Sunday, June 17, 2012

Russian River – Pliny the Elder

I have wanted to try Pliny the Elder (8% ABV and HIGH IBU) for sometime now because Pliny is regarded as the best Double IPA produced today.  When I saw a bottle of Pliny at the local store, I immediately grabbed a bottle.  I had only seen it once before and regretted not purchasing a bottle then.  Vinnie Cilurzro and his wife Natalie bought the NorCal brewery when Korbel offered to sell it to them.  Vinnie Cilurzo is considered one of the best brewers in the country and there is limited distribution of Russian River to the West Coast, Colorado and Philadelphia. Pliny the Elder is distributed in 500 ml bottles.  Note - this beer and this style is not to be stored / aged.  It should be consumed soon after bottling the bottle I purchased had a bottled on date of 31 May.

American Double / Imperial IPA - – BeerAdvocate

Appearance – A straw / copper color that is clear with a fluffy two – three finger head poured into a New Belgium globe glass.
Aroma – This is a very aromatic beer with floral, citrus, and perhaps a hint of pine.
Taste – Wow – I was expecting a hop bomb, but this is not the case.  The hops are present, but the beer is very nicely balanced and this is one smooth beer for the amount of hops and the ABV.
OverallA+ - Pliny the Elder is a really great Double IPA.  I can understand why it is touted as being the best of style.  It is the highest rated Double IPA on the Beer Advocate site.  I paid $5.49 for the 500 ml bottle and it is worth every penny.  I will purchase it again, the next time I see it.  Try it, if you get the opportunity.  Try other Russian River beers too - I will.
Website description  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!

Where did we come up with this name? Back in the year 2000, our friend, Vic Kralj, who owns the Bistro in Hayward, California, decided to have his first ever Double IPA festival. Vic invited 10 breweries, 6 of whom (including us) had to brew something special for him since we had nothing that would fall under this style category. Vinnie had made a Double IPA at Blind Pig in 1994, but was not brewing one at Russian River Brewing at the time. He had an idea for the recipe, but not a name. After much research in beer books, brainstorming, and deliberation, we came up with "Pliny the Elder". Pliny, the man, lived in the first century- 23 to 79 A.D. According to our brewing references, he and his contemporaries either created the botanical name or at least wrote about Lupus Salictarius, or hops, currently known as Humulus Lupulus. That was a very early reference to an important part of any Double IPA! Pliny the beer has now become one of our flagship brews!

Pliny the Elder was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who wrote about his uncle succumbing to ash and smoke during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. while rescuing people. Cheers to the scholar, historian, officer, writer, and Roman Naturalist- Pliny the Elder!

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