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Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,406 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,406
Hads: 12,816
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 7.41%
Wants: 6,526
Gots: 3,094 | FT: 91
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Pliny The Elder Alström Bros
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Reviews: 3,406 | Hads: 12,816
Photo of Two-Guys-Drinking-Beer
4/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not bad, but I feel it's kind of over rated. I prefer Blind Pig but it's still an amazing beer. Looking forward to trying it again. Check out our review on the Two Guys Drinking Beer podcast. (191 characters)

Photo of bongobeer
4.94/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I finally get to try Pliny the Elder! This beer has already been described thousands of ways...so I want waste time here...it holds up to all the hype! It is very balanced, smooth and more sweet than I would have thought? Great beer! (233 characters)

Photo of chefbrady
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer is best out of the bottle within the first 2 weeks of the date IMO. The pinkness starts to die off after that and it becomes quite malty for a west coast IPA (167 characters)

Photo of Ryanthebear
4.69/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured clear amber color into a pint glass with a persistent fluffy white head. The aroma was the star of this beer: a monstrous blast of fresh hops, citric and spicy. The flavor was initially overwhelming sharp hop bitterness. This faded to a pleasant biscuity malt flavor. Medium high carbonation was almost prickly on the tongue, but helped round out the mouthfeel of a beer that could have otherwise been a touch heavy. Instead, it is an easy drinking beer that finishes clean and sweet, but short of sticky sweet, and with a hint of the citrus and spice of the hops. Overall, it is a fantastic IPA. (606 characters)

Photo of govlady
4.53/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

my sister brought some pliny out to KC from Denver.

poured clear orange, smelled citrus, pine, floral. tasted more hops and pine, hint of the citrus. went down smooth, very balanced IPA, moderate carbination. would love to have again. (236 characters)

Photo of Gerad_12
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I am lucky enough to live close enough to RR that my local store gets them fairly regularly. However, I did just get a case straight from the brewery. This is a well done IPA that is more finesse, and less about the powerful hops. Even a non-IPA fan would enjoy. (265 characters)

Photo of Mbo108
4.69/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Ive had it direct from the brewpub in CA, in kegs shipped to PA, and in bottles sent who knows where to my house. Its just clean and delicious every time. (154 characters)

Photo of Beersmuggler
4.44/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my second favorite IPA behind the alchemists heady topper. I know that this is not a well respected IPA in California but I am a big fan of it. (152 characters)

Photo of jamisonspitzer
3.39/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Man... such a disappointment. I'm not discrediting everyone's love of this beer, but it just didn't do it for me. And I flew all the way to San Diego from Baltimore just to get some. (sniffle) It's the alcohol... I found it to be alcohol forward, overwhelming the hop and malt. Too bad. I'll try it again one day. (319 characters)

Photo of Ryno82883
4.12/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I have been on a conquest for the best DIPA in the country. This just fell short of the hype.

It's good, but seemed a tad flat 10 days after bottling. Not as much bite, pine as I expected, but it's good. Hype is a dangerous thing. (232 characters)

Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.59/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Monks Café in Philly.
Poured in a pint glass.

The nose on this beer is phenomenal. Tons and tons of citrus and grapefruit.
Super dank, grapefruit, grapefruit pith and citrus on the taste buds. Huge pop of bitterness on the back end. A true west coast DIPA. I can totally see what all the fuss is about. If you haven't experienced Mr. Pliny, I'd strongly suggest to seek him out. Would drink this all the time if I had the opportunity. (446 characters)

Photo of ABhatia
4.29/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

seems overrated..did enjoy it though. little flat, no particular strong characteristics. would vote for heady topper any day..would like to try younger tho (155 characters)

Photo of rudyolph
4.7/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The color is a beautiful golden hue especially in sunlight. Has a nice head on a proper pour and you don't need to bury your nose in the glass to get a waft of that amazing Hop. Flavor is smooth and very piney. Has a bit of a bite upon the first sip but you quickly love every drop. (284 characters)

Photo of tkrane
4.4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Probably the most drinkable DIPA I have ever experienced. Goes down smooth like a regular IPA. Bottled 8/12/15. Look forward to enjoying another one. (150 characters)

Photo of SeanMNCraftBeerLover
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Best Double IPA I have had. Had on tap at Toronado in San Diego, CA on 8-20-15. Would love to try some bottles and keep in my beer fridge. Do yourself a favor and try this beer when you have the opportunity. I was in search of this beer for 5 days while in California. (272 characters)

Photo of andilane
4.24/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Not particularly pretty and not particularly ugly. Had it on draft at the brew pub for the first time. Smelled nice of forest and pine, classic DIPA. On the palate, good balanced up front with solid bitterness. Grapefruit but too much resin/pineyness. I liked it, but its not my favorite. (288 characters)

Photo of Roland7792
4.15/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 7/23/15, drank 8/24/25. Is that too old? Cause I didn't get the hop blast described by many. Decent floral aroma and bit of citrus. It was smooth drinking and what many would describe as balanced. I though the caramel malt taste was good but way overpowering for DIPA. Overrated based on this one bomber. (319 characters)

Photo of MrGootwin
5/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Probably the best double IPA I've had. The most drinkable as well. Some doubles I get sick of after a few but - without getting too technical about it - Pliny is a double that drinks like a single. If you find yourself at Russian River Brewery, do yourself a favor and grab a case! (281 characters)

Photo of jmasher85
4.67/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The greatest beer in America, and little old me finally gets to rate it. As I said when I reviewed Heady recently, it's not my favorite style of beer, but this is similarly a spectacular example of the style - a benchmark, if you will. If I were new to IPAs, I could see this beer having the same earthshaking effect on me that Green Flash and Lagunitas' IPAs had on me, that realization of "so this is why everyone likes this style!" So it's a wonderful start IPA, and as good an IPA as I could hope for, but it's a big commitment to call it the "best."

Both the nose and taste have a blast of citrus/grapefruit, which happens to be one of my favorite fruits so I love beers that taste that way. Admittedly, I have a sweet tooth for citrusy hops, but this beer is not really that sweet and it's hardly bitter at all - it's just crisp, tangy, zesty, and delicious. Not as complex as Heady either, which I think works to its advantage. Some beers do well with a complexity and plethora of flavors, but I think this one benefits from its straightforwardness. The minuscule amount of malt mostly serves to give this beer that thick, chewy texture I love in an IPA, and the 8% abv is so well masked, you could drink this all day until you realize you can't speak or stand properly.

Balanced, but has a clear sense of purpose, this beer is a perfect example of how to make a hoppy beer that doesn't rely on just having hops thrown at it until you're drowning in resin and bitterness. The main downside to this beer is twofold - first, that it's hype overshadows it's quality, and second, that it's historic value overshadows overall beer progress. As I said earlier, there are so many comparable, and much more accessible beers out there, that it's hard to justify going out of your way for this one for reasons besides curiosity. I have to take points off my score just because in this day and age, this is no longer a beer worthy of the exclusivity and prestige that it has cultivated. So bottom line, do whatever you can to drink it once and recognize it's majesty, and then go back to your other favorites. (2,118 characters)

Photo of FyreStorm
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of the most wonderful beers I've ever been so lucky to quaff.

Being Canadian getting this beer is a major chore...I sent friends combing L.A. to get it for me and was delightfully rewarded when it arrived.

It has all the makings of a great IPA...great aroma, piney flavour and none of the bitterness some IPAs force upon you...overall one of my favourite beers ever... (383 characters)

Photo of Nicole15
4.81/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great all around IPA. Pours a clear orange with a nice head. Lots of pine in the aroma and the flavor. A really great west coast style IPA. Glad I finally got to try it. (173 characters)

Photo of MyThoughtsExactly
3.72/5  rDev -19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle three weeks old into a tulip glass.
Look: Appears crystal golden and transparent.
Aroma: Piny hop aroma with some sweet malt. Would like more citrus (I get a little orange) or even more pine. Kind of a disappointing nose.
Taste: Fruit rine and pine. A little sweet malt. A good, balanced example of the west coast style.
Feel: Medium to medium-low body.
Overall, a good example of the west coast style and definitely balanaced as others have pointed out, but I was hoping for something more. I can see why this was a world-class IPA years ago but in the current IPA market I can buy comparable beers at my local store. (641 characters)

Photo of tregan_20
4.99/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was glad to have tried the West Coast Pliny here on the East Coast. It's definitely living up to the hype. Overall great body, smell and taste of citrus is there along with the hop flavor. This one deserves to be ranked as high as it is, cheers! (247 characters)

Photo of JohnCassillo
5/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

(can't believe I've never reviewed until now)

Sure, other beers have replicated what made it so hype-worthy, but it's still tough to top the original. It's bright, golden yellow and medium head are the ideal appearance for any West Coast IPA, and the insane floral and grapefruit notes are incredible -- especially so when poured fresh. Packed with citrus flavors and aroma, it's refreshing with a slight hoppy bitterness and you'd be hard-pressed to find a smoother drink (for an IPA) at this level ABV. (505 characters)

Photo of WonderfulBeth
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: clear, dark, golden yellow with foamy white head

S: Notes of grapefruit, apricot, slight malt sweetness. super floral hops

T: Piney orange rind with a strong, medium-plus bitterness. some apricot notes. malt flavour is balanced with the hop bitterness

M: excellent medium/medium-plus mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. very dry finish

O: a bitter and super hoppy but delicious IPA (390 characters)

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Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,406 ratings.