Most home brewers eventually start taking notes. They’re pretty much essential if you want to repeat a good batch, or troubleshoot a bad one.
The type of notes I take has changed with my brew process. Here’s my current record sheet, not quite featuring the kitchen sink but getting there.
The overhaul of the log sheet was prompted by my increased awareness of the brew process, and a wish to record various bits of information in the same place.
Homebrew Record Keeping
Most home brewing books recommend that beginners take notes and I’ve found that to be excellent advice.
During the first few batches it often feels unnecessary (or boring). But when you’re thinking back to beers you made two years ago it’s pretty unlikely you’ll remember the details, wishing instead that you’d just written them down when you had the chance.
At a bare minimum you should record the recipe, but there are so many other variables in brewing that that’s not usually enough.
As well as various temperature readings it’s a good idea to make notes about the final beer. Is it worth repeating and should you make any changes next time?
Although a notepad is more than adequate, I personally find that the record sheet format acts as a checklist and reminds me what to jot down.
I designed my first record sheet a few batches after starting home brewing. It’s done its job but I find that some parts of it are too cramped, while there are others I don’t use at all.
Changes To The Record Sheet
Where previously the tasting notes were a small afterthought at the bottom, they now have a complete side of paper.
There’s space to record three separate drinking sessions. Home brew changes over time and while it may not taste good at first, after six months it might be delicious. It’s worth recording that.
In the additional space on the front I’ve included an area to record fermentation temperatures and a chart for noting down wort volumes and measured gravity.
The idea with the updated brewing log is that all the information about the beer, from start to finish, is on one sheet of paper.
Updated Brew Log
Here’s the front, which covers recipe and brewing information:
The back describes the beer:
There’s a pdf version of the log sheet here.
I put the record sheet here for you to use, and I hope it’s of use.
However, as with most things on this site, if you use it as a starting point for thinking about your own brew process you may well get more out of it.
I’ve thought carefully about what I want to record, and what’s useful to know in the future. It’s pointless writing down information if you’re never going to look at again.