It was 2 p.m. Sunday, no lunch started or room to cook it, any my kitchen smelled like a frat house post-party. This was not how I envisioned things when I had sort of encouraged my husband in his yen to brew beer. I figured it would be a nice indoor winter hobby for him, but somehow had envisioned it being something that was nearly self-contained to the basement.


Silly me. The beer kit someone nicely gave him for Christmas was of a style that needed warmer fermenting temperatures than our unheated basement, so he tried putting the container in the bathtub. Nope, still too cold. But apparently immediately outside the bathtub was just fine. (Really? One foot away?) So I lived for a few weeks with a five-gallon container of would-be beer blurping away by the bathroom sink, somehow thinking that would be the limit of the upstairs incursions.

My illusions, and my kitchen, were pretty much blown away on bottling day, with my dishwasher stuffed with draining sanitized bottles, tubes and other brewing equipment. Still, I thought once clean-up occurred, it could all go downstairs. But no, now it needs to condition for up to a month at "upstairs" temperatures. Where upstairs, I asked? It could go in the guest room, he said.  I looked at my guestroom's hardwood floors, antique quilt and looked at my husband. Envisioning potential explosions -- the dreaded bottle bomb -- the look I gave him said, think again. How about the tub, I asked? No, still too cold. That's how I ended up with a 30-quart plastic box filled with beer bottles in front of my bathroom sink for a month.

So, fellow beer-brewing spouses, how have you confined the madness? (I know you're out there; not all the 150-plus brewers in the Minnesota Home Brewers Association can be single.)  I'm figuring more seasonal choices suitable for basement conditions would help. And I'm contemplating springing for a portable induction burner so I don't have to be so cranky when he decides to start brewing just when I need to start cooking. What kind of storage place have you found for all the paraphernalia? And what ground rules have you laid down to make the process go more smoothly?

I'm guessing if I was more fond of beer, I might view this differently....