I'm looking for a log sheet to use to start tracking all the beer and wine I brew to (hopefully) improve the results over time. What's your favorite and what could be improved in it?
THe best log sheet is which ever one you WILL use regularly. I have brewed some great beer in the past and I never took andy good notes on certain batches unfortunately.
I think however, the best log sheet is one you make yourself; customized to the way you brew and what you think is important.
I have been brewing for 10 years and I don't think I have ever really seen a good one I liked for my process on-line somewhere.
I'd recommend looking at a few online and then picking features you like the best from each one. I used to print my recipes on my brew sheets, then after using brewing software I started to just print the recipe and remedial brewing session info (e.g. calculated strike water temps) and using a homemade check list for capturing notes and changes in the planned process.
Here is a link to my log sheet at my blogsite if you want to look at one to get started.
I've just written up my first brew log & asked myself the same question. I agree with brewchez - it depends what you want.
I started with brewchez's log, but as I'm going to be using simple extract-based recipes while I figure this out, it was too complex. I started with Palmer's example in 1.2.3 Record Keeping and as I started filling it out, found I wanted to record a lot more information.
Since I'm new at this, my goal is to record as much data as possible, so I can best learn what factors influence the result & how. Here's what I have.
Type/Name: Volume: Date (fermentation): Date (bottling): Date (taste): Yeast: (form, type, pitched?) Temperature notes: (primary range, secondary range) Malts: (qty, type for each) Original Gravity: x.xxx (measured/calculated) Final Gravity: ABV: Hops: #. qty, time, type, %AA IBU: Sugars: (added during primary, priming) Yield & vessel: (glass/plastic bottles, kegged) Notes: Picture:
My personal favourite thing here is the picture. I look forward to having a photo of every beer I've ever brewed. Make sure you use a white background (I use a dinner plate) so the colour is accurate.
I also use Evernote to store my notes. It's searchable, like Google Calendar and stores pictures too. You could just as easily use OneNote, Google Calendar, GMail, DropBox etc.
You really want to be using Beersmith.
I use TiddlyWiki to create tables of my recipes, format my brewing notes, and just keep track of everything. It's a portable wiki that's pretty easy to use. Using a free online hosted wiki might be a better idea though. There are several free online wiki sites to choose from. The only reason I didn't choose to use those is because I figured that I will do a better job of preserving and backing up my brewing data, and I didn't want to risk one of those sites just "going away" as too many sites often do.
If I need to take the brewing wiki with me, it's stored as a single file that you can throw on a flash drive, or even e-mail to yourself, since it's really small (Less than 1Mb I believe).
I am writing a web app along with a colleague that is dedicated to just this topic. It is meant to be a cross between Hopeville, BeerSmith and a Log sheet.
We have recipe sharing/creation, a recipe builder, batches with a notebook. And we are completely open to ideas. Its also totally free. We really want to turn this into a community site dedicated to homebrewers. Please check it out and don't hesitate to give feedback. We recently launched and are looking for users to really give us some good feeback.
Also, we are in the processes of making some upgrades to our recipe builder right now that should be coming in a matter of weeks, mostly dedicated to partial mash and all grain brewing that should be really exciting.
I carry my ipod touch with me all the time, and am quite pleased with the newer updates to Brew Pal, an app that keeps recipes and now has decent customization. Since I don't have a smart phone, this is the easiest way to always have my recipes on hand. C-4 is right though, you really should use Google calendar, especially if you have brewing co-conspirators.