2007 October Meeting Issue #108

The Official WHALES Newsletter and Minutes October 2007 Issue #108

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society Established 1996




* October 27th Brewtopia Pier 92

* November 3rd Cider Day, Western MA

* November 10th “Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day” (Bobby’s House, Piscataway)

* November 17th Split Rock Beerfest and Homebrew Comp (HBOY Comp)

* November 20th Club Only Comp (Pilsners)


Check the member’s only Yahoo User’s Group thewhales 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.



“Lite beer is an invention of the Prince of Darkness.” –Inspector Morse (Mystery)


Our Tuesday October 16th, meeting was held at the Harvest Moon Brewery in New Brunswick.  Special thanks go out to Matt McCord, Harvest Moon’s head brewer.  Matt showed us a true beer lovers hospitality, with some samples of Harvest Moon’s Barley Wine, and some great food.  Thanks again Matt and the folks at Harvest Moon.


Another nice crowd of Whales made the migration to New Brunswick.  In attendance were Uncle Leo, Colin, Nick, Levi, JD, and Brad and Jen.  Also in attendance were Rick and Heather, Luke, Bobby, Neal, Jody, Newman, Bill S., Prez, Keith, Harley Steve, Mike, Gene, Gary, and new visitor Doug. 


Prez began the meeting by reminding us that Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day (Big Brew) will be held on Saturday November 10th rain or shine.  Bobby will host the event at 3 Overbrook Rd. in Piscataway.  Bobby’s cell is (732) 485-3850.  Bobby does warn that his backyard is void of a lot of natural height variations for all grain set ups.  Plan to bring something to give you any needed height.  Bobby does have a filtered water source and both an immersion chiller and counter flow chiller.  If you are looking to get to lager temperatures bring some ice.  Bobby will also supply flame for grilled meat products, but plan to supply the labor.  The participants of the Whales Belgian have donated the leftovers to a corny, which will debut at the event.  For those who have not participated in a big brew, these events are excellent ways for brewers to get together and share techniques, gadgets, and interesting brews.  This event is affiliated with the American Homebrewers Association, and is geared towards introducing people to home brewing.


Gary and Luke spent some time discussing Cider Day and the Whales Cyser Barrel(s).  Gary and Luke decided to change up the usual cider plan, and Gary will host a Whales Cyser Barrel.  Also significant is that there will not be any introduction of oak to the mix.  Shares in the barrel will go for $30.  Gary is planning to make the trek to MA on Nov 3rd to obtain some special cider blends, and Luke will visit Stiles Apiary to obtain the honey.    If you would like some separate cider, get a sanitized (preferably non-glass) vessel to Gary by 11/2.  Check out the planned events at www.ciderday.org.  Gary will be looking for assistance in unloading the barrels on 11/4.  Participants should look for additional e-mails for info to coordinate.


Plans are developing for a Whales migration to Split Rock, which will be held on 11/17.  Split Rock combines the Great Brews of America Beer Fest, and a home brew competition.  The Split Rock competition is the last sanctioned Home Brewer of the Year competition for the Whales. Several folks who competed and won last year have free tickets for the beer fest, so Luke will see if he can get some of those tickets.  Folks will soon be coordinating accommodations for the festival.  Also look for the membership to try and coordinate a central drop off for entries to be sent to Lake Harmony, PA.  For more information on Split Rock visit their web site www.splitrockresort.com/beerfest.


Discussions also began regarding the December meeting location.  The holiday season parties generally precludes the Whales from hosting it’s December meeting at Bittings.  The group discussed having the December meeting at Harley Steve’s in Carteret.  Look for final confirmation at the November meeting.  The club is also starting to pick out locations for the Whales Holiday Party.  The Whales holiday party has typically been held after the New Year to avoid the pre-Christmas rush.  There will be more info to come in November.     


The 1st Annual Central Jersey Charity Beer Fest was held on Saturday 9/29 at Parker Press Park in Downtown Woodbridge.  The Whales manned a table, passing out information on the club.  Prez and Keith also brewed a demonstration beer, at the event which drew many former and curious new homebrewers.  The event was successful with 5 New Jersey craft breweries serving: JJ Bitings, Flying Fish, Triumph, Climax, and Pizzeria Uno.


Folks also thanked the Prez for the awesome success that was his 10/6 Octoberfest bash.  Lots of folks had a wonderful time, with some terrific food and brews.  Additional kudos for the Prez’s on tap robust porter.  A fine example of the style that I expect will do very well at Split Rock.


The Whales Bourbon Barrel Tripel was distributed to the participants on 9/28 at 7:00 PM.  Each participant came away with 4 gallons of liquid love.  The leftovers have been kegged and will debut at the Big Brew at Bobby’s House.   Folks also began discussion on the next group brew project.  Jody suggested an Imperial Porter in a Laird’s Applejack barrel, and Brad suggested a Russian Imperial Stout in a Port barrel.  Look for some spirited discussion at the big brew, and on thewhales Yahoo user group.


There will probably be no more Whales Mead Barrel updates for a while.  The mead is sitting on oak, and Luke and Leo will be resisting the temptation to open or sample the barrel to avoid any intrusion of oxygen.


The next Club Only Competition will be held at November’s meeting.  The Club Only Competition will be for BJCP Category 2 beers (Pilsners).   This category contains German Pilsners, Bohemian Pilsners, and Classic American Pilsners.  The next club only competition will be held in January for BJCP category 4 beers (Dark Lagers).  Category 4 beers include American Dark Lager, Munich Dunkel, and Schwarzbier.


Colin updated the Home Brewer of the Year standings.  Gary is in first with 27 points, the Prez is in second with 19, and Keith was in third with 15.  The next opportunity to get (HBOY) points is Valhalla Mead competition.  Thanks go to Uncle Leo for delivering the club entries for Valhalla. Following Valhalla are Split Rock, and the Pilsner Club Only Comp.  Please remember to send Colin the info on any entries sent to HBOY competitions.  Up to two points are given for just entering, so be sure to get the easy ones.  Please send an e-mail to Colin at colin.falkinburg@gmail.com with a list of your entries and styles submitted at each sanctioned competition.


This month’s Beer in the News installment was bad news.  The increase in corn acreage to fuel the ethanol boom, and several other factors have combined to reduce the supplies of Barley and Hops.  There is expected to be a substantial increase for the cost of these crucial ingredients in the next year.


The October installment of the Gadget Report saw Jody showing off his plate filter, and Rick’s Brew hauler.  The Brew Hauler, although a little disturbing (you hade to be at the meeting), seemed like a convenient way to move full carboys.  The plate chiller is a good compromise for initial investment and replacement media costs for filtering your brew.  Having a keg system is a prerequisite for using the plate filter.




Mike V. was named the Whales librarian and with Bobby’s help set up a database on thewhales Yahoo group to manage the newly created Whales library.  Members will have opportunities to borrow books from the library at given times.


Several members are planning to make a trek to Brewtopia on October 27th.  Look for further discussion on the Yahoo site to coordinate your visit with the Whales.


Jody handed out the latest copy of the WHALES brewing database data for 2007.  To date there were over 375 gallons of brew on the list, with Jody and Gary each having 70 gallons year to date.  When you brew 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. 


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:

A nice collection of brew and a cider were gathered for the October flight.  Leading off was Rick and Heather’s Berliner Weisse.  They also served some sweet minty syrup to compliment the sour Weisse.  Bobby followed with a tasty American Amber, and Jody poured his and Big Bill’s Belgian Dubbel.  New member JD served a nice IPA hopped with Cascade, and Brad and Jen gave the group a one two punch.  First was a fantastic Schwarzbier, followed by a Bourbon  and Oak infused Barley Wine.  Finishing the flight was Gary’s presentation of a commercial maple Cider.


Jody, Editor WHALES Official Newsletter