Russian River Pliny The Elder


  • Brewery: Russian River
  • Country: USA
  • Style: Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 8%
  • Size: 500 ml
  • Bought from: Cracked Kettle, Holland
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

    Today it’s time to test one of the most famous beers on the planet. Russian River’s Pliny The Elder is a massive Imperial IPA, that is currently rated as the 2nd best Imperial IPA (4th overall) at BeerAdvocate and 3rd best Imperial IPA (19th overall) at RateBeer. Expectations are of course very high, but I am also prepared for a slight disappointment, as the beer has first had a rough travel across the Atlantic, and then another one from Holland to Finland. The beer was bottled on the 29th of June, so it is about 1 and a half month old now, and thus quite fresh (which according to the brewer is very important for the beer). Russian River write the following on the label: ‘Does not improve with age! Hoppy beers are not meant to be aged! Keep away from heat! Respect your elder: keep cold, drink fresh, do not age! Pliny the Elder is a Historical figure, don’t make the beer inside this bottle one! Not a barley wine, do not age! Age your cheese, not your Pliny! Respect hops, consume fresh! If you must, sit on eggs, not on Pliny! Do not save for a rainy day! Pliny is for savoring, not for saving! Consume Pliny fresh, or not at all!’. There is no information on the malts and hops used on the bottle or on Russian River’s website, but Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River has given out a recipe to homebrewers, which includes 2-row, Crystal and Carapils Malt, dextrose, and CTZ (Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus), Simcoe and Centennial hops. The homebrew recipe has an IBU of around 100, but I can’t say if this applies to the real thing. Let’s try it out!

    [easyreview title=”Russian River Pliny The Elder” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer has a golden color, and is just slighty hazy. A slight white-colored head is formed during pour, that quickly collapses, leaving nice lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is full of resiny, citrusy, and floral hop tones, lending hints of pine, grapefruit, and peach. Really lovely aroma.” cat2rating=”5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The taste is also hop dominated, with tones of resin, pine, grapefruit, peach, and grass, that explode in your mouth with each sip. Behind all of this there is a light malt background, which lends a slight sweetness to the beer. The hoppy tones end in a fairly dry finish together with a medium bitterness, that tingles the tongue nicely. Hop lovers will definitely enjoy this one.” cat3rating=”5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a smooth medium body and a moderate carbonation level, making it easy to drink, despite the large amount of bitterness. Maybe just a bit too dry of a finish to get full points in this category from me.” cat4rating=”4.5″ summary=”Wow, this actually was a really good Imperial IPA, full-packed with huge amounts of hops. The appearance was very good, the aroma was lovely, the flavour was lovely, and the mouthfeel was very good, which together makes this one of the best, if not the best, beer that I’ve ever had. If you have a chance definitely try it out.”]

    Edit: Had another bottle the following day (this one was 2 weeks fresher (bottled 11.07.2011)), and must say the aroma and flavour was even better!

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