2009 December Meeting #134

The Official WHALES Newsletter and Minutes - December 2009 - Issue #134

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society

Crafting Award Winning Beer, Mead, and Cider Since 1996



Steinbier, HBOY Rules and Competitions, Charity Auction, elections, new officers and steering committee members, 12 beers of xmas, holiday party, Home Brewer of the Year, tasting glasses, Club Only Competition.


January  - Annual WHALES holiday party -  date and venue TBD

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

February 20th - War of the Worts Homebrew Competition.


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.  Bobby welcomes club member article contributions and new content ideas to the website.  If you are a member and do not have access to the site, please contact Bobby M. at (Bobby_M@whalesbrewclub.com) and he will send you your login information. Also, as a reminder to the newer members, please introduce yourself in the new members discussion forum and post a picture of yourself in the member headshots section of the photo gallery so everyone can get to know you. If you need more info on how to do this, check out the "how this website works" article.

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 December 15th meeting was held at the Madison Fire Department with about 38 Whales in attendance.  The club is grateful to Rick's brother who arranged for our use of the firehouse's banquet hall due to Bittings' space being heavily booked with holiday parties every December.

Since the displaced club loses access to a food menu and brew on tap, we usually dips into the treasury to make up for it. Gary W (president) started the meeting by hauling a nice food spread out from the kitchen. The club was invited to help themselves and the first 40 minutes or so of the meeting was spent casually enjoying the food, homebrews, and each other's company. After everyone had their fill, Gary called the meeting to order.

Gary began by announced that the nominations for officers and steering committee were not contested so a vote would not be necessary. Mike V. stepped down from Treasurer to be replaced by Keith Story. Bobby M's steering committee position and Brad J.'s Secretary position were swapped. Finally, Jay D. replaced Luke K's spot on the steering committee. All the new positions will be effective in January. In case you didn't know, you can see a full list of dues paying members and their roles in the contacts/member list section of the website (members only).

Gary continued with a reminder that the new year is a fresh slate for the Whales Homebrewer of the Year Competition. The steering committee recently finalized a HBOY guidelines document to prevent any confusion about the points scoring, co/team brewers, club projects and eligible competitions. Speaking of eligible competitions, the now defunct Split Rock competition that used to happen in November is officially being replaced by two new competitions, Malt Madness in August and Stoney Creek in November. These additions will also give the WHALES a better chance at placing in the Keystone Cup and Eastern PA Homebrewer of the Year. For more info, refer to the document posted in the "Club Activities/Competition Corner" area of the website. In addition to the upcoming "War of the Worts" competition in February, you still have time to brew in preparation for the March 16th club meeting's Club Only Competition for American Ales (BJCP Category 10). If you recall, Brad led the club through an American Ale tasting in November to help you decide what to brew. If you really want to make a run for 2010 HBOY, you really have to enter in most of the club only comps.

The next order of business was status updates on club brewing projects. Gary gave an update on the club Apple Port project which is comprised of approximately fifty one-gallon shares. The cider was acquired during cider days in Novemeber 09. After partially fermenting the cider, yeast activity was ceased by fortifying with a large portion of Everclear. It's currently aging in a plastic barrel but will be racked into a Laird's Applejack barrel in the future.

Bobby M then gave an update on a couple projects he organized. First was the wrap up of the Funky Barrel Kriek (Cherry Lambic) project that got started in Jan 2009.  Most shareholders showed up at Bobby's house on Nov. 20th to claim their shares out of the barrel. Everyone was happy to find that the barrel is still doing interesting things to liquids that lie within. During the same session, shareholders of the Flanders Oud Bruin (sour brown ale) were on hand to assist in flushing out the barrel with hot water and then racking the Oud Bruin back in. This is turning into an annual ritual and we look forward to next year's funk. The plan is to continue cycling projects into the inoculated Cab. barrel for as long as it holds liquid or until Bobby is kicked out of the house, whichever comes first.

The last project to mention was the recently brewed Stone-Boil (steinbier) project. Bobby pitched the project way back in July after returning from the NHC. Dave N. later expressed interest in hosting the project at his house. Since it dealt with building a large fire, it was best delayed for colder weather. It finally happened on November 29th. Danny F. has obtained and drilled holes through several granite stones in preparation for the brew. The wort was produced through typical means, but it was boiled in an oak barrel by dropping superheated granite blocks in. It was then fermented in Dave's garage directly in the barrel and later racked to individual shareholder carboys two weeks later. I'm sure the club will get to sample some of it after a brief period of lagering (the recipe was based on a traditional Bock so it need a little time aging cold). Don't miss the website article  for more info on this project and watch the video!!

Gary then opened a discussion about the January WHALES holiday party and explained that we typically hold it in mid January at a local bar/restaurant with a decent tap list. We typically spend about $20 out of the treasury per member to cover some food and beers until the money runs out. As the club grows, it becomes more and more likely that a good number of members cannot make a specific date chosen and it isn't always fair that a large portion of dues is spent on the party. The club agreed that we should stretch the money further by holding it at a rented venue. Gary took an email poll of all members availability in January and vowed to choose the Saturday that is open to the most members. The steering committee is diligently working to solidify the venue and food/beer plans. Although it is not finalized, January 23rd is the most likely date. More info to follow via website and email.

Bobby M. then explained that the steering committee thought it would be nice to purchase  some WHALES branded tasting glasses to reduce the number of plastic cups used during meeting flights. The plan is to offer a few different options for glass type and logo graphics for member opinion on the website before ordering but get the glasses in by at least the January meeting. Each dues paying member will receive one glass, but extras will be ordered for newcomers and breakage replacement (at cost). Gary polled the members and received approval to spend about $230 out of treasury for the glasses. If the quality of product from this vendor is favorable, the club will look into an advance order group-buy of pint-sized glasses as well later in the year. (Okay, we all know these minutes are being published long after the meeting so truth be told, the glasses are already ordered and should be in by the January meeting or holiday party at the latest).

Frank W was not in attendance this month so the monthly website activity giveaway was held over until the January meeting.

The club has recently started a new tradition of raising money for charity at the December meetings to coincide with the holidays. A "tricky tray" auction was held during the meeting. Members were offered tickets at their own cost which would be placed into bags representing various donated prizes for a random chance at winning the item. The club solicited several prizes from local business and breweries. Here's the list:

Bittings - 2 t-shirts, Weyerbacher - mixed case of beer and t-shirt, Harvest Moon - 2 growlers (nut brown and Jimmy D Red) and about ten t-shirts, Oak Tree BuyRite - Kwak glass and bottle of Kwak

In addition, several club members also donated items as follows:

Colin - Riserva, Nick - Nice Chouffe, Bobby - sightglass, Luke - Sam Adams t-shirt, BradJen - Sam Adams hat, Gary - Lost Abbey 10 Commandments.

The club raised a total of $300 that went to the NJ Food bank. The club is very grateful to the sponsors of our annual charity auction.

Bill C was not present at this meeting but he wanted to remind everone that the annual Ale Street News trip to Belgium is coming up in March 2010. The preliminary itinerary has been posted on the WHALES web site. The 2009 trip (in March) was attended by Bill C., Rick M., Brad and Jen - and all had a blast.


The flight at this meeting was not especially organized. Members brought a lot of homebrew to make up for the lack of pay-taps  at this venue and everyone shared plenty. The one structured tasting that did occur however was a club-funded 12 beers of Christmas. The steering commitee approved of Gary spending $100 on twelve different holiday/winter themed beers that everyone at the meeting got to share. Some of the beers included were......Troegs Mad Elf, New Holland Cabin Fever, Avery Jubilation, HeBrew Jewbilation, Magic Hat Howl, Anchor Christmas, Southern Tier Old Man Winter, Sierra Celebration, etc


The first 2010 meeting is back at the same bat time and bat channel. Errrr, 3rd Tuesday of the month (Jan 19th), 8pm, upstairs loft at JJ Bittings.

Don't forget to bring your English Browns for the Club Only Compeition.

Also, the new year means that your new club treasurer, Keith Story, will be collecting the 2010 dues. Please do not make him chase you around for several months. The dues amount remains the same as the previous year. Any questions, see the club bylaws.

Finally, don't forget that the entries for War of the Worts competition will definitely be due prior to the February meeting. If you want someone to drop off your entries, please bring them to the January meeting along with the paperwork and checks. Otherwise you'll have to drop them off yourself at Keystone. For more info see the Keystone Hops website.

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 the steering comittee (steering@whalesbrewclub.com) if you'd like to contribute to a meeting. We will be sure to allow enough time for the speaker and we will try to ensure that the presenter has the floor.

-Bobby M

Club Secretary and Webmaster.