2010 August Meeting #142

The WHALES Newsletter and Minutes - August 2010 - Issue #142

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society

Crafting Award Winning Beer, Mead, and Cider Since 1996


Siebel Institute Sensory Training, Club Only Competition Sour Beers, Double Barrel Framboise Project, Malt Madness, Belgium Comes to Cooperstown, Coppermine Pub, All Grain Workshop, Malt Buy, WHALES shirts, Anarchy.


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.

September 11-12th - DEUTSCHER CLUB Oktoberfest, Clark, NJ.

September 16-18th - Great American Beer Festival, Denver, CO.

September 17th - DEUTSCHER CLUB Biergarden Open House, Clark, NJ.

September 25th - Beer on the Pier Fest, Belmar, NJ

September 25th - 4th Annual CNJ Beerfest, Woodbridge, NJ (Ooo Beerfest Fight!)

October 1-2 - Brewtopia Beerfest in Chelsea, NYC

October 2nd - Prez's Octoberfest, Woodbridge, NJ




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 August 16th meeting was held at JJ Bitting as usual with 38 Whales and guests in attendance including brand new member Ed D and someone Ben met up at the Coppermine brewpub (sorry I forget names easily).

The meeting was kicked off at 8pm sharp because we had a lot of items to cover. Gary missed his first meeting since he joined the club due to vacation plans so Bobby was asked to move the agenda along in his stead.

The remaining Whales shirts that were ordered in the past month were distributed prior to the meeting. A total of 84 shirts were ordered, seamingly one of each color in existance. Unfortunately the screen printer dropped the ball and sent a couple bad prints but all has been corrected in time for distribution. 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 September meeting.

 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.

The Joe J's suggested running a monthly 50/50 for fun and to set aside some club funds for special use (TBD).This month's 50/50 was also run during the Flight later in the night and Bobby brought a bunch of additional giveaways from the AHA video contest we won in May. Prez took the money prize of $36, Ryan K won a copy of "Brewing Classic Styles", Dave C won Ken Schramm's "Mead Maker", Dustin and someone else won a Tshirt (sorry), and Ben grabbed one of the misprinted WHALES hoodies.

The first club activity of the night was the continued tasting our Sensory Training Kits that the club purchased from Siebel. As always, Brad and Jen gratiously poured the dosed samples and got them out to everyone quickly despite the social stigma of handling tall boys of the silver bullet. The samples for this tasting were specifically chosen because they relate in some way to the sour beers COC we're judging this month. They included:

Lactic - (Lactic Acid) Desirable in the case of sour beers, especially Berliner Weiss and a bit less in other category 17 beers. The traditional means of getting lactic acid to form in large quantities is to sour mash. Lactobacillus bacteria that is natually present on malt is mashed around 90F where they actively convert sugars to lactic acid.  It may also form during fermentation but lactobacillus is very intolerant of alcohol. Lactic is considered a flaw in and also an infection that can be caused by exposing chilled wort to milling dust (lactic bacteria all over grain). Mention sourdough yogurt..

Acetic is vinegar, produced by acetobacter bacteria. Desirable in Lambics and other sours like Flanders Red in lesser quantity. Converts ethanol to acetic acid in presence of oxygen. Lesson learned here is that if you're making a Flanders and don't want it to turn too vinigary, you must limit oxygen exposure for the long aging period by limiting vessel headspace and keeping the airlock wet.

Butyric -  found in vomit, yummy. Butyric acid is an important flavor compound in a number of foods including beer. However, at concentrations above its beer flavor threshold, it causes "cheesy" or "sickly" off-flavors. Abnormal concentrations in beer can arise due to infections by anaerobic spore-forming bacteria of the genus
Clostridium (see Iron Hill Brewer Presentation). Seriously, after smelling this one, I'm surprized the membership didn't slip into a vomit avalanche. It was horrible.

Indole - Found in feces (but smells flowery in low concentrations... irony?). Great! This off flavor is associated with potential Coliform baterial contamination in primary fermentation but is mostly suspected to come into the homebrewery in tainted no-boil extracts (which non of us WHALES use, right? RIGHT?)


The Club Only Competition for this month was Sour Beers. This competition covers BJCP Category 17 styles with Lambics and Flemish beers, plus American Wild Ales, and Specialty Wild Ales. Several judging methods were tried in the past few comps. We'll tried a combination of the old and new. Based on the relatively few entries this month (5), all members will tasted all the beers. Each table will got a simplified BJCP check box style score sheet per entry. The table tasted and discussed perceptions and one person from each checked boxes and assigned real scores. The scores across all tables werel added up to determine the winner.

The following entries were judged:

Place  Beer Style Brewer Total Score
1 17F Framboise (Raspberry Lambic) Gary 267
2 16E Flanders Brown w/Cherry Bobby/Nick
3 17F Kriek (Cherry Lambic) Club Proj. 262
4 23 Russian Imp Stout w/Brett. Bobby 260.5
5 17C Flanders Brown Club Proj. 255.5

There was a math error at the meeting and Gary's entry was declared the winner. However, after the scores were rechecked, the 1st and 2nd place was a dead tie. The steering committee is still trying to figure out how to deal with this.

Looking ahead, the next HBOY points eligible competition will be Malt Madness on September 11th . Bobby brought all the entries home but it turns out that Dave R was already planning a trip to Bethlehem Brew Works this week anyway. If you'd like to have your entries hand delivered, please contatct Dave immediately. Thanks Dave! 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.

Looking WAY ahead, you still have time to brew for the Stoney Creek comp in November which is also WHALES HBOY points eligible. Also, not that you have time to brew for it, we'll be judging category 19 Strong Ales for a club only at the November meeting, start wiping the dust off your 2008 Barleywines. Well, let's put it this way, if you can brew a strong ale in time to win in November, please do it and tell us how.


Crazy Frank didn't have any giveaways for this month but stay tuned for your September website assignment.


The most recent major social gathering of the WHALES was 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 made it up there. They found port-a-johns where the WHALES usually camp so they relocated. JD explained some highlights of the trip but as everyone should expect, not much was recalled. I'm sure it was great. Ben was one of the few WHALES that made it to the Coppermin pub up in N. Arlington, NJ for the homebrewer's night on August 8th. Homebrewers were welcome to hang out and talk shop. He mentioned there were about 15 homebrewers there which was a good turnout for a small pub. One of the guys he met there visited our meeting in August.

As the calendar suggests, there are quite a few beer-intensive events coming up. Sept 16th kicks of the coveted Great American Beer Festival, Denver, CO. Very few WHALES seem to be making it out there, but it should be awesome. Later in the month there are dueling local beerfests on Sept25th. You must choose between Beer on the Pier Fest, Belmar, NJ and the 4th Annual CNJ Beerfest, Woodbridge, NJ (Ooo Beerfest Fight!) Check out the discussion forum if you plan to go to Belmar because there's a $5 off coupon code you can use (members only). Finally, the first weekend in October offers options as well. The Brewtopia beer festival in Manhattan starts on Oct 1st. Tickets now seem to be available on the website but they're a bit saucy at $67. For a more frugal option, Keith S. (Prez) is also hosting his annual Octoberfest on the 2nd, rain or shine. Bring your beers, food item, litre steins and Prost! See the members only calendar for details.


The steering committee did not meet in August. We  know that the membership will be capped at some number 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. There has been some offline discussion on enacting a hard cap at 60 members at least until the end of the year while we work out the details (we have 58). It is especially important to set up a mentorship program for interested parties on the waiting list that may be new brewers.

As always, members may voice concerns and make suggestions to the committee by emailing us Steering@whalesbrewclub.com


The next project will be a Raspberry Lambic (Framboise)  to the tune of 113 gallons between two barrels; one at Bobby's and one at JD's. 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. 

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 September/ early October. Most of the grain is coming from the group buy so the cost is way down near $5-10 a share for the wort. Bobby collected $15 from each shareholder to cover the cost of $330 worth of red raspberry concentrate.

The barrel at Bobby's will need to be emptied of the Flanders Brown project. Initial feedback from prior tastings was that it was plenty sour and could use a blending especially if the barrel sits another couple months. Its inclusion in this month's COC confirmed that it is far too sour as is to represent the style properly. Shareholders are encouraged to brew a blending batch or solicit a fellow club member to do so.  Brew a batch of lightly hopped, full bodied brown ale and ferment it out. After a couple weeks start blending. Keg and chill immediately or bottle in chamagne or Belgian bottles.


There was no gadget of the month this time around.


No Newman news although maybe he did have something prepared. This was a full night!


There were quite a few beers on the flight this month though many people were shuffling out before we got to pouring the last of them. Paff was pouring Hefeweisen and Helles, Bill Strachan poured a Vienna Lager, Nick shared a Rauchbier, Dave C brought a Pale Ale, Brian Y woke us up with a coffee stout, and Andrew had a 2008 Pino Noir.


The Sept 21st  meeting is as usual on the 3rd Tuesday of the month, 8pm, upstairs loft at JJ Bittings.

Given that there this no COC to judge, Bobby may be providing a short demo of Beer Tools Pro since there has recently been a lot of discussion around brewing software.

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.