Here we go again. Another attempt at nailing Pliny the Elder. It's been a few months since I've had a nice big IPA on tap, and I've been itching to brew this one since February. It's time. On top of that, my friend Kiernan has been splitting 10 ten gallon batches with me lately, and PTE is one of his favorite beers.
Last time I brewed the recipe here, it turned out really, really close. The malt character, fermentation character, bitterness, and mouthfeel were all perfect. The dry hop character was just a little off. Mine was hint too citrusy, and didn't have enough of that dripping-with-resin character that Pliny has. So I went back and re-formulated the dry hop additions. My new method differed from the popular clone recipe floating around the internet, but I felt it would get me to where I needed to be. The big changes were making CTZ and Simcoe the stars of the show, with more CTZ than anything else. Centennial was cut way back, and Amarillo is now just a splash.
It's been a miserably hot summer, and this brew day was no exception. It's been 105+ and humid the past week or two, which makes it very unpleasant to be outside. Although, aside from the heat, it wasn't too bad of a brew day. We mashed for 60 minutes, boiled for 90, and whirlpooled the wort for 20 min before chilling it to the mid-60s. Finally I hit the wort with O2 for 90 seconds before pitching 160ml of WLP001 slurry into each fermenter. I timed this batch on the heels of my California Common purposely so that I could re-pitch yeast from that batch. Ten gallons of a 1.070 beer would have made for a really big starter.
I will say, the one thing that makes this beer a pain in the ass, is working with that much hop extract. I've mentioned it before, but it leaves a sticky resin-like residue on absolutely everything the wort touches. I almost never clean my kettle with oxyclean after brewing, but after brewing with a bunch of extract, I absolutely have to.
Anyway, this fermented out in 8-10 days, as WLP001 tends to with beers this size for me. After 10 days, I racked the wort into a CO2 purged kegs. I didn't bother to crash the primaries this time around. From there I hit them with two doses of dry hops roughly 6 days apart from each other for a grand total of 13 days or so. Finally I crashed the dry-hopped kegs for two days before racking into a clean kegs for serving; also purged with CO2.
Dry Hopped: 07-23-13
Mash @ 150
50ml Hop Extract @ 90
10ml Hop Extract @ 45
2oz Simcoe @ 30
2oz Centennial @ 0
5.5oz Simcoe @ 0
Dry Hop 1
Dry Hop 2
1oz ea CTZ & Simcoe
.5oz ea Centennial & Amarillo
California Ale Yeast - re-pitched from Cali Common
It's been on tap for almost a week now, which while young, is long enough to make a judgment on the beer. This beer tastes identical to Pliny, as best as I remember. Living in Arizona, I don't have access to fresh Pliny, and unfortunately I couldn't track any down last weekend while in Orange County. Nonetheless, this clone tastes spot on.
The appearance of this beer is beautiful. I'm not sure what it is about this recipe, but it clears up very quick compared to some other beers I brew. Aroma is massive hops. Dank, resin, and citrus. The flavor is more of the same with a bracing bitterness and some alcohol warmth near the end. The finish is clean and smooth. Mouthfeel is medium-light, but that might change as the beer settles in with a little more carbonation. This is as close as I can remember Pliny tasting, and I've very excited about it.
So there it is: a clone recipe that I'm finally confident in saying it turns out correct. While the dry hop schedule may differ from what Russian River actually uses, with my process, I can say that this recipe puts a beer in my glass that tastes identical to Pliny. Which is what I was after all along =)