2009 February Meeting #124

The Official WHALES Newsletter and Minutes - February 2009 - Issue #124

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society - Est. 1996



March 17th - Club Meeting - Club Only Comp (Beer with O.G. > 1.080)

March 20th - 22nd - Atlantic City Craft Beer Fest - Atlantic City, NJ

March 25th - April 8th - Entry window for the First Round of the 2009 National Homebrew Competition

April 1st - Tickets go on sale for Ommegang's "Belgium Comes to Cooperstown" festival on July 31st - August 2nd

April 18th - Great Brews From Around The World International Beer Festival" - Splitrock Resort - Lake Harmony, PA

May 2nd - World Beer Festival - Raleigh, NC

May 30th - SAVOR American Craft Beer & Food Experience - Washington, DC

June 3rd - June 7th - Mondial de la biere - Montreal, Canada

June 18th - June 20th - National Homebrew Conference - San Francisco, CA


"I wanna move to Brooklyn and date a Japanese girl who is half my age and plays bass in a band. That's my dream." - Luke Kostu



Check the Whales website at (http://www.whalesbrewclub.com) for the latest announcements, meeting minutes, and calendar updates.  Feel free to upload pictures, review beers/bars, and post comments in the forums.  If you are a member and do not have access to the site, please e-mail Bobby M. at (bobby_m@whalesbrewclub.com) and he will invite you to the group.

Just a friendly reminder that it's that time of year again for club dues.  Annual club dues are still a very modest $40 per member and can be paid directly to our club treasurer, Mike V. (Mike_V@whalesbrewclub.com), at the next meeting.



The Tuesday February 16th meeting was held upstairs at J.J. Bittings with another near capacity crowd of 35+ Whales and guests in attendance.  Thanks again to Mike and August for their continued support of the clubs endeavors.

We had the pleasure of having J.J. Bittings brewer, August Lightfoot, as a guest speaker at the meeting.  August discussed how he got into brewing, his brewing education at the Siebel Institute, and his experiences being the brewer at J.J. Bittings for more than seven years.  We would like to thank August for his time and for his presentation and ask that he come back again soon.

The judging for the Iron Brewer Challenge took place in conjunction with the February 16th meeting.  Seventeen entries were judged by two BJCP certified judges and six Whales volunteer judges.  There were some very interesting beers but in the end, five entries had to be chosen to be the winners.  JD Haesloop took first place with his Apple Juice, Allspice, and Lalvin D47 wine yeast brew, Bobby Mierzejwski came in second place with his Grape Juice and Montrachet Champagne yeast brew, Dave Newman came in third place with his Chocolate, Chili Pepper, and Belgian yeast brew, Jim Downey came in fourth place with his Coffee and American Wheat yeast brew, and Nate Monk came in fifth place with his Star Anise, Ginger, and Saison yeast brew.  We would like to thank all of the brewers who participated and all of the prize donators for their generosity.

There was a recap of the Pocono's ski getaway hosted by Gene Vetrone.  It would appear that more people went to drink rather than to ski and knowing Gene, there was no shortage of beverages to be enjoyed.  Most notable was the cherries soaked in everclear for two years.  Thanks to Gene for his hospitality and for his generosity with his brews.

Luke's Big Beer night was held this year in the cozy confines of Keith and Donna Story's basement.  The basement was at capacity with 30+ Whales and guests in attendance.  There were over thirty-five beers served, nineteen of them Belgians, and they were all inventoried, categorized, and served to all of those in attendance.  Thanks go to Luke Kostu and Keith and Donna Story for keeping an awesome Whales tradition alive.  We are already looking forward to next years event.

On Saturday, February 21st the War of the Worts XIV took place in North Wales, PA.  Brad and Jennifer Jones volunteered to be judges in the competition and had a great time judging.  The Whales had a most excellent showing with Keith Seguine taking Best of Show and a Gold with his German Pilsner, Karl Weiss taking a Bronze with his Dry Stout, Jay DeSimone taking a Gold with his Metheglin Mead, Luke Kostu taking a Silver with his Oaked Berry Mead, and Gary Weston taking a Bronze with his Ginger Mead.  Not only did the Whales take Best of Show but they also had a clean sweep in the Mead category.  Way to go Whales!!!

We will be collecting entries for the first round of the National Homebrew Competition at the March meeting.  Additional information regarding the competition can be found at: http://www.beertown.org/events/nhc/index.html.  Registration and payment is done online and this is your chance to have a Whales volunteer deliver your entries to Philly.  You may also ship or deliver your entries to Philly by the April 8th deadline.  Any entry that places (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) will advance to the National Homebrew Competition in San Francisco, CA in June.  This is the premier homebrew competition in the US so anyone who places at this level will earn some major bragging rights!  The online entry is much easier than the traditional paperwork but it can still be confusing.  Placing your entry in the proper category is very important so please ask any of the more experienced Whales members questions if you aren't sure of anything.

At the March 17th club meeting, we will be judging the Club Only Competition for beers with an O.G. > 1.080.  This will be another opportunity to earn Home Brewer of the Year (HBOY) points for 2009.  This competition covers beer styles in the following table.

BJCP Category


5C, D

Dopplebock, Eisbock


Strong Scottish Ale


Baltic Porter


Imperial Stout


Imperial IPA



16C, D, E

Siason, Bière de Garde, Belgian Specialty Ale

18C, D, E

Belgian Tripel, Belgian Golden Strong Ale, Belgian Dark Strong Ale

19A, B, C

Old Ale, English Barleywine, American Barleywine


Fruit Beer over 1.080 OG


Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer over 1.080 OG

22B, C

Other Smoked Beer over 1.080 OG, Wood-Aged Beer over 1.080 OG


Specialty Beer over 1.080 OG

The next Club Only Competition will be held at the April 21st club meeting.  This will be another opportunity to earn Home Brewer of the Year (HBOY) points for 2009.  This competition covers all BJCP beer categories (1-23); however, extract must make up more than 50% of the fermentables.

Bobby M. (bobby_m@whalesbrewclub.com) gave everyone an update as to the status of the Kriek Funky Barrel Project.  It will take some time for the bugs to do their work so the barrel will slumber in Bobby's basement for the majority of 2009.  We'll see if we can't get Bobby to bring in some occasional samples so we can taste the beer as it progresses.

All three of the Cider Barrel Projects (New England, Raspberry, and Common Cider) are doing nicely.  Each of the three barrels contents were transferred to secondary and are now in the secondary/aging process.

The Imperial Porter Project is coming along nicely as well with a planned racking into an apple brandy/bourbon barrel sometime in March or April.  Please contact Jody (Jody_M@whalesbrewclub.com) or check the "2008-09 Imperial Porter Barrel Project" thread in the Forums section of the WHALES webpage for additional information.

The Steering Committee has been diligently working on updating the club's bylaws.  A draft for review by the membership should be available for review and comments in the next month or so.  Once they are completed they will be brought before the membership to be voted in.

The Steering Committee discussed and agreed that the club should have generic Whales business cards in bulk to hand out personally or at events to promote the club (to make people aware of us, not necessarily to promote more growth of membership).  A box of 1000 full color glossy cards is only going to cost the club $30.  There are currently five different designs posted on the Whales webpage so check them out and vote on your favorite.

The Beer in the News story was entitled "Bipartisan Tax Relief Legislation for Brewers Introduced" and reported on the introduction of a bill which would return federal beer excise taxes back to pre-1991 levels of $9 per barrel.

For the Gadget Report, Karl Weiss showed us an example of and discussed his Randall project.  Check out the link for a description of what a Randall is and ask Karl for advice if you are looking to build one of your own.  I can personally attest that an IPA served through a Randall is a hop head's delight!

Members were reminded that the AHA's 2009 National Homebrewer's Conference will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area this year.  The conference runs from June 18th - 20th and a small contingent of the WHALES plan to be in attendance.  The host hotel for the conference has already been filled but there are additional hotels in the area.

Dave Newman (Dave_N@whalesbrewclub.com) is the Whales librarian and will keep the database on the club website under the "Whales Physical Library Collection" section.  Newman will check the database just before the meeting to see if anyone is on the waiting list for material from the library so sign up if you want to borrow a book from the Library.

Jody continues to maintain the WHALES brewing database data.  Remember when you brew to send him an e-mail at (Jody_M@whalesbrewclub.com).  In the e-mail tell him the brewing date, how many gallons, what style you brewed, the OG, and what the percent alcohol you expect.  He can also track wine, cider and mead as well.

The club continues to seek out volunteers to make presentations at club meetings.  Members can discuss anything from beer styles, equipment, techniques, ingredients, or any other topics of general interest.  The club is also looking for folks interested in setting up some class trips to different breweries or local apiaries etc.  Contact Gary (gary_w@whalesbrewclub.com), Luke (Luke_K@whalesbrewclub.com), or Brad (brad_j@whalesbrewclub.com) if you are interested in making a presentation or setting up a trip.  It is important to let Gary, Luke, or Brad know when a presentation is planned for the meeting, we will be sure to allow enough time for it, and we will try to ensure that the presenter has the floor.



1.  JD Haesloop with his Apple Juice, Allspice, and wine yeast Iron Brewer entry

2.  Luke Kostu with a homebrewed Cinnamon Vanilla Mead

3.  Frank Weichmann with a homebrewed Amber Ale (his first brew)

4.  Karl Weiss with a homebrewed Maple Porter

5.  Alex Montes with a homebrewed Honey Porter

6. Jody Moffet with a homebrewed Honey and Licorice ale

7.  Bill Comella with a homebrewed Iron Porter (50% Chicory/Vanilla and 50% Honey/Licorice beers)

8.  Mike Guzman with a homebrewed Spiced Ale

9.  Bob and Becky Sodon with a homebrewed Winter Warmer

10.  Jim Downey with a homebrewed Coffee Bock

11.  Dave Newman with Chocolate, Chili Pepper, and Belgian yeast Iron Brewer entry