Pliny The Elder by Russian River brewing is an 8% ABV World Class Double India Pale Ale.
Bottled on 11/12/2014
RESPECT YOUR ELDER: KEEP COLD, DRINK FRESH DO NOT AGE! PLINY THE ELDER IS A HISTORICAL FIGURE, DONT’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! DOES NOT IMPROVE WITH AGE! HOPPY BEERS ARE NOT MEANT TO BE AGED! KEEP AWAY FROM HEAT!
Pliny the Elder, born in 23 A.D., was a Roman naturalist, scholar, historian, traveler, officer, and writer. Pliny, and his contemporaries, created the original botanical name for hops, “Lupus Salictarius,” meaning “world among scrubs.” Hop vines at that time, grew wild among willows. Pliny the Elder died in 79 A.D. while saving people during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. He was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who continued his uncle’s legacy by documenting much of what his uncle experienced during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. This beer is a homage to the man who discovered hops and perished while being a humanitarian.
Unlike many of the Russian River Brewing Company beers which are ageable, the beer inside this bottle is meant to be consumed fresh. Keep Pliny the Elder refrigerated and consume fresh to experience the explosive hop character.
It has been at least 2 years since I first tried Pliny the Elder. Back then this beer was a little easier to get. Today, it is pretty seldom if you can really find this one. If there are places that have this one, they get so little of them that they sell out within the first couple of hours. So I thought to myself, after trying so many IPAs for so many years, including the so called Pliny killers like Heady Topper and Power Plant from El Segundo, what makes this beer as well as Pliny the Younger, so legendary. Well, the story really has to be that this beer was one of the original inventions of the Double India Pale Ale Style. This beer is what started a lot of the hop craze of adding more and more hops to a beer to make it a hop supreme beer. With the evolution of hops and methods of growing them to have different flavor varieties like more citrus, more tropical notes, this is what I think really changed the way people like their IPAs. While I respect this beer and would one day like to try the younger, it seems that today, this beer may be going the way side due the more variety of IPAs and Double IPAs with a variety of hop profiles. Nevertheless, this is really what started it all and I think is the reason why the hop heads truly enjoy this one at the freshest possible. At least I tried to do the review as fresh as I could get it due to its limited availability. Without further ado, here is the review and thanks for reading. Cheers!
2012 First public review by me:
Rich Grassy Grapefruit, floral, herbal, citrus and piney hops, Cannabis, Oregano, Italian herbs, blue basil, honey on biscuit bread, rye bread, super dank garlic and onion notes, tropical fruits like pineapple, honey dew melon, lychee, passion fruit, dragon fruit, stone fruit peaches, cherries, plum hints, hop oils, lemon and orange peels, vanilla, caramel and tangerines.
Rich Grassy, floral, Piney, citrus, grassy, herbal and grapefruit hops, basil, super garlicy and rich oniony dank herbs, Oregano, tropical pineapple, honey dew melon, papaya, prickly pear, strawberry, mango hints, dragon fruit, lychee, passion fruit, stone fruit apricot, peaches, cherries, fig notes, plum hints, cannabis or dank Italian spices, lemon peel, orange peel, biscuit bread, vanilla, caramel, tangerines, hop oils, forest pine needles, honey and rye bread.
Super hoppy grassy herbal yet fruity, malty and tropical underlining sweetness but mainly super hopped dry to oblivion lingers on the tongue. No alcohol in the taste, clear gold body, smooth, crisp and refreshing mouthfeel, almost easy to drink.
A hop heads dream. Really, if you love super well balanced and refreshing Double IPA with lots of grassy and herbal hops, then this is the definition of its style. There is a reason people like it so much and despite the fact that I still think that it may be too hyped and I cringe at those that drain pour just because the beer is not “fresh” enough. Beer like this should be respected at least but not hyped. Take this one for what the origins stood for but not because it is the best out there. Does this one get beaten by the upcoming El Segundo Power Plant Triple IPA? Yes but only because that one is a different monster all together. Heady Topper is more on the citrus absolutes for its world class. We have to choose absolute tropics or absolute herbal hop dankness or absolute citrus or a massive variety. While I love all the variety, I love sweet beers so I feel I get more from the tropical fruit IPAs. Not to say this isn’t World Class. It truly is. Is it the best Double IPA? Not quite, but you have to give it respect where it belongs as this is one of the few that started the Double IPA style. I highly recommend it, even if it is elusive as all hell, and I hope to someday try Pliny The Younger.
Ryoko and Washuu Hakubi from the Tenchi Muyo series were used in this pairing since I had used Ryoko before for Pliny the Elder. Washu will someday be used for the Younger although the funny part is that Ryoko is the daughter and Washu is the mother even if she looks younger. Conundrum yes, but if you knew about Washu, she is 20,000 years old. Either way, you can see the colors pair up well with the artwork and the label. Ryoko’s light teal hair color represents the super hops but as well as the whole aspect of the ‘Elder’. Ryoko is young but I love how she sits contemplating or wondering. Like an elder thinking about the future or just simply day dreaming like a kid. Regardless, this beer is the kind that you take your time with and relax. You may not have another chance to try it, so might as well enjoy it since you can’t age it either.