2015 January Meeting #195


January 2015 Meeting Newsletter #195

The January 2015 WHALES meeting was held on January 20th at JJ Bitting in Woodbridge, NJ.
27 members and 5 guest5 were in attendance. One guest joined the club -- congrats and welcome to Matt Y.

Read more: 2015 January Meeting #195

2014 December Meeting #194


December 2014 Meeting Newsletter #194

The December 2014 WHALES meeting was held on December 16th at JJ Bitting in Woodbridge, NJ.
35 members and 1 guest were in attendance.

Opening Remarks
President Brad opened the meeting promptly @ 8:09pm.  The only business item on the agenda is elections for the the Whales 2015 Steering Committee & continuation of collecting 2015 dues.

No elections were necessary since no poitions were contested.  The 2015 Steering Committee will be:

  • Craig - president
  • Keith St - treasurer
  • Jay B - secretary
  • Brian S - committeeman
  • Don B - committeeman
  • Gary W - committeeman
  • Sam - committeeman

Outgoing committee members Brad, Bobby, & Jay D -- Thanks for your all service to the club.


  • Dennis M, who had recently graduated from brewing program, took a job as a brewer at Carton Brewing in Atlantic Highlands, NJ and will begin there in Jan, 2015.  Congrats, Dennis!
  • Steve & Don B took FIRST PLACE in the Eastern PA Homebrewer of the Year for 2014.  Amazing work, dudes.


  • The annual holiday party will be held on Sat, Jan 17, 2015 @ the Rahway Italian American Club.  see forum for info.
  • There is a poll up on the website for members to vote on 3 "club only" comps in 2015 -- please vote before it expires (12/23).
  • Also, there's a poll on the site requesting approval to spend $265 for club branded plastic mugs as 2015 renewal gifts.  Please vote ASAP, as the poll ends at midnight tonight.

Update on Projects
No change on the current club projects as of Dec, 2014

Competition Corner
The 2015 WHALES CoCs (held quartarly) will kick off at the January 2015 meeting with the category "Bring your Best Beer!".  NOTE: 1 entry per member or team.  As stated above, the remaining 3 categories will be determined by the current member poll.

Comp Coordinator Don B presented the final standings for the 2014 WHALES HBOY:

  1. Don B & Steve - 119 points!
  2. Dennis - 33 points
  3. Craig - 24 points

Congrats, fellas!

Also, it was announced that Steve & Don B won the Eastern PA Homebrewer of the Year award.  Congrats!

A ridiculous 17 libations were poured for the flight tonight, including 4 beers fermented from the Kane Brewery AHA Rally giveaway.

Thanks for all the good times in 2014, WHALES.

Respectfully submitted by Jay B, WHALES Secretary

2014 July Meeting #189

WHALES Meeting Agenda for Tuesday, 15-Jul-2014

Tonight’s activities:

WHALES Club Only Competition for “Low-gravity - Examples: Ordinary Bitter, Scottish Light, Mild, Berliner Weisse” judging.

Siebel off flavor tasting (Acetaldehyde, Papery, Infection, and Metallic)

Looking back:

The WHALES picnic took place on Saturday, 21-Jun-2014 at Brad and Jen Jones’s house in Hillsborough, NJ. A contingent of WHALES attended and enjoyed the event.

Steering committee meeting was held on Tuesday, 01-July-2014 at Old Bay.

Friendly reminders:

Keystone Homebrew Supply will be hosting another Club Barrel Brew Championship on Saturday, 19-Jul-2014 at their store in Montgomeryville, PA with all entries being judged at Philly Beer Week in April 2015. Please see the forum thread or the project coordinator (Jay B) for details.

Ommegang’s “Belgium comes to Cooperstown” beer fest will take place on Friday, 08-Aug-2014 and Saturday, 09-Aug-2014.

The next WHALES Club Only Competition will be in October and the category will be "A beverage fermented with at LEAST 10% sugar from honey, apples, or other fruit ".

The club library and club equipment inventories are being updated in the “checkout” forum threads. Please see the “checkout” forum threads or the club librarian (Keith Story) and the club equipment steward (Gary Weston) for details.

Update on projects:

Bobby's Lambic Solera Project - Jay Buchanan and Frank Weichmann brewed the next 15gallon exchange on 22-Apr-2014. Don & Steve Boyle bottled 15 gallons of the brew and distributed it to the project participants at the May 2014 meeting.

Joe and Gary’s Red Wine Project - Currently going through malolactic fermentation and aging in Gary's cold room.

Dennis Maciupa’s “2014 French Oak Sour Blonde Project” - Brew day was held on 12-Apr-2014 and the brew was racked into oak barrel on 16-May-2014. Currently aging in oak barrel.

Competition corner:

The 2014 WHALES Club Only Comps (WCOCs) are:

January Anything Belgian (done!)
Hop Showcase (done!)
Low-gravity - Examples: Ordinary Bitter, Scottish Light, Mild, Berliner Weisse (tonight!)
A beverage fermented with at LEAST 10% sugar from honey, apples, or other fruit

The New Jersey State Fair Homebrew Competition will be held on Saturday, 26-Jul-2014 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, NJ. Please see the forum thread for details.

Quick update from the WHALES Competition Coordinator (Don B) on the recent competition results and the current HBOY standings.

Steering committee updates:

Discussed the best method for distributing the Keystone barrel project beers back to the membership. Went over many different options but the one that was agreed upon was to simply bring one or two kegs of the Keystone beer to each monthly club meeting until the end of the year and fill growlers with a cobra tap or beer gun until we run out of beer. First we need to verify the total quantity of beer available in order to determine how many growlers each member will be allotted. We are tentatively planning to start this at the August monthly meeting and we will post a thread in the forum in August with more details.

Discussed the newly offered homebrew club insurance from the AHA. Determined that we need more information from the AHA before committing. It would seem though that the club would have to be incorporated in order to purchase the insurance but again this would have to be verified by the AHA. Topic on hold until additional information becomes available.

Discussed donating a keg of the Keystone beer to the Cranford Elks Club homebrew competition. We all agreed that the competition does not seem to be something that we would be interested in donating a keg of the Keystone beer to for a variety of reasons (excessive entry fee, you must pour the keg yourself, will they even have any other entries?, etc.).

Discussed the current balance in treasury and upcoming expenses (PA system, club equipment purchases, etc.). A draft annual budget has been circulated to the SC and once it has been agreed upon we will be able to see exactly how much money is required annually to run the club.


Pub Crawls - Brad and Jen are planning a "Philly Fishtown" pub crawl for the fall.
Club Brew with Breweries - there may be some possibilities with Carton or Kane.
Iron Brewer Contest - Brad and Jen are thinking of doing this again in the fall using the club mash tun and having everyone boil their own batch (kind of like what we did at the recent Big Brew).


Siebel off flavor tasting notes


Acetaldehyde is one of the steps along the way from wort to ethanol and is also the substance that your body oxidizes alcohol into, which is then metabolized into acetate. It is mainly created in early fermentation and is later reduced into ethanol. The most common reason for acetaldehyde is not letting the beer ferment completely. This can be remedied by conditioning/lagering for a longer period (only if there is still sufficient yeast to convert it into ethanol).

Fermenting at too high a temperature or pitching too much yeast can result in the creation of excessive levels of acetaldehyde. However, if you have pitched too much yeast and let it ferment fully this should clean out the beer. Oxygenating the wort before fermentation reduces the production of acetaldehyde. The use of excessive amounts of non-malt sugars without adding yeast nutrients will result in increased levels of acetaldehyde. Bacteria can also cause the production of acetaldehyde so as always good sanitation is a key ingredient to good beer.

Flavor Descriptor: Green Apples / Green Beer
Common Sources:
Fermentation product, staling, or contamination
How to taste:
Cover the beer with your hand and swirl the glass to release the aroma. Remove your hand and take a single long sniff. It can also be perceived as a harshness in the mouth.


The papery flavor note is formed during beer storage. Development of character depends of time and temperature of storage and oxygen of packaged beer. Papery is an off flavor in beer associated with ageing.

Flavor Descriptor: Cardboard / Oxidized
Common Sources:
Product of oxidation/staling
How to taste:
Cover the beer with your hand and swirl the glass to release the aroma. Take short sniffs while holding the beer near the nose. Take about 20 - 25 ml of beer into your mouth. Move it around with your tongue then swallow.


Infection is a combination of acetic and diacetyl:

Acetic (vinegar-like): Acetic acid is the acid contained in vinegar. It can be created by some yeast strains but is usually below the flavor threshold. When easily identified in a beer it is usually due to acetobacteria, which can survive in ethanol, is acid tolerant, and has no problem with hop compounds. The bacteria only requires oxygen so over oxygenation is one of the main causes of this off flavor, along with poor sanitization. In some sour beer (like Lambic), acetic acid is a desirable compound that adds to the complexity of the beer. Acetobacteria can be found everywhere; on fruit, plants and in the air.

Diacetyl (butter/butterscotch): Diacetyl is a compound commonly found in beer but is considered an off flavor in higher concentrations. Butter, butterscotch, buttermilk and toffee are amongst the flavor descriptions given to diacetyl. The yeast excretes a compound that is then chemically converted into diacetyl which is later converted by the yeast into a flavorless compound. The main reason for diacetyl in significant quantities in beer is not letting the yeast ferment the beer fully or in the case of lager not increasing the temperature at the end of fermentation for a diacetyl rest (60 F).

Flavor Descriptor:
Sour + Buttery
Common Sources:
Microbial infection / contamination
How to taste:
Cover the beer with your hand and swirl the glass to release the aroma. Remove your hand and take a single long sniff (acetic). Take short sniffs while holding the beer bear your nose (diacetyl).


Metallic taste can be due to a high iron (or other metal) content in your water. Filtering your water and ensuring all metal that comes into contact with your beer is food grade (like stainless steel, aluminum or copper) and ensure the protective oxide layer is left after cleaning. i.e. don’t over scrub, leave the grey oxide layer. Grain stored in a damp or humid environment can lead to oxidized unsaturated fatty acids leading to a metallic flavor.

Flavor Descriptor: Metal / tin-like
Common Sources:
Water sources, non-passivized vessels
How to taste:
Take about 20 - 25 ml of beer into your mouth. Move it around your mouth with your tongue then swallow. Dip your finger into the beer, rub some onto your arm and take a short sniff.

note: this is the meeting agenda, as Secretary Jay B. missed the meeting.

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