I can remember when I first got into brewing, my brew days would be an almost spur of the moment ordeal. It would start with a phone call:
Me: “Hey! I’m thinking about brewing. Interested?”
Friend: “Sure! When you thinking about doing it?”
Me: “Well, I just jumped in the car to go to the homebrew store. I should be home in about 30 minutes.”
Not a lot of planning went into it, and too often, I wouldn’t decide on what to brew until I would get to the homebrew store.
It made for a much more hectic day than it should be. In the end, of course, I had made beer, so there was reason to celebrate!
Lately though, my brew days have really gone to the next level as far as enjoyment goes. And the main reason is a very small addition to the ‘brewery’: a calendar.
It’s a dry erase calendar, so each month it is updated with brew days, transfer days, and when batches are ready to keg or bottle. It took a lot of the panic of forgetting to transfer a batch off of a yeast cake and having it sit for too long. Also, as my brewing buddy and I start planning brew days, we start talking about what to make and what type of recipe to come up with. Organization is not for the birds after all!
Calendars also come in handy when you want beers ready by a certain day or time period. For instance, when is the best time to start brewing a Marzen to have it ready for an Octoberfest celebration? The great people at Northern Brewer have made a resource available to help with this kind of planning as well.
This calendar helps you see when the proper times of the year it is for each style of beer to be brewed and when it is ready to be enjoyed. Of course, any style is always ready to be enjoyed to some (including myself), but sometimes you want to have a beer to match certain events or time periods, and that’s not a bad thing either.
Here's another homebrewing calendar from Homebrewing.com. It sure is pretty, plus you can print it out to hang on the wall or keep in your brewing journal.
So, how about you? How do you plan your brews? Let us know in our Homebrew Academy poll and don’t forget to share your tips and ideas in the comments below.