2007 August Meeting Issue #106

The Official WHALES Newsletter and Minutes August 2007 Issue #106

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society Established 1996




* September 18th Club Only Comp (Bock)

* September 22nd or 29th, Whales Bourbon Barrel Tripel Distribution

* October Philly Pub Crawl

* October 6th October Fest (Prez’s House)

* October 16th Whales Meeting at Harvest Moon, New Brunswick

* October 20th Anheuser Busch Classic Car/Bike Show

* October 20th Valhalla: The Meading of Life (HBOY Comp)

* October 27th Brewtopia Pier 92

* November 3rd “Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day”

* November 3rd Cider Day, Western MA

* 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 know and he will invite you to the group.



“It takes beer to make thirst worthwhile,” German Proverb


The JJ Bitings 2nd floor dining room served to host our monthly Whales gathering.  The Tuesday August 21st meeting was another well attended affair, made possible by the continued support of the good folks at JJ Bitings.    


Another large gathering of members and potential members were in attendance.  Having fun at the meeting were, Uncle Leo, Big Bill, Brad and Jen, Heather and Rick, Luke, Bobby, Jody, Newman, Jim S., Prez, Keith, Harley Steve, Mike V, Gene, and Gary.  Additionally, the club welcomed new visitors JD and Mark.


You asked for it, and the Whales will look to deliver!  Following some passionate requests, the Whales are planning a Philadelphia Pub Crawl for some time in October.  Those in attendance reached consensus that this would be a great idea, and Luke has graciously volunteered to organize it.  Look for additional e-mails to follow with details.


The club also discussed the possibility of taking a future meeting on the road.  Several ideas were discussed with initial consensus reached that the away meeting should be held in October at the Harvest Moon in New Brunswick.  The details will need to be ironed out, so look for final confirmation at the September meeting.


Cider Day and Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day are scheduled for November 3rd.  For the last few years Luke has gone to MA to attend Cider Day, and to buy special blends of cider for the Whales Cider Barrels.  Luke has said that he will not be able to attend Cider Day because of other commitments.  He has offered the use of his brother’s camp in Vermont if someone wanted to make the trek and pick up Cider Day cider.&n bsp; Also, in years past we have changed the date of the Big Brew to not coincide with Cider Day, so everyone has a chance to participate in both. No decisions about the date have been made at this point.  The club will also be looking for a volunteer to host the Big Brew at their house.  If you are interested in hosting the event contact the Prez.  Look for the group to have additional discussions on Big Brew and Cider Day options at the next meeting.


The Whales that made the migration to the Belgium Comes to Cooperstown festival gave glowing reviews for a well run festival.  Everyone in attendance agreed that the beer was phenomenal and the weather was perfect.  A group of over 14 whales and friends made the trip, and had created a Whales tent city.  Those in attendance felt that the facilities were good and that there was plenty of decent food available at the festival.  However, the resourceful Whales didn’t really need much in the way of outside food, as numerous folks provided communal food with special note going to Rick’s mussels.  There were some hazy reports that th e bathrooms did deteriorate as the evening progressed.  There is some photographic evidence of the event on thewhales Yahoo users group.  


The Luke’s annual movie night was held on July 27th.  The rain held off on a balmy summer evening, where Jimi Hendrix was the viewer’s choice for rock and roll movie.  Special thanks go out to George the hot dog guy for slinging weenies, and Brad and Jen for supplying the trashcan beer tower.  Brad, Jen, and Luke supplied kegs, and lots of other folks brought plenty of drinks.  There were lots of door prizes and folks enjoyed the hot tub.  The fireworks display came off without incident, and fun was had by all.


Thanks were given to Keith and Donna for planning a very successful canoe trip on August 11th. About 35 people made the trip to Double Trouble State Park for some beautiful weather, several hours of canoeing, and a finishing Bar-B-Q.  All who attended had a very nice time.


There was a Whales Mead Barrel update given at the meeting.  Both Luke and Leo’s Barrels had completed the primary fermentation at 0.999 and 1.005 F.G.  Initial tasting indicates that despite the low F.G.’s the mead is not overly dry.  Luke plans to procure the Laird’s apple jack barrels, and he and Leo will look to rack into the oak barrels soon.   Following the racking the top off mead will be added to minimize the air space in the barrel.  Luke will send out an e-mail as to when the racking day is, folks are welcome to participate.  Once in the oak barrel the mead will chill out for about a year.  Luke also informed us that he entered the Whales info into the Mead Day statistics.  The Whales 120 gallons of Mead was the second highest volume in the nation.  Topping the Whales were some “mead freaks” in Michigan who brewed 200 gallons.


There was also an update on the Whales Bourbon Barrel Tripel.  The beer had continued to dry with the F.G. down around 1.022.  Keith says the beer is very nice with a nice amount of bourbon and oak notes.  Keith will set a date for the distribution for a Saturday or Sunday following the September Whales meeting.  More details to come.


The September Club Only Competition is for BJCP Category 5 beers (Bocks).  Included in this category are Maibock/Hellesbock, Traditional Bock, Dopplebock, and Eisbock.  The November Club Only Competition will be for BJCP Category 2 beers (Pilsners).   This category contains German Pilsners, Bohemian Pilsners, and Classic American Pilsners.  You will need to brew very soon to get in on the Pilsner competition.


There was no Home Brewer of the Year update at the August meeting. The next opportunity to get (HBOY) points is the September Club Only Competition.  Remaining opportunities for the year are Valhalla Mead Comp, Split Rock, and the Pilsner Club Only Comp.  The standings haven’t changed with Gary in first the Prez in second and Keith in third.  Please remember to send Colin the info on any entries sent to HBOY competitions.  Up to two points are given for just entering, so b e 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.


Several members have been attempting to organize a group Bulk grain purchase.  The purchase is being organized on the Whales Yahoo group.  See the group for details, or e-mail Bobby at rmierzej@telcordia.com if interested in participating.


This month’s installment of Beer in the News concerns plans by the US Treasury Department to consider adding the “Serving Facts” panel to alcoholic beverages.  The proposed rule would require labeling of alcohol%, calories, carbs, fat, and protein.     


There were several members making presentations for this installment of Gadget of the Month. Bobby showed off his home made hop stopper.  This fine screen is inserted at the bottom of the boil kettle, and is used to filter hops and cold break before it enters a counter flow chiller.  Bobby suggested that there were significant savings if you built your own.  Brad presented a home made hop bag and hangar used to keep hop material contained.  The unit was made from a one gallon paint straining bag some PVC and copper pipe.  Finally, the “Rick” showed off his paint gun CO2 bottle and regulator to the group.  This is smaller than the typical CO2 bottle and can easily fit in a cooler with the keg.  If you want more info about any of these gadgets e-mail, Bobby, Brad, or Rick individually to get some specifics.



Folks are reminded that if they have ideas for updating the club’s website, Whalesclub.org they should e-mail them to Paff at bumzbrew@comcast.net.


The group assembled officially endorsed the Yahoo users group thewhales, as its members only forum. The AOL group will eventually be shut down.  Look at the forum to see photos, meeting minutes, and interesting forum discussions.  If you are a member and have not received an invitation to the new site, send Bobby a note at rmierzej@telcordia.com and he will invite you to the site. 


The debate continues on choosing design styles for New Whales Shirts and Pint Glasses.  Reaching any type of consensus on the logo or slogan is proving elusive.  The membership remains ever hopeful that we can beat a two year benchmark for picking the last shirt design.


Uncle Leo has also ordered 11 books from White Labs, as part of the vial collection program.  The books will be used to start the Whales Library on brewing techniques and styles.   


Jody continues to update the WHALES brewing database data for 2007.  When you brew send me an e-mail at moffamily@comcast.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:

This month’s flight featured 3 ciders, 1 apple wine, and 6 beers.  Leading the way was Luke with a Dry English Cider.  This was followed by a pair of ciders from Jody, one New England Cider, and the same cider sweetened with some apple juice prior to the meeting.   JD showed up for his first meeting with an apple wine.  The beer started to flow with Bobby’s Belgian Wit, and then Big Bill poured a nice English Brown.  Brad and Jen provided the next two samples with a cool Punktoberfest, and a Whales Tripel Parti Gyle.  This was made from the second runnings of the Whales Bourbon Barrel Tripel recipe then adding some DME, ap ricots, and coriander.  Rick and Heather served their Scottish Wee Heavy and Newman closed out the flight with some Dogfish Head’s Festina Peche.


Jody, Editor WHALES Official Newsletter