Austin Homebrew Supplies Pliny the Elder
versus a bottle of the real deal from Russian River.
Initial impression is AHS is damn
close with this recipe. Color is just a touch darker, but in full disclosure, I padded the AHS 5 gallon recipe to 6 with some extra light DME (so I could brew two 3 gallon batches) so the extra color could
be from that. Head retention and carbonation are identical. Hop aroma, flavor, and bitterness are on the money, in my opinion. This is rather surprising to me as we know RR uses hop extracts.
The malt flavor is where the two differ. The "real thing" has a distinct caramel note and sweetness, on the tongue and nose, that's missing from the clone. This first clone batch finished really
dry at 1.008. I mashed the 2nd batch at 156 - significantly higher than the 150 the AHS recipe calls for. Hopefully that will bring back some of this caramel note and increase the FG a few points for round #2, which is now finishing in the fermenter.
Both batches were done as per AHS instructions (except for the mash temp adjustment on batch #2), and fermented with S-05 at 68 deg. Water was adjusted to: Ca: 104, Mg: 10, Na: 10, Cl: 64, SO: 125, RA: 9
If you're a Pliny addict like I am, the AHS kit is definitely a cure - especially with Forrest's frequent crazy sales. Highly recommended!