2007 February Meeting Issue #100

The Official WHALES Newsletter and Minutes February 2007 Issue #100

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society Established 1996





*NYC Pub Crawl March 10th, happens to coincides with Split thy Skull @ Mugs Ale House

*Club Only Competitions 3/20/07 Scottish Ales, 4/17/07 Extract Only

*2007 National Homebrew Competition Entries 4/2 – 13/ 2007


Check the members only AOL “WHALESCLUB” site for the latest announcements and calendar updates.  Feel free to upload pictures, review beers/bars and post comments.



"I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer."  - Homer Simpson


The Whales Tuesday February 20th meeting was held at the friendly confines of JJ Bittings.  The Whales continue to acknowledge and appreciate the generosity and hospitality of brewing friends Brewer August Lightfoot and Mr. Cerami.  In honor the 10 yr anniversary of JJ. Bittings several members brought some of their favorite brews.  More than a case of homebrews were collected and given to the good folks at Bittings.  Thanks to all those who donated some brews.


Present at the meeting were Rob and Kristen, Uncle Leo, Colin, Luke, Piper Mike and his friend John, New Guy Bob, the Schreyer Trio (Steve S., Bill S., and Kristin S.), Newman, Prez, Mike V., Gene, other newbie Levi, and Jody.


Luke’s 16th annual Big “Belgian” Beer Night was held on Friday, January 19th.  Over 25 people and 30 fantastic brews were sampled at the fun evening.  The weather was cold and blustery, but the beer and woodstove made for a comfortable evening.  Special thanks to Bill Comella for producing the internet collage of all of the commercial beers tasted at the event.


The Whales competed valiantly at the War of the Worts XII.  This was the first of five Whales sanctioned competitions that can score you HBOY points. Congratulations go out to Gary for his two third place entries, EIS3, and Jefe, The Prez with a Second for his American Wheat, Gene’s third place Chocolate Stout, Jody’s third place Oatmeal Stout, and Uncle Leo’s third place Sweet mead.  The competition was fierce as there were close to 450 entries.  The Prez was kind enough to bring back a selection of Prizes and the scoring sheets for the winning br ewers.  There was a nice selection of glassware, and brewing ingredients that were distributed amongst the group.  On the same weekend as the War of the Worts, Gary entered the Whales 2006 Cider Barrel in the NYC Homebrew Alley comp, and was awarded 3rd place.


At the War of the Worts, the Prez spent some time talking to David Houseman about the Beer Judge Certification Program.  Houseman, a certified master level judge, suggested that going to www.bjcp.org  is a good way to find out more.  The Prez and Houseman suggested that learning to be a judge is an excellent way to improve your skills as a brewer.  Becoming a certified beer judge is not easy but can be well worth the effort.


Colin gave an abbreviated Home Brewer of the Year (HBOY) report.  Gary is in first with his War of the Warts performance and the Prez is close behind.  In order to make tracking HBOY points easier in the future, 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 competitions will be the Club Only Competition (Scottish Ales) at our 3/20 meeting and the Nationals.  Club members will be responsible for shipping their own entries to the nationals.  Entries are due between 4/2 and 4/13.  The first round of judging for our region will be judged in Philadelphia at Home Sweet Homebrew 2008 Sansom St.< /SPAN> Philadelphia, PA  19103.  Because this round is in Philly, we may decide at the next meeting to collect and deliver the entries as a club.  The first and second rounds for Ciders will be judged at Halftime Beverages 2290 South Rd. Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.  Check www.beertown.org for more info on the nationals.  


Luke updated that the Whales Cider Barrel was racked into the Laird’s Applejack Barrel.  The cider was clear, dry, and a little rough around the edges.  Luke added back 7 gallons of cider to top up the barrel.  The additional cider may serve to sweeten the cider, but may also sacrifice some of the clarity.  Cider should be ready for pick up some time in April.


The Bourbon Barrel Belgian Tripel was racked into the bourbon barrel on February 10th.  Overall the beer was still pretty sweet with a 1.038 average gravity.  If the beer does not dry adequately, the group will decide if additional yeast additions are necessary.  For now we will let it continue to rot in the Barrel.


The Whales Annual NYC Pub Crawl is slated to commence on Saturday March 10th.  The plan is to meet at the Woodbridge train station to catch the 11:53 NJ Transit train to NY.  The crawl will start at the Brooklyn Brewery for some tasting and brewery tour.  It will then proceed to Mug’s Ale House where the Split Thy Brooklyn Skull VIII will be commencin g.  The Split Thy Skull pamphlet shows that 18 beers will be served.  All of the beers are over 7% and over half are above 10% ABV.   It should also be noted that this is the same weekend as the Atlantic City Beer Festival.


The Prez has suggested that March will be an opportunity for the next Club Beer Swap.  This an opportunity for members to try some different beers and share some of their own.


New Guy Bob gave a presentation on fermentation activity vs. oxygenation level.  There was a bit of chaos at the end of the meeting, and not everyone heard the presentation.  I would like to see Bob make the presentation again at the March meeting.  Bob has some cool time lapse video of the experiment on www.Youtube.com.  Search for “BobbyfromNJ” to see the video. 


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 presenter has the floor.


Uncle Leo informed us that there is $709.01 in the treasury.  Leo has turned in some of the White Labs Vials for yeast certificates to be used in the future.


The WHALES brewing database for 2007 is slowly coming to fruition.  I plan to present the club brewing stats at each meeting.  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.


Kristen discussed her vacation across the pond in England.  Apparently, the cider was unable to make the journey back across the pond, as a thirsty Kristen could only produce labels at the end of her trip.  She had some really great Ciders and passed around a nice collection of labels for us to admire.


The AHA “American Homebrewers Association” is looking for clubs from NJ to participate in Club Night at the National Homebrewers Conference.  They are looking to coordinate the shipment of beers in the NY and NJ area for club night participation.  If anyone is interested in coordinating a WHALES participation at club night contact Dottie Clapp at nhc_2007_club_night@yahoo.com.  More info can be found at www.beertown.org/events/hbc/index.html.



The Flight:

Leo led the way with a Cider and German Alt from a friend in Mass.  New Guy Bob poured his American Wheat, and the Pres presented a very nice Munich Dunkel.  Piper Mike served up a Smoked Dunkel, and Leo’s friends Black Lager followed.  Jody’s American Pale Ale was poured next and Mike V’s Strong Porter rounded out a nice flight of beverages.    



Hoppy Brewing!


Jody, Editor WHALES Official Newsletter