The Beer Defects iPad app, produced by Applied Sensory, is a guide to the various “off” flavours in beer. Primarily aimed at those who review or taste beer, it is essentially a digital version of Applied Sensory’s Defects Wheel for beer. The app itself is a rough and ready affair, consisting of two main menus, such as the one above, from which the user selects characteristics by sensory experience, or from a list of chemicals. A third ‘general’ menu gives information on such subjects as good sanitation techniques and ‘Diacetyl’. Clicking on a sensory description takes you to a page showing the causes, and possible treatments of a given defect. It is simple, and quite efficient.
On the whole this is a useful app, but it has some drawbacks. For one thing, it forces the iPad into portrait mode, rather than allowing the orientation to switch as the device is rotated. And for another, the formatting of the text is crude. While some attention has been given to the way the app looks, it does not seem very polished. In fact, apart from the convenience of having an app on the home screen, there is nothing this offers that wouldn’t have been possible in an ebook. This feels very much like version 1.0, and doesn’t really take advantage of what the iPad has to offer. For example, a landscape mode might show the menu and the information page side by side, while links within pages might make the information more usable. A further improvement might be to do away with the Back button, so that switching between pages could be done by swiping across the screen, which, on the iPad at least, seems the natural way to do it. Back buttons are for web browsers. I hope there is more development, because a general note taking, scoring, and sharing app for beer reviewers would be extremely useful.
As far as the quality of the information goes, the handful of facts I checked seemed to be accurate, but I am neither a brewer, nor a chemist. I will certainly refer to this during ‘Baron ratings’ and will no doubt learn quite a lot from it.
The Beer Defects app is available for iPad, iPhone, and Android devices. There are more screenshots, and links, on the Applied Sensory apps page.