Friday, August 29, 2008

Beer Review: Russian River Pliny the Elder

Ok, so here we are. Pliny the Elder. I was going to save this one in order to drink it with a couple of buddies(Sorry Riki and Kenny)but with this Hurricane Gustave and me about to evacuate I figured what the hell. A friend of mine through work, Devon, brought me back this delicious elixer from his trip to Napa which he took with his wine class at University of New Orleans. Awesome choice Devon! Thanks!

So, why the name Pliny the Elder? Who the hell would name their kid Pliny? Who the hell is Pliny the Elder? Well, I looked him up and it gets real wordy and historical and boring so I went to the brewery website and they were kind enough to give us the Cliff Notes version. It reads as follows:

Pliny the Elder was a Roman naturalist, scholar, historian, traveler, officer, and writer. Although not considered his most important work, Pliny and his contemporaries created the botanical name for hops, "Lupus salictarius", meaning wolf among scrubs." Hops at that time grew wild among willows, much like a wolf in the forest. Later the current botanical name, Humulus lupulus, was adopted. Pliny died in 79 AD while observing 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 he observed during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

Thanks professor that was awesome. Now, on to the beer!

Brewery: Russian River Brewing Company

Beer: Pliny the Elder

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

ABV: 8.00%

Recommended Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, Oversized Wine Glass

Serving Type: Chalice

Appearance- Nice golden copper color with a descent size white, fluffy head. Lacing was present and stayed throughout the life of the beer.

Smell- Pine. Straight up pine trees. Also has notes of citrus(oranges and grapefruit) and a pleasing maltiness.

Taste- Imagine running through a forest, let's say your being chased by a monster or something(I know, just follow me here ok), and all of a sudden BAM you run right into a bushel of pine tree branches and it all gets into your mouth. Got it? Ok it tastes like that. A pine tree Mike Tyson punch to your mouth. Once you get past the pine tree extravaganza you get a nice hint of citrus and herbs.

Mouthfeel- A little lacking here. It was a bit thin and watery. The carbonation is medium which is nice.

Overall- OK I'm not a big IPA fan but I did my best to judge this beer properly. I had hoped for more balance between hops and malts but as far as DIPAs go I would say this is one of the best I've ever had. At 8% it makes for a very drinkable(sessionable) beer and I'm extremely excited to have been able to try it. Big thanks go out to my boy Devon who brought this back from his trip to Napa.

Score: Photobucket 4.5 out of 5 Buddhas


Dave said...

I picked up a bottle of Pliny and Blind Pig during my most recent beer run. I can't wait to try these. With a full fridge of beer I'm set for a while. Hope Gustave doesn't wreck New Orleans again. Be safe!

Scott said...

Have you seen this beer anywhere in NOLA? I fell in love in SF and haven't stopped thinking about it.

The Beer Buddha said...


Pliny is not available in New Orleans. Very sad I know.



Anonymous said...

At first I thought this beer was all hype. I changed my mind after a couple head to head tastings and now am a big fan. Hoping NOLA develops a taste for hops soon!