Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Background on the Sam Adams Longhshot Beers

By William Brand
Monday, November 19th, 2007 at 9:54 pm in Uncategorized.

Here’s the column I wrong on Mike McDole’s Longshot winner

Clayton homebrewer clones Pliny,
wins Sam Adams LongShot

Article Launched: 10/24/2007 03:08:01 AM PDT

Are you, like me, a fan of Pliny the Elder****, the huge hop and malt bomb created by Vinnie Cilurzo at Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa? It won another gold medal earlier this month at the Great American Beer Festival. It’s in short supply and has not been bottled, but early this winter, you and I will have a chance to taste what is practically the same beer under the Samuel Adams LongShot label — thanks to ace homebrewer Mike McDole of Clayton, a member of DOZE — the Diablo Order of Zymiracle Enthusiasts. His beer was one of two winners of a national homebrewers contest conducted for Boston Beer Co.

Mike  McDole, Longshot WinnerOut of more than 1,700 entries, a panel of judges in a blind tasting chose McDole’s beer and a strong German-style wheat bock made by Rodney Kibzey, of Chicago, Ill. Both will be released along with a beer from the winner of an in-house homebrew contest under the Sam Adams LongShot label. It will, apparently, be the first national release of a popular West Coast style known as a double or imperial India pale ale. Mike’s beer is 9.6 percent ABV, 100 IBUs — seven kinds of aromatic hops.

India pale ale’s a style that originated in England in colonial days. It was a beer strong enough to stand the four-month sea voyage to Brit troops in India. The double version, like Mike’s, is so strong, it could survive a trip to India by burro.

McDole, a computer consultant who has been homebrewing for more than a decade, says quite bluntly that his beer’s a clone of Pliny the Elder. It isn’t Pliny, he said. But it almost is. The difference is McDole adds one more hop, Northern Brewer, early in the process and he uses a malt extract, often used by homebrewers.

But otherwise, it’s Pliny — with its exquisite, multilayered mouth-feel. He explains that Cilurzo provided the recipe at a national American Homebrewers Association conference a couple of years ago. Mike says he won a big state contest last year, sponsored by the Maltose Falcons homebrew club in Southern California, with the same beer.

He adds that he told Vinnie about his Sam Adams victory, who delivered the news to Boston Brewing founder Jim Koch that he had chosen a Pliny clone as a LongShot winner.

One thing’s certain: This is a beer that will sell out. Watch for it this winter.

McDole, who is a widower with two grown sons, says he took up homebrewing after he discovered good beer. Homebrewers are great people, he notes. He became a fan of Pliny, so, when Cilurzo released the recipe, he went for it.

“I started making it and I started winning contests,” he said. He’s a popular guy around the area; when he goes to an event, a wedding, a party, he always brings a beer. Hey, Mike, you can come to my party. And, er, bring the Pliny clone, if you don’t mind.

By the way, his recipe is posted here. More info on the DOZE homebrew club can be found here. at Ratings
***** World classic.
**** A real star; don’t miss it.
*** Very good; worth a try.
** Good beer; no defects.
* Don’t toss it; demand a refund.

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