Homebrewing Must-Have: The Homebrew Journal

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Ben Keene’s fill-in-the-blanks journal is the first step to better home-brewed beer.

One of the most important tools in the home brewer’s arsenal is a brewing journal. These brewing diaries are collections of archived notes detailing each beer that you produce, from pre-brew expectations to tasting notes. While any old lined notebook is up to the task, using a template format ensures your logs are consistent from batch to batch. With uniform notes, comparing and evaluating your homemade beers is a fast, easy exercise.

The Homebrew Journal by Ben Keene is the best home brewing diary available. In Keene’s book, the outline for each beer is divided into easy-to-follow sections with plenty of room for personal notes. The walkthrough begins with each beer’s background information, including the beer’s name, style, the brewers involved and preliminary notes. The ingredients list is smartly divided into fermentable items, hop additions, and yeast. The brewing day’s timeline format goes from mash to chilling and includes fun, unexpected line-items like the beers consumed while brewing and the day’s soundtrack. There is a substantial area for noting fermentation check-ins, including temperatures and additions. The beer’s packaging, aging information, first-time tasting notes and final thoughts wrap up each beer’s entry.

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The Homebrew Journal’s design is somewhere between a scrapbook and high school science textbook. Spiral bound, it’s a perfect format to lay out on a table and review. The plastic cover means that it will stand up to the rigors of brew day and beyond. The book’s final pages include a small glossary and extremely useful set of basic brewing equations for common tasks like determining alcohol by volume and bitterness units.

The quickest way to go from clueless amateur to experienced home brewer is to keep a brewing journal. Reviewing past successes and missteps helps you to refine your process, revisit old favorites and become more confident at your craft. Ben Keene’s The Homebrew Journal is an ideal partner for your journey and a must-have on your beer shelf.

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