At the beginning of the year Seattle’s Elysian Brewing announced a unique series of “apocalypse beers” to be released each month on the 21st leading up to December 21st—the end of the Mayan long count calendar and long heralded as the end of the world by that reckoning (the so-called “Mayan Apocalypse”). In addition, this series is also a collaboration with Fantagraphics Books to produce the label art, taken from Charles Burns’ work “Black Hole.”
The first beer in this series is Nibiru, a Belgian-style Tripel brewed with yerba maté, and “named for the mysterious planet X supposedly on a collision course toward Earth”. Yerba maté is a native South American plant used for a popular tea-like beverage that contains caffeine.
The beer is 7.6% alcohol by volume, which seems a little low for a Tripel, but combined with the maté it could pack a bit of a punch.
Appearance: Crystal clear, golden color, champagne-like effervescence feeding a fluffy white head that has the consistency of beaten egg whites.
Smell: Sweet and slightly sugary nose with a touch of Belgian yeast phenols and an herbal, almost smoky contribution (from the maté I assume).
Taste: Herbal and smoky character right up front, most interesting! A touch of that phenolic yeast character present in the aroma comes out as it warms up. It has the clean sugary sweetness of a Tripel at the front of the tongue and dries out nicely at the back.
Mouthfeel: A bit thin, lighter than medium-bodied, well attenuated, clean with a dry, smoky character in the aftertaste.
Overall: Really nice, with a different yet tasty profile. A bit understrength for a Tripel but I’m really digging the herbal smokiness it has.