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Odell Myrcenary vs. Russian River Pliny the Elder

Posted by Isaac Grindeland
I’ve been drinking the heck out of Odell Myrcenary lately. Over the last month, I’ve gone through 2 4-packs and probably a dozen pints at A Second Cup served by northern Colorado Springs finest beer pourer, Chad Shayotovich. I’ve been thinking, Is Myrcenary as good as my gold standard for double IPAs, Pliny the Elder? I found it hard believe that my old friend, Pliny the Elder, could be knocked off its glorious pedestal, but I couldn’t help but think Myrcenary might have a fighting chance. So I decided, frick, let’s put these heavyweights to a head to head challenge. I have to practice as a judge for the AHA national homebrewing competition anyway right? To recreate the challenge for yourself, you must buy both beers at the same time and listen to The Avett Brothers Live Volume 3 album. Judging methods are based on the BJCP guidelines. Here are my results.

Odell Myrcenary 9.3% ABV 12 oz. bottle

  • Fun Fact – Myrcene is a component of essential oil in the hop flower!
  • Aroma – A hop explosion of light citrus fruits such as grapefruit and passion fruit. Slight pine and grassy notes. No earthy hops. A sweet malt but not cloying. No diacetyl. 11/12
  • Appearance – Golden amber. Clear. White head, low head retention 2/3
  • Flavor – Hop flavor predominates with fruits of citrus, grapefruit, and pineapple. Long lingering bitterness but not harsh. Nice medium low sweet malt with a dry finish. 18/20
  • Mouthfeel -Smooth medium body. Not astringent. Medium carbonation. Overall dry. Some alcohol warmth. Not hot. 5/5
  • Overall – Very hoppy with nice balanced malt sweetness that finishes dry and smooth. Excellent double IPA. 9.3% is impressively hidden. World class double IPA!! 9/10
Overall score : 45/50 Grade: A+

Russian River Pliny the Elder 8.0% ABV 500 ml bottle

  • Fun Fact – Pliny the Elder was a Roman naturalist, scholar, historian, traveler, officer, and writer. Pliny and his posse created the first botanical name for hops, “Lupus salictarius”, meaning wolf among scrubs. He died while watching Mount Vesuvius erupt in 79 AD.
  • Aroma – A hop explosion of grassy citrus notes and grapefruit. Sweet malt. No diacetyl. 10/12
  • Appearance – Golden amber with a touch of copper. Clear. White head with low retention. 2/3
  • Flavor – Hop flavor is strong and full of citrus, grassy, and grapefruit notes. Malt flavor is low but sweet. Very dry finish with great bitter aftertaste that is smooth and clean. 19/20
  • Mouthfeel – Smooth, medium body. Not astringent. medium carbonation. Smooth low alcohol warmth. 5/5
  • Overall – Complex and intense but smooth hoppy beer with an amazing inspiring dry finish all the way through. A perennial all-star of double IPAs! 9/10
Overall grade: 45/50 Grade: A+

Well, that’s annoying. Both scores are the same! These beers are very close in their hop and malt profiles. While Myrcenary is a tad sweeter in the malt profile and finish, Pliny the Elder is a little more dry throughout and has a little less alcohol warmth. Myrcenary had a more intense hop aroma, but that may be due to shelf life. As the beer warmed, Mycenary had a slight piny hop flavor too. Pliny kept its high citrus notes as it warmed. Overall, I still pick Pliny the Elder as my double IPA of choice mostly because of the dryer finish, but as I stated previously, these beers are super close in aroma and flavor, and it was a very close race. In a blind tasting, I may not be able to pick one from the other. Great job, Odell, on bringing another great double IPA to the Front Range for us to enjoy! It is one of my favorites in Colorado!

Written By

Eric teaches art, loves being outdoors, and organizes beer events around the country. He founded Focus on the Beer and Beers Made By Walking.


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