Mayor of Hopville back in the office.

I recently got hired again after six months of (mostly voluntary) unemployment.  While I normally don’t muddy up the Hopville blog with details of my personal life, this is relevant purely because of how shockingly little I accomplished during all that time off.  I mean sure,  I traveled a lot. I worked on the house. I interviewed and interviewed and interviewed some more.  Did some volunteer work. And so on.  But I took a long overdue break from the tech industry, and from software development in general, for the entire time.

Luckily for Hopville, now that I am about to start work again, I’m learning lots of knew stuff and I’m completely energized about getting back into web development.  On a recent trip back east, I had some productive time on the plane – including my first-ever launch of website features from a chair in the sky (since my Delta flights were equipped with WiFi).  Here’s what’s new:

  • Recipe pages now have dedicated sections where the brewer can add tasting notes and taste ratings.
  • Brewers pitching multiple yeasts in a single batch can now list unlimited yeast strains and bacteria cultures on a recipe page.  Previously only one yeast was allowed, so brewers pitching multiple cultures had to list the supplemental strains in the recipe comments.  Now the extra cultures become a part of the main recipe.
  • Measured OG and FG can be recorded on recipe pages – when present, the display of the measured values takes priority over the values estimates by Beer Calculus.
  • Brewers can easily export their entire Hopville recipe catalog as BeerXML from their recipe page.  This is a nice shortcut for folks who want to backup or export their entire list of recipes at once, rather than one at a time from each recipe page.
  • New and slightly more enticing homepage…though it’s still a work in progress, design-wise.  Much improved version launching in a few weeks.
  • Featured recipes! Recipes are now given an “interestingness” score which allows Hopville to feature lists of the juiciest recipes on the site.  Now that there are over 10,000 recipes on Hopville, this kind of highlighting will become an important signal-vs-noise aid, making it convenient to find the best recipes quickly.

Over the next month I’ll be continuing to do some major upgrades in preparation for a larger rollout of changes I’m planning to launch on February 25th.  It’s nice to be having fun with code again…and Hopville stands to reap the benefits.

Current recipe count: 11,134



  1. Brad said

    Love the new features!

    One thing I did notice, though, is that the ABV is still based on calculated gravity, and not measured.

  2. Good point. I’ll have to fix that for the Feb 25th release.

  3. Ken said

    Looks great, Todd, I really like the new pages. One thing that I’ve always noticed is that after I log in, there’s no logical links to take me to my own page of recipes or anything else – just a single link back to the hopville homepage. Can the standard link bar be placed on the post-login page?

    Thanks for the updates!

    • Hi Ken. Yep, the navigation will also get improved for the Feb 25th update.

  4. longdivision said

    You did an absolutly wonderful job with this hopville project ! Congratulation… For an Homebrewer it’s by far the best site ever !

  5. Brandon said

    Keeps getting better and better. I love being able to clone another recipe and make it my own. This is a new collaborative brewing process, not just a new website. Have you thought of a way to monetize the site?

    • Thanks Brandon! I recently put some Google Ads on the site, but they only show up for unrecognized users. Not really in it for cash but I’m earning enough for one free coffee per week from it, and that’s nothing to sneeze at…unless you’re allergic to coffee.

  6. Matt said

    This might sound like a lot to ask for, but is there a way to consolidate the malts/fermentables section? Some of the items have a brand name, others don’t, some have a Lovibond #, some don’t. I’m new to homebrewing and just recently used this application to design my latest stout. Thanks Todd.

    • Hi Matt. I try keeping the ingredient lists as clean as possible, but the database is open to user submissions and human error. Feel free to email me with any specific ingredients information that need to be fixed, merged, or expanded.

  7. Matt P. said

    Just joined, but I am very impressed with the site and system you have built. Thanks for setting this up as we all benefit. Only thing I might wonder about would be changing attenuation for those of us that are aiming for higher or lower with mash temps. I suppose that would change with the measured gravity mentioned above.

    Thanks again

    • Thanks Matt. Making attenuation dependent on mash temp is definitely something to consider. The whole mashing interface needs work, that’s slated for the next update (hopefully in March).

  8. MeltTech said

    I’m I blind, but how do I change a recipe to partial?

    • Hi MeltTech. Recipes containing both malt extract and a significant amount of grains will be assigned to the “Partial Mash” category. The categorization happens automatically based on ingredients, so the only way to change the category is to change ingredients.

  9. Chris said

    I think I would like to see the addition to be able to designate malt extracts as late boil extracts. It would help some of us to calculate better IBUs. Great job

    • Hi there. Not planning to add a “minutes of boiling” time to the malts and fermentables section at this time. I’ll keep the feature request in mind though.

  10. Michael Stanger said

    Hi Todd. LOVE the site. Don’t know what I’d do without it.
    Have you considered allowing us to search for other brewers by location? Adding a little social networking element would go far toward a more robust experience. Cheers.

    • Hi Michael. I don’t have any formal taxonomy of brewer locales – users can type whatever they like in the location field – so it might not work as smoothly as you’d hope. I’ll consider it for sure, but I have lots of other features to work on first, including some social networking stuff.

  11. Matt Hendry said

    Todd how about automatic calculation of a recipe if you have a fixed gravity and IBU like Graham Wheelers Beer Engine does .Beer Engine is also good for scaling recipes but doesn’t have the features of Beer Calculus .

    • Hi Matt. Automatically building recipes is something I’ve considered, but there are lots of other improvements I’d like to make to the by-hand recipe building site first. It’s on the radar but not a top priority at this time. Thanks.

  12. Austin said

    Hi Todd, great job! this site is my one-stop recipe page. it’s absolutely fabulous.

    One recommendation however: Store recipe versions in a hierarchical fashion within the recipes page.

    No matter how organized my brew day is, i always end up changing something from the original recipe (i had only 1.5 oz hops instead of 2, or boiled an extra few minutes, or had a larger boil volume, etc…) and so while i am brewing i am constantly updating the recipe on my iPhone and then save the whole thing as a new recipe. for the most part this works, but the recipe page starts to get cluttered with all the different versions and it gets hard to keep track. If instead i had all my MAIN recipes listed and could click on a + – button to expand that recipe and see all the different brewed versions listed below it, with the date brewed and other info/stats it would be much cleaner.

    Essentially, what we want to do is maintain the original recipe formulation, and be able to quickly see all the times i have brewed that recipe and see the differences from brew to brew. i have made some mock up screenshots of what this would look like and can email them.

    otherwise, thank again for the awesome tools!

  13. David Wetzel said

    When I was in Amsterdam I had Heineken Oud Bruin which is not exported to the USA. I have cloned the recipe pretty good except that I have not been able to get the graham cracker taste at the end. Does anyone have any ideas.

  14. David Baker said

    Couldn’t find anywhere on beer calculus to enter “Extract” or “All grain”
    Couldn’t scroll down.

    • Hi David. Recipes are categrized as Extract or All Grain automatically, based on their ingredients. If you’re having problems navigating the site, please shoot me an email with the specifics of your computer system (Windows or Mac, which web browser you are using) and I can investigate. My email address is listed at the bottom of all the Hopville pages.

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