Homebrewing -- Does it take too long?

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betarhoalphadelta

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I'm a husband and a father of three young'uns... As such, I'm very cognizant of the time investment in my hobbies that take me away from my family. And if I weren't cognizant, I'm certainly not allowed to forget the time investment in brewing. SWMBO makes sure of it.

And it seems like a lot. My typical brewday is ~5 hours start-to-finish, to make 10 gallons.

That said, while I was doing one of the first daytime brews I've done in a LONG time yesterday, and my wife was waiting on me so that she could go take care of grocery shopping, I started running the mental math.

I brew about 10-12 batches per year, 10 gallons each.
Each batch takes 5 hours start to finish.
I don't count time spent kegging, as that's either done while brewing a new batch, or done at night after the family goes to bed.

So let's say I do 12 batches, which is on the high end. That's 60 hours.

That averages out to 1 hour and 10 minutes per week. 10 minutes per day. Certainly doesn't seem like much, does it? Especially since I'm more likely to only do 10-11 batches (12 is my target), so I'm probably barely over an hour per week.

Now, I know that there are extenuating factors. 5 hours on a weekend is a lot different than 5 hours on a Tuesday. As a result, I typically brew on weekday evenings after work rather than on the weekends. And when I do that, the math gets even better, as some of my brewing time occurs after the kids are in bed.

Assuming I start around 6:30, after dinner.
Kids are in bed by 9.
Thus, the *effective* length of my brew day as it relates to taking me away from family is only 2 1/2 hours, as half of it occurs after bedtime.

The same 12 batches per year now only take 30 hours, or 35 minutes per week, 5 minutes per day.

As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing about being a dutiful husband or loving father that would interfere with something that only takes 5-10 minutes per day. Thus, my impression as a father of young children is that no, it does *not* take too long.
 

jekeane

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Thinking about it in a broken down fashion like that is hard for people for some reason. I have a friend who is seriously into triathlons and was training 1-2 hours a day for an ironman. Guy barely saw his family some days between work and his hobby. I wanted to hit him when he questioned the use of my time brewing once a month. (ps I'm a stay at home dad...)
 

Flipadelphia

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I don't understand this whole issue with being 'taken away from family' that people jabber about on this forum incessantly. So you're not allowed any free time away from your family, you have to be in their jock 24/7? I don't get it. Just go brew dude, it's not a big deal.
 
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betarhoalphadelta

betarhoalphadelta

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Thinking about it in a broken down fashion like that is hard for people for some reason. I have a friend who is seriously into triathlons and was training 1-2 hours a day for an ironman. Guy barely saw his family some days between work and his hobby. I wanted to hit him when he questioned the use of my time brewing once a month. (ps I'm a stay at home dad...)
A SAHD? You, sir, deserve a medal!

I'm convinced that the male of our species became a big game hunter, braving woolly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and rival aggressive tribes for one and only one reason: it's way easier than raising kids!
 

jbaysurfer

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I don't understand this whole issue with being 'taken away from family' that people jabber about on this forum incessantly. So you're not allowed any free time away from your family, you have to be in their jock 24/7? I don't get it. Just go brew dude, it's not a big deal.
^ Not married with kids. ;)

Good on ya bwarbiany...but I don't know if that math is going to resonate with swmbo if ya know what I mean... :mug:
 

unionrdr

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It's not too much of a problem for me, as mine are all grown. But one has two jobs, so I do have to brew on weekends or days where he doesn't have to go to job #2. I spend about 4 hours & something on E/SG or 6 or so on partial mash.
 

Flipadelphia

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^ Not married with kids. ;)

Good on ya bwarbiany...but I don't know if that math is going to resonate with swmbo if ya know what I mean... :mug:
Nope, just a girlfriend.

My girlfriend also doesn't care what I do and doesn't complain about my hobbies, nor do I about hers, and we do live together. I feel bad for some of the dudes on here when threads like this have to be created to try and rationalize a hobby.

Do women expect men to just work, come home and be a robot 24/7 following her every whim? You'd believe that reading some of the posts on here.
 

sportpak

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Without knowing all the details of your situation it's hard to comment on how harsh your being on yourself. If your also playing golf all summer and hunting all winter, then yeah, maybe brewing gets excessive. If your the primary bread winner, slaving 60 hours a week, doing nothing for yourself, then wifey may need to back off and let you brew guilt free. If it's a score keeping thing, then make sure she gets her time away doing something she loves.
 

sikkingj

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Brew at night and/or break the brew day up. I BIAB because it is quicker and No Chill because it gives me a break in the brewing process, sometimes I mash a really long time because I get called away. The beer is still great, I get to do something I love and I don't feel like I missed some quality time with the children.

5 minutes a day no big deal, 5+ hours in a weekend is enormous. If the kids are sports age, that should provide you with ample time for a brew day once a month.

Can the kids help? Mine are still too young and when I brew (did a 10 gallon batch this weekend) I'm not real present, but the children can play amongst themselves (they are 1.5 and 3). I'm unsure how involved the grocery trip is, but split the children up - have your eldest crank some grains - assuming s/he is old enough.

The long and the short of it, I sympathize - it is not too much to ask (a brew day), but it is a big lift for the other person, make sure she gets a corresponding 5 hour chunk of unstructured time on a weekend and call it good.


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masskrug

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I grind my grains and get my hops measured out the day before.

I mash in at night after I put the kids to bed, then I get up real early to boil and finish before they get out of bed.

I make a real effort to not take any family time.

I am going to try a 30 minute boil extract brew this weekend, to see if I can even cut more time off. I purchased a 1/2" x 50' IC to reduce my chilling time. I *might* get this under 2 hours.
 

kh54s10

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Just make sure that none of the rest of the family can do any hobbies, that don't include you, that surpass 5 hours a month!!!!
 

catdaddy66

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I brew twice a month (more, recently) and it's about 5 hours per brew day. I also cook breakfast and supper on those days and am at home for those hours. Availability and quality family time are never an issue. I was away from home when I golfed more than when I brew. I brewed when my son was younger also.


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diodeart

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Nope, just a girlfriend.

My girlfriend also doesn't care what I do and doesn't complain about my hobbies, nor do I about hers, and we do live together. I feel bad for some of the dudes on here when threads like this have to be created to try and rationalize a hobby.

Do women expect men to just work, come home and be a robot 24/7 following her every whim? You'd believe that reading some of the posts on here.
Ditto.
 

thaymond

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My SWMBO gets a good week or 2 heads up on a brew day, just so there is no surprises. I'll invite my brew buddy over, who works the night shift. I usually start on a Friday night at about 7-8, after dinner and baths for the kids. Kids usually get to bed around 8:30 or 9:00. By that time, he shows up and I'm just starting a mash, and she'll usually come to the garage and play darts or hahb with us. She usually gets bored with the waiting during the mash or boil and will go inside. I'm usually up late anyway, so being up until 2-3 is no big deal. She's usually out around 11. I do this so that I lose out on minimal time with the kids. She probably wouldn't be very forgiving, and I honestly wouldn't be either, if I started at like 10:00 am on a Saturday or Sunday. That's just prime family time.

The bottom line is that you're trying to show that you're prioritizing time with family vs a hobby. Of course family wins out, and that's why you do a night brew or brew on a weekday. I will usually plan a day out with the family the next day, so that any "lost" time is made up x10.
 

Billy-Klubb

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Nope, just a girlfriend.

My girlfriend also doesn't care what I do and doesn't complain about my hobbies, nor do I about hers, and we do live together. I feel bad for some of the dudes on here when threads like this have to be created to try and rationalize a hobby.

Do women expect men to just work, come home and be a robot 24/7 following her every whim? You'd believe that reading some of the posts on here.
awesome. I'm super wicked happy that you have it all worked out. I didn't hear the OP trying to rationalize his hobby. if anything, it seemed more like a vent, and not even an angry one at that.


I'm married with 2 kids. trying to juggle everything (work, family time, yard work, side projects, etc.) can be a bit difficult. not to mention finding time for our hobbies. I almost went back to using extract because of the time issue. I know my family gets frustrated when I spend 5+ hours brewing, especially on a nice day during the weekend. sometimes you just gotta not brew as sometimes they understand this is your hobby, a source of relaxation (even though it can be frustrating a little). I'd give it up in a heart beat if my wife wanted me to, and she knows it.
 
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betarhoalphadelta

betarhoalphadelta

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if anything, it seemed more like a vent, and not even an angry one at that.
Exactly. Hell, it's not even really much of a vent.

I know why she gets annoyed with a 5 hour brew day. It's the same reason I get annoyed when she goes out for a hair cut/color and a pedicure. Is the annoyance at being left at home alone with them...

Overall, she supports my hobby. She knows it's important to me and makes me happy.

I posted because what often seems like a big time sink when you think of 5-hour chunks really isn't that much when you really consider how infrequently those chunks come.
 

sonex

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Exactly. Hell, it's not even really much of a vent.

I know why she gets annoyed with a 5 hour brew day. It's the same reason I get annoyed when she goes out for a hair cut/color and a pedicure. Is the annoyance at being left at home alone with them...

Overall, she supports my hobby. She knows it's important to me and makes me happy.

I posted because what often seems like a big time sink when you think of 5-hour chunks really isn't that much when you really consider how infrequently those chunks come.

schedule your brew day when the wife goes out for her hair cut and pedicure.

I prefer brewing when the wifes not home. most of the time she does not know when I have brewed.

I also brew 15 or 20 gal batches to cut the number of brew days down, not because of the wife but for the many other things I like doing.
 

Billy-Klubb

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Exactly. Hell, it's not even really much of a vent.

I know why she gets annoyed with a 5 hour brew day. It's the same reason I get annoyed when she goes out for a hair cut/color and a pedicure. Is the annoyance at being left at home alone with them...

Overall, she supports my hobby. She knows it's important to me and makes me happy.

I posted because what often seems like a big time sink when you think of 5-hour chunks really isn't that much when you really consider how infrequently those chunks come.
no joke! when I was 20, I'd brew whenever I had any extra money. when I was 25, I brewed every chance I got. when I was 30, it slowed down quite a bit. now at 35, it's about once every 1-2 months on average. not much of a time sink for me anymore, but 5 hours is 5 hours. spread out over days/weeks/months, it seem insignificant. but all at once is where it drags on for them. my wife asks when I'll be done during the brew days. she knows it takes time, but knows I don't do it often. I think it's almost a damned if you do, damned if you don't when you have a family almost waiting on your heels.
 

Flipadelphia

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awesome. I'm super wicked happy that you have it all worked out. I didn't hear the OP trying to rationalize his hobby. if anything, it seemed more like a vent, and not even an angry one at that.


I'm married with 2 kids. trying to juggle everything (work, family time, yard work, side projects, etc.) can be a bit difficult. not to mention finding time for our hobbies. I almost went back to using extract because of the time issue. I know my family gets frustrated when I spend 5+ hours brewing, especially on a nice day during the weekend. sometimes you just gotta not brew as sometimes they understand this is your hobby, a source of relaxation (even though it can be frustrating a little). I'd give it up in a heart beat if my wife wanted me to, and she knows it.
awesome. I'm super wicked happy that you have it all worked out.
 
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betarhoalphadelta

betarhoalphadelta

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schedule your brew day when the wife goes out for her hair cut and pedicure.
That would be great, but I'd need to hire a babysitter!

Our youngest turns 2 next week. Since I brew in the open garage, trying to watch all three and keep them out of the street while brewing just isn't feasible.
 

dobes

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I have 2 young boys (3 and 16 months) I usually try and brew once a month sometimes twice. Wife usually doesn't bother me to much about it as long as it works in our schedule. She usually brings the kids out and I let them get involved with the brew as much as possible. Usually every second or third brew I do I make sure its one of her favorites this keeps her wanting me to brew more and sometimes asks me to brew if I haven't brewed one of her favorites in a while.
 

Braufessor

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Sounds to me like you are completely reasonable and thoughtful in your brewing. Everyone, regardless of how busy they are, needs to take some time to do things they enjoy. Doing that does not make you a bad family guy or anything like that - especially the way you seem to be doing it.

But, life gets busy and sometimes what you "want" to do gets put on the back burner. I went almost 5 years without brewing at one point because my step kids were in HS, I was teaching, I was in grad. school....... etc. Now, I am done with grad. school, kids are on their own, wife loves that I brew........ and I spend a stupid amount of time on it:) Just gotta roll with what you have on your plate at the time. Sounds like you do a pretty good job of enjoying the hobby, but making it work.
 

RonPopeil

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This is like the cost threads. It depends on the person. How much time do you have for a hobby? If you can spend 5 hours a day practicing an instrument you can brew beer. If you have 2 hours a day to practice a hobby you can brew beer. Does it take too long? Does it take too much of your time? Ask the right question and get the right answer.
 

BigPerm

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I'm convinced that the male of our species became a big game hunter, braving woolly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and rival aggressive tribes for one and only one reason: it's way easier than raising kids!
This is the greatest thing I've ever seen written.
 

elkshadow

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It would be hard for me to get uptight about someone having 5 hours a month to themselves away from the family.
 

houstonbg

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Consider this: Say you're a rabid NFL fan. The average NFL game is ~3 hours [1]. There are 16 Monday Night games. That's ~48 hours watching football.

Now, it's safe to say that if you're one of these people watching every Monday Night game, you're probably catching other games throughout the season. Let's say 4 games (though I'm pretty confident that's incredibly below the mark) just to make this easy, and voilà, you're at 60 hours.

Revise the OP in this context and it would seem incredibly silly.
 

broadbill

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That would be great, but I'd need to hire a babysitter!

Our youngest turns 2 next week. Since I brew in the open garage, trying to watch all three and keep them out of the street while brewing just isn't feasible.
I LOL'ed at that comment; that was obviously from someone who doesn't have kids or they have been out of the house for awhile. :)
 

Yooper

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Yeah, considering a previous hobby had me high-siding a motorcycle on a racetrack at 75 mph, she does prefer some things about this hobby :D
When I think about other hobbies I'd like or have had in the past (SCUBA, skydiving, big game hunts, fishing in Alaska), I guess I can say that at least brewing is cheaper and safer. :D

When my kids were living at home, I'd brew on Wednesdays (then, my day off) and be all done by 3 PM when they came home. It really helped to have a day off during the week, for brewing and haircuts and dentist appointments and things. Most working people don't have that luxury. Now, since I'm mostly retired, and Bob is retired, and the kids are gone, it doesn't matter when I brew except that Bob would like me to be done by 4 PM so he can make dinner as usual and have me present for a pre-dinner drink.

Flexible schedules make it so much easier. We can balance our time with each other, our hobbies, time with the grandkids, my (occasional) working, as well as our general routine tasks around the house. It would be easier if we could all be retired and have our kids grown, wouldn't it? :D
 

bilder

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5 hours on a Saturday away from the family. Wives like to harp on this it seems till you put it into perspective.

How many hours are wasted watching TV as family time? No one interacts, you just watch a screen.

How many hours going to the movies? Again no one interacts, you just watch a screen.

I have found that simply being in the same room will still the cries of not being around. You can step away and be close quite a bit while the wort is chilling, steeping, etc..

Plus you can get the kids involved with some parts of the process. Take them berry picking to get you some adjuncts and flavorings. :) They get to have fun and you get free labor.
 

Beernik

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I was a late night brewer until our daughter turned 4. After that, I figured she was semi-self sufficient or at least didn't need me watching her all the time. That's when I switched to all grain and brewing outside.

I'm currently brewing 8 - 10 gallons in a weekend and I'm doing it about every 3 months. That will become more frequent in September because I'll be splitting a couple 5 gallon batches with my brother. I'm introducing him to the hobby.

My wife is supportive of my brewing for two reasons:
1. She loves my sweet stout.
2. She knows if I don't get my "Fortress of Solitude" time, I'll go crazy.
 

unionrdr

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Even though my wife can't drink anymore (dammit!), she still supports my brewing, I think, since our finances improved recently to where I can now brew once a month. It keeps the pipeline going to where I don't need to spend more money buying it. That seems to be the attraction for her. Why ask why?:mug:
 

FiddlersGreen87

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Allow me to throw a couple tricks out there for any guy getting resistance.

See this is where a lot of us screw up. The trick is to convince your significant other to do it together. My wife loves helping make the beer, which comes in really handy in all different areas involved. She hasn't contested any of my purchases in the past 2 months (and believe me I've shelled out a **** ton of cash for my upgrades). Plus it's always nice to have someone help.

Next trick, I stumbled into this one more out of luck than anything else, find a friend that plays WoW. While it may only cost around 15$ a month for the subscription to that game, it drives his wife crazy that he plays it as much as he does. My wife has flat out said, "I'd rather you spend more money and brew beer than ever play that stupid game." I didn't say it was rational, but here's the real money maker. Her wife complains to my wife about the game which only reinforces her support of my hobby! :rockin:

I will concede that my situation will probably change dramatically once the little demons are brought into the equation, but I keep telling myself it's something they'll want to do with me so it's ok. :mug:
 

madscientist451

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Sounds like you are a very thoughtful person who cares about his family.
From father of 3, married 22 years, then divorced, my 2 cents:
1. Talk this through with your baby's mama. Just ask her if she minds you brewing one
Saturday or on Weekday evening a month, and that she has to watch the children while you are doing it.
2. If she says ok, put it on a schedule so everyone knows when its going to happen, and encourage her to schedule a Saturday or an evening when she doesn't have to do anything with the kids. Also tell her often how you appreciate her support and how's she's the best wife ever. If she likes beer, make the kind she likes.
3. If she says no, listen to her point of view and maybe compromise with brewing once every other month or every 6 weeks.
4. If that doesn't fly put the brewing aside until the kids are older. Your kids and your marriage are way more important than any beer. When the kids are teenagers or grow up and move away, you'll have plenty of time for brewing.
Like I said, my 2 cents. Hope it helps, Cheers!
 

chewse

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That would be great, but I'd need to hire a babysitter!

Our youngest turns 2 next week. Since I brew in the open garage, trying to watch all three and keep them out of the street while brewing just isn't feasible.
Ah, your kids must still be fairly young. Wait until they get older and start to play sports and attend school events. You will be expected to participate in their activities one why or another. That's when "time management" will become critical for you!
 

Phlyborn

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My wife doesn't drink and doesn't like the smell of brewing. I brew on Sundays starting in the morning and while the mash is sitting I do things around the house or just talk with the family. Then while the wort is chilling we eat lunch together. I'll also brew while watching football games when they are on so I'm killing two birds with one stone.




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