Pliny The Elder by Russian River brewing

10613019_10102215477592110_8158321729544721987_n 1377165_10102215478021250_1102839244706750400_nRating: 5.2/5 (Date of Tasting: 11/29/2014)

Pliny The Elder by Russian River brewing is an 8% ABV World Class Double India Pale Ale.

Label:
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.

==Introduction==

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:
https://brewerianimelogs.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/pliny-the-elder-by-russian-river/

Aromas:
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.

Flavors:
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.

Aftertaste:
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.

Overall:
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.

Anime Corner:
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.

Sources:
http://www.homemademech.com/Uploads/Areview/1501085314817.jpg
http://objection06.deviantart.com/art/Washu-and-Ryoko-472156179

(Double Review: Battle of The IPAs) 2014 Heady Topper by Alchemist Brewing VS. 2014 Power Plant Triple IPA by El Segundo Brewing

10632614_10102104099779140_7752673200776729490_nThe battle of the best India Pale Ales in the world can only be foreseen by the biggest hop heads and many will always come to disagreements. Others will just drink as fresh as possible while others won’t drink nothing else BUT IPAs and those with an open palate to be a little more considerate will take a step back and try to figure out, which is the best as objective as possible. While not many will come to an agreement, we all have to remember, hops aren’t everything. They are vital to a beers bitterness but as the origination of the IPA would say, it was mainly used as a natural preservative for long voyages in the old days. Today’s hop variety has made it possible to make them super complex and this is why I think a lot of people really love hops. I can’t really hate as a part of me really likes IPAs but I refuse to pour any “unfresh” ones (Barleywine anyone?) nor do I accept that the best beer in the world happens to be an IPA. I agree with my friend Richard on this one since as he put it, “how can an IPA beat centuries of brewing especially from monks in Belgium who have perfected these brewing arts”. That and the fact stands I lean toward heavier beers but enjoy all beer styles. Either way, I bring you forth a challenge review today. The up and coming champion or “Pliny Younger Killer”, El Segundo’s Power Plant Triple IPA and “East Coast’s Response to Pliny a.k.a beer advocates Best Beer in the World”, Alchemy’s Heady Topper. Why did I decide to do it like this? Well, for those that wonder, both beers are very fresh, one bottle released 9/27/2014 and the can 9/22/2014. I really wanted to see what the hype was all about. Don’t get me wrong, both are freaking epic beers and I have reviewed both in the past but a chance like this, you don’t ever really get. That and the fact that I really believe Power Plant can destroy the Younger. That and I would like to see, if this new up and coming favorite can really stand up to the monster that is Heady Topper. So here we go, cheers and hope you enjoy my double review…

Alchemist Heady Topper Review*
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2014 Heady Topper by Alchemist brewing is a an 8% ABV World Class Double India Pale Ale. Now considered the Best Beer In the World By Beer Advocate.

Label:
From the CAN: “DRINK FROM THE CAN! [x3 for added emphasis]“; “Heady Topper is an Ameri[CAN] Double India Pale Ale. This beer is not intended to be the biggest or most bitter. It is meant to give you wave after wave of hoppy goodness on your palate. Tremendous amounts of Ameri[CAN] hops will creep up on you and leave you with a dense hoppy finish in your mouth. So drinkable, it’s scary. Sometimes I wish I could crawl right into the [CAN]. Freshness and control have always been my main concern[s] when it comes to our beer. We are committed to providing you with an unfiltered and unpasteurized hop experience. Why do I recommend that you drink it from the [CAN]? Quite simply, to ensure a delightful, [sic] hop experience. The act of pouring it in a glass smells nice, but it releases the essential hop aromas that we have worked so hard to retain. If you MUST pour it into a glass, you may find that some of the hop resins have settled to the bottom – leave them in the CAN when pouring. This beer is perishable, and at its best when it is young, fresh and hazy. Keep it cold, but not ice cold. Drink this beer immediately, we are always making more. [Undersigned] John Kimmich, The Alchemist, Waterbury, Vermont”; “Don’t be a D-Bag, recycle this [CAN]!”.
___

Aromas:
Honey dew melon, biscuit bread, oranges, grassy, piney, citrus, flowers, guava, citrus, oranges, tangerine candy, mango, prickly pear, hazelnut hints, sweet grapes, stone fruit peaches, apricot, guava, dragon fruit, passion fruit, dank hints, vanilla and caramel.

Flavors:
Honey Dew Melon, Cantaloupe, Grassy, piney, citrus, biscuit bread, vanilla, mango, oranges, prickly pear, hazelnut hints, sweet grape, stone fruit peach, apricot, guava, dragon fruit, passion fruit hints, flowers, kiwi, pine apple, sugar cane, biscuit bread, Mandarin candy, apples, herbs, dank garlicky onion hints but subdued by more oranges and honey.

Aftertaste:
Lots of orange, biscuit bread, tangerine, caramel, vanilla, grapefruit hops, piney, grassy and herbal hops. No alcohol in the taste, easy to drink despite the ABV, medium mouthfeel, hazy body, crisp and refreshing.

Overall:
Supremely Perfect IPA. You pretty much get everything in terms of every range of IPA but mainly on the orangey side. A perfect balanced blend of all the IPA ranges in one. Complex range of tropical, hoppy notes and rich oranges go all over the place. The difference in the can and the glass is mainly with the balance. It is way better in the can as the less air does not allow the flavors to dissipate but when poured into a glass, the orangey side tends to be more pronounced for sure. Either way you have it is fine. The best IPA in the world, why wouldn’t I recommend this? Find it and Find it fresh or just find it either way, you can’t go wrong.

Anime Corner:
Shiryuu Chou-un from Ikkitousen/Battle Vixens makes a return from the last time I reviewed Heady Topper. The original premise of using her for heady topper had to do with the silver label, the color and flavors of the beer pairing with Shiryuu’s hair, outfit as well as the bad assery with a sword. For being considered the World Class beer that Heady is, I really had to choose a true bad ass samurai girl from the series I watched long ago. Shiryuy usually keeps her eyes closed but in the sight of an epic bottle, her true beauty is shown and that is what represents the the rarity and awesomeness of the beer.

El Segundo Power Plant Review*
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10641032_10102104103217250_4028812065206472597_n
2014 Power Plant by El Segundo Brewing is an 11.3% ABV Triple India Pale Ale.

Label:
This behemoth of a “Triple” India Pale Ale gets a dose of Mosaic, Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo in the kettle and in the dry hop. Up front on the nose is straight fruit cocktail with such a complexity it is impossible to distinguish just one note. Monstrous, yet deceptive in the same breath. Don’t let this one sneak up on you, lest you’ll be #PowerPlanted.
___

Aromas:
Tropical fruits off the charts, grapefruit, honey dew melon, kiwi, guava, oranges, dragon fruit, passion fruit, papaya, mango, raspberries, cherries, pineapple, pears, lychee, biscuit bread, lemons, tangerine, apples, stone fruit peaches, apricots, piney, citrus, grapefruit, herbal and floral hops, sweetened condensed milk and flan hints.

Flavors:
Rich tropical fruits, grapefruit, pineapple, kiwi, oranges, mango, guava, honey dew melon, passion fruit, strawberry, papaya, apples, pears peaches, lychee fruit, sweetened condensed milk hints, biscuit bread, vanilla, caramel, lemon, orange gummy bears, tangerines, raspberries, cherries, honey, herbal notes and minor honey oniony dankness.

Aftertaste:
Rich Tropical fruits aftertaste with very nice grapefruit hop resin, biscuit and caramel. No alcohol in the taste. Very smooth, easy to drink, crisp and refreshing despite the high ABV.

Overall:
Just as extraordinary as the first one I brought home with me. The bottle bottle make version seems more awesome. This beer is really out there and really ridiculous. Balance is insane but tropics are supremely pronounced and super complex. This beer was released for a limited time during the LA craft beer week and they had plenty of bottles. I am unsure if they will have enough for distribution but for a beer that truly took everything I believed about IPAs and took me to another dimension of sweet tropical proportions, there is not damn reason why I would not recommend this to my highest of standards.

Anime Corner:
Ryuoko Matoi from Kill La Kill was the right pairing for this beer because I wanted to show that the height of power plant smokestacks (in this case a tower) represents the height of evil corporations (hype in the craft beer community) as well as how power plants pollute the earth and cause acid rain to fall (Beer Snobery). Ryuoko is there to represent this Triple IPA and to show that even at the height of all the IPA hype out there (Pliny the Younger, I am looking at you), one will stand up to it to bring it down. Like in Final Fantasy VII where Cloud Strife helped to take down the Mako power plants, Ryuoko would do the same and bring the level of “IPA Hype” away from the overly hyped brews and back into the roots of the local community microbreweries. YES! And this is why I chose this one.

Final Judgment:
It would basically be a tie if it wasn’t for the fact that it is almost like comparing apples and oranges. Speaking of apples and oranges, it really is easy to determine why one would prefer one over the other. I once described IPAs falling into 3 categories. Those that are tropical, those that are herbal and grassy and those that are caramel or more orangey like those that can harness all 3 into a perfect balance. Heady topper is a hybrid of all 3 when drinking from the can but more orangey and citrus from the glass while Power Plant is at the extreme end of awesome tropic Nirvana and yet still maintaining the balance of the 3. In this sense, It would only be fair to say that the winner of this battle is Power Plant!!!

This because of my personal preference and opinion on tropical IPAs, I love tropical IPAs. Nevertheless, to those that truly like IPAs to take them for a crazy ride, Heady Topper is no joke and reigns supreme. I can respect and love both beers. While Power Plant caresses the ultimate IPA sweet tooth, Heady Topper is there to remind you of an ultimate form of IPA. I have never tried Pliny the Younger, some day I will. Only then can I truly say if that can really topple these 2 beers. Until then, Both of these beers take the cake easily. Pliny the Younger, you met your match!! HELL YEAH!!

Sources:
http://en.tsundora.com/image/2014/09/ikkitousen_109.jpg
http://digwall.com/wallpaper/2014/09/629402-ryuko-matoi-kill-la-kill.jpg
http://konachan.com/post/show?md5=07600bde13b34835846d710088019553
http://waaaghork.deviantart.com/art/Ryuko-Matoi-408238193

Rating: 5.25/5* El Segundo Power Plant
Rating: 5/5* Alchemist Heady Topper

White Dog IPA by El Segundo Brewing of California

1234344_10101406244461790_1270308687_n 1016498_10101406244526660_109971997_nRating: 4.85/5

White Dog IPA by El Segundo Brewing of California is a 6.9% ABV India Pale Ale brewed with 50% wheat (Wheat India Pale Ale)

Label: 
Named for Rob’s dog, the White alludes to our use of 50% wheat instead of barley in this beer. Aside from that though, this beer has very little in common with what most people consider a “wheat” beer. The wheat in the malt bill gives the beer a lighter texture and mouthfeel, and helps to accentuate the bright citrus characters of the fruity West Coast and New Zealand hops we use. The result is an IPA that Hop Heads will love, but that is immediately approachable for most people.
___

Been meaning to get a review going for this beer. The first time I had tried it on tap at Jean Simmons Rock N’ Brews in Torrance California I was very amazed. This beer almost had that Heady Topper type of flavor. At the time the brewery in El Segundo had not released any bottles of this until recently. The last time I had had it was at their brewery which I still thought, freaking amazing IPA. To add wheat to make it somewhat of a hybrid wheat IPA is freaking amazing.

Aromas are of grassy, piney, grapefruit and tropical hops, orange juice, pineapple, coriander, mango, kiwi, lemon, dragon fruit, passion fruit notes, biscuit and caramel

The flavors are of sweet oranges, mango, pineapple, grapefruit, grassy, pine and tropical hops, biscuit bread hints, coriander, wheat bread, honey dew melon, dragon fruit notes, passion fruit notes, kiwi, caramel notes, honey nectar, and tangerines

After taste leaves off like an orange zest, hop bitterness and a bit of tropics. The beer is moderately easy to drink and quite the refreshing beer.

Overall, this is one of those IPA that if you love some nice hop tropical and somewhat dank type of IPAs, you are sure to like this one. Even people that do not like bitter IPAs, are welcomed slowly into this one. Nothing too bitter and pleasant for even the non-IPA drinker. Here is to you young Heady Topper in the making.

Heady Topper by The Alchemist

Rating: 5/5

Heady Topper by The Alchemist is a 8% ABV Double IPA. Considered to be the 2nd best IPA in the world right next to the Fabled, Russian River Pliny the Younger and 3rd best beer in the world overall. At one point it did held the record for the best beer in the world taking battle after battle between Westvleteren 12 and Pliny the Younger. Surprising as to why the best beers in the world are between Belgian Quads/Strongs and IPAs?? Well, maybe because those that do not spend the time to research and explore these types of treasures end up short to realize what truly awesome beer could be…

Label:
From the CAN: “DRINK FROM THE CAN! [x3 for added emphasis]”; “Heady Topper is an Ameri[CAN] Double India Pale Ale. This beer is not intended to be the biggest or most bitter. It is meant to give you wave after wave of hoppy goodness on your palate. Tremendous amounts of Ameri[CAN] hops will creep up on you and leave you with a dense hoppy finish in your mouth. So drinkable, it’s scary. Sometimes I wish I could crawl right into the [CAN]. Freshness and control have always been my main concern[s] when it comes to our beer. We are committed to providing you with an unfiltered and unpasteurized hop experience. Why do I recommend that you drink it from the [CAN]? Quite simply, to ensure a delightful, [sic] hop experience. The act of pouring it in a glass smells nice, but it releases the essential hop aromas that we have worked so hard to retain. If you MUST pour it into a glass, you may find that some of the hop resins have settled to the bottom – leave them in the CAN when pouring. This beer is perishable, and at its best when it is young, fresh and hazy. Keep it cold, but not ice cold. Drink this beer immediately, we are always making more. [Undersigned] John Kimmich, The Alchemist, Waterbury, Vermont”; “Don’t be a D-Bag, recycle this [CAN]!”.

How is this beer in Flavor?? The epitomy of Tropical…. The focus of this beer is strictly not on super bitter, just tropical and hop extremities. Pine, Grass, Minor Grape Fruit, major Mango and Peach Flavor, pears, sweet grape, papaya, apples, oranges, pineapples, Sugar Cane, caramel, vanilla and hazel nut. I had saved some from the can and drank it straight…WOW …they are right… Drinking from the can makes it where right amount of hops is more active than served in the glass… How is this possible??? even though drinking from the glass has always been better…Makes no sense but it is what it is…damn GOOD BEER…Wow…Is this really an IPA or a tropical fruit drink with hops??? It is amazingly balanced. You know this is an IPA even IPA haters CANNOT avoid….. Look here is the thing…. I have never EVER had Pliny the Younger, but I am sure if this can go toe to toe…then it is definitely a force to be damn well recognized. Some say it was the Pliny the Younger Killer, I would agree because of it’s availability. I cannot say this enough…this is just brimming with what an IPA evolution into a sweetened and hoppy bitter taste truly is. WOW….JUST….WOW!!!