Brewing log book

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tonkota

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What information do you guys log about your beer? Can I just buy a log book? I was going to use a spiral bound notebook and divide it up, I just don't know what I should write down.
 

erock2112

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I made myself a brewing spreadsheet that calculates estimated OG and FG, IBU's, mash water additions, etc. I have a space for comments as well. So my log book is all on the computer, and it includes the recipe, process, any deviations from that process, and comments
 

ShortSnoutBrewing

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Anything and everything that goes into your brew day should go into the log if you're keeping one and want to learn from it. Recipe, water amounts, final volumes, gravity readings, the fact that a bird pooped in the wort, whatever. I started with a notebook as well, but now use BeerSmith software.
 

peripatetic

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I'm sure that one day I will be a big boy and graduate to BeerSmith or some other fancy thing. For now, I use a simple Excel spreadsheet that stores the basics --
dates,
beer type and ingredients,
steep time (if applicable),
boil volume (with a special checkbox for boil-overs!),
boil time,
hop schedule,
chill type (ice bucket, immersion chiller, etc.),
time down to the target temperature,
Original Gravity,
Fermentation time (primary),
Fermentation time (secondary) (and racking date) (if applicable),
bottling/kegging date,
Final Gravity,
notes -- both technique notes and tasting notes. Technique notes are things like "auto-siphon just made this about 12 times easier!"

Yeah, there are about 712 other things you can log. This is enough for me, for now.
 

Tripod

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Like most others have posted, I also keep an Excel spreadsheet for every brew.

I include the recipe and any changes (like when I can't find a certain hop variety). Also piriming info and dates. Ferm temps and how long, etc. Tasting notes, FG, OG...it will calculate approximate IBUs, etc. I also include the cost of ingredients and shipping and break it down by how many bottles I get out of that batch, etc.

Keeping it all really helps me look back and tweek things so I can hone a recipe or technique.

-Tripod
 

Limited Visibility

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anyone care to post one of their spread sheets... I am having some trouble getting everything on one.

I keep a notebook that I write my processes down and my recipes, but sometimes the (had some beers) writing comes out and its hard to read
 

CaptYesterday

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Honestly, I just put the relevant facts down on paper while I'm brewing.

Ingredients
Hops & times
OG
Volume

Then put in all in a google doc so I can access it anywhere
 

cellardoor

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James from Basic Brewing sell Brewers Logbooks on his website.

I think he is all out now for 2009 but I'm sure in 2010 he'll get the ones for that year in.
 

DavidP

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Here's my spreadsheet: http://www.tracezero.net/files/Pumpkin.xls

I save a copy for each brew I do hence the file name. It takes grains/hops and figures out IBUs and a batch sparging plan. I then print it out and take notes during the brew; at the bottom I have spaces for the actual values.
 

jdinger29

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I like the book from Basic Brewing. It requires no thinking and it is very easy to reference. As cellardoor mentioned the 2009 book is gone but BB usually stocks the next years book in October or November...

www.basicbrewing.com
 

marubozo

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I just use a leather bound notebook and jot down details as I go. I start off by listing all of the ingredients. Then, I take notes through each part of the process and describe what I did. I mention times, what was added and when, and if any mistakes or complications occur.

Here is a sample page:
 

peripatetic

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Thanks for sharing! You like IPAs huh? :D

I like excel, but for brewing I'll probably use a notebook and then maybe I could transfer it to excel to share.
Yeah, my favorite style is Belgian Ales -- Trappiste and Abbey. Then IPA. It just so happened that my LHBS had an IPA kit that I liked the first time. My next is Northern Brewer's Three-Hearted Ale (clone of Bell's Two-Hearted Ale), and also Northern Brewer's IPA, which gets great reviews on their site.

As for what I do on the actual brew day, yeah, I won't have my laptop out the whole time. I'll write it on scrap paper, and then transfer it to Excel later.
 
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tonkota

tonkota

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Cool. Thanks guys! I'm stealing one of the kids' old spirals to jot notes down on and then I'll imput it excel I think.
 

peripatetic

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I will say that the effort that goes in to creating some of those log books is impressive. They certainly cover every possible thing you'd want to log. I also think there is value in a simple log, especially for beginners. There just isn't one out there that I can find.

Also, as far as format, I'm a "big picture" kind of person, and I love the idea of glancing down a single spreadsheet spanning years of brewing.
 

Cheaton

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For those of you keeping computer based logs, the fact that I'm an IT guy makes me say.... BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP YOUR STUFF! Make sure you're backing that stuff up man! The only thing that can break a notebook is fire, water, or physical desctruction... but hard drives can die at any given moment. I've been in IT for 15 years and I've seen some (emotionally) devastating data losses. Don't be that person who calls your IT buddy sobbing because your 5 years worth of beer logs is gone asking him what to do! Get that stuff backed up in multiple places, on other computers, on the internet, thumb drives, CDs, whatever!
 

WenValley

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I use BeerSmith to prepare for brew day. Input the recipe and you can add relevant notes. Recipe changes and modifications are noted. I print out the brew sheet for brew day, and I make handwritten note onto the brew sheet. Actual mash temps, boil overs, FooPas, etc. are all noted on the brew sheet. I'm grabbing refractometer readings, and other info. while I'm brewing that I want to save, but I'm too busy to input into the computer while brewing. These notes are saved both in BeerSmith and I save the hand written brew sheets too.

As I progress up the brewing learning curve, I include notes on techniques that I didn't comprehend when I started this hobby.
 

peripatetic

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faux pas? don't you mean misteaks? =)

Quick follow-up: have you found that having refractometer readings impacts when/how/what you do? I have my hydrometer to get the OG and FG readings -- what would a refractometer (not cheap!) give me in addition to that? (that sounded argumentative, but I didn't mean it to -- I'm really curious about why people use refractometers?
 

WenValley

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faux pas? don't you mean misteaks? =)

Quick follow-up: have you found that having refractometer readings impacts when/how/what you do? I have my hydrometer to get the OG and FG readings -- what would a refractometer (not cheap!) give me in addition to that? (that sounded argumentative, but I didn't mean it to -- I'm really curious about why people use refractometers?
I don't have to cool the preboil sample, or the post boil sample, I can grab Brix numbers on the fly. Also, (and I haven't done this yet) I can sample the mash tun wort output to determine when to quit sparging.

If my preboil or postboil OG is off, I can adjust by adding DME or top up water, or I can just boil longer to bring up the OG.

Don't want to hijack this thread. There's posts about the $30.00 refractometers from ebay, it's a great tool.
 

johnnyc

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+1 for Beersmith. Calculates my efficiency and I can adjust my boil length and hop additions for the correct IBUs. Keeps all my recipes, etc, etc. I installed it to my usb thumb drive too so I can use it on anyone's computer. Then again I also back up my files on my home PC as well.
 

petep1980

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I started with a notebook, then just upgraded to beersmith. Their calcs are a little whack at times, so I still have my own formulas jotted down in my own log book for calculating carbs (I'm a diabetic) and re-engineering brewhouse efficiency because their formula for partial mash is incorrect.

Other than that I have a folder for printed recipes, mash schedules, etc.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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tonkota

tonkota

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What would be some important things to track? Give me a list please.
 

Tripod

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For those of you keeping computer based logs, the fact that I'm an IT guy makes me say.... BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP YOUR STUFF! Make sure you're backing that stuff up man! The only thing that can break a notebook is fire, water, or physical desctruction... but hard drives can die at any given moment. I've been in IT for 15 years and I've seen some (emotionally) devastating data losses. Don't be that person who calls your IT buddy sobbing because your 5 years worth of beer logs is gone asking him what to do! Get that stuff backed up in multiple places, on other computers, on the internet, thumb drives, CDs, whatever!
+1000 to this! I keep a copy of the entire spreadsheet at my work PC, my home PC, and the master is on a thumbdrive I carry between the two. Any changes made to one get copied over to the other two...in engineering land, we call that double redundancy. :)

-Tripod
 
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tonkota

tonkota

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I made a brew log, thought I'd share:

http://www.steelnthings.com/beer/beerlog.xls

It is a simple form. I'll have a paper copy that I can print out and keep in my binder, and an electronic file that I can share. I haven't brewed a batch with it yet, so it may need some modification. But we'll see.
 

norwegiangeek

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I keep a list of ingredients and times as well as notes in a paper notebook (gonna upgrade to a waterproof notebook from REI when this one is full as I do tend to keep getting this one wet)

But I also put all the info in Google Docs so I can look it up anywhere.
 

brettwasbtd

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Anyone know of code or program that will accept Beer xml code and display it in a pretty html page for printing? I am considering investigating doing this, but don't want to if its already been done!
 

Krrazy

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I stay oldschool for my log. I use the software and spreadsheets for some calculations and shopping lists and so forth, but I really like the idea of someone in the future finding my book and reading through it.

For that reason I use a Large Moleskine Ruled Notebook to record all of my brewing notes. Prior to brewing I write down the date, beer name, style, recipe, water notes and volume calculations, temperatures, expected OG, and so forth. During the brew I follow along and make note of anything that deviates. I record my final volume, pitching temperature and the time. I'm currently trying to decide if I like/trust my refractometer so I conclude the brew day with the OG readings from the sample I took prior to pitching with both the hydrometer and the refactometer.

I make sketches of things like my setup when that changes and anything new I'm trying.

I follow up the brew day with notes about fermentation -- when the bubbles start, when it moves to high activity, any fermenting temp notes, bottling date, ready to drink date, tasting notes, suggestions for future brewing.

It's really to each his/her own style but that's what I like to do!

Good luck.
 
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