Sunday, June 14, 2015

Brew Day: Pliny the Elder-ish

It is not often that I try and clone a commercial beer. In all the years I've been home brewing, I can think of only a few instances where I've brewed a clone and most of those were of beers from the UK or ones I've never tried before. That said, I've not brewed in ages and I wanted to make something special for my first brew day of the summer. So what to brew... well I recently got hold of a few bottles of Pliny the Elder (bottled less than two weeks before) and I very much enjoyed drinking them. I've had Pliny numerous times now, but having it so fresh was really nice and reminded me how good it really is. Not the be-all and end-all of IIPA's, but an extremely well made version of the style, full of old-school pine and resiny hop character that is becoming harder to find these days. Pliny also won a bronze medal at last years GABF and you gotta appreciate that. A solid double IPA that puts up when others should just shut up.

Anyways, I came across a recipe for Pliny not long ago, apparently from the time when the beer was being brewed at Firestone Walker. I scaled the recipe down to 5.5 gallons and as I already had all the ingredients on hand, figured I had no excuse not to brew it. Well, sorta. The bones of the recipe is pretty simple, not unlike the other Pliny clones floating around. Rahr 2-row, crystal 60, dextrose, with a good amount of Amarillo, Simcoe, Centennial, and Cascade. Amarillo and Warrior extract is also used for bittering. I even have some Amarillo extract on hand, as I got a tin of the stuff from Yakima Chief ages ago and never did anything with it.

The recipe I settled on is pretty much the same as the RR one, except I used CTZ for bittering in place of Warrior and ended up using Mosaic instead of Cascade, as the stuff I had was getting pretty old. I also increased the whirlpool additions to 1.5 oz each. The utilization I get in my 7 gallon kettle is going to be a lot less than the 15-20% they are probably getting in theirs. More hops cant hurt, right? I also adjusted the dry hopping up a bit for good measure. For water adjustments, I just went with my tried and true IPA profile, all RO water with around 300ppm sulfate and 45ppm chloride. Their water adjustments were more of a 50/50 balance between the two. Overall, I wouldn't call this brew an exact clone, but it should be pretty close. Looking forward to drinking this one in about a month.

Tin foil is our friend
Sorta like Pliny: Imperial IPA

Recipe Specifics:
Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 14.25
Anticipated OG: 1.080
Anticipated FG: 1.010
Anticipated SRM: 7
Anticipated IBU: 70
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

93.3% - 14.00 lbs. Pale Malt, 2-Row
1.7%   - 0.25 lbs. Crystal 60L
5.0%   - 0.75 lbs. Dextrose

0.50 oz. Columbus @ 90 min for 25 IBU
0.25 oz. Amarillo Extract @ 45 min for 28 IBU
1.0 oz. Simcoe @ 30 min for 24 IBU
1.5 oz Mosaic @ whirlpool
1.5 oz Centennial @whirlpool
1.5 oz Amarillo, @ whirlpool
1.5 oz. Simcoe @ whirlpool
0.5 oz Simcoe @ dry hop (day 1)
0.5 oz Mosaic @ dry hop (day 1)
0.5 oz Columbus @ dry hop (day 1)
1.0 oz Simcoe @ dry hop (day 3)
1.0 oz Mosaic @ dry hop (day 3)
1.0 oz Amarillo @ dry hop (day 3)
1.0 oz Columbus @ dry hop (day 3)
Yeast: WY1056 American Ale
Mash 152F for 60 min
Brewed on 14 June


  1. Hi! Where did you find the recipe for Pliny used at Firestone Walker?

  2. Interesting blog. I'm waiting for the new entries :)

  3. Very interesting taste sensation as I drank this beer. The floral note that dominates in this type of beer is captivating and encourages us to drink it in larger quantities for this I like Imperial IPA

  4. I also had the opportunity to drink this beer and recommend it. It is very good refreshing, perfect to drink, I will definitely come back to it sometime.


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