Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Russian River Pliny The Elder (2011)

Well, look who's back! I haven't had this beer in close to 2 years (because I havent been able to get it). A lot has changed since then, and I thankful to get not only one, but THREE bottles of Pliny The Elder from Sean in California in a trade. I decided to don my gray suit this time in honor of this very special beer. Will it be as good as I remembered? There's only one way to find out!

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
Chad9976 (644) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 8, 2012
Sometimes a beer is so good it’s almost hard to explain the taste. Pliny the Younger is not what I would consider a "complex" palate in the traditional manner, but the tastes that are there are so strong and so delectable it’s an absolutely joy from the first sip to the last drop.

I poured a 500ml bottle into a tulip glass

Appearance: A beautiful shade of light orange/dark yellow which is slightly hazy and also bubbly. It forms a bright white, frothy head which leaves generous lacing on the glass.

Smell: The aroma is as appealing as a beer can smell. As soon as I popped the cap I could smell the rich floral and citrus notes. It’s a mélange of tropical fruits and fresh flowers with a very "clean" scent overall.

Taste: Much like the nose, the body is a mash of sweet tropical fruit juice made from orange, tangerine and grapefruit, with perhaps a bit of mango or papaya. It’s tart, like a glass of freshly-squeezed lemonade but without the sugary notes. The hops make the palate very crisp, but just like the scent, they finish clean.

I’ve had other IPAs from around the country that are so highly hopped and bitter they tend to tear up my palate like eating and entire box of Sour Patch Kids. While Pliny the Elder is noticeably bitter throughout, the aftertaste is surprisingly gentle and quite refreshing.

Drinkability: The caveat to strong-tasting beers is they tend to be difficult to drink or their palate overall is simply an acquired taste. I don’t think that’s true of Pliny The Elder since the citrus flavor is something any beer drinker is used to, combined with the fact it’s not heavy or rough in the mouth. This beer goes down very smooth and the aftertaste lingers without wearing on the tongue.

I’m not usually a fan of imperial or even "bigger" beers, but when brewed correctly the alcohol is almost irrelevant. If I didn’t know Pliny The Elder was 8% ABV I never would’ve guessed this since there is zero booze present in the nose or the body. I only felt a slight buzz after I drank the beer, although this could be due to the fact it was so good I drank it rather quickly.

Grade: 10/10

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