2009 November Meeting #133

The Official WHALES Newsletter and Minutes - November 2009 - Issue #133

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society - Est. 1996


New brewer, Funky Barrel, Oude Brown, Steinbier, Splitrock, Stoney Creek, Cider Days, Belgium, Teach a friend to Homebrew Day, raffle, club only competition, flight, elections, holiday party, Home Brewer of the Year.


November 20th - Distribution of the Kriek Funky Barrel Project at Bobby M.'s house at 7 pm

November 21st - 22nd - Splitrock Resort "Great Brews Classic Beer Festival" - Lake Harmony, PA

(Please note that there is no homebrew competition at Splitrock this year.)

November 29th - Steinbier Project brew date - at Dave N.'s house

December 15th - Club Meeting - No Club Only Comp - Meeting to be held at the Madison Park Firehall

January - Annual WHALES holiday party - date and venue TBD

January 19th - Club Meeting - Club Only Comp (BJCP beer category 11 - English Brown Ale)

February - War of the Worts Homebrew Competition (exact date has not been announced yet)


"We don't drink to get drunk." - Random Old Guy

"What?" - Zane Lamprey, Three Sheets

"We don't drink to get drunk." - Same Random Old Guy

"No I heard you.....but I don't understand." - Zane Lamprey


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.

Dave N. (Dave_N@whalesbrewclub.com) is the official WHALES club librarian and maintains the database of materials in the "WHALES Physical Library Collection" section of the clubs website. The WHALES physical library collection contains over 30 items that can be checked out and it is free for club members. If you would like to check out any materials from the library, please post a comment in the "WHALES Physical Library Collection" section of the clubs website and Dave will bring the requested item to the next club meeting.

Jody M. 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 Tuesday November 17th meeting was held upstairs at J.J. Bittings with another near capacity crowd of 50+ Whales and guests in attendance.  Thanks again to Mike and James (J.J.'s new brewer) for their continued support of the club's endeavors.

First up, WHALES Club President Gary introduced the new brewer at J.J. Bittings. August has left and James Moss has joined J.J.'s. James was in attendance and stayed for most of the meeting. Welcome and good luck James!

Gary then gave an overview of the November 7th - 8th 15th Annual Franklin County Cider Days in Franklin County, MA. For some years now, a small contingent from the WHALES club has been attending this two day event which includes educational seminars, apple and cider tastings, a Cider Salon (like a beer fest but with cider), and a cider themed dinner. This year's event did not disappoint, and the WHALES in attendance had a great time and learned (and ate and drank) a lot.

This year's AHA "Teach a friend to Homebrew Day" took place on Sunday, November 15th at Bobby's M.'s house in Piscataway, NJ. This was the third year in a row that Bobby has offered to host this event and we thank him and his wife for their hospitality. There was a nice spread of food, great beers passed around, and gorgeous weather - which is why the event took place Sunday instead of rainy, windy, cold Saturday.

The Kriek Funky Barrel Project is all set for distribution this Friday, November 20th, at 7 pm at Bobby M.'s house. The plan is to distribute the Kriek to the lucky shareholders and then transfer the freshly brewed Flanders Oude Brown into the same barrel. Currently, the Oude Brown is fermenting away nicely in Bobby's basement. This will be the third sour beer club project that this barrel has produced for the club. You can look on the thread in the forums on the WHALES webpage for more information or contact Bobby M. directly ­(Bobby_M@whalesbrewclub.com).

Frank ran the November WHALES contest and raffle. This month, members were encouraged to post a profile picture of themselves in the photo gallery section of the website. There were many WHALES in the running for the great prize this month, a 6 gallon ported Better Bottle. Frank wanted to thank the person or people responsible for the donation of this prize, but he wasn't sure who donated it, as the bottle was delivered directly from the manufacturer. The winner of the Better Bottle was Nick. Congratulations Nick!

In preparation for the March 16th club meeting's Club Only Competition for American Ales (BJCP Category 10), Brad led the club through an American Ale tasting. Three examples were poured, one from each of the three style categories; American Pale Ale (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale), American Amber Ale (Troegs Hop Back Amber Ale), and American Brown Ale (Brooklyn Brown Ale). Topics discussed included the similarities and differences between all of the examples. WHALES members are encouraged to brew any one of the three styles and bring it to the club meeting March 16th for entry into the Club Only Competition.

The upcoming stone-boiled beer (Steinbier) project is to be brewed November 29th. Bobby M. gave the club an overview of the beer and stated that there are still two spots remaining. Please contact Bobby (Bobby_M@whalesbrewclub.com) if you are interested in filling one of these spots. Dave N. (Dave_N@whalesbrewclub.com) will be hosting this brew at his house using his big fire pit. Danny F. has obtained and drilled holes through several granite stones in preparation for the brew. Please see the threads on the website's discussion forum for discussion and more details.

The November Club Only Competition was for Belgian Strong Ales, BJCP Category 18. This category includes Belgian Blond Ale, Belgian Dubbel, Belgian Tripel, Belgian Golden Strong Ale, and Belgian Dark Strong Ale. A total of 6 fantastic entries were judged, entered by Nick, Jay, Ben B., Prez Keith, Craig and Gary. The winner was Gary with his Belgian Blond. Congratulations Gary and good luck!

Gary mentioned that there are no more homebrew competitions in 2009, with the final competition being the Stoney Creek Homebrewers Amateur Brewing Championship in Lafayette Hill, PA. The WHALES did really well in this competition, with Bobby taking a 1st place with his Oktoberfest lager - this beer also came in 2nd place in the Best of Show round of judging, Prez Keith took a 3rd place with his English IPA, Jay took a 3rd place with his oaked cherry melomel, Luke took a 2nd place with his tweaked version of the Club's New England Cider and also an honorable mention for his chili mead, Chris and Kevin Agans took a 3rd place with their saison, Nick took a 3rd place for his American wheat, and Gary took a 2nd place for both his eisbock and his dunkelweizen. Congratulations WHALES!!

In order to replace the Splitrock homebrew competition, which usually took place in November, the club is considering the Stoney Creek competition, as well as Malt Madness, both of which take place in the second half of the year. Both competitions may be included for points towards Home Brewer of the Year, starting in 2010.

Speaking of Home Brewer of the Year, Colin announced the final points standings and the WHALES 2009 Home Brewer of the Year is........ GARY WESTON! It was close between Gary and Jay. Gary wins the highly sought-after WHALES mug and his name also appears on the official WHALES plaque hanging on the wall at J.J. Bittings! Congratulations Gary!

A club raffle was held at October's meeting for the purpose of obtaining funds for two Siebel Institute sensory evaluation kits. It was announced that $177 was raised towards the purchase of the kits. We should hopefully have the kits and start making presentations at the club meetings in early 2010.

Bill C. mentioned the annual Ale Street News trip to Belgium - with the next one coming up in March 2010. The preliminary itinerary has been posted on the WHALES web site. This year's trip (in March) was attended by Bill C., Rick M., Brad and Jen - and all had a blast.

Dave N. reported on Beer in the News. A Lowenbrau beer that apparently went down on the Hindenberg was auctioned off for 10,000 GBP, equal to about $17,000 USD. So, these days when shopping for beer and thinking about how expensive it is, just think about the $17,000 beer and maybe you'll feel better.

Due to the busy holiday season, the WHALES December 15th Club Meeting will not take place at J.J. Bittings. Rick M. secured the alternate location (Thanks Rick!) which will be the Madison Park Firehall, located at 3011 Cheesequake Road in Parlin, NJ. This location, which is available at no cost other than leaving the location neat and clean, is only about 15 minutes from J.J.'s. The club will purchase a case of beer for the firehouse, and WHALES members are encouraged to bring LABELED bottles of homebrew to donate, as well as food to share at the meeting. The club will provide additional food as well.

The WHALES holiday party will take place place in January. Locations are currently being researched. If you know of a place which might work well as a venue, please contact Gary (Gary_W@whalesbrewclub.com).

Just a reminder that the next Club Only Competition will be held at the January 19th club meeting.  This will be the first opportunity to earn Home Brewer of the Year (HBOY) points for 2010.  This competition covers BJCP beer category 11 - English Brown Ales.

Finally, there are 6 open positions in the WHALES club up for nominations. Some preliminary nominations were received during the meeting, but if you would like to run or nominate someone for President, Treasurer, Secretary, or one of the three Steering Committee positions, please email Gary (Gary_W@whalesbrewclub.com).


1. Joe J. with his American Pale Ale

2. Bill S. with his Dunkelweizen

3. Colin with his Brown Porter

4. Bill S. with his Pumpkin Ale

5. Bill C. with a bottle of Flying Fish's Oyster Stout

6. Ben B. with his Breakfast Stout

7. Andrew with his Chilean Syrah

8. Andrew with his Red Pear Wine

9. Andrew with his Strawberry Wine


Where would we like to have the annual WHALES Holiday Party in January?

Nominations and elections for club officers.

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 W. (Gary_W@whalesbrewclub.com), Luke K. (Luke_K@whalesbrewclub.com), or Brad J. (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.