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Homebrewing IPA just like Pliny the Elder

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Hossenfifer, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. Has anyone tried to replicate RR's Pliny at home and had success? I would love to pick your brain on how you did it, your ingredients and process. Thanks!
  2. MLucky

    MLucky Savant (400) California Jul 31, 2010

  3. There was an error in that recipe, that had an errata in a later issue. Don't know if it was corrected.
    You need to make the malt bill match the OG of the recipe, as it should be for a 6 gallon batch due to wort loss to the hops, IIRC.
  4. beanboon

    beanboon Disciple (50) Florida Apr 18, 2011

    I bought the kit from B3 and it was great. I didn't have Vinnie's water so it could have been better. Just be prepared for tons of trub loss.
  5. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Savant (455) Virginia Nov 10, 2010

    8 Gallon Gross Kettle Volume / 5 Net Gallons Post Fermentation

    O.G. - 1.070
    T.G. - 1.011
    BU's - 90-95 (actual/not calculated)
    ABV - 8-8.5%
    Mash Rest - 151-152
    Boil Time - 90 min.
    SRM - 7ish

    87% 2-Row Malt
    4% Crystal 45 Malt
    4% Carapils (Dextrin) Malt
    5% Dextrose Sugar

    3.50 oz CTZ 13.90% A.A. 90 min.
    .75 oz CTZ 13.90% A.A. 45 min.
    1.00 oz Simcoe 12.30% A.A. 30 min.
    1.00 oz Centennial 8.00% A.A. 0 min.
    2.50 oz Simcoe 12.30% A.A. 0 min.
    1.00 oz CTZ 13.90% A.A. Dry Hop (12 to 14 Days Total)
    1.00 oz Centennial 9.10% A.A. Dry Hop (12 to 14 Days Total)
    1.00 oz Simcoe 12.30% A.A. Dry Hop (12 to 14 Days Total)
    .25 oz CTZ 13.90% A.A. Dry Hop (5 days to go in dry hop)
    .25 oz Centennial 9.10% A.A. Dry Hop (5 days to go in dry hop)
    .25 oz Simcoe 12.30% A.A. Dry Hop (5 days to go in dry hop)

    (adjust your hop addition quantities accordingly with your exact alpha acid‛s)

    California Ale Yeast

    Brewed this a half-dozen times.
    Sho'is good.
  6. mattbk

    mattbk Savant (425) New York Dec 12, 2011

    Looked at this a bit. How would you expect to get only 90-95 IBUs when there is a 3.5 oz CTZ addition at 90 minutes? Quick plug into Beersmith shows IBUs over 150 just from this one addition alone. Maybe this is the difference between calculated and actual IBUs, but I'm afraid I don't understand how they can be that different.
  7. Treb0R

    Treb0R Savant (320) Oregon Dec 12, 2012

    Theoretical IBUs and Actual IBUs are quite different. The human palate tops off at sensing 90-100 IBUs. Regardless, I think PtE was lab tested to be more like 75-80 actual IBUs. These numbers can change depending on the formula you use, e.g. Rager, Tinseth, Garetz, etc.

    So I guess the argument can be made, "Why add so many early hops if we can only sense 90-100 IBUs tops?" Perhaps it's a flavor thing. But more than a few people will tell you that any hop addition beyond 20-25 minutes left in the boil will not contribute much if anything towards flavor. But PtE's unique hop character may come partially from these huge early additions. Who knows?
  8. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (930) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    It's not just a question of perception ("human palate"). It's simply not possible to get more than 110 (or so) actual IBUs into wort, no matter how many hops you throw at it, due to the limits of iso-alpha acid solubility. Then, fermentation will remove some of that.
  9. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (930) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    Besides the international IBU speed limit of about 110 IBUs, there's also a steeply diminishing returns phenomenon as you approach the limit. Each additional IBU comes at a steeper price than the last. The standard IBU models don't account for this. Subjectively, I think the Tinseth formula starts to go astray somewhere around 65 IBUs.
  10. Treb0R

    Treb0R Savant (320) Oregon Dec 12, 2012

    True. I neglected to mention the AA solubility limit in wort, especially if the wort is concentrated.
  11. mattbk

    mattbk Savant (425) New York Dec 12, 2011

    Interesting. Makes me wonder if this Pliny clone would taste the same if a lot less CTZ was used at this 90 min addition, say 1oz instead of the 3.5 reco'd here.
  12. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Advocate (520) Texas Nov 21, 2008 Verified

    Yeah, I don't think it's a matter of human perception at all. If you could increase the IBUs beyond some sensory or perceptual saturation point, you would still expect a longer duration of that saturation (lingering bitterness) from amounts that exceeded that threshold.

    Ragardless of how much ISO-alphas you get into a boiling wort, you probably get loss due through its precipitation along with yeast and break materials.

    If you really want high IBUs, you probably need to use unconventional means and introduce iso-alphas into finished beer using premade extracts or using a process that in effect produces an inline extraction of hop constituents - a "liquid CO2 hop infuser". It would be kinda like a diabolical esspresso machine. Build one of these and use it in the beer bar. It would be an instant hit, making wierd noises and fogging up the place every time you use it. Beer geeks would travel hundreds of miles for a pint. I would anyways.
  13. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Savant (485) Nevada Dec 4, 2008 Verified

    I don't think it's Pliny's bitterness that makes it so desirable...there are lots of beers that taste more bitter.
  14. yinzer

    yinzer Savant (395) Pennsylvania Nov 24, 2006

    FWIW I've never heard of a beer that tested over 85 IBU's.
  15. On the Green Flash website they list 100+ IBUs for Palate Wrecker. I am unsure whether this is a measured value. It appears that Green Flash has a unique process for making Palate Wrecker:

    “The Technical Process:
    Because of the volume of hops (6 lbs. per barrel) and the complicated special processes utilized, is a exciting challenge for the Green Flash brewing team. Ironlically, it was originally brewed during the 2008 hop crisis as a special release in honor of San Diego’s beloved craft beer-focused tavern, Hamilton’s, in celebration of their 2nd Anniversary. Chuck Silva came up with a new method to make intensely hoppy IPA by performing a double brew to make a single beer. First, there is a single infusion mash and subsequent boil at 65 IBU with Columbus and Centennial hops. Then a second, duplicate mash using the 65 IBU wort instead of water and another 65 IBU boil using the same hop schedule. The result is a higher gravity beer with kettle caramelizing in place of crystal malts, an elevated hop flavor and bitterness that could not be achieved in a single brew.”

    I have had Palate Wrecker once (on draft); I enjoyed drinking that beer. It was indeed very hoppy. Which made me happy!:)

  16. yinzer

    yinzer Savant (395) Pennsylvania Nov 24, 2006

    Looks like the "double mash" method. Any guesses on how ,long the first boil is?
  17. I don't have a clue.

  18. yinzer

    yinzer Savant (395) Pennsylvania Nov 24, 2006

    Yeah, I guess it's how much you want the oil (or molecules) isomerized.

    I found a pdf on this thread with an interesting mash schedule, but I can't find anything about doing a boil between mashing.


    edit, I also remember some presentation talking about a process where the hops molecule binds with the sugars. The key is getting to carry through the full brewing process.
  19. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011

    Mikkeller 1000 IBU tested at 120 and 98 IBUs in two different, reputable labs.
  20. At the risk of sounding picayune, do you know why one lab had a result of 120 and the other 98? Was it due to differing batches (one lab tested batch 1 and the other lab tested batch 2)?

  21. There are a few listed in IPA by Steele.

    I think the one Barfdiggs quotes are in Hops by Heironymus.
  22. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011


    Most likely not the same bottle due to the difference in geography between the two sources of the measurement... White labs measured it at 140 IBUs, and the Brewing School at the Catholic University at Leuven measured it at 96 IBU. Different labs, different beers, different results... pretty much par for the course. Depending on how its done, the organic extraction on acidified beer with iso-octane, can be fairly variable, as can the actual spectrophotometric measurement depending on the spectrophotometer used and where in the linear/non-linear range the measurement is performed.

    The new hops book is a great read, BTW, if interested.
  23. Yup, in the IPA book Stone Ruination IPA is listed at 105 IBUs.

    From a web search:

    “The Ruination IPA is similar to Stone’s standard IPA, but they have added more and varied hops and more alcohol. The beer is measured at over 100 IBU’s (International Bitterness Units), and very little sweetness is added to offset the resulting bitterness.”

  24. The percentage differential of 120 and 98 is 19.5%.

    You stated: “Depending on how it’s done, the organic extraction on acidified beer with iso-octane, can be fairly variable, as can the actual spectrophotometric measurement depending on the spectrophotometer used and where in the linear/non-linear range the measurement is performed.”

    So, does the IBU assay have an accuracy of something like 20%?

    I have no idea whether Mikkeller 1000 had multiple batches. It seems to me that two different bottles from the same batch shouldn’t have a large variability of bitterness.

  25. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011

    I haven't done any IBU determinations since my undergrad, so off the top of my head I don't remember what the standard error (Precision of measurement) or standard error of the mean were for my determinations. From an assay development standpoint, 20% error is unacceptable; with current spectrophotometric assays I use for graduate work, they're on the order of 1-5% standard error, 0.5-3% standard error of the mean (Assumes the mean you measure isn't the true arithmetic mean, so divides standard deviation by the square root of the number of measurements).

    I believe there have been multiple batches of 1000 IBU, however since the IBU measurement was devised back when hop quality was lower (more oxidation products, beta acids, etc.; 5/7ths adjustment), if the measurements were far apart in time, and/or shipping temp differences, etc. there could have been some degradation products formed, that on top of experimental error/variability, operator error or variability, etc. might have further squewed the measurements. There was no experimental error mentioned in the book, so I assume they only did each measurement once.
  26. “I believe there have been multiple batches of 1000 IBU …” That has to be the explanation for the wide variation in numbers (I hope that is the explanation).

  27. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Savant (455) Virginia Nov 10, 2010

    The World According to Vinnie.
    It's his recipe.

    I'd BM you the PDF but the Bros won't oblige.
  28. See what you guys did to this poor guys thread!!
  29. kjyost

    kjyost Champion (775) Manitoba (Canada) May 4, 2008 Verified

    I assume you mean that they gave him a recipe and some experience before devolving to a separate discussion:)
    sergeantstogie likes this.
  30. Here is a blog I check once in a while. I really like what he is doing. http://www.bertusbrewery.com/ he claims his Pliny version is "Cloned".
  31. Remember the most important aspect of Pliny - Freshness. We all know that Pliny only has an ideal shelf life of 35.26 minutes. Don't even bother bottling the clone, just drink it from the fermenter. Drop a big crazy straw into the carboy and slurp away.
  32. yinzer

    yinzer Savant (395) Pennsylvania Nov 24, 2006

    I'm sure that there are, but I think that people get too wrapped up in IBU's. I'm pretty sure that two instances that come to mind are interviews of Colin Kaminski and Matt Brynildson. When they say what the beer in question tested out, they really do sound surprised that it was as low as it was. I believe that Collin's take-away was that he's probably wasting money on hops. I've never had any of Colin's beers, but I'm sure that they are bitter enough. I know that FW'ers are.

    Last weekend I had "Lawsons Finest - Jade". I'd like to know what that tested at. I found it a bit too bitter for my taste, but I was a good bitterness. As soon as the bitterness hit you there was an immediate very pleasant hop flavor to accompany it. I'm sure that it's freshness played a key role, but that type of hop flavor can only come from process and not by simply adding more hops.