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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2008 * Archive through January 31, 2008 * The hidden costs of brewing in your kitchen - a cautionary tale < Previous Next >

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Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 1478
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.32.253.156
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 06:10 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Guys, for a variety of reasons, I have been brewing in my kitchen for the past almost 4 years. I have a reasonably robust natural gas stove that does the trick, and quick adapters for my faucet for such tasks as bottle washing, wort chilling, etc.

I was lucky enough to get a few days off work and in addition to spending much of the time on beer-related chores, I was forced to:

- scrape/sand/resurface/sand/paint a wall that was peeling badly
- remove my oven door to sand/repaint the trim around the bottom where it had "allegedly" (according to SWMBO, disputed by me) been collecting spilled wort and rusting
- remove/sand/paint a couple of cabinet doors that had "allegedly" been soaking up spilled water from the sink and swelling

On top of that, I just had to order new grates and burner caps for my two go-to burners, and getting a deal (yes, really), they still were about $140.

Was it worth it? Hell, yes, a thousand times over. But could I have avoided the kitchen repairs had I come up with an outside plan? Yeah, probably.

Where am I brewing tomorrow? My kitchen, of course.
 

dhacker
Senior Member
Username: Dhacker

Post Number: 1315
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 74.226.121.20
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 10:52 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

. . and as long as you keep appeasing SWMBO with kitchen maintenance, even if its under the guise of resulting from brewing related activities, you will have happy trails!

Good work! You've obviously learned your lessons well.
 

ChriSto
Intermediate Member
Username: Christo

Post Number: 300
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 12:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My one boil-over several years ago caused me a multi-thousand dollar (that's many many multi) remodel on our kitchen. While I swear one eye did not work previously, I was blamed and it was determined that we must replace the old stove with a new dual-fuel range. We started with the new stove, but that "looked out of place", so "we" had to install new cabinets, countertops, floors, lights, etc. to go around it.

And for my birthday that year, I got a new propane system and was sent outside. I'm happier now anyway.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 8393
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.225.170
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 12:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Graham, do you brew in the kitchen out of necessity or out of habit or stubbornness? I would think by now both you and your wife would be happier with a dedicated (or semi-dedicated) brewing space.

(Message edited by BillPierce on January 22, 2008)
 

Chris Storey
Junior Member
Username: Stuts

Post Number: 55
Registered: 07-2004
Posted From: 216.168.107.34
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 01:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Me too. I chipped the side of the stove, make marks on it that I couldn't get off etc... It wasn't worth it, especially when I wanted to go all-grain. Now the only time I use the stove is to make starters. Best move I ever made.




Chris
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 8394
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.225.170
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 02:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Even when I was single I quickly came to realize that the kitchen is far from an ideal brewing space. And when I moved in with my wife, it took only a simple stovetop batch of mead to demonstrate to her that I was better off with another place to brew. When we bought our current house, there were many (and sometimes conflicting) priorities, but one thing we agreed on was that I wouldn't brew in the kitchen.
 

Tom Gardner
Senior Member
Username: Tom

Post Number: 1070
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 71.56.208.229
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 02:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes Dear!
 

Bob Wall
Senior Member
Username: Brewdudebob

Post Number: 1329
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 71.204.51.87
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 02:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Not only has my wife appreciated that I moved out of the kitchen, she was even happier when I installed a slop sink in the garage. I was still having to run back and forth for various reasons, but the slop sink virtually eliminated the need to use the kitchen. Like Chris says, I only use my stove-top for starters.
 

Skotrat
Advanced Member
Username: Skotrat

Post Number: 522
Registered: 07-2007
Posted From: 75.67.98.168
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 02:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree with Tom...

Plus... As long as you use terms like "SWMBO" I think that you all deserve what you get.

and stop being such pigs in the kitchen...

Clean as you go for Cry I A!
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1521
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 70.225.133.222
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 03:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I started out brewing in the kitchen. It really didn't bother my wife, as I do 99 and 44/100th percent of the cooking around here. Any mess I made impacted me.

I brewed outside for a while using propane, which was OK except in the winter.

I made the move to brewing in the basement, in what was once the coal bin of the house, in the furnace room. I was able to run black pipe from the furnace over to the brew area, with the help of a friend who's a professional pipe-fitter. I do have to run hoses over to the laundry room sink for the wort chiller.

Best brewing move I ever made. It ain't fancy, but it works for me. Biggest sort of "automation" is a Ranco controller for my electrically-heated HLT. Everything else follows the K.I.S.S. principle.
 

Mike A.
Intermediate Member
Username: Mike_a

Post Number: 413
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 128.173.15.155
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 03:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Paul, sounds a lot like the evolution of my brewing as well. First kitchen, then outside, now in the basement coal room.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 1480
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.32.253.156
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 03:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Graham, do you brew in the kitchen out of necessity or out of habit or stubbornness? I would think by now both you and your wife would be happier with a dedicated (or semi-dedicated) brewing space."

Bill, the short answer is out of habit, and because it's just logistically easier than running up and down the stairs into my basement - which is wholly unsuited to brewing - or out to the patio. I've thought about getting a blowtorch to boil outside, but really, that accomplishes very little other than to expose me to the weather. My water source is inside, my tools and gadgets are inside, and I don't have to constantly refill propane tanks. Like Paul, I do almost all of the cooking, so the kitchen isn't like a range war.

The damage to my stove has already been done, and now it's been repaired. I'll keep the old grates and use them when I brew so I won't damage the new ones.

I agree entirely that I need a dedicated brew space, and I was going to build one when we moved. With the markets having done what they've done, and continue to do today, moving is now probably a long way off.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 8396
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.225.170
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 04:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I also do more than 80 percent of the cooking in our kitchen. It's not that my wife dislikes cooking; she claims that "process-oriented tasks" already occupy too much of her consciousness (she works as a software design engineering supervisor).

I don't see how brewing is easily compatible with day-to-day food preparation and cleanup. The sanitation issues alone disturb me.
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 5255
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 63.118.227.254
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 04:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I started brewing in the kitchen in 1990, when my wife bought me a starter equipment kit.....it didn't take long afterwards for her to buy me a King Kooker to get that stinky mess out of the kitchen.
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 3037
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 74.7.7.66
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 06:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think I only brewed twice in the kitchen. We used to have an early electric flat top stove. Not the glass ones like now but a white composite with electric elements embedded in it. When anything got on it, it burned to a nice black unremovable substance immediately. 3rd batch was in the basement on the Coleman stove.
 

Dave Witt
Senior Member
Username: Davew

Post Number: 1062
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 71.194.189.126
Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 12:53 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Graham,

At least you grind your grain outdoors--in the snow.
 

michael atkins
Advanced Member
Username: Mga

Post Number: 632
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 204.26.74.42
Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 01:02 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

First time in the kitchen - complete with a boil over. After that it was turkey fryers out on the patio.

She has her space - and I have mine!
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 5256
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 65.29.223.32
Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 01:25 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am with Vance, only twice in Her kitchen. I had a laundry stove in an apartment building we owned then. Presto changeo, it was in my basement. After that I converted an old water heater to a stove. Now all the brewing is done at work - sometimes propane, sometimes electric all depending on batch size.
 

PalerThanAle
Senior Member
Username: Palerthanale

Post Number: 1711
Registered: 04-2002
Posted From: 69.81.43.40
Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 01:57 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My wife doesn't mind because the kitchen is cleaner before AND after I brew then it normally is. The part she doesn't like is the smells. I normally brew in the garage - but some days it's just too cold.
I prefer the garage because I can have a cigar.

PTA
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 1484
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.32.253.156
Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 03:13 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"At least you grind your grain outdoors--in the snow."

Not very often!

That is one element of the operation that is universally outdoors, because I don't want the grain dust, and its attendant buggies, floating around in my house.
 

Ryan Messenger
Junior Member
Username: Rem

Post Number: 46
Registered: 10-2007
Posted From: 74.34.7.108
Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 04:07 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I brewed extract batches in the kitchen, and then moved outside when I went to full wort boils. However, today I couldn't get the propane burner to work outside so I took it inside due to necessity. I was surprised that I was able to boil 6 1/2 gallons of wort in my eight gallon brew pot on my stove. I live in NY and I don't have a garage... I might move back inside for good! Although, my wife hates the smell.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 1485
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.32.253.156
Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 04:26 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Funny, mine doesn't seem to mind the smell.

I did an interesting little program a couple of days ago when it snowed: I had planned to get up early and brew a split batch BoPils and German Pilsner. As it turned out, it snowed overnight and we had an almost unimaginable treat in a couple of inches of accumulation. Knowing that it wouldn't last, I took my daughter out for a walk and a visit with some neighborhood kids until about noon, when I finally got around to the brew session.

Anyhoo, since I was brewing a German Pils, I had the bright idea to do a German-style pork roast with roasted potatoes and sauerkraut. I sent the pack mule off to the supermarket to collect the supplies while I brewed, and prepared them simultaneously. (Man, I hope the smells/flavors don't migrate!) We had a great German-style pork dinner that night, complete with draft Doppelbock!

My wife is very tolerant. It helps that I cook at least half of her food (and supply 100% of her income.)
 

Bob Wall
Senior Member
Username: Brewdudebob

Post Number: 1336
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 71.204.51.87
Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 06:14 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"I sent the pack mule off to the supermarket to collect the supplies while I brewed"

I sure hope your wife does not read this forum!
 

a.k.a. Grog
Junior Member
Username: Kirktech

Post Number: 43
Registered: 11-2007
Posted From: 68.106.245.55
Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 08:07 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My wife is German, so the first phrase I learned to speak in German was "Ja Schatz". Some things are simply universal, eh Tom?
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1523
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 70.225.133.222
Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 12:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My wife loves the smell of the beer being brewed.

My wife and I are both half German. The first word she learned to read was "Hudepohl" (we grew up in Cincinnati...)
 

Dave Buchter
New Member
Username: Rutherford420

Post Number: 17
Registered: 07-2007
Posted From: 69.117.223.197
Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 05:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I started brewing outdoors, in the detached carport, which was a bit of a pain. Had to set up a work space every time, and for a while this summer, while redoing the driveway, it was a muddy mess.
We have a not-so-legal apartment in our basement. When my wife applied for a job with the town, we decided to quit renting for a while, so as not to draw unwanted attention. So, I'm now very lucky to have a dedicated brewing kitchen, complete with two 'fridges, one temp. controlled for lagering. The apt. has it's own entrance, with a sunken stairway where I set up the brew kettle, just outside the door. I can watch the progress of the boil thru the door, and stay nice and warm inside!
I too, do most of the cooking, and it's nice not to make a mess of the upstairs kitchen.
 

Cory K.
Member
Username: Galaxy51

Post Number: 139
Registered: 04-2006
Posted From: 71.33.29.236
Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 - 05:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I only brewed in the kitchen twice. The wife didn't like the smell and the indoor mess. Neither of us liked the humidity and were concerned that eventually the humidity would possibly cause damage to the cupboards and didn't like its effect on the walls and ceiling either. Also the flat top stove really struggled in its attempt to get a full volume rolling boil going.

Actually I came up with several reasons why it would be better to move my brewing out to the shop because a dedicated brew area is what I really wanted.

I like to tinker with metalworking so building homestyle brewing equipment was something that I really wanted to do. Although the shop isn't heated the big door faces west so I can get solar assistance for winter brews. I just need to give the weather forcast due consideraton. I use converted Sanke kegs and now brew 9-12 gallon batches. I am very content to be out of the kitchen.