Analysis, and Subjective Analysis. The Batch Analysis (BA) function is likely where a brewer and/or cellarman will spend most of their time. BA focuses on analyzing one particular batch of beer, but also acts as a hub for Yeast and Subjective analysis.
BA is designed to show you how the batch is progressing, how it compares to other batches, and if key metrics are within certain ranges. On the right side, you'll find the "Graphing Tools" menu. These functions take the current batch data, past batch data, and related ranges and plots them on one or multiple axis of the plot. For example, you could plot gravity on the left and temperature on the right. You can also combine certain metrics - such as plotting temperature and the yeast temperature range to analyze how well you are staying within the recommended range.
BA gives you the ability to visualize timeline events as well. For example, plot gravity and then click "Timeline" on the Graphing Tools menu.
BA always takes the perspective of the currently selected batch, but also give you the option to view other batches along side it. For example, below is a screenshot of real data from the first four batches of our brewing project, Danger Shed Ales & Mead:
The plot shows gravity data for all batches in the system, with the current batch in blue and all other batches in yellow.
Or pH data, with the optimal starting and finishing pH for ales highlighted in blue.
The "Details" function allows you to view information about the current batch and other batches side-by-side. "Slice" the table to view the batches you want to compare.
These are just a few examples of ways to combine and visualize data in Batch Analysis.
Yeast analysis (YA) takes the perspective of a specific strain of yeast. Let's say you want to analyze the White Labs strain WLP001 "California Ale", a strain you have used for several batches.
On the left side menu, you'll find an option for "Slicer". In the Slicer, the left listbox populates with any batch you fermented with White Labs WLP001. Use the tools to move batches over to the right listbox. The tools allow you to narrow down the list of batches to meet the goal of your analysis. For example, you could analyze only the batches that were fermented with the 2nd generation of yeast.
Once you have your list, click "Load" to plot the gravity curves of the batches in your sliced list.
One of the coolest tools available to you in YA is the "Modeling" function. This function builds a mathematical model of a gravity curve based on the patterns of the sliced batches you have loaded. To demonstrate the power of this function, let's go back to Batch Analysis.
Note! The screenshots below depict real data from our brewing project Danger Shed Ales & Mead
Let's say you have just brewed a batch of the beer "Made for Summer" - you are fermenting it with White Labs WLP001, a strain you have used for several previous batches. The batch is in the fermenter and you input an original gravity reading into AleProof. What is the fermentation of this batch going to look like? Find out by building a model.
From the Model menu in BA, click "Build Model" to go to Yeast Analysis. You'll find that the OG of the current batch was carried over to the Model menu in YA.
Open the Slicer and load all the batches (excluding the current one). Remember, all of these batches were fermented with the same yeast strain as the current batch.
With those batches plotted, click "Build". AleProof calculates the model and then plots it in red.
This is the most likely path the current batch will take. Now that you have built a model, apply it to the current batch - this will take you back to the BA screen for the current batch.
The Model menu will now read, "Model Loaded!". Apply the model.
Think of the model as a guideline. With it, you can predict when the batch will be done fermenting, what the final gravity will be, when you will be able to transfer the batch to the secondary vessel, etc. But it also gives you a safety railing - if the current batch deviates significantly from this model, there may be something wrong, or you may need to make adjustments.
The Subjective Analysis (SA) branch of AleProof bridges the gap between raw data and reality. The concept is simple - convert opinions into data that can be easily analyzed. The SA aspect of AleProof is still very much in development, but here's a glimpse into what it can do.
The data "input" consists of a form. The form is based on the BJCP scoresheet used by judges during brewing competitions.
The "Evaluator" drop-down box is pre-populated with the members of your team, but there is an "Other" option for anyone else who would like to give an opinion on your beer.
Any number of forms can be completed. The data is compiled and can be visualized through Batch Analysis or Subjective Analysis. Here's a screenshot of what SA currently looks like (don't worry - still lots of work to be done on this!)
SA will allow you to easily make correlations between fermentation data and peoples opinions of your beer. You will be able to see where your beer is hurting and where it is excelling. Options will be available to visualize SA data over time, across multiple batches, or combining results from batches with similarities (such as similar yeast strains).
So What's on the Horizon?
While AleProof is growing and improving every day, the initial release is still unknown. Best guess? We have a goal release month of August 2020. There are a few more big chunks of code to write (such as finishing up Subjective Analysis) and an endless list of bugs to find and fix.
Let us know what you think of this preview of AleProof - and as always, we're all ears on any ideas or thoughts you have!