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Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

11,180 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 11,180
Reviews: 3,227
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.6%
Wants: 5,166
Gots: 2,012 | FT: 63
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: 11,180 | Reviews: 3,227 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.13/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light orange body and good white head that lasts. Lace in glass. Very fresh, brought by Dr.Jay from Capone's near Philly on Russian River night. Bitter bias but also well malted. Perfect soft carbonation. Smooth orange and grapefruit taste.Bitter, sweet, then bitter aftertaste.
Much better balance noticed on-tap at both Solena Beach and Port Carling Pizza Ports just 7 weeks later.
Three-and-a-half years later, in-your-face hops, but drinkable.
Over four years later sample at Table Rock and was great.
5.5 years later and very good well integrated DIPA fresh bottle from OCBeerSociety extra.

Sammy, Dec 19, 2006
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%

t0rin0, Dec 26, 2012
Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +7.5%

spycow, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA.

A - Arrived a slightly cloudy pale orange color with a 1/2 inch head. The lacing is amazing.

S - Smells of delicious flowers and citrus hops. There is also a nice tart fruit smell.

T - Absolutely delicious citrus hops with little bitterness. There is also a subdued fruit essence taste present.

M - Carbonation was somewhat flat but the beer was very smooth and fresh.

D - This is a very, very good beer. I know this is a different style of IPA but I enjoyed this beer much more than Blind Pig. This was a very good companion to my BBQ feast.

I definitely will be going after more of this brew. One of the most aesthetically pleasing beers I have ever had. The lacing was absolutely the best I have ever seen. There were rings from top to bottom that showed my progress. Sweet.

UCLABrewN84, Apr 18, 2010
Photo of djrn2
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

djrn2, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%

zestar, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of acurtis
4.11/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Naven hooked me up with a fresh 500ml bottle of Pliny. Bottled 9.23.2010
Poured into large red wine glass. Copper color with 1/2 finger white head that sticks to the glass. Head fell, left small and bubbly Super aroma dominated by flowery hops with some citrus. Amazing flavor balanced with hops and malt. Spectacular soft carbonation. This has to be the most drinkable double IPA i've tasted. Simply awesome.

acurtis, Oct 20, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
4.18/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jerk44 for this one.

A: Orange colored with a good head and plenty of lace.

S: Lots of hops, backed up by some nice citrus and tropical fruits.

T: Much like the smell, with the hoppiness taking over a little bit in a good way.

M: Medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation. The alcohol is barely present.

D: All around a very good beer. Absolutely cannot wait for August to get out to California and try this one on tap.

Thorpe429, Apr 27, 2009
Photo of nmann08
5/5  rDev +7.5%

nmann08, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Texasfan549, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of metter98
4.45/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: The beer is clear orange to yellow in color and has a very slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high head that died down and left a large patch of bubbles in the center of the glass, a collar of large bubbles around the edge and some delicate lacing in between.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of grapefruit in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of grapefruit, notes of caramel malts and hints of pine resin.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very crisp on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very drinkable and has no trace of alcohol in the taste. It also has an excellent balance between the malts and the hops.

metter98, Dec 08, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ordered today on tap with a great hamburger at Father's Office in Santa Monica. Great lunch!

Pours golden dark amber in color with a nice white head.

A nose of fresh pineapple and sweet pine. This is all about the hops! Huge fresh, crisp and bright grapefruit, grapefruit skins and citrus character and flavors. Lemon and lemon oil tones in nose, mouth and finish.

There is a quality character to this hoppy brew and it there is no question but that it is out of balance with hops. It's great! I love it. More brewers should make out of balance, hop heavy brews like this one! A winner, especially on tap. Very food friendly with flavorful dishes.

GRG1313, Aug 02, 2009
Photo of kjkinsey
5/5  rDev +7.5%

kjkinsey, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of brentk56
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a clear honey color with a rocky ecru head that sticks well and throws a few shards of lace around the pint glass

Smell: Really juicy tangerine with a dash of lemon and mint

Taste: Citrus elements appear at the outset and build through mid-palate, with floral tangerine and hints of balsa wood; after the swallow, an intense bitterness rules the day with just a hint of residual sweetness

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: No big sticky malt backbone here -just a hoplover's dream

brentk56, Aug 21, 2008
Photo of BEERchitect
4.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sharply citrusy and bone dry- Russian River knows that these halmarks are the only ones that matter in this simple and strong style.

Pouring a highly carbonated and creamy overall appearance, the beer delivers the most supple of haze upon a strong golden, light copper hue. A creamy ecru head builds on the beer and coats the sides of the glass with sheets of lace as the beer falls for a very charming and stately appearance.

Aromas of every citrus fruit that you have ever known rushes to the olfactories with an onslaught that's extremely zesty, ripe, and fresh. Only the most supple of malty caramel notes inform the sweeter notions of fruit but intently stray from the focused citrusy notes of oranges and grapefruit.

Flavors follow suit with a strong emphasis on hoppy oils that remind the tastebuds of ruby red grapefruit pulp, freshly grated oranges, and tangerine succulence. Citrusy overall, but it's the underlying malty sweetness of thin caramel that gives the fruity hop flavors just enough sweetness to not become sour, acidic, or overly sharp. Lightly salty in taste, the beer's water profile gives a rounded element that's sometimes lacking in these dry beers.

But the dryness doesn't only manifest in taste, it also presents a quick evaporative feel just after the early creamy notion of malt whisps away and leaves a bitter, resiny-dry finish of citrus sharpness and lightly herbal/grassy bite in aftertaste.

Pliny is a quentessential IPA that displays all the finnese of hop oils and resins for ultimate clean citrus flavor and resiny bitterness. This only happens because of the understated and clean caramel malt base. Although this would normally expose a lot of hop and alcohol harshness in merely mortal beers, it's surprising that none of those show here. Russian River nails this one!

Thanks also bbehr and hopluva1!

BEERchitect, Oct 29, 2008
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.93/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep orangey color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of medium bitter hops notes with some well crafted citrus notes also dominating. I thought the taste of malt was somewhat subtle and overshadowed by some citrusy and bitter hops. Full body with great carbonation. Although this is a very well crafted IIPA is still think it is lacking some of the grapefruit notes that can elevated the style to another level.

Phyl21ca, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received from RedwoodGeorge as part of his recent Home Bottling Project. Thanks again George.

Sun-fired ochre with lemon drop edges. The alabaster crown is a thing of beauty. It's firmly creamy (and eventually vanilla milkshake melty) and is a lace generator of the highest order. The upper third of the glass is almost completely coated with thick, frosting-like lace. It'd be great to see some hop flecks swimming about, but for a 'clean' DIPA look, it's hard to beat.

I had little doubt that the nose would be dripping with hop esters and I'm happy to report that it is. In terms of absolute resinous pungency, it might take a backseat to the Younger, but it's still one of my all-time favorites. It's hard to go wrong with Vinnie at the helm and with a hop bill that consists of some of the best hops in the world: Simcoe, Centennial, Columbus, Chinook and Warrior. Just typing the list gives me goose bumps and makes my mouth water.

For some reason (reputation perhaps) I didn't expect to like the Elder as much as I liked the Younger. Not that it's even possible, since I consider the latter to be one of the top handful of DIPAs in all the world; and therefore one of the top handful of beers in all the world. I have to say, though, that it's close. This is an outstanding effort that hits all the right notes in that 'ideal DIPA symphony' that I listen for each time I crack open a bottle and take a drink.

If anything, the malt:hop balance favors hops more in this beer than it does in the Younger. Since the brewery calls that beer a Triple IPA (I believe it!) that utilizes three times as many hops as their standard IPA, it has to be a relative lack of malt. I'm not one to complain about a beer's hoppiness, but keep in mind that the Elder is more raw and more smack-you-silly bitter than the glorious, nectar-like, hop explosive smoothness of the Younger.

In the right hands, a hop bill as incredible as the one listed above can't help but result in a mind blowingly delicious beer. And that is exactly what has made the journey from Santa Rosa to my mouth. Brilliant, palate-shattering, hopsticky white grapefruit, pineapple and lemon zest fill my mouth and ravage my tongue... and I couldn't be happier. Who cares if the Elder doesn't have the well-mannered elegance of the Younger? True hopheads will rejoice in its 'no holds barred' alpha acidity, much as I'm doing now.

I've been so blown away by the flavor that I haven't yet given a thought to the mouthfeel. No matter, I still have a third of a bottle left. I'd better be quick about it because the 8.0% ABV is beginning to catch up with me in a big hurry. The mouthfeel, while less full, syrupy and sticky than the Younger, is still outstanding. Again, I have to thank RedwoodGeorge for an amazing re-bottling effort that is nothing less than perfect.

Pliny the Elder is an equally hoppy, slightly more bitter, lower in alcohol, lighter bodied (but still full-bodied) version of Pliny the Younger. Both are exceptional beers and both deserve every accolade that is bestowed upon them. More hop alchemy from the ridiculously talented Mr. Cilurzo. Long may he brew!

BuckeyeNation, Apr 24, 2006
Photo of ygtbsm94
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

ygtbsm94, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
4.38/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enormous thansk goes out to zrrbrrt for the growler!!


Poured a deep crystal clear amber with a nce foamy head that was slow to fad, leaving a fine lace all the way to the bottom. The smell is deep piney hops with a bit of grapefruit thrown in for good measure. The taste...well lets just say this ain't you daddy's beer!! Knock you down hops, beautiful, strong, pine and citrus that will have you puckering your mouth for a while. Great dry finish. This is a hop heads delight and lived up to the hype I must say, etremely enjoyable and simply astounding!

mikesgroove, Jan 25, 2007
Photo of jaydoc
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%

jaydoc, Aug 01, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
4.98/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very excited to have had my sister ship me three of these from Cali to Florida. Date on these is 4/3/12, today is 4/18/12.

A: single finger head with nice circumferential lacing on a pale golden with a subtle crimson hued body.

S: floral and to stay in the same vine of imagery, a bouguet of citrus, earthy, floral and mild pine hops.

T: Basically perfect balance in the hop flavor as well as transisiton between flavors. Everything is here and nothing clashes; pine, floral, citrus, earthy etc. Very nice.

M: very smooth. not overly sharp or crisp. medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: this one certainly lives up to the hype. This is a beer I could drink everyday. Excellent. Glad I have 2 more bottles.

kylehay2004, Apr 19, 2012
Photo of womencantsail
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Seeing as Pliny has such an incredibly high rating, it has quite a bit to live up to, it has never disappointed me.

I chose to review it (finally) after my girlfriend brought me a 2 liter growler full of it when she had stopped at the brewery on her way back to So. Cal.

The color of this beer is a nice golden/slightly orange straw color with a good head on top.

The smell of this beer is amazing. I would say it is by far the most aromatically pleasing beer I've come across. Usually a (D)IPA has a pleasing smell, but this is on a whole different level. It's really difficult to describe, but lots of citrus and some mild pine, very floral. The smell of this is better than the taste of many other beers I've had.

The taste is as you would hope/expect it to be. Lots of hoppy citrusy and bitter goodness. Hardly any malt on this one, but just enough to balance things out on the end. Many times with a really hoppy beer you get a powerful/off-putting aftertaste, but nothing of the sort here.

Definitely the best beer I've had to this point.

womencantsail, Jun 22, 2009
Photo of Knapp85
4.63/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh the mighty Pliny... Waited quite a while to finally try to gem. I was tipped off by a gentleman that moved to Pa from Cali about where to get Pliny in our area. He spoke if the Spinnerstown Hotel as if it was a sacred holy land of beer... He wasn't too far off! Long story short about a year after he mentioned it to me I saw the S. Town Hotel got it in on tap! I wanted to leave work early that day and fly down there asap! I walk in the door and the same dude from a year ago is tossing back Pliny's like he just bought the keg. I walked up to the bar and got my 1st one. The guy didn't remember me from before and got upset that I was ordering "his" beer! I told him that it's his fault because he tipped me off about it... Anyway it's got a lovely golden yellow color with a nice head in it. The aromas are breath taking. The flavors of pine like hops sting your mouth and make you beg for more. This beer is so tasty! I ordered 5 in a row that night. Coulda had 5 more, shoulda called a cab!

Knapp85, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.22/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on - 011410.

Appearance: Pours out a clear, brilliant, pale gold body with a sudsy, enduring, white head.

Smell: Quite a vibrant nose with many a perfumy aromatic - expressive notes of fresh florals, citrus oils, resinous pine, and even peaches fill the air.

Taste: Starts with a simple introduction of extra pale malts with some cracker tones to it and a relatively light sweetness. Flavors of oily lemon peelings, pine needles swimming in sap, meadow flowers, white grapefruit, and even white peaches usher in a bold bitterness. Picks up some spicy accents on the back end. As one would expect, it finishes dry and bitter with a lingering resinous quality.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Has a slight oily slickness to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: After well over a thousand reviews, I'm not sure what there is left to be said. PtE is a stalwart of the style. Drinks with comparative ease considering the bold bitterness and staunch dryness, with almost no notice of the alcohol presence.

ChainGangGuy, Mar 12, 2010
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Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 11,180 ratings.