When you begin homebrewing, it starts slow. I made one extract kit and I couldn’t believe how easy it was. You start brewing more and more beers, trying out different styles and experimenting. You’re doing it! You’re making beer you crazy garage alchemist you!
The point is, you begin to accumulate more and more different styles of beer at the same time. You now have a very good problem: you can’t keep track of your beers! I have compiled a list of different ways to keep track of your homebrewing.
After consulting with the fine fellas at r/homebrewing on Reddit, I’ve compiled a list of organizing tips for your beer from my own experience as well as those at http://homebrewtalk.com and Reddit.
White Grease Pencil
It sounds so delicious, but I wouldn’t eat one of these grease pencils (link goes to Amazon.com). Instead, there is a much better use for it. With these, you can write on the bottle itself. Draw a fancy doodle or write when you brewed. Up to you but at least you can tell your wheat beer apart from your brown ale.
Google calendar is a godsend for my brewing schedule. I write down when each batch was brewed, bottled and cold conditioned. It’s a great way to measure which months are more productive than others. Plus, it can sync with your gmail account so that if your phone falls into a wort kettle, your data will not be lost.
This is another method that I love. It’s so easy, just write the initials of each batch on the cap. The cap gets thrown away anyway, so no worries about cleaning off beer labels. I recently brewed a dunkelweizen so I wrote DZ to remind me between that and my (unfortunately infected) brown ale.
Custom Beer Labels
If you want to go the more expensive route, you can always design or pay someone else to design beer labels. There are also a few sites that let you design for free (however there is a fee if you want to print from them). One of these is Labeley. I haven’t used it yet but it’s definitely the first to try on my list.
You can also assign a batch number for each homebrew. You can sync it with your notes or put it in the google calendar. I think this would extremely helpful to those homebrewers who are brewing many batches of beer at once.