2012 November Meeting #169

The November 2012 WHALES Brew Club meeting was attended by 27 members and 2 guests.


Nov 3/4th – Despite the storm, there was a good turn out for this year's Ciderdays.
Gary, Luke, David Colin, Dustin, Brad, Jen and Bobby all attended.

The committee met at The Office in Bridgewater for November's meeting. Reviewed the final
draft of bylaws. These were emailed out to membership for comments and review. We will ask for you to vote them in
at the December meeting.

2013 Leadership – We’ve been reminding everyone that nominations are currently being taken
for all positions. Current nominations include:

>> President: Frank W.
>> Secretary: Bobby M.
>> Treasurer: Jay Desimone
>> Steering spots:
>> Gary W.
>> Keith Story
>> Craig Easton
>> Brad Jones
>>Joe Jannuzzi Jr.
>> Jay Buchanan (new nomination)

Since all of the officer spots are uncontested, the only elections will be for the 4 member at large committee spots.

NHC 2013

We continued brainstorming ideas for how to get started with the planning. One thing I’d like
to encourage right away is that you get onto the website forum and start talking about it again.
There are a few threads already set up for some topics but feel free to start your own.

If you’re not really sure how to contribute, the most practical thing to do is set yourself a
brewing schedule for the next few months and stick to it. Keep in mind that the first round
of the competition portion is usually in February. In order to get really excited at the awards
dinner is to have a dog in the hunt. That can’t happen if you don’t enter in February. We have
a thread called NHC competition registry that I encourage people to post to as they know their
first round entry plans. This will make it possible for other members to potentially brew styles
that are not currently being addressed. We don’t HAVE to spread out the styles but we certainly
have a better chance of placing in the final round if we brew into less popular categories and
don’t compete against each other too heavily.

Maybe you don’t like having your beer evaluated and cut down by the judges. That’s OK, make
something to serve at the hospitality suite or club night and let your peers judge you. Brad
Jones has volunteers to lead the effort of coordinating what is going to be poured at the events.
This includes working out the selection process for which beers are actually going to be poured
either by a judging process or a sub-par weed out type thing. It would help to start a thread for
a styles registry for this pool of beers as well. We talked about members volunteering to loan
out kegs to brewers who normally only bottle their beer if they want to contribute to pouring. If
you have more kegs than you need at the moment, you can put your name on it and offer it up
for loan specifically for NHC pouring.

Just rembmer that the one thing you can’t do in June is realize the conference is only two
weeks away and brew a just in time beer to pour at club night.

Holiday Party: The Holiday Party location and date has been voted on and thanks to new member Don Cusmano we are able to get the Italian-American club in Rahway for signifigantly less than other venues. The party will be January 12th 2013.


Bourbon RIS: Craig Easton is still caring for the second batch of the RIS.

JD’s Sour BDS – Brewed July 29th, Racked to barrel, now we wait.

Iron Brewer –judging of the Iron Brewer beers at Love2Brew on Saturday, December 1st, at
10:00am.For each entry we will need a minimum of 36 ounces (three 12 oz., two 22 oz. bottles,
a half gallon growler, etc.) of their brew for judging.Please be ready to provide us with a BJCP
base style for your beer, which special ingredients you used, plus and any other relevant brewing
details that you think we should be aware of to better understand the flavors in the beer.

Bobby’s Lambic Solera was brewed on Sept 1st. First exchange team will be identified for late
Spring brewing.

Oct. 27s Keystone Barrel Championship Montgomeryville, PA. The club covered the cost of this
project because the result is going to judged against all the other participating clubs. Many folks
showed up to help out and despite some crazy equipment issues, we got wort into the fermenter.
We essentially tried to clone Carton’s Malus though we never quite decided on spicing (so we
didn’t). We also had to sub in Crystal 120 for Cara-aroma due to a Keystone mixup. This project
did contain 15 gallons of Delicious Orchard cider that was generously donated. Gary spent the
time boiling it down to a syrup for us even though he couldn’t make the brew. We fermented
it in stainless and Gary drove to Keystone this past Saturday to rack it into the Lairds Apple
Brandy barrel for the long term aging. He brought a sample to try tonight though keep in mind it
is extremely young.

Nov 10th – Big Brew and Community Mash project. This was another interesting idea to get
the club to brew together for some greater purpose other than individual batches and the interest
level was high. Unfortunately the storm put a damper on some of the commitments as well.
Even so, we had 8 brewers and made a big community mash for a total finished batch size of 55
gallons. We used a base of mostly Maris Otter, with some wheat and munich added for color and
complexity. The individual brewers took the runnings and then ran with it. We’ve heard some
Stouts, Browns, IPA, etc. Variations were made with steeping grains in the kettles and of course
different hopping and fermentation schedules. We’ll probably be looking to taste these side by
side at the holiday party. One great thing that came out of this project is that we’re sure the mash
tun issue we had at Keystone is solved and ready for the next club project.


The Boyle Brothers stole the show again this year with a whopping 62 points. Joe Jr came in a (very) distant second with 14.

Pumpkin Beer Shootout Tasting Exercise

The idea behind this tasting is that pumpkin beers fall into one of those love em or hate em
styles. People who don’t like them will usually complain about them being too sweet or
overspiced. Those that do like them probably already know what their favorites are. Basically
what we’re going to do is taste six different randomly available pumpkin beers and do it blind
with no brand recognition. I’d like you all to jot down some notes about each one and we’ll take
an informal survey right after we taste. Note which ones are too spicy. Note which ones are too
sweet. Which is your favorite? Which is the worst? Given this tasting, which of you previously
wouldn’t buy a six pack of pumpkin beer but would now reconsider?

2008 December Courier News Article

Home-brewing groups enjoy beer in the company of friends

whalescouriernews_20081204_1551153209By LOIS HEYMAN • Staff Writer • December 2, 2008

Most people who like to drink beer think it's more fun to drink it with a group of people.

Members of home-brewing clubs, such as the Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale and Lager Enthusiast Society, better known as WHALES, think it's even more fun to make their beer with a group of people and then share it with each other.

Read more: 2008 December Courier News Article

The Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale and Lager Enthusiast Society
Winners of the 2015 AHA Gambrinus Club Award


The WHALES is an AHA registered homebrewing club based out of Central New Jersey that has been active since 1996. We have around 50-60 members in any given year.  Despite the beer-centric name, the club is also equally involved in the production of mead (fermented honey), ciders and wines. The club promotes an ongoing education of various brewing techniques through brewer presentations (both peer members and professional brewers alike). Membership is also encouraged to develop their palettes through regular tastings of home brewed and commercial examples of all the BJCP recognized styles.  Many of our members regularly enter AHA sanctioned brewing competitions and have won many medals, including two gold’s at the AHA National Homebrew Competition.  While most of the activities are geared towards promoting and growing the home  brewing hobby, it remains a great social network for folks who share at least one passion; taking a hands-on approach to the beverages we love.

JJ Bitting Brewpub LogoJJ Bittings brewpub (Main Street) in Woodbridge, NJ has been the WHALES home base and meeting location since 1997. We are grateful to have such generous hosts. Regular club meetings occur the 3rd Tuesday night of every month at 8pm. Depending on the agenda and the number tastings we do, most members filter out by 10:30pm. Official business usually takes a half hour or so.

Bobby accepting the Gambrinus Club Award - June 13, 2015

WHALES member Bobby Mierzejwski accepts the Gambrinus Club Award from AHA representitives Janis Gross & Gary Glass

The club also meets for club projects at various members’ homes.

Membership consists of people from all walks of life, all ages (21+ of course), and many areas of professional expertise. We’re happy to say that we also have a handful of BJCP certified judges in our midst.

At the 2015 AHA National Homebrewers Conference in San Diego, CA, the WHALES won the Gambrinus Club Award.  “The American Homebrewers Association is thrilled to declare that the WHALES has some of the most skilled homebrewers of any club in the world,” said Janis Gross, director, National Homebrew Competition.” They earned the Gambrinus Club Award by beating out hundreds of outstanding clubs in the final round of the National Homebrew Competition—the world’s largest and most prestigious homebrew competition—and that’s an extraordinary achievement.”

The WHALES encourage you to please enjoy homebrew responsibly. For more information about alcohol consumption, please visit the CDC website.

If you'd like more info about the club, don't hesitate to contact us.