1999 December Meeting

WHALES Newsletter and Minutes         December 16, 1999
Recording Secretary: Kenny Schrader


Member Attendance: Bob Reid, Paul St. Marie, Mike McCormick, Luke Kostu, George and Mrs. Bird, Louie Soto, Keith Seguine, Kenny Schrader, Tom Paffrath, Joe Barcas ..also attending: Brewer Brad and Owner Mike of JJ Bittings, plus "friends of Tom."


JJ Bittings was JAM PACKED with holiday party-ites so the meeting was held "downstairs" where it was much quieter. Word was left with the bartenders to direct homebrewers and club members downstairs to the meeting, so hopefully anyone wanting to attend found us. Bittings will be renovating the cellar area and adding another bar. If you show up late for a meeting, be sure to check all around for us as the meeting may be held just anywhere on the premises and we won't want to miss you!
The date of the WHALES/Bittings 2nd Annual Home-brew Competition is set rock solid in stone for Sunday, April 16th 2000. Mike Cerami confirmed this, and mentioned he wants to start advertising right away, most likely in the Home News. Be sure to mark your calendars and be available as helpers/stewards for this event, as we'll need all the help we can get. The time to brew for this competition is -NOW- so get a few batches going if you haven't done so already! Our club members are all capable of producing award winning brews so let's kick some ass. We can do it, let's be proud of our beers.
The topic of competitions was discussed further, expanding into "Club Only" competitions. Tom Paffrath has already entered his Winter Warmer on our behalf. The way club only competitions work is the individual home-brew club enters only the BEST of their best member's brews. That choice beer then represents the entire Club. The Club benefits from any wins (I'm not sure how, ask Keith) and we all get to gloat and celebrate! For events of competition beer styles, George said to check out beertown.org.
Keith passed around photos he took from the WHALES picnic, as well as his Oktoberfest. What ever doubles there were, I confiscated and will put into the official WHALES photo album promptly! We've had some GREAT times together, and I'm doing my best to keep up the Photo Album of our fun.
Speaking of fun, I'm having a BLAST writing this "minutes/newsletter!" I've typed up the "Minutes" about 7 or 8 times in the past, when the minute-keepers were not available. A Thank You is certainly in order though, to member Dave "Baloo" Balistrieri for doing the club minutes whenever he could. Dave resigned his duties due to technical computer problems and time constraints, but still remains an enthusiastic homebrewer. The club UNANIMOUSLY voted Kenny Schrader as "official" whatever, and I'm more than happy to do the job! Thanks, I'll do what I can and I hope you enjoy reading.
The subject of dues money came up. With the year 2000 right around the corner, I just HAD to make sure our Club Treasurer's record keeping system was Y2K compliant. Tom pulled out his notebook and pencil, and it passed the test. Heck, a mere $2 bucks a month ain't gonna kill anybody, but we gotta make sure it's paid! It would be best for the Club if everyone coughed up the $24/year dues in January 2000, instead of stringing it along throughout the millennium.
Speaking of money, Treasurer Tom Paffrath is looking into getting the WHALES Club into becoming an official Nonprofit Organization. That status has it's advantages, for sure (yet I'm told we can STILL make a profit)! Our Treasurer is also looking into getting us an interest earning account, tax ID#, etc. The Club will look into obtaining an Internet address, such as buying the domain name of whales.com, or some such thing. All of this will be discussed further.
The Pub Crawl in NYC was lacking. The Bird's went but missed meeting the Kostu's and Tripka's. Lack of participation and communication. Hopefully better turnout next time.
Keith brought with him the results of the Pale Ale Competition. Once again, Keith won a GOLD for his Brown Ale, Tom P also took 2 awards. CONGRATULATIONS! Our club members brew some awesome beer, that's a fact.
Tune up your WHALES E-mail address list folks! I believe the "to" list above represents an accurate accounting of current data. Let me know if revisions are needed. A --SPECIAL HOIST-- is in order for the addition of Paul St. Marie, now affectionately known as hophead32@aol.com. All right Paul! (I still have your pen.) By the way, I will be snail-mailing a hard copy of this newsletter to those WHALES without computer access, for whom I have street addresses.
Special "SPEAKER" for next month's (Jan/00) meeting will be none other than our own Tom Paffrath! Tom will be discussing among other things, hop utilization and recipe calculations. Conversion of recipes from extract to all-grain and vise versa. In fact, Tom's brewing experience is vast and his input priceless. We are lucky to have this award winning brewer aboard! (Ps: Tom was also so generous as to pass out 12 ounce samples of Holiday Cheer to take home... ) Thanks again Tom, we appreciate it! People, next meeting is a MUST GO, so be there.


We discussed at length several commercial brews. This time of year brings out many. Sierra Nevada CELEBRATION is one helluva favorite for our hopheads! 30 cases were spotted on Oak Tree Ave... seems like it is much more widley spread around this year. We also chatted about other seasonal favorites such as the SARANAC line-up and Sam Adam's MILLENNIUM. Keith brought several commercial brews to sample. Among them Young's Double Chocolate Stout and Dirty Dicks! Thanks Keith! Luke was so generous to raffle off a Fuller's VINTAGE Ale! Way to go.
...and, we sampled MANY of our own Home-brews. Louie brought a dry hopped pale ale extract. He dry hopped with Cascades for 3 days before bottling. Comments of "soapy" and "Band-Aids" led to a conclusion of a sanitation problem, and possibly too high fermentation temperatures. Louie took this all very well, and I think he will be a damn good brewer real soon. He asks questions, he listens. One thing about the WHALES is we don't bull crap each other if a beer is bad. Instead, we analyze the problems and come up with solutions for better brewing. Always keep in mind that negative comments on one of your beers is nothing personal. Hang in there Louie!
From Kenny's "DIVORCE COURT LAB'S BREWERY" we sampled an all-grain Scottish Ale, as well as a Hoppy Devil IPA all-grain clone. Both of these beers have potential. (I'll share the Hop Devil recipe in a separate note.) We also broke out a scarce DC Y2K barleywine which is about 16 months in the bottle now. Tom brought some super fine brews from "BUMZBREW BREWERY." A Hoppy Christmas Ale and Tom's Old Ale. Tom makes some DEAD SMOOTH beers, man what a treat! Keith let us all taste his GOLD METAL AWARD WINNING English Brown Ale. Definitely, a winner, no doubt!
Next meeting is Thursday, January 20th, 2000 at 7:30pm JJ Bittings. Here's wishing all the very happiest, hoppy holidays. CHEERS! Careful driving, please.

Kenny/Divorce Court Labs Brewery