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Russian River – Pliny the Elder

Imperial IPA • 8 % ABV • Santa Rosa, California, USA

From one big beer and onto something bigger.

I first heard about my next beer during a beer tasting session in Brewdog, Cardiff a few years back. It was described as a highly sought brew. Produced in limited quantities and sold in extremely limited numbers to the public.
You can imagine my surprise when my brother-in-law was able to source a bottle or two ready for the festive period.

Today, I give you Pliny the Elder by Russian River.
Brewed with Amarillo, Centennial, CTZ* and Simcoe hops as well as over 40% additional malts compared with their original IPA.
Pliny the Elder is described as a well-balanced beer which mixes the malts, hops and alcohol. Slightly bitter with a the fresh hop aroma of floral, citrus and pine.
The bottle and the website are plastered with notes to enjoy this as FRESH as humanly possible. Pliny is not a beer that requires or desires ageing.
As a result, each bottle has the production date. Ours was listed as 11/11/2016.
Cap popping time.

Following the hiss of the cap, the glass was filled a pale straw to straw beer and was perfectly clear. A lively white head formed of small white bubbles which, lasted for some time after pouring.
There was a balanced aroma of candy like sweetness, citrus and herbal hops as well as a malt graininess at the back.
The flavour was hop forward which unusually kicked in with a bitterness that was present from the beginning and continued till the end of the first mouthful.
The hops offered citrus to begin with but as it warmed up, started delivering more tropical fruit flavours. The malts pass on their sweetness and I’m sure I was picking up a fruity alcohol ester in there.
A smooth yet medium bodied beer with an alcohol warmth and a moderate carbonation which adds a little chewiness with all those tiny bubbles.

Pliny the Elder is one of the first beers I’ve had where the bitterness has the ability to last from beginning to end whilst still balancing with the hops and the malts.
A great Imperial IPA that really does live up to the hype surrounding it though I don’t think it will be long until the likes of Cloudwater come up with something equally as special in their DIPA range.
Those are some tasty beers!

(*) CTZ hops are a way of describing a range of interchangeable hops and not a blend of three types. This includes Columbus, Tomahawk and Zeus – Hence the CTZ name

If you have had an opportunity to try a bottle, then visit @biertaster and let me know what you thought of Pliny the Elder.

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