Being a homebrewer and living with BMC drinkers

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Biscuits

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Does anyone else find it discouraging to be a homebrewer when no one else around you appreciates craft beer? Not to say that my wife doesn't like craft beer, but she is the kind of person who doesn't trust something that is made at home. She is a complete germophobe and thinks that I am using my fermentors as toilets in between brews or something. A few times I have just handed her beer and told her to try it, she would perk up and ask what it is, and I would tell her it was my homebrew and she would be impressed...but if I present it as homebrew from the start, she is never receptive.

My friends, limited as they may be, aren't really into it and maybe I just don't sell it well. This makes it difficult for me to gauge whether I am making decent beer or not. I can never get a consistent read from anyone and with my work schedule I only make it to my local homebrew club every so often.

I know what you're going to say..."Brew for yourself...if you like it, it is good..." And for the most part I agree...however, homebrewing to me has always been a way to share something I am proud of, I just lack the audience...:(
 

Peruvian802

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Brew up her favorite style of beer and then do a side by side blind taste test with a few commercial versions to see if she can tell which one is your home brew (make sure your version is killer or this may totally backfire). I wouldn't suggest a one on one test but have 4-5 different beers. Once your beer is as good or better than 'store bought', she might change her mind. Once my wife chose my beer as a favorite in such a test, she suddenly liked all of my beer. This will work for your friends as well, but you may not want to go down that road!

You could also ask her to help you one day so that she can see your process, that it's not 'bathtub gin', and how important cleanliness/sanitization is when brewing.
 

BreezyBrew

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If you don't find the time to surround yourself with other craft beer drinkers who will appreciate the beer, it's pretty hard to have any type of audience.

As far as "sell it well" - If you really love the beer, your passion will come through no matter who you talk to. Do you think when Sam Calagione started Dog Fish Head that he just sat at home? He probably talked to anyone that would listen about beer. I pretty much consider him a craft beer evangelist, since every time I see an interview with him his excitement for beer just pours out. Literally.
 
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Biscuits

Biscuits

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Brew up her favorite style of beer and then do a side by side blind taste test with a few commercial versions to see if she can tell which one is your home brew (make sure your version is killer or this may totally backfire). I wouldn't suggest a one on one test but have 4-5 different beers. Once your beer is as good or better than 'store bought', she might change her mind. Once my wife chose my beer as a favorite in such a test, she suddenly liked all of my beer. This will work for your friends as well, but you may not want to go down that road!

You could also ask her to help you one day so that she can see your process, that it's not 'bathtub gin', and how important cleanliness/sanitization is when brewing.
I think I am going to take your advice on all of this. I can't believe I never thought of doing a comparison test...Thanks!

If you don't find the time to surround yourself with other craft beer drinkers who will appreciate the beer, it's pretty hard to have any type of audience.

As far as "sell it well" - If you really love the beer, your passion will come through no matter who you talk to. Do you think when Sam Calagione started Dog Fish Head that he just sat at home? He probably talked to anyone that would listen about beer. I pretty much consider him a craft beer evangelist, since every time I see an interview with him his excitement for beer just pours out. Literally.
I am pretty outspoken about my passion...but this isn't always a good thing, especially to people who aren't all that interested. It's a tight-rope walk when it comes to talking beer with people who just wanna catch a buzz. Not everyone wants to hear you ramble on about the in and outs of beer, it can come off as judgement that they drink crap beer.

More for you.
:mug:
 

Hobanon

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Entering competitions would be the shortest route to honest feedback from beer lovers. If I were in your situation, I'd write em all off while cackling over delicious homebrew.
 

Rivenin

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see.. that one is rough.
It's like any other hobby though... If i start talking about cars or volkswagens to any passerby, 95% of the time, i'll be talking to dead ears... you just need the right audience.

My wife's eyes glaze over if i start talking about beer (bless her heart) but tries to stick with it as best as she can, she will perk up if i say something she knows like "mash tun" or something about off flavors.
But i'm sure that makes me luckier than most.
you just need to get a few buddies from your beer club to come over for a brew day and shoot the **** about beer and such, then start making it a regular once a month or every other month thing.

for example, a few guys from my brew club get together once or so a month with some fancy commercial bottles and some homebrew to sample and such. Usually makes for a fun party.
 

Owly055

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I just put a BMC I brewed on tap yesterday. I brewed it ultra light, as most of my BMC friends drink p-water lite beers. The grain bill was ultra simple... equal weights of two row and cane sugar. The idea was to make it ultra light and dry, but with about 6.5% ABV. IBUs were a whopping 34, and it has tons of hop flavor with all the hops added at 6 minutes or whirlpooled at 160. It of course has absolutely no discernible malty flavor, as what is there is buried under an ounce per gallon of hops.

The mistake I made was having double the IBUs I should have....... or more, as the perceived bitterness of 34 IBUs is much greater in a brew like this than it would have been in an all malt brew..... Note that brews like Bud are down around 10.

That said, it is a very nice crisp flavorful beer that went over well with my home brewer friends........ I haven't tried it on my BMC friends yet. Primarily Mosaic (with Nelson and Nugget), the flavor should go over well. I suspect that they will find it "bitter". My tastes are far broader than those of a BMC drinker, as is my perception of bitterness.



H.W.
 

drainbamage

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The lack of sharing opportunities (more for me!) wouldn't bother me so much as the lack of trust in your cleanliness. Does she get suspicious of home-cooked food as well?

When I started brewing, most of my friends were "Miller Lite or GTFO" types. I would always offer what I made; sometimes they would reluctantly drink one, and sometimes not. Letting them help out on brew days seemed to help pique their interest, since they had some personal involvement in the product, but I think the bigger factor was the way the brewing scene in my area has really taken off in the last 5 years. When there is craft beer everywhere, it's a little easier for some people to see that it isn't some weird hipstery trend, and there is a beer out there for nearly every taste.
 

Calichusetts

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My last three batches have been out of the park awesomeness IMO. I'm doing 3.5 gallon batches. I used to do 1 gallon and I would give away like half the bottles to friends, even my best batches.

Now, I'm a hoarder. Yes you can sample my chocolate/coffee stout. No you can not have another! Seriously though, ever beer I give away is one less for me. I let anyone try them but I really just brew for me now.

And I also get your sentiment. I am very critical of my home brew. I had an awful year of brewing in 2014, just awful. I felt like every beer I made missed the mark, yet when my friends would try my beers, they would all say its good, even when I argued it wasn't that great. Who knows, maybe they were good, but not to my standards, which are really high. So I do question whether my friends are honest about my beer or trying to be nice. Even when I point out that I'm not that happy about the outcome, I wonder if its out of a weird sense of pity people tell me its good. Oh well, its beer, its decent enough most times and down-right delicious the other times.
 

drainbamage

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Lol... I can't remember ever sanitizing a plate before I put something on it to eat.
I'd say you stand a much bigger chance of getting sick from improperly-prepared food than from a badly-brewed beer. Being nervous about a beer just because it was made at home seems overly paranoid.
 

smurfjuice

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Does anyone else find it discouraging to be a homebrewer when no one else around you appreciates craft beer? Not to say that my wife doesn't like craft beer, but she is the kind of person who doesn't trust something that is made at home. She is a complete germophobe and thinks that I am using my fermentors as toilets in between brews or something. A few times I have just handed her beer and told her to try it, she would perk up and ask what it is, and I would tell her it was my homebrew and she would be impressed...but if I present it as homebrew from the start, she is never receptive.

My friends, limited as they may be, aren't really into it and maybe I just don't sell it well. This makes it difficult for me to gauge whether I am making decent beer or not. I can never get a consistent read from anyone and with my work schedule I only make it to my local homebrew club every so often.

I know what you're going to say..."Brew for yourself...if you like it, it is good..." And for the most part I agree...however, homebrewing to me has always been a way to share something I am proud of, I just lack the audience...:(
Just moore for you ... :beard:
 

Cheesy_Goodness

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My extended family is hardcore BMC too, and I've gotten to the point that it isn't worth fighting over.

About a year after my first brew, I gave out 6packs for Christmas to everyone. I was told by several that they were anywhere from not great to terrible. Granted, there is a possibility those particular bottles were bad, but I did happily consume the rest of the batches myself. Maybe they weren't consumed properly (bottle conditioning can confuse people), but either way I've placed 3rd and 1st in both smaller (20-30 entries) beer competitions since then.

Surely after having some proof that I know what I'm doing they'll be willing to give it a second shot right? Hell no. I still get comments like "this tastes too dark" (amazing how people can taste colors) and "this is way too bitter" (BM's Centennial Blonde).

I don't know if it's the fact that they're in their BMC bubble and can't go outside of it, or if the beer really was bad the first time I gave it to them. Either way, I still get sh!t for it two years later. I'm not saying they need to like every style of beer, but a little respect for the process would be nice.

It sucks that the OP is having a hard time sharing the hobby with your buddies, but I'll echo that some outside feedback from someone who at least has a little bit of experience in the beer world would be really reaffirming, and some competitions are a great idea too. If your beer currently sucks, you can get some pointers to fix it. If it was good all along, you can pop a few homebrews and polish your medals while your family educates you on the "superiority" of BMC :mug:

As for your wife, has she seen what a commercial fermentation looks like? If not, that might be a route worth going. Once she sees a commercial and a homebrew fermentation side by side, her view might change from "my crazy husband thinks he can make beer" to "my crazy husband makes beer that looks like the pros. Maybe it isn't so terrible after all"
 

johngaltsmotor

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I'm coming up on my annual time to shine. Every year for the UM-OSU game I have a huge party and supply everything, beer included. In the beginning I bought kegs. But people have accepted the fact that they're going to get home brew at the party. This year it's Oktoberfest and Hard Cider. Sure, some will bring yellow fizzy water instead, but the majority are willing to branch out once a year. Or it could just be my friends are cheap and they'd rather drink free home brew instead of buying beer... I seem to get a few more positive comments each year. Hopefully you stick with it and your feedback follows a similar trend.
 

mattdee1

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Totally identify with OP here.

As mentioned earlier in the thread, it can be hard to enjoy and be enthusiastic about craft and homebrew openly in social situations because it is very easy to come across as a self-righteous know-it-all d-bag to a room full of Bud drinkers, by doing nothing more than holding a can with an unknown brand label and talking about beer flavor.

Of course, that whole perception becomes absurd as soon as one realizes that there are very legitimate reasons why somebody might prefer craft and homebrew beer to Bud Light; reasons that have nothing at all to do with "image" or desire to appear different and hip. It's about love of beer--that's it.

I know so many people who have bought nothing but Bud Light for years. What kills me is that some of them actually believe in their hearts that they are "beer lovers." I used to be one of those people, so I'm fully aware what it is like to be on both sides of that fence; in reality what they love is not beer itself, but the notion of a low-priced, inoffensive-tasting alcohol delivery mechanism. I'm not judging people who enjoy consuming alcohol for any reason, but don't call yourself a beer lover if you're not curious and enthusiastic about trying different beers.

To draw an analogy to music, can somebody who listens to the same Nickelback CD on repeat for years credibly claim that they "love music"? Hardly. And they would rightfully be told that their taste in music is horrendous.
 

Cheesy_Goodness

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...To draw an analogy to music, can somebody who listens to the same Nickelback CD on repeat for years credibly claim that they "love music"? Hardly. And they would rightfully be told that their taste in music is horrendous.
Your first mistake would be talking to someone who listens to Nickelback on purpose :p

That last sentence is the problem though. In order to explain why crappy beer/music isn't as flavorful/complex as your beer/band of choice, you've got to go into detail that frankly most people don't care about. And, when you're explaining that they make money by doing the SAME, BORING THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN, suddenly you're an EAC that wants nothing more than to ruin someone's good time.

I still haven't found a great balance between education and non-douchery.
 

mattdee1

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Your first mistake would be talking to someone who listens to Nickelback on purpose :p

That last sentence is the problem though. In order to explain why crappy beer/music isn't as flavorful/complex as your beer/band of choice, you've got to go into detail that frankly most people don't care about. And, when you're explaining that they make money by doing the SAME, BORING THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN, suddenly you're an EAC that wants nothing more than to ruin someone's good time.

I still haven't found a great balance between education and non-douchery.
100% agreed! In my younger years I was much more vocal about the music thing, but aside from the odd comment here and there, now I just keep to myself with such opinions unless I know the people I'm speaking to agree with me.

Most people are uncomfortable with the suggestion that they "just don't get it" when it comes to what they consider to be "everyday things" like music and beer. As soon as they get the impression that you are insinuating such a thing, they close down, go into defense mode, and from that point on everything you say on the subject comes across as condescending and off-putting.

I don't really understand that defensiveness aspect, though. I fully acknowledge that I'm not a book or film buff, I know there are all kinds of films out there that I've never even heard of because they are not hollywood blockbusters backed by immense marketing budgets, and I know the movies I do watch are probably considered low-brow and not very nuanced, etc. So, if a film geek told me that the movies I watch are no good, and that I should explore more, and that if I did I'd probably be surprised at what I found, I'd shrug it off and think "heh, he/she is probably right".
 

jrcrilly

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I give a substantial portion of what I brew to friends and family. The good news is that what I brew for myself (the beers I enjoy most) are for me and go into my kegs. They wouldn't like those anyway. I brew more accessible beers (Cali common, Vienna lagers, brown ales, etc.) primarily to hand out. Sometimes I keg half of such batches for myself and bottle the rest to pass around. Sometimes it all goes into bottles and I just try a sample.
 
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Biscuits

Biscuits

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I still haven't found a great balance between education and non-douchery.
This is essentially my issue. I honestly don't care if people enjoy Bud/Miller/Coors, etc...I just feel that if they can appreciate something so monotone, so to speak, then maybe if they knew a little bit more the world of craft beer might just blow their mind. However, going back to what you said originally...I have yet to find a way to convey that enthusiasm without coming off as a douche.

Totally identify with OP here.

As mentioned earlier in the thread, it can be hard to enjoy and be enthusiastic about craft and homebrew openly in social situations because it is very easy to come across as a self-righteous know-it-all d-bag to a room full of Bud drinkers, by doing nothing more than holding a can with an unknown brand label and talking about beer flavor.

Of course, that whole perception becomes absurd as soon as one realizes that there are very legitimate reasons why somebody might prefer craft and homebrew beer to Bud Light; reasons that have nothing at all to do with "image" or desire to appear different and hip. It's about love of beer--that's it.

I know so many people who have bought nothing but Bud Light for years. What kills me is that some of them actually believe in their hearts that they are "beer lovers." I used to be one of those people, so I'm fully aware what it is like to be on both sides of that fence; in reality what they love is not beer itself, but the notion of a low-priced, inoffensive-tasting alcohol delivery mechanism. I'm not judging people who enjoy consuming alcohol for any reason, but don't call yourself a beer lover if you're not curious and enthusiastic about trying different beers.

To draw an analogy to music, can somebody who listens to the same Nickelback CD on repeat for years credibly claim that they "love music"? Hardly. And they would rightfully be told that their taste in music is horrendous.
EXACTLY! And thank you! Knowing I am not alone is comforting! :mug:

InB4it'soktohomebrewanddrinkbmcgetoveryourself
Do what you do brotha! I am not hating on people that like BMC, to each their own. I am mainly faced with the issue that I have few people around me that can provide credible, or at least unbias, feedback.
 

Psylocide

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Do what you do brotha! I am not hating on people that like BMC, to each their own. I am mainly faced with the issue that I have few people around me that can provide credible, or at least unbias, feedback.
Yeah... really just giving you crap.

I am in the same situation, I have a few friends that enjoy craft beer, but most don't. My wife hates beer, so that leaves her out of a big part of my life.

But, I have gotten good feedback giving beers to the guys at the LHBS, Bottle shops, etc.

Also have done a few HB swaps with members on this site, and that feedback is worth more to me than anything.

So, maybe try to seek out some different avenues for feedback and you might be pleasantly surprised, even if the folks around you don't know you're a kickass homebrewer.
 
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Biscuits

Biscuits

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Awesome, thanks for the advice. I am actually about to ship off some beer to friends back in CO who will hopefully give me some good feedback. Is it expensive to ship beer? I have kind of avoided bottle trades because I feared it would drain my wallet.
 

meatcleaver

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bump.
I too am interested in doing a beer swap for sampling/critiquing but concerned about possible cost
 

brewcat

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Discourging? Not really. I'll drink it myself. If they like it...great. If I like it...even better. I do listen to comments to see if I can do anything better. I had a comment for a bitter I do as being sweet. They seemed to like it but now I'm wondering if I should change the grain bill to lessen some of that sweetness.

I'm really enjoying my beers right now, so I'm not going to change much.

I'm not sure of your wife's problem. Do you ever bake bread? Sourdough bread? Maybe do a brewday with her to show her the process?
 
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