DC Area Group Grain Buy #12

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sikkingj

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An infrequent group buyer (I've got to brew more), but why not charge a fixed fee for splits - $2/5 - whatever per split. No charge on half sacks and of course sacks are at cost.
 

sweetcell

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thanks to everyone that made this buy the breeze that it was! i wasn't able to get there early due to the kiddos, but i stayed a little late to help clean up, mule the unclaimed bags, etc... and help finish up the beer, obviously :D

Sweetcell, I need that Brett Trois IPA recipe! That was rockin!
sure, do you do BeerSmith? if so i can send you the file, otherwise i can PDF it.
 

reddskinnfan

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thanks to everyone that made this buy the breeze that it was! i wasn't able to get there early due to the kiddos, but i stayed a little late to help clean up, mule the unclaimed bags, etc... and help finish up the beer, obviously :D


sure, do you do BeerSmith? if so i can send you the file, otherwise i can PDF it.
All the best brewers do! Send me a PM. Thanks, man!
 

sweetcell

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All the best brewers do! Send me a PM. Thanks, man!
eff dat PM sh*te, ain't nobody got time for dat. see attached. late hops & yeast are described in the notes/comments!

this beer was part of a split batch: i pulled off half the wort for a saison, then continued boiling the remaining half and the adding hops... this became the IPA portion. had a few issues with temp control. lemme know if my notes don't make any sense (likely).

View attachment March'15 Saison-IPA split.bsmx
 

joshindc

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Frits,

What if updating the spreadsheet were automated? Obviously making the sheet public isn't going to work, but I think there's something we can do with form input. I can look into it further tomorrow/this week, and maybe do a mock-up.

I wouldn't mind paying a bit more, but I think it might set up a funny group dynamic. If someone's taking a cut people will probably become less forgiving of mistakes, and you might also get fewer people helping out with splits. I'm not concerned about the core group, but people come and go.

Also something to consider: if you're taking a cut, you're essentially a business in competition with 3-stars, using their space for free. Not that they'd necessarily find out, but they could easily have a problem with it.

I think a better solution would be to work to
1) reduce the work that needs to be done, and
2) spread that work around.

I'm happy to help where I can.

Just my $0.02

Josh
 

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First off, I want to thank the organizers and everyone who worked hard to put this buy together. It was my first an I really enjoyed the experience. I was a bit late making it down to 3-stars but I enjoyed meeting those who were still around and getting to share a few beers with those who stuck around through growler hours.

As for the splits,This is my first buy so I don't know much history but I am hoping to be around for many more. With that in mind I am more than happy to put in any help that is needed to spread the burden of the buy across more people. One thought I have is to try to put more of the split management burden on the split originator. Would it be possible to generate an individual file per split that is editable by the admins and the split originator. That way the originator is responsible for monitoring the thread and PMs and keeping that sheet up to date. Once closed they can submit the split as a complete sack to Tony. The only difficulty with this is managing payment but maybe that can remain through one or two trusted individuals.

I am also open to paying more as others have suggested as the price per pound is still well below LHBS prices but I would also be happy to take the burden off of others to keep this thing going as it is.
 

reddskinnfan

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Frits,

What if updating the spreadsheet were automated? Obviously making the sheet public isn't going to work, but I think there's something we can do with form input. I can look into it further tomorrow/this week, and maybe do a mock-up.

I wouldn't mind paying a bit more, but I think it might set up a funny group dynamic. If someone's taking a cut people will probably become less forgiving of mistakes, and you might also get fewer people helping out with splits. I'm not concerned about the core group, but people come and go.

Also something to consider: if you're taking a cut, you're essentially a business in competition with 3-stars, using their space for free. Not that they'd necessarily find out, but they could easily have a problem with it.

I think a better solution would be to work to
1) reduce the work that needs to be done, and
2) spread that work around.

I'm happy to help where I can.

Just my $0.02

Josh
With massive amounts of respect to Frits and the work he's done for this group and this buy....

After my original thought of "getting behind" the increase in cost, I am going to change my opinion...

I don't think anyone should be profiting from this venture, other than 3 Stars. They graciously agree to give us good prices, and use their space, to allow us to meet, do our deeds and even enjoy some homebrew.

Lord knows there are others who could be asking for a cut (Tony for the 3 Stars hookup, Bigbeavk for the buckets, etc., etc.).

We don't do this to profit off each other, no matter the management 'cost'.

If it has become too cumbersome for any one individual, the process needs to change and people need to step up.

I have already offered to help with splits management, as have others, and have provided my feedback to Tony about suggested splits 'reforms'.

I suggest each of you do as well, as the group will really dictate where this goes as far as splits are concerned.

Respectfully,

Reddskinnfan (Mike)
 

brettwasbtd

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I am a rare participator, but I am a little surprised at the stark opposition to Frits getting a LITTLE compensation for his time. Maybe the percentage is too much and we could investigate other avenues like $1, or $0.50 for every 10 lbs of split? Either way its still cheaper than all HBS and you are already making the trip out for full sacks.

If its getting too much for him then someone else needs to inherit the burden or we just go back to everyone managing their own splits on the side or possibly in the thread for visibility.

Just my .02
 

IslandLizard

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Frits,

What if updating the spreadsheet were automated? Obviously making the sheet public isn't going to work, but I think there's something we can do with form input. I can look into it further tomorrow/this week, and maybe do a mock-up.

I wouldn't mind paying a bit more, but I think it might set up a funny group dynamic. If someone's taking a cut people will probably become less forgiving of mistakes, and you might also get fewer people helping out with splits. I'm not concerned about the core group, but people come and go.

Also something to consider: if you're taking a cut, you're essentially a business in competition with 3-stars, using their space for free. Not that they'd necessarily find out, but they could easily have a problem with it.

I think a better solution would be to work to
1) reduce the work that needs to be done, and
2) spread that work around.

I'm happy to help where I can.

Just my $0.02

Josh
First of all, my 10% gratuity proposal to compensate me for some of my time and effort is off the table for now. Sorry hippo!

I'm open to any and all ideas, but I don't envision me doing any more development on the spreadsheet. I must have spent 100s of hours already (yes!) to get it where it is now.

Entering the data into the spreadsheet is the easiest part of the job. It has drop downs and all and computes all particulars automatically. Only... entry has to be done accurately, once!

So what takes all that time then, huh?
  1. Monitoring the thread, finding all orders among banter, answering questions, clearing up nebulous or incomplete orders, getting additional information, adding new buyers, send replies to the group, keep plugging to fill those open splits, adding status summaries, etc.

  2. Then there's the reminder email when payments are due. And a 2nd reminder to that for the tardy. That email recipient list doesn't generate itself. PayPal receipts need to be checked and entered, sometimes 2 or 3 times for a single buyer. Processing refunds when all is done.

  3. When the round has closed I do a data merge in ID to generate the labels and checksheet for splits. Again, that .csv data file needs to be created too. I wrote a script to extract the data from the splits tab. There's no rekeying in my book, for it's tedious and error prone.

  4. There are numerous other details and tasks involved to keep this running smoothly. Along this route I also cross tally and QC my own work, for peace of mind.

All in all it adds up to too many hours of my investment over the course of 3 months. Oh, I still got to drive to the meet. That's where the fun starts.

If you see a way to get orders, including whole sacks, (semi-)automatically into the sheet without jeopardizing the integrity, I'm all ears. But spending weeks on developing it maybe overkill, given the scope of our effort.

If Google only had a real protected ranges "feature" we may be closer to a solution.

Again,
 

joshindc

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I was thinking something along the lines of a google form, which only the participants had access to. Then people could select the grain they wanted, choose whole bag or split, and then select how much of the split they would want. This would populate a sheet that would copy the information over to the sheet we have now. It's a way to give people limited write access of sorts. The only thing I saw that looked tricky would be having anything in the form that's updated automatically (ie, a list of splits that are already open). But that's no worse than what we have now (check the sheet and then post to the forum).

Another thing I'd suggest is that you are welcome to be more ambivalent towards whether a split closes or not. With a few exceptions anyone who's split doesn't close in time can pick up the grain they need at 3 stars at a higher price. If someone really wants a split to close, let them do the leg-work to round up buyers. I really like when people post recipes to drum up interest. I also understand that if 9 people each want 5 lbs of pbw, it's a bummer to cancel it, but just food for thought. (Plus you have a tendency to be on a lot of splits, so actually, this may be a moot point)

With all that said, I hope you don't take any of this as attacking you or your work, Frits. I think the value that you've added is totally worth what you asked; I'm just afraid of other consequences of changing the system. And if the work load is too high, let's spread it around.
 

jamisonia

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I personally hope we won't do away with splits. Full disclosure for me though, I've been spending most of my money on this buy gathering up base malts by the sack until I had one of all the main types. I was planning on gathering up the small splits now, so I hope they don't go away.

I don't think the idea of surcharging splits is a bad idea, but I'm thinking instead of banning 5# splits, just surcharge those more, so that there is an option, but it disincentives doing so.

Fritz, did you say Annapolis Homebrew's specialty malts retail clocks in cheaper than the group buy's cost?
 
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stonebrewer

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I was thinking something along the lines of a google form, which only the participants had access to. Then people could select the grain they wanted, choose whole bag or split, and then select how much of the split they would want. This would populate a sheet that would copy the information over to the sheet we have now. It's a way to give people limited write access of sorts. The only thing I saw that looked tricky would be having anything in the form that's updated automatically (ie, a list of splits that are already open). But that's no worse than what we have now (check the sheet and then post to the forum).
I have been toying with the idea of setting up WuFoo, FormMule or Jotform to take a lot of the data entry/capture work out of this. This may be the better way to capture this in the long run and get rid of "most" of the tedium with monitoring this thread and moving data back and forth. Here's a quick JotForm that I setup: http://submit.jotform.us/submit/51375203677154/. This was a 5 minute exercise only, but shows a lot of promise. If Google ever gets there with a nicer form front end, I think that would be preferable. Could always setup my own server and use the CSS and XHTML generated by WuFoo to customize this to our needs, but I think I am leaning towards experimenting with JotForm for the next buy to see how that works...thoughts? Seems that this forum would be best utilized to announce group buys, set the rules, and answer questions...then go completely outside the forum context for data capture and reporting. Reporting would be used to communicate splits, and if wanted, the forum could be a place to "drum up business" for someone who wants his/her split to close. Spit balling but something like that eventually might make more sense than the forum concept alone...
 
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stonebrewer

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So one thing I saw that I liked was that you can integrate PayPal right into the form with most of these solutions...so someone can navigate to the form, select their full sack(s) and pay then and there. Eliminates the pain of collecting at some random future date, though may mean more refunds which as long as it is for the full cost, is pretty easy with PP.

For splits it always gets more complex and that is where the communication (via the forum or a report or some combo) comes in as well as the coordination. Coordinating who pays who to pay me to pay 3 Stars has to be worked out as well. Our models so far have been 1) you start it, you pay it and collect from the splitees and 2) everyone pay a coordinator who pays me who pays 3 Stars. Both seemed to work, with various pluses and minuses. I guess I could setup a form where you pay up front for your part of the split, and if it closes I send it along and if not I refund. In the end that may be the least work as long as 3 Stars doesn't change prices a lot (which they are about to do by the way...). Anyhow, if we did it via a form, then I could have a report out there that you could check versus this site to see what open splits are available. People could still post about that and talk about it here, but it would not be on the shoulders of one person and the report would be automated and always up to date. An option worth considering, anyhow...
 

sweetcell

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i like the JotForm!

some ideas:
- For the full sacks, make the form a drop-down. Have more than 1 drop-down (full sack #1, full sack #2, etc.). i fear that checkboxes will get outta hand with our available selection, plus they don't allow you to select more than 1 bag of a given type.
- For splits, is there any way of validating that the amount entered is a multiple of 10?
 
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Mike: Probably next buy. I actually think prices may have dropped more so than have gone up, but I suspect each sack will be different and I do not expect big changes. He also wants me to open up hops on the buy as well...reminds me I gotta go ping him on the price list for both of those which I will do ASAP. The ONLY grain change is we will probably eliminate the elusive Patagonia Pale as he tells me they have never been able to get it when they have tried for the LHBS or us...

'Drei: Good points...the quick form I did was just to see what was there, but you make a good point about multiple sacks and more than one of a type. Some of the websites allow some form of checking, so it depends on which one we end up with. They also all want money (except FormMule, I think) so they limit you on the free end, but I don't see any limits that we would hit with the buy forms/reports using the free account option. They also allow you to go in and edit the code so if you know XHTML or CSS you can probably customize a form to do anything you can code in a markup language. This needs some looking into and maybe some help from someone with those skills...I have programmed all my adult life, but I am a bit rusty and some of the newer web development languages I have never touched. I am thinking if we go this route that we will design up a form and test run it a bit with some of you senior buyers to ensure it works well, prior to going live.
 

IslandLizard

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Fritz, did you say Annapolis Homebrew's specialty malts retail clocks in cheaper than the group buy's cost?
I wish that were true, but I didn't say that or wasn't clear enough. They clock in around 2x our bulk price when buying 5# lots (of the same). When buying less than 5# it's a bit more, per pound or fraction thereof. They do weigh and bag for you, and are always friendly. They have a large selection on hand, second to none.
 

reddskinnfan

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Mike: Probably next buy. I actually think prices may have dropped more so than have gone up, but I suspect each sack will be different and I do not expect big changes. He also wants me to open up hops on the buy as well...reminds me I gotta go ping him on the price list for both of those which I will do ASAP. The ONLY grain change is we will probably eliminate the elusive Patagonia Pale as he tells me they have never been able to get it when they have tried for the LHBS or us...

'Drei: Good points...the quick form I did was just to see what was there, but you make a good point about multiple sacks and more than one of a type. Some of the websites allow some form of checking, so it depends on which one we end up with. They also all want money (except FormMule, I think) so they limit you on the free end, but I don't see any limits that we would hit with the buy forms/reports using the free account option. They also allow you to go in and edit the code so if you know XHTML or CSS you can probably customize a form to do anything you can code in a markup language. This needs some looking into and maybe some help from someone with those skills...I have programmed all my adult life, but I am a bit rusty and some of the newer web development languages I have never touched. I am thinking if we go this route that we will design up a form and test run it a bit with some of you senior buyers to ensure it works well, prior to going live.
Interested to see the hop prices/quantities.

Glad to see they are opening up what we have access to.
 
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stonebrewer

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Interested to see the hop prices/quantities.

Glad to see they are opening up what we have access to.
I was very encouraged talking to the owner and our friend Mike at 3 Stars this weekend. They both had positive things to say about the group and how things are going, and I just go an overall positive vibe in talking to them. The 3 week span we implemented ensured we got all the grain this time (sans Patagonia) and Mike thinks it works out better for him as well.

We will see on the hops. Last time he sent me a list, they were higher than you can get with shipping via some of the better online guys, so I did not bother posting it up. This time I will post it up no matter what and let you guys decide if you want to go that route.
 
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Played around with JotForms and FormMule some more this morning and I think there are going to be limits on what we can do with them. FM did not have, that I could find, PayPal integrated in the free version. JF did, but it looks like it will only allow you to send money to a business, not friends and family. Oh well, I will play with this more as time allows. Setting up the form is also labor intensive as I see no way to cut and paste a lot of data into a form. Not a deal breaker, just gotta understand up front what it takes and what it can and cannot do for us.
 
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Even without Paypal integration, it's got to be an easier way to place orders and track the buy vs scanning 30 pages of posts.
Agreed...devil's in the details so I need to flush those out. If nothing else, I can capture orders and report what's been captured back, either via the forum or email, and not have to sit on this site and monitor it daily...as you said, that is a win!
 

reddskinnfan

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Even without Paypal integration, it's got to be an easier way to place orders and track the buy vs scanning 30 pages of posts.

I agree!




Agreed...devil's in the details so I need to flush those out. If nothing else, I can capture orders and report what's been captured back, either via the forum or email, and not have to sit on this site and monitor it daily...as you said, that is a win!
Frees you from the thread 'chain'.
 
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So a few people have offered to help out with various aspects of this. Going to let this play out a few days to a week and see where this takes us. Excited to see how we can improve things! Thanks to all who have offered and to those actively working on things!! I expect some changes, and hopefully they will be for the better and will make running this and ordering a bit easier.

I did get the new price lists and will post them up on Google Drive tonight for your viewing pleasure. As suspected some things went up a little, and more things actually decreased a bit. Remember the price list is private to our group, so please do not post prices or share with someone outside the group.

Cheers all!
T
 

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Im happy to help what I can. Only problem is the majority of my HBT time (while at work) wont work well for me as I am blocked from google drive. Happy to contribute however I can. Even of it is just with splitting when I have the day free.
 
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Im happy to help what I can. Only problem is the majority of my HBT time (while at work) wont work well for me as I am blocked from google drive. Happy to contribute however I can. Even of it is just with splitting when I have the day free.
Appreciate you coming out to help this time when you had not ordered anything. That is the spirit of this thread, IMHO, helping out all and enriching yourself in the process. Cheers, bro!
 

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Stone,

Throwing up that price sheet soon?

Also, do you need anything from me, ahead of the next buy? Someone to help with the form design/layout? I have access to LiveCycle Designer, too, so we could create forms with dropdowns, etc, that will populate based on selections. Once filled out, they could be emailed to an account and reconciled from there. We could then just update the Sheets with the input, once a day (or few days) and post the current status in the forum.

I have built a lot of these types of forms with LiveCycle. I am sure there are some things we would be limited in (such as PayPal integration), but we could get a lot of other information in the forms (email, phone, best contact time, location, etc, etc, etc...).

Let me know.
 

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Appreciate you coming out to help this time when you had not ordered anything. That is the spirit of this thread, IMHO, helping out all and enriching yourself in the process. Cheers, bro!
Happy to do it. You all are essentially my home brew club. All good people, share brews and all. I enjoy the outing. Thanks for organizing it.
 
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stonebrewer

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Stone,

Throwing up that price sheet soon?

Also, do you need anything from me, ahead of the next buy? Someone to help with the form design/layout? I have access to LiveCycle Designer, too, so we could create forms with dropdowns, etc, that will populate based on selections. Once filled out, they could be emailed to an account and reconciled from there. We could then just update the Sheets with the input, once a day (or few days) and post the current status in the forum.

I have built a lot of these types of forms with LiveCycle. I am sure there are some things we would be limited in (such as PayPal integration), but we could get a lot of other information in the forms (email, phone, best contact time, location, etc, etc, etc...).

Let me know.
New price lists are up on Google Drive. A few things to note:

* More grains are available - we can get grain from LD as well as BSG.
* If we order from LD, we need at least 5 sacks on the order of LD or the order cannot be placed.
* I put the hops price list up as well.
* I have not updated the buy sheet yet...that'll be done after the holiday.
* Absolutely do not share this information outside the group...these prices are for us only.

Anyone who might want a part time job at the LHBS, they have an opening BTW...
 

reddskinnfan

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That job could potentially lead to a brewing job. There was another guy that worked as a brew shop guy, who now works with the brewers.
 
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Speaking of lots malt hanging around...I have a metric s-ton of it from the group buy yesterday. Please make arrangements ASAP to pickup:

stevedasleeve
Claphamsa
meltonbw
res291que

Will try to shoot you an email later, after cleaning the gutters! What fun!
Thanks!
res291que is the only one to pick up...you guys alive?
 

reddskinnfan

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So, haven't heard a peep on the thread in a while, and haven't seen a new one posted.

So... where are we? what direction are we taking and how are things going to work moving forward? Inquiring mind wants to know.
 
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Just got stevedasleeve's and Claphamsa's grain to them tonight...

red: joshindc made a form that seems to work in a fashion for what we need. Some more work needs to get done, but I think we could use it to capture data for now. Probably the next step is to get it on the web and test drive it a bit with the group. I am gonna be super busy over the next two weeks, so I suggest we start the next thread, work with josh to get the form installed for others to use, and see where it takes us. Can work on that late this week or early next...
 

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Excellent. Would love to see it and help with testing/validation!

Always innovating and moving forward. It's the homebrewer's way!
 

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Just got stevedasleeve's and Claphamsa's grain to them tonight...

red: joshindc made a form that seems to work in a fashion for what we need. Some more work needs to get done, but I think we could use it to capture data for now. Probably the next step is to get it on the web and test drive it a bit with the group. I am gonna be super busy over the next two weeks, so I suggest we start the next thread, work with josh to get the form installed for others to use, and see where it takes us. Can work on that late this week or early next...
good thing i picked it up! used 63 LBs of pils today
 
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