Nonfungible Tripel

This grapefruity Belgian is a secure store of value.
  • Grain bill:  Pilsner, Carafoam, Acidulated malt
  • Hops:  Summit, Saaz, Mandarina Bavaria
  • Yeast:  Imperial B45 Gnome, Lallemand CBC-1
  • Secret Ingredients:  Belgian Golden Candi Syrup, Oro Blanco Grapefruit & zest
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Origin Story:

This one’s the confluence of two separate streams.

I don’t own this ape

If you’ve been living in the sensible world, maybe you don’t know what a Nonfungible Token is.  For a very short precis:  an NFT (for short) is a digital asset with an ownership record that’s stored on a blockchain.  Typically it is expressed as a “unique” piece of digital art—unique in the sense that there’s a base template with a finite number of characteristics, each with a finite number of variations.  Each NFT has a unique combination of these variations.  So the Bored Ape seen here—gold fur, olive background, beanie, diamond stud earring—is unique in having these characteristics—but it looks a whole lot like every other Bored Ape out there.

“Owning” an NFT means that you’ve paid in cryptocurrency for the blockchain to say that you own it.  You don’t own a physical piece of art—I can create an exact duplicate of it.  You don’t own the copyright—you can’t really make money off reproducing it.  There can be restrictions on reselling it.  If you navigate to that NFT Wikipedia page, you’ll see other headers on “Money Laundering”, “Environmental Concerns”, and “Ponzi Schemes”.

As of the time I’m writing this, the ownership of that ape up there is valued at $130k. 

There are those who would say this is all deeply stupid.

At any rate, as I was thinking about NFTs I thought it would be funny to brew a Nonfungible Tripel—a Tripel being a strong Belgian style.  I’ve been wanting to do a grapefruit beer—not a sweet pink grapefruit beer but something with the more bitter tang of an Oro Blanco—and it felt like this would complement the distinctive tang of a Belgian beer.  So I filed this idea away.

Measuring out Mandarina Bavaria hops at Smog City

The second stream was the Monster Brew organized by Pacific Gravity, my homebrew club, at Smog City Brewing this past May.  This was an opportunity to go into the works of the brewery as it mashed a production-sized quantity of wort in its equipment, and take an allotment of that wort to doctor it in whatever way we pleased. 

The recipe for the base wort was a Pilsner—Smog City’s Little Bo Pils to be precise—and club members planned to take it in a lot of different directions.  I decided that with 4 pounds of Candi sugar, a Belgian yeast, and 3 giant Oro Blancos it would make a great Tripel.

The day was a lot of fun, with one of my takeaways being how much brewing at scale felt like a big game of Myst or Riven—very steampunky, with a lot of pipes and conduits moving grain and liquid from one place to another subject to ensuring that you had turned all the valves to the right settings.  Except, very hard work as well.

Monster Brew Day at Smog City

The final product is great:  high alcohol with no burn, just that peculiar Belgian yeast character buttressed by the grapefruit zing.  I hazarded that I wouldn’t need to add any more hop bitterness to balance the additional alcohol because the combination of the grapefruit and the yeast would do enough on its own.  I think I was right. 

One of the myriad problems in the NFT community is the “sock puppet” transaction, in which the owner of the NFT purchases its from themselves via an alias to make it look like it’s in high demand, and hopefully spur a subsequent sale to a sucker.  So naturally, our label mascot is a sock puppet drawn with a certain street art abandon by minhtien303 from Vietnam.   He appears to have the same tracheal challenges as our dear friend Cookie Monster.

Music Pairing:

If you are a real scholar of the history and development of rock music, you’re going to have a soft spot for the music of the Fall, in all of its weird, sputtering glory.

If the Fall is your favorite band, there’s something deeply wrong with you.

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