2010 December Meeting #146

The WHALES Newsletter and Minutes - December 2010 - Issue #146

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society

Crafting Award Winning Beer, Mead, and Cider Since 1996


Website Profiles, Chugger Pump Box, Holiday Party, Framboise Project, Apple Port Project II, Balic Porter Bittings Brew, War of the Worts, English Bitters COC, HBOY Winner Announced, AHA Homebrewer of the Week.

Club Calendar

December 21th - Regular Whales Meeting

January 8th - Whales Baltic Porter Brew at Bittings.

January 15th - Whales Holiday Party - Location on Event Calendar

January 18th - Whales Meeting and BJCP Cat.8 English Bitters Club Only Competition

February 19th - War of the Worts Competition


Check the Whales website at (http://www.whalesbrewclub.com) for the latest announcements, meeting minutes, and calendar updates.  Feel free to upload pictures, add events to the calendar, review beers/bars, and post comments in the forums.  Bobby welcomes club member article contributions and new content ideas to the website.

The website has a new member profile system installed so now is a great time to get your info updated. It includes fields to collect information about your brewery and other brewing related data. The steering committee humbly requests that you post a "head shot" style picture there also so that all members can put a face to the name. This is extremely helpful for newer members. You can edit your profile by going to "member info", then "edit my profile". Keep in mind, this info is always hidden from the general public so there should be no privacy concerns.

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).

Whales Schwag:

The WHALES want everyone to know who we're with so the logo branded schwag is building up. We currently have several dozen mini-Pils taster glasses from last year. Every member got one at some point but if they've gone missing or broken, you can buy a replacement for $3. We also have a couple blue or tan Tshirts available in Lg/Xlg for $12 each, but these are reserved for members who joined after the group buy happened. Finally, the classy stickers that are being giving to renewing members for 2011 are also available for purchase if you want to put one on every corny keg you own. The stickers are $1 each.


The Tuesday, December 21st meeting was held at JJ Bitting as usual with 39 Whales and one guest in attendance. Our treasurer Keith continued collecting dues foro 2011 renewals. So far, 38 Whales have renewed and at least another 10 or so are expected to do so at the January meeting. Since we are not sitting too close to the membership cap at this time, members renewing are not in jeopardy of losing their spot to new members in January. However, please don't wait too much longer to settle up for 2011. Bobby handed out most of the embroidered hats that were ordered at the last meeting. Several Whales were immediately regretful that they hesitated order a hat of their own but keep in mind the minimum order quantity is only 12 hats. Go over to Image Screen Printing in Middlesex, NJ and tell them you want to order 12 hats with the Whales logo. You even get to pick the exact style you want.

The meeting was kicked off just after 8pm.  Gary immediately announced that in the spirit of the holiday season, the club was going to spend some money on an appetizer sampler for each table. The next order of business was to vote for club officer and steering committee positions for 2011. Bobby was elected the new president of the club, Keith Story remains the Treasurer, Frank is the new secretary replacing Bobby, Jay D. and Keith "prez" Seguine maintained their seats on the steering committee and we welcomed young Joe J. to the committee. If any of that is confusing, members can refer to the Whales Hall of Foam page on the website to see the positions.

Gary mentioned that Bobby showed up on homebrewersassociation.org as the Homebrewer of the Week. Crazy Frank submitted his info months ago and even tricked him into providing answers to the basic profile questions without giving away the motive.


Based on several other examples he's read about online, Craig E build himself a self-contained and portable case for the chugger pump he bought last month. The basic idea is that the pump is mounted through a circle cut in the end of a plastic toolbox. The pump head and liquid connections sit outside the box while the motor and wire connections sit inside. He also added a switch and auxiliary duplex outlet that can be accessed on the outside. The benefit of building this thing is that it protects the motor from splashes and provides a solid base and carry handle when you want to transport it. You can also store plenty of other essential items in the box along with an extension cord. We'll see if we can get some pictures of it added here.

Speaking of brew gadgets, the Whales 50/50 Brew house is in full operation and stress tested through two Framboise batches. As of right now, the ~37 gallon mash tun is the limiting factor for batch size and OG, but augmenting with an additional tun has worked well. The realistic maximum boil size is 80 gallons split 40 gallons in each barrel. As you fly sparge, the first kettle will be filled to maximum capacity. Once the other barrel is empty of sparge water, you continue collecting runoff wort in there. After collecting all the wort, you connect the two barrels at the ball valve and let them equalize in volume for the boil. There have been some discussions about completing the system with a second 37 gallon mash tun or building a larger one. Also, we've been lucky enough to borrow plate chillers from Paff and Dave R. when we needed them but buying one for the club system is also an option in the future. Whales are encouraged to pitch projects for using the system


Colin wasn't able to make the meeting this month but he provided the club with the final 2010 Home Brewer of the Year scores. Gary announced that Nick F.  is the HBOY winner this year followed by Craig E and Luke K in a close second and third place. Congratulations to the winners and good luck to everyone in 2011. 

The opportunity to get on the HBOY list in 2011 right out of the gate would be to bring an English Bitter to the January meeting. This includes ordinary , special and extra special bitters (ESB). We noticed quite a few people brewing these in Novermber so the turnout should be great. Bitters are pretty easy to brew and don't require a lot of aging time so you can still brew one if you hurry. If you feel like you'll miss this opportunity, the next competition open to all styles will be on February 19th. War of the Worts is a competion out in PA run by Keystonehops, the club associated with Keystone Homebrew Supply. The Whales will likely collect entries at the January meeting because the February meeting is past the entry deadline.

Finally, looking even further ahead, The Club Only for Bocks will be judged at the March meeting. They are lagers so if you've always wanted to brew a lager, do it now while the weather is cool. Lager it through January and February and you'll be good to go.

If you want to know more about the WHALES Homebrewer of the Year (HBOY) program, there's an article dedicated to it listing all the applicable competitions, approximate dates, and how the HBOY points are awarded. If you want more details on the Club Only Competitions as sanctioned by the American Homebrewer's Association, including the themes and dates of each competition, you can go to the Homebrewer's Association Website.


The task to become eligible for the December giveaway was posted on the website. Basically, members were asked to fill out their new user profile and add a picture. There was a good turnout and quite a few people were eligible. Frank mentioned that he had been working on this prize solicitation for a while but finally got Amazon.com to send a Bayou Classic propane burner with regulator. In addition to the single prize, we'll be receiving an ongoing discount coupon (watch the website). Tom Paff's name was drawn as the winner. Congrats!


Additional discussion was had regarding the Holiday party slated for January 15th. Bobby put down a deposit on a hall rental at a conveniently train-accessible location. Gary called a vote to ask the club for permission to spend the $300 on the hall rental and it was thoroughly supported. Gary will post a request for feedback on the forums to discuss the food and beverage situation for the party. As wth last year, members will likely be asked to bring an assortment of their own concontions while the club covers most of  the food costs. Members can find details about the party time and location on the events calendar on the website.


The steering committee did not meet in December. There has been some email communication regarding the process for tracking member activity points such as who or what activities triggers the points on the user profiles. Most activities and participation are already mentioned in the newsletter/minutes/flight list for example. In other cases, members may have to remind the points coordinator to give them credit. Since this is totally new for the club, there will be a learning curve for sure. Jay D (not to be confused with JD) has volunteered to be the guinea pig points coordinator for 2011 and it's good to know he's maintaining his steering committee seat. Go easy on him ;-)  As always, members may voice concerns and make suggestions to the committee by emailing us Steering@whalesbrewclub.com


The most recent project that is under way is 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 the same as the previous Kriek, a light ale made with Pilsner Malt and Flaked Wheat. After being fully fermented out in the barrel and aged for about 6 months, Raspberry juice concentrate, equal to about 100lbs of fresh fruit, will be added. The total project length will be about 16-18 months. The barrel at Bobby's was brewed and filled on 11/21/10 and JD's on 12/11/10.

The other concurrent project is Whales Apple Port II. Much more of the overall volume this year will get its start as freeze-concentrated cider. Gary is the ring leader of this project just like the first one and has solicited the help of several other people to make it happen. "Do you have any idea what it looks like to have several dozen empty Everclear bottles jutting out of the recycle bin at the curb"? As of right now, the freeze-concentrated cider was partially fermented and spiked to halt fermentation. After it clears out in the next couple weeks, Gary will transfer it to an adjustable top wine aging tank borrowed from member Joe S.

Although it doesn't fall into the traditional club project domain, this is a good place to mention that the Whales club was invited to assist in the brewing of a Baltic Porter at Bittings on January 8th. Of course only a few people will be able to go up into the brew house on the 3rd floor loft, but we'll keep people shuffling in and out to mix it up. Don't forget to thank Brewer James and Paff for setting this up and getting the clearance from Bitting's owner.


The flight list was moderate at this meeting. Harley Steve poured a Lemon Ale (again? Maybe you're trying to float that keg huh?) and also an Amber Ale that he brewed at Big Brew. Paff was walking around double fisting an Altbier and Weizenbock. Nick had a spicy Roggenbier (Rye based... I didn't know much about it either). Bill Strachen shared an all-Simcoe IPA that had that nice piney cat piss aroma, I mean in a good way. Young Joe J poured an American Amber. Craig E poured a nice Brown Porter and Anthony D capped it off with a Belgian Dubbel (dang I didn't get any). We appreciate everyone sharing their concoctions!


The January 18th meeting is as usual on the 3rd Tuesday of the month, 8pm, upstairs loft at JJ Bittings. We start a brand new year of homebrew merriment.

Our treasurer Keith will hopefully collect dues from the last 10 or so remaining renewals.

The last few who ordered Whales hats and didn't come to December's meeting, will take delivery at this meeting.

Bring your English Bitters, Special Bitters and Extra Special Bitters (ESB) for the club only competition!

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. Ideas? How about pitching a club brewing project?

Bobby M - Club Secretary and Webmaster.

Note: This will be my last newsletter since I'll be filling the president position starting in January. While it's been a lot of work and time to devote, I have to to say it's been extremely fulfilling to serve the club in this capacity. I'd also like to acknowledge the three great years of service from our prior president Gary. I've only been in the club for three years so I have no source of comparison, but I personally think the club has been run extremely well during his tenure especially during the stresses of 300% membership growth. Between the 10-year presidential veteran Keith "prez" Seguine and Gary Weston, I know I have big shoes to fill. One foot at a time. Cheers!


PS: Crazy Frank, I hope you have a few hours to kill every 4th week of the month!
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