Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

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Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

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3,358 Reviews

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Reviews: 3,358
Hads: 12,655
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 7.41%
Wants: 6,418
Gots: 3,000 | FT: 87
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: 3,358 | Hads: 12,655
Photo of deadhorse66
4.91/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Got a few 500ml Plineys sent to me by a friend in CA. They handled the shipping pretty well, despite the hot conditions of transit. Those that underrate PtE may just be too cool for school, or got a old batch. There's a reason it rates so high. Piney, but undeniably smooth for a DIPA. ABV hidden well by complex notes of pine and citrus

Bottle dated 7.2.15, 1 mo old, holds up well. If you don't like hoppy beer, this may be a good introduction to the IPA world (if you can find it anywhere) (499 characters)

Photo of JuglashB
4.14/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Be wary of shipping these things nationwide during these toasty summers. Fresh bottles + extreme heat can turn a once delicious Pliny into somewhat of a malt bomb. So if you can wait, acquire through shipping in the colder months to avoid disappointment. (254 characters)

Photo of schmpr
4.66/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I picked up a case in Santa Rosa last weekend and, after ten days straight of drinking Pliny, I'm ready to change it up.

Just kidding.

But I am brownbagging it.

This beer is incredibly balanced - huge hop flavor and smell without being overly sweet - and will continue to be a benchmark, regardless of trends. (313 characters)

Photo of ttp86
3.5/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a tast at a bottleshare and was pretty disapointed. Aroma was faint, taste follows the aroma. Not as bold/hoppy as more recent IPA's. To be fair the bottle was over 2 months old and the beer was not as cold as I would like (bottleshare was outside in 90+ degrees). Hoping to try an fresh bottle and will update score. (321 characters)

Photo of ChrisP802
4.13/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Seeing where this one was ranked, I was very excited to try.
Smelled the hops and something else that I can't quite place as soon as the top came off
Poured out amber colored, with a short, but lasting head
Tasted ok, I was more impressed with other IPAs and APAs I've had recently. No where near the high hop taste of heady, but more so than Zombie Dust.
Not super heavy, so if you like it, drinking it all night would be great.
Overall, not a bad beer. Just not quite to my liking (482 characters)

Photo of Rammed96
4.42/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Smells great much better than it tastes.
Nice orange hazy look.
More on the hippy side without any orange or citrus taste to me.

I thought it would be amazing. I like zombie dust and PseudoSue better (200 characters)

Photo of Pray_For_Mojo
4.35/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served on draft, poured into a pint glass.

Aroma: hops...pine and toasted malt. The hops are certainly present but not at such levels as to rape your olfactory.

Appearance: amber-gold and bright. Head topped out at one finger, which lasted the life of the beer, approx 30 min.

Flavor: piney hops and toasted malt. Despite the hoppiness, the toasted malt shares the stage. This beer is wonderfully balanced. The hop flavor is first on the scene but then yields to the toasted malt. Even in the finish, the beer maintains a wonderful balance of malt/hops. The toasted malt flavor reminds me of Stone's RuinTen. No off flavors whatsoever. No alcohol flavor.

Mouthfeel: medium, not so heavy as to prevent me from drinking several, but enough to carry the hops and abv.

Overall: a great beer. The best IIPA available? No, but one definitely worth pursuing. Just great balance. The beer is so smooth at 8.0%, well-balanced and conservatively hopped for a IIPA that this beer could pass for a standard IPA.

Call it sacrilege perhaps , or simply personal preference, but I prefer Stone's RuinTen to PtE. (1,105 characters)

Photo of RichKent
3.65/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Ah PtE - one of the classics. Unfortunately Pliny is also starting to taste a little out of date in my opinion. I've had it recently on draft at RR and picked up bottles while I was there as well.

The word that best describes Pliny is 'Balance'. It's just the right amount of malt base, with just the right amount of hop bitterness with a little juiciness like a DIPA should have. There's no question that PtE is expertly crafted.

That said, the smell and taste left me wanting something more. I like really juicy DIPAs. Heady Topper juicy. Hops you can smell from across the room juicy. If you're expecting Pliny to compete with a juicy, dank, citrusy double like Heady then you'll be disappointed. It's simply not that beer.

tl:dr - PtE is a well made and balanced DIPA, but it's not going to satisfy a true hop head. (822 characters)

Photo of dre412
5/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So clear and clean with a beautiful hoppy scent. The taste is west coast dankiness but not overpowering, and some citrus fruits such as grapefruit and orange are there. Ever so tasty, and refreshing! One of my favorite beers of all time. (237 characters)

Photo of JayFunk
4.78/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Great beer, great drink, hard to find in my area. A friend shared with me and it was a fantastic glass! Would like to acquire more, if even possible. (151 characters)

Photo of Hoppity1
4.51/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden amber about an inch of head.
Smell was actually a bit underwhelming, not a bad smell by any means, but with the hype of this beer I expected more.
Taste: Had a nice pine bitterness, very smooth. The aftertaste was minimal. There was a very small lingering sweetness.
Great feel to the beer.
As the beer warmed, it definitely improved. I'm not sure of recommended serving temp for it. But it started out very good and ended tasting great. Shout out to beerxtrader for helping a rookie trader get a hold of this one. (542 characters)

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

Very refreshing and smoother beer for a higher ABV. Pliny is a very well balanced beer, hops, notes of fruit and alcohol all mess perfectly for this Double IPA. Too good to only have one! (187 characters)

Photo of NCBeernut
4.64/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Big but still crisp and refreshing enough for a hot summer day with complexity in the hop profile dominated by citrus fruits. Chunky lacing running down my empty pint glass confirmed the generous load of hops that went into this. (229 characters)

Photo of Timdejay671
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours clear amber with about an inch head. Nose is smooth with aroma of pine and citrus. Smooth from start to end with crisp and slight malt and bitterness. Solid DIPA that definitely lives up to hype. Had it fresh and a month old bottle and was still a solid brew! (265 characters)

Photo of CrazyDavros
4/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours vibrant amber with a small head.
Nose shows pine, resinous hops, clean malt and soft herbal notes.
Flavours include more of the same resinous and piny hops. Incredibly well-balanced with a hint of sweet clean malt. (220 characters)

Photo of gcrfire3
4.89/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I was able to trade for a couple of these and let me tell you, it was a great experience. This beer lives up to all the hype. Smell is light citrus/fruit notes with a touch of pine, all balanced perfectly through to the back. No flavor out does the others. Nice and smooth feel throughout, no lingering after taste. The only thing that lingers at the end is the desire for another sip. (390 characters)

Photo of jcflorian
4.38/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Was able to sample three of these (on tap and 2 bottles) a year ago in San Diego.

Intensely hoppy beer with great aroma (more so on draft), with pine overtones that really shined. However I don't feel this beer lives up to its hype.

Is it a very good beer- Absolutely.
Is it a great beer. Borderline. There are many beers ranked far lower that I enjoyed far more (372 characters)

Photo of Barnoloid
4.68/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Well, I was excited to try this one and the beer lived up to the hype. Apex Portland had this on tap and I happened to be in town. As it warmed I actually got more of the subtleties here. The bitter forward, grapefruit centered hop profile shines here and proves to be the star as the blend of dankness and sweet slight malt kicks in on the back end. (350 characters)

Photo of hardysf
4.63/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer lives up to the hype. Yum! Exactly one month old.

Pours a terrific golden ale color that's perfectly clear. An inch of head that dissipates into a thin layer with nice lacing on the side of the glass.

Wonderful smell of pine, grapefruit, and mango. Complete in your face aroma. Taste is similar to the smell. Sweet malty notes that really ate balanced by delicious hop flavors. There is a dank finishing hop flavor not present in the aroma. The feel starts as juicy, but finishes smooth and dry leaving me wanting more and more.

Can't wait to trade for more. (572 characters)

Photo of Scott17taylor
4.79/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look clear golden with 2 finger head.
Smell pine with grape fruity citrus underneath
Taste Follows the smell pine up front finishes dry with citrus great beer.
Feel a little light but still full enough to coat the whole mouth.
Overall this is a great beer! One of my favorites I would highly recommend anyone trade for it if at all possible. (342 characters)

Photo of anteatr23
4.26/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours golden and translucent. Two finger head. Smells of pine and citrus. Taste is bitter and clean. Mostly hop forward, but not too much to throw off the balance. A clean dry finish, somewhat peppery. Overall pretty good beer. It didn't really live up to the hype for me. I was expecting a bit more for an IPA this highly revered. Good, but not great. (361 characters)

Photo of oldn00b
4.76/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Not my first time having this but first time in a while. It's a truly fantastic beer. It is worth the hype as long as you think of it as something that changed the game and realize that there are countless other fantastic DIPAs on the market.

It looks great, perfectly clear. Head is tight and retention is solid.

The only, slight, disappointment on this one is the nose seemed a bit weak to me. I feel like I remember more floral and pine scent but there's a bit of sweetness that comes through over it.

Taste and feel are both perfect. For 100 IBUs you'd almost never guess it. I know some say this isn't supposed to be "balanced" but that's how I feel it comes across. The slight malt sweetness is present but the hop flavor profile is wonderful. It has a really great mouthfeel for DIPA.

I know I'm not saying anything anyone else hasn't before but yeah, it's incredibly good. (894 characters)

Photo of Novels
4.02/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Damn good double IPA, but definitely didn't live up to my expectations. There is a bitterness here that isn't present in better, more balanced DIPA's. Definitely worth drinking, especially at the price, but don't break your back over it. (237 characters)

Photo of RyanJohnCrain
4.91/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had two from the 6-26-15 batch and I was super impressed, Such a great beer. Tons of flavors that all blend together great. The finish is so amazing.. I want more. (163 characters)

Photo of eifster82
4.84/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had on draft at Russian River brewpub and multiple bottles over 3 week period from bottling date.

Look - Clean, clear with deep yellow/golden color. Was surprised. I expected slightly hazy.

Smell - Overrun your nose with "fresh" smell. The multitude of hops and balance is evident from the smell.

Taste - fantastic. Refreshing, the complexity of taste is tied in well with subtle malts. This isn't punch you in the face DIPA. It's smooth and unique, and it doesn't need to do over the top bitter hops.

Feel - balanced and smooth with a malt backbone tying in the multiple hops. Can be dangerously easy to drink.

Overall - a perfectly balanced DIPA. The fresher, the better, and preferably on draft. (711 characters)

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Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,358 ratings.