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Old 01-16-2010, 08:33 PM   #1
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Default Brew Friend Problem.

I'm sure this has happened to many of you so I come to you in the hopes that you can give me some practical advice on how to handle this problem I have with a friend.

My friend, we'll call him Bob, found out that I was a brewer and took a keen interest in the process. He wanted to get in on brew sessions and he loved the beer I brewed. He asked numerous times to come over when I was brewing to help out and learn the process as he was really interested in starting all-grain brewing himself and wanted to buy all the stuff. Bob is well off, he owns an expensive house and drives a really nice car so he could totally go out tomorrow and get all the gear. He failed to be available on a couple of my brew dates and then eventually called me up and asked me if he could buy all the ingredients and supplies including bringing his own propane and come over and have me brew a 10 gallon batch of IPA for him while he watched and learned. I agreed, thinking that this would surely hook him and I would have yet another brew pal to share and swap beer with.

The brew session made him even more motivated to get his own gear and once he tasted the IPA he was loving the fruits of my labour. He went through a double batch in under two months and wanted to repeat the process again, using my gear at my place. I told him it was too much of a commitment for me to not get something out of it so we split the batch which he savoured and made last longer than his last one. He has since asked to repeat and brew another beer and on the last batch bought bottles and carboys so that he could take the finished wort with him when he left.

The problem is, I can't stand having people hang out at my place during the entire four or five hour brew process. I rarely if ever babysit my brew as the only thing that seems to need any checking is the mash temp at the half hour mark and the fly sparge rates and levels. Most is automatic and I've worked hard to set it up that way. I really don't need company at my place for four to five hours while I brew as I like to get other things done in the meantime. Having someone over necessitates feeding them at some point, and usually watering them. Bob has yet to ever bring either food or beer or anything else with him when he's come over for a brew session. I like Bob. We get on well and have plenty to talk about... for like, three hours but like anyone else, you run out of conversation when you are just sitting around waiting for beer to be brewed. Sure, it's handy to have someone else there to help with the clean up but he has yet to do any of the computations or recipe invention so I'm really tired of accomodating an otherwise decent friend with a rather discerning palate when it comes to beer. He came right out and told me the other night that he has decided to NOT buy all his own gear because it was too much money to put out and he said in a polite way that he would really appreciate it if I could continue to accomodate him whenever I had time. Frankly, I only had him over in the first place to brew because he said he wanted to learn and do it himself.

What the hell do you do with someone like this? I sort of feel like I'm in a position because he has bought some stuff to brew, still likes the product, is willing to help but doesn't want to actually commit and get the burner and kettles himself.



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Old 01-16-2010, 08:35 PM   #2
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I guess I should ask in addition, where one can buy the cheapest stainless brew pots, false bottoms/MLTs for 5 or 10 gallon batches?



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Old 01-16-2010, 09:14 PM   #3
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No problem, tell him you will let him know when you are ready to brew another batch w/ him but you are pretty busy so it might be a while?? Call him when you are ready, willing and available. If it never happens, oh well?

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Old 01-16-2010, 09:20 PM   #4
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You could invite him over when your brewing a batch for yourself rather than him.

Invite him to help you wash about 1,000 bottles, even if you keg.

Suggest that when he comes over to brew a batch, whether yours or his, that he feed you. Say something like: "l'll brew, you buy the pizza".
Since he's your friend and you don't want to get rid of him, try to make the time together enjoyable.

You could suggest when he asks to come over and have you brew for him that you think he's ready to fly on his own and you'd really like to try one of HIS brews.

Sometimes, however, true friends have to speak plainly to each other. You might have to tell him that you can't get in the habit of holding his hand and supplying all the time and propane.

If all else fails, tell him you'd like to speak to him about Amway.

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Old 01-16-2010, 09:25 PM   #5
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Wow- that's tough. I almost always brew alone, but I "met" someone here on the forum that wanted me to check out his wild hops, so I invited him over for a brew. He is a great guy, and I had a great time with him. I'd like him to come over and brew again, but he's so busy. He seems to like all of my beer (at least he says so) and he's invited me over to a brewday at his place when we can work out our schedule. He even helped me out with some electrical work!

If there was a problem, though, I'd have to speak up. In your case, I'm afraid you're going to have to say something . Honesty is hard, though, because it's not like you're "doing" anything in his eyes. Maybe you can tell him that you find that you don't like doing double batches, and you like brewing solitary? You could say that it's your Zen time, and your relaxation time and you'd be available to go to HIS house for two hours one day and give him some pointers- but you've come to realize that you really want to brew alone.

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Old 01-16-2010, 09:30 PM   #6
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There is a very simple solution here. As suggested earlier...he buys the pizza. Also ask him to mow your lawn while you brew his beer. Clean your gutters...re-caulk your windows...wash your car...etc. Eventually he will not want to hang out and watch you brew anymore.

Do you get him to clean the pots and sanitize the equipment? Clean and rinse some bottles? Teach him how to take apart and clean a keg. I'd be more than happy to split a 10 gal batch with someone if they did all the dirty work for me!

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Old 01-16-2010, 10:24 PM   #7
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This sounds like a Dear Abby column. "Man up" and tell the guy you like to brew alone. I know I do.

Chicks deal with these situations much differently, but you and he are dudes. Be real and put it on the table.

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Old 01-16-2010, 10:53 PM   #8
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"The brew session made him even more motivated to get his own gear..." So why didn't he?

Sounds like Bobby just needs a little shove to get going on his own homebrew adventure.

Montanaandy

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Old 01-17-2010, 12:18 AM   #9
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Yeah Montanaandy, I was thinking of just saying that I just don't have the time and energy to put into brewing beer which I won't later be drinking. I'm thinking he sort of realized what he had in not having to spend the time or money on his own and getting the benefit of labour "lite" brew and decided not to invest.

I'd be willing to bet he'll get his own gear if I no longer am able to accomodate.

I actually don't mind brewing with others, so long as they too are brewers. Brewers tend to lend a competent hand and bring beer with them and both of these are welcome any time so long as I'm not planning on filling the mash time doing something else.

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Old 01-17-2010, 01:21 AM   #10
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Pee in his wort before he takes it home.... Just kidding.

This is a tough situation and I'm sure it gives you that knot feeling in your gut. Especially since it's a friend. I think, especially among friends, that honesty is probably the best answer. It may be hard to talk about at first, but you will feel better about it later.

If Bob is really your friend, then he'll understand (maybe not right away) and remain your friend. This may even be what makes him get his own equipment and then you'll have that brew buddy. So really, you're helping him.



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