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Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,439 Reviews

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Reviews: 3,439
Hads: 12,941
Avg: 4.6
pDev: 8.04%
Wants: 6,590
Gots: 3,181 | FT: 98
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-24-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 3,439 | Hads: 12,941
Photo of sittinggc
4.44/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Teku glass and less than 2 weeks old.

Look: Clear golden color with a sticky white head. Good retention.
Smell: Pine and grapefruit.
Taste: Similar to the aroma with lots of pine and grapefruit. Hops are well supported by a nice malt presence. Though the malts compliment the hops and do not overpower. Nice bitterness.
Feel: Smooth with a good level of carbonation.

Overall: Always a pleasure to knock back a pint of Pliny. Has earned its spot as one of the best IPAs around. Cheers!

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Photo of anonymoose
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes in an amber color. The aroma is pretty muted with some pine, malt, and citrus coming through. The taste is an even distribution of sweet malt, hop bitterness, and citrus. It's a great double IPA but I'm not a huge fan of the west coast malt profile.

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Photo of erushing
4.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Probably the cleanest IPA or DIPA I've ever had. Similar reaction to the clean taste of a fresh Sculpin the first time I tried that. Very well balanced, very light drinking for a DIPA or 8%. Again, exceptionally smooth, clean and balanced and it's obviously very well made, but the hype is a bit much. For flavor, I'd still prefer Cafe Racer 15 for a DIPA, but they're just different styles of DIPAs. I personally prefer a bolder taste, but if you appreciate cleanness and balance, then I'm not sure how you could do better for this style of beer.

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Photo of aceseth13
4.87/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: An orange amber color, ever so slightly cloudy with a inch of white foam. 4.5

Smell: Leads with the hops and immediately turns to a tropical, pineapple that lingers in the nose. Definite sweetness to the trail end of the smell. A tiny bit of alcohol. 5

Taste: Not as bitter as I expected at all, the hops come through, which leads into a citrus, then grapefruit with a slight taste of pineapple to finish the segment. The taste then shifts backs to hops, and the pine and resin come through in the aftertaste. For an 8% beer the alcohol is nearly undetectable. 5 (I'm a sucker for the hint of pineapple, very refreshing)

Feel: Very good mouth feel, crisp, not too much carbonation. 4.5

Overall: I am blown away by this beer, my favorite IPA up to this point has been the sculpin and I feel this is much much better. It appears once a month at the liquor store by my house and is limited to one per customer, so Ill be hunting for another. 4.75

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Photo of Cook82
4.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured into a New Belgium snifter bottle date 9/2/15 about 3 1/2 weeks old.
As far as west coast ipa's go this is the standard for me. Perfect balance of piney hop flavor and bitterness. One of the few dbl ipa's I've had where the smell and taste are equal (both amazing). Being an east coast guy I see a lot of similarities to Maine Beer Co Lunch but this is a bit better imo. Excellent brew!

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Photo of Elan
4.24/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good but not great. People are a bunch of sheep customers. Limit this shit and everyone goes gagga for it. Put it out as much as Ballast Point Sculpin and I guarantee it goes from a 100 to a 92-94. Anyhow. Bullshit marketing vs good beer.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice medium lacing, gives an inviting visual to accompany the intoxicating aroma. Just waves of floral hops with a such a freshly squeezed vibrancy you'd think you were smelling it right off the vine. The taste is so smooth & elegant for an American IPA. This is the standard because they don't just toss massive amounts of hops in to hammer you with the flavor or the bitterness. You get a great sense and balance of the different hop flavors, so while it might not taste vastly different than many other great IPAs - your orange citrus, your grapefruit, your pine, etc - it is the balance and the ability of it to draw forth subtle hop variances to the surface that makes this such a well regarded beer. It is slick but not oily, lighter on carbonation than I expected and it has just a faint lingering bitterness but it never overpowers the palate.

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Photo of lowers87
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: A classic golden amber, mild carbonation.
Smell: Wonderful hop smell. Doesn't overpower the senses, slight floral aroma. Light pine.
Taste: Tastes exactly how it smells. Very refreshing and extremely drinkable. Classic IPA. Great out of the bottle. Its not extremely complex, just done very well.
Feel: Consistent throughout. Just the right amount of punch. Doesn't drink like an 8%
Overall: I can't find any faults. If you like IPAs, drink this. Lives up to the hype. Great out of the bottle.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice rich golden color. Has a big aroma of pine, resin and a subtle sweetness. Flavor is hops, pine, & some tropical fruit. A little crisp bitter finish but a great IPA overall

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Photo of Lucasballek
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Having had this a few times, I can say that this is best on draft. Bottles must remain fresh and cold for optimum flavor. It's always got a full nose, and the flavor is a great mix of refreshing, and bold. It takes the traditional Bitterness of an IPA, and glorifies it. It doesn't shy away from the bitter, rather leans into it.

Always good!

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Photo of Dolphinsmarlins1
4.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter glass, upon which a relatively thick head emerged. Fruity flavors on the front end that quickly get overpowered by the piney, resinous bite. Solid beer, but definitely overhyped.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Toronado San Francisco

A: Pours a golden orange color with 2 fingers worth of head that sticks around for quite a while and leaves some nice lacing

S: Big hop presence, full of citrus and tropical fruity notes as well as a nice pine background. Quite resinous

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the hops and never lets go. Pine and fruity notes stand out with hints of some spiciness. Malt provides a nice backbone and balances out the bitterness and resinous qualities of the hops quite a bit. Finishes with lingering light bitterness and more resiny notes

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Again, very sticky and resinous

O: Definitely deserves the cult-like following it gets. Impressive in terms of drinkability despite the abv, bitterness, and resinous quality of the hops. Tough to top, seek this one out

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Photo of silverblaze540
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - Huge 1.5 inch thick head that holds well and doesn't move much. Cloudy amber in color. Some carbonation bubbles.

S - Passion fruit, grape fruit, very sweet.

T - Sweet passion fruit front, turns into stronger citrus notes. Finish is a medium bitterness.

M - Very thick and smooth without much burn.

O - A fantastic DIPA. So thick, so sweet, without an extreme IPA bitterness.

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Photo of RabbleRouserRye
4.58/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very Fresh Keg (as are all Pliny Kegs)

Aroma: Pine hops and a bit of malt. Oh and the hops in Pliny The Elder are right at the edge of being too much without crossing that line. Perfection

Appearance: Bright amber gold. Nice one finger head, which had staying power.

Flavor: A touch of malt with the predominant flavor being piney hops. Very well balanced. Great finish that stays with you just enough.

Mouthfeel: Not to heavy and not to light but just right. Definitely hits the Goldilocks zone.

Verdict : Fantastic IPA. Very smooth considering the 8.0% ABV. Great balance. If you have never had this beer it is worth searching for.

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Photo of Myotus
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 510ml bottle (bottled 21Aug15) into a Spiegelau IPA glass.
LOOK: Pours with two finger's worth of white foam that dissipates into half a finger's worth after 1 minute and 45 seconds. Dark gold in color. Large amount of rising bubbles. Lacing is high and thick.
SMELL: Strong aromas of piney hops meet strong aromas of apricots, peaches, mangos, papayas, tangerines, oranges, and grapefruits. Subtle sweet malts and bitter hops can also be detected.
TASTE: Strong piney hop flavors enter initially along with mild sweet malts. Mild fruit flavors previously mentioned enter immiediately after along with strong bitter hop flavors as initial flavors persist.
FEEL: Medium-bodied and subtly carbonated. Goes down extremely smooth. Finishes extremely dry.
NOTE: Diss. A. Pointed... Way too bitter. Don't see what the hype was about. It was great, don't get me wrong. But this is not world-class worthy. Fruits were stronger in the aromas than the taste. Perhaps because the bottle wasn't THAT fresh (only 26 days old). Yellow Rose was definitely better than this.

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Photo of captainsdaughter
4.92/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Wow after having Heady I was unsure anything could ever top it. After having this however I understand how people can appreciate this beer more. Heady is definitely more hops forward and Pliny is definitely more balanced. I still would prefer Heady but this is by far the most well balanced and delicious double I've ever had.

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Photo of Zonk
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a really excellent IIPA and I was on the fence between rating a 4.5 and 4.75.

Hazy golden color with reasonably thick head. Overpowering pine aromas and some resin. Not much on the fruit side but a little citrus.

A little sweet but flavors are mostly piney and herbal.

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Photo of XBeerBellyT
4.83/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Hazy Gold
S: Danky and loads of Citrus, Piny
T: Was not as fresh bottle but had good amount of citrus and hoppy cuts through at the end
F: Say a Medium Feel

Fantastic IPA

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Photo of BIN29
4.13/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From a 510ml bottled on 082115. 25 days old bottle. In a large tulip.

Aroma: Pine, lots of pine. Not a lot of dank, this is different than heady. Little on the citrus side, just a little grapefruit rind. This is the father of all the floral, spicy and herbal dipas. Not too hoppy, and that's why perhaps you hear once in a while how this is very disappointing beer. There is a significant present of nice bready malts in here.

Appearance: Clear bright golden in color. Nice little white foamy head. Those bubbles are just so beautiful to watch. Has a nice carbonation for a dipa.

Taste: malty, sweet and bitter. Piney and spicy. Little herbal finish and nice little dryness. Wonderfull and complex.

Palate: The mouthfeel reminds me a lot of Blind Pig, very unique, and hard to articulate. Oily, sticky and very lively.

Overall: Pliny is unique. The mouthfeel, the carbonation, the spicy/herbal/piney notes here are unique. Don't call this beer overrated because it's not better than heady or other east coast ipas.

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Photo of Alequine
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice straw like coloration. Citrusy aroma light mouthfeel with a grapefruit and bitter finish. Very easy to drink. I will come back to this review as I will drink this again and provide better detail.

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Photo of lochraneg
4.48/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: Golden Hazy Yellow, with cloudy subtle overall appearance, nice solid head
Smell: Hoppy, Citrus notes
Taste: Underwhelming compared to the hype, many other American Doubles out there
Feel: Good Body, hangs out on the tongue, but not overly bitter
Overall: Would not actively seek out all the time, but still a good APA

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Photo of MHurley
4.93/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Lucky to fine a Bottle up here in Kingman Az. Pours a nice orange light in color with great head thick white and fluffy with great lacing. Smells of citrus and pine feel the nose. When you close your eyes and smell this beer its as if your just stepping out of a cabin with axe in hand ready to take on the day. Get hoppy taste and ballanced very nicely. Very smooth and amazing taste! Beautiful beer

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Photo of Slack
4.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A mix of golden and amber with the light. A small amount of head and some lacing.

Citrus, piney hops, and malt on the nose.

Sweet malt up front balanced by hops and a lingering piney finish.

Mouthful is medium to light and clean with medium carbonation and a long finish.

Overall this is quite nice. I don't typically like ipa's but this is smooth and balanced. The sweetness plays well with the hops which are not overwhelming. I don't know if this lives up to the hype but it is definitely worth a try.

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Photo of ryanhooks81
4.8/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

poured from bottle. golden yellow slight orange color. half inch of nice fluffy head. great lacing. pine resin cand citrus in the finish. unbelievably drinkable. im just glad i have another one!

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Photo of EdwardAbbey
4.34/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Although I've had much juicier IIPAs, and IIPAs with more interesting malt character, this beer probably deserves its exalted status on account of how exceptionally *clean* and balanced it is. It is not my favorite in the style, nor what I consider the tastiest, but as a perfectly executed example of what (I think) it was trying to do, it's definitely great.

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Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,439 ratings.