2008 January Meeting Issue #111

The Official WHALES Newsletter and Minutes January 2008 Issue #111

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society Established 1996 


* January 18th Big Beer Nite (Luke’s Garage)

* February 16th JJ Bitting’s 11th Annual Mardi Gras Bash

* February 17th JJ Bitting’s First Annual Chili Contest

* February 19th Perfect Porter (Club Only Competition)

* February 23rd War of the Worts ( HBOY Competition)

* March 8th? Split Thy Skull (Whales NYC Pub Crawl)???

* March 31st – April 11th National Homebrew Competition Regional Entries Due

* May 3rd “Big Brew” (TBD)

Check the member’s only Yahoo User’s Group the Whales for the latest announcements and calendar updates.  Feel free to upload pictures, review beers/bars and post comments.  If you are a member and do not have access to the site, please let Bobby at rmierzej@telecordia.com know and he will invite you to the group.

Quote: “I wouldn’t want his ball sweat on my face.”  Heather commenting on Marylin Manson

Our Tuesday January 15th, meeting returned to JJ Bitting’s.  Thanks again to Mike and August for their continued support of the Whales and their activities.

An enthusiastic crowd of 24 Whales and Whale wannabe’s were in attendance.  The well attended meeting saw Big Bill, Colin, Nick, Steve G., JD, Brad and Jenn, Rick and Heather, Luke, Neal, Newman, Paff, the Schreyer Trio (Bill, Steve, and Jim), Prez, Keith, Harley Steve, Mike V, Gene, Gary, and New guy Nate all enjoying the evenings festivities.  I also believe that Nate brought a significant other, but I didn’t catch her name.

The group reminisced over the Whales Holiday Party, held on January 12th at The Office in Bridgewater.  The club supplied lots of good grub and plenty of interesting brews for the party.  My personal favorite was the Dogfish head 90 minute IPA.

Elections were held for all of the Whales Offices.  Gary ran unopposed and was anointed the second ever President for the Whales.  Mike V. was elected to the position of treasurer, and Jody was reelected to the position of secretary.  Colin will continue to maintain the HBOY (Home Brewer of the Year) tallies, and Mike V. will pick up management of the White Labs Vials.  Luke led a special toast to honor Prez for his ten plus years of service to the club, and many thanks go to Leo for his service as well.  Prez also thanked many of the original members of the club who met at the Woodbridge Homebrew store many years ago.

The Dark Lager Club Only Competition was held during the evening.  As is typical with lager competitions, only two entries were brought to the meeting.  Both Brad and Jen and Gary presented Schwarzbiers.  Brad and Jen took home the extra HBOY point as their delicious Schwarzbier carried the day.  The next COC will be held on February 19th for Perfect Porter.  The perfect Porter competition will include BJCP category 12 beers, Brown porter, Robust porter, and Baltic Porter.

The next major HBOY competition will be the War of the Worts XII.  The WOW will be held on Saturday February 23rd.  Entries will be accepted from 2/5 through 2/16.  For more information on the War of the Worts XII visit http://www.keystonehops.org/wotw/.  A club delivery of entries is being coordinated by Brad and Luke.    Please confirm with Brad and Luke for the drop off deadlines and locations.

There has been no break in the case concerning the loss of the missing HBOY plaque.  No one remembers seeing the plaque after the 2007 Holiday party.  The club authorized Luke to replace the plaque, and the Prez agreed to contact August and Mike to determine if there is an acceptable location inside of JJ Bitting’s to display it.  If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of the old plaque please contact Luke at lkostu@yahoo.com

The Whales Flanders Red beer project is moving along nicely.  Most participants have already brewed the recipe, and Brad has inoculated his batch with the Brett.  Bobby will house the Barrel to age the beer in, and a racking date is tentatively set for Saturday February 9th at 6:00 PM.

The Whales Barrel aged mead and Whales Cyser projects continue to await their unveiling.  Look for the Cyser to be distributed this spring, and the Mead to be distributed at its barrel racking anniversary this August.  

Luke reminded everyone that the (“17th”) annual Big Beer Night will be held on January 18th.  The party starts on a Friday evening around 7:00 PM.  The event has the rustic ambiance of Luke’s garage, and is heated with a woodstove.  The stove only raises the garage temperature about 20 deg over ambient, so dress warmly.  The men should also be prepared to brave the wilds of Woodbridge as they will have to water the bushes.  The event is open to all high test brews, both homebrewed and commercial.

Gary took some considerable time and effort to prepare and present a honey tasting for the club.  As part of the presentation Gary provided samples of Sage, Lavender, Tupelo, Orange Blossom, and Buckwheat honeys.  Gary explained that each nectar source provides massively different honeys.  Typically, only honey and water are the primary ingredients in Mead, so the honey source is the biggest factor in changing flavor and quality of your mead.  The point was reinforced by the differences between the smooth aromatic lavender honey and the pungent harsh Buckwheat.  Gary did warn that you need to get your honey from reputable sources.  Gary explained that the rules for designating something as a varietal honey require that only 51% needs to be of that specific variety.  Gary provided some fun facts like: it takes 4000 bees to create 1 teaspoon of honey, and the nectar from 12,000,000 flowers is needed for 5lb of honey. If you want some more info on where to find different varieties of honey search the World Wide Web at www.honeylocator.com.

Big Bill led a discussion around the Whalesclub.org website.  Bill discussed the results of the survey undertaken in December and January.  Most folks in the club agreed keep the Home Page, Events (if kept fresh), Contests (HBOY results), the minutes, and the Be a Whale pages.  Folks also agreed to toss the labels, disasters, and recipe links. Bill and Paff will manage the site, so send your ideas and recent event photos for posting on the site.

Brad and Jen continue to gauge interest in the Whales attending the National Homebrewers Conference.  The conference will be held in Cincinnati, OH from June 17th to the 21st.    If you are interested in attending drop a line to Brad at bradley.jones@sanofi-aventis.com.

Big Bill reminds folks of the Belgian Beer tasting road trips that he was considering participating in.  The tours travel the Belgian countryside and stop at the different monastic and farmhouse breweries.  If you have interest in participating in one of these tours contact Big Bill at aa2mb@comcast.net

Mike V. took over for Leo as treasurer at the January meeting.  Many people paid their 2008 dues, and members are reminded that dues are $40 for all of 2008. 

The hard hitting Beer in the News segment concerned the 100 drunkest cities.  The survey based on alcoholic liver disease death rates, dui rates, and other factors, found that Denver Co, is the US’s drunkest city.  This was followed be Anchorage, AK and Colorado Springs, CO.  The three least drunk cities were Durham, NC, Miami, FL, and Buffalo, NY.

Mike V. is the Whales librarian and will keep the database on the Whales Yahoo group to manage the newly created Whales library.  Members will have opportunities to borrow books from the library at given times.

Jody continues to maintain the WHALES brewing database data.  Remember when you brew to send me an e-mail at moffamily@verizon.net.  In the e-mail tell me brewing date, how many gallons, what style you brewed, the OG, and what the % alcohol you expect.  I can also track wine, cider and mead as well. 

Brad and Jen were heading to Vermont to take the Beer Judge Certification Program test.  We wish them the best of luck and look forward to having some certified beer judges as members.  We also asked Brad and Jen to consider making a presentation on what is involved in becoming a certified beer judge.

The club continues to seek out volunteers to make presentations at club meetings.  Members can discuss anything from beer styles, equipment, techniques, ingredients, or any other topics of general interest.  The club is also looking for folks interested in setting up some class trips to different breweries or local apiaries etc.  Contact Prez or Luke if you are interested in making a presentation or setting up a trip.  It is important to let Prez, Luke or Jody know when a presentation is planned for the meeting, we will be sure to allow enough time for it, and we will try to ensure that the presenter has the floor

The Flight:

The January flight saw 8 tasty homebrews.  The flight started with Keith pouring his tasty ESB. Heather followed with her ambitious first homebrew, a Lambic Framboise.  New guy Nate served a tasty Brown Ale.  Coffee and roasted barley carried blew through the meeting with JD’s Buzz beer.  Brad and Jen then poured their Heavyweight Whales Wee Heavy clone.  Big Bill next served a tasty Pale Ale, and Colin finished the flight.  Colin poured a Vanilla Baltic Porter and American IPA.

Jody, Editor WHALES Official Newsletter