Separating The Wheat From The Chaff

May 18th, 2013, by Kyle (Backend Dev)

What makes a quality recipe?

This question gets asked all the time. It’s both very important, and very difficult to answer.

In truth, it’s a lot easier to identify bad recipes than good ones.

40% ABV? 3000 °L? Nope!

Today we’ve taken a few steps which we hope will increase the overall quality of our recipe database and make it easier for new and experienced brewers alike to find quality recipes on Brewtoad.

  1. We’ve added validations on the potential and color of fermentables.

    Potential must now be between 0.000 and 1.047 (inclusive). This upper bound is based on the potential of pure sucrose.

    Color must be between 0 °L and 1000°L (inclusive). This upper bound is arbitrary and we may lower it in the future, but for now we wanted to err on the side of caution.

  2. We’ve fixed custom ingredients which were not valid according to the requirements described above. Most of these were fermentables with a potential of, e.g., 35, which we corrected to a more reasonable 1.035. Those which were still not valid after this correction were capped at 1.047.
  3. We’ve added a validation to recipes which prevent them from being published if they have an ABV of less than 0% or greater than 30%.
  4. All recipes with an ABV less than 0% or greater than 30% have been converted to draft status and no longer appear in the public index.

NOTE: These validations are NOT enforced on draft recipes. In fact, we plan to remove almost all validations on draft recipes so that you can save them no matter how far along you are in their creation.

If your recipe is one of those affected and you think we goofed, let us know!

On Ranking

Back to the question of what makes a quality recipe. Clearly, identifying obviously out of wack recipes is only one piece of the puzzle.

Ultimately, we use a number of external clues to decide how to rank your recipes. Your recipe’s number of comments, variants, cheers, and view count all contribute to its rank. Its ingredients, however, do not.

In the future, we plan to expand our ranking algorithm to use even more data from the recipes and their brew logs.

We’re obviously leery about trying to be too smart here. In the end, you like what you like, and a lot of this is entirely subjective.

Weigh In

If you’ve got any ideas about what else we can do to improve the quality of our recipe ranking, we’d love to hear them!