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Pliny The Elder Clone 3.0


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.
Brewed: 07-13-13
Dry Hopped: 07-23-13
Kegged: 08-04-13
OG: 1.071
ABV: 8.0%
IBU: 90-100-ish
12 Gallons

26lbs 2-row
18oz Carapils
10oz C40
1.5lbs Dextrose
Mash @ 150
50ml Hop Extract @ 90
10ml Hop Extract @ 45
2oz Simcoe @ 30
2oz Centennial @ 0
5.5oz Simcoe @ 0
Dry Hop 1:
2.5oz CTZ
1.5oz Simcoe
1.5oz Centennial
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 =)

57 thoughts on “Pliny The Elder Clone 3.0”
  1. Kevin Fields 08.11.2013 on 3:09 AM Reply

    Nice work! I made the Pliny 2.0 recipe and it turned out very close to the real thing, just not as dank. This recipe looks pretty spot on. Ill try this for my next IPA. I just brewed your Union Jack clone yesterday. Thanks for creating one of the best blogs out there for brewing!

  2. Scott 08.12.2013 on 2:58 AM Reply

    Thanks, I appreciate it!

  3. schnogg 08.12.2013 on 7:11 PM Reply

    I want to make this. I plugged it into beersmith, which is telling me that it will be around 215 ibu, which is obviously silly, but it begs the question: Are those hop extract measurements correct?

  4. schnogg 08.12.2013 on 7:15 PM Reply

    Ok, I see that version 2.0 of this recipe has the same thing, so its obviously correct. Maybe I'm not adding hop extract to beersmith correctly. I haven't found a great resource for doing that yet. if anyone has a tip on how to add hop extract to beersmith, I'd appreciate it.

  5. Aron 08.13.2013 on 9:23 AM Reply

    Great work Scott! Are you adding the dextrose to the boil or later?

  6. Gold Robber 08.13.2013 on 4:40 PM Reply


    May I email you to get an opinion about something unrelated to this post please?

  7. Scott 08.13.2013 on 4:48 PM Reply
  8. Scott 08.13.2013 on 4:49 PM Reply

    Thanks. During the boil. I usually add it around 45min left to go, or so.

  9. Scott 08.13.2013 on 4:49 PM Reply

    The calculated IBUs on this beer are 200+, that's just the nature of the beast. Don't worry, it turns out fine.

  10. Aron 08.14.2013 on 7:40 AM Reply


  11. Rogerio Peixoto 08.15.2013 on 5:01 PM Reply

    Excellent job Scott. One of the best blogs I've seen.
    A question: why you re-pitch in the second dry hopp ?
    Are you still use gelatin ?

  12. Dave 08.17.2013 on 11:04 PM Reply


    Why did you move to clean keg? I though you secondary, dry hopp, cold crash, fine, carb and serve in the same keg.

  13. Daniel Bartholomaeus 08.18.2013 on 11:25 AM Reply

    Great blog and another great recipe by the looks. Pliny was the second BIAB I ever did and for a beginner it was very good. I followed the RR recipe but after making your American Amber (superb!) I will definitely try your Pliny 3.0 recipe. Problem is Hop Extract is not very common down here in Oz. Can you please give me the brand of the product you used so I can track it down on the net? Thanks again!

  14. Scott 08.19.2013 on 12:27 AM Reply


    I add two dry hop additions because I find it gives a bigger dry hop aroma. Russian River does the same.

    I am still using Gelatin. The picture above was taken roughly 4-5 days after being kegged. It's cleared up significantly since.

  15. Scott 08.19.2013 on 12:28 AM Reply

    I dry hop/secondary in a keg now. A lot of the time I use a Stainless Dry Hopper thing from Stainless Brewing. It was dirty, and I was too lazy to clean it, so I tossed my pellets right in the keg. I crashed the kegged, and then racked the beer off the 6oz of hops.

  16. Scott 08.19.2013 on 12:29 AM Reply

    You could probably use whatever high AA% hop you have available and get pretty damn similar results. Shoot for 48-50AAU in that first addition, and 10AAU in the second addition for a 5 gallon (21L) recipe

  17. Sam Bree 08.20.2013 on 10:10 PM Reply

    G'day mate – love the blog!

    What water profile are you using? Thanks from Sam in New Zealand

  18. Gold Robber 08.22.2013 on 5:02 PM Reply

    Hi Scott,

    I emailed you last week at the address you posted. Could it be in your spam folder? TIA

  19. tim cossel 08.22.2013 on 11:24 PM Reply

    Hey Scott,
    Great Cloning! I'm excited to brew this one- as soon as my CO2 hop extract arrives from Yakima Valley. I'll be stocked up for awhile with a 100 g supply. And if I can achieve even nearly as good as outcome as you, I'll know what to do with the rest of my shots!

  20. Kenny 08.23.2013 on 12:16 PM Reply

    Hi Scott,
    Just wanted to say a big thanks. I brewed PTE 2.0 in April, and it turned out really great. I haven't been fortunate to test the original, so I don't know if I managed to clone it, but man, it was a good DIPA…!

  21. Scott 08.28.2013 on 9:10 PM Reply

    Roughly 100-150ppm of Calcium and Sulfates. I start with RO water, and add Calcium Chloride and Gypsum back to harden up the water.

  22. Chris 08.29.2013 on 6:57 PM Reply

    Hello Scott,

    I was just wondering if I am trying to convert this recipe for a 5gallon batch, would I just half the extract additions?


  23. Scott 09.03.2013 on 12:51 AM Reply

    Ya, just cut everything in half for 5 gallons. These recipes are all 6/12 gallons, which is the post-boil volume. I take roughly 5.5gal into my fermenters, and usually 5 gallons into the keg. Sadly, for these big IPAs, I lose another half gallon from the dry hops, so expect about 4.5 gallons of finished beer.

  24. Matt B 09.06.2013 on 2:50 PM Reply

    Hi Scott,

    I just ordered some hop extract, if i were to try using actuall hops for the bittering what would you suggest?

  25. Scott 09.10.2013 on 2:44 PM Reply

    Columbus or Apollo would work fine.

  26. Tom 10.28.2013 on 6:01 PM Reply

    Hi Scott,
    In preparation for brewing PTE we too have a Cali Common nearly ready to transfer into kegs. After racking the CC into kegs, how do you re-use the yeast from the CC for the PTE? Do you simply direct the cooled wort directly onto the yeast cake, or do you first "wash" the yeast, or maybe something else?

  27. Scott 10.29.2013 on 4:42 AM Reply

    Rack off all the beer, you want to leave just enough beer to mix the yeast back to a slurry. Just a tiny bit. Then measure out a controlled amount. Use to calculate.

    But if you're working with WLP001, I can pretty much tell you that you want 150-200ml of slurry for a 6gal batch. Pitch it into a cleaned fermenter with the cooled wort. If you're good about keeping trub out of your beers, pitch a little less, if you dump everything in, pitch a little more.

  28. Humu Hulin 11.04.2013 on 6:27 PM Reply

    Hello Scott, I'm preparing about brewing this thing. I would make about 23 liters of this liquid gold (instead your 12 gal). I will decrease your hops amount for my batch size, but I have some questions for it. I would like to use dry yeast US 05 so may i use 1 or 2 packages for it??

  29. Humu Hulin 11.04.2013 on 6:38 PM Reply

    And also two things I forgot to ask: Do you boil dextrose ( or add before boil) or you put it in mash? And what is mash temperature for it?

  30. Scott 11.05.2013 on 4:10 PM Reply

    Just cut everything in half for the batch size. 23L is exactly half of what I made. (I target 6 or 12 gal batches in my brewing software, which is 23 or 46L)

    For the dry yeast, use 1.5 to 2 packs of US05. Make sure to rehydrate it in 32-37C water before you pitch it.

    And for the dextrose, ya, just toss it in the boil. Mash @ 150F or 65.5C.

  31. Humu Hulin 11.05.2013 on 11:00 PM Reply

    Thanks Scott for answering, but in my region is not so available a dextrose so i will change it with a white table sugar in same amount. I hope that is not so different so my recipe will be very similar to yours, but anyway i'm so curious about some stuff which i can substitute to make it more closer. You probably hit the target with this recipe, it must be that but some of stuff are not so available at my place.

    What is your opinion that instead of hop extract at @90 and @45 to use Magnum hops? It's good for very quality and clean bitterness as I know. Or should I use Columbus anyway? Probably in original recipe, Columbus is only for bitterness at that boil time so I don't see any difference.

    And what is your opinion for changing a cara-pils malt (i can't reach it for now) into a barely flakes? It's almost the same substitution especially in that small amounts.

  32. Scott 11.11.2013 on 2:25 PM Reply

    Ya, no problem.

    Table sugar is fine. You won't notice the difference.

    You could use something like Magnum or Columbus for bittering. I'm actually debating how much difference it makes. I'll probably make the recipe without the hop extract sometime next year to see the difference.

    If you need to sub out the carapils, see if you can find dextrine malt. If not that, I would just omit it, and raise the mash temp a degree or two.

  33. Humu Hulin 11.11.2013 on 9:33 PM Reply

    I saw some earlier versions of PtE clone with Chinook for bittering but anyway I think Magnum will handle it for a 95-100 IBU at @90 and @45 minute. So anyway, barley flaked are some carapils substitute but I have to admit and with more proteins so I will change recipe and raise mash temp to 68 C according to your advice. Probably, I will lost some efficiency but anyway this is 'the big beer' so it will make no big difference.

    Anyway, I almost got all ingredients except Amarillo for last dry hop, I will change it for Cascade or just will do a dry hop without it.

  34. John McIntire 11.12.2013 on 12:21 AM Reply

    Scott – thanks for the blog! 2 Questions: 1. How much of the brewing salts in grams did you use with your RO water? 2. Sooooo… 60 ml of hops extract? That's like $20, right? Anywhere you know to find it in larger volumes than 5ml syringes? Northern Brewer has a 5ml syringe for $2… Thanks!

    Brew On!


  35. Scott 11.13.2013 on 3:46 PM Reply

    I don't weigh it in grams, just teaspoons. As for the hop extract, keep in mind this is a 12 gallon batch. It's roughly 30ml of hop extract for a 6 gallon batch.

    You can buy a can on the stuff from yakimavalleyhops, but otherwise, yes, you have to use Hop Shots, or just substitute the hop extract for a super-high alpha hop like CTZ, Apollo, Bravo, or Warrior.

  36. John McIntire 11.15.2013 on 5:39 PM Reply

    cool – ok, so how many teaspoons of brewing salts for a 6 gallon batch?

  37. Scott 11.18.2013 on 2:02 PM Reply

    I want to say it was like 1tsp gypsum and .5tsp calcium chloride per 5 gallons of water for this batch. I don't have my brewing logs in front of me right now though.

  38. James Ayers 12.19.2013 on 8:13 PM Reply

    I also found that these hop extract number look strange. I'm planning to use the hop extract from my LHBS called Hop Jizz and the calculator they have online ended up giving me 7ml for the first addition and 6ml for the second addition. These two along with the Simcoe will give me 100IBUs based on Beersmith's estimates. Is my beer going to be lacking in bitterness?

  39. Wes Tarvin 01.05.2014 on 3:19 AM Reply

    Curious, are your dry hops for the entire batch or per fermenter?

  40. Tony Yates 01.06.2014 on 9:31 PM Reply

    Hi Scott, I'm really digging your blog. Great advice and set of recipes. I, seemingly not along, am concerned about your Hop Extract listing. Could you give us more details on what specific hop extract you are using? For example, I've got both the hop extract from MoreBeer (IsoHop Bitterness Extract) as well as 2 x 10ml vials from yakimavalleyhops, and according to your numbers, the first addition of 50ml would be 5 vials from yakimavalleyhops, and only 1.5 vials from MoreBeer (IsoHop Bitterness Extract). Could you elaborate please? Thanks a lot!

  41. Dan Johnson 01.14.2014 on 9:34 PM Reply

    Awesome, can't wait to brew it. Hop On!

  42. Mike Beirne 01.29.2014 on 11:00 PM Reply

    Scott, many thanks for the blog. I've incorporated a lot of good ideas from your recipes and posts.

    Quick question on your Pliny 3.0: what's your mash thickness for this? I typically default to 1.25qt/lb. – just looking to see if you do anything different.

  43. Scott 02.12.2014 on 3:48 PM Reply

    I bought it from yakima valley hops in bulk can that I divided up myself. I would imagine most of the hop extracts on the market are pretty similar though.

  44. Scott 02.12.2014 on 3:49 PM Reply

    Entire batch. So divide by 2 for a 6gal batch.

  45. Scott 02.12.2014 on 3:49 PM Reply

    Good luck! Let's hear how it turns out.

  46. Scott 02.12.2014 on 3:50 PM Reply

    Most of my batches are usually around 1.5qt/lb, but once I start getting over 1.065.1070, I'll cut it down to around 1.25qt/lb to increase the water I have to sparge with.

  47. John 04.30.2014 on 7:05 PM Reply

    Any tips on getting the attenuation up there like your stats say? Your stats show a ~86% apparent attenuation which is WAY over what WLP001 rates at- Any thoughts on using WLP090 or WLP099 to get it so low?

    Also your numbers are really high for efficiency also- somewhere near 90%? That is amazing.

  48. Maciej Biskup 05.01.2014 on 11:46 AM Reply

    Hi Scott, My LHBS does not have any hop extract oil, do you have a suggestion for a substitute? Thanks!

  49. Scott 05.06.2014 on 1:00 AM Reply

    Anytime you throw a decent percentage of Dextrose into a recipe, you'll get much better attenuation, so that's secret #1. Besides that, just make sure you're yeast are very healthy, hit them with plenty of oxygen, and manage the fermentation temperature well.

    As for the efficiency, keep in mind the dextrose helps quite a bit. Aside from that, I only take about 5.5gal into each fermenter.

  50. Scott 05.06.2014 on 1:01 AM Reply

    Any super high alpha acid hop would be a good choice. Apollo, Bravo, CTZ, Warrior (although it might be a bit too clean).

  51. Patrick Hynes 05.29.2014 on 6:32 PM Reply

    Hi from Ireland. I was in San Diego a couple of month ago, tried Pliny in O'Briens, loved it, and tried Vince's recipe when I got back. It didn't turn out that close. So I'm trying your recipe in the next couple or days. I've a few bottles of Pliny coming from Santa Rosa in the next week or so. So I'll get to compare when ready. Will keep you posted. Tks, Paddy.

  52. Jason Deveau 07.30.2014 on 8:02 PM Reply

    Hi from Ontario. Great recipe! I'm planning to brew it in four days. I'll post the results.
    Surprised by the repitch step into the keg – no problem with pressure build up?
    I suppose there's not enough the second time around to create that much pressure…

  53. Daniel Weissenborn 09.02.2014 on 5:12 PM Reply

    For your keg hops: Where do you position the dry hopper? Middle? Top? Bottom?



  54. Joey 12.30.2014 on 3:18 PM Reply

    I've probably read this post about a dozen times. I'm only 3 extract batches in on my home brewing adventure, but as soon as I feel ready to move to AG, this will be the first recipe I brew. Truth be told, I used your recipe to compare the Pliny Kits out there and picked the one that most closely matched your recipe (like, surprisingly similar…hmmm) and that is what I have currently in my primary.

    Just wanted to say I enjoy reading your blog and thanks for all the work you've done and results you've shared.

  55. Johnny_Fox 01.24.2015 on 6:58 PM Reply

    Paddy Hynes from AIT! small world eh? Johnny Fox here. How did your clone work out? did you sub for the hop extract or get some sent over from the US?

  56. Tito Goldstein 09.09.2015 on 12:40 AM Reply

    Thanks for the recipe. Gonna brew it in the next couple weeks (might substitute warrior in for the extract).

    QUICK QUESTION: What temp did you ferment at?

  57. David G 09.11.2015 on 2:00 AM Reply

    I have this in primary right now at 66-68, which is right where Vinnie, the creator of Pliny says he brews his. Check out this article by Vinnie:

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