2006 December Meeting Issue #98

The Official WHALES Newsletter and Minutes December 2006 Issue #098
Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society Established 1996
Peace On You for Festivus!  Here’s the December newsletter…
* Belgian Barrel Big Brew at Keith/Donna’s Saturday12/30
* Whales Holiday Party, The Waiting Room – Rahway NJ, 1/13 2PM
*  Big Belgian Beer Nite @Luke’s 1/19 7PM
*  COC “Low Gravity Beers” under 1045 OG, judged at January meeting
*  War of Worts XII Competition scheduled for mid-Feb
Check the members only AOL “WHALESCLUB” site for the latest announcements and calendar updates.  Feel free to upload pictures, review beers/bars and post comments.
"Beer by Christmas would be the most welcome news the American people could have."  – William Randolph Hearst, November 1932
The WHALES held their Tuesday 19th  December meeting at our holiday home away from home, HarleySteve & Dana’s house.   We appreciate their hospitality during this busy time.  On hand were HarleySteve (of course), KeithS/Donna, Rob & Kristen, Luke, Gene, Prez, MikeV, Uncle Leo, Brad & Jenn, Jody, Colin, Bill, and the triumphant returnz of Piper Mike and Karl!
2006 Homebrewer of the Year report:  Congrats to Darin Reed, the Whales Homebrewer of the Year.  Darin’s 48 points more than doubled his closest rivals in the biggest rout in recent years.  As a club, 24 beers were entered in the six AHA Club Only Comps, and we entered 117 beers in the remaining Whales sanctioned competitions.  By capturing 12 Golds, 12 Silvers and 9 Bronze medals, it was by far our most decorated year.  This includes, of course, Darin’s 20-point performance, a gold medal for our barrel cider group effort and our Big Beer hat trick at Split Rock.  The January COC for Light Hybrids will begin the new clean slate for HBOY.
The Final Point totals:  Darin 48, Prez 22, Gary 19, KeithS 16, Paff 15, Gene 11, SteveG 9, Jody 8, Neal 7, Luke 6, Leo 5, Brad/Jenn 4, HarleySteve 3, SteveS 1.  Lets hear it for our 15 participants!!
Last year saw an unprecedented six Club Only Competitions sanctioned by the AHA.  The next COC?  We’ll judge Low Gravity Beers at our January meeting.  It can be from most BJCP styles and must have an original gravity of less than 1045.  Remember, only dues paying members have voting rights in club only competitions.   Go to www.beertown.org for all the 2007 categories and dates including the March/April COC for Scottish Ales.
The first of the now FIVE sanctioned Whales competitions for the new year is the War of the Worts XII, traditionally held every February.  No details as yet, but keep yer eyes peeled to http://www.keystonehops.org for the latest developments.
The Whales 11th Annual Holiday Party is scheduled for Saturday Jan 13th 2007.   This year it’s the newly opened Waiting Room at 66 Cherry Street, Rahway.  They feature a variety of fine malt products and pub grub.   The Prez has authorized the treasury to release $300 for appetizers and beverage.  After that, or for dinner, you’re on your own.   The facility is accessible by NJ Transit from both the NE Corridor and NJ Coast lines.  Check out www.thewaitingroom.us and/or www.njtransit.com
The date for the BIG Beer Nite is Friday 1/19 at 7PM.  It’s held in the rustic ambiance of Luke’s garage.  Since Luke likes Belgian beers, were emphasizing that style this year but you won’t be thrown out for bringing a barleywine.  Should be comfy with the wood stove cranked.  No indoor plumbing = more fun.
December marked the annual Whales trek to the polls.  Both Prez and Leo ran uncontested for the offices of President and Treasurer respectively.  Our new Recording Secretary as of January ’07 will be Jody and Colin has volunteered to master the tabulations of the annual HBOY report.  A peaceful transition of power it was, with none of the bloodshed or tyranny associated with political upheaval.  
Treasurer’s report:  Uncle Leo says we still have $515.61 under the mattress.  There has been an influx of income with the new year and some expenses, which will be reflected in next month’s balance.  With the new calendar year, it’s time to pay dues for 2007.  Still just $36/year, a Whales meeting is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.   See Uncle Leo, our newly re-elected treasurer at your convenience. 
New White Lab vials poured in at an unprecedented rate (thanx Jody) at the meeting so Uncle Leo will have to give us a new definitive re-count.  Leo is registered with White Labs and he will figure out how to proceed from here with cashing in our vials for prizes.
The Prez has made an appeal to the members at large to make a presentation at a future meeting.  In the past, presentations have been about beer styles, ingredients, techniques or anything else of interest to the brew world.  See Luke to book a month for your presentation. 
The fermentation of the Whales Cider Barrel has subsided and we should be racking soon.  Rob will be picking up the apple brandy oak barrel from Laird’s in Scobeyville NJ and then participants will be notified via email the date/time for racking into secondary.
The final open house (for a few months) was held at High Point Brewing in Butler on December 9th.  Attended by no less than 5.5 Whales, the event featured owner Greg’s Winter Wheat, tours and all the pickled veggies you could manage.  Look for the Ramstein line of products at your local retailer and be sure to pick up his soon to be released “ice” version of the Winter (12%).
In the wake of the success of the Barrel Belgian Double, why not make a triple?  Under the auspices of Rob and KeithS, shares were sold at the meeting to participate in our most recent of barrel projects.  This all grain affair needs to get moving quickly to make the mid-February secondary racking deadline.  The plan; participants will ferment the wort in their own carboy, and then we’ll rack into an oak secondary for aging.  For interested parties, there will be Big Brew at Keith & Donna’s house in PIScataway on Saturday 12/30.  If you can’t make it, contact Rob (rbergmann03@comcast.net) to arrange a pickup of ingredients ASAP so you may brew on yer own.
The Flight:  Mike V’s Wit opened the show with Uncle Leo’s Golden Belgian not far behind.  Rob/Kristin brought their Wee Heavy which was made with the same wort as our Wee Whales-Heavyweight collaboration.  Leo poured his warming Braggot (Category 26B for the uninitiated), and we set ourselves up for a long winter’s nap with an 18-month-old barleywine from Brad/Jenn.
This being my last designated issue of the newsletter, I’d like to thank you for allowing me to expose my wares, so to speak.  In has been an insightful and invigorating two years, but alas, I wish to expend and extend my energies for other means such as maintenance of the AOL site, organizing trips and procuring speakers.  Good luck to Jody, who will be taking over the editor’s desk.   It has been a pleasure serving y’all.
Be well and brew well!
-Luke, Editor WHALES Official Newsletter.