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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > New brew schedule... or how to brew with toddlers! (input/advice sought!)
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Old 09-21-2007, 02:31 PM   #21
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Sharing brewing and childcare duties with a supportive SWMBO is key.

I have two boys, 4.5 and 1.5 years. The last two brews, the kids watched a DVD while SWMBO made dinner and I prepped the brewing equipment and ingredients. Then at 6:00 I mashed in just as we sat down for dinner. At 7:00 SWMBO gave the kids their bath while I drained the MLT and sparged. At 7:30 SWMBO put the little one to bed while the older one 'helped' me watch the kettle as it came to a boil. Then SWMBO put the older one to bed while I did hop additions and prepped for cooling and pitching. All the equipment was cleaned and put away by 10:45 pm.

Next time, SWMBO will get to do the hop additions while I put the older one to bed and clean the kitchen. Fair's fair, plus I want SWMBO to be more involved in brewing and not feel like she does all the work with the kids while I get to drink beer and watch the pot boil.

I've thought about getting up extra early and brewing on a weekend morning, but the evening schedule seems to work ok for now. I could even do it on a weeknight and not be up any later than normal.


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Old 09-21-2007, 02:39 PM   #22
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Old 09-23-2007, 04:38 PM   #23
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These are all great suggestions (except krispy_d's, who is sick and wrong and frickin hilarious!). I no longer have small children, they're 12 and 10, but I still do some tricks to shorten my brew day.

You didn't mention if you do any sort of prep work the day before, or earlier in the week, so here's some suggestions. I measure out my hop schedule into plastic bags, and write what they are and what addition (cascade, 5 min). My mill is... well... it's not so great so it takes me about 30 minutes to get it all ground up, so when I know I'm brewing soon I crush my grain up and store it in a plastic trashbag in the freezer or refrigerator. I basically make my own kit, and all I gotta do after that is just mash and boil.
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Old 09-27-2007, 02:46 AM   #24
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My children are 11 years old and 16 months old. I can usually break away from the homework and havoc for enough time to weigh out my grains and get my brew sculpture set up. When the little one goes to bet at 8:00, I go out and get started. I can usually get a 10 gallon batch done by 1:00 am. I have pulled this off on week nights a couple of times, but working on 5 hours of sleep is no fun. My 5 gallon batches are about 45 minutes shorter because of sparge, boil, and cooling times, so this is more doable during the week. I can't imagine attempting a brew while the little monster is awake.
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Old 09-27-2007, 03:06 AM   #25
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I got Cassie to help me bottle the other day (had the day off on Daddy-duty when her daycare provider got sick). So, she helped with the Belgian, filling the boxes with bottles after I had capped them.

As I was racking into the bottling bucket, though, I took a sniff as usual (I'm real happy with this one). Cassie, of course, got up on her little stepstool and did the same. Turned to me and exclaimed "YUMMY, YUMMY! Cassie LIKE beer!"

I can't wait until she's 16, at her first high school party, and some senior tries to give her a Bud Light (or Cheesefood's son slips her a Vanilla beer):

"Uh, do you have a saison, or a nice Belgian dark strong, or something good like that"
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Old 09-27-2007, 01:06 PM   #26
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update.

Thanks for all the tips. Yeah a babysitter is probably the best/easiest way. Problem is getting one. All of ours are students (high school and college) so they are not available in the day mostly.

Last Friday I had a babysitter though. Unfortunately, I was doing the boil after she left and while he napped. The unfortunate part is I funked up. He is "potty training" and I forgot to put a diaper back on him for nap! DOH! He woke up in a half hour screaming and standing in a puddle.

I know this is ludicrous but I still hope, I reasoned with him (those of you with a toddler or baby know how well that works ) that he needed to help me. It actually worked for once. I let him add the hops. By the end he was getting bored of being held and decided to go play in his sand box while I chilled the wort.

Was not ideal but it was reletively successful. I'll definately consider the other strategies listed here. 'Cept maybe Krispy_d's


Though I did try the playpen when he was under a year. Did not work. This guy is too much of a mover.
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Old 09-27-2007, 01:29 PM   #27
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I basically took a couple of years off when we had our second child. Too much to do and the SWMBO really needed the help with the kids. Now that they are a little older (7 and 4) I can take the time to brew more. Not that that helps the OP. But to shorten the time, I've gone to premeasuring my grain and water the day before I brew. I'll do a night time brew where I'll mash in around 6 or 7, have dinner, put the kidos to bed, then come back out to do the sparge at 8pm or so. Boil and put everything away by midnight if I'm lucky. It makes for a rough day the next day, but I try and do it on Thursdays so I'm only worn out on Friday (which is usually a slow day workwise).
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Old 10-04-2007, 01:42 AM   #28
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On Saturday I will present a demonstration on brewing with toddlers.
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Old 10-04-2007, 02:28 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glibbidy
On Saturday I will present a demonstration on brewing with toddlers.
Wifey wanted to come along with the toddler in tow, but I figured it was going to be a REALLY long day and not terribly exciting if one was not a brewer... at some point, I'd love for Cassie to meet your girls, I think they'd have a blast playing together.
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Old 10-04-2007, 02:43 AM   #30
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Oh so true they would. Truth be told my grisl will be milling about in the morning then engaged for late morning, and then into my hands at the end of the day.


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