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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2011 * Archive through December 10, 2011 * Promash < Previous Next >

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Gary Muehe
Intermediate Member
Username: Garymuehe

Post Number: 267
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 99.140.173.176
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 12:16 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The new Promash features are here!!!! The new Promash features are here!!!!
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 4240
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 76.122.104.54
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 02:12 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Boy, wonder where my PM license is stored? Never used it since I downloaded years ago.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2822
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.96.196
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 03:30 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

OK, I'll bite - what and where?
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13415
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 04:35 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Apparently Jeffrey Donovan is looking for testers for a set of standalone utilities that may ultimately be included in a new version of ProMash: http://promash.websitetoolbox.com/post/Promash-future-5202661?trail=30

Vance, if you log in to http://www.promash.com and click on "Registered users" you can access a password recovery utility that generates an automated message with your registration number. The only catch is that it needs to be the same e-mail address you used when you registered ProMash. If your address has changed you will have to send a message (it's on the same page as the password recovery utility) with your new address so that Jeff can update the system.
 

Rob Farrell
Advanced Member
Username: Robf

Post Number: 622
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 216.27.76.200
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 04:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Awesome news. I've tried the Beersmith trial version and could never get used to it. I'm sure its a great program, but old dogs, etc.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13417
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 05:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The current version of ProMash hasn't been updated since 2003. The original code goes back to 1998, so it very much has the look and feel of Windows 95/98. Some people like the old-school style, while others think it's a relic of the '90s.

But the fact remains that ProMash still has as full a feature set as any other brewing software today. And it's been so thoroughly tested that the accuracy is also second to none. So I welcome the thought of a new version of what has been an extremely useful brewing tool.

I do think it would be possible to craft the ultimate brewing software application, incorporating some of the latest advances in brewing science (for example, water chemistry, malt acidity, complex mash regimes, etc.), but it would be an absolute labor of love. Homebrewers are far too "value-oriented" (note the careful word choice) to pay what it could cost (at least $100) so that the developer would make even minimum wage for the time spent. The market is small and it's a hobby, not a business.

We'll see if Jeffrey Donovan still has it in him to return ProMash to the front of the pack after an eight-year hiatus. if so, he deserves a lot of credit and gratitude.
 

Martin Brungard
Junior Member
Username: Mabrungard

Post Number: 67
Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 173.210.100.130
Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2011 - 02:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree with Bill. From my review of other brewing software, I think that ProMash has every important feature that they do. The fact that ProMash hasn't been updated is not really a factor to its performance. Its not really an issue for the software to have been static since it works well. Its too bad that users think that the lack of an update means that its not as capable as other packages.

From what I can tell, if Jeff had just rolled out updates with even insignificant changes, everyone would have thought that it was up to date. Sad.

Any upgrade to ProMash will be tough since there isn't much that needs changing.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13420
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2011 - 03:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, I have a somewhat extensive laundry list of what could be updated in ProMash, but in fairness I will say that I have seen very little of it implemented in other brewing software applications (Martin's brewing water spreadsheet is one of the few exceptions).

I think a revised ProMash would be very welcome.
 

Pat Babcock
Moderator
Username: Pbabcock

Post Number: 254
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 75.151.18.253
Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2011 - 04:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Jeff has suffered a lot personally during those 8 years. That he is back doing any work at all on Promash is a credit to him and I, for one, am thrilled to see him "back", whether Promash takes a giant leap forward or not.
Pat Babcock
HBD Chief of Janitorial Services
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 2963
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 75.67.113.25
Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2011 - 04:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I feel I must live in a different universe than some of you, but maybe that is because I develop software for a living.

The key thing missing from Promash is the ability to share information with other programs. The software world has changed in the last 8 years: nothing can exist in isolation anymore. Everything is expected to be able to exchange data with everything else.

Promash, encased in amber in 2003, is an information "silo", unable to communicate with anything except another copy of Promash. All of the other brewing calculators, for PC, Mac, or Web, can talk to each other via BeerXML. You can upload your BeerSmith recipe to BrewLogger with a couple of clicks and then someone else can download it into BeerTools with a couple more. No muss, no fuss. You can also upload BeerXML into the various competition entry forms out there.

I used Promash for years and still prefer its user interface to that of BeerSmith. (For that matter, I liked the UI of BeerSmith 1.0 much better than the new one, which I think is a step backward in usability.) But its insularity became a deal-killer for me. I moved to BeerSmith for that reason alone.

If Donovan is really updating the program, the first and most important change he has to make is to support import/export in BeerXML and to show seamless interchange with the other major tools. Until that is in place, I would not consider switching back.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13422
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2011 - 05:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My understanding is that a new version of ProMash would allow export/import to/from BeerXML format. There is currently a converter that will input a ProMash recipe file exported to text and then convert it into BeerXML.

I seem to recall there was some sniping between the developers of other brewing software and Jeffrey Donovan over this in about 2004. It never got resolved because Jeff had much bigger fish to fry. However, I can't imagine that an updated ProMash wouldn't support BeerXML more easily today.
 

Bob G.
Advanced Member
Username: Brewerbob

Post Number: 786
Registered: 06-2002
Posted From: 174.56.96.223
Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2011 - 07:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I hope all is well with JD at this juncture! I look forward to any enhanced version but, it is still my "defacto" brewing software since '98
 

dhacker
Senior Member
Username: Dhacker

Post Number: 2439
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 98.66.41.24
Posted on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 01:13 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ProMash is like a comfortable pair of old tennis shoes. Even with deficiencies in its modern coding, I know exactly how to use it and what it will do.

And it does it very well!
 

Marc Rehfuss
Intermediate Member
Username: Marc_rehfuss

Post Number: 326
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 67.180.104.224
Posted on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 02:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I love Promash! This is great news. Been using it since 2001 or so. I'm definitely going to get the new version.

dhacker-- my thoughts exactly.
 

Chris Storey
Member
Username: Stuts

Post Number: 114
Registered: 07-2004
Posted From: 76.75.117.110
Posted on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 10:12 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have been using Promash for many years now. I use it every day. I have tried other programs and they can't touch the ease of use compared to Promash. If it is updated, I think that is great. Of course I am an old guy who hates to change things.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13428
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 05:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I downloaded the trial version of BeerSmith about five years ago and gave it a good test. It worked well enough, but I didn't see any increased functionality over ProMash (apart from the BeerXML compatibility Paul mentions), and a few features were missing.

So with this discussion fresh in my mind, I downloaded BeerSmith 2 on Friday. I have to say it's a disappointment. I don't see much at all that wasn't in the first version (other than a native Mac version), and I agree that the user interface is less intuitive and too "busy."

There's still a need for an up-to-date, full-featured brewing software application. I'm hoping the rumored revision of ProMash fits the bill.
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 2965
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 75.67.113.25
Posted on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 10:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Too busy" is exactly the right description. Lots of stuff I'm sure nobody uses. Way too much detail on steps I don't care about. I'm thinking about re-installing the older version.

But I have to give BeerSmith credit on one functional point: its numbers for step mashes with infusions are closer than Promash's. I don't think Promash takes the thermal mass of the mash tun into account on any but the first step. Its numbers were always way off for me. Maybe it's fixed in the new version.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13429
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Monday, December 05, 2011 - 01:41 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, ProMash doesn't take thermal mass into account for any but the first step in a step mash. Paul, while this is quite important for the strike water calculations, especially if you don't preheat the mash tun, the difference for subsequent steps is not as great as you might think. I did a lot of work on brewing thermodynamics. For example, if you ignore the thermal mass in the calculations for raising the mash temperature from 150 F to 168 F for a mashout, the error for a typical 5 gallon batch is only 0.7 degree F, and the amount of extra 210 degree water is only 0.4 quart. The resistance of an already warm mash tun to changes in temperature (a function of the difference in temperature between the steps) is much less than when it is cold.

I discussed this with Jeff Donovan back in 2003. He basically said what I just described (the difference is minimal for subsequent steps), but added it would be addressed in a future version.

I don't find any of the brewing software applications overly accurate for strike water calculation (I'll admit they're in the ballpark), but I have my own formula that allows me to hit my initial mash temperature within 1 degree F of the target (no one would want to know how long I obsessed about this).

Additionally, ProMash uses a "fudge factor" between 0 and 1 for thermal mass. While this works for calculating the mash-in temperature, it bears only a tangential relationship to the actual concept of thermal mass, which is measured in BTUs per degree F or kilogram-calories per degree C. Again Jeff said he would straighten it out in a future version.
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 7875
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 166.249.96.221
Posted on Monday, December 05, 2011 - 02:03 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I rarely feel a need to use anything more than a sheet of paper, a pencil and a calculator.

Sometimes I get the feeling that those who use various softwares seem to get the idea that they are making measurements rather than approximations.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13431
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Monday, December 05, 2011 - 02:25 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dan, you're an engineer by training, probably one who back in the day had a slide rule on his belt. I approach my geekiness from the perspective of someone who appreciates good tools to do the job, and only later have I come to want to know why the answers are what they are. I do agree that the calculators are only as good as the quality of their data input.
 

Brian Sparks
New Member
Username: Sparhawk

Post Number: 20
Registered: 12-2000
Posted From: 98.195.153.111
Posted on Monday, December 05, 2011 - 01:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I used Promash for years, but when I got a new computer I tried to download it again and had no luck and no response to email. I would have just payed for it again, but without any updates to the software or website, I didn't want to chance it. I went with Beersmith.
 

Josh Johnson
Member
Username: Msujdog

Post Number: 166
Registered: 07-2003
Posted From: 99.48.200.192
Posted on Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - 06:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Frankly, I'd just be happy if Promash updated their grain, hops, and yeast databases.

How much of a change is really needed for the small 5 gallon brewer?
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13438
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - 06:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Josh, you're correct that ProMash is suitable as-is for many homebrewers, but after eight years an update is in order. For example, currently there is a limit as to the total number of records that can be accommodated in each of the databases, and no way to overcome that short of deleting unused or seldom used entries and then entering new ones. Most homebrewers don't come up against that problem, but it's there.
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 7634
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 208.85.238.144
Posted on Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - 07:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Josh, do you know you can update those databases yourself?
 

Martin Brungard
Junior Member
Username: Mabrungard

Post Number: 68
Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 173.210.100.130
Posted on Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - 07:30 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Josh, did you know there are updates to those databases already created and posted by other ProMash users? I believe I downloaded updated info from a posting on the Homebrew Talk forums.

Update: I see that I actually downloaded the updated info from Brewing Network forum.

http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=13785&hilit=promash+update&start=24

Enjoy!

(Message edited by mabrungard on December 07, 2011)
 

Joel Gallihue
New Member
Username: Gallibrewer

Post Number: 8
Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 108.15.76.226
Posted on Friday, December 09, 2011 - 05:46 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I like Promash. I also like to play the original version of Diablo.