2014 May Meeting #187


May 2014 Meeting Newsletter #187

The May 2014 WHALES meeting was held on May 20th at JJ Bitting in Woodbridge, NJ. 
30 members and 3 guests were in attendance.

Opening Remarks

President Brad opened the meeting at 8:13pm saying, "Let's get started."

Recap of Recent Events

  • A poll on proposed changes to the bylaws ended 4/25 and carried 29-0.  The bylaws have been updated on our webpage.
  • The 2014 "Big Brew for National Homebrew Day" was held on 5/3 at Jon M's house in Garwood, NJ.  85g of WHALES Witbier was brewed as a group project on the club equipment.  Look out for a couple hundred pics from Matt P.  Thanks to Jon & Suzi for hosting!
  • SAVOR beer fest returned to Washington DC this year and was held on 5/9.  A few Whales attended and enjoyed it.
  • Also on 5/9 was the Garden State Brewfest in Berkley Heights, NJ.  Dustin & Matt attended with VIP passes and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Upcoming Events / Reminders

  • A new poll is online concerning completion of the club-owned brew system.  see poll here.
  • Sat, June 7, 2014 - Luke is running a Brooklyn Beer Hop.  see forum
  • Fri, June 13, 2014 - Friday the Firkinteenth @ The Grey Lodge in Philly.  Talk to Dustin for more info.
  • Sat, June 21, 2014 - WHALES Picnic to be held at Brad & Jen's house.  more info
  • Sat, June 28, 2014 - The Garden State Craft Brewers Guild Beerfest will take place in Camden, NJ.
  • Aug 8-9, 2014 - "Belgium Comes to Cooperstown", Brewery Ommegang. (sold out)
  • The club library has new books in stock.  See the library forum post or Keith S for details.
  • East Coast Yeast is now taking orders for large batches where Al will prepare the appropriate amount of any strain for your planned batch.  See Ron or Marc for more details.

Project Update

  • Dennis' Oaked Sour Blonde Project -- Brewed on Sat, April 12, and was racked into the oak wine barrel on Fri, May 16th.  see forum for details
  • Bobby's Lambic Solera Project -- Don & Steve are distributing the bottles from the first exchange tonight (and also brought samples for all).  Jay B, Frank, & Sergio M brewed the second 15g exchange Tues, April 22, and are currently coordinating the barrel exchange.  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; distributed on May 10, 2014. 
  • Joe S & Gary's Red Wine Project -- currently going through Malolactic fermentation and aging in Gary's cold room.  We need to try the wine and see if oak levels are good.
  • NEW PROJECT - We will be participating in the Keystone Barrel Brew Championship on Sat, July 19, 2014 in Montgomeryville, PA.  see forum for details

Competition News

  • The next WHALES Club Only Comp will be at the July meeting and the criteria is "low-gravity".  Get em ready.
  • 2014 WHALES CoC schedule:
    • Jan - Anything Belgian (done!)
    • April - Hop Showcase (done!)
    • July - low-gravity
    • Oct - beverage ferm with at least 10% fruit or honey
  • The WHALES dominated Buzz Off this month with 11 medals:
      • Boyle Brothers - 4 gold medals, 3 silver medals!
      • Sam - gold
      • Craig - silver
      • Tom Z - silver
      • Dennis - silver
  • Comp coordinator with some announcements:
    • next comp is NJ State Fair
      • Registration opens June 14th
      • Fair (judging) is July 26th 
    • current HBOY leaders:
      • 1st - Boyle Brothers - 52 pts
      • 2nd - Dennis - 20 pts
      • 3rd - Craig - 11 pts

Steering Committee Updates

  • SC met 5/6 at Nic's Wunderbar in Whitehouse Station, NJ.
  • Actively discussing how to distribute Keystone barrel project beers among members.
  • Always seeking volunteers to plan or assist with club activities in 2014.


  • Craig gave a brief talk about his Belgian Dark Strong Barrel Project that just ended, and poured everyone present a sample of the beer.  Thanks, Craig!
  • Jon M talked about Craft Beer magazine and passed around the current issue.
  • Guest Shawn McGovern from Brew Rags gave a quick talk about his new homebrewing-geared T-shirts, then raffled off 2 T's.  more info here

Siebel Sensory Training Kit (3/6)

The Siebel kit contains 24 flavor vials to doctor up a liter of beer each.  We are breaking the kit down into 6 sessions with 4 flavors each.  Tonight, Brad presented the following 4 flavors:

  • Ethyl acetate
  • Ethyl hexanoate
  • Spicy
  • Vanilla


There were 5 beers, 5 meads, 2 ciders, & a gruit in the flight:

  • Joe S poured an ice-concentrated apple cider 
  • Tom Z poured a tropical wheat ale
  • Sam G poured a gruit brewed w parsley, sage, rosemary, & thyme
  • Dennis poured a Red-X IPA
  • Ron & Mark poured a mocha espresso stout
  • Dustin poured a new AB cider
  • Shawn (from Brew Rags) poured his session IPA & his Irish Red
  • Luke K poured a tupelo mead aged on French oak
  • Andrew C poured 4 meads: 2 trad, 1 caramelized, & 1 blackberry

-respectfully submitted by Jay B, WHALES Secretary