Brewed up a Pliny clone (which I have dubbed “Hamfast the Gaffer“) on 9/1/12 using the recipe Vinnie provided in his “Brew a Double IPA” writeup for Zymurgy. My friend Brandon brought over some Pliny several weeks before we brewed this so expectations were high (that was my first taste after hearing about Pliny for years).
The brew sesh was pretty solid, everything went real smooth and we hit target OG of 1.072. We pitched some washed WLP001 from a Scottish Ale (Jamil’s 70/-) that had been brewed about two weeks earlier. Fermentation was kept at 67F until things were slowing down and I let it rise to 70F as I usually do with WLP001 to encourage the yeast to finish out and clean up. FG was slightly low at 1.009.
Racked to secondary on 9/8 with first dose of dry hops (loose pellets)
Added second dose of dry hops on 9/16 (loose pellets)
Moved to chest freezer to cold crash on 9/18 and racked to keg on 9/21 leaving most of the hop matter behind
Poured a sample on 9/21 and the beer tasted good, but it was still settling and mellowing and there were hop flakes in the glass.
Waited until 9/28 to try again and the beer was crystal clear and had really smoothed out. The bitterness is very pronounced, but I wouldn’t quite call it harsh. The aroma is like nothing I’ve ever smelled, seriously. I imagine Pliny at the brewery would smell this good, but I don’t think anything that gets bottled and transported to a liquor store, purchased and shipped across the country could ever smell like this. Upon comparison, I think we all agreed that the commercial version tastes a little smoother and has a little more sweetness, but the aroma is just not that great (due to circumstances mentioned above). Brandon even brought a bottle back from GABF that was bottled on 10/4 and we compared this a second time on 10/14, but again the aroma just wasn’t that good.
I am really happy with how this one turned out, probably my favorite beer to date that I’ve brewed. I entered it in the Hoppy Halloween competition and may send it off to a few others in November – we’ll see how it does..