On February 21, 2015, Apex tapped the much-hyped Pliny the Younger (only released once a year at the beginning of February) and Dogfish Head 120-Minute IPA. I checked it out with a friend who has also put away his fair share of great microbrews.
As expected, a line formed even before Apex opened at 11:30 AM. I got there at 11:15 and the line was already around the block. Apparently, word spreads fast.
Once the doors opened, the line steadily moved. One thing was clear: Only one 6 oz. pour of Pliny the Younger per person.
PLINY THE YOUNGER REVIEW:Beer Name: Pliny the Younger
Brewery: Russian River Brewing Co. (Santa Rosa, CA)
Price: $6.00 for a 6 oz. pour
Appearance (5%): Poured into a champagne glass. Top-notch, clear golden color. Very little head, basically lacing. 4.75/5
Smell (25%): Fairly sweet smell with pleasing citrus-passion fruit and hoppy characteristics. Excellent. 4.5/5
Taste (40%): Extremely drinkable Triple IPA. More bitterness than Pliny the Elder, with way more grapefruit-bitterness on the tongue. All things considered, it's balanced well, considering it is supposed to be 10.5%. Still very dangerous because this beer drinks easier than what the alcohol content states. Some alcohol flavor, but very minimal at that. 4.25/5
Mouthfeel (10%): Mostly identical to its year-round "father" (Pliny the Elder). Slight malty presence, but retains its easygoing, refreshing feel. Medium body with some lingering, pleasing bitterness. Outstanding, given its Triple IPA status. 5/5
Overall (20%): After having Pliny the Elder a few times, I was intrigued with how Pliny the Younger would stack up, given how hyped this is (probably more so than Pliny the Elder). Honestly, I did not find the Younger to be as good as the Elder -- but that's just me. If you love a stronger beer with that extra bit of refreshing citrus-bitterness, then you will go apenuts for this. I would definitely get this beer again if there was no line or a reasonable line. The lengthy standing in line for Pliny the Younger would be relegated to the "one-time-for-science" category. 4/5
Final Weighted Rating: 4.363/5
DOGFISH HEAD 120-MINUTE IPA REVIEW:Beer Name: 120-Minute IPA
Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewing Co. (Milton, DE)
ABV: 18% (WTF?!)
Price: $6.00 for a 6 oz. pour
Appearance (5%): Poured into a champagne glass. Appealing hazy, bronze-brownish color. You can already tell this beer means business. 4.25/5
Smell (25%): Extremely sweet. Significant alcoholic presence. Some hoppy characteristics. Holy cow, you know this will provide a jolt. 3.5/5
Taste (40%): Immediately hits you with an intense sweet, alcoholic explosion. In all fairness, it's what you would expect for a "beer" that clocks in at 18%. I didn't catch much else after that. 3.5/5
Mouthfeel (10%): Off-the-chain syrupy and heavy. The alcohol is all over the map. Holy panda balls. 2/5
Overall (20%): This is a beer that you *might* bust out for the celebratory "I got my dream job" or "I passed my bar exam/boards to become a lawyer/doctor" occasion. Or perhaps you're looking for a way to get smashed or keep the stomach warm -- because Dogfish 120 will do that, too. There is no way that I could enjoy this on even an occasional basis. Chances are that Apex tapped a fairly fresh batch of Dogfish 120, so it would be interesting to see how an aged Dogfish 120 beer differs. While Dogfish Head gets points for making this beer, there are other Dogfish brews that I would rather have at my disposal (i.e. 60-Minute and even 90-Minute). For me, Dogfish 120 is unfortunately not on my list of favorites. It's simply too strong and too heavy for me to enjoy. 2/5
Final Weighted Rating: 3.088/5