Named for Gaius Plinius Secundus, a Roman philosopher and author, Pliny the Elder is a nearly perfect example of a Double IPA and a flagship brew for Russian River Brewing of Santa Rosa, CA. Accolades abound for many of the brewery’s above average offerings, including the Elder and Pliny the Younger, a seasonally released Triple IPA that draws beer lovers from far and wide to stand in massive lines for hours to receive a single pour. Personally finding the Younger Fever a bit insane in a market saturated with such high quality IPA’s, I was anxious to review Pliny the Elder, a beer I find to be equally noteworthy.
The name Pliny the Elder begs explaination, which can be found on the Russian River Brewing website;
“Back in the year 2000, our friend, Vic Kralj, who owns the Bistro in Hayward, California, decided to have his first ever Double IPA festival. … After much research in beer books, brainstorming, and deliberation, we came up with “Pliny the Elder”. Pliny, the man, lived in the first century- 23 to 79 A.D. According to our brewing references, he and his contemporaries either created the botanical name or at least wrote about Lupus Salictarius, or hops, currently known as Humulus Lupulus. That was a very early reference to an important part of any Double IPA! Pliny the beer has now become one of our flagship brews!”
Cracking open a bottle of Pliny produces an immediate aroma of fresh hops and citrus. The pour is a light copper/straw color that produces two fingers of rocky white head that reduces to a ring leaving light lace. The nose is a powerful dose of fresh hops and citrus.
Being a Double IPA the body is on the lighter side, but the brew is maltier than expected, grassy with tones of tropical fruit and apricot. The hop profile, composed of Amarillo, Centennial, CTZ, and Simcoe are potent and fresh, but don’t overdo it. The taste achieves a balance I’ve come to expect from Russian River and finishes on lemon rind and light spice, leaving a nice burn on the back of the throat. The mouthfeel is exceptional, beginning with smooth creaminess and finishing slightly dry.
All of this amounts to an exceptional Double IPA with a well deserved perfect score on Beer Advocate. Dangerously drinkable, with an 8% ABV well hidden in a complex profile, this one is hard to put down once you pick it up.
|Name||Pliny the Elder|
|Brewery||Russian River Brewing|
|Availability||Limited Tap / Bottles|
|Rating||5 out of 5|