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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.

10,812 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,812
Reviews: 3,193
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.6%
Wants: 4,993
Gots: 1,878 | 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: 10,812 | Reviews: 3,193 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gdfan47
4.47/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

tryed this one because the menu promised it "is easily the best double IPA in the world"

it poured a wonderful yellow with a white head that hung out for the whole glass

it smells like fresh hops, citrus and some grapefruit

it tastes just like a good crisp west coast IPA

no frills just a textbook example of what this style of beer should be

the only draw back is the abv is a little high for it to be a session beer
I really could drink this one all day

gdfan47, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of Hophead101
4.18/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

drank on 11.28 at home with bro in law Jason.

such a good looking beer. pours a clear light copper, great head, but the head dissipated somewhat quickly. the smell was a buttery and creamy hop smell, very inviting and fresh. citrus in the nose, but mild (and wonderful). pine scent is crazy wonderful combined with the other smells.

the taste is phenomenal. a great buttery, smooth and creamy taste. the hops are so obvious, yet doesn't overwhelm, which makes this a great beer. great balanced flavor, smooth. there is a nice malt backbone, but subtle which combines well with the great hop-tastic flavor.

this is one of the finest hoppy beers. highly recommend.

Hophead101, Nov 28, 2008
Photo of Llewellyn9
4.83/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is it, my first review, and i picked a hell of a beer to start with...

poured from a 500ml (dig the metric from a CA brewery) bottle into a pint glass, freshness date on bottle with repeated, and humorous, reminders to drink this beer fresh!!

rather light in color, this beer pours well. nice fluffy head, great lacing. great appearance overall.

smell is as expected, incredible hop aromas, citrus up the wazoo, supported on a hint of malt.

for all you hop-heads out there, this is a must. beautiful hop bitterness and flavor, but proportioned well with the malt. The taste of this beer is what should be expected of any great IPA. As mentioned in countless reviews, this is a very well balanced beer.

mouthfeel is good, creamy, slightly wet on the palate. very nice.

deadly drinkable, cant set this one down. i love IPA's, and this one is pure heaven.

well, there you have it. one bottle of pliny the elder down, and one review in the can. next i'm going to make a black and tan with the remaining bottle of pliny and an Old Rasputin i had laying around. wish me luck.

Llewellyn9, Nov 28, 2008
Photo of monkeylovebeer
4.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Upon first pour, it unleashes an aroma of floral perfection, and may prove to be the last word on double IPAs.

Pliny the Elder gives a wonderful citrus/grapefruit finish, and in addition to lots and lots of hops, has a good balance of malt.

Talking Bob said, "One of the most-balanced double IPAs I've ever tasted."

Russian River stresses that this beer should be consumed fresh. Once you've tasted your first one, I don't think that storage is ever going to be a problem.

monkeylovebeer, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of mightyhef
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Drank at Falling Rock Tap House in Denver, poured into a 16oz tumbler...

The nose alerts me this is going to be one wild ride right off the bat...strong citrus with a hint of the bitterness that will balance it out.
The Pliny coats my tongue in a complex way setting off taste buds on both the bitterness and citrus areas....a light grassy finish with a balanced hop oil residue on the sides of my mouth. This has now become my favorite double IPA. Well Done!!

mightyhef, Nov 26, 2008
Photo of RunDWP
4.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Having heard all the raves for this beer, and never had tried it, I was expecting a let down, since it would be hard for this beer to live up to all the hype. To my pleasant surprise, it did.

I don't have a strong nose, but the moment I opened the bottle, I was hit by an orange, citrus aroma with a little pine in it. The 500 ml bottle filled up a tulip glass with a light orange brew, with a centimeter or two of solid foam, which gently clung to the glass as I sipped. It's pretty amazing how this much bitterness tasted this smooth. The flavor had orange and grapefruit citrus character, as well as a note of cream, with a stong bitterness that was smooth and refreshing, rather than simply punching me in the mouth. Mouthfeel was creamy as well. Surprised that at 8%, I really couldn't taste the alcohol. Interestingly enough, as it warmed, it didn't change in it taste profile as a lot of beers do. Great beer drinking experience.

RunDWP, Nov 25, 2008
Photo of likestoswallow
4.2/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle from Beverages 4 less in Santee. Pours copper with a big white sudsy head that has good retention and leaves plenty of lacing. The aroma is relatively strong with loads of citrus (mostly grapefruit and some orange) and a big dose of sweet cotton candy. The taste is more of the same with accent on the citrus, plus biter hops followed by cotton candy on the side and back of the tounge. The mouthfeel is medium malty with a crisp note and the carbonation is lively. The finish is long with biter-sweet hops. This is one of the great IPA's, I'm glad I can get it locally. I absolutely love this stuff, but Blind Pig is my go-to everyday IPA now that Sculpin is impossible to find. Rock on RR.

likestoswallow, Nov 24, 2008
Photo of DoShek
4.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - pours a clear, bright amber with two solid fingers of cream-colored head, after a bit the head dissipates to a whisper thin layer in the center and around the edge of the glass leaving inconsistent gobs down the side

Smell - hops coming through very strongly, resin and pine, some citrus aromas as well, bit of malt present

Taste - malt on the front end works to balance the strong hop flavors, resin and pine from the aroma assert themselves in the flavor as well, notes of biscuits present as well, balance of malt to hops evens out as the temp rises

Mouthfeel - smooth, slighly creamy, hop bitterness creates a "scrubbing" sensation

Drinkability - very drinkable, would be great with a really fatty meat, would definitely drink again

I was excited to try this one as Pliny the Elder has only recently become available here in Seattle and it did not disappoint. Prior to this experience I was not a fan of IPAs/DIPAs, but Pliny has converted me. I loved this brew. The malt provided a good balance to the hops especially as the beer warmed. Just an all-around amazing brew. I'm glad that Pliny has arrived in Seattle.

DoShek, Nov 24, 2008
Photo of dalion037
4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I finally got a chance to try this IIPA. The offering was a pint on tap. The beer was a nice golden color with a nice silky taste. It had nice hop aroma and a good bitter bite but not enough of a bite for my liking. It's a highly drnkable brew and obviously deserves the rating it has and a few more localities selling it.

dalion037, Nov 24, 2008
Photo of smanders
4.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap at Falling Rocks Taphouse Denver, CO.

Appearance: Copper-colored with a creamy head.

Smell: Pine, grapefruit, a little grass

Taste: Incomparably smooth for an 8% ABV ale. Loads of hops upfront but not overpowering. I love that there are not a lot of chocolate or caramel notes to mask the spice/bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Creamy but not too thick.

Drinkability: Hold onto your hats! A couple of pints of Elder will have you singing the next song up on the karaoke. It goes down too smoothly to enjoy only one...

smanders, Nov 23, 2008
Photo of troutmask96
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally, bottled Pliny! I've sucked back many of these at the fabled Toronado on the Haight, but cracked my first bottle of Pliny tonight. Nothing special to look at, but just wait until the citrusy aroma starts to waft over your nostrils. Pliny is piney, with a nice lingering bitterness. No way this is an 8% ABV! Nice, nice, nice...

troutmask96, Nov 23, 2008
Photo of SShelly
4.47/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brilliantly clear golden yellow with a thick fluffy white head, moderate head retention with fluffy lacing. This beer calls for you to drink it.

Thick pine and suttle citrus in the aroma, very very pleasant and quite big, actually suprised me a little that as soon as I cracked the bottle I got hit by a wave of pine.

Very complex flavor on this beer, balancing citrusy bitterness, pine flavors, all with a nice malt background, a slight carbonic bite on the sides of the tongue. Alot going on in this beer. Leaves a nice citrusy coating on the tongue in the aftertaste.

Overall Im glad I decided to grab a bottle to review, ive had it in the past and hadnt seen it for a while, now that I know where to find it I will be drinking it alot more often.

SShelly, Nov 23, 2008
Photo of jeffthecheff
4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Color was good with a golden amber. Tried pouring an aggressive head but it wouldn't keep for long.

The aroma from this beer is perfect. No beer of this style has come close to this. The aroma is all in the hops. Strong pine aroma, with some fruitiness that resembled apricots. Not only did it deliver is quality of aroma...but this was a huge bouquet that no other beer can match.

This beer had the best hop flavor as any beer I've had...with some malt in it to add complexity. The first taste will match what you smell, which is inevitable given the strong aroma. I put this under my tongue to get the caramel malt flavor which was very complex for an IPA. The hop flavor is so complex in here, you can set your mind to taste whatever you want. Pine, citrus, apricot...these are some things I tasted, but if you read anybody's review, there will be more flavors found and they are all there if you look for them. Amazing. The bitterness is light if you want it to be but strong if you focus on it. I bet someone that doesn't like a lot of bitter beers can appreciate this.

Mouthfeel and drinkability both get 5's when style is taken into consideration. This is a IIPA, but the bitterness won't make you pucker your mouth, and you will want more after each sip. Most IIPA's would have to be considered strictly "sippers" that must be nursed, but this can be drank in the same way an IPA would.

jeffthecheff, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of denflyr
4.38/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Okay so I had had this beer recommended to me many times....and I finally got some! Glad e I did!!!!

The pour was nice with the only problem being an overflow from the bottle when I first opened it. Poured a nice slightly hazy yellow/copper color. Minimal head and medium lacing.

The smell jumps out at you. Almost an orange rind component and maybe some telltale grapefruit aromas as well.

The taste is awesome. Slightly sweet and creamy malt character. Nice bittering hops character as well. Nice crisp hops aspect. The citrus carries over into the taste as well if ever so slightly.

Wonderful mouthfeel! Not very heavy and a nice amount of carbonation. It was a pleasure to drink. Wish I had more than 1 left...guess I better head back to Denver to get more!

Drinkability is VERY good. Despite its 8.0% ABV, I could and would drink this often and probably more than 1 if I was not rationing what I had!

denflyr, Nov 20, 2008
Photo of adamparker05
4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


Pours a delicious, light, rust-orange color with nice, tight head with awesome lacing. Color/body is deceptively light for a double ipa.

Wow. Aromas of peaches, piney hoppy goodness, light citrus, banana. Very refined nose.

Tastes like winning! Starts out with a crisp hoppy flavor, mid-palette goes to tropical fruits (pineapple!) but finishes with the hops again: zingy and spicy with a great malty finish.

Mouthfeel has many trends: Begins with sharp hops, mellows out in the middle, ends with some more acid, then dissipates into a sweet finish.

As drinkable s any I've ever had. I've had Pliny on draft, so this was no surprise to me.

adamparker05, Nov 20, 2008
Photo of viperpiper522
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Dark gold, with a decent lacing. Slight bubbles rise to the surface with a nice mat of head covering the entire surface.

S- Pine upfront, slightly dank and almost cheesey, followed by slight citrus notes, and more exotic fruit; such as pineapple and pomello. Biscuit lingers in the background but is really an after thought comparatively. One word that describes this aroma is - intense.

T- Sort of a let down from the aroma.

It still assaults the palate with hops. Very resinous, and once again dank. The malt shows itself more in taste than aroma with a grainy and biscuity note in the middle and towards the finish, but is still subdued. The exotic fruits show themselves slightly at end, in the form of citron and lemon pith. When slurped the alcohol is present.

M- Oily, Resinous, and definitely numbing. My taste-buds are scourched and will be for some time,
(CAUTION: If your not into: sick, nasty, over-the-top, circus-freak-like hop intensity+dryness this is not the beer for you.)

and thats the way I like it.

D- Highly drinkable, even when warmed to 65 degrees F.(Yes, I temped it.) This is one of the first and still one of the best for its style.

viperpiper522, Nov 19, 2008
Photo of Buebie
4.33/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtasy of stubbone.

Poured from a 16oz brown bottle with a bottling date of 8/28/08. Not as fresh as I would have liked.
Poured off a semi-rigerous pour into an oversized snifter.
Bubbly cask like 2 finger white head, very lage bubbles.
Retention is also filled with soapy large bubbles.
Thick sticky globs of bubbly lace line the glass walls.

Aroma is intensly grassy hops with wiffs of pine and spice.
Malt backing up the hops in a sweet carmelly aroma. Hints of somokey tobacco, fresh cut hay, hemp and more hops! Yum.

Wow, this is good. Great hop balance with malty sweetness. Upfront is smooth mild carbonation. Sweet buttery caramel, with spicie peppery flavors. Hops are almost chewy, so thick and delicious, with an oily slick texture. Prodominatly pine, more grassy earthy hops with flavors of fruit rind and peel.
Finishes dry with a long bitter hop linger.

Very very good beer, I now get the hype.

Buebie, Nov 18, 2008
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - pours a lightly churning straw yellow with some mild haze. A thin soapy head of white doesn't really amount to much but does leave some solid filmy walls of lace around most of the pint glass.

Aroma - some light grapefruit rind and a major pine smell are pretty much what this aroma is all about. Has that BO-ish kind of bend but it is an intense hop experience.

Taste - a light biscuity caramel with a quickly engulfing citrusy flavor of juicy pink grapefruit. Fleshy, flavorful, very citrusy, awesome hop character. The swallow begins immediate drying with the bitterness just edging out in front. Fantastic intensity without the medicinals that are so often associated with hoppiness on this level.

Mouthfeel - a bit thin to average in body, nicely crisp with a notable smoothness.

Drinkability - yes, another completely drinkable brew from RR. Many crispy, hop cradled kudos to BGThang for sending this fine, oustanding creation my way.

brewdlyhooked13, Nov 18, 2008
Photo of TasteTester
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade with BgThang. Great brew.

A-Nice, hazy, goldenrod color. Head of half an inch or so. Light head remains around the edges as you drink. No lacing to speak of though.

S-Grapefruit and hops. Perfect floral blend of aroma.

T-Slightly sweet with a bitter finish. Very well balanced.

M-Sticky and smooth. Just flows down my giblet.

D-All day every day. Until I got sick of IPAs.

TasteTester, Nov 18, 2008
Photo of stumac
3.95/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was tasted at Feces Fest '08 with Onslow and my girl Melani.

this brew pours up a clear copper color with a big bubbly white head. great lacing. the nose is straight grapefruit yo! and floral hops. it tastes very smoothe, mellow hops, lots of grapefruit, floral hops, sticky on the lips. medium bodied, low carbo, sweet finish. Nice IPA...

stumac, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of Donnie2112
4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

born on 25SEP08, poured from a bottle into my Brooklyn Imperial pint glass

slight hazy amber body, half inch head that seems to stick around for a while, and a bit of lace.

just a bit of brown sugar just a little bit of piney slightly citric aromas

The malts come off rather dry just a little bit of breadiness and asome slight brown sugar. The hops aren't all that overwhelming either just a nice full grapefruit flavor and a bit of pineyness.

Rather full creamy body, medium light carbonation and some light astringence

I was expecting this beer to excel in a different way. I figured that all of its flavors would be extremely out there. Instead this is a full and balanced IPA. Sure you can call it an imperial, sure you can say it's a double. In fact that is a more fair statement with this beer then most double IPAs that are more like extremely hoppy barleywines or just retarded hoppy beers period. This beer is obviously an IPA it is an IPA first and a double or imperial second. In fact making this a double makes this MORE drinkable then the average single IPAs.

Donnie2112, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of MacDomer
4.47/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for the trade, MasterSki.

A - Pours straw yellow with the slightest bit of haze. Color makes it appear a bit thin and light for a DIPA. A one finger white head that quickly faded. Terrific sticky lacing.

S - Loads of hops. Pine, pineapple, citrus, mango, cotton candy. Slight herbal, grassy notes as well. Initial hoppy nose is followed by some mild sweet bready malts. Impressive balance up front.

T - Piney hops on the open. Transitions to some tropical fruits (pineapple, grapefruit, mango). Sweet citrus through the finish. Very clean. Delicous.

M - Medium bodied. A bit on the lighter side for a DIPA, actually, but not light overall. Moderate carbonation allows this silky smooth beer to just glide over the tongue. Very smooth, creamy even. A bit of hoppy resin on the finish. Nicely dry. No alcohol at all.

D - Extremely drinkable. I'm at the end of my bottle and could easily drink another. Terrific balance.

My first bottle. This was excellent, but not the best I've had. Still, really excellent!

MacDomer, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of Haybeerman
4.53/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Lightly clouded gold color. Poured a 2 finger off-white head with good retention. Ample lacing. Lightly decanted.

S: Citrus, piny, hop aromas - that's about it.

T: Citrus and hops. Some bitterness in the finish is very cleansing.

M: Medium body. Well-carbonation. Goes down surprisingly smooth.

D: Drinkability betrays its big hoppy flavor and abv...dangeroiusly drinkable.

Haybeerman, Nov 15, 2008
Photo of SirSketch
4.3/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to gford217 for the Nascar LIF and the trade!

A - Beautiful looking beer. Pure white head with great retention and awesome cascading effect when poured. Very cloudy golden color that varied in shade throughout.

S - Huge citrus nose, especially grapefruit, with spices mixed in. Some caramel maltiness as well.

T - Exactly what I would expect for an imperial IPA. Big bitterness and nice hop flavor. Very acidic grapefruit and lemon notes. Spices here and there. Aftertaste wasn't as tart as I thought it would be.

M/D - Medium body and very clean mouthfeel. Oh, so easy to drink. Amazing brew.

SirSketch, Nov 15, 2008
Photo of pwoods
4.1/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to tprokop for sending this growler awhile back. Review and score taken from notes a couple months ago.

2L cool ass RR fliiptop growler poured into a snifter.

A: Golden orange, good clarity. Strong head, retention and lacing.

S: Strong citrus, grapefruit, and pine. Not overly resinous. Good sweet biscuity malts.

T/M: Exactly the same as the nose. Bitterness is at a good level but I'd like to see more. Creamy body, medium full. Carbonation has held up nicely.

D: Actually very good for a DIPA. Much more drinkable than Younger but not nearly the same beast.

pwoods, Nov 13, 2008
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,812 ratings.