Brew Friend Problem.

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Nostrildamus

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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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Nostrildamus

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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?
 

wilserbrewer

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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?
 

Hoppus_Poppatopolis

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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.
 

Yooper

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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.
 

Hemsworth

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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!
 

Montanaandy

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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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Nostrildamus

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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.
 

bennyd

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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.:)
 

Yooper

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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.
Oh, really? Do tell!

My brew buddy is a guy, but I don't think he thinks of me as a "chick" as much as he thinks of me as a fellow brewer. I think he knew my gender before he came over to brew with me the first time.

He helped me with electrical (after all, he is an electrical engineer) but that's the only "guy" thing I put him on.

Should women be barred from talking normally with male brewers?

sorry to take it off-topic, but that comment burned me. I've been treated wonderfully by every brewer I ever met- no one has ever treated me like a "chick" and I'd like to think I make ok beers.
 

Montanaandy

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Tell him to brew some batches on his new equipment and you will brew (perhaps the same recipe/beers or different beers for comparison) and you guys can get together and compare tastes, notes, etc. Montanaandy
 

Montanaandy

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

I wonder how far down his throat the foot that he put in his mouth went :)


Montanaandy
 

JZinNM

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My brewing buddies and I had a similar setup. Two of us had made the investments and built the brewing rig. We had also set up an old chest freezer for the fermenter. The third guy didn't have any money invested in the setup. So, he would pay for all of the ingredients and we would split the brew. It worked OK for a while.

During the next brew day, tell him he's in charge of "this step" and go off and do one of your other chores. This is all in the spirit of teaching him, but you won't be stuck babysitting the whole time. Who knows maybe he'll get more into it if he feels like he can really do this himself. I know I had to do a few brews solo before I really had a good grasp of the various steps.

Good luck!
 
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Oh, really? Do tell!

My brew buddy is a guy, but I don't think he thinks of me as a "chick" as much as he thinks of me as a fellow brewer. I think he knew my gender before he came over to brew with me the first time.

He helped me with electrical (after all, he is an electrical engineer) but that's the only "guy" thing I put him on.

Should women be barred from talking normally with male brewers?

sorry to take it off-topic, but that comment burned me. I've been treated wonderfully by every brewer I ever met- no one has ever treated me like a "chick" and I'd like to think I make ok beers.
Err, well first Yooper I respect you and your presence on this board, and my comment had nothing to do with you. (It seems as if you thought my post was for you - I hadn't even read your post when I wrote it!) My stupid message was a bit harsh. And I should have said "Women" instead of "Chicks", which is slightly derogatory; for that I apologize.

I'll stand by my statement about how genders handle relationships with their friends. Women have a LOT more tact and (in my experiences) tend to be much more cautious with confrontation. Guys can get away with just laying the cards on the table.

I like that we are different, in all ways, so viva la difference.
 

kedash

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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.
I agree and you can do this nicely. It's just the truth and there is nothing wrong with you wanting to brew alone. Everyone needs that kind of time alone.

Think of a nice way of phrasing it that won't hurt his feelings, but stick to your guns.
 

mordantly

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Chicks deal with these situations much differently, but you and he are dudes. Be real and put it on the table.
maybe this is some foriegn tongue for females tend to beat-arround-the-bush when there is a problem instead of straight-from-the-hip?

if it was me, i would tell the person something that illustrates the commitment to equipment and time required if one wants to make their own beer and although frightening the first time solo, the person will do just fine. and that they can feel free to ask for advice if they get stuck, so GO brew some beer!
 

DBbrewing

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I would just tell him that you are not brewing even when you do brew and if he finds out you did brew tell him it was a last minute decision to brew. I have run into a situation where the person comes over and drinks and drinks and drinks my beer never brings any beer and have to babysit him for 5-6 hours and my wife and him get into it(verbal dissagreement) cuz they are related. I just say that I don't know when I am brewing.
 

hook_dupin

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Offer to let him borrow part of your rig for his brew days. Be honest about you wanting to brew alone, but then offer the temporary solution of letting him use your kit.
 

the_bird

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Hard for me to related because I *like* having people over when I brew.

What you need to do, though, is explain that you're going to be brewing this weekend, but that since the process is so automated, you really need to use the down time to work on other projects. Tell him that you're love it if he's come over and help paint the fence or sand the floor or wax the cars, or that you might just want to wait until you've got a project-free weekend (which we all know will come the first Saturday after we're six feet down).

If he comes over - put him to work!
 

Grimster

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I wouldn't mind having someone over when I brew but if they kept showing up empty handed I'd just give them a shopping list and be up front about it.

"Hey man if you want to help brew this weekend bring X and Y and 4 Z's and a bag of A's" then put him to work too "while I do this you grab those 2 cases of bottles and give them a good cleaning and sanitizing". etc

But wanting to sometimes brew alone just blunt honesty is probably the best approach. "Hey man I don't mind helping you out as you get started but sometimes I just like to brew alone".
 

Matt Up North

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I have a friend that comes over for brew days and helps do a whole bunch of stuff. When there is down time, we will fix a light or clean up something. When we need to do something, I will grab the water while he sparges. It comes down to figuring out a way to spend 5 hours with a friend and not spending five hours babysitting. You want him to get the food/beer/ingredients, then tell him so. Make sure that you split the batches though. None of that brewing for one person thing. I would never make a beer that only my friend could take and I always make sure to offer up some of the beer. Typically I will buy the ingredients and he will get the bottles. Ends up that I spend a bit more, but I get help during the process and I don't have to buy bottles. I like how it goes.

If I was you, I would actually tell him that you like him coming over and helping, but you really are going to be doing other things during the brew session and he is more than welcome to help. Otherwise though, you aren't just going to spend a whole day in front of the TV feeding and drinking with him. SWMBO would take my balls if I did that. At least I will fix one thing so that I am not a total waste of space in her eyes :D
 
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Nostrildamus

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Like I posted earlier, I'll tell him straight out next time he asks or brings it up. I figure the best way to motivate him to buy his own gear is to cut off his beer supply. He's a decent chap and he has the money, time and space to brew so he should get on it. I'll be more than happy to go over to his place and co-pilot his first session and help him do whatever needs to be done AND I'll bring some beer with me.

I still find it surprising that a guy with a million plus dollar home and a $40k car suddenly got too cheap to invest $500 and get awesome prebuilt gear but doesn't mind packing his carboys up and hauling them across town to sit in my crappy place for five hours.
 

bierbrauer

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I would just not invite him over for a while and tell him you are really busy, even if you brew your own beer in the meantime. If he has that much money then tell him to buy a prebuilt Sabco system or something so he can do everything at home whenever he wants.
Sounds like he is just using your hard work to further his dreams of brewing. That’s why it’s called homebrewing..
 

bad coffee

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I agree with the man up.
Three ways I like to brew:

1: alone. I get stuff done between timers going off. Let's face it, five hours of brew time actually means 3 hours of active work. That other two hours is mine to work on 'the list'

2: Competent brewers. With someone who knows what they're doing, I have even more time to get other things done. "hey, if I'm not back when the timer goes off, vorlauf for me and drain the mash."

3: Total newbies. I don't mind showing someone their first brew day. Giving up all the free time answering questions and explaining each step is fine with me. But on the next brew day they better be helping.

If you want to brew alone, just say so. Tell him to bring pizza AND beer next time he comes over, he owes you for the first two brews.

B
 

beerjunky828

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Does he like good, craft beer?? Tell him to bring some. Tell him to bring multiple different beers and have a tasting and then you 2 could come up with a recipe. If he buys the ingredients but you make the beer then split the finished product 50/50. My equipment is not automated so I like it when people are around helping me brew. Clean up is quick and efficient.

I have this problem with my roommates. They love to make homebrew and drink it. They are willing to split the ingredients cost evenly. But as for creative input, recipe help, etc. they are lacking. I just wish that they would put the time in to learn about recipe building and the various details in the process. And equipment.............I know that my roommates and I are splitting at the end of May but damn I wish that I wasn't responsible for when we are brewing next, when I am going to get the ingredients, when am I going to put the money down for that next fermenter.

For example I just ordered $100 worth of grains and yeast without any input from them. I got the hell yea, we're brewing next week. But I won't see a dime until a light goes off in their heads saying I want to drink this homebrew.

I just want one of them to come home with an idea for a beer and maybe an extra siphoning hose.

And to top it off, I feel bad for treating them like my little brew elves. I tell them I need this or I need that or this needs to be done. I want them to know what to do, to want to learn about what to do.

Its obvious that I care more than them about making beer; but I have heard from time to time about how they want to continue to make beer when we all go our separate ways. HOWSA BOUT BUYING A FERMENTATION VESSEL? HOWSA BOUT BUYING AN AIRLOCK OR A BOTTLING BUCKET?
 

Edcculus

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I had a great setup in college. One roomate and another friend were my brew buddies. They made the initial investment and got me hooked. I later built a MLT, bought a burner and countless sundries. All of us got a turn to brew "our" recipe, although we all pitched in equally for the ingredients.

Since graduating, I've had people put me in similar situations as the OP's. I'm happy to have them over to show the process. When they inevitably ask if they can buy ingredients etc, I say no. I tell them I have a hard enough time brewing for myself. I just don't have the time to fit in brewing for other people. Simply tell the guy you have gotten busy and you just dont have the time to fit brewing for him in. He doesn't sound like a close enough friend who would know everything in your work/personal life anyways. If thats a small lie, no problem. Once the free system dries up, I bet he will spring for his own setup.
 

brewmonk

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arrite, i am impressed that this is still going.

tell him to bring a pizza, a bag of malt and 100 bucks cash the next time he comes over.
eat the double-cheese, malt the bag, and when he goes home, build him a friggin mash tun.

sounds like hes used to delegating, so DELEGATE HIS A$$.
 
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If he wants to brew at your house, let 'em... once. Have him do all the work, while you supervise. Then tell him to build (or buy) his own gear. Once he has that, go over to his place and supervise his brew day there too. He's either too lazy to brew himself, or doesn't have the confidence. If it's laziness, he won't come over to brew at your place. If it's a confidence issue, having him do the work, helping build his rig, and doing his first brew on his new rig will give him the confidence.
 

brewmonk

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if it is that he's used to getting his moneys worth, have him bring money.
 

Trevor57

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This dude sounds like an *******. If he doesn't understand that you don't show up to people's houses empty handed he needs to be told. Maybe the reason he has a nice house, is because he is a cheap-ass scavenger?
 

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I havea couple brew buddies. We gather and both of us brew a 10 gallon batch that we split. One person is in charge of each brew. Most beers are the same money or very close in price, so I don't worry too much about that. It's nice getting 2 different beers out of it and I really enjoy the conversation. It's a huge bonus for me. So, put together another all grain set up and have him brew his own. You can build a mash tun out of a cooler you find in the trash. For $10 you can have him up and running and brewing for you!
 

twoodward15

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another thought. Tell him to bring $20 with him next time he comes. Have all the parts for a mash tun ready to build and have him build it. Take his $20 for parts.
 
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Nostrildamus

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Well, one of the huge problems with him getting his own equipment is that he doesn't want to use a cooler, a bucket and a small kettle. He wants something like my keggles or better/bigger. I've already told him he could have an all-grain setup for under $200 but he is stuck on having one worth $500+ but then he says he doesn't like the fact that it is so large and so much equipment.

All in all, I don't think he really wants to brew THAT bad. I think he is like countless others that love the idea of brewing but when it comes down to doing all the work themselves would much rather just go to a U-Brew and I'm starting to think that is how he views our brew days.
 

bad coffee

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so charge him like a U brew.

$ charges:
Grain
Adjuncts
Water
Yeast
Propane
Ferment time (you could be fermenting one of your beers in that pail)
Bottles
Caps
Lables

Make it worth your while if he's just using you as a BOP.

B
 

Homercidal

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Sounds like he just likes to hang out and be your buddy. If you enjoy his company, then have him bring the ingredients, and have him brew the beer (with your help) and keep half. Is that so much to have to put with to hang with a friend?

If you don't like his company, then that's a whole nother story.

I got a friend that comes over to brew quite often. He's always had an interest, but basically doesn't drink beer. We BS about politics, Religion, sex, etc. And I'm distracted from my brewing. I'm not so good, and so prepared that I could do it in my sleep. I'm usually running around trying to get stuff done and getting frustrated.

He has never tried to read up on it, doesn't know when to step in and help, and I think has no idea how much concentration it takes for me sometimes. Some day I'll get the process down pat. Until then, he is more work than brewing without him.

I don't mind feeding him, and it's not his company that is the problem, just my need for total focus on what I'm doing at the moment. I've brewed a few times without him and found it to be much more relaxing and successful.

He's actually even said he likes the lighter beer we've made (Centennial Blonde), so maybe I should invite him over and have him brew that while I help and supervise. Then he can see how much work it is. And he can have some "one a day for good health" beer.
 

TechyDork

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My brewing buddies and I had a similar setup. Two of us had made the investments and built the brewing rig. We had also set up an old chest freezer for the fermenter. The third guy didn't have any money invested in the setup. So, he would pay for all of the ingredients and we would split the brew. It worked OK for a while.

During the next brew day, tell him he's in charge of "this step" and go off and do one of your other chores. This is all in the spirit of teaching him, but you won't be stuck babysitting the whole time. Who knows maybe he'll get more into it if he feels like he can really do this himself. I know I had to do a few brews solo before I really had a good grasp of the various steps.

Good luck!
This is how i would go about it. I have a brew buddy that actually got me into the hobby this way. i would go over and hang out while he brewed, then after a couple times watching he slowly gave me more and more things to do.

after a couple times of "helping" i went out and got my own equipment and now we brew together.

for me it is nice to have someone there to talk to and toss back a couple beers with while i brew. somedays it is also nice to just brew on my own.

why don't you ask him to purchase all the ingredients and then let him brew on your gear. just tell him this is a test run for him and that he should get his own set up. i know for me once i started getting my hands dirty in the process i was all in and got my own gear.

if that doesn't appeal to you just let him know that when you brew you like the time to yourself. if he is a true friend he will understand.
 
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