My name is Lennie Rosenkrans, aka tom sawyer on the AHA brewing forum. I am a native son of, and currently reside in Hannibal MO. I’m a biochemist by training, work at a cement plant for funds, but I live to ferment. I’ve been brewing for something like a dozen years, cranking out many mediocre batches of extract brew at high fermentation temperatures in my early career, followed by a brief hiatus and then the more recent run of good AG brews done the right way. Mark Twain himself would be proud of my beer, even as he sued me for copyright infringement on the sawyer monicker.
I am the founder and self-appointed Supreme Commander of the Hannibal Area Homebrewers Association, or HAHA. Our motto is, “What the helles are you laughing at?” OK not really. We started as a dedicated group of four brewers, several Irish folk musicians and a few innocent bystanders, with some overlap between subsets such that there were around eight of us at most. Since then our ranks have swelled to six brewers, a rotation of talent within the Irish folk band and the innocent bystanders are no longer innocent. We might add up to a dozen at this point. Meetings include music, good food and usually a demonstration of some sort. Last meeting the demo was nude belly dancing. OK not really.
I brew small batches so that I have a chance to brew often and still keep up on consumption. I try, in fact I NEED to brew on a weekly basis. It’s a sickness, as many of you can attest. I brew all-grain using a Dennybrew cooler MLT and the patent-pending batch sparge method. I’m currently delving into no-sparge and step mashes, and this year I’ve pledged to use mostly domestic base malts to see for myself what this country has to offer. My friends and I procure bulk supplies from St Louis. Shout out to Kent at MO Malting. We turn every pickup into an impromptu tasting, last time we tasted fourteen different beers (we brought twelve). So far our record is 420lb of malt in the Prius with plenty of room to spare. Still got 48mpg for the entire 200-mile round trip. But I digress.
My house brews are Best Bitter rotated with APA for me, and a variety of wheat beers for the wife. I also do a lot of wild brews and have an 11gal barrel full of Flanders Red that I pull from every six months, solera-style. Good stuff, getting better all the time. I brew lots of different styles and will have at least ten on hand at any given point in time. I also make wine and have around 1200 bottles of various kit, fruit and fresh grape wines in the basement, along with three small barrels for aging wine. Makes it difficult to decide what to have at the cocktail hour. Its beer for me, two days out of three.
I really don’t have any favorite malts or hops per se, they all have their places. I also don’t have favorite recipes. I just work off the style guidelines and create variations on the theme. I keep records and have a binder full of recipes, but I rarely look back once the beer is consumed. Nor do I name my beers, other than the general style and date of birth. This is just a general philosophical deal, even my pets’ names are Dog #1, Dog #2 and TC (short for The Cat). OK not really. What I do love is variety. They say it’s the spice of life you know. When it comes to variety, my brewing is a veritable habanero. Although I’ve never brewed a pepper beer, hmm…
I became a Recognized BJCP judge last year. Sounds fancy until you find out its the lowest rank you can get without flunking out. My aim was to find out how much I knew about brewing. I know a lot about brewing, just not so much about judging. Someday I’ll try again, Grand Master is within reach. OK not really. Certified is a distinct possibility though. To practice up I’ve been judging some contests and have met many excellent brewers and cool people in the process. No overlap of subsets there (just kidding.) I even entered some brews and won a couple of medals. Who knew they had a category for Worst of Show. My wife comes along and she’s become an awesome stewardess. Her job as a high school science teacher means she has great organizational skills and the ability to keep a bunch of unruly kids in line, exactly what’s needed at your average homebrew contest. You know who you are.
In any case, I would like to nominate myself to be homebrewer of the decade, but I’ll settle for HOTW. Yes I am shameless. No, really.