I don’t often get beer kits, because I usually find it easier and cheaper to assemble a recipe on my own and also because kits tend to sit around on store shelves with pre-milled grains and old hops. However, I couldn’t resist getting the Pliny the Elder clone kit from MoreBeer, when it went on sale recently. I did a “homegrown” Pliny clone awhile back, and it was OK but not outstanding. So, I decided to give this recipe family another try.
I augmented the kit slightly, because the provided packages of Magnum were ridiculously low alpha–only 2.3% according to the package! I didn’t know that this variety even came so low, and I needed some “real” Magnum from my personal stash to augment things.
For this batch, I also decided to really pay attention to my handling of the beer. Every transfer was closed, and everything was kept either cool or cold, depending on the stage of the process. The end results were definitely worth it!
Pliny the Elder Clone: The MoreBeer Edition
- 13 lb. 2-row malt (Briess)
- 1 lb. Carapils malt (Briess)
- 4 oz. Caramel 40L malt (Briess)
- 2 oz. Cascade hop pellets (7.3% alpha), added to mash
- 2 oz. Magnum hop pellets (2.3% alpha), 90 minute boil
- 2 oz. Magnum hop pellets (10.1% alpha), 90 minute boil
- 1 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (12.9% alpha), 45 minute boil
- 1 oz. CTZ hop pellets (14.4% alpha), 30 minute boil
- 1 lb. corn sugar, 10 minute boil
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
- 1 tsp. yeast nutrient (WLN1000), 50 minute boil
- 2 oz. Centennial hop pellets (9.9% alpha), 5 minute whirlpool
- 1 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (12.9% alpha), 5 minute whirlpool
- 2 pkg. American West Coast ale yeast BRY-97 (Lallemand)
- 3 oz. CTZ hop pellets (14.4% alpha), dry hop in keg
- 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (9.9% alpha), dry hop in keg
- 1 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (12.9% alpha), dry hop in keg
- 1.073 o.g., 1.011 f.g., 8.3% abv, 165 IBU
- Claremont tap water, adjusted to achieve target water profile of 66 ppm Ca, 22 ppm Mg, 91 ppm Na, 204 ppm SO4, 85 ppm
- Full volume mash, with 90 minutes at 151°.
- I mashed in with 7.1 gallons of water at 159°, to hit a mash temperature of 151°. I added 8 mL of 88% lactic acid, to adjust the pH. I held at 151° and recirculated for 90 minutes, before mashing out at 168° for 10 minutes. Then, I pulled the grain basket and sparged with 1 gallon of hot water.
- In total, I collected 7 gallons of runnings at a gravity of 1.055, for 74% mash efficiency. For high gravity beers, a small sparge really makes a difference on the Anvil.
- I added 5 g of gypsum and 5 g of epsom salts to the kettle, to hit my target water profile.
- I boiled the runnings for 90 minutes, adding hops and finings and such per the recipe.
- After 90 minutes, I turned off the heat and chilled to 65°, before transferring to the fermenter.
- I pitched the yeast, and set the beer to ferment at 66°.
- I brewed the beer on 27 December 2021. I pulled it to ambient (58 to 60°) on 8 January 2022.
- On 15 January 2022, I did a closed transfer of the beer into a purged keg for dry hopping quickly popping the lid to throw in the loose hops. I used a hop screen on the floating dip tube.
- On 21 January 2022, I transferred from the dry hopping keg into a purged serving keg, and then carbonated. I lost probably close to a gallon of hop sludge.
- The beer started out fairly hazy, but was reasonably clear within a few weeks.
- Starting gravity was 1.070, and final gravity was 1.013, for 7.7% abv.
- Pours with a creamy, off-white and persistent head with very nice lacing. The beer is gold, with a very slight haze.
- Citrus at the front, with a light herbal and grassy character behind that.
- Hops! Bitter! There is a real orange hop quality, with in-your-face bitterness. Hops are quite high (as expected), with not much for malt character against the hops. The yeast character is very clean; I’m happy with the fermentation on this one.
- Medium body, off-dry extended finish with very slight astringency. Moderate carbonation.
- Would I brew this again?
- Yes! I am really pleased with this…it’s a great double IPA. The hop character is excellent. I could do without the slight chill haze, but otherwise the beer is awesome, and not a bad approximation of Pliny. I could probably reduce the dry hop length to only two or three days (rather than six), to hopefully reduce the slight astringency.