2000 March Meeting

WHALES Newsletter and Minutes         March 16, 2000
Recording Secretary: Kenny Schrader


WHALES members enjoyed dinner and drank at the JJ Bittings bar prior to the meeting. At 7:55 the WHALES Club meeting was officially called to order in the main dining room.
Members (paid or not) in attendance:
Keith -The Prez-, "Crazy" John, Cool Hand Luke, Saint Paul, Hairy Joe, Round Trip Mike, Jumpin' Julie, Bumzbrew Tom, and Kickin' Kenny. We had a special guest appearance from Dangerous Dave Hoffman of CLIMAX BREWERY! Also, we wish to extend a hearty WELCOME to our NEW member Ale-man Alex!
Here are two NEW E-mail addresses to add to your lists. Luke can now be reached at lkostu@aol.com and Alex's E-mail is adaddio@carterwallace.com. Also, Tom has an additional E-mail address at bumzbrew@home.com. Joe cancelled his Yahoo address but added another at joebarcas@hotmail.com. George is now at gbird@whalesclub.org. If all of this sounds confusing, just use the distribution list that is tacked onto this E-mail. It should be up to date. Keep in mind, the Club offers free E-mail addresses now if you need one @whaleclub.org.
The WHALES 2nd Annual Gold Medal Homebrew Competition is right around the corner! Just a reminder, the date of the competition is Palm Sunday, April 16th at JJ Bittings Brewpub. All Club members will be needed that day so please be there to help out.
It is crunch-time right now, trying to gather up enough prizes and it looks we might come up short if responses don't improve. Last year we had nine beer categories and gave out prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners so we need at LEAST 27 prize packages again this year.
Keith will be getting some prizes donated from Triumph Brewpub, Traprock, CLIMAX BREWERY, and Brew Your Own. He will also receive 15 coupons for yeast from White Labs. Tom has gotten a poor response from his contacts. Ideally, requests for prize donations need to be in writing on JJ Bittings stationary or some other legitimate letterhead. Alex volunteered the use of his fax machine and Keith will coordinate with him to get out more requests. It was discussed that we will be more than happy to plug our sponsors on the WHALES website; www.whalesclub.org.
Dave Hoffman will be donating several prizes from CLIMAX. A bag of grain, wort chiller, beer literature, etc. What sounds like a VERY fun prize to win is "A DAY WITH DAVE!" Dave will donate his time to have a prize winner spend a work day with him at the brewery. Working side by side with the brewmaster would be such a treat! Dave warns though, "Be prepared to work!"
In other competition news, Joe bought the tasting cups for the judges. He picked up 1000 clear tumbler style plastic glasses which we hope will be enough. Kenny will be picking up any entries dropped off at PRINCETON HOMEBREW on Saturday, April 8th, and at the same time try to weasel some more prizes from there. With any luck at all, and with the help of many, this competition should run smoothly and everyone involved should benefit.
Unfortunately, George (WHALES webhost) was not at the meeting to hear our praise, but we did discuss our new website and the progress it has made in a short month. It was in general agreement that instead of a zipped file to download of the "minutes", there should simply be a link on the home page. The link takes you to another page that has the months listed when minutes were taken. Then just click on the month to read the file on-line. To see a SUPER nice example of what a great homebrew club website can be, check out the DYS page. (DYS stands for Dead Yeast Society.) First go to our site and click on the guest book. You will see a link from there to get to the DYS site. Pretty good stuff!
Anytime Mr. Dave Hoffman attends our meetings, you can rest assured he always has plenty to say! Dave talked (among other things) about "The Art Of Being A Brewer". Please consider purchasing your homebrew supplies from him. All leaf hops are $1 an ounce, and all grains are $1 a pound. He is being stubborn about his yeast though, so we'll have to work on that point some more!
Dave was discussing how he tries to keep the Climax IPA recipe consistant, while dealing with the ever changing hop market. Depending on alpha acids, he has to make adjustments when using either Centenials or Columbus. We were pleased Dave brought with him a growler of his IPA to sample! God bless you, Dave.
Mr. Hoffman also spoke at length about brewing with various fruits, making meads, also apple and pear ciders. He ain't just beer, folks!
Climax is working on developing a website. Temporarily though, there is a page up at 1stpage.com/climaxbrewing. When the new site gets going, WHALES and CLIMAX will be linked.
May 6th is AHA National Homebrew Day. Keith spoke of coordinating another brew bash, similar to the one we held last year. While there were only a few (three?) batches made at the last bash, those who participated had a great time! More info to follow.
Paul originated an in depth discussion on bottle sanitation details that was quite revealing and most interesting! Club members traded tested techniques for optimum efficiency on this most critical step in the homebrewing process. We compared bleach and iodine solutions, jet washers, and proper rinsing temperatures if necessary. Great topic, Paul!
The WHALES photo albums, and Divorce Court Labs photo album were on the table if anyone was interested, and a few pictures were taken at Bittings to add to the collection. Lots of GREAT memories in there!

!!! * * * R O A D T R I P * * * !!!

Keith has been talking with the brewer at Triumph Brewpub in Princeton, and the brewer has generously offered to host the WHALES for an historical discussion on the brewing of beer before hops were used. Various herbs, plants, and spices were used for flavor and bittering before the hop became the world's favorite ingredient. Our tour and educational visit is an open ivitation for any Saturday at 2:00. Two tentative dates were selected. It will be on either March 25th or April 1st. Keith has offered to drive and can pack a few Club members in his van. Exact date will be announced shortly.
True story: David "Baloo" Balistrieri has been missing the Club meetings lately due to a hectic schedule, but he is still a very active homebrewer. Kenny broke his balls about missing the meetings, and insisted he pay the dues whether he shows up or not! Baloo sent a check for $24 to pay in full for year 2000 dues. Kenny then "KIDS" Baloo that the dues went up $2 a month, and send more moolah. Well, Baloo took it seriously and sent a SECOND check for $24! Kenny likes to get cash in the mail, but he really was just joking about the increase. Kenny sent the 2nd check back to Baloo and told him to buy a sense of humor with it! You must admit though, that anyone willing to pay $48 in dues and not show up for the meetings must think this Club is really special. We happen to agree.
The fellas brought in some REAL good brews to sample, as usual! Alex showed off his brewing skills with a superb porter. Paul also brought in a porter, but we told him he made a stout by mistake! :-) Luke shared a wild super natural IPA out of Portland, Oregan that had notes of apricot and pear. VERY unusual! Our Prez Keith earns a right to be proud with an awesome Belgian Double. This was one complex brew with a ton of flavor and some members were tasting bananna in it. One of the most popular brews of the night was an American Ale from Mike Tripka. Dave remarked "PREMO!" and we all had to agree. This is a beer you can drink a LOT of and not get tired of it. Kenny retired the last two bottles of a Divorce Court Labs Doppelbock that took two first place awards in national competitions. This beer was brewed before Christmas of 1998, lagered over that winter, and aged in the bottle for over a year. The original sweetness had faded, but the malt character was still quite evident with a heavy alcohol presense. It was a pleasure to retire this beer with the Club! "Crazy" John announced he has an English Brown Ale in the works that should be ready soon. We look forward to trying some at the next meeting, so John, please don't drink it all before then, OK?
In closing, we would like to take this time to wish Hophead Paul our prayers and best wishes that he hears good news on a recent biopsy. Our thoughts and support are with you!

That's all for now. CHEERS!
Kenny/Divorce Court Labs Brewery