The importance of keeping brewing records
Brewing records probably exist as long as beer itself. According to Wikipedia, they date back all the way to the 5th millennium BC in Iran. Thanks to various brewing records we get to explore the history beer, the development of certain styles, trends in brewing techniques and ingredients. Some people may even go as far as to compare them to historical events in order figure out how history affected beer production.
From the brewery perspective, brewing records are essential to beer continuity and new product development. It is almost impossible to predict how various ingredients in beer will work together until they are actually brewed. During this process record keeping is the star of the process. All details like water treatment, mash, temperatures, hoping schedule, targets and many others are written down and later compared with the final product. The character of the final product depends on every step in the process. If the brewing records did not exist improvement in brewing would be much harder to achieve.
When it comes to historical recipes, Staropramen Granát is a great example of the importance of diligently keeping brewing records and recipes. Michael Trnka came up with this recipe in 1884. At that time it was a strong, fifteen Plato amber coloured beer. Production of the beer was halted in 1938 only to be secretly continued in the following years in time for Christmas. Staropramen brewers re-released Granat in 1999 as part of the 130th anniversary of the brewery and the celebration of Prague being the European Capital of Culture in the year 2000. The new version was more sessionable and it kept the rich taste of the original.
Human brain can do a lot of things. Among many wonderful ones is the trick to make us think that we will remember a certain fact. Brewers, like all humans, tend to forget things. Brewery records exist to overcome human nature and ensure that future generations drink good or even better beer.