2000 February Meeting

WHALES Newsletter and Minutes         February 17, 2000
Recording Secretary: Kenny Schrader


The WHALES Club meeting took place in JJ Bittings Brewpub at 7:30 PM in the main dining room.
Members in Attendance: Joe Barcas, Mike McCormick, Luke Kostu, Keith Seguine, Kenny Schrader, Tom Paffrath, John Mazzoca, Paul St. Marie, Bob Reid, Mike and Julie Tripka, and George Bird. Brewer Brad also sat in.
We lost one. Prior to the official start of the meeting, Rich Kohut stopped in at the bar. Some of you may recall Rich as a former President of WHALES! We have not seen him though in some time, and most likely won't again. Seems like Rich lost interest in homebrewing, and officially has quit the Club. He did not stay for the meeting. I know we all get busy at times, and can sometimes put our favorite hobby (homebrewing!) on the back burner. It's sad to have anybody quit the Club, and perhaps Rich Kohut will rekindle his beer interests once again in the future. CHEERS Rich!
We lost two more?? At our January meeting, we all were happy to welcome new brewers Eric and Dan to the Club. They said they would be E-mailing me for a copy of the January minutes, yet I never did hear from them. Let's hope we did not scare them away, and maybe they will be back in March.
President Keith opened the meeting promptly. A hearty THANKS is in order to Treasurer Tom Paffrath and our new WEBMASTER George Bird for getting the -N E W- WHALES WEBSITE up! Way to go fellas! By the time you read this, "whalesclub.org" should be up and running. The site will offer free E-mail for WHALES club members. The beauty of this site is we -ALL- can contribute to it's content. Got any good recipes you want to share? Any homebrewing tips? Photographs of your home brewing system or gadgets? Links to other helpful sites? Contest results? All of this and MUCH more is now possible so please lets make the most of our site and help it grow. George reserves editing privileges as Webmaster and Webhost so please submit any contributions to him at "gbird@home.com". George was asking the Club for help with website development so if you have any experience in that area let us know!
Special thanks is of course in order to Dave McMahon our former Webhost for originating the first site and logo.
All Club energy is devoted at this time to the WHALES Second Annual Gold Medal Homebrew Competition which will be held at JJ Bittings Brewpub on Sunday, April 16th. If you haven't made any batches to enter into this one, time is quickly running out!
---> STOP READING THIS NOW AND GET TO WORK!! <--- (well ok, you can finish reading if you really want to). By a show of hands, virtually EVERYONE on the meeting attendance list above, volunteered themselves to assist in this event in any way possible. Everyone will have a job be it as a steward, cellarhand, prize assistant, whatever... we need all of us.
Mike and Julie Tripka filled Keith's special request to print up Certificates for second and third place rewards. First place awards will be metal ($2.00 ea). George is working on obtaining the necessary amount of Judges. We don't want to be short of Judges but it may be tough because there are several comps at or about this time.
Keith is personally going to the Brooklyn Brewery competition to hand out our information to the Judges attending there in an attempt to draw them to ours. Keith is also contacting local NJ brewpubs in an effort to obtain First Class prizes, such as a gift certificate to their pub. If anyone has access to a FAX MACHINE to solicit prizes it would be greatly appreciated! The Club is using 800 numbers and E-Mail to solicit prizes whenever possible but when not available a fax is the next economical thing. By the way, the AHA has switched their guidelines to "BJCP" guidelines for uniformity. Keith passed copies out.
Tom Paffrath has already achieved commitments in the brewing industry for donations as contest prizes. Tom commands a credibility to the Club's efforts as a JJ Bittings representative. Sponsors for the competition respect a request written on stationary with a JJ Bitting letterhead. Tom's help in this matter is greatly appreciated! He has even gotten us into the Ale Street News.
John (smile, you're on Candid Camera) Mazocca {and unofficial WHALES photographer} reinforced the idea of a ONE FREE drink limit for Judges during the competition lunch break. We learned from last year's experience this is necessary to keep the tab down to a reasonable limit. Bittings Owner Mike Cerami will be asked again to provide the lunch buffet. It was in general agreement that his spread last year was fine, and the Club requests Cerami provide it again.
One other thing about the lunch break... Bittings needs to also provide an employee to bartend. Seems that last year we asked a favor of an employee to pour lunch beers on her own time. It was suggested that this year, Brewer Brad should be present to pour Judges their lunch beers.
There is a chance that this competition will be broadcast -LIVE- from the internet. Stay tuned!
On to OTHER things, Joe Barcas is looking forward to hosting another annual WHALES PICNIC and BBQ at his swim club! This is one event of the calendar that you won't want to miss, so please say YES and plan ahead to attend!
DUES being PAID! Wow, good to see so many folks offer to pay their Yearly CHEAP Dues this meeting. Hey, $24 bucks a year to become a member of this lowly crew is a STEAL! (Hey Baloo, hear that? Present or not, PAY UP!) I saw Treasurer Paffrath rake in a bundle last night. No receipts, so he might ask you to pay again... just kidding! But come to think about it, some type of Membership Card, or Dues Paid card, or even a simple receipt should be necessary. Not that we don't trust you Tom, but your beer belly has been getting noticeably bigger as of late. :-)


Joe Barcas started off with a homebrewed STOUT from a friend. Very, VERY dry stout was the consensus. Perhaps not enough roasted malts but quite drinkable.
Mike McCormick brought his awesome wheat-bock, or weizenbock. I mentioned to Mike I could drink quite a bit of that brew and his reply was he did already! Great stuff, Mike.
Keith shared some of his First Place Award Winning Scottish Ale. Also some terrific Munich-Dunkel.
Kenny brought some of the latest from Divorce Court Labs. Hop Devil II, and a Bock. Also a first time Root Beer!
There might have been other homebrews drank not mentioned here only because I didn't get any. Or, I forgot (which is highly unlikely)!
When it comes to sampling homebrews, I now propose the following: Let's not bang the "official gavel" part of the meeting closed until we sample at LEAST one "Beer Of The Month" hombrew from a member. Sure, we always have PLENTY of homebrews to drink after the close of the meeting, but what THIS means is we always have a member volunteer a beer the month before to be sampled seriously and in a group effort. The brewer should be prepared to speak about 2 minutes before the sampling and talk about the procedures and ingredients used in making that beer. Sound good?


I'm sure you've heard of these before; vertical tastings. What the heck is that? Well, it's simply a tasting session where beverages of alcohol (beer, wine, spirits) are compared side by side according to years, vintages, batches, etc. The Club was fortunate to have not one, but TWO such tasting sessions last night.
PAUL ST. MARIE was so generous as to bring CELEBRATION! From Sierra Nevada, naturally. Paul is one Helluva Hop Head, as well as his buddy Bob Reid. These guys chew on Cascades, brush teeth with Centenials, and have hop vines growing out their ears. Leave it to Paul to bring on a tasting of Celebration YEARS 1997, 1998, & 1999 !!!! Oh, baby.
The newest brew, the '99 was a favorite because it was still rough on the edges. It maintains it's raw hoppish state, the way God intended hops to be.
Surprisingly, The '97 held out better than the '98. In Paul's word's, "the '97 is DYNOMITE"! I had to agree. Don't get me wrong, the '98 is one fine brew too, just that we all enjoyed the other years unamiously.
LUKE KOSTU is a good beer nut. Luke brought BOTH 1995 and 1996 versions of one of my favorites;

*- S A M I C H L A U S -*

The immediate discussion among the deservedly ah's and ooh's about this beer came about when the word barleywine was mentioned. Pretty much - A L L - of the Club members thought this was a barleywine. Except me. WHY?
I said "ALL Barleywines are ALES". "Sami is a LAGER!" Upon further investigation, I was right. Samichlaus is NOT a barleywine but is rather loosely clasified as a doppelbock!
In any event, this beer kick's ass. Damn shame it's not made anymore...
Well, that's all for now. Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Happy Brewing and C H E E R S ! ! !

Kenny, Divorce Court Labs Brewery