2011 February Meeting #148

The WHALES Newsletter and Minutes - February 2011 - Issue #148

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society

Crafting Award Winning Beer, Mead, and Cider Since 1996


East Coast Yeast, Tasting Exercise, Blind Tasting Red & Ambers, 2010 HBOY, War of the Worts

Club Calendar

February 19th - War of the Worts

March 15th - Regular Whales Meeting

March 15th - Club Only Competition - Bocks

June 16th to 18th - National Homebrewers Conference



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.

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 T-shirts 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 were given 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, February 15th meeting was held at JJ Bitting as usual with 30 Whales and 4 guests in attendance (3 became new members, Welcome Brian, John and Mike!).

The meeting was kicked off at 8:12.  Bobby checked to see if there were new members in attendance and had them raise their hands and welcomed them to the meeting.  Visitors were welcomed as well and asked to sign in with Frank before leaving and to pick up an application if interested in joining.

Bobby turned the microphone over to the Guest Speak of the evening, Al Buck from East Coast Yeast.

Al gave the club a sense of his background and his journey into yeast.  Al has been in homebrewing for 10 years and comes from a career as a QC microbiologist.  His current adventures into yeast started with collecting various cultures with a focus on all things sour and funky.  He started swapping beers for cultures and has not looked back.  He is taking baby steps to start East Coast Yeast and will nurture it for proper growth.  His goal is to provide the freshest yeast for the area as most are from the west coast ( he stated that it is a fact that contributes to the majority of the cost (yeast) most of us buy currently).

After his introduction he opened the floor to questions from the club.  Questions ranged from How does he make his strands, slants, if and when starters should be used, nutrients and Bret using oxygen.  (We are working on a full list of the questions and answers).  A common theme came from most of the answers:   Starters are a best practice, it's worth to verify yeast viability each time, starters should always be done on gravities of 1.065 or higher and nutrients provide the best results in the starter as opposed to the end of a boil.

The club gave Al a big hand and Bobby presented him with a WHALES tasting glass and two stickers as a token of the clubs appreciation. 

The meeting moved back to some business items,  Bobby announced the funds from the 50/50 raffle last month for the Food Bank were delivered.  He once again thanked everyone for their participation.

News on the WHALES Baltic Porter Project: Paff relayed that it would be out on friday for everyone to enjoy.  Be sure to pass along the news as you sample your first taste!

The International Beer Festival at the Meadowlands was attended on February 5th by some members and the reports from the volunteers were less then steller (for the volunteers at-least).  The event was under staffed and people were doing various odd jobs after being brought in for their beer knowledge/enthusiasm but that was never properly put to good use.  The event was organized by Starfish Productions, so you might want to think twice before volunteering for one of their events.

Keith Storys' Big Beer Night was another great success on February 11th.  All reports came back as "thumbs up" and that everyone had safe passage home after the event.

Bobby reminded everyone about the AHA National Homebrewers Conference in June and that the event always sells out.  Ticket should be around till the beginning of April but why wait?  If you are planning on going act now.  A bigger issue if you are planning to attend is the availability of Hotel accommodations, if you even think there is a possibility of going - book a room, you can always cancel.  Several WHALES made it know that they are lined up to go.  If you have not attended before and have questions feel free to ask members like Bobby and Nick who have gone in past years.

Bobby took a pulse of the members in attendance if anyone had a pub crawl idea and acknowledge that he was sure Nick had a German themed crawl for the city in the works.  He encourage everyone to think of some ideas since the weather is going to improve and dont hesitate to organize one.

Bobby then discussed some competition news and provided a steering committee update (see below)

New project ideas were on the floor and Gary presented an idea of resurrecting the Wee Whale (Scotch Wee Heavy) brew for the Big Brew Day on the clubs 100 gallon setup.  They was a general agreement with the idea but a decision will have to be formalized in the future.  Gary also discussed his search for Oak barrels and Al from East Coast Yeast said that Tuthilltown Spirits is a good source for barrels.

The main event of the night was the tasting exercise - it was a blind tasting of Red or Amber Beers.  Bobby selected  4 samples (originally intended 6 but no one carries Bud's American Ale anymore Tongue out ) and provided a handout of the possible categories.  Each member was given a score sheet to record the category, sub-category, brewery, beer and a column for one word to describe the beer.  One point was awarded for each column that was recorded correctly on the individuals score sheet. The winner of the tasting challenge was Jim Schreyer with 4 points. He got the cat and subcat correct for the Troegs and Cali Common. He's going to get a whales hat, taster glass, some stickers and whatever beer was left from the tasting.

The samples were as follows:

  1. Smithwicks Irish Red
  2. Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber Lager
  3. North Coast Red Seal Ale
  4. Trog's Hopback Amber

The club agreed that these types of exercises are a good thing for the meetings and want to do more in future meetings.

The nights 50/50 winner was Keith Seguine.


The Competition information started of with the official recognition of the 2010 Brew of the Year Nick Fox.   His name is now officially on the club Brewer of the Year placard.  The meeting attendees gave Nick a round of applause and Bobby followed with and explanation of the point system to become Brewer of the Year.  It was the perfect segway into the next opportunity to get in on the HBOY action, next months Club only Competition for Bocks.  If you have a Bock ready be sure to bring it to the meeting next month on March 15th.  Looking forward - Wood aged Beers will be in April.

A big HBOY eligible contest was coming up on February 19th, War of the Worts.  War of the Worts is a competition out in PA run by Keystonehops, the club associated with Keystone Homebrew Supply.  Bobby mentioned that we had a strong number of entries and was looking forward to see how the WHALES performed.  He also Thanked Dave Rawlings for volunteering to deliver the club entries brought to the last meeting.

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.


This months give away was from GlobalPrints.com.  To be eligible you needed to post your Best Deal that you use in purchasing brewing related items. Dave N was the winner and receive a Beer Periodic Chart Poster .  Be sure to check the forums for the next Crazy Frank's giveaway.


steeringcommittee_20100115_1652053370The steering committee met in February but the ice storm displaced some of the members from attending.   The topics of discussion were the membership cap and the mentorship program.  Due to being below the cap of 60 currently steering committee members in attendance agreed that brewers would be accepted without much issue and beer enthusiast would be excluded to save space for other new members that brewed during the remained of the year.  The mentorship program was reviewed and Bobby restated to the meeting attendees what it was and its purpose.  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.  The Raspberry juice concentrate, equal to about 100lbs of fresh fruit, will be added in about 6 months and then left to age for a year. 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. Gary had a sample at the Big Beer Night and the reviews were excellent.


The flight list recovered from last months meager 2 entries to a stronger 11.  There were some great beers shared.  (Feel free to email and comments on the flight beers that you would like to share in the newsletter, keep'em short and send to frank_w@whalesbrewclub.com)

New member Brian Evans  - Blonde Ale
Jay B - IPA (made with East Coast Yeast) and American Amber
John Hartman (new member) - Saison and Black Ale
Gary - Framboise
Nick - Stout
Paff - Doppelbock
Mike D - IIPA, Black IPA
Brian S - Tripel


The March 15th meeting is as usual on the 3rd Tuesday of the month, 8pm, upstairs loft at JJ Bittings and will include a COC for Bocks, so be sure to bring your entries. 

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 1st 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?

Frank - Club Secretary

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