2010 March Meeting #137

The Official WHALES Newsletter and Minutes - March 2010 - Issue #137

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society

Crafting Award Winning Beer, Mead, and Cider Since 1996


Final Dues Collection, War of the Worts Results, Club Only Competition, Club Size, American Ales COC, National Homebrew Competition Regionals, Pub Crawl, Dogfish Head Competition, Apple Port, Crazy Frank, Nick's Mild 2nd Place National COC, Whales Picnic date and location.


March 25th - Deadline to pre-register for the Dogfishhead Competition

April 1st - Belgium comes to Cooperstown @ Ommegang Brewery tickets go on sale.

April 20th - Club Meeting - Club Only Comp (ALL BJCP Categories - 50% or more malt extracts)

June 26th - Club Picnic in Iselin/Edison


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. Our newest additions to the collection are two DVDs from Basic Brewing donated by Gary.

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.

Check out the Crazy Frank section of the member discussion forums on our website to see the list of ongoing discounts at various homebrew stores and other vendors of interest. You'll find a sign up sheet 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).


The Tuesday March 16th meeting was held at JJ Bitting as usual with about 44 Whales in attendance. New treasurer Keith Story and secretary Bobby M showed up early to continue the dues-collection process before the meeting officially started. Per the bylaws, the renewal period officially closed following this meeting. Anyone that missed it but still wants to renew should contact the steering committee immediately to make your intentions known.


Gary called the meeting to order and immediately got this month's Club Only Competition for American Ales underway. In order to better organize the club only competitions this year, entrants were asked to pre-register on the website. Based on the number and breakdown of subcategories being entered, judging was broken into 4 groups to reduce the number of samples each entrant needs to pour (22-24oz was enough).

Also, since each member was asked to judge a reduced number of samples, it left more time for evaluation. In addition to judges being asked to pick their 1st and 2nd favorite, they were also asked to provide high level written feedback based on BJCP perception criteria like aroma, flavor, off flavors, etc. The sheets were returned to the brewers to help them better understand their beer and what they can do to improve them.

The most favored entry of each judging pool advanced to a best of show round where members who have BJCP experience selected the winners of the COC. While the judging and tabulation of scores more time, we are hopeful it was educational for the brewers and judges and ultimately sent the best beer to the national level. Members are asked to provide feedback to the steering committee on the new judging format either via email or on the forum.

This month's American Ale COC had 18 entries and there were four judging groups. The BOS advancers are bolded:

Cat 10A - Pale Ales: Frank, Joe Jannuzzi Sr, Joe Jannuzzi Jr, Ben B, Brian Y, JD, Jay, Nick, Jon M, Bill Schreyer, Bob Sodon.

Cat 10B - Amber Ales: Bill Schreyer, Craig E, Bill Comella, Bobby M.

Cat 10C - Brown Ales: Craig E , Colin, Bob Sodon

The brewers and their entries that advanced to the BOS round were: Bob Sodon-pale (1st place), brown (3rd place), Joe Januzzi Jr - pale (2nd place), Bobby M - amber (4th place).

The finalists each received a vial of White Labs yeast courtesy of a donation from the new homebrew shop in Freehold called Brew-U.

Also, while the BOS round was occuring, it was noted that Nick Fox's club's choice for his Mild in the January Club Only Competition took a SILVER at the National level. For most of these COCs, the club's choice is usually the last time you hear about the beer. Second place out of 78 entries is a pretty damned good showing. This also says something about our membership's evolving pallette which is great. Here's to many more! The Whales are now tied for second place for AHA's club of the year.

Gary continued the meeting by recapping Keystone Hops "War of the Worts" competition results from February 20th at Iron Hill Brewery. Out of about 800 entries (~25 from the WHALES), three of us placed. Full results here but congrats to:

2nd Place - Nick Fox, 6D American Wheat
3rd Place - Craig Easton, 18B Belgian Dubbel
3rd Place - Luke Kostu, 28A New England Cider

Speaking of  competitions, If you haven't sent anything to WOW in February, you can enter the April 20th club meeting's Club Only Competition for Extract Beers (All BJCP Categories). This applies to all extract, extract + steeping grains, or partial mash beers where at least 50% of the OG was derived from malt extract. If you really want to make a run for 2010 HBOY, you really have to enter in most of the club only comps.

Gary also collected entries for the National Homebrew Competion Regional. This is the big one. If you think you have some kick ass homebrew, it's time to bring it. The club wants to highly encourage you to enter this competition for a number of reasons. First, it is a chance to have your beer tasted and evaluated by some of the country's best judges. Second, it puts the club in a better position to qualify and potentially win this year's Homebrew Club of the Year and/or Gambrinus award. Don't worry, no one will know if your beer scores a 5 out of 50. Take a shot! The entry deadline for the regional is April 1st and if you missed the club collection, the dropoff point is Home Sweet Homebrew in Philly.

Finally, as mentioned on the club forum last week, Gary noted that Dogfish Head Brewery is sponsoring a homebrew competition for the club, Delmarva United Homebrewers (DUH), that has meetings at their brewpub (I know, how cool is THAT?). The idea is similar to what Harvest Moon did last year that resulted in Brad and Jen brewing a 10BBL batch of their winning Braggot.

The DFH comp is supposed to be open only to Delmarva residents, but they have extended an invitation to the Whales.
One entry per person. I believe you have to be an AHA member. All entries will be judged in one large category. The winner gets to help brew their beer at Dogfish. Your beer could be on tap at Dogfish Head!!!
You must register by March 25, but the beer doesn't have to be there till April 24. Getting the beer there is the hard part. All drop off points are in Delaware, but Terry (DUH prez) said we can ship to his house. Either way, we should coordinate a group drop-off or shipment. See the discussion on our forums in competition corner.


After Frank handed out the yeast to the COC winners, he continued by drawing names for the February and March club giveaway (Frank wasn't at the Feb meeting but prizes were still ready to go). To qualify for the giveaway in February, members were asked to post their one key brewing tip. Frank read off the responses and got to picking two names. Bill C and Joe J Sr each won a water chemistry kit with brewing salts and pH test strips for the mash courtesy of a donation from Brewmasters Warehouse.

For March, Frank asked everyone to name the one piece of brewing hardware they couldn't do without. JD and Bobby won 4oz packs of Sorachi Ace hops courtesy of Nikobrew.com which is the same place Bobby aquired a large quantity of Simcoe and Cascade hops for various members.

The WHALES are very thankful for the generosity of the prize donors, discounts and the work that Frank has been doing to make the meetings fun. If you're going to be buying supplies anyway, why not show your appreciation by giving these folks your next order? Members should also be aware that on ongoing 10% discount has been offered by many of these vendors. Please see the Crazy Frank section of the forum for the coupon codes you need to use.


It was noted that Nick's "mostly German" Pub Crawl to Zum Schneider, Blind Tiger, and Lederhosen actually did occur on Saturday March 13th despite the ridiculously bad weather. Nick, Bobby, Bill C, Bob S, Brad, Jen, Chris C, Colin, and Joe Jr (and Nate later) along with a number of guests all met up in Penn Station. Zum was celebrating "Starkbierzeit" which is the Strong Beer Season in Munich. They were featuring a selection of Doppelbocks - Paulaner Salvator, Weihenstephaner Korbinian and Vitus (ok Wheatbock), and Ayinger Celebrator to go along with their good selection of Pilsner's, Lagers, and Wheat Beers. Of course, Nick took this as personal challenge and got a head start on the unspoken shit face contest we had going. Prost! After a hearty liquid lunch (OK, some food was consumed) everyone cabbed it over to Blind Tiger for standing room only libations for an hour or so. Eventually the last stop was made at nearby Lederhosen where spirits were squashed when we found that all NJTransit trains were shut down. Nothing like a buzz kill trasportation crisis! Many made it home via buses but a few poor souls were stranded at Penn for hours.

Next, members were reminded that the tickets for our favorite annual beer festival will be available for purchase on April 1st. The Belgium Comes to Cooperstown (NY) fest at the Ommegang Brewery, July 30-31st,  is such a regional favorite that the tickets sell out VERY quickly, especially if you want to attend the Friday night VIP beer dinner. The club turnout is usually pretty impressive and most if not all of the attendees camp out in the Ommegang fields on Saturday night. It's very cool to be able to be able to crash 200 feet away from the beer tent. If you think you want to go, you have to buy your tickets quickly.

Finally, the steering committee announced that the club picnic date has been set to Saturday June 26th. It will be held at a park in Iselin. The club voted to spend the money to reserve the grove. Details about location, etc will be posted on the website and discussed at future meetings. Save the date!


The topic of the last steering committee meeting was that of club growth and the fact that it has become a cause for concern due to meeting crowding. The steering committee discussed feedback that the club provided and continued to draft proposals for membership vote in the very near future. Due to a few non-renewals in 2010, we are back at a comfortable level, but it will not last long if we do not address the issue. Members should look for an email announcement requesting that the club read the proposals and vote on their preferred course of action via the website.


Gary mentioned that the only club project currently in progress is the Apple Port. It was fermented out and fortified with Everclear a few months ago and it will spend a while in a stainless tank with oak cubes before members will be given their one gallon shares. Gary brought a few bottles so the club could sample the progress. The majority of tasters thought it was very nice already.

One of the ideas for the next club project is a DFH Palo Santo Clone. If you want to know more about the original beer, go to youtube.com and watch the multi-part series. Gary mentioned that the idea for this project came from the fact that Mike G and former member Matt had attempted a clone and ended up with the wrong variety of Palo. Despite the error, the year old beer is now amazing. Gary found the correct wood on Ebay and cubed it with a power saw. He passed a couple baggies around at the meeting so the club could smell it. He plans to brew a pilot batch before pitching it as a project.


Here's where we let folks show off the latest brewing related gadget that they found useful whether it's a commercial product or a clever Do-It-Yourself project. This month Gary brought in a 25 gallon stainless open headed barrel that he bought from a neighbor to use as a wine fermenting/aging tank. There are several of these, as well as larger 55 gallon versions, available for purchase. Since the bottoms are welded on, they can also be used as brewing vessels. There is an ongoing discussion on the forum regarding the potential utility of the club having a few of these for projects. Many questions remain such as who would store them, how to heat them, etc. In order to get the value out of them, more group brews would need to occur. Members should weigh in on the idea.


Guiness bubbles really do go down. More at http://www.chem.ed.ac.uk/guinness/


It turned out to be German and Belgian flight night, no doubt due to the 18 American ales that were tasted earlier. Jon M and Nick both poured completely unrelated batches of Munich Helles. Jody followed with a Saison. Rick M poured a Belgian Triple and Rob G finished the night off with


The April 20th  meeting is as usual on the 3rd Tuesday of the month, 8pm, upstairs loft at JJ Bittings.

Don't forget your Extract Beers for the COC. Look for the email and website poll for pre-registration about 2 weeks prior to the meeting.

The location for the May Big Brew event must be decided at the April meeting. The last few years have been at Keith Story's house but anyone with enough space to support 12-20 brew setups can volunteer. If more than one person offers up their space, the club will vote.

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, and pitching club brewing projects, 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.






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Palo Santo Marron beer by Dogfish Head 01