Archive for Beer Calculus

Another Winter in Hopville

I’d started the winter focused on building another juicy web app having no connection to Hopville. It was the kind of project that would make me rich and famous and handsome and smart.  As these things go, while I concentrated all of my time and energy elsewhere, Hopville sneakily enjoyed a significant growth spurt, approximately doubling in traffic in the trailing months of 2010. The site had been on auto-pilot for months, so I was surprised and inspired that it’s slow, steady march toward success suddenly sped up. I doubled back at the beginning of the year and started working on Hopville in my (still very limited) spare time.

The result is that, over the last few months I’ve gotten several days’ worth of work on Hopville done. Lots of small changes and new features have made it to the site, mostly unannounced.  While I plan to continue working on new features for the near future (because now I realize that Hopville is the site that will make me rich and famous and handsome and smart), I wanted to take this time to summarize the stuff that has already made it to the site in 2011:

  • Customizable yeast attenuation. Each strain will continue to have a default attenuation value, but brewers can adjust the attenuation percentage on their recipes in order to better match their own situation or experience.
  • Hopville now includes a feature allowing you to follow other brewers.  Now folks can easily keep tabs on each other’s brewing activity.
  • Malt additions can now be marked as Late Boil Additions. Ingredients marked in this way will not affect the calculated gravity of the boil, which means they also won’t affect IBU calculations in formulas sensitive to boil gravity. Many brewers who use extract in their beers requested this feature – late boil additions are a great way to maximize hop utilization when brewing with extracts.
  • Another common request was to allow for “each” units for miscellaneous ingredients so that, for instance, you don’t have to calculate or guess a specific weight or volume for something unit-based, like a Whirlfloc tablet.
  • Brewers who measure the color of their finished beer can now store their result as the measured SRM/EBC.
  • Added a page to highlight Brewing Statistics. What’s there now is a first draft – as time goes on I hope to find lots of interesting information to pull out of Hopville’s database and display here in fancy graphs and charts and things.
  • Added a “share” button to easily link any recipes to a post on one of several social media sites.
  • Created the official Facebook Page for Hopville.com.
  • Added a new category for recipes, Extract with Specialty Grains. Formerly all Extract recipes were sorted and filtered equally, whether or not the recipe included grains. Now folks looking for one type of extract recipe or the other can find them more easily.
  • Bug fixes improved sundry items: top navigation, large volume batches, recipe cloning, metrics mode, BeerXML syntax, recipe sorting, recipe “interestingness” score, direct heat mash rests, partial mash categorization, lovibond range…

Most importantly (in the grand scheme of things), now you can Support Hopville with a simple donation via PayPal. I’m hoping to create a positive feedback loop where Hopville’s fans provide significant enough financial support to keep me from getting distracted by other projects. By staying focused, the site’s improvements will come at a much faster rate, hopefully feeding back into increased financial support, meaning the site could become viable as a part-time job for me instead of the hobby site it is now.  Paying members are encouraged to participate directly in this feedback loop by voting for their favorite future features on another new part of the site, the “Future Features” page.

Current recipe count: 50,205

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One Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Site

The Hopville recipe count turned 100 today! Okay, it’s a relatively small milestone, but it’s also the very first milestone. And when you launch a site with three recipes on it, do no promotion/advertising/blog commenting, and have almost no Google exposure (which is still true…Google’s last crawl was on the 11th), 100 feels like a lot of recipes. Hey G, why don’tcha come on back and see us sometime? We’d like that. The more, the merrier. With 41 registered users, I think we might’ve already surpassed the population count of the real Hopville, OR.

In other news, recent developments on the site:

  • First draft of fleshed-out brewer profile pages. You can now add a profile picture, a link to your website, and a few words about your brewing self to the profile page. That page has been split into tabbed pages for Recent Activity, Recipes Created, Recipes Favorite-d, and Comments.
  • Editing individual ingredients in Beer Calculus is now AJAX-based, so each page load as the recipe gets designed and updated is a wee bit faster than it was before.
  • Completed the list of recipe types so all BJCP beer styles are represented.
  • Added a beer style dropdown to the style page, making it easy to switch between styles when browsing recipes. Search soon to follow.
  • As usual, lots of little design changes accompanied these updates.

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