I brewed the extract version of the Pliny Clone. Thanks for posting the recipe. It was my second brew ever. I'm happy to say, last friday was the first day I DIDN'T go to the store to buy beer, because I had my own at home!
I was very happy with the results. After two weeks in the bottle it's pretty damn good. My brew tastes more like a slightly sweet Racer 5. Damn good stuff.
I used bottled water, White Labs Cali Ale WPL001 yeast. I had to sub simcoe hops with amarillo, as I gave all my hard found simcoe to my brother (damnit! Those are the best and I think key)! I messed up on the hop schedule putting the 45 minutes in at 75 minutes on accident (noobie nerves makes math hard). I think my skill level may be low and my conversion rates were not so great. My ABV is way too weak. Pliny is above 8% and mine is about 6.5%. It's too sweet, again conversion of fermentables? That's also probably why mine isn't hoppy enough either. But I didn't dry hop for 2 weeks. I read somewhere that someone said that Vinnie said that said you don't have to dry hop that long. I'm not so sure. I wanted to avoid any vegetal taste from the leaves and bottled after one week of dry hop. I also clogged up my auto siphon as I did my hop leaves loose. Some people put them in a bag and sink them with ss bolts (tip from Brew Strong podcast).
The main thing I learned was that my yield was low. The leaf hops sucked up a lot both from the wort and during dry hop. My brother, brewed the same thing a week after me and he squeezed out all the wort from the leaf hops before primary (I didn't). When dry hopping the leaves absorbed a lot again, in the secondary. I didn't want to squeeze out the brew after the dry hop for fear of oxidation. I ended with about 3.5 or 4 gallons in bottles.
I would definitely brew this again and again, but aim for higher yield, higher alcohol content, and more hops.
On another note, I've seen Pliny price fluctuations at the bar before, but this last week my main watering hole set the price for a 20oz at $7.50! Bar manager said he even got a call from the local newspaper food writer.
Reason: adding more tips