Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

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11,457 Ratings

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Ratings: 11,457
Reviews: 3,259
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 7.94%
Wants: 5,356
Gots: 2,157 | FT: 67
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: 11,457 | Reviews: 3,259 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WeimtimeBier
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Golden orange, with some light amber tint. nice helf inch head that dicipated from the hop oil.

S- A more mild smell then i was expecting. Very nice malt/hop balance. Grapefruit, and spicy pine. Also a good malt aroma.

T- Exceptional taste. First came the hops with lots of grapefruit, spice, pine, and tropical fruit. Mango flavor sticks out. Incredibly balanced with a good sweet malt taste.

M- oil, medium carbonation. nice medium body.

D- Supremely drinkable beer. every aspect of the taste is balanced.

I want to compare pliney with dreadnaught, head to head.

Photo of traviserickson
4.83/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

G: 10 oz. goblet

A: Poured a light amber, pillowed head with medium bubbles. An honest looking ipa!

S: Big, upfront hop bill with citrus and caramel undertones. Some grassy notes.

T: Very fresh and very green, but not in a too-ripe kind of way. Hop forward without being to top-heavy and very large citrus flavours throughout.

M: Neutral, but nice. Balanced with no fringes or defining characteristics, making it very well rounded.

D: High drinkability for a stronger ipa. It's fresh, clean, and quite refreshing. I can easily see having a few during a single sitting.

Photo of Bajasith
4.58/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my favorite tall glass I use to observe the beauty of whats to come...

Appearance: Golden/amber with a milky haze as the fluffy head begins to form. Pours like no other.

Smell/Taste: Smell is like walking into a thick pine forest after a heavy rain... Sappy and fresh. Hops attacks your palate from the beginning with a smoothe creamy malt sweetness at the end.

Mouthfeel: Pure joy with this one, like PTY, a little heavier but very smoothe. Mild cabonation helps hops intensity just explode and dissipate intense flavor.

I am sure glad this brew is available every time beacause I cannot be without it... Stock up. Very refreshing after a long hot day at work..

Photo of sitarist
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy, honey, golden, amber color. It glows in my 420 Hop-fest pint glass. There is a fat, fluffy head that falls to about 1/4" with lots of thick loose lacing. Smells like powdered sugar and candied oranges. This really isn't that complex, but it is almost perfectly balanced! Might I say; a orange dream cycle or orange scone from Panera? There are faint hints of pine but the sweet citrus rules this treat. Flowery kindness; earthy and Funky it begs to be tasted! The candied orange-orange dream cycle thing dominate the flavors as well, but there are hints of tropical fruit, apricot, and black pepper. Hail the cannabaceae family!
Medium body, it realy sticks to the palate, coats the mouth nicely.

Danger Will Robinson!!! This beer is highly drinkable; it may impair you ability to think straight! This beer is a treat to ones senses! Two of these big bottles is enough though. This beer does to my taste-buds, as the Cowboy Junkies do to my ears.

Edit 10-23-12: I just had a 6 month, & 3 week old blind tasting. Even the 3 week old batch was starting to loose it; but the 6 month was lost.

Photo of chicano4craft
4.78/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip. A great orange and slight copper color. An easy two fingers of fluffy head. An awesome appearance.

The nose has citrus, grapefruit, and fresh cut grass. The malt lends a slight sweetness. It's like sugar sprinkled on orange slices. The aroma sticks around for the entire session.

Taste is amazing. There's alot going on, but it's always in balance. The hops are first with a blast of citrus. Not overly bitter at all. The malt is right there to lend a bitter sweet finish.

Pliny is easily the smoothest Imperial IPA I've ever had. But that doesn't mean it lacks any flavor. The balance leads to dangerous drinkability.

This is the freshest Pliny I've had. Bottled about three weeks ago. This is one of those beer that lives up to the hype. You almost expect the hops to be right in your face. But when you settle in to the balance of it all you realize this is what an Imperial IPA is all about!

Photo of badboyrsl84
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to B4L for this one.

This beer is unlike I have ever come across. I pride myself in being a dark beer guy but this may have taken the cake for me.

It pours golden copper with a thick and lasting white head

The smell is like most other good IPAs. Lots of earthy hoppiness with hit of some sweetness.

The mouth feel of this blew me away. I could literally let this bad boy sit in my mouth forever. Not a lot of carbonation to this one which i feel makes this even better beer.Just like the smell i get a taste of earthy hoppiness with a smooth sweet finish. This may just be the best IPA I've ever had.

Great Beer!!!

Photo of phiberoptik
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thank you to billinlafayette for the trade of FRESH, bottled 4/5/10, PTE!

A nice coppery gold color, tiny bit hazy, and a nice fluffy white head that coated the glass as I took drinks.

I wish they had Pliny the Edler air fresheners available, as both my cars would have them! Perfect balance of citrus and pine hops. I think the citrus stands out more but definitely room for both.

It tastes so... balanced. Nothing jumps out as being overbearing or off balanced. You catch some citrus, some pineyness, some malt, some sweetness up front with a bitterness at the end. I cannot tell that this beer has been shipped across the country and exposed to unknown temperatures for sure! I definitely trust this beer is any.

Mouthfeel was pretty standard of a good IPA. A tingle from the alcohol and a bitter coating on the tongue.

The drinkability for me is great because it didnt leave me wanting another. Some people who like to drink more than a beer at one sitting, may not find it as drinkable but I like a beer that Im happy with after one.

Luckily I have two more to savor!

Photo of drpdaddy
4.83/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Piraat Tulip

Apperance : Light Copper slightly cloudy with some sediment, nice voluminous shead with lacing.

Smell: Very present but at the same time light floral/citrus/piney hop aroma with some malt present.

Taste: Superb, much like the smell the hops and the malt are expertly balanced. The hops take center stage but there not overpowering. Great Balance. This beer lives up to the hype.

Mouthfeel: Although medium bodied, it had an almost creamy mouthfeel with carbonation kept in check.

Drinkability: I could drink this all the time if it was readily available, definitely one of the most drinkable DIPA's I've had. Although its was not quite as hoppy as I originally hoped, I understand the hype. Expertly crafted, can't wait to get my hands on some more.

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.83/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap in the alley behind hawthorns. Crazy right.

A- small cap of off white foam. A beautiful light copper orange in color with a slight haze.

S- great googily moogily, this smells awesome. Tons of grapefruit and tangerine. Pine sap and herbal hoppy goodness. Sweet malts and a hint of honey.

T- well the nose really holds up its end of the bargain. Lots of citrus hops, grapefruit peel and a piece of pulp in the eye. Background layers of conifers of all sorts. A perfect semi sweet malt back bone that never over shadows the load of hops.

M- medium to full in body and the carb holds up and levels the playing field nicely. Dry but not to dry.

D- if its in front of you, you need to be drinking it. You can't ever have enough as is my plan today. A half of fresh elder yes please.

Photo of MarkFy
4.22/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - golden amber orange color, decently hazy, fingers worth of small bubble filled white head.

S - grapefruit and pine

T - right off tons of citrus, hops come back and its back to citrus (grapefruit)

M - above average carbonation, medium bodied, finishes clean.

D - Very, very good.

I see why this beer is rated so high, but I have had many IPA beers that top or match what is going on here. Hopslam and ST Oaked Unearthly come to mind.

Photo of mbudner
4.83/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to mom and dad who brought this back from their trip to CA. Bottled on 4/5/10

A- Pours golden with a 2-finger white fluffy head that sticks around for awhile leaving lacing like curtains on the glass.

S-Huge piney aroma with some floral notes mixed in.

T-After having this a dozen or more times, finally sitting down to review it makes me sit down and...realize how awesome this beer is. There is a substantial hop bitterness in the finish, but the stars of the show here are really the array of floral notes and forest-like flavors coming through. Pine resin throughout.

MF-Great sticky mouthfeel, that leaves the mouth coated with hop oils.

D-I could shower in Pliny.

Photo of Wisconsinality
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to beerwolf77 for this one.

A- Pours a beautiful hazy golden orange with a fluffy finger and half worth of head that leaves great lacing on the side of the glass. The head sticks around for awhile leaving a good cap.

S- I knew right away once I peeled away the wax and popped the cap that this one was going to be good. A huge burst of floral hops with just the smallest amount of funk. A small bit of biscuit blends nicely as well.

T- Floral hops with a nice hint of citrus in the back drop. Again, a little funk that adds a smoothness to the beer. Some lemon and bread give this beer a great balance.

M- Not a whole bunch of bitterness up front that allows you to take in all flavors. A good amount of carbonation that tickles the tongue and just a tad bit dry on the finish.

D- About as good as I have had. Great hop flavor but not overly bitter. Great balance and complexity. This beer deserves all the recognition and more.

Photo of AJacob81
4.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this in a DLD trade. Decided to hit it to start my weekend on a good foot. Poured from a 17-oz. bottle marked 3-26-10 into a snifter.

A - Pours a golden copper with a 1.5 finger head of pure white foam. Head dissipates, but sticks around with delicate lacing on the side of the glass.

S - Smells like a pine tree growing in an orange grove. Tart, slightly sour, but very inviting aroma.

T - Pineapple, grapefruit, and fresh hops dominate, with very little malt balance. However, the brashly hop-forward profile is ridiculously refreshing and remains so as the beer warms. There is a burst of citrus fruits at the front of each sip that is absolutely delightful. The finish has just enough burn to remind you that this is a 8% beer.

M - Medium body, very crisp. Near-perfect levels of carbonation keep this a compelling drink. I finished it faster than I thought I would.

D - It's compelling, but not undeniably so. The persistent hops-bitterness gets a little overwhelming by the end. Overall though, a great-drinking DIPA.

Worth the hype? Since I'm more of a stout guy, I may not be the best person to ask, but I'd put this in the same league as Ruination, my current favorite DIPA. I'm very glad to have made this trade.

Photo of wchesak
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into my Spiegelau tulip. Thanks to pastradul for this one.
Bottled on 040510

A - golden amber orange color, decently hazy, fingers worth of small bubble filled white head that almost like a heavy cream sitting on top of the beer, lots of lace all over the inside of the glass

S - clementine, grapefruit right off the bat, like they were just peeled and cut up, then you took said cut up fresh fruit and enjoyed them in a pine forest, some pineapple upside down cake-ness comes after the initial smell

T - right off tons of citrus that dissipates to the malt section that is pretty caramelly but rather time, then the hops come back and its back to citrus (grapefruit forward) with some grassy elements that sits on the back of your palette and doesnt leave, however its not to the point where it becomes annoying it makes you want to take another sip

M - above average carbonation, medium bodied, finishes clean malt wise but hops stay on palette well after leaving nice dryness

D - this is the quintessential DIPA, plenty of hops, but never overbearing and your taste buds survive, hard to stop from finishing off the 1 bottle i have too quickly

Photo of fartist71
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

When I opened this hard to obtain I.P.A. I was expecting great things and I would not be disapointed. Big thanks to Vinnie at russian river for sending me A list of places to buy this fine beverage.

A: Clear gold with hints of orange and yellow carbination bubbles rise from the bottom of A decently poured beer. The head takes A steady rise up the glass and holds at two fingers long enough to remember its glorious presence.

N: The nose is amazing. Floral comes first followed by brilliant orange and grapefruit citrus. The smell is enough to know that this is going to be special.

T: Wow this awsome I cant belive that this beer held up to the amount of hype that I had coming in to the first drink. Solid citrus with orange and grapefruit. The malt that I did not smell in the nose is suttle but present. This balances this beer on A needle. The hops are good but not strong, the malts are soft yet have enough body to hold the beer together.

M: The feel is good but almost any double India is going to have good mouthfeel. I could only give a 4 because the finish lacked the dryness that could high light A solid feel.

D: I could drink this All DAY or until I fall down. This beer is smoth and only gets better as it warms up a few degrees. The alcohol is hidden very well adding to its drinkability.

Photo of Kanebanger
4.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Date on bottle 4/05/10

Thanks again to d0ggnate for helping me get some fresh stuff.

Bottled on 3/22/10

A: Dark yellow with a very large white head. Good retention and a decent amount of lacing.

S: Floral, citrus, grapefruit, pine. While mostly citrus and grapefruit, this one has a little bit of everything.

T: Light malt with grapefruit and floral hop flavor. A lot more bitter than what I was expecting. The taste is good, but the didn't live up to what I was expecting based upon the smell.

M: Medium in body, with a good decent amount of carbonation.

D: Top notch DIPA. It will definitely remain on my wants list so that I can hopefully score some more.

Photo of scottfrie
4.76/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

500ml bottle into Gulden Draak tulip.

A: Pours a cloudy honey-citrus color with a large tan head that slowly reduced into a thin film that left thick chunky sticky lacing all the way down the glass.
S: Very sweet fruity and floral hops with some notes of pine and fresh cut grass. I pick up passion fruit, pineapple, and tangerine peel as well.
T: Huge spicy hop bite destroys the palate and leaves you wanting more. Tons of pine, fruit and spice.
M: Alcohol is hidden well. It is only barely noticeable in the finish. Bitterness lingers on after you swallow and the finish is dry. Carbonation melts in your mouth.
D: Definitely one of my favorite DIPA's and beers in general. Everyone should try this beer to know what a great DIPA tastes like. I may not pick it up every time I see it, but it is a great brew to have on any occasion. Definitely lives up to the hype.

Photo of regspeir
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottle into Duvel tulip
I have had this beer several times on-tap and I am anxious to see how the bottle version compares. A "Bottled on" date was the month before. Pours lemony orange with a 3-inch white head which settles . Lacing is elegant and lasting. Nose is pine, orange and grapefruit. Taste though, my goodness... so refreshing, so balanced. First the citrus and some bitterness hits you, but it quickly gives way to malt biscuity sweetness. The carbonation is perfect, influencing the appearance and the mouthfeel. I can't add much to the hundreds of reviews found here. This is just a GREAT beer, period.

Photo of weatherdog
4.58/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500mL bottle poured into a Duvel tulip, bottle dated 020810 and drank with a little under two months of age

It pours slight hazy bright tangerine. A billowing off white pillowy textured three fingered head come alive during the pour and dies down to an almost permanent one fingered cap. A minimal amount of lacing coast the sides of the glass as the liquid level lowers.

The first thing that hits me is a very realistic orange aroma, it's very juicy. There is also a complimenting piny smell but it takes a backseat to the orange for me. While the smell is good it doesn't blow me away like the highest rated available DIPA should.

The taste is unsurprisingly all hop and no malt. I'm picking up much less orange type fruit and much more florals with distinct grassy taste at the end. The flavor itself is really a complex play of hop flavors, more than I've experienced before. The bitterness in this beer is what is truly sets it apart from others in my opinion; it's fully present but it's so smooth. The problem I have with a lot of DIPA's is a harsh and lasting bitterness (Ruination I'm looking at you). This beer had none of that and didn't even leave any type of lasting bitter aftertaste. A truly impressive flavor.

The mouthfeel was nice and dry as I like it but had a too much carbonation for me, even with my Duvel tulip releasing a constant stream of bubbles. This also is probably tied with Hopslam as the easiest drinking DIPA I've encountered.

I was really glad to finally try this raved about beer. I really try hard not to let preconceptions or hype sway my opinions. I also am not a biggest fan of DIPA's and my ratings can reflect that. This beer really did blow me away and I could really fall in love with the style if more beers were similar to this although I have a feeling many brewers are already trying to emulate Vinnie's creations.

Photo of Donerik
4.33/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle, Acquired in a DLD trade, worked out awesome

Drank with a clean palate early in the morning.

A: Great looking, foamy head, big bubbles, popping to the surface as it dissipated, it looked like sea foam to me.

S: pine needles, once you've held freshly stripped white pine needles in your hand you've held the hops aroma of this beer. It had hints of beer and citrus in there.

T: Great, but I've had better IPA for sure, Hopslam fresh, Double Crooked Tree, Tossing some love out for my home state brews here.

M: Like a beer should feel

D: This beer was actually refreshing. No complaining. I could have had more of this.

I wonder if it's better on tap?

Photo of ne0m00re
4.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A big thanks to Drink1121 for this one. Poured the 500 mL bottle (dated March 22, 2010) into an oversized red wine glass to capture the aroma.
A: Hazy golden yellow amber, it poured with a good white head that died slowly to a good film.
S: Not as extreme as I remember (I had this one at the brewpub a year back), but it has very earthy noble hops that come off as grassy. There is some tart, bitter fruit, like blackberries, behind apple muffins and apricots.
T: Earthy, almost like a Belgian IPA or Golden Ale, with biting earthy raspberries and blackberries lingering on the finish behind an apple muffin sensation. The hops are billowing and resiny, slightly tart and dry, and grassy on the finish.
M: Mildly syrupy, spritzy and slightly frothy. It has a dry, clean finish that's almost astringent.
D: Good, but I wouldn't want to have more than a couple pints.

After having the beer again, I adjusted "Drinkability" 4.0 to "Overall" 3.0. It's a solid beer, but it's just not as exciting as other options.

Photo of garuda
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazy, brilliant orange in color. Head is about a half inch thick, with decent retention and fairly good, spotty lacing down the glass.

S - Pungent up front aroma of tangerines with a quick whiff of pine, then mostly citrus hops, and some biscuity malts in the background.

T - Delicious hops front to back. Starts out with citrus hop tastes with some biscuity, bready malts trying to come through. Transitions smoothly to floral hop bitterness in the long finish.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation. Perfectly creamy smoothness across the palate. Thick, resinous pine hop oils thickly coat the inside of my mouth through the finish.

D - Delicious brew, well balanced, with a light enough body to really throw down a few of these. The abv will really catch up to you quick.

Photo of livewire78
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to route66pubs for this one!!

Poured a beautiful peach colored cloudy yellow orange hue. Almost perfect. Lacing develops into almost complete coverage of the glass by the end.

Smells of citrus and pine at the same time. How they did that I don't know. Pungent and soothing simultaneously. Incredible.

Still nothing prepares you for the taste. Near sensory overload of sweet citrusy grapefruity piney goodness. Smooth isn't even the word. Nice drawn out and crisp finish. Near perfection.

Mouthfeel is light and refreshing. Exactly where you'd want it to be in a brew this caliber. Amazing.

The 8% is super well hidden. You'd want to drink this instead of water if you had the choice.

This is an amazing beer. It lives up to and surpasses the hype by a long shot. Are you kidding me? I almost feel guilty for not having this on a special occasion. Damn near flawless!

Photo of Wantbeer
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours an amber color with a medium head that falls slowly and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. The aroma is WOW. Hops then some hops. But there is an underlying sweetness that has a caramel character. Smells very nice. The flavor is surprisingly balanced. Lots of hop flavors, but also there is plenty of malt sweetness and caramel flavor. I'm the opposite of a hop head, but this beer tastes great to me. The flavor hops aren't over the top like most I2PA's. It just blends and adds the bitterness at the end. Very nice beer. The body is moderate and the drinkability is great for 8%.

Photo of VWBuggirl
4.6/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a nice straw yellow with a small head and lots of lacing. The scent is very hoppy right off the bat, then you get a great floral scent that has a slightly sweat citrus smell, like a ripe tangerine.

As for the flavor, wow! Hops come out right away and quite strongly as anticipated. You definitely get that floral taste at the end and it is very earthy and enjoyable. I don't get much of the citrus that I smelled, but it isn't necessary.

This is decently carbonated and nice and dry. This all goes to making it very drinkable. More so than most.

This is my first of this style and I enjoyed it quite a bit!

Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 11,457 ratings.