Plight for Pliny

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flatfour64

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At long last, I have laid my hands on two bottles of Pliny the Elder.

My wife was in California last week and was able to nab this elusive beast. I had called around out there and a few specialty shops said they did not receive thier shipment that week, and were all out. I was fearing that this trip would leave me empty handed yet again. Then, one helpful shop keep understood my plight for Pliny.

You see, I live in the northeast and this beer is just not available to me. I was in Philly last year and tried to get a pint at several tap rooms that carried it, but it just so happened they were out when I was there. I had arranged a swap with a friend of mine out in CA, but when he learned how good it was and how hard it was to get, well, I guess that is as far as our friendship went. I brewed the 6 gallon homebrew version put out by Vinny at RR, and it was the best IIPA I had ever made at the time. This only intensified my desire to try the real thing.

So this helpful shop keep told me that the Whole Foods down the road usually has it in stock because they don't put it on the shelf, you have to ask for it by name. However, he says, they have a strict one per customer policy. So my wife goes in there and was able to sweet talk her way into buying two of the six they had in stock!!! I'm not sure what she did in that back room... but thank you my dear!

Last night when she got home, she pulled a paper bag from her luggage with two well wrapped bottles in it. I opened the top of the bag and saw two caps the read Russian River.... chills I tell you, chills. What a fine looking bottle it is, like artwork. I placed them into the fridge and will drink one tonight after work... at long last.

I would offer to sell one of the bottles to someone out here on the east coast, but that is just not going to happen! Anyone else share in my plight?
 

scottland

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The last two times I was in Orange County I tried to get my hands on a bottle, but it was sold out like everywhere. I did try some Bootlegger's Knuckle Sandwhich, which was amazing. Highly recommend it if you can find it.
 

stevo155

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Being in NH, I never see it and just can't jump through the hoops to get it. I figure someday I'll get it but for now I will have to be satisfied with the homebrew version.

I'll be curious to see you thoughts on how close your homebrew version was to the real thing.
 

asidrane

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I'm going to LA in the end of September, I'm going to try and pick up as much as I can. What other brews should I checkout that I can't easily find in NY? Thanks.
 

Rivenin

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it's impossible to get ahold of mostly unless you know when the shipments are about to take place.
It is amazing, and even more so on draft
 

GySgtLynn

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Everytime I go to the Stone Brewery in Escondido, Ca. I have some Pliny the Elder on tap... Man that stuff is awesome.
 

JonK331

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I don't mean to be a jerk but I can get it anytime I want. I can even get it on tap.
 

weirdboy

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It's always on tap at several places around Los Angeles, so I don't really think about it being one of those sought-after things.

Bottles are actually a bit harder to come by. The aforementioned Whole Foods usually does have it in the back room, and I know a couple of bottle shops in the area that always have it, and a couple more that have it sometimes but not always.
 

Sacdan

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If only you could try Pliny the Younger! If you think the Elder is good, you should taste Younger. It really is that good. Too bad they don't sell it outside of their Brewpub and a few select Bars. It is only available for 2 weeks.
 
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flatfour64

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Yes, I know about the Younger. This one is so elusive that I have accepted the fact that unless I get to visit RR one day in February, I will never taste of its nectar. It would be nice to find a homebrew recipe for this one though!
 

Rundownhouse

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I brewed up the recipe put out by Vinny, and had it timed so that I dryhopped right before a flight to San Fran. I brought 4 bottles back and it was just the right time to taste them side by side.

The homebrew recipe is really close. Mine was a bit more minerally at the finish, but chalk that up to water differences probably. Mine was also a bit fresher, but chalk that up to, well, freshness. Other than that, very close.
 

erockomania

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I have a bottle or pint or two weekly. I get them two days old in the bottle :)

When you get them that fresh, it's really an amazing beer. I'm in the West Coast IPA capital and Pliny is still my fave.
 

builderguy

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A few weeks ago I managed to stop at RR and buy a few growlers on the way to go camping in the Humboldt Redwood State Park...needless to say they didn't last long. I need to try making this beer.

Rundownhouse, can you post "Vinny's" recipe?
 

Maxkling

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I'm just a common georgia boy, I hear about this Pliny guy, but yet will never drink it :(.

So I guess Ill have to blind clone it.
 

SeaBass512

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I got my hands on a bottle this past march while in La Jolla. Of course it was good, but I think my expectations were a little high after being on this forum so much. I liked it alot, but I think the rarity of it is what makes it so heavenly to some.

Sorry if I pee'd on anyones parade.
 

LarryC

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My bottle store here in San Diego carries Pliny and Blind Pig regularly. The dates on the label are usually 2 - 3 weeks old so still not as fresh as I'd like but plenty good. Going to have to do the RR brewery someday - sounds like a good reason to visit my brother in law in Newark...
 

cdburg

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A few weeks ago I managed to stop at RR and buy a few growlers on the way to go camping in the Humboldt Redwood State Park...needless to say they didn't last long. I need to try making this beer.

Rundownhouse, can you post "Vinny's" recipe?
I think this is the most recent version of the recipe.

http://beerdujour.com/Recipes/1Pliny the Elder clone PDF.pdf

Older versions use some Chinook and have a larger dry hop. In the newer versions, he's using CTZ hop extract for bittering, so the bittering is all Columbus. He's dropped the mash hopping in the newer version. The dry hop is also now split into two additions, which Vinnie believes enhances the flavor and aroma extracted.
 

DizzyPants

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I have said this before but I have a friend here who works at a large grocery store and is friends with the beer guy there. He called me one day in a panic and said "I have to see you tonight, something important." I thought something ill. He came over with six of the twelve the store had. He left my house and went back and bought all of them and they never saw the shelf. Great beer. Really Really "great" beer.
 
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flatfour64

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I drank one of my two Pliny the Elders last night after work. Then me and the wife had amazing sex... coincidence??? I think not!

Seriously, this beer did live up to my expectations. The beer has a fantastic aroma and color, really great gold/orange firey color. The real art here though is the balance that is achieved in the flavor. It seems a perfect blend of hop aroma, flavor, and malt. It finishes clean and hoppy, without any harsh bitters. My homebrew clone was way too harsh tasting to be a clone of this beer. I think next time I brew it I will step down the mineral additions and possibly use hop extract for the bittering additions. After drinking the bottle ever so slowly... I cracked open one of my latest IIPAs, a red IIPA (think Imperial Red on hop steroids). I could hardly taste the hops in it!!! I guess that is the "lupilin threshold shift" at work.
 

samc

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It's still a great beer but other rivals have come onto the scene over the years and Pliny is no longer a unique thing. So for those that can't get it, just brew up the clone and be happy.
 
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flatfour64

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It's still a great beer but other rivals have come onto the scene over the years and Pliny is no longer a unique thing. So for those that can't get it, just brew up the clone and be happy.
What beers are you suggesting are rivals? I've had the Sculpin IPA and it was damn good, but not even close to Pliny. Lagunitas cannot hold a candle either. Stone is not even in the same ball park.

I realize this is a highly subjective topic, but I would be interested in trying any other beers that others suggest may stand up.
 

erockomania

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It's still a great beer but other rivals have come onto the scene over the years and Pliny is no longer a unique thing. So for those that can't get it, just brew up the clone and be happy.
I'm not sure what beers have a similar taste to Pliny. Some beers have equal or better aroma or bitterness but the TASTE and balance of Pliny are still unique. I think I've tried just about every beer that people tell me rivals Pliny and, while they may be good, Pliny still has unique flavor.
 

BrewKnurd

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I'm not sure what beers have a similar taste to Pliny. Some beers have equal or better aroma or bitterness but the TASTE and balance of Pliny are still unique. I think I've tried just about every beer that people tell me rivals Pliny and, while they may be good, Pliny still has unique flavor.
I haven't had anything that smells as good as Pliny, personally. Of course, I live in louisinia, so my access to fresh IIPAs is usually pretty limited. I usually go with Stone Ruination as my IIPA of choice around here, although its definitely got a more pronounced bitterness than pliny. Of course, I also just cracked into my first batch of homebrewed pliny, so that should keep my happy for a couple weeks. :D
 

asidrane

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It's always on tap at several places around Los Angeles, so I don't really think about it being one of those sought-after things.

Bottles are actually a bit harder to come by. The aforementioned Whole Foods usually does have it in the back room, and I know a couple of bottle shops in the area that always have it, and a couple more that have it sometimes but not always.
Care to mention the names of the bars and bottle shops?
 

Ricand

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I'm pretty fortunate to be able be at RR in less than 15 minutes. I really like PTE and don't think there is much out there that competes. I normally just have one than switch to Blind Pig. Even with constant availability, I still think it deserves the number 4 slot.
 

samc

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I've found Pliny to be great but very inconsistent from bottle to bottle/batch to batch. Therefore I'm happier with my clone or other beers like Green Flash IPA, which btw clones up perfectly with the CYBI recipe.
 

TheMan

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I have to agree with a few others, I find Blind Pig to be better. When my Aunt flies in from San Fran I always request more Blind Pig than Pliny.

Lastly, I say this because it should be true for all of us homebrewers...Pliny doesn't compare to a freshly homebrewed IPA, and neither does any IPA IMO. You simply cannot get an IPA as fresh anywhere but home. It is a very good beer however, and rightfully deserves all the accliaim it receives.
 

Red_Zeppelin

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I liked it alot, but I think the rarity of it is what makes it so heavenly to some.

Sorry if I pee'd on anyones parade.
I agree. I work in a liquor store and any time we get a case it's gone within the day. I mean, it is good... but not that good. These customers act like it's the only IPA left in the world. Personally, I'd rather put my money towards a sixer of racer 5 than one Pliny
 
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flatfour64

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I agree. I work in a liquor store and any time we get a case it's gone within the day. I mean, it is good... but not that good. These customers act like it's the only IPA left in the world. Personally, I'd rather put my money towards a sixer of racer 5 than one Pliny
I would agree to a certain extent. The chase and catch is a big part of the fun for me. Part of the reason I dig RR is the fact that they are happy to be a small brewery and make truly awesome product. However, this is truly the best commercial IPA I have ever had. Blind Pig is also good, but not as good IMO. I find Racer 5 to have a cool label, but the beer is very average to me.

I would agree that home brewed beer is better due to freshness, but, the real backbone to a great beer is the recipe and technique of the brewer. I would say that if I could home brew the clone of PTE spot on to the way it should be done, and my fermentation and transfer process did not induce oxygen, and I was totally sanitary, PTE would be the best IPA I could make at this point.

However, believe me when I say it, I keep making versions of my own IPA recipes and tweaking them so that one day I can say my IPA was better!
 

LandoLincoln

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Well, you guys convinced me. I've got a friend out in Cali right now doing the legwork for me to track down some of this beer.
 

eastoak

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It's still a great beer but other rivals have come onto the scene over the years and Pliny is no longer a unique thing. So for those that can't get it, just brew up the clone and be happy.
my wife does the shopping around here and every week spends $30-$100 on random bombers of craft beers from around the country and we have yet to come across the an equal to the quality of russian river beers. they might be out there but we have not found them yet. we will continue looking. blind pig and the pliny's get all of the attention but the have some other gems like their aud blonde and happy hops
 

bottlebomber

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Its funny to hear this... Russian River is 45 minutes from where I live, and I've never even tried Pliny ;)
 

Schnitzengiggle

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I'm form Arizona, and I recently returned from San Diego where I purchased a few bottles of Pliny to enjoy when I got home. I have to say it is a spectacular IPA, and I was extremely surprised at how good it was, I have two bottles left, they will be gone before the weekend is out!

I wish RR would distribute to AZ.
 

bottlebomber

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Sacdan said:
What are you waiting for? While you're there, get a growler to go!
I think I will... I might just have to be there in february when they unveil the Younger too
 
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flatfour64

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There are many reasons why we all live where we live in this country. I used to live in California, was there for four years. But for several big life reasons we moved out here to CT. There are 3 main things I miss about California, the tremendous IPAs produced by local breweries, the aircooled VW scene, and the general laid back and relaxed feel. I grew up in AZ, but the only thing I miss about that state is having a great mexican food joint on every corner! Here in CT, the local breweries excell at smooth malty lagers and ales. I am convinced it is the difference in water supply from the west coast. We also have the best Italian food and pizza I have ever had anywhere!

My intended point on the above rambling was to say this, make sure you get out and ENJOY your local establishments and regional fair, you never know how long you will be there!
 

bottlebomber

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flatfour64 said:
There are 3 main things I miss about California, the tremendous IPAs produced by local breweries, the aircooled VW scene, and the general laid back and relaxed feel. I grew up in AZ, but the only thing I miss about that state is having a great mexican food joint on every corner! Here in CT, the local breweries excell at smooth malty lagers and ales.
Ill actually take the micro malty ales and lagers over the IPAs... its all anyone brews over here! I can't even buy good imported beer in the town I live in, but the supermarket shelves are packed with IPAs, IPAs, IPAs... half of them taste the same. Im actually having to learn about other beer by brewing it. Never had an Alt before I made one. Or an Irish Red Ale... or an ENGLISH IPA even... im so burned out on cascade hops... :mug: we have great mexican food but the pizza scene sucks. Maybe I should move to CT
 
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