Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: pliskadm on May 22, 2010, 02:17:21 PM

Title: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: pliskadm on May 22, 2010, 02:17:21 PM
Hello all,
I am new to this both brewing and writing on forums, but I have a question to pose to the world.  Let me start with a little background story:  I am a 24 y/o college student at a local university for Mechanical Engineering who has recently fallen in love with homebrewing.  I live with a 47 y/o male and 49 y/o female and their grand-daughter.  I brew with the 47 y/o male that I live with.  The reason their grand-daughter is living their is because the mother of that girl is a derelict mother who has no care or want to be with this child.  Without going into details on all the drama that is involved, basically there will be a court hearing to grant the grand-parents that I live with to have legal guardianship over the child so as to minimize future drama from the derelict mother who currently resides with a boyfriend who uses drugs and alcohol and has weapons around the house.  Because an investigator had to walk through their house to validate the claims of drug use etc, these people have slung $h!t our way telling this investigator that we are alcoholics who brew beer in the garage.  This investigator has notified us that she will have to make a walk-through the house to "make sure we aren't brewing beer in the garage" next week.  My question is: is it a bad thing to brew with children in the house? I thought it was a wholesome activity that the entire family can get involved in as long as we contain the final product properly away from minors..
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: karlh on May 22, 2010, 03:33:32 PM
I think there is a clear distinction between either brewing or drinking beer and a claim of rampant alcoholism.  I am not familiar with these types of custody claims, but can only imagine that the investigator would be looking for evidence of excess.  If homebrewing and the drinking of beer are (presumably) legal in your state, lacking evidence of excessive drinking in the household, I can't see how evidence of them would negatively effect a grandparents right to take care of a child (especially given the evidence of weapons, drugs, and excessive drinking in the home of the mother). 
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: yaleterrace on May 22, 2010, 04:55:05 PM
it all depends on state law in your neck of the woods.  brewing up to 200gal/year is legal in most states but not all.  have a local homebrew store?  if so, you're in a good state.

as far as the inspection is concerned, i wouldnt hide the whole setup and pretend nothings going on, esp since the investigator knows youre brewing already.  there is, however, some concern to be expressed for character assessment, since many people stigmatize homebrewing unfairly ("duh-uhhh... is that a meth lab?).  just be straight about it, and call it your hobby.

good luck, and cheers!
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: BrewArk on May 22, 2010, 05:06:41 PM
Make sure you are good on your safety stuff too.

Things like glass (carboys) that can fall off shelves,  ventilation during your boil, separation of kids from burners, etc.

Look at the Governmental Affairs section on the AHA website, & know the specifics for your state (make it available to any social worker that isn't up on the legality in your area?).

With that I think you'll be fine.  Heck, I did a demo for the Boy Scouts on the "Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day".

Be sober (and polite) on the day of the visit. ;)
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: dbeechum on May 22, 2010, 05:45:11 PM
Yeah, I wouldn't try to lie and hide the brewing. Social service investigators like any cop learn to sniff out a lie in a hurry and typically that just makes them far less tolerant of anything else you might be doing/saying. BAsically, it makes you look like every other lying s***head they have to deal with.

Definitely make sure to have the relevant laws on hand (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/government-affairs/statutes)

Remember, this is a legal hobby and there's nothing wrong with it in moderation. Doesn't mean it won't raise eyebrows, but really, even if you get an inspector who's strictly anti-alcohol I can't help but think that same person is going to frown more heavily on illegal drug use.
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: richardt on May 22, 2010, 06:29:01 PM
Agree with above.  Be honest--it's a hobby, and it is legal; and you enjoy it in moderation.

Nonetheless, from the standpoint of social services, they are primarily concerned for the welfare of the child.  That's their job.

I remember a sad case I witnessed during my medical training of a rural mom cooking dinner on a wok (using oil) and as she was transferring the wok from the burner to the sink, it slipped and spilled hot oil on her son and daughter playing on the floor  near her feet.  Her daughter bore the brunt of the hot oil--face, neck, arms, back, chest, and thighs were scalded with 2nd and 3rd degree burns... 

You and your roommates are the adults here.  So do the right thing from a safety standpoint.  Unless the granddaughter is in the teens, I wouldn't recommend young restless toddlers, and elementary school children being involved or nearby, especially around burners, boiling water, glass carboys, and chemicals.  So, for the purposes of inspection and actual homebrewing practice, no kids should be involved in homebrewing unless they're teens practically ready to shoot guns and drive cars.  And certainly obey the laws of your state with regards to the drinking age.
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: beerocd on May 22, 2010, 08:43:03 PM
I think they will look at it funny because there is another activity that MO is heavy into that could use the same equipment. I don't think the issues would come from the beer making, just the possibility that it may be a front for something else that MO is known for.

Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: brewmasternpb on May 24, 2010, 08:22:33 PM
Here's the important question:  When is your lease up?  It sounds like you found yourself in some drama, might be time to move.
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: micsager on May 24, 2010, 08:37:46 PM
Agree with above.  Be honest--it's a hobby, and it is legal; and you enjoy it in moderation.

Nonetheless, from the standpoint of social services, they are primarily concerned for the welfare of the child.  That's their job.

I remember a sad case I witnessed during my medical training of a rural mom cooking dinner on a wok (using oil) and as she was transferring the wok from the burner to the sink, it slipped and spilled hot oil on her son and daughter playing on the floor  near her feet.  Her daughter bore the brunt of the hot oil--face, neck, arms, back, chest, and thighs were scalded with 2nd and 3rd degree burns... 

You and your roommates are the adults here.  So do the right thing from a safety standpoint.  Unless the granddaughter is in the teens, I wouldn't recommend young restless toddlers, and elementary school children being involved or nearby, especially around burners, boiling water, glass carboys, and chemicals.  So, for the purposes of inspection and actual homebrewing practice, no kids should be involved in homebrewing unless they're teens practically ready to shoot guns and drive cars.  And certainly obey the laws of your state with regards to the drinking age.

Does brewing a barrel a month equate to "moderation?"
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: deepsouth on May 24, 2010, 08:47:53 PM
it all depends on state law in your neck of the woods.  brewing up to 200gal/year is legal in most states but not all.  have a local homebrew store?  if so, you're in a good state.



careful on that one.  we have a wine shop that sells everything for beer, but it's totally illegal.  (he doesn't stock liquid yeast, just safale 05 and nottingham).
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: majorvices on May 24, 2010, 08:54:46 PM
In Alabama there are several homebrew shops, yet homebrewing is illegal in Al. It is not illegal to sell any of the ingredients to make beer so there is not really a way for the authorities to close homebrew shops.
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: glitterbug on May 24, 2010, 09:33:45 PM
People have their own prejudices about things that are perfectly legal. Judges, social workers, and LEO's have a lot of power over your life and some of your choices can negatively impact their image of you. If homebrewing is PERCEIVED to be a problem, you may not like the outcome. Good luck.

Here's the important question:  When is your lease up?  It sounds like you found yourself in some drama, might be time to move.

+1


Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: passlaku on May 25, 2010, 03:03:46 AM
I know this guy whose own kid reported him to the local drug task force because he didn't like his dad. (I think it was a bitter divorce situation). The kid figured that the stuff all looked suspicious enough to get his dad in trouble.  (And this was in AL where HB is still "illegal").   From what I understand the local cops did their investigation and it didn't go anywhere. 
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: dmtaylor on May 25, 2010, 03:27:33 AM
I have three little monsters and I brew with them around.  You do need to be careful around hot things, but that's about it.  In my case, they know what beer tastes like, and have decided that they don't like it at all (so far anyway), so they have virtually zero interest in my hobby except they occasionally like to take a peek at the mash or the boil to see what it looks like, but that's all.  Otherwise they just leave me alone to do my thing because that's daddy's thing and it's not really too fun for them.

I agree with others' sentiments that in most states, it is perfectly legal to brew, but you do need to find out your state's laws, to confirm that they've got nothing on you or your buddy.  Then, assuming it's legal, make it clear in court that what you are doing is perfectly legal and therefore can't be held against you.  The "investigator" should know better -- are they getting some kind of search warrant for this??  If not, you could refuse to let the investigator in, and counter that their basis for any such warrant would be flawed.

Now on the other hand, if homebrewing is not legal in your state, you could have a slight problem -- Better get rid of the equipment and all homebrew kegs/bottles immediately.  If this is the case, the investigator is basically giving you a free chance to clean up before they come over (because maybe they're really on your side?).  But as soon as the investigator leaves, you could probably sneak all the stuff back in with no one being the wiser.

In reality, regardless of legality, there is really nothing bad about homebrewing around kids as long as you're not alcoholics and you're not serving it to children.  Anyway, the feds say we can brew 200 gallons per household per year, which in my eyes basically implies that as long as you're under that, you're legally not drunks either.  Right?!
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: deepsouth on May 25, 2010, 11:59:20 AM
(http://i756.photobucket.com/albums/xx201/deepsouth1970/2e1736fb.jpg)
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: Slowbrew on May 25, 2010, 07:29:29 PM
If it's a question your brewing buddy is worried about he should ask his lawyer.  I have to believe your roommates have legal counsel to assist with gaining custody of the child.  Anything that could have an affect on the case must be disclosed to their representative in court.  Lawyers hate surprises.

That being said, IANAL and the kids who brew with me are my own.  In Iowa it is actually legal to serve alcohol to your own kids in your own house (within reason of course)  Not that I would but I could.  I think it's a good way to teach them safety rules and light a fire in them to experiment.  Nothing says fun in school like chem lab!!!  ;D

Seriously though, this is a good question but it would be answered better by the legal representatives familiar with the case.

Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: bmilford on May 26, 2010, 01:50:58 AM


I remember a sad case I witnessed during my medical training of a rural mom cooking dinner on a wok (using oil) and as she was transferring the wok from the burner to the sink, it slipped and spilled hot oil on her son and daughter playing on the floor  near her feet.  Her daughter bore the brunt of the hot oil--face, neck, arms, back, chest, and thighs were scalded with 2nd and 3rd degree burns... 


I just had a similar experence, pan full of hot oil got knocked off of the stove and splashed hot oil everywhere, me included. I thank God my kids wheren't in the kitchen, that is also my biggest worry with brewing is that there could be an accident involving hot wort and my kids. They can help when they want but not around the brew kettle.
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: richardt on May 26, 2010, 02:48:08 AM
I hear ya--accidents do happen and sometimes danger isn't where we think it is.

One time my wife was so insistent on making a PB sandwich while I was sanitizing my bottles on bottling day and she proceeded to start a domino effect of all my delabelled, washed, and sanitized bottles representing the previous 3 hours work cascading over the counter onto the floor. My barefoot 7 yo had just walked into the kitchen and was in the path of all the shattered glass tsunami, but I fortunately had seen the domino effect happening, instinctively turned and rushed to grab him, and lifted him out of the way just in time.

Some parts of brewing aren't so dangerous.  Yet my 2 boys, now ages 10 and 7.5, are always doing what brothers do--push and shove and annoy each other.  I do like to share my love for this hobby with them.  They occasionally help me weigh out the hops and grind the grains and pour the RO water out of the plastic jug into the boil kettle at the beginning of the brew day, but they've not been allowed around the boil kettle, the hot liquids, or the cleaning chemicals.  If they do come out to see what I'm doing, I only let one boy come out at a time and safety is paramount in my mind.  I keep them away from the kettle.

IMO, you're never alone when you brew--Mr Murphy is always present, and never helpful.  The stories on this forum attest to that.
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: mnstorm99 on May 26, 2010, 02:41:01 PM
When I first started homebrewing my sister thought only alchoholics brewed their own beer and asked if I had a "problem".  I think it is very misunderstood, as well as the craft beer movement in general.  Anyone who puts that much time and thought into beer MUST be an alchoholic, right?  Funny thing is most of us have much more regard for the product and treat it with way more respect than your average BMC drinker.

I was much more of an alchoholic when I drank Miller Lite!!!
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: monk on May 26, 2010, 05:09:19 PM
When I first started homebrewing my sister thought only alchoholics brewed their own beer and asked if I had a "problem".  I think it is very misunderstood, as well as the craft beer movement in general.  Anyone who puts that much time and thought into beer MUST be an alchoholic, right?  Funny thing is most of us have much more regard product and treat it with way more respect than your average BMC drinker.

I was much more of an alchoholic when I drank Miller Lite!!!

+1

Alcoholics need beer NOW.  They can't wait two weeks for fermentation, much less 2 months for conditioning!
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: euge on May 26, 2010, 05:32:27 PM
I saw this on HBT and about fell out of my chair...

(http://lh4.ggpht.com/_BGa2L64KQdY/S_1aoSfpgPI/AAAAAAAAAH8/o9xtKX_T2vo/s512/grace.JPG)

Posted there by Glibbidy.
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: Hokerer on May 26, 2010, 05:43:05 PM
I saw this on HBT and about fell out of my chair...

Posted there by Glibbidy.

Instant classic!  LOL
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: theDarkSide on May 26, 2010, 06:23:10 PM
I see nothing wrong with it...they make great little assistant brewers.

(http://i304.photobucket.com/albums/nn176/stevo155/untitled.jpg)
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: marty on May 26, 2010, 07:09:10 PM
I see nothing wrong with it...they make great little assistant brewers.

they're great at cleaning hard to reach spots

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3369/4642203355_67af4e50f3.jpg)
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: weithman5 on May 26, 2010, 07:25:09 PM
personally, i would rather my children involved than the government...
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: skyler on May 27, 2010, 08:26:46 AM
Having just finished law school, I have exactly one piece of advice I can legally give you before I pass the bar: hire an attorney. Seriously, this sounds like you need a lawyer.
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: mnstorm99 on May 27, 2010, 10:58:23 AM
I saw this on HBT and about fell out of my chair...

Posted there by Glibbidy.

holy s***
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: IHBHS on May 27, 2010, 08:13:09 PM
holy s*** is right, she's way to close to the edge without proper fall protection.
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: deepsouth on May 27, 2010, 08:17:36 PM
glad to see i'm not the only person to put their kid to work on brewday.
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: MrNate on May 27, 2010, 08:49:59 PM
I see nothing wrong with it...they make great little assistant brewers.

they're great at cleaning hard to reach spots

Yes, they are.

(http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee226/nutkeis/Brewing/IMG_0756.jpg)

I'm fairly convinced that every homebrewer with kids has a similar picture. Someone should start a website called kidsinbuckets.com and collect them all.
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: pliskadm on June 11, 2010, 06:49:01 PM
Thanks for your help everyone.  The inspector lady came and just peeked in the garage.  She saw nothing out of the ordinary and then said she never even heard of such a thing as homebrewing and added that she wouldn't even know what it looked like. It all comes down to peoples perceptions about this hobby.  I almost get offended when people say that they could see how I look like an alcoholic,  and more so when people say that my equipment looks like some drug manufacturing lab.  It just goes to show one how ignorant people can really begin to ruin your day.  But I try not to worry and just have a homebrew!
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: micsager on June 11, 2010, 07:43:47 PM
Glad to hear about the positive outcome.  Good luck brother!
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: majorvices on June 11, 2010, 08:10:27 PM
I almost get offended when people say that they could see how I look like an alcoholic,

I get offended too, but then I just go get drunk and forget about them.
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: IHBHS on June 11, 2010, 11:01:27 PM
Quote
I almost get offended when people say that they could see how I look like an alcoholic,  and more so when people say that my equipment looks like some drug manufacturing lab.

When I first started homebrewing I brought individual pieces into my place and so nothing looked suspicious, but when i moved my equipment was one full load.  The crazy neighbor lady actually called the cops because she thought I was bringing a meth lab into my house.  I had to sit there and explain to the cops that it was a homebrewing setup and not a meth lab.  He actually came back when he was off and drank a couple homebrews with me.
Title: Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
Post by: medicineman on June 13, 2010, 03:43:44 AM
My landlord had my house evaluated for property taxes.  I had my garage door open and they though I was distilling (had the IC in the kettle).  I explained that I was brewing beer and then they asked some good questions about beer in general.  Everything was fine, I don't think they cared but were concerned for everyone's safety.