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Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

8,774 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8774
Reviews: 3060
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.17%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-24-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,774 | Reviews: 3,060 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of More_betterness


4.76/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Finally reviewing after having countless bottles over the years. Bottled on 4/9/14

A: Crystal clear golden amber with a two finger head after a careful pour. Brilliantly clear and beautiful beer.

S: Resinous hops. Dank pine, citrus rind, and pineapple followed by some grassy/floral notes. Orange zest and a touch of malt are also present. Masterclass.

T: Sweet tangerine and citrusy lemon upfront. Sappy and bitter pine coats the palate and lingers for minutes after each sip. Just a hint of bready malt character becomes apparent as it warms. Perfect balance of flavor and bitterness for the style.

M: Dry and light bodied with medium carbonation. The massive amount of hops have a noticeable oily/slick texture as well.

O: What can I say that hasn't been said? Just an epic beer that literally defines the style. When fresh it is always one of the best beers I have ever had, only surpassed by heady, the Younger, and BCBCS IMO. Can't recommend enough

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2014 04:23:02 | More by More_betterness
Photo of wcoastbeerlover


5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pliny is the finest beer I've ever tasted. For a 2X IPA it's as crisp and refreshing as it gets... for ANY beer. Some people say it's overhyped, which I don't agree with, but it depends on what type of beer you like. If you're an IPA fan and you think this beer is overhyped then I don't sympathize. But if IPA's aren't your thing then I can see how you might not appreciate it as much as someone like me who drinks almost exclusively IPA's. It is so perfectly balanced and smooth. Hoppy, citrusy, fresh, and perfect all come to mind every time I have a Pliny.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2014 02:59:31 | More by wcoastbeerlover
Photo of Kramerwtmf


4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I am lucky enough to have enjoyed Pliny countless times both in the bottle and on draught. First time was several years ago and every time I get a glass of it I take 2-3 whiffs of it before even taking a sip. That's how good this beer is. If you haven't tried it beg borrow or steal to try this one!

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2014 03:43:18 | More by Kramerwtmf
Photo of lochef81


4.73/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow!!! Finally got a bottle of this coveted ale and it definitely lives up to the hype. The pour is one of the sexiest golden copper colors I have ever seen. The head is thick, bone white, frothy and long lasting. Plus there is silky lacing for days. The nose is dank and citrusy. An abundance of grapefruit, pine, grass, mango, and tangerines abound. The mouthfeel is great but I'd actually like it to be a bit stickier. The flavor is a balanced bomb of west coast hops; taking all the notes of the nose and making them shine even more. This is mist certainly one of (if not the) best dipa I've ever had. Just wish it'd show its face in Michigan more often.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2014 17:33:51 | More by lochef81
Photo of j_rod22


4.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - pours golden amber with a nice frothy two finger head. Mild carbonation. Head disapates slow with a great lace on the glass

Smell - you get a defined pine smell, strong citrus and orange. Very dank with some pineapple, grapefruit notes maybe

Taste - up front you get that lovely hoppy bite, wow this one is great! Just a little over three weeks old, would love to try a fresh one! Beautiful finish with a mild malty biscuit taste.

Mouthfeel - definitely covers the palate with hops! Carbonation is great not too overwhelming. Lovely bitterness taste, leaves a nice bready aftertaste

Overall - Beautiful!! Been wanting to taste this for a long time. After recieving this in a trade, it met all my expectaions in this beer. Definitely will seek out some more in future trades!!

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2014 01:31:04 | More by j_rod22
Photo of PPOmaha


4.64/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Aroma: Citrus peel, pine, and dank. Sweet malt aroma is there in the background.

Appearance: golden, brilliantly clear. White rocky head.

Taste: pine bitterness as it starts and finishes with a lingering citrus bite. No malt sweetness, just a hint of breadyness.

Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, medium-light body. Finish is very dry.

Overall: great IPA. Balance is the key here, very drinkable for such a hoppy IPA.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2014 01:52:36 | More by PPOmaha
Photo of Evahflow


3.93/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the standard 500 ml bottle(2 weeks old) into a tulip glass.

A-Thick Fluffy white head that sticks around for a while. light orange color. Very similar look to Stone enjoy by when poured. Beautiful looking beer.

S- You get some citrus, pine, standard west coast ipa smell. wasn't blown away with this aspect of the beer but certainly isn't bad.

T- Grapefruit,lemon, pepper, malty sweet breadyness, well balanced pine, smooth taste, very drinkable.

M- Well balanced medium body, juicy mouthfeel. Stays on your palate slightly, leaves you wanting more.

O- Overall you can tell this is a very good beer. I don't see any major flaws I just think newer beers have passed it up. This beer is going 55 on the highway when everyone else is going 65-70. This beer is Michael Jordan playing for the wizards, yeah he's still Michael Jordan he's going to still score on you and show you he can do it but he's not what he once was. I'd certainly drink this beer again but I wouldn't search hard for it.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2014 16:39:33 | More by Evahflow
Photo of mabermud


4.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was at Russian River Brewery last week, and there isn't much to say about this beer except it is exceptional. I grew up in Escondido, California, and saw Stone grow from a roll up garage to a big, pleasant machine. Enjoy By is good, but I think Pliny the Elder is a tad better. It may be because I drink Enjoy By often, or it might be because the Pliny was fresh. These two beers are comparable, I love both of them. That is why I brought some home to Washington.

Serving type: on-tap

04-08-2014 01:45:16 | More by mabermud
Photo of 64vdub


5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have to say, being in the land of plentiful West Coast IPA's, this really is the king of the land. I just can't say anything more about Pliny that hasn't already been said. It's perfect from start to finish, and when it's gone, I'm sad. Believe the hype.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2014 01:42:40 | More by 64vdub
Photo of itsratso


4.15/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanx to my new trading partner robb for this one!

if you are a first timer, it is difficult to review pliny.
a: the beer pours a nice clear orange with fluffy white head that lasts as long as can be expected for this abv.
s: smell is tremendous, a nice mix of tropical fruit, pine and dankness.
m: mouthfeel is good with a nice crispness and appropriate carb level.
t + o: taste follows nose as you get a burst of nice citrus followed by pine and dankness. there is an underlying sweetness from the malt that is refreshing but not cloying. the bitterness level is much lower than most current ipa's. the problem with reviewing pliny these days is it tastes like a typical west coast ipa. I would probably pick sculpin above this if blindfolded, and I can think of a few more ipa's that I like more. but here's the thing - the reason all those other ipa's taste like this is because they ALL copied this. it is the blueprint, the archetype. I think this beer along with boston ale are the two most important American beers in history. without this, no IPA's and no explosion of interest in them. so although the rest of the field has caught up, I have great respect for this beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2014 18:21:26 | More by itsratso
Photo of minterro


4.45/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Since beginning to drink craft beer in 2009 this beer has been on my wishlist. After moving to Denver, I have had this beer a couple of times. A first I wanted to purely take it in, but the time has come to give it a rating.

Bought at Little's Wine and Liquor store in Denver, CO. Bottling date is: 03/18/14 so about as fresh as it gets in CO, 16 days.

A&S: Big fluffy (about 2 fingers) white head that leaves networks of thick lacing along the glass. Head retention is great considering 8% ABV. The beer is a lively transparent light orange color. Predominate aroma tones (in no order) include: lemon, pepper spice, piney hops, and sugary sweetness.

T&M: Well mixed piny and citrus hops complimented by a spicy undertone. My favorite characteristic about this beer is the fact that it is a double with some sweetness, but it isn't overpoweringly sweet, malty and heavy. I understand that to get to some higher DIPA ABV (10, 11, ect.) you need to juice it up, but that juicing can cut through other important flavors in the beer. Incredible drinkable, not heavy on the palate, yet very flavorful. Alcohol is very well hidden (almost too much so). Majority of the spice hits midway though. A wave of bitterness punches your palate as the flavor begins to finish, leaving a lasting, but not heavy finish (as a disclaimer: Not nearly the tongue bruiser as I imagined it to be). Body is on the low side of high with some oily context. The carbonation isn't as high as I expected from the lively look to this beer.

Overall: Having high expectations for particular beer will affect the score you give it. Admittedly, I have seen the rating of this beer before, because it is top 5. This review might not be as high as some, but this beer, certainly belongs in the top tier of all beers. Also one of the best beers on the market for the price about $6.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2014 04:08:09 | More by minterro
Photo of IpaBeerDrinkers


2.64/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Very basic and uninspiring offering. Huge dissapointment. Taste is of a traditional west coast IPA, which is fine, but its a very unimaginative attempt at the style. Have had this fresh twice, felt the same way both times. Heady Topper is vastly better, as are most quality west coast ipas coming out right now.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 17:17:54 | More by IpaBeerDrinkers
Photo of mtomlins

Ontario (Canada)

4.71/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 500ml bottle into a stemmed tulip glass (about 4 weeks old).
Tried in a head-to head with Heady Topper (Verdict: both awesome beers!!).

Pours a beautiful golden straw color with a huge, persistent, thick white head falling to a creamy color and leaves nice lacing behind. The nose blows your hair back with a massive hop nose dripping of pine tar and grapefruit juice as well as other sweet citrus and some bready malt. On the palate, hops, hops and more hops! Big resinous pine, grapefruit and other citrus flavors with a beautiful long, dry finish of American bittering hops. Medium body and good carbonation making a clean and round brew. Overall, just a delicious brew!

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 14:20:27 | More by mtomlins
Photo of TheSleepyMonkey


4.81/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle poured into tulip, raises 2 fingers of sticky white head. Dissipates slowly and laces nicely. Color is perfect, beautiful shade of orange.

Smells better...grapefruit rind, citrus, floral tones. Not overpowering hop smell, just inviting citrus.

Delivers in taste department..as complex a DIPA as I have tried. Initial citrus, immediately followed by malty backbone with bready sweetness, and finishes with a piney note. Real quality.

Perfect carb and smooth mouthfeel. Crisp and acidic, but still full enough.

Lives up. Glad I had a chance to try...thanks youdownwithabv!

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2014 03:08:50 | More by TheSleepyMonkey
Photo of controlfate


4.96/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Received a bottle in a trade, dated: 3-13-14.
A: A beautiful golden honey color.
S: Tropical fruit hops upfront: peaches, apricots, pineapple.
T: Notes of sweet fruit: peaches, apricots, citrus: orange, grapefruit, pineapple. There's no discernible bitterness, just a wonderfully balanced and smooth taste from start-to-finish.
M: A medium body, juicy mouthfeel that leaves the mouth salivating for more.
O: This is an exceptional double IPA, and deserves the rave reviews and high praise.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2014 01:32:11 | More by controlfate
Photo of BeerEngineer


5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

General: This was directly from the brewery, the brewed date is 1/21/14. Poured this into my bottle logic lab glass for the tasting.

Appearance: Great dark golden color with a slightly off while head that doesn't really last.

Aroma: Amazing as always, pine, citrus and grassy

Mouthfeel: Perfect, plan and simple

Taste: If you haven't had this, get one and enjoy it.

Overall: One of the best DIPAs that is available plain and simple.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2014 22:43:15 | More by BeerEngineer
Photo of Franziskaner


4.53/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Light amber hued with some serious haziness. I see microscopic sediment suspended within it. A minuscule layer of white foam partially covers the top. Serious Brussels lacing. Intense floral hop aroma beckons me to taste. The flavor is a nice balanced floral hop assault. It really lasts throughout the palate from front to the back and throughout the fade. The body is moderately carbonated, yet smooth and refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2014 17:12:45 | More by Franziskaner
Photo of BigBadBaptist88


5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the perfect DIPA! I usually don't like the abrasive bitterness of regular IPA's but this one, when fresh, has the perfect balance!

The mouthfeel is very very nice as well.

Couldn't imagine a better DIPA!

Can't wait to try Heady Topper and this side by side.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 15:01:09 | More by BigBadBaptist88
Photo of BearslikeBeers


4.54/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bought at a liquor store and drank 10 days after the bottling date.
This beer pours a clear ochre color. The smell is good but surprisingly sort of weak for a DIPA. The carbonation laces down nicely.
The taste is awesome: all sorts of hops (I think a strong cascade hop presence ) right up front that gives way to a malt backbone that is sweet, juicy and able to hold up the heavy hops. The citrus flavor comes through the hops and is very different in character than other DIPAs I've had, there is definitely a lot of orange, and the flavor of orange or lemon peel even lingers on your palate after the hops are gone. The carbonation is soft and the mouthfeel is quite awesome. Overall I see why there is such hype, one of the most drinkable and balanced DIPAs I've had...
"The nations of the West also have their own intoxicant, made from grain soaked in water...Alas, what wonderful ingenuity vice possesses! A method has actually been discovered for making even water intoxicated."
-Pliny the Elder

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 00:29:30 | More by BearslikeBeers
Photo of Goalcam


4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Since this one is so tough to find I actually had to drive up to the brewery to try it. This is a very good beer but certainly over-hyped. Very nice aroma with definite apricot overtones. It looks and smells great but tastewise it matches up to some other great beers including Belgian macro-brews. One plus is it also tastes good a few days later from a growler.

Serving type: on-tap

03-24-2014 19:25:18 | More by Goalcam
Photo of scotchbeer


5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have been into IPA for a while, but the Russian River Pliny the Elder is by far the PERFECT beer that I have tasted. It is perfection bar none. I have only had four bottles of them but they are worth all the hype around them.

Highly recommended to give it a try.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2014 06:51:43 | More by scotchbeer
Photo of surfbouy


4.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled: 11/13/13
Consumed: 1/22/13
Appearance: Deep gold, effervescence, creamy head, pretty decent lacing and some legs.

Aroma: Sweet floral with some spice. Reminds me of rose oil to a certain degree.

Flavor: very hoppy, but very well balanced. Easy to drink- too easy! Without the strong malt backbone, this would be tough to consume. With it, it’s a world beating beer. It has some spiciness, along with the grapefruit and other citrus flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium/full body, but balanced and medium dry in the finish. Very smooth drinking.

Opinion: Being from Oregon, I get far more than my share of West Coast IPAs. I may have had a better one at some point, but I can’t say when. I’m very fortunate to have a pretty regular supply of the stuff just two blocks from my house. Needless to say, I spoil myself on it.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2014 02:10:06 | More by surfbouy
Photo of Tony49er


4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer was bottled on 3-10-14 and consumed on 3-18-14 cannot get much fresher then that really...

Appearance- Beautiful orange color, almost shins in the sun light, thick white head, alcohol legs, a 2-3 finger head with a solid pour

Smell- WOW a trust West Coast hop bomb this is what a classic, Dry West Coast hop aroma, orange peel , citrus, light malty bread notes to round out the dank hop aroma adds a solid backbone to this beer, hint of pineapple, hint of garlic or chives for some solid dankness one of the BEST IPA's in the WORLD...all the classic IPA character true hop heads love

Taste- WOW just class West Coast hop dryness, pineapple, light bread notes, dank hop and garlic notes, some citrus and pineapple notes as well just fantastic EASILY one of the TOP 2 IPA's I have ever had the pleasure to have...A MUST HAVE IF YOU ARE A TRUE HOP HEAD....DRINKS THIS BEER AS FRESH AS POSSIBLE...

Mouthfeel- Classic West Coast IPA dryness, bitter yet smooth hop after taste and at 8% ABV very easy to drink at that....

Overall- One of my Favorite beers of ALL TIME for sure if you are from California and are a HOP HEAD and you have not had this beer you are missing out for sure....ITS A MUST HAVE...if you are able to find it....CHEERS

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2014 01:24:54 | More by Tony49er
Photo of N_Schleret


4.58/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours a very nice copper color with a large two finger white head, good retention and lacing.
S: Big citrus, grapefruit, mango, pineapple, and more grapefruit. Picking up pine as well.
T: Same as the smell. I can't get enough of it, truly amazing! Very hoppy.
M: Medium light, bitter, dry , and sticky. Top notch!
O: I wish I lived in CA just for this beer? Glad it is easy to attain, got as an extra in a trade. About 2 1/2 weeks old.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 14:41:38 | More by N_Schleret
Photo of kimjongill


3.59/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

I've heard it's better in bottle, but I wasn't impressed with the draft version. good aroma and color. Taste was kind of a hop smack without much character or balance. Good mouthfeel. Way overrated, unlike the younger, which is really well balanced.

Serving type: on-tap

03-17-2014 23:07:22 | More by kimjongill
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Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 8,774 ratings.