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Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,502 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,502
Hads: 13,350
Avg: 4.6
pDev: 15.65%
Wants: 6,838
Gots: 3,487 | FT: 99
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 3,502 | Hads: 13,350
Photo of StonewallSipper
4.09/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice golden color. Nice aroma, hoppy but not over hopped. Nice aftertaste, very malty more than I expected, didnt expect that . No citrus or iney taste that I can tell. A very filling beer. Great but not excellent.

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Photo of jaehongcho
4.91/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank it on October 21,2015 from a bottle that was bottled September 30, 2015.

Look: Beautiful honey golden color with a thick head. Pretty fine head with good retention and lacing.

Smell: Citrus. Citrus. Piny. Piny. Malt backbone can be felt as well. Again, more citrus.

Taste: Resinous bitter grapefruit and orange rind flavors are very front and center. But it's so well balanced that other tastes begin to seep in. Excellent. I would say it's the perfect taste.

Feel: Medium body very smooth mouthfeel. I personally like less-carbonated beers, but this was very nice too.

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Photo of Hyptochrons
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Scored a bottle of this stuff for the first time thanks to HopsAholic79!! Bottled 12/24/15

Poured into a Lawson’s snifter. Clear golden orange color with two fingers of fluffy head, leaves some nice lacing. Overall looks great I cant wait to try this stuff!!

Upon cracking the bottle its become clear that im in for a real treat. Dank earthy smell with some definite citrus character – getting what seems like orange and grapefruit rind, as well as a pleasant hint of pine. Its not like a citrus bomb where you feel like your in a tropical paradise, but hot dayummm the nose on this brew is appealing.

Citrus up front, complimented by a subtle but definitely noticeable sweetish malt flavor. Finishes with a slightly sweet pine taste that sits really nicely on the tongue. Its all about BALANCE, achieved to perfection. Mouthfeel is on point.

It is hyped? Yes. It is a great beer? Yes. So who cares if its over hyped… or if its the best IPA in the world. This is all subjective of course. In addition, no point to compare it to Heady or SOS… because its completely different, which is great because variety is what keeps you guessing. To me this is an absolutely excellent beer, ridiculously balanced and drinkable… amazingly refreshing and crisp. Would love to give this baby a try a few days after bottling! I would highly recommend this brew, its nothing like Heady or SOS but that’s what makes it so great.

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Photo of PatrickFox88
4.99/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I often find these beers that are rated 100 tend to be a bit of a let down for me. Pliny bucks the trend. This beer is deserving of all the accolades.

I can't fault this beer in any way. Beautiful colour, great head retention, outstanding aroma. Pine and Grapefruit on the tongue. Malt barely stands up to it, but there is just enough balance, the way I like it.

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Photo of Jhunt
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite beer, so far. I am hopping to try Pliny theYounger in a few weeks. It is very flavorful and smooth. A nice amount of hops without overpowering. Cheers.

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Photo of Griffin2
4.84/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

L - Poured a golden amber color with a significant white head.

S - Smells of grapefruit and pine.

T - Lots of pine and grapefruit.

F - Really nice mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

O - I was worried this beer wouldn't live up to the hype, but I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of KettleBellFreak
2.51/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I don't even know what to say about this beer. It's weird.

A beautiful color to the beer, perfect carbonation and lacing.

Aroma of lemons, stone fruit and grass. Taste was just awful. AWFUL. I can deal with IPA bitterness and know that this is a very hoppy beer, but FUCK. It tasted like cigarette butts,lemon juice and hay. Just nothing good to speak of. The finish was dry as shit with almost no flavor carry over except the cigarette butts. I've got to say it had decent body to it, but nothing outstanding.

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Photo of Hopislovehopislife
4.11/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I feel this was a revolutionary beer when it first came out. Its still a great beer it just can't compete with Surly, TG or NE dipas. Tons of pine, tons of resin, tons of hop bitterness. Its a crisp dipa its just not a top dipa anymore

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Photo of Biggtriksta
4.82/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

While it doesn't quite live up to Younger, it certainly does live up to the hype. Incredibly piney and citrusy in both smell and taste, it has all of the signature qualities you'd expect from a classic west coast IPA. Because this can be hard to locate, grab a Blind Pig if you have the chance as it is actually quite similar in comparison to PtE.

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Photo of RJQ3
4.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12/11/15 bottle bought and shipped right from brewery into a tulip glass. Look is a cloudy darker gold color with a nice 2 finger off white head. Aroma is all hops with floral and pine notes. Taste is bitterly hop forward with more pine, grassy, floral hints upfront with slight citrus flavors on the back end. Great bitter bite that lingers on palate for minutes after drinking. Mouthfeel was crisp with very good carbonation. Overall this beer lives up to its stellar reputation.

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Photo of MattBeer
4.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was a lager guy until I had this. "I don't like IPAs," I said. "They're too bitter," I said.

I was right. And yet Pliny taught me to love the bite.

This looks like a good beer, and feels like a very good one, but the smell and taste are like getting punched in the face with a hand made of the most delicious grapefruit ever.

Now I'm the guy that tries to intercept the Whole Foods stockperson on delivery days.

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Photo of PDXAmbassador
4.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this immensely - an overwhelming burst of flavors that coalesced into a whole greater than the sum of their parts. Balance is what makes this so incredible - the citrus doesn't overwhelm the piney-ness, and the bitterness doesn't overwhelm the sweetness. Amazingly crafted piece of work.

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Photo of thepenguin
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours an absolutely beautiful golden-copper with superb clarity, an abundant white head with good retention and lacing.

S: Grapefruit and some pine, with a bit of delicate malt behind it. Good, but the aroma could come on a bit stronger in my opinion.

T: Resinous bitter citrus rind flavors up front, showing signs of classic puckering US C-variety hops. As with the nose, it displays some delicate pilsner-like malt that adds a bit of bready caramel, particularly towards the back-end, bringing this beer into the realm of the DIPA. Long bitter resinous finish balanced by that dense bready malt. An excellent classic IPA flavor profile the leans towards drinkability. I could – though definitely shouldn’t – drink this all day.

F: Medium body with smooth retrained carbonation and a slick, silky mouthfeel. Just a hint of ethanol presence.

Overall: The OG of whalez, it’s hard to overstate the status this beer has held within and without the craft beer community. Is it the be-all-end-all of DIPAs? Of course not – no beer is or ever should be. But it’s an excellent one and it is easy to see why it garnered the acclaim that it has within its historical context.
(Dope name too; I feel like pulling a random historical figure to name your beer after was pretty before its time when this first came out.)

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

Bottle from 12/9. Pours crystal clear gold with lingering white head. Smell is amazing: citrus, pine, dank, slight malt. Taste is crisp and clean but not as solid as the nose. Mouth is is great, slightly sticky yet light.

An absolutely stellar IPA and steal for the money.

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Photo of mkh012
4.71/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I've heard a lot about this one and finally got the chance to try it on tap. Pours an unassuming yellow-orange with an inch of frothy white head. The nose is certainly stellar. Very tropical and citric. I get orange, grapefruit, pear, papaya, sharp floral hops. Quite impressive. I prefer dark Belgian beers to IPAs if I'm looking for a bigger, high ABV brew, but this is a masterful use of 8% ABV and 80 IBU. Creamy mouthfeel, bitter but clean on the finish. Maybe not a 10/10 beer given my tastes but certainly a 10/10 DIPA.

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Photo of nmaher
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had the good fortune to be close enough on a work trip to swing by the brewery. Definitely lived up to the hype and after a short wait in line we were seated at the bar. Enjoyed several brews, all of which were fantastic and the food was excellent as well. Service was fast and friendly and the purchase of bottles on the way out was hassle free.

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Photo of WillDavis707
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best smelling and tasting beers out there (when on draft). Usually not a fan of the bottles, draft blows it out of the water. I feel bad for people across the country that can't experience this beer on draft, its a totally different beast.

Oily hops coat your mouth as you sip, leaving you wanting more!

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Photo of jspaner
4.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pale, almost blond look, with a thin layer of head which dissipates quickly. The smell is clean and pleasant, but not overwhelming. The aroma is hops and citrus. The taste is quite good, but very mild, citrus & pine flavors. I expected a bolder taste. It's well balanced, but very mild. Very smooth, and easy to drink, but for all the hype, I expected a bit more.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.99/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Popped the cap on a 510ml bottle and you immediately smell the hops.

Poured into a Spieglau IPA glass.

Look is a clear golden amber with a thin half inch head. Carbonation is clearly visible forming on the nucleation points at the bottom of the glass forming a pillar of bubbles up to the head.

Aroma is a mix of citrus and resin hops. Absolutely delicious makes you want to drink it right away.

So I did and was not disappointed. Body is balanced. Nice malty backbone with lots of bitter piney hops and notes of citrus.

Absolutely amazing beer.

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

Certainly my favorite double, I consider myself quite lucky to have it consistently at liquor stores and sometimes bars within walking distance of my house. As soon as it pours, you are almost overwhelmed by its strong and brilliant scent. It is a perfectly balanced IIPA, absolutely incredible. No doubt world class.

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Photo of Spacedog666
3.62/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This beer was surprisingly bland! I had been waiting for over a year to find it. I finally found it on tap at Obrians in San Diego when I was home for the holidays. A surprisingly bland IPA. Very average. Not bad, but ridiculously overhyped.

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Photo of joeweis
4.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had the good fortune of traveling to the PNW and then on down to Santa Rosa to get my hands on both draft and bottled Pliny. As many say the nose was the best part of this beer...until I tasted it. I got a lot of the citrus nose in the taste as well, balanced with the hoppy 'bitterness' too.

The importance of freshness is key as I notice a slight difference when I opened one last night (25 days after the bottle date). It's still a GREAT IPA and I'm sure would hold its ground against many others but the freshness is not to be taken lightly.

Pliny on draft was the mecca for me. Well done!

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Photo of Sabtos
4.22/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Proud Pliny first-timer. The second I broke the airtight seal on the cap, before I even removed it, with my nose at least 3 feet up from the bottle, my eyes widened in awe with the immediate understanding of what everyone has talked about for so long. The fact that the scent could hit my nose that quickly, strongly, and pleasantly was truly impressive.

The nose on this is definitely the best part of the Pliny experience, for me. Very tropical, exotic, transporting to some other heavenly world without being fruit juicy or indicative of any of the upcoming bitterness. I'm not sure I've smelled anything quite like this from a beer that wasn't intentionally infused with an overpowering fruit or other ingredient.

That being said, the taste of this doesn't quite live up to the preview that the aroma gives. While it is a pretty delicious brew compared to most IPAs, the light tropical scent gives way to a typically hoppy-bitter IPA. While still citrusy, it's a flavor profile that a number of breweries have been consistently providing for years. I would throw out Gangster Frog, Jai Alai, or even 60 Minute IPA in a blind taste test and bet it would be very difficult to identify Pliny based solely the flavor.

I received the bottle later than I would have liked--it was around 20 days old, but still quite fresh. However, I'm sure that affected the flavor. Still, this was definitely worth the trouble getting, and I would love to visit Russian River in person someday.

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Photo of Hutch76
4.02/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the bottle.
Smell was a solid IPA that exploded with fresh hopes. A little disappointed in the taste didn't live up to the hype. Good overall but would be better fresh from the source.

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Photo of THSmusicman
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

On draft at Monk's Cafe

Smell: Holy wow! Tons and tons of hops! Citrus-y, slightly earthy, very resinous hops. The malt is hardly detectable in the nose. They could make an air freshener out of this beer!

Taste: This beer tastes like straight up tropical juice in a glass. Super bright flavor profile. The hops are certainly resinous and juicy but not in the least bit bitter! The flavor is just incredible!

Feel: Drinks as smooth as silk. Almost has a creamy characteristic to it. I could drink this all day.

Overall: This beer certainly lives up to the hype and maybe even exceeds it! I would prefer this to Stone Enjoy By, Heady Topper, or even Sip of Sunshine; it's that good! I will drink this beer whenever I see it on tap.

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Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,502 ratings.