2014 January Meeting #183


January 2014 Meeting Newsletter #183

The Jan 2014 WHALES meeting was held on Jan 28th at JJ Bitting in Woodbridge, NJ.
35 members and 1 guest were in attendance.

Opening Remarks

President Brad opened the meeting at about 8:05pm.  He promised to be quick since we had a WHALES Club Only Comp and a water presentation planned.  He thanked Bobby for his hard work at being Secretary and wished me luck. :/

Recap of Recent Events

The WHALES holiday party was held on Jan 18th at the Rahway Italian-American Club (thanks to Don C for booking the space).  A slew of members and their families attended.  The food, beer, meads, and ciders brought were dynamite.  We held the awards presentation for the 2013 WHALES Homebrewer of the Year winners.  Ceremonial engraved mugs were offered up as prizes (plus a few surprise gifts) to the top three finishers:

  • 1st Place - Don & Steve B - 88 pts (hat trick!)
  • 2nd Place - Craig - 23 pts
  • 3rd Place - Sergio M - 18 pts

The SC also ran a tricky tray where donated items from local businesses and a few members were "auctioned off" to raise money for the NJ Food Bank.  We raised $461--a great total for the cause!  NOTE: Thank you letter sent to businesses is attached.

Thank You Letter

Before the December 2013 meeting, Keith St told us about a family who lost everything in Hurricane Sandy, are currently homeless and in dire financial need. At the meeting, we held a 50/50 to raise money for them.  We raised $116 which was bolstered to $176 by a redonation of $60 from Brian S after winning.

Tonight, Keith St read a heartfelt letter he receieved thanking the WHALES for making a wonderful difference in their lives this past Christmas.  Go WHALES.

Club Library Update

The Club Library is now in the hands of Keith St (thank you Dave N for your previous service).  I saw some activity going on during the meeting--some donations and some checkouts possibly?  The SC also approved a book purchase last month to get some newer material available and they have been added.  See the library forum post to view the library and contact Keith St for checkouts.

Upcoming Events

  • Sat, Feb 1, 2014 @ 8pm - Homebrew Joe is throwing a party at his shop in Trenton (Princeton Homebrew).  There will be other homebrewers and live music.  Details on the forum.
  • Fri, Feb 21, 2014 - BIG BEER NITE at Keith & Donna St's house.  There will be beer.  It will be big.  Arrange a ride home.
  • Sat, May 3, 2014 - National Homebrew Day Big Brew.  Location TBD

Project Update

  • Bobby's Lambic Solera Project -- Don & Steve B will be bottling their 15g soon.  Jay B/Frank & Sergio M will be brewing the next 15g exchange soon.  Last time the barrel was tasted was July 2013.
  • Craig's Belgian Dark Strong -- Brewed Sept 14, 2013; Racked into a fresh bourbon barrel on Oct 19, 2013.  Currently aging.
  • Joe S & Gary's Red Wine Project -- currently going through Malolactic fermentation and aging in Gary's cold room.

Competition News

  • Don Boyle volunteered to be the new comp coordinator.  Thanks Don!
  • Natl Homebrewer's Competition - registration is underway!  It's open until Feb 2, 2014.  There are many changes this year.  Read all about them here.
  • War of the Worts registration is currently open.  Entries will be accepted until Feb 9, 2014.
  • Due to the NHC implementing a lottery and limiting the number of entries, the Steering Committee approved changes to the current HBOY rules to ensure an even playing field.  The following language will be added to the "Team Brewers/Co-Brewers" section:
    • "In competitions that restrict the number of entries per person, team brewers may either elect to conform to individual entry restrictions as a team or decide in advance which team member's entries will count towards HBOY points. This rule prevents an unfair advantage where a two person team would otherwise effectively get twice as many entries as any individual."

WHALES CoC (club only comp)

  • We held the 1st 2014 WCoCs this meeting.  The criteria was "any Belgian".  We had 6 entries:
    • 16B - Belgian Pale Ale - Jon M
    • 16C - Saison - Brian S
    • 18B - Dubbel - Jon M
    • 18C - Tripel - Craig
    • 18C - Tripel - Mike S
    • 18E - Belg Dark Strong - Don & Steve S
      • Brian's Saison took first place, Don & Steve's BDS took 2nd, and Craig's Tripel took 3rd.  Congrats to the winners!
  • The next WHALES Club Only Comp will be at the April meeting and the criteria is "hop showcase".  Take that however you like...
  • For the July WCoC, we have a poll up.  Please click here to vote for your favorite idea before Feb 1, 2014.

Water Chemistry Presentation

Don & Steve B prepared an in-depth water chemistry presentation where they made 3 experimental beers with differing sulfate/chloride ratios so members could taste the effects that has on flavor and mouthfeel.  Thank you for taking the time to do this, guys.  A wonderful presentation and nothing speaks to our hearts like beer samples!  NOTE: Handout is attached.

Upcoming Steering Committee Topics

  • Finalize 2014 WCoC schedule
  • Address HBOY rule changes
  • Discuss how to distribute Keystone barrel project beers among members
  • Formally propose amendment to club’s bylaws to include pre-set dollar limits and approval of allocation of club funds for routine events (holiday party, picnic, HBOY awards and prizes, etc)
  • Seek volunteers to assist with club activities in 2014


There were 5 beers and 2 meads in the flight:

  • Sam poured an ESB brewed with Nelson Sauvin hops (from NZ)
  • Ryan poured an oatmeal stout
  • Ron also poured an oatmeal stout
  • Dennis poured a black IPA
  • Treasurer Jay D poured his buckwheat sweet mead
  • Sergio M poured a berry berry bourbon mead
  • Joe M poured a sour black cherry Belg dark strong (2012 club project)

-respectfully submitted by Jay B, WHALES Secretary