2007 May Meeting Issue #103

The Official WHALES Newsletter and Minutes May 2007 Issue #103

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society Established 1996




* May 13th – May 25th Buzz Off Entries Accepted

* June 1st Whales Cider Barrel Racking (Luke’s House 7:00PM)

*June 2nd 12:00 to Dark Whales Picnic (Veteran’s Park Piscataway)

*June 9th Buzz Off Competition Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant (Westchester, PA)

*July 17th Club Only Comp (Strong Ales)

*July 21st Belgium Comes to Cooperstown (Cooperstown, NY)

*July 27th Luke’s Drive In Movie’s (July 28th rain date)


Check the member’s only AOL “WHALESCLUB” site 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 Luke know and he will invite you to the group.



"This stuff will change the angle of your dangle…… the next thing you know you will be hugging people in the bus station”, Luke Kostu (Referring to the quality and potency of the Whales 2006 Cider Barrel)


The Tuesday May 15th meeting was held outdoors on the patio above JJ Bitings.  The club was treated to some beautiful weather and terrific brews.  As always we appreciate the generosity of our hosts from Bittings.


A huge crowd of 23 happy beer drinkers were in Attendance.  The group consisted of Rob and Kristen, Uncle Leo, Kings Steve, Levi, Colin, Bobby, Luke, Bill S., Newman, Prez, Gene, Gary, Keith, Neal, Brad and Jenn, Mike V., and New Folks Martin, Damian, Rick, Heather, and Jody.


The WHALES Big Brew was held on May 5th at Keith & Donna’s house.  A large contingent of Whales spent a beautiful Saturday making great beer.  A huge thank you goes out to our hosts Keith and Donna. Not only did they open their home to us, they also provided a very nice breakfast and lunch spread.  Many others also contributed to the enjoyment of the event by providing food, homebrews, and interesting commercial brews.  In total the group brewed a WHALES Big Brew record, 100 gallons of beer. 


The WHALES Annual Picnic is planned for June 2nd.  The picnic will be held at Veteran’s Park in Piscataway.  The park is right off exit 8 on 287.  The event is scheduled from 12:00 until dusk, and the picnic sight has a propane grill.  At the meeting, the club authorized the purchase of ribs and some London broil for the event.  Attendees to the picnic should plan to bring a dish, their favorite brews, and their appetites.  See you on June 2nd.


A growing contingent of WHALES is preparing to migrate to the Belgium Comes to Cooperstown, event held on July 21st.  The event is held at Ommegang brewery in Cooperstown, NY.  The folks that attended last year’s event have given it rave reviews.  There is phenomenal beer, cool bands, and food available.  Following the meeting Mike V. discovered that Ommegang is reducing the number o f tickets by ½ (600), and all tickets and campsites are to be reserved online.  Follow the attached link to make your reservations.  http://www.ommegang.com.  As there were 1400 people that attended last year’s event, we expect the tickets to disappear fast.  If you want to go, you should order your tickets ASAP.  At the time of the writing of these minutes attendees include: Neal, Keith, Uncle Leo, Gary, Rick, Heather, Jody, Mike V., Brad and Jen. There are also 4 campsites reserved which are enough for 8 tents.


A huge congratulation’s goes out to the WHALES who won or placed in the National Homebrew Competition regionals. The results included a 1st for Keith Story’s Bohemian Pilsner, a 3rd for Prez’s Light Hybrid American Wheat, a 1st for Gary Fruit Beer Cherry Eisbock, and a 1st for Uncle Leo’s Traditional Sweet Mead.  An extra special mention goes to Gary who scored a phenomenal 47 points for his Cherry Eisbock.  Let’s hope the winning streak continues as these beers advance to the finals in Denver.  Good luck!!!!  There i s an opportunity for more points as the 1st and 2nd round of the cider competition is set for judging in Denver.


With the results of the National Homebrew Competition regionals in: Gary maintains the lead in the Home Brewer of the Year (HBOY) competition.  Gary has 15 points followed by Keith Story with 12 points, and Uncle Leo in third with 11.  There are plenty of opportunities to shuffle the deck with the Buzz Off and 2nd round of the National Homebrew Competition to come. Make sure that you send Colin the info on any entries sent to the Buzz Off.  Points are given for your entries, 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.


The next HBOY competition is the Buzz Off.  Entries are accepted until May 25th by mail or May 26th if dropped off.  Thank you to Keith and Gary who organized a drop off of entries on Saturday May 19th.   Judging for the Buzz Off is scheduled for June 9th at Iron Hill Brewery in West Chester, PA.  Go to http://hbd.org/buzz/ for more information .


Entries for the next Club Only Competition are due on 8/10/07, so our competition will be held at the July 17th meeting.  The style for this competition will consist of category 19 Strong Ales.  This includes Old Ale, English Barleywine, and American Barleywine.  So dig out those secret bottles stashed under the stairs, and share them with the membership.


Luke gave the group a Whales Cider Barrel update and brought along a sample for tasting.  Apparently, Luke had purchased a hot tub and had Neal over to help wire it up. At some point during the installation, Luke remembered that there were 52 gallons of Barrel Aged cider sitting in his basement, which coincidently needed to be sampled prior to our meeting.  Being the good soldiers that Neal and Luke are, they took one for the team and “sampled” the cider.   Luke and Neal have determined that the cider is in fact ready.  The racking/distribution date is set for June 1st at 7PM.  If you are unable to make it on the 1st, please provide a sanitized carboy to Luke before then.  For those individuals, Luke will bring the cider to the picnic for pick up.


Luke spent some time discussing the prospect for 1 or 2 Whales Club Mead barrels.  Since there appeared to be enough interest for 2 barrels worth of mead, Luke and Uncle Leo agreed to each house a Barrel.  This is a pretty big commitment as these barrels will reside in their basements for at least a year.  The 2 barrels may be fermented with different yeasts or recipes, depending on what each group of shareholders would like to do.  At the June meeting ~20 shares will be sold for participation in the mead barrels.  Luke’s initial cost estimates are between $40 - $50 per share.& amp; nbsp; Luke will firm the price before the June meeting.  If you are not able to attend the June meeting, but want to be in on the mead barrels please contact Luke at lkostu@yahoo.com before the meeting.


At some point during the Big Brew, several members sampled the Bourbon Barrel Belgian Tripel.  However, for some reason few people remember tasting it.  After some additional questioning Keith did recall that the gravity had dropped to a 1.024, and “the beer tasted gooood.”  


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 June meet ings will be an excellent opportunity for a presentation as there aren’t any Club only Competitions planned. 


Uncle Leo informed the group that the club treasury stands at $806.24.  Additionally, Uncle Leo turned in a large number of the White Labs Vials, to start a library of the style guideline books.  Look for more to come on borrowing these books.

Luke wanted to send out a special Thank You to Big Bill C.  Big Bill had a friend with a spare freezer that was graciously donated to Luke.  Now all of the WHALES can look forward to sampling some of Luke’s Ice Ciders, Ice Beers, Ice Meads, Ice etc….   


The club is also soliciting ideas for freshening up the Whalesclub.org website.  Follow the attached link to see the current version.http://www.whalesclub.org/   Several new members have commented that this is how they found the club, and it remains an excellent tool.  Bring your ideas to the June meeting.


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 Flight:

Another large of flight of 13 beers, ciders, and meads were brought to the club to sample.  Bobby led the way with a German Pils, and Mike V.’s Alt followed.  Now, an Alt is ale fermented at lager temperatures or a lager fermented at ale temperature Hmmmmm???  Bobby served a nice sweet stout, and Levi poured an All Grain IPA.  Luke and Uncle Leo presented a Whales Cider Barrel 2005 and 2006 back to back comparison.  This taster thought the 2005 cider seemed to have a better apple aroma than the 2006.  New visitor Rick wowed the group with a Gruit.  & lt; /SPAN>The gruit was followed by Keith’s robust porter.  Rick further displayed his brewing talents with a tasty Scottish Wee Heavy.  Not to be outdone by all of the Oak Barrel cider, Brad and Jenn served an Oak Infused Barley wine, and Uncle Leo poured his dry mead.  Bill S. provided some Ommegang Witte, and Brad finished the flight with his BVIP (Bourbon Vanilla Imperial Porter).  


Jody, Editor WHALES Official Newsletter