Style: Single Malt and Single Hop American Tripel
Malt: Pilsner Malt
Hops: Styrian Goldings
Adjuncts: Indian Coriander and Orange Peel
Brewer’s Note: “I wanted to brew a SMASH beer. Homebrewers will know the term, it stands for: Single Malt and Single Hop. Pretty much as bare-bones as you can get when brewing. It makes sense right? If a famine were to fall on us tomorrow, it’s reasonable to think that you’d have to make the most out of very little resources… Famine is a SMASH Belgian Style Tripel. I chose this style because it’s one where the yeast does most of the legwork, so the malt and hops selections aren’t at the forefront. I also happen to love tripels, and belgians (shock of the year right there, huh?). This beer only employs continental pilsner malt and stryian goldings hops. I did however also spice it up a little bit with some coriander and orange peel… which you can consider cheating, but hey shut up.”
I really love the labels that Backlash is putting out for their beer’s of the Apocalypse Series. The simple black and white coloring displaying the beautifully creepy graphite/coal drawings are perfect, and handish written text is simple yet catchy. I love how the confusing text is thrown on the sides of the bottle, and I love how the Famine skeleton is holding a scale, riding a horse, and chilling with a buzzard. This label is worthy of the shelf for sure, and will look beautiful alongside its brothers in the Apocalypse Series.
The beer pours a beautiful cloudy orange yellow with a good stream of carbonation bubbles bumping to the top of the beer. The head is small white, and pretty much nonexistent, though the carbonation bubbles are constantly moving towards the top of the glass. The beer’s body is properly cloudy, especially since I followed the labels instructions and rolled the bottle gently to re-suspend the yeast. There are, however, no fat particles floating in the beer, which is interesting given its cloudy nature, and a lot of light is able to make it out of the beer from the other side of the glass. I just wish I could get a little more of a head off of this beer. On the nose, this beer is pungent from the moment the bottle cap pops. Big bready and banana Belgian yeast notes waft from the glass no matter where you place it in the room, and these scents explode into your nose when it hovers above the glass. Slight grassy hay notes can be detected from the Goldings hop, and just a touch of sweet malt from the pilsner, but overall this smell is big with the yeast, and that is fine with me. On the tongue, the beer tastes sweet with just a touch of salty yeast, and a lovely bitter touch on the back of the palate. The beer begins sharp and a little grassy before opening into unripe banana, light bread, and some great grassy bitters. The finish is strong with grass, while the aftertaste holds onto the yeast, propagating first banana, but then a more bready character as the flavor slowly fades.
On the mouth, the beer is fierce with carbonation, but light-medium, and nicely drinkable. As the beer warms, the sharper flavors dissipate, and the tongue is left with smooth and riper banana flavors with touches of yeasty bread and even pineapple and light pear esters. As it warms, the coriander and orange peel also begin to be discernible from the other flavors of the beer, and provide a nice mellow spice blanket for the tongue. Overall, I like this beer and I love the concept of a single malt single hop beer, as it really shows the complexity of simplicity in beer making. Personally, I prefer this beer closer to room temperature, as it is far mellower and nicer on the mouth, but I am again impressed with Backlash, and really must try their regular offerings. I’d like to note that I disagree with Beer Advocate defining this beer as a Belgian Pale Ale. I understand the whole argument that there are no tripels and no quads, just strong pales and strong darks, but this beer is clearly labeled as a tripel, and thus the brewer believes it is a tripel, and it should be judged as a tripel… Anyways, you should try this beer, just warm it up first.