Friday, November 21, 2014

Next Glass Review

There is a new App for iOS, called Next Glass.

First of all, I am a bit skeptical of the beer “analysis by HPLC” as that does not necessarily tell you all about the taste of a beer, any more than weighing a steak, checking it with a densitometer, and measuring the color with a colorimeter before cooking would predict the tenderness.

I know this as until recently I worked for a Fortune 150 that made - among other things - HPLCs - the equipment used by Next Glass to ostensibly “fingerprint the ‘DNA’” of the beers.

There ARE published methods for checking beer for quality control. The selfsame company published methods for humulone analysis, and did sell brewery QA/QC equipment. These methods do not in any way shape or form indicate beer taste.

In fact, making several huge assumptions looking at the data on Next Glass’ website, the difference between the white wine and the Double IPA’ chromatogram is simply the presence of the selfsame humulones; you know these as the taste of hops. None in wine, lots in a DIPA (esp by the Alchemist).

That said, the APP does seem to predict, more or less, what I may like. However, here are suggested improvements.
  1. The ratings scale should be 1-10; as that is more granular;
  2. can VS bottle should be incorporated;
  3. would be great to have can, carbonating pub can, bottle, caged bottle, nitrogenating bottle, tap, nitro tap, and gravity fed cask/("hand pulled”) as options, but that ain’t gonna happen;
  4. similar to an open API, make your analytical methods public, and let crowdsourced data feed your database. There’s a zillion (well, maybe not that many) Belgian, German, and English beers (to name but a few of our EU brethren) that do not make it to our shores (except when I bring them back, or have friends ship them) and they should be in the list. There’s also half-a-zillion bored, beer-drinking grad students that would love to feed in data;
  5. from what I have read, this App is US only. While we do hold title for “hop bomb IPAs” there are many fantastic beers in Europe, not to mention some frenetic beer fans;
  6. I don’t believe the App charges anything, nor has in-App purchases, a donation button I don’t think is out of line: I’d donate.
All in all - good show - I greatly applaud the effort you have made, and I am sure all fellow zythologists feel the same.

1 comment:

  1. Club Belgique,
    I would love to get your feedback on our new beer app called BeerMapper. We too use scientific methods to predict how much a beer drinker is going to like a beer, but we leverage the power of crowd-sourced reviews from RateBeer to determine how a beer actually tastes. Their large database allowed us to include 25,000 beers from around the globe. The recommendation algorithms we use were written by a PhD student and his professor. BeerMapper is currently only available for the iPad, but the iPhone version will be ready shortly then we'll attack Android. Let us know what you think! Cheers.