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  1. #1

    Default Homebrewing & Children

    This article was posted on Facebook yesterday: http://lifehacker.com/5836767/homebr...ystify-alcohol

    What are your thoughts? I was really disapointed in the comments left after the article myself.

  2. #2

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    I don't know if having my niece help me measure and mix would 'demystify' alcohol, but it could be a really fun science experiment and teach her a whole lot! What yeast is, what fermentation is, conversion tables, some basic math, how to responsibly keep on a project, so on and so forth.

    As for the comments after the article, I agree with one of them. I NEVER expect the drunk guy to make a rational decision (or blame alcohol for what a person does under it's influence), I blame the SOBER person who walked into that bar or club without a designated driver or without giving their keys to a friend (or the bartender, most will hold the keys and have cab company numbers on file), and still decided they were going to drink. Don't blame the drink, blame the person who never thinks it will happen to them.

  3. #3
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    I'm a grown-up and even I think it's cool to watch the CO2 bubbles coming up as a result of the yeastie's work...maybe I'm a kid at heart.
    Making Mead With TLC since 2010

  4. #4

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    My daughter (who is 10) and I have made batches of mead together. She enjoys the creation and fun of watching something come to life. Also the science behind it (she wants to be a forensic anthropologist). She also has had tastes of finished products, but by the faces she makes, does not like it.

    As for the comments...trolls will be trolls...
    Making Mead since 2009. Brewing since 2008

  5. #5
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    If I had kids, damn straight they'd be involved in my brewing and probably also small samples. I don't believe that there is a magical age where you're suddenly responsible, if you're old enough to ask for a taste, you can have it. But that's the thing, when you brew, it's all about the taste. What is it about when you drink? Feeling the buzz? Getting hammered? Seeing how much your body can take before you throw up or pass out?

    I always knew what stuff tasted like when I was a kid, my parents were matter-of-fact about it, being publicly intoxicated was discouraged (although it was OK now and then for Dad to be walking home a bit sideways after sampling Uncle John's Slivovitz) but I got a sip of beer or wine or Dad's scotch and soda water if I asked (Uncle John's Croatian hootch too).

    My first inebriating drinking experiences were at family gatherings so I was under supervision (unfortunately it wasn't until we got home from the open-bar reception and they'd stopped keeping an eye on me that I fell down stairs and busted ribs, don't do that, it hurts).

    I have learned to stick to my 3-drink maximum or else I won't stop. Dad was the same way, after a few, the ability to judge what is required to keep a nice buzz on is impaired so badly we'd both down anything placed in front of us and end up on the floor. Now I make my decisions while I'm sober and appoint someone to make sure I keep to it.

    My younger brother was the one who picked the lock on the liquor cabinet as a youngster, and he has had enough problems with alcohol that aside from the occasional celebratory bottle of wine, his house is "dry". So I don't know what he'd think about me teaching his kids how to make wine, mead, beer or anything. They're still a bit young for recipes (last time we made bread dough together I think their daddy had to take the pressure-washer to them) so I haven't asked him about it yet, but maybe by the time they're in middle-school... We did discover that one likes the taste of beer and the other doesn't (I was using near-beer in the dough).

    My husband and I have a younger friend who'd never had more than a glass of wine so we called her mother and asked permission (she was a few months underage at the time but legal the next province over), I think it was good for her to find out what it feels like to have too much and how it affects your judgement, etc, when you're surrounded by people you can trust, since she was going off to university in another town soon.

    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  6. #6

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    First, sorry for the long post from a newb, but this really got to me when I read the comments.

    I have gone through the process of fermentation with my son (at this time 9), and made several batches of mead not just in front of him but with him participating. He pitched for me last time, and loves that he can do something with the seemingly all-knowing dad. He understands that these tiny things he can't see fart CO2 and pee water until the oxygen is gone. And I have yet to find any symptoms the worrysome people on that site want too see. In fact, I have yet too see anthying worrysome from the children of the people I know that brew, distill, or vint, and I have a hard time thinking of aynthing but this.

    The site was descended upon by nutjobs.

    I have a hard time placing blame on the substance rather than the abuser. And as my son has yet to steal any of my beverages no matter what the ABV, I can only think parenting comes into it somewhere too. And the parenting of the people saying the article was encouraging evils upon society in my mind is called into question, as they are like the first person to start yelling in an argument.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAlchemist View Post
    I'm a grown-up and even I think it's cool to watch the CO2 bubbles coming up as a result of the yeastie's work...maybe I'm a kid at heart.
    Same here. On both counts I fear ;-)

    I will teach my boy if he wishes to learn, when he's older. And we'll brew special ginger beers etc, just for him if he likes the taste.

    The science/maths thing is cool too.

    I too was always offered a taste from as young as I could remember.
    The good thing about this is that adults' pallets are so different to kids' that everything was GROSS.
    My mum only drank dry whites, my dad dry reds or beer.
    I got drunk for the first time at 17.75 years of age (18 is legal)
    I didn't overdo it, and have only ever overdone it three times in my now 13 years of drinking.

    I've never been able to understand ppl like CG and her dad, but have come to accept that they exist. (this is no slight CG, just an insight into my psyche) for a long time I really despised ppl who "wouldn't" hold their drink, and "wouldn't" know when to stop. It's only recently I've realised wouldn't = couldn't.
    So I've had it pretty good really.

    I always disliked American TV's portrayal of a drunk. Beer is rarely a 'drunk's' drink. It simply costs too much and has too much volume per volume of ethanol. But every show depicts every drunk in the US drinking crappy low ABV beer by the caseload.

    I did happen to see an episode of glee the other day though, when DW had it on (gee that show has improved since season 1) and was pleased to see them showing ppl getting hammered properly in a realistic setting, with the kinds of alcohol that really knock you around.

    Wow. What a ramble! I can't even remember how I started this post ;-)
    Mae'r teithiau golau ceffyl eto

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kudapucat View Post
    I've never been able to understand ppl like CG and her dad, but have come to accept that they exist. (this is no slight CG, just an insight into my psyche) for a long time I really despised ppl who "wouldn't" hold their drink, and "wouldn't" know when to stop. It's only recently I've realised wouldn't = couldn't.
    So I've had it pretty good really.
    None taken, I am what I am and I'm honest about it with myself and others, make of it what you will. It took me a long time myself to realize that I couldn't stop once I'd started and to assign myself a babysitter or set my limits while I was still capable, and even longer to refine my system to something failproof (like training all my friends to never, ever say something like, "I'm driving so you can have all my drinks!")... I ran through the addiction questionaire once upon a time when a friend was going through narcotics anonymous and the number of "yes" answers I gave blew right past "you might have an alcohol problem" and said, "you are an alcoholic, get help"... but I never crave a drink or feel like I need to get wasted, it's only when I'm drunk already and don't have a reason to not get moreso (like, "I need to drive home in 5 hours so I must stop now after three drinks."). So I just don't get drunk anymore, it requires a little planning beforehand and a little willpower during, haven't lost it in at least 5 years (and that was so embarrassing I declared it to be the last time, I still get teased about being the designated drunk). It's just like messing with computers, figure out the problem that refuses to behave itself and establish a workaround . I would never equate my problems with a true addiction, my occasional accidental drunk is nothing at all compared to what some people I know have gone through, and kudos to anyone who's ever struggled with any addiction.

    Quote Originally Posted by kudapucat View Post
    I always disliked American TV's portrayal of a drunk. Beer is rarely a 'drunk's' drink. It simply costs too much and has too much volume per volume of ethanol. But every show depicts every drunk in the US drinking crappy low ABV beer by the caseload.
    And they wonder why we Canucks take jabs at Americans and their crappy tolerance and weak beer I was always of the opinion that beer was a social drink, you had one sitting around with your friends or family after the work was done. But you have one or two, not knocking it back one after another like Coke on game night!

    I wonder if some of the TV portrayal isn't due to the ratings systems and what you're legally allowed to show certain audiences at certain times?

    The advertisements for alcohol in this province always end with "please enjoy responsibly", and I guess that's really what it's all about - you are responsible for what you put into your body and how it affects you. Act accordingly.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  9. #9
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    I think that it is a wonderful idea to brew with your childeren once that they can help and start to understand. I have a friend that has not restricted his kids, even from a young age, and things are ok so far. By not restricted, I mean allow tastes. Heh, one even got into my mead, given to him at the party, and seemed to like it. At age 2. But that was only sips. My friend says that his parents reared him the same way and he is not an alcoholic or abusive of the drink. Hardly ever get's drunk. It's only going to de-mystify it if the parents are willing to allow them to drink and even drink to excess and then think about it, after the hang over, and what it does. In High School I went to a party or two and got drunk. Then I decided that I didn't like the feeling and didn't do it anymore.

    Also, Alcoholism is quite different than what it is protrayed in movies and tv. I spoke to a friend that is an alcoholic. The major difference is that a true alcoholic doesn't feel normal unless drunk. Being Sober is the thing that is wrong. But this does not help those that are not alcoholics but abuse the drink. Mostly, I think that a person must understand how their judgment is impaired and by how much. Then decide not to go there. Only making that descision to cut yourself off or not to do so when safe (ie at a party with no keys and great friends that wont take advantage other than mocking you when you are sober) Only then will anybody not be in trouble.

    America is parinoid of alcohol yet addicted to it, socially. I can say that as an American. But it goes further than that, We mystify it on purpose to try to keep kids from drinking and limiting the drinking age to 21. I don't think that we should do this. I think that we should instill an understanding of why it dangerious and what it actually does, just like driving. I hear that in other parts of the world it is a lower drinking age and much more socially accepted to drink. There are also much less problems with alcohol abuse than we have here in the states.

    Now should we lower the drinking age? Possibly but if you do, when it happens you are going to have chaos from the unleashing of the restrictions for a few years, and for those few years things are going to be worse. That is why they don't do it. It's gotta get worse before it can get better. You have a law that says "don't do that" and lessen the law it is human nature to release those inhibitions and "Do That" more until it reaches a collective consous on how to handle it, being taught by parents and other experiences that it is ok but to watch it or face harsh consequences.

    For my part I have never had trouble even drunk saying no and switching to water to avoid a hangover. I rarely indulge that much anyway, like once every 5 years or so. I usually just drink for a light buzz. If that. I like the taste of mead. So enjoy it's taste. The more you consume without pacing yourself the less you taste so it's a diminsing returns situation. This does not promote me to drink to excess.

    So that's my longwinded 2 cents.

    Matrix

  10. #10
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    I enjoy having my kids assist me in making meads. I've got some great bottle washers and fillers and corkers.
    The time I spend with them doing these things is actually kind of boring for them, and yet I figure they'll look back on it someday as something very special that they got to share with me.

    My older daughter doesn't like wines or meads much and will only taste a little if they are very sweet. My middle daughter doesn't like the smell of taste of any of them. We try to let them see that wine/mead can be consumed as part of the meal, and with family. We let them try some for the holiday feasts. They also take communion wine. In these settings, it is my belief that it helps them to understand how to treat alcohol with respect (for the substance and for themselves). I see no danger in this.

    Where the danger comes in is if one of my children gets into a car with someone else (particularly a teenager) who has been drinking. That is a recipe for disaster and I try to make sure they understand this without question.
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

  11. #11
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    That was always the big thing with my parents, they raised me with small amounts of alcohol and when I got to the age where I'd start drinking they made it extremely clear - I would NEVER get into trouble for drinking (I guess unless it was at school or something like that!) because they needed me to be 100% comfortable calling them for a ride under any circumstances, to never ever drive drunk or get into a car with a drunk. They weren't worried about what I did, just that I did it safely.

    It made all the difference in the world honestly. The fact that they put their trust in me rather than loaded me up with threats of punishment was what kept me responsible, no punishment could ever equal how much I'd punish myself just for breaking their trust.
    ~AToE (A Thing of Eternity... it's a nerd thing...)

    AKA: Alan H

  12. #12

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    I agree that alcohol SHOULD be demystified in our society. It is such a monster that it is hidden and used to terrify children and teenagers.

    I spent several years being terrified of alcohol, any situation involving alcohol, and especially being in a public setting where alcohol was served. Bars would almost put me into a panic attack, and my sisters who both drink casually were almost completely blocked out of my life. This reaction came from when I was 18, went to a friends birthday party where drink was served, and someone who I had known and trusted for 5 years put something in mine. It took me a long time, and therapy, to realize where blame was appropriate and to be ok with alcohol again. Now I make it myself as something I can give to my kindred as something special for them.

    The worst part of the whole thing was it took me 3 years to tell a single family member what happened to me because I was more frightened of my parents finding out I had been drinking underage than confident enough to try and get the guy. The alcohol was the worse crime somehow in the space I was in, and I didn't get help.

    I want my niece never to be so terrified of doing something stupid like having a drink at a party underage that she can't call me for a ride home. AToE, that level of trust and support you had with your parents is inspiring and I DO think more parents need to stress that rather than just the fear. Fear will only beget fear, and no one who is afraid will seek help from those they believe will condemn them.

    (BTW, this was not written to have a pity party. I have the love and support needed to keep me buoyed up and I obviously no longer have the direct fear of alcohol involved situations. I bring the booze now, and I choose my friends better. It was just an example of how hard fear can affect someone in a bad situation.)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soyala_Amaya View Post
    This reaction came from when I was 18, went to a friends birthday party where drink was served, and someone who I had known and trusted for 5 years put something in mine.

    I want my niece never to be so terrified of doing something stupid like having a drink at a party underage that she can't call me for a ride home. AToE, that level of trust and support you had with your parents is inspiring and I DO think more parents need to stress that rather than just the fear. Fear will only beget fear, and no one who is afraid will seek help from those they believe will condemn them.
    holy crap, that is a very good excuse for being paranoid about alcohol. I'm so lucky my parents never made a big deal out of underage drinking, although it's still embarrassing to lose control when you hadn't intended to... but instilling fear of alcohol to keep kids out of it is not the right track... reminiscent of a friend of mine in university who ended up pregnant, she was afraid to go on the pill because then her parents would know she was sexually active...

    Quote Originally Posted by Matrix4b View Post
    America is parinoid of alcohol yet addicted to it, socially. I can say that as an American. But it goes further than that, We mystify it on purpose to try to keep kids from drinking and limiting the drinking age to 21. I don't think that we should do this. I think that we should instill an understanding of why it dangerious and what it actually does, just like driving. I hear that in other parts of the world it is a lower drinking age and much more socially accepted to drink. There are also much less problems with alcohol abuse than we have here in the states.
    Yeah, through most of Europe, if you're old enough to ask for a drink, you're old enough to drink it. But the thing there is that public drunkenness is SO taboo there that you learn that drinking isn't about getting drunk.

    I always found it silly that you're allowed to drive an automobile at 16, die for your country at 18 but here can't drink with your buddies till 19 (21 in your state). Somehow I suspect that idiot but legal teens in automobiles probably kill significantly more people than underage drinkers... although Ontario's graduated lisencing seems to be helping with that.

    And America (and to a similar but I think lesser extent, Canada) is paranoid yet addicted to a lot of things... alcohol, drugs, tobacco, violence, nudity, sex... and you often find that places where they're not as paranoid about it, it's less of a problem. I mean, we can get codeine over the counter here but I've never heard of a codeine addict, yet I'll get arrested or turned away if I try to take headache pills or cough medicine over the border...
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  14. #14
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    I brew with my kids all the time...

    ...of course, they're 35, 32, and 29.

    And I actually only brew with the girls, as the boys live abroad.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildoates View Post
    I brew with my kids all the time...

    ...of course, they're 35, 32, and 29.

    And I actually only brew with the girls, as the boys live abroad.
    Nice, they're almost old enough to drink in your country!

    (I'm kidding, KIDDING! I also make fun of the rest of my own country that has a higher drinking age than 18! )

    EDIT: and wait, there's a secret riddle in your post. Girls, Boys, but only 3 different ages listed... twins in there somewhere?
    ~AToE (A Thing of Eternity... it's a nerd thing...)

    AKA: Alan H

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by AToE View Post
    ...wait, there's a secret riddle in your post. Girls, Boys, but only 3 different ages listed... twins in there somewhere?
    Yes! I spotted that, too!

    So, what's the story, Morning Glory?
    Making Mead With TLC since 2010

  17. #17
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    My adopted son is the same age as my younger daughter, they're both 32, soon to turn 33.

  18. #18
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    Ah, right, I forgot the adopted one! It's good to adopt kids, and it makes me smile when they totally don't match the parents ethnically!
    ~AToE (A Thing of Eternity... it's a nerd thing...)

    AKA: Alan H

  19. #19
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    I have a photo on my desk of my kids taken maybe a decade ago, just a snapshot of the four of them lined up, the three white kids and the one Chinese kid. I had a student look at that photo once and ask me which one was adopted.

    True story, made me laugh. When I asked the student if one of them looked out of place, he said oh, yeah, didn't think of that.

    They haven't all four been in the same place at the same time in too many years--they live on 3 continents and soon to be four countries--and I sure miss having them near.

  20. #20
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    Apologies in advance if anyone gets offended with the proceeding.....

    *breaks out the soapbox*

    As the child of sober alcoholics who has had many a frank conversation with his parents and siblings on the nature of alcoholism, as well as attended Al-Anon off and on for some 27 years.....

    Quote Originally Posted by kudapucat
    for a long time I really despised ppl who "wouldn't" hold their drink, and "wouldn't" know when to stop. It's only recently I've realized wouldn't = couldn't.
    That is complete and utter horse hocky.

    As has previously been noted by Matrix4b, how alcoholism is portrayed in our society is a gross misrepresentation.

    Alcoholism is, put plainly, a failure to grow up. It is a refusal to accept the world for what it is, to react to situations maturely, to be responsible for one's actions.... it is not a disease, it is not an addiction.... it is weakness. And like all weakness it should not be understood, or sympathized with. It should be scorned.

    The idea that alcoholics "can not" control themselves is absurd. Society is not made better when we give people excuses to not behave and perform as they should. My father has said there is one indisputable truth about alcoholism: The best way for an alcoholic to quit drinking, is to quit drinking.

    The absurdity of political correctness has led us to classify alcoholism as a "disease", and has gotten to the point of such absurdity that the US EEOC has sued Old Dominion Freight for telling an alcoholic driver that he won't ever drive for their company again. Oh, never mind the fact that 90% of Alcoholics relapse at least once within four years of completing rehab. No no, let's put the guy in the driver's seat of a semi-truck, so that when he relapses he causes a 50 car pile up that kills 20 people and permanently maims 60 more. What a great freaking idea that is!

    Alcoholics choose to drink too much. They choose to pick up the bottle, not just the first time, or the second time, but the 15th time when they're so blasted they can't remember their names. These are choices. No drug, no devil, no force in the universe can take away your ability to choose..... nor your responsibility for the consequences of those choices.

    I am tired of people getting passes for their failures. When we say people "can not" in regards to things that are purely issues of willpower we open the door to the collapse of Western Civilization.

    Fundamentalist Muslims argue that a woman must be covered, for the sight of a stray hair will send men into an uncontrollable fury of rape. Western Civilization says that a woman can stand stark nekkid in front of a man, and unless she says "come hither" he's expected to walk away.

    Trivia: Which culture has been to the moon? The two are not unrelated.

    (and I'm deleting about 4 paragraphs from this, because I started wandering off topic into related, but not relevant issues)

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