839. Russian River – Pliney the Elder

839. Russian River - Pliney the ElderAn ice storm has hit the midwest, and so we stayed home today and cleaned around the house. I thought I’d reward myself by cracking open this beer. My sister was in San Francisco a few weeks ago attending both a 49ers and Raiders game in her quest to attend an NFL game in every NFL stadium. She asked if there were any beers in the area I’d like and this was it. She managed to get 2 bottles of it for me! Huge thanks to my sister for this beer!

Location: Poured into a TEKU pint glass at my home in Bloomington, IL

Numbers: 8% ABV, 1.070 OG, 234 Calories

Appearance & Aroma: It’s bright golden in color and crystal clear with a huge, fluffy, bright white head that had tremendous retention and lacing. It has a big piney-earthy-floral hop aroma.

Taste & Feel: The body is medium – but lighter than expected – and the mouthfeel is creamy and a bit oily from the hops. The flavor up front is lightly sweet and floral-piney hoppy.  In the middle, the hops are slightly sharp, but their flavor and essence open up in the finish. The finish is a nice mix of hoppy flavors, with mostly piney-resinous and floral flavors with some earthy-spicy notes underneath. Those hops flavors last for a few minutes in the aftertaste.

Food Pairing: This beer has a lot of hoppy flavors, and I think I’d contrast it with something cheesy. I had this with potato skins, which was a great pairing. I think it would also be great with cheese enchiladas or other spicy Mexican food.

Overall Impression: This is a very good double IPA, which didn’t seem to let on that it is as high in ABV as it is. By the body and freshness of this beer, you’d think it was a regular IPA or hoppy pale ale. I really enjoyed it, as well as the mix of hop flavors. I think the mix of hops combined together nicely, adding plenty of hoppy depth and complexity to the finish and lingering aftertaste. Overall, this is a very good beer, but I think part of the enjoyment of this beer is its limited availability. Much like Westvleteren XII, the difficulty of getting this beer ads to its mysticism, reputation, and enjoyment of having it.

My Rating: ★★★★½

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Author: kkozlen

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