September Customer of the Month

Sam Cranfill


How long have you been brewing?

I got started a few Christmases ago after the wife gifted me a 1 gallon kit.  Managed to make a mess on brew day – boil over, some spillage, and pitched half the yeast on the counter and the rest into the fermenter (what a lame Christmas gift).  Went out of town for a couple of weeks to come back to a bone-dry airlock (it had a tiny crack).  Reluctantly botted it anyway – most of it into the bottles – and some of it on the kitchen ceiling/cabinets/floor (f’ing worst Christmas gift ever).   Eventually gathered the courage to crack open a bottle after several weeks.  Totally shocked it was a decent beer (or at least better than a PBR).  I was hooked – best Christmas gift ever!

What is your favorite beer style to make?

This is like choosing your favorite kid.  I love ‘em all equally.  (Marzen – but don’t tell Scotch Ale I said that.)

Are you a member of any brew clubs or organizations?

No, would like to – but seem to always have a conflict with the meeting times.

Have you won any medals or awards?

Nah – my family judges me enough…

Describe your brewing system or equipment.

I have a Klarstein Mundschenk all-in-one system and a couple of stainless steel bucket fermenters with glycol temperature control.

What piece of equipment has made the most difference in your beer?

I want to say temp control since it’s what I’ve spent the most money on – but I’ve made beers in a plastic bucket and water bath that were just as good.  Temp control just makes it much easier and let’s me brew lagers in the middle of summer.

I think the biggest impact on my brews has been some simple water adjustments.  $35 to have Ward Laboratories run a water analysis and using the water adjustment tool in BeerSmith.  I understand about 1% of water chemistry.  But I can follow a monkey see, monkey do approach with what BeerSmith calculates for water adjustments.  Didn’t impact all the beers I make – but in a couple of styles it made a big improvement. 

What other fermented beverages have you made?

Does silage water count? Go Cornhuskers (not!).

Do you have any other hobbies or special interests?

Woodworking – but at least since I’ve started brewing, I’ve stopped chasing the latest new woodworking gadget.