Friday, February 24, 2012

Pliny the Elder Review

Pliny the Elder Bottle
In a recent beer trade conducted over with rlhvegas of No Limit Brewing out of Las Vegas, Nevada, I acquired myself a bottle of Russian River Brewing Company's Pliny the Elder!!!  This American Double IPA is considered to be the best of the best!  Take it for what it's worth, Pliny the Elder has a score of 100 out of 100 on with over 2,570 reviews.  I have wanted to try this beer ever since I first heard about it.  Three and half years later I finally have obtained myself a bottle of the highly sought after Pliny the Elder.  Again, thank you rlhvegas for contacting me.  First brewed in 1999 by Russian River Brewing Co. of Santa Rosa, California, Pliny the Elder is brewed in small batches and is supposed to be drank fresh.  Highly hoppy beers do not store well.  The hop aroma and flavor diminish over time, thus the reason for the small batches.  With supply low and demand high, an urban legend originated around this beer.  It was not until 2004 until Russian River starting brewing Pliny the Elder year round, and in 2012 I finally get to taste the legend! 

Famous Label Close-up
According to Russian River Brewing Co., Pliny the Elder "is brewed with Amarillo, Centennial, CTZ, and Simcoe hops. It is well-balanced with malt, hops, and alcohol, slightly bitter with a fresh hop aroma of floral, citrus, and pine. Best enjoyed FRESH! That is why we make it in such limited supply. Actual bottling date is printed on each bottle!" Russian River Brew Co.
The bottle I received was bottled on 07/11/11.

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA
Original Gravity: 1.070
Alcohol by Volume: 8.0%
Color: Copper
Bitterness:  High
Malts: 2-Row, Crystal 45, Carapils 
Hops: Amarillo, Centennial, CTZ, and Simcoe

The name "Pliny the Elder" is a homage to the man, who created the botanical name or at least wrote about Lupus Salictarius, or hops, currently known as Humulus Lupulus back in the first century A.D. That was a very early reference to an important part of any Double IPA!

Appearance:  It pours cloudy with a good 1/4" of white head.  Bubbles are noticeable and has great carbonation.  It is also showing signs of good head retention and lacing.
Pliny in a snifter glass
Pliny close up
Smell:  Upfront there is a mild smell of grapefruit, citrusy, lemon, followed by a huge dose of piney, earthy, hops.  Aroma is all hops, and I'm not getting any malt notes in my nose. 

Taste: Is similar to the smell with earthy, piney, little alcohol, no fruitiness in taste.  It is all hop flavor, with a nice maltiness for a backbone. It is very balanced and is very drinkable!

Mouthfeel: The hop flavor lingers on the tongue.  Finishes dry, and is very smooth and balanced!  Carbonation is nearly perfect that pairs well with the medium body.

Overall: One bottle was just not enough! A very excellent beer worth of one making a trip out to Santa Rosa to get it fresh straight from the brewery!  It was a treat to finally get to cross this off my list of beers to drink! 

After waiting for so long to try this beer, I had high hopes and let me say it was everything I had wished for and more! There is a reason this beer is considered to be the best of the best, the king of kings, the crème de la crème and that is because it is a phenomenal beer!!! I just hope it isn't another 4 years until my next encounter with this legend.