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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.

11,458 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 11,458
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: 11,458 | Reviews: 3,259 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of degerbah
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy golden yellow with about a half an inch of head. Tons of lacing around the edge of the glass. The hop aroma is huge, flowery, and mouthwatering. The taste is very flowery without a hint of alcohol at all. There is a slight aftertaste, but not anything offensive or overwhelming. The mouthfeel is a litle thick which is unsurprising given the alcohol content and big taste. Amazingly drinkable, probably the best IPA/DIPA I've ever had. I had to think long and hard abou giving a 4.5 or a 5 on taste, I decided to give Pliny the benefit of the doubt.

Photo of GreenCard
4/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this at Belmont Station...

Appearance: gold, slight haze, lots of dense off-white foam that slowly dissipates to creamy clumps; lots of lace

Aroma: fresh wort and floral hops, alcohol

Flavor: medium malt sweetness with a throaty artichoke hop flavor; peppery alcohol and a hint of soap; fairly balance bitterness; finishes semi-dry

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, gentle carbonation, and alcohol warmth

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

It's very difficult to be objective about beer, especially about one that is as good as Pliny the Elder.

The appearance is has a light copper tint to it. The head is about two fingers thick and leaves a soapy appearance after a few sips.

The smell of this brew is one of its best features. It has a floral, apricot, and grapefruit aroma to it that just tickles my noise hairs.

It has a nice level of carbonation that brings out the bitterness of the hops, however it's not over abundant and gets you excited about the next sip. There is obvious notes of grapefruit and citrus in the flavor, but it doesn't leave you parched. I'm amazed that it's a DIPA, because it doesn't have the malty/alcohol presence that some DIPA have.

The carbonation has a nice sugar presence to it which makes it refreshing.

Drinkability: Everyday if I could. I live in Texas and sadly they RR does not distribute out here. The hops don't destroy your palate like some DIPA do. The hops dissipate rather quickly which leads me take sip after sip. Those of you in Santa Rosa are very lucky.

Photo of AleWatcher
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade with Sideswipe.

Bottle poured into pint glass.

Looks pretty good. Lighter in color than some dark apricot colored ones... Maybe a dark gold with 2 fingers of head and sticky lacing. I see some sediments too.

Smells of grapefruit and a little pineapple? Never smelled pineapple in a DIPA, but it works nicely. Also smells fresh, grassy, and a little piney. Not noticing a whole lot of malt, but there are hints of some sweet maltiness shining through.

Taste is fresh grapefruit and citrus. Even a bit of orange/lemon. A little pine towards the back of the throat, but finishes malty then citrus. Very refreshing and clean finish.

This is just right on mouthfeel. Sometimes you get
that piney feel that coats your throat, but not here. Carbonation level helps this one smoothly down my throat... And the clean finish makes it even more enjoyable.

If I could get this one all the time, I would certainly drink it regularily. If you can get it, drink it. If you can't, trade for it. It really is very nice. It deserves its high level of praise.

Photo of prg1976
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark copper color with a small white head. Good retention and lacing.

Smells piney with a little citrus but not overpowering.

Tastes fantastic. Lots of hops, pine, orange, quite bitter.

Mouthfeel is great. Not overly carbonated. Slight aftertaste of the bitter hops, but it's not a bad aftertaste.

Very drinkable. I could easily drink this all night.

Overall, I'd say it lives up to the hype. Excellent beer.

Photo of Kelp
4.63/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours forth a beautiful dark golden color. has a nice head to it with decent lacing left in the glass.

Smells like citrus and hops mainly. A bit of pine and floralness finish the nose.

This is what an IPA of an sorts should taste like. I get the hops right up front like a smack to the face, so good. Very little bitterness to it and almost no grapefruit after taste. Just slight notes of pine and citrus left on the tongue. Extremely clean all around.

Very smooth and velvety. A decent body to it and just the right carbonation to me.

I so wanted another of these. Not my favorite type of beers, but i could have definitely enjoyed a few more of these.

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

Poured from a bottle

A lite golden color with nice off white head, decent lacing. The beer smells nice and hoppy with some citrus overtones.. The taste is great, loaded with hops, lots of dry hopped grapefruit flavor. The fantastic thing about this beer is it's dryness. I find most DIPA's are too sweet but not the Elder, the citrus flavors really cover the huge bitterness of this beer, which is so dangerously drinkable. Cheers to Vinnie!

Photo of zoso493
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured this guy from a 500 ml bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on 1/14/10. Split the bottle three ways.

Appearance: Pours a very bright golden color that is much lighter than you'd expect in a DIPA. There's very little amber to be found, but it is a very hazy brew. I didn't have a complete serving but it still produced a nice one-and-a-half finger head that left some moderate lacing on the glass.

Smell: This one has a very nice fruity scent to it. It's much more subdued than I would have thought but it's masterfully laced together. There's also a huge caramel sweetness to the smell, which is just beautifully pronounced. It smells like the sweetest nectar and it's to be consumed.

Taste: Well damn. This is a tremendous IPA. It retains the huge fruity hop character but has the most delectable, pleasurable and intense hop bitterness to it. This is not to say the malts aren't present, as the caramel malts just make the hops seem like they are crusted in sugar. Make no mistake, though, this one is all about the hops, and it is a masterfully bitter IPA.

Mouthfeel: Very nice, crisp mouthfeel. It's not the thickest DIPA you'll find but it's very nicely carbonated and very smooth.

Drinkability: Despite all the wonderful bitterness, this one doesn't destroy your palate so you could have a few of these. In fact, I would love to have a few of these at a time. All the time. This a beer that I could never grow tired of.

Overall, this is just a truly fantastic IPA all around. It's the first beer I've had from Russian River and it's left a huge impression on me. It nails the style with a wonderful fruity hop bitterness but keeps the hops somewhat honest with the chewy caramel malts. If you haven't tried this beer, you should make it every effort to seek it out, because it is a wonderful beverage.

Photo of stingrayvr6
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, at their 3rd annual celebration of everything Russian River. Yellowish orange in color, decent white head that lasted a while. Smell was sweet up front and oily hops behind. taste was similar, some good malt body up fornt then grassy and oily hops behind. Mild carbonation. Fantastic double IPA, great beer for any hophead.
Cant wait to try the Younger.

Photo of WOTO97
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: pale gold with dense 1-finger head and moderate lacing

S: sweet grapefruit, some bitterness, faint pear/apple notes

T: lemonade and straw flavors on front palate, dry finish with solid bite, bitter grapefruit on the mid-palate

M: clean with slightly sticky hop finish

D: amazing beer

I have had this beer so many times, yet this is my first review of the beer. Without a doubt I will modify this post because no matter how many times I drink it, I discover new facets of this beer.

Photo of DIM
4.25/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a slightly hazy golden color. It was served to me with thin whisp of a head.

s: Lots of fresh lemon and a little pineapple backed by a little caramel and vanilla.

t: Not much to say that hasn't already been said. Copious amounts of fresh citrus barely balanced by a touch of rough caramel and brown sugar.

m: Creamy feeling overall, very nice.

d: My first time having this, what the hell took me so long? I'd love to have some more.

Photo of erosier
4.63/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Pours a nice clear orange yellow with a medium sized and thick bodied white colored head that laces the glass very nicely on the way down. The look is actually a bit deceiving in this case as it looks lighter than it is going to be.
S: Smells of sweet toasted malts, then a rich piney, earthy, slightly citrus-y mix of hops that pretty much takes over the nose.
T: Tastes of a very nice sweet toasted malt base, with a big earhty, grapefruity, piney, and floral hop taste to it. The hops don't overpower, they just take over but there enough of a malt backbone where it tastes very good.
M: Very crisp, refreshing, a little heavier than it looks, slightly warming, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Very drinkable beer, this was a really good one and gone in no time.

Photo of jcnd9803
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to krtman for sharing!

a -Pours a light caramel color with about an inch head that retains really well and provides outstanding lacing.

S - Ridiculous..Really strong fresh pine and pineapple.

t - Crazy hop flavors are what jump out on first sip, accompanied by a fresh pineapple citrus

m - Crisp and refreshing. And even though it smells and tastes so hoppy, it's amazingly not dry. How do they do that?

d - I really do love a good IPA, but feel that many double/imperials take it too much in one direction to try and achieve flavor that ends up hurting the drinkability. This beer however has a crap load of IPA flavor and brings it well. Bravo!

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

A - Hazy golden orange with a good sized white, foamy head.

S - Big fruity hop smell. Lots of grapefruit, pineapple, orange, and just a little lemon. Good amount of pine too.

T - Similar to the smell. Lots of hops, grapefruit, pineapple, orange, lemon, pine, as well as some floral and other earthy flavors. Considering all this, it isn't too bitter. There is bitterness present, but there are so many other flavors it doesn't seem overpowering. The fruit flavors provide a very subtle sweetness along with some pale malt as well.

M - Medium to full body with good carbonation. Very creamy and smooth.

D - Great drinkability. Goes down easy and taste wonderful. The hop flavors work so well together and it is quite refreshing. Would love to sit back and enjoy a few, unfortunately the ABV (and at the moment availability) prevents that somewhat.

Notes: Wonderful beer with lots of West Coast type of hop flavors. Really good mix of hops that compliment each other. Also considering what it is and the amount of hops that are tasted, it is well balanced. There is a nice bitterness, but that is more in the background.

Photo of donkeyrunner
4.13/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Flown in fresh from Cali via duffextracold.

Large white head over a clear, light orange beer. Bubble pile retention leaves delicate coral lace stuck to mine glass.

Aroma: soft pine hop jumps on top of sweet citrus candy hops with a sexy third party pepper hop. Corn muffin?

Thin, dry biscuity malt under a citrus hop medley--kind of like a bunch of those sugared candy fruit slices.

It's good...it's very good. But I was expecting everything I had ever dreamed in a bottle which it isn't.

4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Clear tangerine copper. Luscious near white creamy head with good retention. Fine etched laces between rings of thick lace.

Juicy fresh hops, what a bouquet. Grapefruit, tangerine, tropical fruit, floral, spicy, piney, herbal, resiny. Light biscuit-like malt in the background.

Fresh and juicy - floral, orange, grapefruit, and tropical fruit. Spicy dank herbal resins, pine, slight ganja. Just a touch of toasty biscuit like malt that sets the stage for the hops to attack the palette. Big resinous piney bitterness. yum

Sticky, mouth coating, dry, yet crisp and refreshing. A nice drinkable body. And well carbonated.

So drinkable, a refreshing hoppy masterpiece. One of the best DIPAs out there.

Photo of happilysurly
4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

500ml bottle. Pours burnished bronze. Aroma is pineapple and grapefruit and fresh wet hops, not piney. Big, full flavor. TONS of hops, much less malt flavor. Has a bitterness that is not overpowering, not sharp, but lingers. It isn't overly sharp like a lot of ipa's or alcoholy like a lot of imperial ipa's. The balance is quite remarkable. Finish is tropical fruitiness. This beer was 6 weeks old when consumed and tastes really really fresh, not in a green way, but in a fresh home brewed way.

Photo of pants678
4.6/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Father's Office in Culver City.

Came in a tulip type glass with a narrow top. The head was a single finger, white and frothy with excellent retention. The body is a clouded gold, pristine yellow.

A well hopped citrus with notes of pine and an underline of yeast on the nose.

I'm not one for the IPAs at all, but this was beyond genre and type. The subtle mix of fruits, grapefruit, orange and mango is a perfect match for notes of coriander and pine with a dry hop back. The Elder's just bitter enough, off-setting the grain/grass without ever being sour. A musty-sweet. No reminder of the 8% by volume.

Smooth and tart as the best hefeweizens, crisp as the best czech pilsners. Like a kolsch, this was the perfect match for my burger, easily could have put away a few of these.

Photo of dfillius
4.63/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've enjoyed this one several times on tap and now I'm tucking in with a bottle to review. Poured into an imperial pint glass.

A: Moderate pour yields one finger of white head with very good retention. Hazy golden amber liquid. Beautiful!

S: Solidly hoppy: pine, garlic, slight citrus. Some esters provide a vehicle to keep the hop aroma aloft.

T: Very bitter, yet with a great malt character too. Rich flavor, I want more! Balanced DIPA, but definitely on the hoppy side of the style.

M: Round, full, bitter. Rich.

D: So high. I want another right now! I will definitely buy again. Still one of the best beers I've had.

Photo of HopHead29
4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a snifter

Appearance is clear goldish coloring with decent white head. Leaves some lacing.

Smell is of grass and citrus. Big hop odor here.

taste is the same with some hints of lemon and lime and flower pedals. Has a big malt presence as well to balance it out.

really impressed with the balance of this beer. Very drinkable. Very happy with this beer

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

NOTE: If you are drinking this beer about 2 months past its freshness date then you are not getting the full experience.

500ml brown bottle with a bottled on freshness date.

Mildly hazed orange golden color, solid two fingers of head leave a nice crowning of sticky lace that leaves thick rings on the glass. Big hop aroma of evergreen, clementine rind, pineapple and fresh cut grass. Super smooth with a modest amount of carbonation. Prickly spicy hop bitterness with citric, mint and wild flower flavors that linger far into the aftertaste. Hint of nutty yeast and a big handful of biscuity malt are thrown at the palate and actually shows that this beer has balance. Full bursting orange grove flavor. The 8.0% stays hidden for the most part yet does yield a slow warmth about half way through the pint, a bit of ripe tropical fruitiness within from the esters. Finishes with that long drawn out hop bitterness and flavor as it leans towards the dry side.

Epic, a deserving epic as well even with all of the hype surrounding PTY. Pliny The Elder is the poster-boy for Double IPAs. Every hophead needs to put this on their must try list.

Photo of imblane
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I finally decided to review this one after drinking God knows how many.

A - crystal clear golden pale yellow with a nice two finger head that leaves strong lacing as it dissipates.

S - Big hop aroma! The freshest hop nose of any beer I have tried. The Columbus, and Simcoe hops are king. There are a few Centennial there, but citrusy piny Simcoe seems to be the signature here.

T - Wow, is this beer really 8%? nice rounded bitterness from the Columbus hops and the Simcoes come in and round out the hoppiness with an adequate malt backbone. No alcohol noted which is significant in an 8% beer.

M - Dry with a crisp hoppy bite. Not too dry but not cloying at all.

D - I can drink 3 or 4 of these easy! The abv creeps up on me about that time and smacks me in the back of the head. The most drinkable of any 8% beer I have tried.

To me this personifies the style. I have had Pliny's younger nephew, but for the average evening I prefer the Elder! Of note, I had one of these this evening after a PTY and it was the last pour from the keg. It had a sinificant amount of yeast in the glass and it looked like a Hefeweizen! The server offered to pour me another or give it to me for free, but I declined. The yeast added a layer of complexity I had not seen before in this beer. The best PTE I have had!

Photo of paKIRK
3.88/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

appearance---golden amber very clear mid size bubbles fades quick to a nice little island leaves some lacing

smell---citrus, pine and some floral notes

taste---grapefruit, mango with some pine there is a slight spicy pungent no real malt taste a very nice dry crisp finish this is a hop bomb

mouthfeel---a smooth medium light very carbonated

drinkability--- this beer goes down very smooth but its high alcohol content could grt me in trouble

bomber dated on 1-14-10 drank tonight poured it in to a samuel adams glass

Photo of andrewinski1
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks, to skuter for this one!

Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a nice thick head that thins out across the Portsmouth Brewery tulip. Smells exceptional. One of the best smelling beers ever. Lots of peach smell with a hint of grapefruit and pine. The taste is of course bitter that's balanced out with citrusy hop taste and just a touch of malt. Highly drinkable with a near perfect mouthfeel.

Photo of WanderingFool
4.28/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I drank several ounces of Pliny the Elder at the Extreme Beerfest. It's basically Pliny the Youngers little brother.

The beer pours a clear, honey yellow color with a creamy, small white head on top. The aroma is very hoppy with grassy and grapefruit citrus notes.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is very smooth with a mild fizz on the palate. The flavor is mostly hops with notes of grass and grapefruit citrus. A fair amount of sweet dry malt and fruity yeast notes balance out the hops. It finishes dry with linger citrus hops once the beer is gone.

This beer is easier to drink than Pliny the Younger. It's smoother, lighter bodied, well balanced and very flavorful.

Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 11,458 ratings.