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hexmonkey

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I'm just starting out, and I'd like to keep logs to know what I did if things go well, but also to help when they go not so well. Do you keep logs? What are the things you log, and why? Was there ever a time that it really came in handy?

Also, just out of curiosity, where do you keep your logs? Notebook? Three-ring binder? Store-bought logbook like from basicbrewing.com? The computer?
 

Yooper

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I've always kept a folder with the recipes and notes and noted what I did. I used to do it on my computer but found that it was more convenient to keep the folder handy. I then grab it when I check the sg of a wine, or add something like oak to a wine. The dates and results are written in. It's not really a log though- I should get more organized than I am. The beer recipes I've done more than once have had alot less notes and a year later I'm scratching my head trying to remember what I did differently. I need to get better at taking those notes!
 

Jesse17

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I keep a tablet near me while brewing, and note ingredients, amounts, temp. S.G. times, etc.

Then when I'm done brewing, I take my notes and type them up a log on my computer in Works. I start with the recipe, IBUs, etc. Then a log of everything I did on what day. It's kind of nice because you can make notes in the log to remind you of what you want to do when. Then after you do it, if it's not something you want to keep in the log, you can just delete that note.

Also it's handy to have them on the comp-u-tator for quick reference when I'm discussing them on the net, or researching my next on the net.
 

Joker

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I great at taking notes on brew days, Im horrible at rewriting them someplace to keep them organized.
 

Lil' Sparky

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Soulive said:
Keeping a log is a very good habit. I keep all my notes in Beersmith. It has a free trial but its definitely worth buying for life...

www.beersmith.com
Ya, me too. Beersmith has an "export to brew log" feature so you can brew the same beer again, maybe with slight changes, and have a record of every brew. I can't recommend brewsmith enough. It's a great program all around.
 

Kaiser

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I keep notes fairly diligently as most beer parameters can only be fine-tuned by trying over and over. I used to use a note book until I found that I had a hard time finding all the important information at a glance. The notes would be rather un-organized. Since a computer doesn't work work me for keeping notes (It's not always handy when I need to jott down something) I started developing forms for my notes. one for the recipe, one for mashing/boiling, one for fermentation and the last one for misc notes. I keep them in a binder and also started creating tabled to look up things like attenuation or convert/temperature corect a hydometer reading.

I planned to updated them and make an english version, but I don't know how to add the PDF file to the Wiki or to my attachements. The file is to large to be used as an attachement to this post.

Kai
 

EdWort

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I have BeerSmith, but I still keep notes in a Composition Book. It's my log book and has every beer in it since I started back brewing over a year ago.

It works great and does not suffer from accidental deletions, bad sectors, or the Blue Screen of Death.

 

Chad

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I also use Beersmith but print each brew sheet and take notes as I am brewing. Sometimes I even remember to go back to the recipe in Beersmith and put my notes in. Mostly, though, I have my notebook with the brew sheet tucked into it and write my notes on the sheet itself (whether I hit target gravities, volumes, PITA things that I need to watch out for next time, etc.). I keep extra notes on yeast takeoff, progress of the beer, bottling yield and tasting comments on the other pages of the notebook.

With that said, if I didn't use Beersmith I would definitely use the brewing log sheets from Randy Mosher's "Radical Brewing:" PFD Brewing Log Sheet.

The folks at www.basicbrewing.com have developed a very nice Brewers Logbook that definitely deserves a closer look. I may have to pick one of those up.

Chad
 
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hexmonkey

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Kaiser said:
I keep notes fairly diligently as most beer parameters can only be fine-tuned by trying over and over. I used to use a note book until I found that I had a hard time finding all the important information at a glance. The notes would be rather un-organized. Since a computer doesn't work work me for keeping notes (It's not always handy when I need to jott down something) I started developing forms for my notes. one for the recipe, one for mashing/boiling, one for fermentation and the last one for misc notes. I keep them in a binder and also started creating tabled to look up things like attenuation or convert/temperature corect a hydometer reading.
Do you find yourself returning to your notes often? What do you think are the things you most often go back to check?
 

SuperiorBrew

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Lil' Sparky said:
Ya, me too. Beersmith has an "export to brew log" feature so you can brew the same beer again, maybe with slight changes, and have a record of every brew. I can't recommend brewsmith enough. It's a great program all around.
+1

I jot notes down when on to my brewsheet and enter them into BeerSmith when I am done.
 

jds

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Having just got back into brewing after a 7+ year hiatus, I was really really happy to find "The Beer Book". It's a ring binder I started keeping many moons ago, in college, and it has lots of fun stuff, like printouts of old HBD posts, old copies of recipes from the Cat's Meow, and log sheets from every beer I ever made. Just going through it was fun, and adding to it now is even more fun.

I use BeerSmith as well, and make a brew log for each session. The brew log with my handwritten notes goes into the beer book.
 

kaptain_karma

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I keep all my notes in a leather-bound blank book. I write down everything about a brew starting as soon as I choose I style. I write about why I want to brew that style, what characteristics I want to nail, commercial examples I want to emulate, etc. I then come up with several rough recipes while researching in books and on these forums.
On the brew day, I write down the exact grain bill, mash temps and times, weather conditions (my mash loses much more heat on a cold windy day), details on the sparge, hop schedule and alpha acid of all hops used, original gravity, yeast variety, pitching rate and temperature.
I take notes on fermentation temperatures and times. I record the final volume of the batch, how much and what type of priming sugar I use, and how many bottles it fills.
Once a beer has had adequate time to bottle condition, I write up several tastings over the lifetime of the beer. I find this is really helpful for duplicating great beers, or understanding how changes in recipe and technique change a beer.

Although it makes for an interesting cover-cover read, my chronological method makes it kind of annoying to track just one beer. If you made all your notes on loose-leaf, you could toss them in a binder and arrange all the notes for each brew grouped together.
 

Rico6115

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after talking with a friend of the fam that brews he recomended a "brew bible". his had everything he has brewed for years i think he said since 92? but i think they are great. my gf got me a leather covered one for xmas> I ended up putting my writing in the book pretty much the way everyone here has thier recipes listed, also temps, times, ingredients, websites that i got the stuff from etc. lil info goes at the bottom of the page about my boil and then a spot for my gravities. cant wait to fill this bad boy up!
 

PeteOz77

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The day I started brewing, i created my own Filemakre Pro Database that I track everything with. I have fields for:
Date of brew
Date of bottling/kegging
Keg#
Fermenting Temp
Recipe
Comments section where I track problems or variations
Rating 1-10 for the beer quality
OG
FG
Alcohol Content

I have been pretty much tracking every time I touch/check the brews as well as the finished product.

If anyone uses Filemaker and wants a copy, just ask!
 

bradsul

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I use the promash session files. I have every brew I've done saved in a sessions directory (except my first couple which were kit&kilo batches). They've very important to me since I go back and reference fairly often on brews I'm still perfecting so they're included in my twice a day backup as well. They're even backed up in front of my work stuff on the tape - in case something goes wrong with the backup. :D
 

videoman

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We'll I'll throw in just to represent... I use Beertools... great program like the others... keeps track of grain bill, stats and notes... I save a new file for each change I make to a recipe so I can track my progress.

Very helpful because, with weeks between brew sessions, I'll certainly forget the details. Good luck.
 

adx

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I have a spiral bound notebook that I throw notes into. I use Beersmith for recipes and use the brew sheet on brew day. While I brew I make all kinds of notes on the brew sheet. After I'm done I transfer everything into a spiral notebook. I end up duplicating some data, but I prefer the hard copy over having everything on the computer.
 

Helmy

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EdWort said:
I have BeerSmith, but I still keep notes in a Composition Book. It's my log book and has every beer in it since I started back brewing over a year ago.

It works great and does not suffer from accidental deletions, bad sectors, or the Blue Screen of Death.


Wow Ed If you should ever decide to put that tablet on Ebay make it known!!!!...I know i would put in a bid!
 

Glibbidy

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I keep mine on an excel sheet that I upload to a webpage.
Taking and keeping good notes is critical, if not paramount to dialing in your skills.
 

chione

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EdWort said:
I have BeerSmith, but I still keep notes in a Composition Book. It's my log book and has every beer in it since I started back brewing over a year ago.

It works great and does not suffer from accidental deletions, bad sectors, or the Blue Screen of Death.


I do the same. Think back to HS chem. Start off by writing down the recipe and procedures then note what you do differently and anything that went wired ie boil overs added too much x, think I boiled for 45 min not 60 min etc. I also make a quick note when I check on my beer. Yesterday I wrote Jan 7 2008 constant airlock activity fermenter at 65*F

I highly recommend the composition notebook pictured because they are cheap and you can lose the pages plus that is what I use in the lab so I have a ton of them around.
 

vthokie98

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I use a notebook with pretty detailed notes on brew day...i definitely need to take notes during fermentation as well...i was looking at brewsmith but it looks like it is only for windows and linux....anyone using a mac have a brew software they recommend? I would love to hear some opinions on what software people are using and like/dislike for the mac.
 

Jesse Seymour

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I keep my logs on my blog - since I am a blogger pretty much everything I do ends up on a blog somewhere. I found that the blog approach allows me to reference my logs from anywhere (especially helpful when discussing a brew online) and allows me to publish my logs so others can try my same experiments and offer advice on how to improve them.

See http://www.thefrostedbrew.com/category/brewing-journal/ for an example of what I am talking about.

I know this approach may not be ideal but because I'm not a 'real' brewer yet (still using Mr. Beer kits) it works well for me. In fact, I may continue this approach even when I start brewing for real because of the ease with which this log can be shared.
 

DeathBrewer

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EdWort said:
I have BeerSmith, but I still keep notes in a Composition Book. It's my log book and has every beer in it since I started back brewing over a year ago.

It works great and does not suffer from accidental deletions, bad sectors, or the Blue Screen of Death.

no, but water and wort can be a PITA :cross:

i have a brewing notepad, but sometimes i'll use a print of promash, sometimes a print of a web page where i posted my recipe, etc.

I really need to go through all those single sheets and get all my notes together. sounds like its time to go through the brew closet like i've been planning!

once in a while, i don't keep notes...but only if i don't plan on recreating the beer or don't care about efficiency, etc., which doesn't happen often. i like keeping good records so i know what went wrong and what worked well :rockin:
 

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vthokie98 said:
I use a notebook with pretty detailed notes on brew day...i definitely need to take notes during fermentation as well..
Don't stop there. You should continue taking notes about the brew as you are drinking them over time and note the changes in taste, how long til it carb'd, etc.
 

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GaryA said:
Don't stop there. You should continue taking notes about the brew as you are drinking them over time and note the changes in taste, how long til it carb'd, etc.
Much of what I do was noted as well. Then, the item from GaryA caught me as it somewhat relates to what I do.

I have a brew partner and we decide a beer brewing order. We set our schedule up using a number of factors. Available equipment, upcoming holidays and engreidients especially yeast that is harvested.

On brew day, he and I talk about what we want to accomplish that day and we write down those goals.

Using notecards as well as the Brew Smith recipe printout, we write down notes as we brew.

After clean up we sit down have a couple of beers and talk about the day. I take notes.

I type those notes into Brew Smith. A week later we review my notes for any change or additions.

When we bottle that brew we rate it, describe the beer and add general comments. The beer is set aside for a month and then we again return to it.

All notes are kept and Brew Smith is backed up fairly often.
 

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As there might be some interest, I translated by brewing log forms into English . Though I have not refined the PDF yet to publish it, I took some screen shots to give you an idea how they look.

The main objective was to provide a set of forms that I can use to track almost all the parameters that I would be interested right now. As time went on, I started tracking less, but I still find it very helpful to have the fields available. The recipe form features a normograph to determine residual alkalinity which I find very helpful b/c I build my water from R/O water and overt the time I have collected enough data to know what RA to aim for when designing a recipe

recipe page: I record things like water and mill gap spacing.


mash page: on this page I lay-out the mash (mostly calculated in Beersmith) and take notes during the brew day


fermenation page. I'm certainly not recording AE or temperature every day, but it's nice if the diagram is already there and I just have to mark it when I took a reading. The time scale is somewhat progressive to allow for more detail in the early stages


notes. This is where I would put taste and priming notes



Kai
 

Beerthoven

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Kaiser said:
As there might be some interest, I translated by brewing log forms into English. Though I have not refined the PDF yet to publish it, I took some screen shots to give you an idea how they look.

...

Kai
You are a man among boys.
 
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hexmonkey

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Kaiser said:
As there might be some interest, I translated by brewing log forms into English . Though I have not refined the PDF yet to publish it, I took some screen shots to give you an idea how they look.
Great looking forms, Kaiser! :mug:

What software did you use to create the layout for the forms? Are they drawn out by hand or does the software make the tables, lines, graph, etc.?
 

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DeathBrewer said:
no, but water and wort can be a PITA :cross:

i have a brewing notepad, but sometimes i'll use a print of promash, sometimes a print of a web page where i posted my recipe, etc.

I really need to go through all those single sheets and get all my notes together. sounds like its time to go through the brew closet like i've been planning!

once in a while, i don't keep notes...but only if i don't plan on recreating the beer or don't care about efficiency, etc., which doesn't happen often. i like keeping good records so i know what went wrong and what worked well :rockin:
Years of field work and I have learned how to write with wet hands or you get a write in the rain waterproof note book
 

Kaiser

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hexmonkey said:
Great looking forms, Kaiser! :mug:
Thanks,
I found myself spending a lot of time writing things like grist, water, yeast, temperature .... So I finally sat down last year and developed a set of forms where I basically just fill in the numbers. I took inspiration from the official forms you get from the INS and other goverment agencies.

I also wanted it to be independent from a computer, which meant making a spreadsheet and printing it out wasn't an option. That's also why I added the RA normograph and have a bunch of tables at the end of the note book. Just because it takes time for me to go to the computer and open the log there. I do still develop recipies with Beersmith (water, grist, IBU and mash), but if I only make minor alterations I just copy the recipe from the previous batch and make some changes to it

The forms were drawn in Viso and imported into a Word document.

I just noticed that this thread is in the beginners forum. These forms are certainly not designed for the beginning home brewer. No offense, but I think that they would lead to way much worry about numbers than necessary for a solid start into the home breweing hobby.

Kai
 

Chad

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Received my 2008 Brewer's Logbook yesterday. Excellent service from Jim Spencer. The logbook itself is nicely done with sturdy ring binding. The two-page month-at-a-glance section will be handy for tracking fermentation times, bottling dates, etc. That's one drawback to Beersmith. The calendar function is limited and makes it annoying to track the progress of a beer. The recipe and batch information section of the logbook is also well done though not nearly as high-tech as Kaiser's sheets or even Randy Mosher's brewsheets. I might have a quibble or two about the placement of certain information blocks on the pages for each batch, but everything you need is there, including a large section for tasting notes. For $12.95, this thing is hard to beat.

Chad
 

Kaiser

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Chad said:
That's one drawback to Beersmith. The calendar function is limited and makes it annoying to track the progress of a beer.
I have yet to see a good fermentation scheduling program. Such a program should have the folloing features:

- accept times for primary, secondary, aging ...
- account for brewing resources like carboys, buckets, fridges
- display at what timeframe the beer is done.
- display your "beer-coverage" for the future. This is important if you mix lagers and ales where the lagers take much longer and you could end up with a gap in your beer supply

Kai
 
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