Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

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Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

3,352 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

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Reviews: 3,352
Hads: 12,638
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 7.41%
Wants: 6,404
Gots: 2,995 | 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: 3,352 | Hads: 12,638
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 Unfortunately Pliny is also starting to taste a little out of date in my opinion.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
4.36/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | 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)

Photo of danpam1024
3.66/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Really? That's "it"?

I've been a "craft" beer drinker for over 20 years. Back when it was cool to call yourself a "micro brewery" or more simply "We make our own beer here in the back" sort of pub. I've hunted beerz all over the east coast and Europe. I certainly do not profess myself as an expert, but I know the difference between new/exciting and old/tired.

I finally got out to the west coast (San Francisco) and my wife and I made an overt effort to make sure we could try The Elder before we left. Thanks to the incredible La Trappe Cafe, we found the supposive godfather of all IPAs. Needless to say, we were not too impressed.

Frankly, I believe it not the fault of Russian RIver, but more to the fact that today's brewers have caught up. Just two weeks ago, we were at (of all places...) Busch Gardens in Tampa Florida and we were served a "Quackalope" from a local brewery named "Barley Mow". Never heard of them, but this beer was incredible. To me, the folks at Barley Mow represents how far-along newers craft brewers have traveled towards great and updated tastes.

For those of you who consider themselves unsatiated until experiencing coveted beers such as Pliny the Elder, spend more time enjoying the selections of your local brewers. They may certainly be doing it better than you realise thanks to lessons learned from trendsetters such as Russian River. (1,381 characters)

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

still massively consistent...immensely balanced on all points...the abv is hidden well...all those balanced points work together to make a synergetic leap (the whole is greater than the parts for sure)....there are 'hoppier' creatures out there, but the grand naturalist and historian's name is represented well here (which is become quite historic...nay, legendary!)....but there is solidity here with the basic package of all-out double trouble regal IPA-ish-ness....thickness and bitterness are generously slathered here, but the malt foundation serves it well to create, maintain and future fordwardfeed this enduring, timeless classic ale. so very hightly recommended. if only Nugget Nectar was as consistent... (716 characters)

Photo of OGFGabv
4.86/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Definitely lives up to the hype. This beer is nothing less than exceptional. I am totally captivated by the nose, so much so, that I don't want to stop smelling it to take a sip! Grapefruit and Pine blend together perfect in harmony. The taste totally bursting in West Coast fashion, bitter and pine resin dominate. One of the best. (332 characters)

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

Exceptional on all fronts. The often sweet malty flavor of a DIPA is not there, more like an IPA. Yet, the hop dominance and smoothness pushes the edge of good taste without without getting to an unbalanced state. (213 characters)

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

The first time I had this beer, I almost couldn't believe what I was smelling and tasting. I'm not sure you can really compare it to Heady, because they are entirely different beers. While Heady may be more easily drinkable, Pliny has more of a WOW! factor. I've had this on draft, and in a fresh bottle. Both were similar experiences. (335 characters)

Photo of Jason78
5/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this beer on draft for the first time at a bar on 30th street in San Diego. It might be the best beer I have ever had. It definitely lives up to the hype. Awesome double IPA. I wish I could get it where I live. (216 characters)

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Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,352 ratings.