2002 December Meeting Issue #50

WHALES December 2002 Newsletter and Minutes

WHALES Newsletter and Minutes

December 2002 Issue #050

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiast Society

PREVIEW:  02 Year End Party, 10 Brew Tasting Session,


QUOTES OF MONTH: "What happens if you break the Homebrewer Of  The Year  cup?"

"We can not find the stout in this cherry extract."


  • 01/11/03- WHALES Christmas Party (set in stone, again!)
  • 01/16/03- WHALES Club meeting. Special Presentation: "How NOT to make cherry stout" by Luke
  • 01/20/03- DEADLINE for AHA Club Only #4 Bitter/English Pale
  • 02/09/03- ROAD TRIP / Lambertville (chili cook off and winter fest)
  • 03/??/03- ROAD TRIP / Somewhere (to be determined)
  • 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
  • 05/15/03- BOOK SIGNING / Stout For Dummies by Hophead
  • 05/16/03- BOOK SIGNING / Cherry Stout For Dummies by Luke
  • 07/17/03- Dawnmarie's birthday and WHALES meeting, oh shit.
  • 08/??/03- AHA Club Only #2 European Pale Lager (in the summer!)
  • J-Feb/04- AHA Club Only #12 Barleywine
  • M-Apr/04- AHA Club Only: Mead


OPEN (like Big Johnson's zipper...)  Volunteers requested!

The WHALES Homebrew Club once again proved what we've been saying for years now.  WE ALL CAN MAKE GREAT BEERS IF WE TRY!  We did some good old butt kicking at the Annual Split Rock Homebrew Competition this year! There were 124 entries. Veteran WHALES member, Mike Tripka showed who's boss winning BEST OF SHOW with his excellent English style Barleywine which took the gold medal in the Strong Ale Category.

In fact, the WHALES totally SWEEPED the Strong Ale Category with:

  • 1st Place: Mike Tripka- English Barleywine
  • 2nd Place: Paul St. Marie- Russian Imperial Stout
  • 3rd Place: Kenny Schrader- American Barleywine

Other categories were harvested as well with:

  • 1st Place: Paul St. Marie- Foreign Extra Stout
  • 3rd Place: Keith Seguine- American Pale Ale

We are especially proud of Mike Tripka, whose English style Barleywine was the BEST of 123 other great beers, and took BEST OF SHOW. Great job, Mike! You've been making some excellent beers lately. Take good care of that new all-grain equipment and keep'em coming!

The WHALES monthly homebrew meeting took place yet again, on the third Thursday of the month at J.J. Bitting Brewpub, courtesy of owner Mike Cerami. JJ is rocking this time of year, and it was good to see them SO BUSY, that our meeting took place in the basement due to lack of space! We wish our host brewpub continued success, and we thank you for having us no matter which nook or corner we can gather. We are happy, anywhere!

ATTENDANCE: very, very strong!

Steve, Leo, BOS Mike, Julianna, Piper Mike, Joe, Kenny, Tom T, Paff T, Paul, Luke, Keith, with appearances from Anthony, Joe Bar, and owner Mr. Cerami, plus various brewpub employees from around the world.

Paff opened the meeting with news of web site hits from Taiwan and Hawaii.

Before you know it, we'll get some hits from New Jersey. Hang in there! Tom has been busy but he is working on upgrading the www.whalesclub.org site, along with Tom T doing some "FLASH" things. Meanwhile, always feel free to contribute to the "invite only" AOL group site.

Prez Keith took the floor with several items worthy of discussion.


  • A) The idea of a WHALES Club Homebrewer Of The Year. Club members would be awarded points based on scores in AHA competitions, and others. The prize might be perhaps a cup with the brewer's name engraved. It could be passed each year to the next winner, with additional names engraved as needed. Thus, the quote of the month "What if you break the cup?"
  • B) Women kicked the crap out of a Corona Beer truck and its contents in a town in Mexico. They were trying to ban all types of booze, even beer. The men are sleeping on the couch tonight.
  • C) Keith passed out a hand out for the National Homebrew Comp coming up next year. Entries are accepted 04/09 thru 04/18/03.  PLEASE BREW!
  • D)The WHALES Weizen Brew we made at JJ,s was mentioned in the October edition of NJ Monthly.
  • E) If anybody wants to participate in one of the various "Beer Of  The Month" clubs, perhaps some members would like to pool their efforts.

Note: The Club sent our BEST entry into the AHA Club Only Fruit/Veg/Spice Comp.  That just so happened to be our President Keith's American Peach Wheat. We had several to judge for this comp, as we can only enter one to represent the Club. We sent our best. The judges trashed the entry, saying there was too much "spice". ALL of us tasted the peach beer. There is NO freaking spice in that beer. It's a DAMN GOOD FRUIT BEER! Perhaps, God forbid, the score sheets/entry numbers got mixed up? These AHA guys and judges need to shape up.



Leo did much research on this, as well as Luke, Keith, and Paff.

THANKS for all of your efforts!

To make a long story short, the party will be held at:

Corner of Plainfield Ave (603) and Lane Ave.  Parking lot on Lane.
This is right off of Spring: Lake next to the gas station.  Can't miss it.

JANUARY 11, 2003  5:00 pm
Spouses welcome!  Pretty good taps going... willing to provide some food for $5-6 per person, (veg platter, finger sandwiches, etc.) according to Leo. Also a restaurant so folks can order a meal. The Club voted to spend $250 of the dues war chest for this event.\

Guests (i.e. wives, C-J, etc) will run their own tab's).


As always, we take a tally of what the brewers have brewed, and try to taste the efforts in an organized and constructive manner. Somehow, with 2 ounce or better sample cups, we always seem to do it! This month's Tasting Session was spectacular (...even WITH Luke's stout)!

  • 1) Tom T- Strong California Common
    First off, lets welcome new member Tom Teneralli to the Club! Tom is no stranger to home brewing and good beer, but has been on the side lines. His California Common was from the first batch he has made in a three year dry spell. Labeled "strong" because it weighs in at 7% abv. This beer fermented down with a lager (Anchor Steam type) yeast at 67 degrees to 1008. Tom snuck brewing this extract batch in between 2 and 4 am using Northern Brewer hops.
  • 2) Luke- ESB
    After the cherry stout fiasco, Paul said we should not drink any thing ever again from the Pissoff Brewery! But with our eyes closed and our fingers pinching our noses shut, we boldly put a shot of this 3.3% abv puppy onto our pallate. Hey, not as bad as we expected! Luke used Kent Goldings in the boil, and Phoenix hops at 10% alpha to finish the beers flavor and aroma. The BJCP style guidelines for Category 4 (Bitter and English Pale Ale) is subdivided into 3 categories. #4A is Ordinary Bitter OG 1030 - 1038 abv 3 - 3.8%.  #4B is Special or Best Bitter OG 1039 - 1045 abv 3.7 - 4.8%. And #4C is Strong Bitter/English Pale Ale which in laymen's terms is usually referred to as ESB or Extra Special Bitter.  The ESB sub-category should have an OG of 1046 - 1065 with an abv of 4.4 - 6.2%. Luke's beer was nice (at 1040 OG) but if entered as an ESB would do poorly. (Not that Luke is a judge's favorite anyway!). This beer WOULD score better as a #4A Ordinary or #4B Best Bitter.
    This is one tough category and is the next Club Only Competition. You really have to study the styles and pick the correct sub-category. Over all though, a decent beer from Luke!
  • 3) Tom T- Nut Brown
    The Brown Ale category is another tough one to nail down. There is Mild, Northern, Southern, and American. Tom's nut brown falls more into the Northern English style with its hoppiness. Tom's gravities were perfect! 1045 OG and 1013 FG. He used Irish Ale yeast over chocolate and caramel malts. 4) Mike T- Nut Brown Big Johnson's nut also falls into the Northern English style, more than any other. Some folks thought this beer tasted like grape soda? A very nice beer by BOS winner Mike. The AHA Club Only is for March/April 2003. We urge Mike to set some bottles aside. Mike's Nut Brown is great right now, let's hope it holds up.
  • 5) Paul- Brew Bash Flat IPA
    This beer was made at our Fall brew bash and bottled November 16th. Paul chose not to dry hop as he used quite a bit of Nugget and Cascade in the brew. This beer is superb in color, and has an abv of 7.8%. Paul has been complaining about it being slow to carbonate, with 1056 American dropping out quickly. Paul's first bottle was indeed flat. The second bottle hissed upon opening, and what do you know, it had a head! Paul must have forgot to wash that bottle. From flat to gushers, go figure! :-)
  • 06) Luke- Dry Stout
    Uh oh. This is from the same batch as Luke's cherry stout, only without the cherry. This is from the batch that Split Rock judges totally trashed! The judges found the cherry, but could not find the stout. Luke scores were a 24 on the cherry and a 28 on the straight dry stout.
    OK, back to the dry stout, this beer was a tad lacking in the roasted barley department. It may very well be more of a porter, than a stout. A bit thin in body, but not a bad beer. Quite drinkable! Here is the kicker though, and why we have little respect for AHA judges. The judges said this beer tasted like plastic and solvent. When they say that, they mean the beer has major flaws and problems. A dozen of us drank this beer, and NONE of us came up with anything NEAR plastic and solvent! What are they, drunk? We detected no plastic or solvent, and suggested to use more roasted barley next time. That's all.
  • 7) Keith- Oatmeal Stout
    A very good silky stout. Prez did not elaborate on the details so there are no notes.
  • 8) Kenny- Christmas Spice Ale
    This beer has mellowed quite a bit from the last tasting session, and is more drinkable now than when young. All of the flavors are mending together now, this might be one to cellar and age. It was brewed with chocolate, vanilla, sage, cinnamon, all spice, clove, licorice, and coriander with both Belgian Trappist and American 1056 yeasts.
  • 9) Paul- Foreign Extra Stout
    This stout won a GOLD MEDAL at Split Rock! Way to go, Paul! This was from a batch that Paul and Tripka made together (on 11/03/01) and split. Paul bottled his over a year ago on 11/27/01. It checks in at 6.5% abv and has a lacey, creamy thick head on top. A very nice stout, certainly worthy of first place! A lesson to be learned though here, about selecting the proper style category to enter into competition. Paul won Gold as Foreign Extra. Mike's portion of the batch scored badly when entered as an Imperial. Still a good beer though!
  • 10) Steve- Saranac Stout
    Steve picked up EVERYTHING when visiting Saranac recently and brought it to our November meeting. We always do our own home brews first, and save the commercial brews for last. Well, we never got around to it last meeting, so Steve hauled his package in again for this December meeting. In addition to the Saranac Light, Hefeweizen, Dunkel, Pale Ale, Amber, Pilsner, Black and Tan, Chocolate Amber, Single Malt, IPA, Stout, and Caramel Porter, Steve also picked up their Octoberfest on the side! Once again, we were pretty much wiped out from the above 9 beers, but we did have Steve pop open the Stout. Saranac makes the Black and Tan all year long, but only sells the Stout by itself once a year as a seasonal. The Black and Tan is always good but it is nice to have the "black" part only once in awhile. Thanks Steve! It was suggested that instead of hauling all this back to the next meeting, perhaps Steve should bring only 3 at a time. Lets schedule their 3 NEW beers for the next time, those being the Light, Hefeweizen, and Dunkel.

    Well, that's all for now and lets hope everyone can make it to the party at Flanigan's on January 11th at 5pm. Here at Divorce Court Brew Labs, we would like to wish everyone the best of holidays and a great 2003! On the homebrew front we are sitting on a case of Barleywine, a case of Belgian Strong Ale, a sixer of Apricot Ale left, perhaps an Impy Stout or two, a case and a half of Christmas Spice Ale, 2 mini-kegs of IPA and a case of bottles, a case and a half of ESB and 1 mini-keg, and 6 gallons of doppelbock in primary. I'm worried my stock is getting on the low side, so no doubt I'll be brewing again real soon! Have a safe and merry Christmas.

    -Kenny / Divorce Court Brew Labs