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Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,394 Reviews

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Reviews: 3,394
Hads: 12,786
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 7.41%
Wants: 6,504
Gots: 3,075 | FT: 92
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: 3,394 | Hads: 12,786
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
4.6/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | 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)

Photo of quaybr
4.72/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle into snifter.

A golden and light Amber body with a frothy head, a little lacing left behind.

Smells really pretty: a floral and tropical citrus nose with subtle caramel malts.

These flavors are so well balanced. The malts provide just enough support the citrus notes and clean but not overly bitter finish.

The grain bill shows its mastery in mouthfeel, too. A medium body that feels better and better as it warms up.

This beer delivers on all the hype. (479 characters)

Photo of 81tillinfinity
4.37/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Finally had It on tap. Verdict it's pretty good. My takeaway is how very well balanced it is. Has an almost subdued hypnotic quality to it. But to me it's an old man on the block compared to what I can get in my area. Glad to try it. (233 characters)

Photo of Chief_Mug
4.87/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

There was alot of hype about this beer. And I finally got my hands on one. First impression (drink) was "its a good beer - solid IPA" but nothing special. Then as I drank more, the taste built upon itself getting better and better. To mm whatt sets this beer above others is it has a lingering finish that is awesome. No other beer has had that long lasting after taste. Overall Awesome Balance of Beer . (412 characters)

Photo of spacecake9
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Got 2 bottles in a trade.
A - Pours clear and golden with a nice white head that settles quickly and leaves some nice lacing.
S - Malty with a hint of citrus.
T - Malty, hoppy and piney, not much citrus.
M - Crisp feel, medium carbonation.
O - Like any great beer, the key is balance and this is an incredibly well balanced DIPA. Very drinkable. Hope I can get my hands on more of this soon. (395 characters)

Photo of beerbully
4.71/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle poured into RR chalice
Bottle Date 6/29

L-Clear, golden, 1/2 inch head from a modest pour, moderate retention leaving a white cap atop the beer, thick lacing that sticks to the glass

S-Aroma hits as soon as the bottle is open........lots of tropical fruits and some sweet malts..........passion fruit, papaya, mango, slight pine hidden in the background.........the fruity hops and sweet malts work well together

T-Hops are at the forefront of this one as expected but not overpowering..........not quite as fruity as the nose........hops are balanced well with the malts.........Pine is more noticeable when drinking than in the nose as the fruity aromas in the nose move aside while drinking..........flavors of peach, orange rind, and tropical fruits are present

F-medium bodied, mild carbonation, very smooth and drinkable,

O-well balanced, extremely smooth, great nose and flavor, very drinkable, no alcohol presence, worth the trip to the brewery and the wait in line...........no doubt would stop by again if ever in area for more (1,050 characters)

Photo of stonesean
4.55/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had my first bottle recently at the Cuban Cigar Factory in the San Diego gaslamp district. A barely 2 week old bottle. I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said, except:

I will say up front, a terrific beer. A benchmark for the style. Worth drinking. 100%. In 2002 this was one of the only Double IPA's to be had anywhere. These days, there are dozens and dozens of excellent DIPA's out there.

I think fear of missing out and wanting to be seen holding this beer are what really fuels the mystique in 2015. Again, world class, excellent, but if you can't find it easily, there are many excellent alternatives that are right up there. (657 characters)

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

Not as impressive as Elder. Had it at 1 week and 8 weeks. Seems to matter. Friends who hate IPA were very impressed. Very balanced. Hate the green design, but its very recognizable. (181 characters)

Photo of Ismar1878
5/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Took me a while to track down and believe me it's hard to track them down and manage to snag one before it sells out but overall the beer is ridiculously good . Goes strong in taste and flavor at first sip then almost immediately goes smooth and refreshing . For some ipa drinkers this could be good or bad . I however love an IPA that can give you all its got and slim down at the end for the a smoother consumption. (418 characters)

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

Needless to say, this is really good, but at least at this point there are dozens of IPAs and DIPAs in California that are just as tasty. That being said, if you do find it, it is excellent and good value for money. (215 characters)

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Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,394 ratings.