Aquilo (651) - Berkeley, California, USA - JUL 21, 2008
This stuff is annoyingly hard to find. But today I found it. And I am not disappointed. Pours light yellow-brown, with a medium white head. Smells like a barley wine. A bit of hops, but mainly rosemary and pine. There is a nice layer of peaches to offset the bitterness. The hops are stronger in the flavor, and there is a resiny pine flavor as well. A bit of lime. I like my imperial IPAs to have a creamier mouthfeel that this. But overall, this is not bad. Not bad at all. GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - JUL 21, 2008
500mL Bottle. Pours a clear golden amber with a massive two-finger puffy white head that hangs around for ages leaving a wall of lacing all the way around the glass.
Smell absolutely jumps out of the bottle. Massive, massive hop aroma with huge pine scents up front, like walking into a pine forest. Grapefruit, oranges, lemons, all kinds of wonderful floral and citrus scents in this one. World class smell.
Taste is almost as impressive as the smell with citrus hops up front with grapefruit and lemons. The bready malt backbone shows up a little bit in the middle before the pine blast kicks in to provide a wonderfully bitter finish.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with strong carbonation that zings the tongue with hop bitterness and sticks on the palate for a while.
This is a world class example of a DIPA and probably the new standard for me. FlacoAlto (4182) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JUL 17, 2008
Bottled On Date July 10, 2008; Sampled July 17, 2008robertjm (892) - Albany, California, USA - JUL 17, 2008
A soft pour produces a three-finger thick, light tan colored head in my 25cl tulip glass. The beer is just so expressively pungeant with hop aromatics that just jump out at me as I am pouring this beer. It sits in my glas with a light amber, copper hue and shows a clear, bright gold hue when held up to the light. The aroma is just sticky with hop character; huge lychee notes, super ripe apricot, bright tropical fruit notes, candied grapefruit, expansive tangelo and Curacao orange peel are all easily noticeable. The other side of the hop aroma spectrum lurks just below the fruit notes with herbal notes that are quite floral, some pine that adds some backbone to the aroma and a light, dank, hemp-oil like note that adds just a bit of an edge to this brew. What I love about the aroma is the focus on the fruity hop notes, but it still has some of the more herbal notes that add a touch of offset and a touch of contrast. If you really dig for it some cracker-like malt notes are just noticeable underneath all of the dominating hop aromatics.
Aggressively bitter up front, though not overwhelmingly so, this is quite herbal as it first hits the tongue, but becomes redolent of super ripe hop fruit flavors through the middle and finish. At this point the bitterness kicks in again and a clean, biting hop note lingers on the tongue for quite some time after the beer has left my mouth. Pine-sap flavors up front yield to tropical fruit notes of lychees, almost pineapple and other fruit flavors of apricot, peach and ripe tangelo. The explosive up front fruit flavors seem to get scraped from my palate by the aggressive herbal and pine notes that seem to get more pronounced with every sip. A short respite from the beer seems to accentuate the fruit notes a bit more again, but it is still as if my tongue has been scraped by some very herbal hops that have left a permanent mark. Still this aggressively herbal hop character (that is definitely riding the edge of being laden with hemp oil) never buries the hop-fruit flavors. While certainly not light, this is eminently drinkable; not so heavy that it has not business having the letters of IPA on the label; this is my definitive example of what the texture and heft of a double IPA should be.
The aroma of this beer is just so nice; the dominant hop fruit notes are perfectly controlled by the softer herbal hop character. The flavor is a bit more herbal in balance and is quite scathing in its hop attack. Still the bitter, sharply herbal hop notes never get out of control, but this beer still makes me feel like my tongue has been abused and scraped raw by the aggressive hop character. This is most definitely a well constructed brew, and in some aspects this is quite definitive for the style. A benchmark for the style that I will never get enough of.
Sampled NHC 2004
Total 4.2, 9/4/9/4/16
Rest a lightly hazy copper color in my glass. This has an in-your-face orange aroma on it. An intense hop taste is found here, but it still manages to be quite smooth. This is a citrusy, grapefruit, nectarlicious hop bomb. This beer has a tangy zing quality to it, this just zaps my taste buds. This beer is defined by it’s over the top hoppiness, yet still manages to by a smooth hop hit. There are lots of pine notes as well as an equal level of grapefruit notes in this beer. All in all this is a very well made double IPA, what else can you expect from the guy who is credited with inventing the style.
They’re starting to bottle Pliny the Elder now. Nice solid white head. Aroma is an absolute killer!! This is what an IPA is supposed to smell like. Smells just like the last brand new hop supply I opened from the homebrew shop. Golden color. Very pretty. Flavor goes hand in hand with the aroma. This is awesome. Do you like hops? Then search this out!! You won’t be disappointed. I had this on tap at the brewery and my tasting notes didn’t rate it nearly as high as I have it here. The only thing I can think of is that it was warmer and not as carbonated there, which the bottle was chilled more, which probably concentrates the hop flavor, and certainly feels a lot more carbonated. bsierra (213) - Vista, California, USA - JUL 17, 2008
On tap at Pizza Port Carlsbad. Pours a clear light amber, almsot a plisner like gold. Very sticky and rocky white head and great lacing. Aroma is very sharp and pungent with grapefruit and pine hop character. Some mango hoppiness and sweetness in the flavor with more pine in the end. Orange and citrus all the way through. Sticky hoppy bitterness in the end. I felt that this was hoppier, more bitter, and yet more balanced and easier to drink than say a ruination for example. This is a pleasure to drink.
Simcoe (5) - , California, USA - JUL 15, 2008 does not count
A great beer can still be ruined by ground hop pellets. I detected a strong potential for greatness behind what seemed like a lawnmower bag full of grassy leafy crushed-plant-cell-membrane nastiness. Please correct me if I am wrong about the use of pellet hops so I can better understand this beer. elcaballo (101) - Beverly Hills, California, USA - JUL 15, 2008
exceptional hop flavor in this, the hops are jst bursting out this and it avoids the sweetness and thickness that i find in so many dipas and that what makes this beer stand out. the bitterness hits like a hammer but does not linger unpleasently. Most striking is the amazingly dry finish. Probably the best beer i have ever had bhops (433) - Dallas, Texas, USA - JUL 14, 2008
on tap at brewery. Good hoppy beers. Reminds me a lot of Stone brews. Strong in every way but fairly well balanced. paytoplay (146) - , California, USA - JUL 13, 2008
UPDATED: JAN 30, 2009 Man do I enjoy this brew. Intense, huge hops, grip and a long finish. But will caressing texture that binds the nose to the finish. Maybe the textbook example of how great DIPA’s should taste! Had to keep the score somewhat low as the Younger is of another world.
Cask at O’Briens’s SD, it didn’t last long. 30 minutes or so. Cask Conditioned Pliny Elder, a very rare treat. Great nose, even better texture and an explosive mid. Maybe less on the pine, but the main difference is the mid palate. Though it was huge and dominating. Maybe a bit more amber? and I thought a tad more sweet though others didn’t. Really excited to try and felt it was different and maybe a tad better than regular kegs. Some felt recent bottles are the best Pliny Elders because the freshness. Would not pass up on another opportunity to try a cask of Pliny. Score goes up a tenth of a point from cask... HopheadHans (804) - Bay Area, California, USA - JUL 13, 2008
Well, I have been regularly consuming this beer for years now but now noticed that I never rated it. Well, since we have bottles now, this is the bottled version that was bottled 2 days ago.
It pours with a nice orange copper color and a nice fluffy medium sized head. The aroma is very pleasant and strong. The fresh hops aromas just start flowing out of the glass. The flavor is as expected" lost of grapefruit and pines, a bit of caramel in the back. The finish is insanely bitter. One of the great DIPAs. P.S. I wonder if I should age it.