Homebrewer/….dad?!

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mattman91

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I found out this morning that I’m going to be a dad.

Looks like my brewing production is going to decrease 😂

How do you dads do it? What am I going to need to know?

Should I still snatch the Clawhammer system while it’s 8% off? Should I just go ahead and sell everything?
 

TheMadKing

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I found out this morning that I’m going to be a dad.

Looks like my brewing production is going to decrease 😂

How do you dads do it? What am I going to need to know?

Should I still snatch the Clawhammer system while it’s 8% off? Should I just go ahead and sell everything?

You'll need to figure out your new rhythm and what your wife is willing to support. Some people quit brewing and some people carry on. For me, my production decreased by about half and it's harder to make time. I have to ask my wife for a brew day a week or so in advance so she can make sure she's free that day to watch the kid. I'm also a lot more tired so I honestly don't want to brew when I have a free day and would rather take a nap or relax
 

Sammy86

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Things change in life...and so does your brewing with additions to your family.

Congratulations! Being a Dad is the best job I've ever had. I've got three little ones...oldest is 6 twins are 3.

I won't bore you or repeat the saga of what brew day never happened because my oldest decided he'd had enough of womb life 2 weeks early and everything got put on hold for 6 weeks but you are going to have to make adjustments.

When I found out about the twins I knew my brewing days would be limited which led to the purchase of the bigger brewing system.

I went with a Brewzilla 65 L and do split 12 gallon batches. I bottle 1 gallon of each and keg the rest. Instead of 8-12 brew days a year im down to 4-6. But more beer. Easily split up using different yeast or dry hopping methods.

Also, early morning brew days save alot of time. Doughed in by 6:30 done cleaning by 12-1 depending on the kiddos.

Hope this helps!
 

DBhomebrew

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I used to brew all-grain in a bag. Now, more often than not, it's a simple extract brew running ~3hrs. When I can fit it in I'll brew an all-grain historical recipe or an otherwise special brew such as my annual Traquair approximation. I also started making mead, can't beat a 30m 'brewday'.

Here, I've asked my wife to push the tike a little closer so I could simultaneously rock and rack.

image.jpg
 

grampamark

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I have nothing to contribute to this thread beyond serving as an example of what you young folks have to look forward to. :cool:

I didn’t start brewing until I was 60 and my kids were long grown and gone. The upside of that is that I have kids and adult grandkids that like beer so I have to brew more often to keep the pipeline full.
 
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Congratulations! It's a conversation you need to have with the Wife. It could totally be okay while the bun is in the oven and then come to a screeching halt for the first couple months after birth, which is okay. As a father of three beautiful daughters, planning is crucial. Figure out what beers you want to brew so you can forecast them into your schedule. I try and brew full size batches monthly with a bunch of mini batches throughout the month(1 gallon batches are excellent for testing malt/hops/yeast/fermentation temps, they're generally really short). I generally brew first thing in the morning, early, like mashing in by 5:30 so by the time the girls are up the boil is underway and I can help out in the house(with the occasional peek or hop charge) and done and cleaned up by lunch. Shoot, sometimes I do the mash in the kitchen(using the stove) when a brew day happens to coincide when the Wife is out of the house. Sorry, stepping off my box
If you can swing the Claw Hammer, do it! I want to eventually upgrade to their 110v rig(yeah, I'm cheap)
 

mscroggi

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My $.02 - An electric, single vessel, 240v BIAB system will give you enough time efficiency that you can probably work it in fairly easily. If you get into no-chill, it further reduces the time needed for a brew session, or at least splits it up into two pieces so the session can be completed the next day. I have found if I keep the scenarios short enough not to consume all my free time, I enjoy it more and I brew more. 3 hours is about the best I can do. (2 hours is taken just with the mash and boil).. but I dont rush it.. As long as I can work it in in an evening, I am happy.
 

WestMichiganSteelheader

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I found out this morning that I’m going to be a dad.

Looks like my brewing production is going to decrease 😂

How do you dads do it? What am I going to need to know?

Should I still snatch the Clawhammer system while it’s 8% off? Should I just go ahead and sell everything?
Congratulations on becoming a dad. Don’t sell your equipment. You can expect a change in your life and brewing schedule. As others has suggested, schedule it in advance and expect to take 3-9 months off. That’s ok, part of becoming a dad.

With that being said, make sure your wife gets time for herself too. Again, plan ahead.

I have 10-year-old twins and my brew partner has several young grandchildren. On brew day, we start looking at our calendars and schedule our next day which can range 3-7 weeks apart depending on schedules.

When my kids were younger I remember setting up equipment on Thursday, brewing on Friday after they went to bed, and cleaning up Saturday evening.
 

AzOr

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Congrats!
Here are a couple of things that kept me brewing while the kids were really young;
1) I bought an Anvil all in one system. Easy to clean and you can program it to heat water the night before.
2) I mash and lauter at night. I then program my Anvil to boil first thing in morning. So my brew “day” is just as long but I spread it over two days.

I also started to brew beers that age better. I found that I wasn’t consuming nearly as much beer. So by brewing lagers and darker beers, a keg could last well over six months.
 

wetmk

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Congrats!!! First child... I remember it well. Enjoy this great time in your life.

As for the beer....
Embrace the DME, you can make a fine pale ale in less time using it as a base.

Another thing I do to save time (sort of) is I mash in before bed, stick my 10 gallon pot in my oven (it will hold 150 degrees), and finish up early the next morning.

My youngest turns 31 tomorrow.
 

pvpeacock

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Dont' stop. You have much to look forward to. Both of my sons helped me brew when they got old enough (but not old enough to drink). They enjoyed the process and, over time, learned to appreciate what we were doing. The hard part was keeping them away from the taps when they were teenagers. When they went away to college, I enjoyed visiting them and bringing kegs of homebrew for them and their friends to enjoy. Both sons just graduated from college and both brew with me when they are home or call with questions when away. One actually works at a brewery now having gotten a degree in agricultural business. It can be a great hobby to share with your kids and something to bond with them over time.
 

Airborneguy

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Congrats!

I had to stop after my second because we lived in a small townhouse. I simply lost the space to keep the equipment. I briefly considered using a nearby storage unit but it would have been an incredible waste of money and a hassle to get the equipment every brewday.

Had space not been an issue, I’d have never even slowed down!

Now my kids are 12 and 10. We live in a much larger house and I’m back at it! Hopefully you can continue. Being a dad obviously beats brewing but you still need different outlets for enjoyment.
 
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NSMikeD

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About 3 decades ago I started brewing extracts with specialty grains. Back then craft beer was not readily available so home brewing was the way to discover good beer. Then my boys were born, weekends were more like running a taxi service for them. Equipment was retired and bottles recycled since dedicating 5 or 6 weekend hours to making beer wasn't in the cards.

I loved coaching one son's little league and going on weekend hikes with the other on his way to Eagle. I didn't miss home brewing all that much back then as my basic understanding of beer making enabled me to appreciate the explosion of craft brews that became available during those years.

Then they grew up. I got a smoker, dusted off my fishing poles, got divorced and bought an Anvil Foundry 6.5 and 2.5 gal kegs. It was worth the wait.

Congrats.
 

bellhp

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For me it was a deal killer . I stopped brewing 21 years ago when my kids were born ... they are both in college now and I have just resumed my brewing.
My biggest issue was my work schedule , I am a commercial diver and I spent a lot of time offshore ( months at a time) , when my wife got pregnant I lost my bottler LOL , I could no longer brew a batch ,throw it in the fermenter and go offshore and have conditioned beer in bottles when I returned. So I guess it comes down to your work schedule , Good luck and congratulations .
 

jrgtr42

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First off, Congrats!!!!!
Second, as others have said, you'll likely have to temper your expectations - no more brewing every week (presuming you do so now...) and being out at all hours all the time with homebrew buds.
BUt it still doesn't mean you have to give it up entirely. Some of this (most, maybe) will be repeated from above.
Assuming you have space, make sure you get a few brews in before due date (be sure there's plenty of leeway in case Junior decides to make their appearance early.) |Maybe even plan for something that will take longer, like sours, or BBA brews; packaging is easier than a full brew
Assume that you won't get any in the first few months.
But once things settle down, you can probably get back to it to some degree. |Of course depending on your rig, setup, and brew day schedule, there's still a lot of downtime during brewing. make sure you're not holed up in the brew area the whole time.
Once my little guy got onto a schedule for bed time and so on, I could get a mash going, get him to bed and be back in time for mashout. Mill and measure early in the day, get the water heating, then back up for bath time, back down to mash in, back up for books and lights out, then back down for the rest. Clean that stuff as you go.
Later on they can "help" in parts of the brew day.
But everything does hinge on how much attending the little one needs, and how much help Mrs Mattman needs.
 

GoodTruble

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Time can become the biggest obstacle.

I found a system that works for me by brewing two beers at a time, pseudo-partigyle where I brew one oversized all grain batch and then use some of that wort with extract to make a second batch. That way, I can brew two batches/beers each brew day and usually just brew once a month (if that).

But finding a new schedule/approach that works for you as your time constraints change is my advice.
 
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Brewsmith

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My two cents echos the previous post. You will need to schedule brewing time. The good thing is that brewing doesn’t “require” constant attention. We may obsess over it on this forum, but the reality is that there is a lot of down time. Find a schedule that works to squeeze in that couple hours of brewing time and be ok with not having to figuratively babysit it because you will need the time to literally do that.

I would also say l, encourage mom to find her time as well. Small children are the ultimate time and energy suck, and mom will need her alone time more than anyone. Help her with girl time away from being mom, and she will be able to reciprocate when you need daddy alone time.

Congrats on the most important, most difficult, and most rewarding of life’s endeavors! Cheers!
 

HM-2

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I started brewing after my daughter was born, in the dark days of early Covid. These days I'm automated/electric so it takes less direct input from me. I tend to average a beer a month or so, sometimes slightly higher and sometimes slightly lower cadence. My wife is much more tolerant now I do it outside rather than in the kitchen. My daughter isn't far off the point she'll be a helpful minion now, either!

The tricky part at first is that when you have a few hours free, you're going to want to nap instead of brew.
Also, this.
 

Miraculix

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I found out this morning that I’m going to be a dad.

Looks like my brewing production is going to decrease 😂

How do you dads do it? What am I going to need to know?

Should I still snatch the Clawhammer system while it’s 8% off? Should I just go ahead and sell everything?
Congratulations!
 

easttex

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Brewer who's two years into the dad life here.

My wife and I brew; me more than her. But she understood that brewing was one of my few hobbies and so didn't balk when I continued during her pregnancy. We were pregnant during the COVID lockdowns so there wasn't much else to do either.

A few things you'll need to consider:
1. Even though I could maintain production through the pregnancy, with my wife not drinking, consumption fell sharply. I ended up with kegs of beer and not enough room to store them.
2. If your wife breast feeds, she cannot drink until she decides that's done with. So manage your brew schedule accordingly.
3. Time to brew in the first year isn't tough because the baby (and momma) sleeps most of the time. Do as you wish...
4. Once your child is mobile, alert, and talking, it will want to spend time with you and you with it. Time spent away brewing gets to be a drag.
5. Hangovers with a toddler are a special kind of hell you can only experience but cannot adequately describe. Hence, my consumption has fallen so I don't have to chance a toddler in that state.

I'm seriously thinking of upgrading to a Brewzilla 65L Gen 4 next year. It saves a lot of time over my homemade K-RIMS set up and thereby decreases my time away from the family (which you'll want to spend with them). If you want a Clawhammer, I say go for it!

Best of luck and congratulations!
 

aceluby

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I started after having kids, so I don’t think you need to sell everything off. My AIO system does make it possible to do it as much as needed. My process is:

1. Get the water ready at 3pm and starte heating it up.
2. Mash in around 4:30
3. Mash out at 5:30, sparge, and start the boil
4. Bath and bedtime for the kids, stirring when I can
5. First hop addition around 7
6. Cool down around 8
7. Pitch at 8:30, rinse, then soak everything in PBW
8. Rinse after 1/2 hour and let everything else dry

I work from home, so this is only possible because I can set something up in 10 min and go back to work while I wait. My wife is pregnant with our third, so I’m sure this will die down a bit next summer, but I can likely still squeeze some brew days in when needed.

I involve my kids in the pre-process of water prep, grain weighing, getting the hops ready, etc.. and they love it. They both have their own brew spoons I got for $2 at goodwill. You can make it work, and if it brings you joy to do it, trade a brew day for a day your wife wants to go out.
 

MrMeatSweats

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Become a creature of the night. Buddy of mine was an avid gamer and had two kids back to back. He started gaming late at night for an hour or two when everyone else was asleep. So, time can be found for hobbies 😂
 

cubalz

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I started homebrewing 34 years ago before my first kid was even a thought. I managed to brew at least 1 batch a month even when actively raising 3 kids. Now we are empty nesters and I still brew monthly. My secret was to get up early and mash in at 6 am and have the fermenter in the chamber by 1. During that brew time, my wife handled the kids. Once I was done, we switched to me taking parental lead the remainder of the day. It always worked for us. BTW: Congrats!
 

JoeSpartaNJ

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I started homebrewing 34 years ago before my first kid was even a thought. I managed to brew at least 1 batch a month even when actively raising 3 kids. Now we are empty nesters and I still brew monthly. My secret was to get up early and mash in at 6 am and have the fermenter in the chamber by 1. During that brew time, my wife handled the kids. Once I was done, we switched to me taking parental lead the remainder of the day. It always worked for us. BTW: Congrats!

This is how my wife and I handled it. Still do.

Kids are a bit older now (13 and 9) so it is much easier now.
 

JoshuaWhite5522

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Your life is over, you'll never brew again......

I'm just kidding (my little guy will be 2 in February) being a dad is great. I haven't brewed in 10 months, and that's OK. Life gets in the way. We moved, bought a house, priorities shift. I'm finally settling into things so I can brew a batch again.

It just takes a little more planning. Coordinate with your partner to run point on brewing/bottling/kegging days. When they get older involve them in the process. I know little man will be lock step with me when I dust things off in a few weeks.
 

AzOr

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Lower your expectations of brewing all the time. Shoot for maybe several seasonal batches throughout the year. When I’m super busy I brew the type of beers that I enjoy but are not as easily purchased. Such as Viennas, spiced stouts etc. I occasionally drink IPAs but when short on time, I buy those from the store (since that seems to be 70% of retail space and there are great commercial examples).

For the love of God- do yourself a favor and buy an all in one system, if you don’t already have one.

Yesterday I took off a couple of hours early and started a mash around 3p. I managed to fulfill all my dad duties; school pick up, Thai food run, bedtime routine etc. while timing all the brewing steps. I finished around 10p.
With the new systems, you can walk away while the kettle is working. My mash was around 2 hours long but it did t matter. I’ve even fallen asleep while my electric kettle was at near boil. I’m the morning I topped off w fresh water and continued brewing. My wort was several srm higher than shoulda but dropped after fermentation.
 

mattdee1

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I started brewing in 2015; I had no kids at the time. Now, I have 2 of them - aged 5 and 1. I just checked my notes and it looks like my brewing frequency didn't decrease much from my roughly 1-brew-per-month pattern until the 2nd kid came along. I've only brewed 5 times in 2022, with no more sessions planned until the new year.

I have definitely made adjustments to make it possible to stay in the hobby. Some highlights:

Plan, plan, plan. Get the ingredients and everything you need before you need it. I hate not supporting my local brew shop but sometimes I order ingredients from the internet to save me the 30-45 minutes it would take to go out and buy them (every minute counts with kids!) I try to pick up my RO water alongside some other errand(s) in that part of town so it has no real effect on anything. I do this even if I don't have a specific brew planned - I just get it done at the first opportunity so it's ready. Also, make sure all your equipment is ready - your kettle is clean, valves are assembled, fermentors are ready, etc. These tasks can be done beforehand on a random weeknight. The moral of the story: it's a lot easier to "find the time to brew" if it's just the brewing itself, without tacking an extra lump of time on the front of it to gather and set up stuff. Lots of little tasks that only take a few minutes by themselves can add up.

I use a lot of dry yeast now. Farting around with starters and harvesting yeast takes time. I still do that sometimes, but there are lots of great dry yeasts that are super convenient and add no time at all to the process.

Three words: dry malt extract. I went directly into all-grain when I started brewing and there was a time I would have turned up my nose at the suggestion of using extract, but I'm in a different world now. Would I prefer to do all grain? Absolutely. Do my extract results match my all grain results? No. Do I (and my guests) enjoy my extract results? YES. Bottom line - extract has been a key enabler for me to continue making beer during such a hectic time of my life.

Natural wort chilling. I haven't used my immersion chiller for over a year now. I finish my boil, put the lid on the kettle, point a fan at the kettle to blow air over it, and go to bed. Usually 12 or so hours later, the wort is at the perfect temperature to pitch yeast. This is great because it effectively breaks the brew session up into chunks, which opens up more opportunities to brew. If I'm using DME, I can fire up the kettle at 9 or 10pm to start, and still be in bed at a decent hour.

I've always been a bit of a night-hawk, and that fact has come in very handy with brewing. Once the kiddoes are in bed, much more can get done. I don't have actual data but I bet 80% of my time spent fiddling with homebrewing is done later than 9pm.

Having an understanding spouse is absolutely essential. No matter how hard you try to minimize the impact of your brewing on the operation of the household, there is no getting around the fact that it takes hours to get a batch of beer from ingredients to kegs or bottles. If he or she is against time being spent on homebrewing, then trying to fit it in is only going to put you on a collision course with destiny.
 

treacheroustexan

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Congratulations! My wife is actually due with our first little girl this Sunday, so we're expecting her any second now. I have a cherry wheat kegged and last weekend I brewed an english mild to get it out of the way. I don't plan to stop brewing so I'll try to remember to report back with any advice I come up with.

I also have a clawhammer system but the 120v. I bought it last January. If I could go back in time and re-purchase it, I would 100000)% get the 240v system instead. I love the 120, but the amount of time I would save just waiting for water/wort to heat up with the 240v would be worth any additional price. I didn't think it would be a big deal at the time when I bought it, but I do now.

Lots of good advice so far though. Make sure she gets her time to herself also and find a balance that works for both of you and you should be fine. Definitely don't suggest giving it up though... brewing is my hobby to relax and take my mind off things (with a great reward), so if it's similar for you, you don't want to lose that. Good luck to you!
 
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You've heard this a lot, but if it's your passion as a hobby, you can do it, just less of it. Our youngest is 13, so he helps with some of the work; but I still break the brew day up into two parts. At least water and grain prep the night before, sometimes, I mash at night and then the next day brew and clean bright and early. I can still do family stuff, drive kids around, cook, whatever with that schedule. Be ok with the unexpected; this last year our oldest had a late class at university, so I wasn't getting home until 6pm most days. At that point, prepping a brew isn't in the cards, but there's always 2023.
 

matt_m

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Speaking as a recent empty nester. A lot of people we knew as our kid grew up did EVERYTYTHING for their kids and nothing for themselves. A lot them have kids that are dependent on them for EVERYTHING (you should hear the stuff my kid complains about peers not being able to handle on their own.) And assuming the couple has made it even this far, a lot of the marriages are on the rocks.

Not to say we wouldn't have done ANYTHING for our kid...we just didn't do EVERYTHING for our kid. Leave time for yourself, leave your spouse time for herself, leave time for the two of you, and leave time for your kid to do their thing and learn to be independent.
 

AzOr

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You've heard this a lot, but if it's your passion as a hobby, you can do it, just less of it. Our youngest is 13, so he helps with some of the work; but I still break the brew day up into two parts. At least water and grain prep the night before, sometimes, I mash at night and then the next day brew and clean bright and early. I can still do family stuff, drive kids around, cook, whatever with that schedule. Be ok with the unexpected; this last year our oldest had a late class at university, so I wasn't getting home until 6pm most days. At that point, prepping a brew isn't in the cards, but there's always 2023.
I like the “be ok with the unexpected.”
I’ve brewed many a times while being rushed and busy and made lots of mistakes. Quite a few times I thought to myself that if the beer is half decent that’s a win.
 

pvtpublic

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Well, the wife's place is in the kitchen, or with the children. This allows you to do whatever you want. You're the man of the house, right? Definitely joking about that, for sure, and not because my wife may see this.
I've put my brewing on hold for a while. My son took up all of my time and that was totally on me. Brewing hardly occupied my mind while caring for this little dude.
Fast forward to now, he's three. I've extended my mash and boil times to 90 minutes. That's piggyback time. That's hot wheels time.
But when it's time for me to do some brew work in between our guy time, I throw on some Paw Patrol. It's Kryptonite. However, I find ways to spend time with him while brewing. I have him help me with mash in by adding the grain. I've never enjoyed mashing in before. He puts the hops in. I never thought that putting hops into a kettle could be so entertaining. I'm not sure who is having more fun to be honest.
 

jdauria

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First off, congratulations! It can definitely be tough balancing kids and brewing. I brewed in the 90's, but only a few times a year...but as my son got to be an age to play sports, that all went out the window, as I because the soccer coach, the baseball coach, then the summer all star coach, the soccer coach, the travel soccer coach, soccer board member, cub scout leader, etc etc etc. Then his high school years was driving to all his games all the time all over Eastern Mass...so I really did not get back into brewing until he was in his 20's. But then it was great, as he could carry the heavy carboy of beer down to the basement for me. LOL! But now he's got his own little one that will be tying his life up for the next 20+ years, so payback's a bitch. ;)

I have seen it in my club too, lot of the younger guys who were members got married and had kids, and now we are lucky to see them once a year at meetings and they barely ever brew. Not to scare you off...it's just about priorities. I know plenty of guys who would brew early morning before the kids got up or at night after the kids went to bed. As they get older, you can always involve them in the process too...my 16 month old granddaughter loves to help her papa put the hops in the pot.
 
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