The sysadmin's daily grind: Brewing helpers

Free as in Beer

Article from Issue 201/2017
Author(s):

Columnist Charly looked into so many mash tubs during brewery tours that he wanted to try his own home brew. He did a little research and found some open source projects that could help.

Everything a student of the fine art of brewing needs is likely already there in the kitchen; if not, you can get it for very little money at your local hardware store – expensive special equipment is not necessary. All you need now is a recipe: For my first experiments in my legal drug laboratory, I resorted to a ready packaged set, in which I found brewing malt, hops, and yeast in the right proportions. I only had to home brew, and I did so without automation, which is otherwise my hobby.

I thus created the mash by hand, filtered, poured in some more water, boiled the hops, then cooled, and decanted the results into a fermentation tank in the hope that the yeast would do its magic – all of this took around four and a half hours. The wort – this is the official term for the proto-beer – now needs a good week before I can bottle it. I used the time to search for open source projects that could assist me in brewing.

I started totally from scratch, that is, with the recipe and was totally amazed to discover that there's a kind of standard even for this: Beer XML [1], a description language for exchanging brewing recipes in a standardized format. Today almost every brewing software relies on Beer XML.

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