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It really seems like homebrewing is a subset of beer. It seems like the two should be contained in the same q&a site.

What is the rational for creating two separate sites?

EDIT: This may be relevant to the discussion: the impetus for asking this question was posting this question on beer.se: https://alcohol.stackexchange.com/questions/358/what-ingredients-would-be-most-appropriate-to-prototype-new-flavors-in-a-randall?noredirect=1#comment371_358 The overlap between beer and homebrewing looks significant to me..

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I tend to agree with you. I will be evaluating the private beta of "Beer SE" soon, and this is what has become evident to me as I watch this site develop:

My Beer SE Evaluation

The cross-cultural interests between "Homebrew SE" and "Beer SE" have way more overlap than I would have anticipated. I am not typically an advocate for combining producers and end users, but in this case, there is simply too much overlap of interests — not necessarily physical audiences, but interests — to ignore.

Hypothetically, if we were to remove the "brewing-related questions" from Beer SE (I'm not suggesting that), this site would become one big snooze fest fast. After I figure out what temperature to keep my beer… and how to keep it going skunky, just about the only interesting questions left are those that DO veer into what goes behind the brewing process. The deeper "consumers" here are asking about the "artisanship"… and that's the best part of this site.

It makes sense, really. When there's a fervent appreciation for a subject (at least food/drink space), the more-engaged experts almost have to delve behind the scenes to study what separates good brews from bad; to understand the parameters that go into what they're "appreciating."

You don't have to be a literal "brewer/craftsman" to have an implicit interest in the subject. Many of the beer enthusiasts here are curious about the craft — you almost have to, to appreciate the subject — and that's why they are asking about it here. And of course the craftsmen need to know what makes a good beer so there's a lot of cross-cultural interests here, whether you an actual, literal "home brewer" not.

It simply makes sense to combine these subjects. While the brewers and consumers are not physically the same exact audience, they do largely seem to have the same range of interests… and questions. Essentially, the scope of these two sites overlap considerably; much more than I would have anticipated.

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Put them back together. They will be stronger in combining their expertise; stronger for sharing their mutual interests and appreciation for the subject.

  • I'm leaning this way too. I think the question of whether these 'aficionado' questions are permissible on homebrew.se (I assume they are, or nearly are) seems pretty illuminating. But in that case, homebrew.se would be better named beer.se. – doub1ejack Jan 27 '14 at 16:43
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    End user (i.e. pure "appreciation") questions are not currently on topic on Homebrew SE, but I'm suggesting that these two communities would be stronger if they were (hosted by one site). Their overlap of interests is way bigger than their differences. – Robert Cartaino Jan 27 '14 at 16:46
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    @RobertCartaino I guess the relevant question then is -> is there any will from the homebrew folks to combine? – wax eagle Jan 27 '14 at 17:12
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    I really believe that Homebrew and Beer should be a separate pages. I, as a homebrewer, am personally quite interested in both topics, however I feel that the homebrew page is muddled with situational questions relating to specific aspects of brewing (i.e. "how well to strain wort after boil") that many beer enthusiasts (including myself half the time) are not interested in. Even if there is a large overlap in material I think that those issues would sort themselves out fairly quickly. I've been answering chemical questions, but they do not seem to belong in Homebrewing. – darwhen Jan 27 '14 at 18:32
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    Yeah, I think the case for why to do this is very strong. The big question is one of the will to do this and whether the logistics can be worked out. If the two sites are combined, it probably makes the most sense to keep the 'Beer.SE' url, at which point, is the easiest thing to do a mass-retag of all questions from homebrew.se as homebrew before importing? – LessPop_MoreFizz Jan 27 '14 at 22:33
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    @LessPop_MoreFizz Ok yeah, that makes a lot of sense. My issue is that I feel like ridding SE of 'Beer' and simply allowing "aficionado" Q&A in Homebrew would really just end up alienating the [perhaps small] group that isn't there to brew. It's a psychological issue; names do matter. Although I do agree that aficionado types "almost have to" appreciate homebrewing, I don't think a site called "Homebrew.SE" creates a comfortable environment for their implicitly "off-topic" discussions. – darwhen Jan 27 '14 at 23:25
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    @LessPop_MoreFizz since all brewing is on-topic on Homebrewing (ber, wine, mead, melanol, cyser...), wouldn't Beer.SE be seen as too limiting by them? (I'm not there and also don't know the history of this site -- apparently it's a spinoff? I saw it on Area 51, no other context.) – Monica Cellio Jan 28 '14 at 22:13
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    @MonicaCellio why not put them under one Alcoholic Beverage SE then? – IBG Jan 31 '14 at 1:06
  • @IBG don't know; I'd want to hear from some folks from Homebrewing on that. I don't know enough of the history of these sites to know what ground has been covered already. – Monica Cellio Jan 31 '14 at 19:39
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    Homebrewing (as I understand it) is about home-brewing beer, wine, mead, etc. Beer is about beer, and while all beer is brewed, not all beer is home-brewed. So if these sites combine (and that's looking like a good idea from over here), it would involve broadening their scope from homebrewing to brewing, and of course also questions about the brewed product that aren't about how it's made. Maybe "Brews and Brewing"? (And yes I know that wine isn't technically brewed either, but they have questions on that too.) – Monica Cellio Mar 25 '14 at 2:44
  • Theoretically, homebrew.SE could be renamed to 'fermentation.SE'... but even so, it wouldn't change the current situation where homebrew.SE has many users who don't brew beer, and may not even enjoy it. Merging it into beer.SE would just leave them out in the cold, without a home for their questions. During import, would all non-beer questions be marked as off-topic? – BrianV Apr 8 '14 at 16:11
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I'm in the "No" camp, and I think Wax Eagle answered pretty well. I'd just like to expand on the audience point a bit, though:

Although H.SE and B.SE have very similar audiences right now, they'll probably diverge later.

To put it another way, the people likely to commit to both sites are pretty similar, but the people likely to visit each site is significantly different. The people who are interested in beer enough to go out and help found a community like B.SE are far more likely to brew than the average mild beer enthusiast.

As such, I predict that we'll get more and more non-brewers as we exist public beta. Keeping the sites separate will serve those people better than a combined one.

  • I have the opposite opinion. I think these topics will continue to converge as the audience of beer.se attracts a large, more informed following. As beer questions become more specific I suspect they will delve into the creation process (again my beer question as an example). I don't see how distancing the process details could better serve beer lovers... – doub1ejack Jan 28 '14 at 14:34
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    Possibly. I agree that as the questions become more specific, they'll delve more into the creation process. However, as Wax Eagle pointed out, I think they'll focus more on large scale production. Eg, "How are rauchbiers made?" on Beers would get an answer describing the process at a high level (as done by commercial brewers), whereas in Homebrewers the answers would revolve around specific equipment, recipes, whether to smoke your own malt or buy it, all-grain vs extract, etc. – Fishtoaster Jan 28 '14 at 20:36
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This has been answered in a couple of places, namely in a comment, but I'll go ahead and give it a go.

Mission

Homebrew has a pretty specific mission and vision. To support home brewers in the brewing of their own beer. To do that they do take on a variety of topics around the beer industry, tasting, ingredients etc.

However, the scope of this site is broader and more expansive. It includes large scale production, excludes super small scale production and generally is more focused on the consumption of beer rather than production.

Audience

This is where the real differences lie. While there is likely a good bit of audience overlap (probably all homebrewers are beer drinkers), Home brewers are a subset of all beer drinkers. This site is intended to appeal to the superset of beer drinkers.

Conclusion

The only real issue here is the ordering of the site's beginnings. Typically how site parentage would work would be that the larger audience site would be the first, and then the separate interest group would splinter. In this case the separate interest group already has their own site with their own question set.

There are a couple of interesting questions here on meta that address this further:

And lastly, I'd like to point back to an instance where I had many of the same thoughts I've seen re: homebrewing with another set of sites that I was involved in. The Sport.SE/Fitness.se meta crisis.

Shog set me straight here, and I've come to see his way of thinking about these things. It's worth a look back at what was said there to inform any future discussions here.

  • Very well put. Your 'audience' section was going to be my main argument. I don't foresee the 'parentage' problem being a huge issue though; I imagine the site will grow outside of the high overlap issue quite quickly. +1 for detail and historical evidence. – darwhen Jan 27 '14 at 18:03
  • To throw in another datapoint, I'd reference reddit.com/r/beer at 120k subscribers vs reddit.com/r/homebrewing at 76k subscribers. – Fishtoaster Jan 27 '14 at 21:14
  • The mission of homebrew is not 'To support home brewers in the brewing of their own beer.' Rather it is 'To support home brewers in the brewing of their own alcoholic beverages.' While that includes beer in many or even most cases, it isn't limited to beer. It includes wines, meads, gruits, ciders and even odd questions about other more obscure fermented beverages. – BrianV Apr 8 '14 at 16:14
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I think there's probably overlap FOR NOW, but I would hazard that beer.SE would grow significantly quicker than homebrew.SE, and in the long term, homebrewing-related questions would be only a very small part of beer.SE. Homebrewers are a small subset of those who appreciate good beer, and so the proportion of the content we add would be correspondingly small.

I much prefer keeping a separate homebrew.SE as it collects and lets me focus on homebrew questions without having to sort through pages about asking opinions on latest-fad-beer-of-the-week-not-available-here, which I really couldn't care less for.

If these two were merged, I would probably be lost as a user, as while I appreciate good beer as much as the next guy, I am much more passionate about trying to create it than buying and sampling it.

On a final note that I should perhaps have started with, homebrew.stackexchange is not solely about brewing beer, even though that is the largest segment of brewing represented. There is a non-trivial body of content devoted to wines, meads and other types of brewing. Merging with Beer.SE would essentially exclude those users from the combined community.

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