2010 July Meeting #141

The WHALES Newsletter and Minutes - July 2010 - Issue #141

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society

Crafting Award Winning Beer, Mead, and Cider Since 1996


Siebel Institute Sensory Training, Apple Port, Whales Picnic, Funky Barrel Oud Bruin, Framboise, Malt Madness, Sour Beer COC, Belgium Comes to Cooperstown, Coppermine Pub, All Grain Workshop, Malt Buy, WHALES shirts, Anarchy.


July 30-31 - Belgium Comes to Cooperstown Festival

August 8th - Homebrewer's Night at the Coppermine Pub

August 17th - WHALES Meeting and Sour Beer Club Only Comp.

August 28th - Malt Madness Competition Entry Deadline.

September 11th - Malt Madness Judging at Allentown Brew Works.


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. Don't worry, that gallery is for members only. 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, both books and DVDs, 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.

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 July 20th meeting was held at JJ Bitting as usual with 41 Whales in attendance including new member Jay B., new visitor Chris P. and 2nd time visitor Ed D (rumor has it that he wants to join). It should be noted that July and August are the least attended meetings out of the year and it was nice to see over 2/3rds of the club there. Maybe the economy sucks too much for vacations.

The meeting got off to a slightly late start but we quickly got back on track with continuted tasting our Sensory Training Kits that the club purchased from Siebel recently. The theme for this week centered around fermentation temps and some of the flavors that can be derived (both off flavors and desireable in moderation). To go along with the tasting, steering club member Jay D. presented some information on controlling your fermentation temps that ranged from low tech, high maintainance to high tech set and forget. 1. Time your batches to seasonal ambient temps. Brew Belgian in the summer and Lagers in the fall and spring. 2. Swamp cooler style water bins can keep your carboys several degrees below ambient and can be augmented with regular ice additions to keep things cooler. If you need to raise the temp, an aquarium heater can be placed in the water bath. The ultimate lazy man's solution is to use a fridge or freezer controlled by an external thermostat (Johnson A419 or Ranco). If you have extreme temp swings that go above and below ideal ferment temps over the course of a couple weeks, a dual stage controller can be employed to trigger the cooling chamber's compressor as well as a heat source such as a brew belt. It's the most expensive option but doesn't require babysitting. Anyone that is just getting interested in fermentation temp control should start a conversation on the forum as many members have worked out solutions you can tap into.



The actual tasting session was led by Brad who mixed up the concontions in pitchers and dispensed the 1oz samples to the club. Brad began discussing the samples including:

Etheyl Acetate - Estery, Fruity.
Phenolic - Clove, Pepper, Spicy (think Belgian).
Ethyl Hexanoate - Apple Aroma
Vanilla - Self Explanatory.

All of these can be attributed to excessive fermentation temperatures and/or specific yeast strains.

To close out this section of the meeting, Gary mentioned that we purchased two full tasting kits and have only been using one of them so far. Since they do have a shelf life, the steering commitee suggested that we offer the other kit to another homebrewing club to recoup some of our cost.

Bobby reminded everyone that he is still collecting money for the Whales shirts that were ordered in the past month. A total of 84 shirts were ordered, seamingly one of each color in existance. Unfortunately the screen printer dropped the ball and sent the order one day too late. Bobby received them the day after the meeting. By the way, the order included a few extra shirts that will be sold to new members over the course of this year. If you've joined at the June meeting or later and want a shirt, contact Bobby. Anyone that has not yet picked up their shirts can contact Bobby to pick them up unless you don't mind waiting for the August meeting.

Bobby posted a thread on the discussion forum urging someone to coordinate another group buy of malt as he had done the previous two years. Joe J stepped up to the plate to organize the order and Dave R. offered up a loading dock to take delivery. The WHALES filled a pallet with 42 sacks. Dave was collecting money at the meeting and the Whales had their malt in hand by the end of the week. Awesome work guys! It's great to see newer members putting out this kind of effort. If anyone else has any ideas for pooling our purchase power, post on the forum. Gary mentioned that he ordered two extra sacks of grain to set aside for future brewing projects.

The Joe J's suggested running a monthly 50/50 for fun and to set aside some club funds for special use (TBD). This meeting was the first attempt and $34 was up for grabs. Interestingly enough, the winner was Jay B. a first time visitor who promptly used his winnings to pay his first dues to the club and even donated the balance to the treasury. Thanks Jay, and welcome to the club!


The Club Only Competition for this month was for MEAD. This competition covered BJCP categories 24, 25, and 26. In order to save time, the 11 entries were judged outside on JJ's deck by Mead enthusiasts Brad, Luke and Nate (I think). Out of entries from JoeJ^y, JoeJ^o, Luke, Justin, Mike D, Craig, JD, Jay, and Gary, it was Jay's Vanilla Metheglin that took first place and will represent the Whales at the national level. Congrats to Jay and good luck to us!

Members may want to get bottling for the  August COC for Sour beers. This competition covers BJCP Category 17 styles with Lambics and Flemish beers, plus American Wild Ales, and Specialty Wild Ales. It's far too late to brew for this one as most sour beers require nearly a year of aging minimum. The one exception might be Berliner Weisse which gets most of its sourness from lactic acid produced in the mash, early stages of fermentation, or by direct addition of food grade acid.

Looking ahead, the next non-COC, HBOY points eligible competition will be Malt Madness on September 11th . There was some confusion at the meeting but this is, in fact, the first time Malt Madness is HBOY eligible. The club voted Malt Madness and Stoney Creek in to replace Splitrock last year but it was just after Malt Madness. Get ready and drop off your entries at the August meeting. Note, this comp is open for all BJCP categories including Mead and Cider. If you're dropping off on your own, the entry deadline is August 28th and dropoff locations can be found on the Lehigh Valley Homebrew club website.

New members are encouraged to enter as it is a great way to get unbiased feedback on your beer. Don't be intimidated, give it a shot! If you need help filling out your entry form or have any questions about the rules, ask for help.

Colin summarized the current standings of the HBOY, NOT including this month's COC entrants. Nick was in the lead at 13 points, Bobby with 10 and Craig with 7. 


Crazy Frank had some unfortunate personal business to attend to so there was no drawing this month, There is still a member task out on the forum to complete in order to be eligible for the givaway next time.  We want to say that 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 asked everyone if they enjoyed the club picnic that was held on Saturday June 26th at 1pm. Everyone agreed it was a great day at a great location (Merril Park). The next major social gathering of the WHALES will be at the Belgium Comes to Cooperstown Beer Festival at the Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown, NY on July 30-31st. At least a dozen or so WHALES make an effort to set up camp in the same area. If you plan to go, hook up on the website forum to discuss logistics. There are several WHALES trying to sell off tickets that they can't use so please check the forum. Also, Gary reminded everyone that the Coppermin pub up in N. Arlington, NJ is having a homebrewer's night on August 8th. Homebrewers are welcome to hang out and talk shop. There's nothing on the website but talk to Gary or Luke about it. After that, we're wide open. Anyone want to plan a pub crawl somewhere? Riverhorse brewery tour/tasting then dinner at Triumph in Newhope anyone?


The steering commitee did meet in July but your secretary couldn't make it. Documentation of discussion was probably sketchy ;-). The main topic was analyzing the results of the club size poll taken on the website over the past months to deal with meeting crowding. It is known that we will be staying at JJ's because votes to seek other arrangements were in the minority. We also know that the membership will be capped at some number near 60 but the decision on how to regulate member entry and potentially politely asking non-participating members to "not renew" is still in the air. The majority of voters selected the option to scrutinize member participation, but it did not receive 60% of the vote as required to change the bylaws. However, since it was the majority choice, the committee will redraft the poll simply asking for permission to enact this measure. We hope to close this issue out in time for the next meeting so the committee can work on drafting a membership application and setting up a mentorship program for interested parties on the waiting list.

A side topic discussed was whether or not club funds should be used to fund "group buys" such as the Tshirts, sacks of malt, etc up front and later replenished by purchasing parties. The initial feeling was that it was a lot of money to move in and out of the account which will make our records harder to manage. If the organizer of a group buy is unwilling to front money in advance, the appropriate way to handle it is to collect money at a meeting in advance of the purchase.As always, members may voice concerns and make suggestions to the committee by emailing us. The address is in the member info section of the site.


Gary mentioned that the Apple Port is mostly distributed already. 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 also showed off a bottle that was handsomely corked and heat shrink sealed that will be a gift for guest speakers and such. Many Ooooos and Ahhhhhhs were heard.

Bobby mentioned that the Funky Barrel Flanders Brown was nearing distribution in the next month or so. Initial feedback was that it was plenty sour and could use a blending especially if the barrel sits another couple months. Since the feedback varied between too sour and not sour enough, any blending that occurs will probably have to be coordinated after distribution. For example, if 3 shareholders think it's too sour, they can solicit a fourth person to brew a batch of lightly hopped, full bodied brown ale. After two weeks, the four members get together and rack 1.25 gallons of new beer to cornies or carboy and split the 15 gallons of old beer amongs them.

The Oud Bruin distribution should coincide with another project to keep the barrel wet. The next project will be a Raspberry Lambic (Framboise). The base beer is going to be the same as the previous Kriek, a light ale made with Pilsner Malt and Flaked Wheat. After being fully fermented out in the barrel, Raspberry juice concentrate, equal to about 100lbs of fresh fruit, will be added. The total project length will be about 16-18 months.After soliciting interest on the website, we were at the point of requiring a lottery to whittle down to 12 shares. After announcing this at the meeting, we had enough interest to fill a second barrel that Gary has. In order to make this happen, someone needs to volunteer to babysit it in their basement for at least a year, probably more. Nine people are counting on someone to make it happen.

We are planning to use the club brew system to fill each barrel so it will likely take two separate brew days. Realistically, the sessions should happen at the barrel hosts' homes sometime in late August or early September. Most of the grain is coming from the group buy so the cost is way down near $5 a share for the wort. The raspberry concentrate is going to be the most expensive part at about $20-25 a share. Watch the discussion forum on this one also.

Finally, Gary suggested a good use of some of the extra Maris Otter malt he added to the grain buy would be to set up a all grain recipe and brew workshop for members who are currently brewing extract or just wants to learn more about all grain. The exact dates are not set yet but September/October sounds about right. Watch for more talk on this at the next meeting or on the forum.


There was no gadget of the month this time around.


Pennsylvania and Utah are the only two states left that have complete government control over liquor wholesale. There is a push to privatize in order to collect license revenues.


There were quite a few beers on the flight this month, including some that never made it on the list. Gary urged shareholders of the Big Brew Brown to bring their unique versions of the common wort and many member obliged. Both young and older Joe J, Ben B, Joe S, and Anthony A poured the brown and it was really interesting to taste how different a common wort can end up through various fermentation differences and pre-fermentation adjuncts.  Also poured was Danny's Nut Brown, BobS and Nick F's Hefeweisen showdown, Jon M's Citra Pale, and Mike D's 60 minute clone.


The August 17th  meeting is as usual on the 3rd Tuesday of the month, 8pm, upstairs loft at JJ Bittings.

We have a Sour Beer COC to judge. It has yet to be determined how it will be judged but we will set up a preregistration page on the site about a week ahead of time.

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.