2010 January Meeting #135

The Official WHALES Newsletter and Minutes - January 2010 - Issue #135

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society

Crafting Award Winning Beer, Mead, and Cider Since 1996



Dues, Trappist Breweries, War of the Worts, holiday party, Home Brewer of the Year, tasting glasses, Club Only Competition English Browns, Apple Port, American Ales, Crazy Frank



January 23rd  - Annual WHALES holiday party -  members see the website event calendar for info.

February 20th - War of the Worts Homebrew Competition.

March 16th - Club Meeting - Club Only Comp (BJCP Category 10 - American Ales)


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 National Homebrewers Conference is coming to Minneapolis in June. It may seem to be a long time from now but it's a good time to book your hotel room and flights and register for the conference. Several WHALES are already committed to going so if you were hesitating for fear of being the only NJ brewer out there, get moving. The AHA website says that the hotel is nearly sold out and they'll be opening up a block of rooms in a hotel next door. Psst, Bobby has an extra room reserved that he can transfer to you but don't wait too long. Lastly, Gary has sign up sheets to become a new/renewed AHA member (with your complimentary subscription to Zymergy magazine) which will get you $5 off your annual membership (reg price of $38).

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)


Hoppy New Year WHALES! The Tuesday January 19th meeting was held back at home base, JJ Bitting with about 38 Whales in attendance. New treasurer Keith Story and secretary Bobby M showed up early to get the dues-collection process underway before the meeting officially started. All went pretty smoothly considering the fact that members were asked to fill out a contact info sheet and liability waiver at the same time. It must have been some kind of record for how many folks ponied up on the very first meeting of the year. The other half of the club is reminded that February would be a fine time to settle up and start the year off right.

Also, each member that paid their dues received the hot off the presses mini-Pilsner tasting glasses, tastefully adorned with WHALES logos and slogans. If even half the club remembers to bring their glass to every meeting, we will be doing our part to reduce the plastic that makes its way into the landfills. Yeah, that's it. It has nothing to do with vanity or serving-glassware snobbery. Note to members: anyone who left their glass behind at the meeting gets a one-time pass. See Bobby at the next meeting. Replacement glasses in the future are $3. Thanks for your cooperation ;-)

_dsc3333_20100120_1096240575Gary called the meeting to order and invited our guest speaker, Glenn, to take the floor. Glenn shared with the club his experiences with Trappist breweries including history, anecdotes and pictures. Some of the key points made during the talk were the wheres and whys of Trappist Beer Production. First, There are 7 Trappist breweries, six in Belgium and one in the Netherlands. They are usually not located in the Abby they are named for, but close by. There are several rules that a brewery has to follow in order to be considered "Trappist" most importantly that the beer has to be brewed in a monastery under the direction of a monk. One might think that a monk's love of beer was a primary motivator to brewing but Glenn emphasized that the whole purpose of Trappist brewing is fund raising for charitable activity. Brewing is simply the means to that end. When asked if having to pick only one to visit, which one would it be and why, Glenn explained that Rochefort was one of the most beautiful as it has been rebuilt after being destroyed in the French Revolution. For much more information and a chance to see the pictures that were passed around, you can visit Glenn's website. The WHALES really appreciate his time and effort.

_dsc3338_20100120_1745565214Moving the agenda right along, Gary asked the participants of this month's Club Only competition to begin pouring and distributing. This month's COC was in the BJCP Category 11: English Brown Ales which include Mild, Northern and Southern.The competition saw 9 entries comprised of one mild, one Southern and seven Northern Browns. The entries that received three or more votes are listed below:

Bob S's N.Brown, #13, 3 votes.

Joe J's N.Brown, #10, 3 votes.

Jody's N.Brown, #11, 4 votes

Keith S. "prez" N.Brown, #9, 7 votes - tied for 2nd place.

Marv D's S.Brown, #8, 7 votes - tied for 2nd place (nice showing for a new member !!)

_dsc3347_20100120_1468808200Nick F's Mild, #7, 12 votes - 1st place. Great brewing!

It's nice to see a COC in a style that is so narrow and typically underbrewed with this many entries. It's also great that the winner took a commanding lead because it shows that we're really sending the best beer out to the national level comp. Nice brewing Nick! He'll get an extra point in the Whales Homebrewer of the Year Competition. The recipe has been posted on the discussion forum. Please check out the HBOY guidelines document for more info.

Speaking of  competitions, Gary reminded everyone of the upcoming "War of the Worts" competition on February 20th. The club collected entries at this meeting but there is still time before the deadline to either drop off at one of the PA locations or you can email Gary to see if he or anyone else is planning to take a trip out to Keystone Homebrew. Finally, you have the option of shipping the entry, but that's expensive and a P.I.A.

If you don't have anything ready to submit for WOW 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 November 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. While it has been difficult to get a barrel, Andrew C. came through for the club with a loaner 55 gallon stainless barrel. Gary will be racking the Apple Port into the stainless and simulating an oak barrel with oak cubes.

There is no update on the Flanders Brown (Oud Bruin) Funky Barrel project other than a plan to taste test progress at around the May meeting. At that time, it will be determined if we need to recruit new shareholders to brew some young blending beer.

The next topic was a quick rundown of the WHALES holiday party plan. The club approved, via website poll, the steering committee's proposal to spend approximately $800 on the hall rental, food and beverage. Bobby's mother does part-time catering and is providing the bulk of the food at cost. The party is on for Saturday, Jan 23rd. Please refer to the website's event calendar for venue/time info.

Frank W, affectionately dubbed "Crazy Frank" was back on the scene for the monthly website promotional giveaway. For those who don't know already, Frank really wants to see more participation on the club's website so he's been throwing out tasks that each member must perform to become eligible for the random drawing each month. The prizes have been donated from all kinds of beer related business. This month's task was to post your brewing goals for 2010. Frank highlighted some of the most common goals, the top of which was the desire to learn more about BJCP styles and expand into brewing a style or two outside your comfort zone. Two names were drawn this time and Joe Jr won a bomber of Dragon's Milk and Nick F won the Mikkeller Santa's Little Helper which he promised to pour at the holiday party... right... right? Watch out for Frank's next assignment on the discussion forums. You'll be asked to provide a simple, one liner post of your best brewing tip.

 Before Frank gave up the microphone, he asked for any extract brewer that was interested partial mash or all grain brewing to come and take his first mash tun off his hands, for free, under the condition that the torch is subsequently passed in a similar fashion when that brewer grows out of it. Nate was spotted walking out with the mash tun and a glimmer of hope that one day soon, starchy malt will meet its fate.

The last bit of agenda was Newman's Beer in the news segment. He highlighted an article about South Carolina's new law allowing liquor stores to sell growlers of beer filled out of kegs directly on their premises. Gary mentioned that a place in Brooklyn, NY also allows this. Nick also mentioned that Whole Foods down on Houston Street in the Bowery also has about 7 taps that cycles through breweries like Brooklyn and other craft beers. Jersey sucks, wah wah.



Bob S' Sorgum Beer, Bobby M with the club 2009 Kriek (Cherry Lambic), John O's ESB, Bill C's IPA, John O's Raspberry Porter, Newman's Porter, Ben B's (commercial) Widmer Reserve Cherry Oak Doppelbock, and Andrew finished off with a sparkling pear wine and a nectarine wine.


q: Why didn't beer come packaged in a can until 1933 (food had been canned for decades earlier)?

a: They couldn't take the pressure of carbonation and the cans regularly exploded.


The February 16th  meeting is as usual on the 3rd Tuesday of the month, 8pm, upstairs loft at JJ Bittings.

Keith Story, will continue 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.

With no club only competition scheduled, we will begin sampling the Sensory Training Kits that the club purchased from Siebel a couple months ago. Just when you thought Coors Lite couldn't taste any worse, we're going to dose them with chemicals that simulate common off flavors in beer when something just doesn't go as planned. Everyone signed the liability waivers, right? Seriously though, if you've ever read your competition score sheets or heard a more experienced brewer mention words like diacetyl, acetic, etc when tasting your beer, you probably want to learn what those things smell and taste like.

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 committee (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.

Finally, keep in mind that the steering committee meets just about every 2nd Tuesday of the month so if there is any topic you'd like discussed regarding just about anything the club does, email us.
-Bobby M

Club Secretary and Webmaster.

Meeting photography: Frank W