2003 December Meeting Issue #62

The Official WHALES Newsletter and Minutes
December 2003 Issue #062
Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society Established 1996

Hops, dues, Christmas
Bash, judging, HBOY 2003

"24 lbs of hops seems a lot, and it is!"
...cell phone rings, CJ answers "I'm in a meeting, I can't talk now."

01/10/04- WHALES Holiday Party- Code Name "Suck My Hydrometer Dry"
01/15/04- Special Presentation by Luke- "Honey This, Honey That"
01/17/04- WHALES Field Trip to Honey Bee Hive Farm by Luke
02/08/04- Riverhorse Chili Festival
02/27/04- Big BIG big Beer Night- Code Name UTSOK
Apr/04 - AHA Club Only #25 Mead
May/04- BREW BASH hosted by Leo and Kim
05/13/04- Deadline for AHA Club Only "Extract Brew"
05/20/04- Judging for AHA Club Only "Extract Brew"

Ladies and gentlemen, and you too Piper Mike: HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

BREW YOUR OWN Magazine featured our Club on Page 10 of the Jan/Feb 2004 Issue.  For some reason, they think the "W" in WHALES stands for Edison.  The published article was overnighter 7 months ago, appearing just now.  They chose to delete a ton of other stuff.  Hey, whatever.

As you all know, M.T. has been trying to get a response from any judge of authority on as to how the major "malt" discrepancies of his recent AHA Club Only entry Kolsch and Alt were scored.  The results were totally on opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to malt profile.  One judge said not enough malt, and the other said too much.  FINALLY, the FINAL reply; for what it's worth...
I was one of the judges for your beer.  Sorry I haven't had a chance to respond sooner; I've been on travel.  I'm afraid I don't remember the details of the beer, but I do remember that we had one where the comments didn't agree.

In the typical judging process, each judge tastes and writes down his comments on
the score sheet, and assigns a score.  After both judges have finished, they discuss the pros and cons of the beer.  Sometimes one or both judges will change a score based on what may have been observed or missed by the other judge.  The discussion is a lot more intense when the scores are far apart.  3 points is pretty close, so we probably didn't spend enough time making sure all the comments were in agreement.  For this I apologize.

One of the discrepancies that often pop up in judging is absolute amount vs. balance.  It is possible that too much malt means not enough bitterness.  Another issue is whether the beer might be better entered as a Dusseldorf Alt as opposed to a Northern German Alt.  Furthermore, the judges can disagree on what the correct balance should be.  Northern and Dusseldorf have the same gravity and color values.  However, the bitterness and typical malts ingredients are different.  We were actually having a problem reconciling "assertively bitter yet balanced" with the quoted IBU range of 25 to 40 IBU.  One could hardly call a beer with 25 IBUs as assertive.

On the positive side, I've found that when the judges disagree on the amount of malt, the amount is actually just about right.  I've had the same problem myself.  On the whole, almost all the beers that were entered fit within the style guidelines and were very pleasurable beers to drink. 

I have a brewing buddy who simplifies the whole situation.  He simply says "Make more!"  I agree with him.

Carl Townsend
National BJCP judge

Our usual host J.J. Bitting Brewpub was booked solid with Christmas parties.
Yes, Steve and Dana opened their home for the Club to gather.  Dana had been baking cookies and bread all day and the house smelled fabulous!  We got to see Steve's new kegorator, and kick the keg of his IPA with a cool Magic Hat tap handle.  Big screen TV, a couch, and next to the couch, FRESH homebrew on tap!  What a great set up!

A dirty dozen of us took seats in their dining room for the meeting.  Attendance: Hophead, Luke, Steve, Leo, Piper Mike, Kenny, President Keith, Tripka, Julianna, Tom T, Harry, and last but not least, Special Guest Crazy John.

Keith opened the meeting with the topic of dues.  He wanted to review the budget for 2004 but Treasurer Paff was not in attendance.  It was agreed upon that the dues shall remain $3.00 per month, $36.00 per year, or 9 cents a day.

Dues paid for some (not all) of the shipping expenses for AHA Club Only Competitions in 2003.  We learned to not ship our entries too close to the deadline in the future.  The "hot rushes" cost a small fortune.  In 2004, we will judge our Club Only's early enough to avoid the premium shipping costs.

Dues will also support the WHALES Homebrewer of the Year Contest.  Tripka is looking into a permanent plaque that will be on display at J.J. Bitting, updated yearly.  Dues money will also squeeze out a special mug for the winning homebrewer to keep.

Dues has paid for plastic tasting cups in the past.  Leo scored a truck load of glass sample glasses, he is willing to donate for Club use.  We'll just have to have a spittoon and fresh wash water on hand.  It's certainly worth a try!

It sounds like WHALES T-shirt money can be arranged with dues in 2004 as well.

August Lightfoot, head brewer at J.J. Bitting is looking forward to another WHALES BREW Event at the establishment.  We've done this once and it was WAY COOL.  We actually get to brew a batch on a professional scale.  Augie is waiting for a date from us, so lets pick one and DO IT !

Now, this is REAL good stuff.  This stuff is what makes us PROUD of WHALES President Keith.  KEITH IS ON THE PROWL FOR OLD WHISKEY BARRELS for the Club to age 50 gallons of beer in.

Luke is hosting "Big Beer Night" on Friday night, February 27th.

At our next January meeting, El Lukester will be doing a Special Presentation on "Brewing with Honey."  This will be followed up with a WHALES field trip on Saturday, January 17th 11am to tour a Bee Farm.  Meet at Luke's and bring homebrew.  Did you hear that Piper?  Non-Dues paying members should NOT show up empty handed.

The AHA Club Only Barleywine results came in, and WHALES entry from Luke scored a very nice 38.  It also made it to the second round.

"It seems like a lot, and it is!"
The Big Johnson coordinated a bulk hop purchase and it is here.  Members gave Mike their wish lists, and MT shopped it out.  The Club now has:
Chinook- 5 lbs
Cascade- 5 lbs
East Kent Goldings- 1 lb
Fuggles- 5 lbs
Hallertau- 1 lb
UK Phoenix- 1 lb
Saaz- 5 lbs
and a pound of something else.  Thanks MIKE!

1) If you got to the meeting early, you were lucky enough to kill the last of Steve's IPA keg.  An extremely good drinking beer, parked in the kegorator next to the couch.  It doesn't get better than that, folks.

2) Red Hook Double Black Stout- a good one

3) Cyser by Luke- Cyser is apple mead.  The brewer used 2 gallons of apple cider and 2 or 3 lbs of honey.  The "fatal flaw" was using champagne yeast which dropped the gravity from 1054 to a mere 1002 making this dry as a bone.  Dry isn't necessarily a bad thing though.  This was like apple juice with a kick and many tasters noticed a white grape juice flavor with a tad of sweetness at the end.  This tastes best cold.

4) Pilsner by Luke and Kenny- All grained with German 2 row and ALL Saaz.  Dry hopped and lagered to perfection!

5) Alt by Tripka- This was the AHA Club Only entry with the controversy over too much malt, too little malt.  Whatever it was supposed to have for the style we still don't know.  All we know is we like it!

6) Nut Brown by MT and 7) Hopped Nut Brown by Harry-  This was a batch brewed
together but fermented separately.  We did a side by side to compare.  The difference between the brews was that Harry dry hopped his with his own home grown hops.  Harry grows hops in his back yard.  He harvested them, dried them on a screen for 3 days, then vacuum packed, sealed, and froze them.  For some reason, the dry hopped beer was much creamier and had a better head.

8) Stout by Paul- Hophead squirreled this puppy away back in 2001.  A BEAUTY!

9) Stout by Keith- Keith originally made this as an oatmeal stout.  After tasting it he calls it a sweet stout.  This beer is rich and creamy with a smooth silky head.

10) Old Ale by Kenny- This all grain used 15 lbs of Marris Otter 2 row along with Flaked Barley, Crystal, Stout Malt, Roasted Barley, and Smoked Peat.  It was brewed to be a Scotch Ale but this is the disaster where the leak in the immersion chiller diluted the batch.  Perhaps it's not an "Old Ale" either but it still tastes good checking in at 7.27% abv.

11) Christmas Spiced Ale by Kenny- This 13 month year old experiment was rough and hard on the edges a year ago.  It has mellowed out nicely but needs to be rested in the glass due to it's gushing quality.  Actually, it doesn't gush on the bottle opening, but rather on the pour.  You have to let it sit for a while before tasting.  The Club thought this beer had notes of sour cherries and cloves.  It was brewed with Baker's chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, sage, allspice, vanilla, and coriander.  The yeast may have made this a bit funky.  2 very old yeasts were combined for the fermentation.  A one pint starter of 1 year old 1056 and some old slurry from a Belgian Trappist yeast were used.  4 bottles remain.

12) Smoked Winter Ale by Keith- We wondered if Da Prez tossed a chunk of Kilbassi into this batch!  It was brewed as a Snow Goose clone and tweaked with smoked peat.  Nice balance.

13) Golden Monkey from MT- Victory Brewing Co. Belgian style

14) Smithwick's- This and the next were donated from our guests at the recent "Teach A Friend To Homebrew Day."  The Smithwick's appears as a commercial example of an Irish Red, well carbonated and quite poundable.

15) Macardles- Traditional ale, another from Ireland, red in color.

16) ...etc  Steve had other brewskies out on the table if anyone was still thirsty.

THANKS AGAIN, Steve and Dana for hosting a memorable meeting!

Happy Holidays To All
Please drive responsibly
Kenny / Divorce Court Brew Labs