Pliny the Elder is a Double IPA and one of the top five most highly rated beers on Beer Advocate. It’s brewed by Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, CA, and is named for the Roman scholar who reportedly gave hops their original botanical name way back in the first century AD. With enough IBUs to tear the enamel off your teeth, Pliny the Elder is extremely popular and can be hard to find – why not brew your own?
This Pliny the Elder clone beer recipe comes from the book Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer. Vinnie Cilurzo, co-owner and brewmaster at Russian River, contributed to the beer recipe specifically for the book, so you can be sure it’s close to the real thing!
The clone beer recipe below assumes a mash efficiency of 83% and a 90-minute boil time. It also uses nearly seven ounces of dry hops, so if needed, review our Quick Guide to Dry Hopping Your Homebrew. Good luck!
“Hop Hammer” – Pliny the Elder Clone Beer Recipe
(6-gallon batch, all-grain version)
15.25 lbs. American two-row malt
0.5 lb. Wheat malt
1.5 lb. Corn sugar
0.5 lb. Crystal 40L malt
2 oz. Warrior hops at 90 mins (30 AAU)
2 oz. Chinook hops at 90 mins (26 AAU)
1 oz. Simcoe hops at 45 mins (12 AAU)
1 oz. Columbus hops at 30 mins (14 AAU)
2.25 oz. Centennial hops at 0 mins (20.25 AAU)
1 oz. Simcoe hops at 0 mins (12 AAU)
3.25 oz. Columbus hops, dry hop for 7-10 days (45.5 AAU)
1.75 oz. Centennial hops, dry hop for 7-10 days (15.75 AAU)
1.75 oz. Simcoe hops, dry hop for 7-10 days (21 AAU)
Directions: The day before brewing the Pliny the Elder clone beer recipe, prepare a yeast starter sufficient for an OG of 1.080. On brew day, mash the crushed grains at 150˚F in approximately 5 gallons of water. Lauter and sparge to collect 7.75 gallons of wort. Bring to a boil. Add hops according to schedule. Mix in corn sugar just before flameout. Ferment at 67˚F, slowly raising the temperature to 70˚F towards the end of primary fermentation. When most of the yeast has settled, transfer to a secondary fermenter and add the dry hops. Dry hop for 7-10 days. Bottle or keg for 2-2.5 vols CO2 of carbonation.
EXTRACT VERSION: Replace the two-row and wheat malt with 10.9 lbs. of light LME and 0.5 lb. of wheat LME. Steep the crushed caramel malt for about 30 minutes at 150˚F before mixing in the malt extracts and proceed with the beer recipe.
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder and editor of the Local Beer Blog.