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Ok, so following our Westy Blonde, 8 and 12 tasting on self-proclaimed Westy Day, my beer aficionado buddy and I decided to go ahead and crack open the world’s #2 beer of all time (beeradvocate.com), Pliny the Elder, from California’s Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa.
History: 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. Pliny the Elder, the beer, is brewed with 40% more malt and over twice the amount of hops as compared to Russian River’s already hoppy IPA beers.
8% ABV. 16.9oz bottle of this American Double Imperial IPA (DIPA). I was able to acquire a Pliny bottled on 12/13/10 from a California beer distributor. The beer poured a golden and remarkably clear appearance. A rich hop, floral smell permeates from this beer as well hints of citrus. This continues through the taste with a nose of light citrus and a bit of bitter malt flavoring. Lots of hops come through in the taste. The floral tastes also come through and linger after the sip goes down. For a double, the hops do create an overally bitter taste. Admittedly, it lacks some “oomph” that some IPAs do, although, I can see why this is a popular beer among DIPA purists, but I might think this is an overhyped beer as the #2 beer in the world. My friend and I were glad to have drank this highly sought-after beer which serves as a nice benchmark against other DIPAs. I very much look forward to trying Pliny the Younger which only comes out on tap in selected states (Pennsylvania is the nearest state from the DC metro area and usually on tap around early February). Beeradvocate; A+/A+ (#2); Ratebeer 100/100 (#20); and theBeerAuthority: B+