2003 January Meeting Issue #51

WHALES Newsletter and Minutes

January 2003 Issue #051

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiast Society


AHA Club Only Bitters Vote, 15 Brew Tasting Session, WHALES to have Club Homebrewer of the Year Competition for 2003, New Club Blood!


"We could party on 70 acres buck ass naked and nobody would ever find us!"

"In 45 minutes I was smashed."

"There's something in there that will rip your brain open!"

"If it has sugar in it, we can ferment it."

01/20/03- DEADLINE for AHA Club Only Category #4 Bitters
01/25/03- OPEN HOUSE Tom Baker at Heavyweight Brewery
02/09/03- ROAD TRIP / Lambertville Chili Festival
02/20/03- WHALES Club Meeting
03/15/03- PUB CRAWL / featuring Irish and Scottish beers of Manhattan
04/04/03- DEADLINE for AHA Club Only #10 Brown Ale
04/18/03- DEADLINE for AHA 25th National HB Competition
05/??/03- AHA Club Only #11 English and Scottish Strong Ales
08/??/03- AHA Club Only #2 European Pale Lager
J-Feb/04- AHA Club Only #12 Barleywine
M-Apr/04- AHA Club Only: Mead

Raise your glass, please, thank you... let's toast in this new 2003 year with a beer in hand, a smile on our face, a buck in the pocket, and a batch in the works. May our fermentors work overtime and our yeast be merry. May our hops runnith over.

Though we walk in a shadow of stout we shall fear no beer. Let our homebrew bring happiness upon the Earth, and dissolve life's worries. CHEERS!

HOMEBREW JOE of Princeton Homebrew may be forced to move. Edy sold her place and the building owner wants to make a Mexican restaurant. The owner wants to turn Joe's hop garden into a parking lot. They are also going to be building some apartments. Joe is forced into selling his hop rhizomes and trellis hop boxes this March so give him an e-mail if interested. In other Princeton news, the PALE ALES homebrew club now has a web site! (paleales.org) Their January meeting will feature barleywine and you do not have to be a member to attend.

WHALES Christmas Party on January 11th took place at Flanagan's in South Plainfield and was a huge success! There was an excellent turnout and the bar maid poured a great Black and Tan. Special thanks to Leo for making the arrangements!

Our January meeting took place on the third Thursday of the month, 01/16/03, at our host brewpub J.J. Bitting in the heart of Woodbridge on Main Street. WHALES initial meetings took place at the Brew By You homebrew shop of Joe and Val in 1996. When Mike Cerami opened up JJ in 97 we held a meeting there and we've been there ever since! THANK YOU J.J. BITTING !

ATTENDANCE: Holy Cow! 17 ! ! ! Count 'em: Steverino, Christine, Ian, August, Pipe, Kim, Leo, Saint, Prez, Kenny, Tripka, Julianna, Dana, Lukster, Peter, Paff Man, and Gene. WOW, nice turnout!

First things first, a HEARTY welcome to all of our "guests" this past meeting! That would be Christine, Ian, Peter, and Gene. We hope you all become familiar faces and attend as often as you can. SPECIAL THANKS to Peter for setting up and helping Tom with the server that now handles our public website whalesclub.org. The site has been getting about 100 hits during the week and 1200 hits on weekends!

All 4 guests were given invitations to the WHALES private Club site as well. The default E-Mail reads "Please join this group". If anyone deleted their E-mail and the invite, and needs a second invite, just ask Tripbock@aol.com for another.

BUSINESS: President Keith took the floor and opened the meeting at 8pm. It was determined by consensus that our new gavel time is 8 although we will maintain our 7:30pm "gathering time" at the bar. In fact, get there sooner to enjoy the happy hour and have dinner before the meeting, as we most usually have a over weight Tasting Session!

At the last AHA Club Only, we voted Keith's Peach Wheat to represent us. The Peach scores varied from 20 to 41. WE drank that beer, and it was great. What the heck are those judge's tasting with such a big variance in scores? Well, at least we had an entry. Thanks Prez!

CLUB DUES CHEAP! a mere $3/month or get the EXTRA SPECIAL DISCOUNT RATE by paying all at once for $36/year! THANKS Treasurer Paff for keeping tabs on our dues money. Now we can buy some more tasting cups!

WHALES will hold their own member based "Homebrewer of the Year Award".

It will be some sort of point system based on entries to competitions and scores/winnings. MT volunteered to head the project with help from Pipe, Prez, and Kenny. Point system and award's) to be determined, however it starts with Jan 20th AHA Club Only, in which Mike is entered.

President Keith brought up the motion that if deemed necessary, the Club will develop a policy on how to deal with any unruly members. Enough said for now.

Event Coordinator Luke had the floor next and enlightened the Club to several beery happenings! Buy Rite of Edison (Oak Tree and Park Ave) has a NEW Utopia batch of 12 bottles for $150 each reservations only. 24% ABV is the world's strongest beer. The store also carries Dogfish Head World Wide Stout checking in a hefty 23% ABV for $8/bottle. You won't see it on the floor so ask for it.

Enter the mind of Luke and find a Pub Crawl coming soon! March 15th, to be exact. Take off is noon. 2 joints, the first is Irish with 35 taps and 150 bottles. Not sure of the spelling but sounded like Kim Sail? After that is St. Andrews off Time Square to enjoy the beers of Scotland. An Irish and Scottish beer endeavor!

The summer of '03 in July or August may lead to Vermont, where Luke's brother lives. Luke never lets clothes get in the way of a good time and he says "We could party on 70 acres buck ass naked and nobody would ever find us!" Not sure anyone would want to, either! Tom Baker of Heavyweight Brewery has open house 01/25 1-4pm.

The DEADLINE for AHA Club Only Category 4A,B,C is Monday 01/20. In every "Club Only" we can only enter one beer to represent us. Therefore, we pick our best by vote! Mike Tripka has the honors for this one, and his beer will be sent out via Club Dues Money. This category was a tough one, the ENGLISH BITTERS. The dividing lines cross over between categories, and the descriptions are very close. #4A is Ordinary Bitter, #4B Special Bitter, and #4C is Strong Bitter/English Pale Ale. Thanks August and Tom (our Beer Club PROFESSIONALS) for setting us straight in that ALL of the beers we sampled fell into sub-category 4B, as we were not sure. Thanks also to the 4 brewers who made a Bitter to enter! We did a side by side and the brewers commented on their methods prior to a "secret" ballot.

First up was Luke's Special Bitter with an OG of 1040. This extract version checked in at 3.4% ABV and was brewed with Phoenix hops Luke got from Dave Hoffman of CLIMAX Brewery. This beer was definitely the darkest color of the four. Yeast was #1275 which had a long lag time to start.

Next Bitter was Keith's all grain using 9 lbs of pale barley and some wheat as well. Gravity was 1054 at the start and 1010 at the finish making this 5.6% ABV. (HINT: If you want to calculate alcohol by volume (ABV) subtract your final gravity from your original gravity and multiply by .1275 eg: 1054 - 1010 3D 44 X .1275 3D 5.61% ABV) Prez used fresh 1056 American ale yeast from J.J. Bitting. The Willamette and Golding hops gave the Bitter an IBU (International Bittering Unit) of 43. Nice beer with a touch of butterscotch or diacetyl.

Tripka's Bitter started at 1048 OG and ended up at 1013 FG. This was also an all grain featuring some Marris Otter malt with Kent Goldings and other hopping. 1056 was the yeast.

The fourth Bitter from Kenny was an all grain using English Stout Malt, Pale Malt Crystal, Vienna, and Carafoam malts. As an experiment, 2/3 cup of CORN STARCH was added to the mash! Northern Brewer and Willamette pellets were the hop bill. The first yeast pitched was 1056 slurry from an IPA secondary which was stubborn to start for some reason. We ended up pitching some more 1056 we had in the fridge, re-aerated, and then it took off! OG 1048 / FG 1010 3D 4.8% ABV.

Once again, congratulations Mike! 15 people voted, and Mike's Bitter got nearly twice as many votes as the second runner up! We have an excellent shot at winning this competition, good job.

TASTING SESSION: Aside from the first 4 homebrews above, there were 8 more homebrew beers, 1 homebrew cider, 4 commercial beers, and 1 brewpub preview to study! Here we go...

  • 1) Raspberry Wheat from Christine- Christine was so generous as to retire her very last bottle of this wonderful homebrew with the Club! This beer was bottled in late August and now in January it was still perfectly fine. She used 4 oz of raspberry extract in a 5 gallon batch and some of us were tasting hints of banana.
  • 2) Hazelnut Brown Ale from Christine- Another good extract beer from Christine with a fine lacey head.
  • 3) Doppelbock from August- August pulled off a sample from the J.J. Bitting tank and we were fortunate to have a preview of this work in progress. The beer was still young and not carbonated yet but it sure shows some nice promise!
  • 4) American Brown Ale from Steve- This beauty has a nice clean tasting dry roast to it with a touch of hops and a hint of chocolate in the aroma. Great job! Remember to save some of this for the AHA Club Only coming up in April.
  • 5) Pumpkin Spice Ale from Christine- This was Christine's first non-kit recipe. Way to go Christine! She experimented with real roasted pumpkin and the standard pumpkin pie spices. The beer was lightly hopped with low carbonation. Instead of Irish Moss, Christine used some other clearing agent and she felt that everything just dropped out of suspension. Thanks for sharing!
  • 6) IPA from Paul- Hophead made this at our last Brew Bash on November 2nd, 2002. He bottled it exactly 2 weeks later on the 16th, so it was a fast batch. Nice head with a beautiful hop aroma, although this was NOT dry hopped. Paul used 2 oz of Nuggets for the full boil. To achieve the hop flavor and aroma Hophead tossed in 4 ounce of Cascades at critical time points during the last 7 minutes of the boil.
  • 7) IPA from Kenny- This was also an ale made at our Brew Bash on 11/02/02. It is dry hopped and uses strictly Centennial hops 9% alpha or better. A total of 5 ounces of pellets were used in all. The 1056 used seemed to totally drop out of this one, and it was very slow to carbonate. Even after 6 weeks, it was flat. FINALLY, at about 8 weeks, it was carbonated and ready to drink. This was one stubborn batch!
  • 8) Cider from MT- Tripka used 2 gallons of Shop Rite cider with no preservatives. He said "If it has sugar in it, we can ferment it." Mike used clove, cinnamon, brown sugar, and champagne yeast. It smelled like turpentine so he boiled up some additional brown sugar and water and tossed that into the mix. He had a bottle explode. It soaked another 6 pack carrier and the bottom of that ripped when lifted causing even more broken bottles! It's been refrigerated since March 02 of 02 and is quite drinkable now. The cinnamon and clove stands out.
  • 9) Foreign Extra Stout from MT
  • 10) Foreign Extra Stout from Hophead This was a side by side tasting as it was a 10 gallon batch the brewers made together and then split to do their own 5 gallon fermentations. This was Paul's recipe and both brewers used 1056 American ale yeast. One difference in methods was Mike used DME to carbonate while Paul used corn sugar. Both beers were bottled at approximately the same time in November of 2001. Tripka's stout took a half a year to carbonate and Paul's stout was flat for an ENTIRE year before it developed carbonation. Both beers held up very well and have a pleasing dry chocolate finish. Paul's creamy stout took a 1st place at the Split Rock competition and also a second place when entered as an Imperial Stout.
  • 11) Heavyweight 2000 Old Salty Barleywine from Paul- This was the first year of the potent barleywine from Tom Baker at Heavyweight that Paul snagged at an open house. It was bottled without any brewery label. Paul, Luke, and Crazy John had gone to the open house where they drank the Old Salty from kegs and melted into lawn chairs! Hophead recalls "In 45 minutes I was smashed!" Luke enjoyed the kegged version as well. He states "There's something in there that will rip your brain open!"
  • 12) Saranac Light from Steve
  • 13) Saranac Dunkel Lager from Steve
  • 14) Saranac Hefeweizen from Steve Well, what's to say? Steve has been hauling these Saranac beers back and forth to the meetings for a few months now. We've been saving the commercials for last in our tasting session and yet again, the Club had enough sampling that to pop open these as well would have been a waste. Thanks (again) Steve for bringing them and hopefully we'll get to them next time! Well, that meeting was one great start to the new year! Once again, Happy and Hoppy New Brew Year! Hope you enjoyed these notes. CHEERS! Kenny / Divorce Court Labs Brewery