Author Topic: On Technical Articles  (Read 1964 times)

Offline Phil_M

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On Technical Articles
« on: August 03, 2017, 12:22:48 pm »
So I stumbled upon this on my regular round of the internet:

Most are aware of my frustration with the way technical information is treated/handled within the homebrewing community. There's a plethora of bad citizen science that's well presented, good "hard" science that's not as well presented, and a wide range in between.

The linked article includes a "Recipe for a Perfect Tech Story". Specifically, it calls out the need to explain why and how the result was achieved, and the need for the article to inspire people to try a complex and technical idea.

IMO, what's missing from the citizen science is a full engineering analysis of WHY we couldn't taste the result, or why the beer finished at 1.XXX gravity. We get the the experiment, but are let with unproven ideas as to why it happened.

Likewise, few of the good and technical sources are at all inspiring. Kunze reads like a textbook. (Well, to be fair, it is a textbook...) "Principles of Brewing Science" by Fix is pretty much a straight technical paper.

In my self-imposed sabbatical from brewing, perhaps things have improved. However, this sort of thing is more of what I would want from Zymurgy and brewing literature in general. And it's clear this isn't the only hobby that has to deal with this issue, it's prevalent in the car world as well. But there I can get the well-presented technical stuff that makes hobbies fun for me. Again, unless things have changed, that isn't yet the case in brewing.

Perhaps as the market/brewers mature, that will change.
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Offline denny

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Re: On Technical Articles
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2017, 12:40:33 pm »
What you're asking for are things we (EB and Brulosophy) aren't interested in doing and often don't feel qualified to do.  We do the experiments and report the results.  We may or may not speculate on why those results occurred.  We aren't usually intersted in (beyond laymen's speculation) or qualified to do a full scientific analysis.  You need to either take those experiments for what they are or not.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: On Technical Articles
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 03:11:55 pm »
As a former automotive engineer, I have to say there are all levels of tachnical articles and papers. Hot Rod was not a go to source, but it did have some good things now and then.

SAE, ASME, and Engineering Journals had the more rigorous stuff. Sometimes a thesis would have some nuggets that could be applied.

Zymurgy has to address the AHA membership. Begineers up to longtime homebrewers who enjoy the geeky tech stuff. Not an easy task to keep everyone engaged.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: On Technical Articles
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2017, 07:24:49 am »
I've authored or edited a number of geeky technical articles for Zymurgy over the years. While I agree that resources and supporting evidence needs to be included when pushing the technical envelope, a magazine like Zymurgy is probably not the place to include something like a Journal article. Most readers aren't that interested in poring over minute technical detail and assessing if the hypothesis of the article is accurate. They want a Reader's Digest version that gives enough detail and support while making it an easy read.
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