Russian River – Pliny the Elder

Pliny the Elder by Russian River

© 2015 popsonhops

Pliny the Elder

Tasting: April 20, 2011
Style: Double IPA

Okay, so Pliny the Elder is supposed to be the nectar from the beer geek’s holy grail. I guess if I’m going to write a beer blog it wouldn’t be complete without commentary on the apex of the beer world. However, bottles of Pliny the Elder aren’t available outside of California. I discovered that only kegs make it to bars in the Philadelphia area. As you may know, I’m obsessed with the hard to get – and this roadblock does nothing but stir that obsession. Thankfully, there are people in California that are happy to sell a $6 bottle of beer on EBAY for $20. So, put me down for two bottles and toss in a bottle of Russian River’s Blind Pig.

I’m concerned that a few well-placed reviews from the right people and everyone thinks they should gush on about Pliny the Elder as much as the next geek. On the other hand, maybe it could just be that this is an outstanding beer. I’m usually pessimistic — so, I think I have the right attitude going into this tasting.

The pour is lightish yellowy orange. Large bubbles at first that vanish into a nearly still brew. It’s thin creamy head dissipates and leaves its mark on the glass as I drink this beer. The nose gives me tart pineapple and pine. My first impression is positive. I think the malt is a little too subtle for my liking but the mouthfeel is beautiful and the hops are a crazy combination of perfection. The bitterness jumps all over your tongue. I get floral, lemongrass and the pineapple/pine hops that last just long enough without destroying my taste buds. It is simply an elegant ale.

On my initial introduction to Pliny the Elder, I’d say worthy of a 94. But, I don’t know what got into my head, but for some reason I wanted to put this in a side by side tasting with other beer to see how it compared. I had a Bell’s Hopslam (96 points) handy and my wife was already having a Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale (88 points) — so after I finished about 300 ml of the 500 ml Pliny bottle, I tried a little of each. I don’t know if I have to lower my thoughts on the two offerings from Bell’s or join the ranks of those that worship Pliny. The Pliny was just head and shoulders better than both offerings. I think if I lined up 50 beers, I’d pick this one over and over.

With that being said, add me to the list…I really like it…has to be 97 points for me.

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