2010 May Meeting #139

The Official WHALES Newsletter and Minutes - May 2010 - Issue #139

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society

Crafting Award Winning Beer, Mead, and Cider Since 1996


Buzzoff Competition, Siebel Institute Sensory Training, Club Size, National Homebrew Competition Regionals, Apple Port, Crazy Frank, Whales Picnic, Big Brew, Club Brewhouse, Funky Barrel Oud Bruin.


May 22 - Buzzoff Homebrew Competition, Iron Hill Brewery

June 15 - Whales Meeting

June 17-19 - National Homebrewers Conference and Competition Finals

June 26th - Club Picnic in Iselin/Edison, see events calendar for info.


Editors Note: The April meeting newsletter and minutes are not missing exactly. The meeting was hectic due to the extracts COC and the substitute secretary was relagated to judging while the meeting happened.

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.

The National Homebrewers Conference is coming to Minneapolis in June. It may seem like last minute but you still have 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. 

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 May 18th meeting was held at JJ Bitting as usual with about 26 Whales in attendance including two visitors (Charlie and Brian). The first activity the Whales embarked upon was tasting the first 4 samples of  the Sensory Training Kits that the club purchased from Siebel recently. 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.

This meeting's session was led by Brad and Jen who mixed up the concontions in pitchers and dispensed the 1oz samples to the club. They also provided print outs describing the nature and cause of the flavors we would be exposed to. As planned for each session, we focus on one off flavor of high significance and ask a member to spend a little more time to walk the club through the finer details. This month, Bobby volunteered to present on Diacytel which is known to add a buttery smell and taste to the beer in addition to adding a slick feeling on the tongue. You can view an online version of the printed handout in the reference library on the website.

Brad continued with three additional flavors including Isoamyl Acetate, Mercaptan, and Caprylic. Isoamyl Acetate isn't exactly an off flavor but rather the compound that contributes the fruity/banana aroma to Hefeweisen. By far this was the most pleasant of the tastings and many thought it was an improvement over the stock Coors Light. Mercaptan was wretched in every way because it smelled like a sewage treatment plant. A few brave souls actually tasted it against all human instinct. The final sample was Caprylic which ranged from soapy to goaty (whatever that means).

The club agreed that this a great learning activity and everyone looks forward to continuing on through the remaining 20 aromas/flavors at future meetings. We only used one vial of each sample so we have enough for another group. This may be an opportunity for those who didn't make the meeting to get in on this. Everyone thanks Gary for arranging for the club to get the kits which gets membership one step closer to being BJCP proficient.

The WHALES started discussing plans for another club SCHWAG group buy. This time the club wants to buy some casual shirts with the WHALES logo. It was decided that we would basically use the same graphics as the club tasting glasses used only in full color. Members also expressed interest in sweatshirts and hats. Bobby redrew the logo (no worries, the cigar remains intact ..DOH!) and is teaming up with Gary to get some price quotes for silk screening. Members will receive an email when preorders are going to be taken.

The club also took a short break from beer talk to congratulate Craig E. on his upcoming wedding and wished him the best of luck. Now back to beer talk.


The results of the first round of the National Homebrew Competion Regional are in. Bobby took a 1st place in category 22c for his two year old Bourbon-oaked English Barley Wine and Brad and Jen took a 3rd in category 25c for a Peach Melomel . The club is still qualified to win/place in the Gambrinus award if either of the entries place in the final round. Whales are encouraged to plan ahead for next year and enter as many primo homebrews a possible. Advancing entries to the final round of the NHC puts the Whales club on the national stage and the East Coast has to start representing if we want to see another conference come our way.

As you heard at the meeting, the more local Buzz Off competition hosted by the Buzz Brew Club in PA was going to be judged on Saturday May 22nd. At the time of writing this newsletter, the results are in and the WHALES scored a big goose egg. It's probably best that we claim shifting the comp to May instead of June was at fault. The club didn't even know about it right? Stick to that. The WHALES shall redeem itself at Malt Madness in August. Brew now. Saisons ferment really well in the summer.

The next Club Only Competition will be for MEAD in August.


Crazy Frank is back at it again, this time with a double bottle washing sink attachment for plowing through the tedious task of rinsing cases of bottles. After several picks for members that were not in attendance (gotta be there to win guys!!!), Joe J. Sr finally pulled his own name.

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.


Gary summarized the WHALES big brew that was held on May 1st. About 25 members and guests showed up and brewed over 100 gallons on various systems. The weather was amazingly pleasant, if not a little warm. The club thanks Bob, Becky and Walter S for hosting this year. The accomodations couldn't be any better.

Bobby shot some video for entry into the AHA Youtube Big Brew video contest in which prizes are awarded for most viewed and best content videos. The WHALES won in 2008 and we hope to do so again this year.

We've got one more meeting before a select few WHALES shove off to Minneapolis to represent the WHALES at the National Homebrewer's Conference. Bobby, Nick, Brad, Jen and Frank are bequeathed with this foremost responsibility. We plan to photobomb as many pictures as possible wearing WHALES hats and shirts. Too bad JD isn't going.

Finally, the steering committee announced that the club picnic date has been set to Saturday June 26th at 1pm. It will be held at a park in Iselin. The club voted to spend the money to reserve the grove. Details about location will be posted on the website and on the event calendar. Members only event.


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 finalized the proposal for dealing with growth. Members should vote on their preferred course of action via the website article on the front page. The steering committee will announce the results of this poll during the June meeting.


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. The majority of shareholders that sampled the Port's progress at the April meeting agreed that we shouldn't bulk-oak but rather distribute as is so everyone can do with it as they please. Gary mentioned that shareholders can arrange to pick up their shares in small groups or show up and bottle/cork in an assembly line process. Look on the discussion forums for details.

Gary also organized an impromptu club project in time for the Big Brew event to try out the club 50 gallon brewhouse for the first time. It was a generic brown ale recipe. Shareholders were encouraged to try different yeasts and dryhops to make something unique with the common wort. Everyone was asked to bring their version to the July flight so we can do a horizontal tasting.

Finally, Bobby mentioned that he had a sample of the Funky Barrel Flanders Brown ready to pour for the flight so that shareholders can weigh in on when to rack and whether to invite a few more shareholders in to brew a fresh blending batch or not. Initial feedback was that it was plenty sour and could use a blending especially if the barrel sits another couple months. Stay tuned.

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. This might be a nice project for the November Teach a Friend to Brew day.


The gadget for this month was a bit more substantial than the typical autosiphon or refractometer. The WHALES 50 gallon brewhaus is in the making. Gary mentioned that we completed our purchase of the major components including a 55 gallon stainless barrel and a 150qt cooler mash tun. The treat was that the gentleman that sold us the barrel threw an extra one in, gratis. We now have a matching hot liquor tank to go with the boil kettle. Bobby volunteered to weld a pair of pedestal style stands for the vessels to hold some kind of flame thrower underneath the vessels. We're working out the details of raw steel sources and various designs.

Gary also announced that our recently relocated comrade Jody was back in town for a short while and donated a bench corker to the club. Thanks Jody and good luck in Washington!


Newman was absent this month but Mr. Shelton handed out articles that talked about beer foam and its contrast to soap bubbles for folks to read on their own time.


For such a low turnout at this meeting, the flight was plenty full. Nick poured an amazing Kolsch to begin and Bill Strachen followed up with a Patersbier (Bill warns that the name is way more complicated than the actual recipe, don't bother with the "kit"). Paff followed with a Mexican light lager. Visitor Charlie poured an A/B comparison between a lager and ale fermented wort and asked if everyone could tell the difference. The club was split about 50/50 and we later found out there was a mixup half way between the pours. Nice one ;-) Bob S - Saison, Bobby - Club Oud Bruin, Joe J - APA, Craig - Club Steinbock, Keith - Porter, Jon M.- Anchor Porter clone, Brian Y- IPA, Dave R.-Oaked Bourbon Stout, Bill C - Big Brew Brown preview. Brad and Jen followed up with the leftover Coors Light.


The June 15th  meeting is as usual on the 3rd Tuesday of the month, 8pm, upstairs loft at JJ Bittings.

The next group of Siebel sensory training samples will be "experienced".

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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