2009 March Meeting #125

The Official WHALES Newsletter and Minutes - March 2009 - Issue #125

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 (event is already sold out!)

April 4th - WHALES New York City Pub Crawl

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

April 21st - Club Meeting - Club Only Comp (Extract Beers - all BJCP beer categories (1-23); however, extract must make up more than 50% of the fermentables.)

May 2nd - World Beer Festival - Raleigh, NC

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

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

June 6th - BUZZ OFF Homebrew Competition - West Chester, PA

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

July 17th - 18th - Vermont Brewer's Festival - Burlington, VT

June 27th - 13th Annual Garden State Craft Brewer's Guild Festival - Camden, NJ

July 31st - August 2nd - Ommegang's "Belgium Comes to Cooperstown" festival


Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, 'It is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than to be selfish and worry about my liver.' - Jack Handey



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 March 17th 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 Warren Monteiro, a.k.a. "the BeerSensei", as a guest speaker. Warren is a beer hunter, homebrewer, and writer for Ale Street News.  He spoke briefly about the Ale Street News trip to the Zythos Beer Fest in Belgium and his experiences as a homebrewer and a writer.  We would like to thank Warren for his time and for his presentation and ask that he come back again soon.

At the club meeting, we judged the Club Only Competition for beers with an O.G. > 1.080.  The competition was another opportunity to earn Home Brewer of the Year (HBOY) points for 2009.  This competition covered 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







There were 10 excellent entries but in the end, it was Rick Middleton's Weizenbock that took first place.  We would like thank all of those that entered and we wish Rick the best of luck in the national competition.

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 Extract Beers - all BJCP beer categories (1-23); however, extract must make up more than 50% of the fermentables.

In preparation for the July 21st club meetings Club Only Competition for Amber Hybrid Beers (BJCP Category 7), the clubs resident BJCP judges, Brad and Jen Jones, led the club through an Amber Hybrid Beers tasting.  Three examples were poured, one from each of the three style categories; Northern German Altbier, California Common Beer (steam beer), and Dusseldorf Altbier.  Topics discussed were the similarities, the differences, and the history of each of the three style categories.  WHALES members are encouraged to brew any one of the three styles and bring it to the clubs July 21st meeting for entry into the Club Only Competition.

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.  The brew was racked into an apple brandy/bourbon barrel and will rest there for the spring and maybe the summer.  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 very soon.  Once they are completed they will be brought before the membership to be voted in.

There was no Beer in the News story or Gadget Report this month.

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 keeps 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 materials 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 breweries, bars, 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 the speaker and we will try to ensure that the presenter has the floor.



1.  Gary Weston with the WHALES club 2008 Laird's Barrel Cider

2.  Bill Comella with a 2008 New England Cider

3.  Luke Kostu with a 1 1/2 year old Raspberry Mead

4.  Bill Comella with a Chocolate Cherry Stout

5.  Warren Monteiro (a.k.a., the BeerSensei) with his Busterbrau "His Nibs" Stout