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Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,510 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,510
Hads: 13,376
Avg: 4.6
pDev: 15.65%
Wants: 6,846
Gots: 3,517 | FT: 100
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Pliny The Elder Alström Bros
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Reviews: 3,510 | Hads: 13,376
Photo of brewaddict
4.63/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

L - Pours Clear and Golden with a nice white head and really good lace
S - There is a ton of citrus and pine in the nose
T - I taste grapefruit, fresh pine, lemon zest, with a malt sweet backbone and clean finish
F - Rich and slick with great carbonation
O - I know the debate rages, but no one can deny that this is a fantastic dipa. It's the balance that makes this a great beer. The fact that it has a clean finish that puts it over the top for me.

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Photo of Amfield
4.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is the beer that opened the door to double IPAs for me (my favorite beer style now). I think it has a great crisp hop that is well balanced and sweet.

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Photo of FSUlaw-and-brew
4.28/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a 16oz snifter from bottle
Look: very nice amber with a small head
smell: this is where I thought the beer lacked the most, after having all of the NE hops, I was not getting much from the nose at all
taste: super solid, but not excellent, I got good sweet grapefruit, but a little booziness
feel: it was a super drinkable beer, goes down smooth

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Photo of bilbobrewer
4.96/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bought two pints at Denver liquor store...bottled on Jan. 18/16.

Had this a couple times previously in Portland, OR. Loved it then, nothing's changed. The less-is-more label is just perfect, the bottle retro sexy.

Great pour...clean, clear, 1/2 inch head. Head is creamy, but doesn't last to the end....but the lacing is quite nice.

For an 8% abv, this has absolutely zero astringency, which is rare. The taste is piney and citrusy with a great resiny tongue. Amarillo & Simcoe stank. Marvellous.

I generally don't go for DIPAs, for the typical negative effect of the raised abv on the subtle hop flavors, but this one rocks. And Blind Pig is near the top of my IPA list. Simply wonderful beers, though hard to track down.

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Photo of GregA135
4.81/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A perfectly brewed and delicious west coast DIPA!
Poured a golden color that shined through with a two finger white head.
Smelled of glorious hops, pine, citrus and tropical fruit notes
Taste - a nice crisp, hoppy, piney and citrus DIPA
Medium carbonation with a nice mouthfeel

So pumped I'll be getting some more shipped to me!

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Photo of kidkramer
3.68/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

nothing special coming from Boston and Northern VT... try some treehouse and trillium then edit your reviews lol. beer has great balance and super drinkable w/ that little west coast bitter hop finish, but leaves a lot to be desired imho. cheers

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Photo of Dylan_The_Elder
4.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Moved to Italy last year and want to move back to CA as soon as possible to get back in the IPA scene... And the IPA I always used as my gold standard was Pliny. Perfect IPA. The End.

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Photo of Southside830
4.16/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy golden color. Less orange than some other Dipa's. One finger head that dissipates pretty quickly. Nice lacing left on my pint glass.
Smell: initial smell after pour was mainly Blueberry and tropical fruits. No malts detected. After beer warmed a bit I got a smell of bubble gum. Clean smell with no detected alcohol.
Taste: Pretty straightforward with the blueberry and tropical fruit notes. This beer conceals the alcohol very well. Beer also does a great job of hiding the 100 ibu. No bitterness on my pallet until about 5 seconds after the drink. From there I got the lingering bitterness on the back half of my tongue. I never tasted the malts but there obviously there concealing the hop bitterness.
Mouthfeel: Just a smooth easy drinking beer. No chewiness just smooth and drinks like a lower abv beer.
Overall: Was super excited to get a chance to try this beer. My brother brought me a bomber back from his San Diego vacation. I can see why people think so highly of this beer. I think Balanced, clean, and crisp best describe this beer. If I didn't know any better I would have thought I was drinking a single IPA. To have a DIPA with 100ibu drink so smooth is no small feat. Good stuff.

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Photo of StonewallSipper
4.09/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice golden color. Nice aroma, hoppy but not over hopped. Nice aftertaste, very malty more than I expected, didnt expect that . No citrus or iney taste that I can tell. A very filling beer. Great but not excellent.

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Photo of jaehongcho
4.91/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank it on October 21,2015 from a bottle that was bottled September 30, 2015.

Look: Beautiful honey golden color with a thick head. Pretty fine head with good retention and lacing.

Smell: Citrus. Citrus. Piny. Piny. Malt backbone can be felt as well. Again, more citrus.

Taste: Resinous bitter grapefruit and orange rind flavors are very front and center. But it's so well balanced that other tastes begin to seep in. Excellent. I would say it's the perfect taste.

Feel: Medium body very smooth mouthfeel. I personally like less-carbonated beers, but this was very nice too.

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Photo of Hyptochrons
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Scored a bottle of this stuff for the first time thanks to HopsAholic79!! Bottled 12/24/15

Poured into a Lawson’s snifter. Clear golden orange color with two fingers of fluffy head, leaves some nice lacing. Overall looks great I cant wait to try this stuff!!

Upon cracking the bottle its become clear that im in for a real treat. Dank earthy smell with some definite citrus character – getting what seems like orange and grapefruit rind, as well as a pleasant hint of pine. Its not like a citrus bomb where you feel like your in a tropical paradise, but hot dayummm the nose on this brew is appealing.

Citrus up front, complimented by a subtle but definitely noticeable sweetish malt flavor. Finishes with a slightly sweet pine taste that sits really nicely on the tongue. Its all about BALANCE, achieved to perfection. Mouthfeel is on point.

It is hyped? Yes. It is a great beer? Yes. So who cares if its over hyped… or if its the best IPA in the world. This is all subjective of course. In addition, no point to compare it to Heady or SOS… because its completely different, which is great because variety is what keeps you guessing. To me this is an absolutely excellent beer, ridiculously balanced and drinkable… amazingly refreshing and crisp. Would love to give this baby a try a few days after bottling! I would highly recommend this brew, its nothing like Heady or SOS but that’s what makes it so great.

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Photo of PatrickFox88
4.99/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I often find these beers that are rated 100 tend to be a bit of a let down for me. Pliny bucks the trend. This beer is deserving of all the accolades.

I can't fault this beer in any way. Beautiful colour, great head retention, outstanding aroma. Pine and Grapefruit on the tongue. Malt barely stands up to it, but there is just enough balance, the way I like it.

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Photo of Jhunt
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite beer, so far. I am hopping to try Pliny theYounger in a few weeks. It is very flavorful and smooth. A nice amount of hops without overpowering. Cheers.

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Photo of Griffin2
4.84/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

L - Poured a golden amber color with a significant white head.

S - Smells of grapefruit and pine.

T - Lots of pine and grapefruit.

F - Really nice mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

O - I was worried this beer wouldn't live up to the hype, but I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of KettleBellFreak
2.51/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I don't even know what to say about this beer. It's weird.

A beautiful color to the beer, perfect carbonation and lacing.

Aroma of lemons, stone fruit and grass. Taste was just awful. AWFUL. I can deal with IPA bitterness and know that this is a very hoppy beer, but FUCK. It tasted like cigarette butts,lemon juice and hay. Just nothing good to speak of. The finish was dry as shit with almost no flavor carry over except the cigarette butts. I've got to say it had decent body to it, but nothing outstanding.

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Photo of Hopislovehopislife
4.11/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I feel this was a revolutionary beer when it first came out. Its still a great beer it just can't compete with Surly, TG or NE dipas. Tons of pine, tons of resin, tons of hop bitterness. Its a crisp dipa its just not a top dipa anymore

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Photo of Biggtriksta
4.82/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

While it doesn't quite live up to Younger, it certainly does live up to the hype. Incredibly piney and citrusy in both smell and taste, it has all of the signature qualities you'd expect from a classic west coast IPA. Because this can be hard to locate, grab a Blind Pig if you have the chance as it is actually quite similar in comparison to PtE.

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Photo of RJQ3
4.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12/11/15 bottle bought and shipped right from brewery into a tulip glass. Look is a cloudy darker gold color with a nice 2 finger off white head. Aroma is all hops with floral and pine notes. Taste is bitterly hop forward with more pine, grassy, floral hints upfront with slight citrus flavors on the back end. Great bitter bite that lingers on palate for minutes after drinking. Mouthfeel was crisp with very good carbonation. Overall this beer lives up to its stellar reputation.

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Photo of MattBeer
4.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was a lager guy until I had this. "I don't like IPAs," I said. "They're too bitter," I said.

I was right. And yet Pliny taught me to love the bite.

This looks like a good beer, and feels like a very good one, but the smell and taste are like getting punched in the face with a hand made of the most delicious grapefruit ever.

Now I'm the guy that tries to intercept the Whole Foods stockperson on delivery days.

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Photo of PDXAmbassador
4.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this immensely - an overwhelming burst of flavors that coalesced into a whole greater than the sum of their parts. Balance is what makes this so incredible - the citrus doesn't overwhelm the piney-ness, and the bitterness doesn't overwhelm the sweetness. Amazingly crafted piece of work.

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Photo of thepenguin
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours an absolutely beautiful golden-copper with superb clarity, an abundant white head with good retention and lacing.

S: Grapefruit and some pine, with a bit of delicate malt behind it. Good, but the aroma could come on a bit stronger in my opinion.

T: Resinous bitter citrus rind flavors up front, showing signs of classic puckering US C-variety hops. As with the nose, it displays some delicate pilsner-like malt that adds a bit of bready caramel, particularly towards the back-end, bringing this beer into the realm of the DIPA. Long bitter resinous finish balanced by that dense bready malt. An excellent classic IPA flavor profile the leans towards drinkability. I could – though definitely shouldn’t – drink this all day.

F: Medium body with smooth retrained carbonation and a slick, silky mouthfeel. Just a hint of ethanol presence.

Overall: The OG of whalez, it’s hard to overstate the status this beer has held within and without the craft beer community. Is it the be-all-end-all of DIPAs? Of course not – no beer is or ever should be. But it’s an excellent one and it is easy to see why it garnered the acclaim that it has within its historical context.
(Dope name too; I feel like pulling a random historical figure to name your beer after was pretty before its time when this first came out.)

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Photo of AppaZappa
4.58/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from 12/9. Pours crystal clear gold with lingering white head. Smell is amazing: citrus, pine, dank, slight malt. Taste is crisp and clean but not as solid as the nose. Mouth is is great, slightly sticky yet light.

An absolutely stellar IPA and steal for the money.

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Photo of mkh012
4.71/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I've heard a lot about this one and finally got the chance to try it on tap. Pours an unassuming yellow-orange with an inch of frothy white head. The nose is certainly stellar. Very tropical and citric. I get orange, grapefruit, pear, papaya, sharp floral hops. Quite impressive. I prefer dark Belgian beers to IPAs if I'm looking for a bigger, high ABV brew, but this is a masterful use of 8% ABV and 80 IBU. Creamy mouthfeel, bitter but clean on the finish. Maybe not a 10/10 beer given my tastes but certainly a 10/10 DIPA.

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Photo of nmaher
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had the good fortune to be close enough on a work trip to swing by the brewery. Definitely lived up to the hype and after a short wait in line we were seated at the bar. Enjoyed several brews, all of which were fantastic and the food was excellent as well. Service was fast and friendly and the purchase of bottles on the way out was hassle free.

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Photo of WillDavis707
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best smelling and tasting beers out there (when on draft). Usually not a fan of the bottles, draft blows it out of the water. I feel bad for people across the country that can't experience this beer on draft, its a totally different beast.

Oily hops coat your mouth as you sip, leaving you wanting more!

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Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,510 ratings.