Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

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Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

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11,459 Ratings

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Ratings: 11,459
Reviews: 3,258
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.17%
Wants: 5,352
Gots: 2,149 | 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: 11,459 | Reviews: 3,258 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WanderingFool
4.28/5  rDev -8%
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.

Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.1/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle with a date of 1.6.10 poured into a Hennepin flute.

A--Orange like a lollipop or Skittle body, two finger creamy white head. Picture perfect. Looks juicy.

S--Soft, in a weird way. I am getting some earth and a lot of fruit that grows where there's lots of sun, namely orange, mango and pineapple. But also gentler floral notes pull through toward the end of my sniffs. Surprised how not in-your-face this was. Happily surprised.

T--Again, tastes accomplished, for lack of a better word, in terms of the way it was hopped. Very little malt, so the "balance" is between the sweeter fruit and floral flavors and the more bitter sawdust pine. What's nice is how earthy the hops are, too--is this what Crystal hops do? If so, I gotta get me some. The earth makes for a nice foundation for the other hop flavors.

M&D--Mouthfeel for me shines brightest. It's creamy and smooth as hell. Absolutely nothing demanding your palate with regard to the carbonation or overall feel. Complements the flavor profile perfectly.

Good drinkability, but, ok, I gotta say it: given the price point, given how hard this bugger is to get, is it /really/ that good? I smell hype, and it's a little rotten. I just don't see a marked difference between this beer and Sierra Nevada's wet hop harvest, and the latter's cheaper and more widely distributed (not to mention the lower ABV lets you drink more of it while still tasting its complexity). I guess the holy grail factor makes this beer more highly rated. Not that I'd turn it down. Ever. Clearly the product of a great deal of experience and precision. Tastes like what American craft brewing is all about.

Photo of meeekyh
4.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 16.9oz bottle.

Pours a lithg bolden yellow with an off-white fluffy head leaving spotty, pillowy lacing.

Nose is grainy, musty, citrus hops and subdued yeast.

Taste is sligtly sweet, bitter, tart, grapefruit in spades, apple, fruity and floral... the taste is remarkable in that it overshadows the nose.

Body is meduim, crispy and dry.

Good beer to be sure.

Photo of 1fastz28
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this was a real treat, my buddy had this shipped from cali for my birthday, i told him i didn't think i'd ever get one. has a pretty clear color on it, compared to other IPA's also has a nice white head and laces nicely too. smell is just awesome, has a nice mixture of mostly floral hops but with a hint of citrus, just awesome.. taste is heavenly, i'm sad that i wont be able to get it again, but i'm ecstatic that i get to drink it, it really is a treat.

Photo of Bubba83
4.58/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got this bottle off the Pliny tree in my backyard. Finally realized I've somehow never sat down and reviewed old geezer Pliny. Poured into a tumbler at ~45 degrees.

Bottled on date of 01/14/10. OMG, it's over a month old, surely it must have lost all it's incredible flavors by now!!!

The appearance has no faults. I poured at a somewhat slow rate down the side of the glass and ended up with three finger widths of glowing white head. Texture of the head is foamy looking, with bubbles of all sizes. Head retention is excellent, and there is a decent ring of sudsy stuff on top that sticks around. Splotchy lacing that has really good cling to it. The body is a mid-range orange color with some straw highlights and tiny bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass.

Smells quite impressive, and has a unique quality of deep forest to it that no other company can seem to achieve. There's also some grapefruit pith, but mostly just lots and lots of pine. If I reviewed this before trying Younger it'd probably have a 5 in aroma, but the Younger is quite a bit more pungeant and has more complexity as well. I also get a hint of tropical fruits like pineapple.

Tastes great, even late. Smack of grapefruit rolls across the tongue, with some very faint caramel-like sweetness picking up in the midrange. Tropical fruity type flavors are here too. Grassy flavors take it from there and lead into a ridiculous amount of pine needles and spruce for the finale. There's some lemon zest in the finish too. Just absolutely fantastic flavor bursting out everywhere in my mouth.

Mouthfeel is spot on for a DIPA. I've found a lot of other DIPAs are too thick, overly creamy, and just not "lively" enough. It has just the right amount of slick oilyness to it while retaining a good bit of carbonation. Finishes quite dry for a big beer which is Vinnie's M.O. when it comes to brewing IPAs.

Drinks great, though it's pretty damn bitter with almost no sweetness for balance. I don't mind the skew but others might not care for it. There are very few DIPAs that I can actually say are refreshing to drink, and this is one of those few. Vinnie, please have my children.

Photo of goatgoat
4.2/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 1/6/10. Poured into a pint.

Pours a light sunshine gold with honey tints. A nice meringue head and strings of thick lace. An earthy pine is upfront, followed by grapefruit and a bare hint of tropical fruits. There's a resin in the aroma as well. This beer is surprisingly thick in the mouth. Taste is predictably hop-forward. More tropical notes come through in the taste. A nice clean bitter finish. An odd balance between coating and drying.

This is nice... but maybe not as nice as I expected. The curse of high expectations perhaps. Or maybe it's the fact that I'm moving towards lower ABV brews. Either way, I preceded this with a Blind Pig and for me, the Pig is the way to go.

Photo of mjn5036
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a wonderful golden orange color with a large white head. A lot of viscous white lacy head retention; just excellent. Smells of pine, orange zest, fresh flower bouquet, ripe fruits and grass. Taste is not a letdown, tastes as it smells. Large piney flavor with citrus and breadiness and an amazingly smooth bitterness throughout that leaves its lasting impression. Very well balanced and smooth, not an overbearing hop bomb - has a slight maltiness to keep it under control. Light carbonation dances gaily upon my tongue. Greatness. I must admit that I have had this fresher and that the hop does seem to fade slightly over the time. Still hands down the best DIPA I have ever had - a real treat to the taste buds.

Photo of aglose45
4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled 01/06/10 .. I've had this many times before, but this is the first time I'm reviewing it. Thanks to stawn as an extra in a trade!

A: Pours a light golden brown color, clear, and with a beautiful frothy, white head. Some lacing is left behind on the walls of my snifter.

S: The first and strongest scent that I pick up is of pine. After that I get some faint tart tropical citrus notes. Backing up the hops is a bread-like malt backbone.

T: The nose doesn't lie. The pine flavor is strong up front, and quickly fades into tart citric peach and grapefruit flavors. There are some other citrus flavors in there too, but the aforementioned ones were most dominant. Again, the hops are backed up by a bread-like malt backbone that is there, just enough, to lend a hand in the flavor department. 4.75/5 .. I adjusted the Smell up to 4.5/5 from 4/5 to account for this.

M: Nice and creamy mouthfeel and a medium amount of prickly carbonation hits the tongue. There is also a substantial amount of hop resin left behind.

D: This beer is always a pleasure to drink when super fresh. After about a month and a half the hops, which are pretty much all this beer is, fade quickly and the brew degrades. Fresh, this beer delivers in an amazing way!

Photo of UA8
4.13/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for this one Will.

A- Pours a clear golden/amber color with a two finger tall white head.

S- Big citrus notes of tangerine, orange, and grapefruit. Light caramel malt notes add good balance.

T- Leads with grapefruit and orange peel, midpalate and finish both develope the lead in bigger more complex ways.

M- Clean and crisp with medium mouthfeel and medium high carbonation.

D- Well here it comes and I'm sure that this won't be a popular opinion but while this a really good dipa I feel it just falls amongst the league of high quality citrus forward dipas. I wanted this to be mind blowing but it was just good and tasty.

Photo of khumbard
4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review taken from notes, just getting around to inputting some reviews:

11/11/09 - This beer is awesome. The nose on it is ridiculous. It's like sticking your nose into a bag of hops. Taste is smooth, good malty backbone. Good bitterness. Crisp. Awesome. If I could get this... it would always be in my glass... i mean fridge. This is my favorite DIPA and I could put down a number of these in one sitting if I had access to it.

Photo of krisandajt
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A huge thanks to cloudskipper for hooking me up with this bad boy. I raise my glass to you, sir!

Appearance: An easy pour into my Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass reveals a clear, light bronze/golden colored brew. Much lighter in color than what I expected. Sitting atop this brew is a good half inch worth of white bubbly head that fades away rather quickly leaving behind plenty of thick soapy lacing.

Edit: As I pour the bottom half of the beer into the glass I see the beer turn from clear to cloudy. No other changes in characteristics.

Smell: I could smell the hops from this the instant I opened the bottle and began to pour. Plenty of ripe, citrusy goodness throughout with a nice sweetness balancing it out. There's even a bit of pine resin squeezed in there just to add a bit of complexity. Very inviting.

Taste: My taste buds are immediately assaulted with heap loads of fresh, clean, crisp hoppy goodness. A robust hop profile, bittersweet grapefruit and pine, delicately balanced with (but not outdone by) a clean, sweet malt backbone. I don't want to put the glass down, this is outstanding.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and full bodied. I could have used maybe a little bit more carbonation, but that would just be nit-picking.

Drinkability: There's not much I can add to this beer than what has already been said. This is simply an outstanding beer. The hop profile is, what I like to call,'s not just a heap of bitterness thrown about like a monkey sh!t fight at the zoo. The hops have character and are finally balanced with the malt. This beer's only rival would have to be its "Younger" brother. Highly highly recommend.

Photo of HopNuggets
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First review ever is a hophead's dream Pliny the Elder. In my book, the standard for DIPAs. This one was brought back to CT for me by a coworker on a San Diego area trip he went on for work. Poured a 500ML bottle dated 01/06/10 into a snifter.

A - Pours so smoothly with an amazing 1+ inch head that dissipates to a 1/8" head that stays around to leave amazing lacing down the sides of the glass. Bright sunrise orange color with tiny bubbles rising to keep the constant head.

S - Smells of citrus and piney notes stand out. Citrus is grapefruit with some orange in there too. A hint of caramel malt comes out as it warms towards the bottom of the glass.

T - Taste if of citrus, orange with a bitterness in the back of your mouth that at times makes your cheeks pucker in. AMAZING! Keeps you going back for more. There is a bit of caramel malt in there that lingers after.

M - The feel is extremely smooth with slight carbonation at the beginning of the glass but carbonation fades towards the bottom of the glass.

D - Watch out for this one at 8% it's very drinkable. If it wasn't so damn hard to get my hands on I would drink this all day everyday.

Today is 2/12/2010 and it's my second Pliny. My first was from the same bottling date but I drank it on 1/29/2010. Over 2 weeks it has lost some spunk, so drink fresh!

Photo of ElGallo
4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks VanillaMike for sharing a bottle!

Bottled in November 2009. Poured into a balloon glass. Nice head and very good lacing. Because it's winter in New England I have been off DIPAs for some time, but Pliny has got me jonesing for more.

The nose on this beer is fantastic - floral, fresh, some citrus, and the stiff pine resin that I just love.

Taste and mouthfeel were as good as any DIPA I have tried. Having never tried Pliny before, I have no idea how much the hop punch fades after a few months, but I thought the freshness was still there. I am of course now curious to try one right after bottling, but who knows when that will be.

I don't care what anyone says about pellets versus extract versus whole-cone fresh hops, this lived up to the hype.

And can someone please explain to me how Pliny ends up in Philly sometimes but never Boston? What's the logic behind that?

Photo of bbeane
4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My GF ordered 2 bottles online for me for my birthday...

A- Poured into a snifter... Starts with a nice finger thick head that slowly disappears leaving a decent coating stuck to the glass. Beer is a light amber color with lots of tiny sediment in it

S- Has a delicious skunky pine smell with hints of citrus

T- Really has no malt or alcoholic characteristics, but as the BA Double/Imperial IPA style description says... it has a hop profile that will rip your tounge out! I'd say it pretty much lives up to the hype

M- Medium bodied with light medium carbonation... leaves a profound hop bitterness lingering in your taste buds

D- I'm not sure what she paid for this, but my understanding is that in Cali it's pretty reasonably priced... it would definitely be a everyday go to beer


Photo of Freethyhops
4.4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

bottled on 1/14/10 thanks to Doodler for the bottle **just noticed Doodler hooked up the guy below me too** way to spread that Pliny love Scott!

A- pours a light golden orange color with a more than ample white frothy head. great lacing all the way down the glass.

S- full of orange and lemon peel with some floral notes too. totally dominated by the acidic citrus, though.

T- a touch of sweetness up front mixes with a blast of citrus. orange and grapefruit. finishes brutally bitter with a biscuit like malt profile. the light pale malts really let the hops shine.

M- nothing to standout in the mouthfeel. a bit of stickiness with ample carbonation. crisp and dry.

D- extremely delicious stuff that always goes down too fast, leaving you wanting more. I would have this all the time if I had it available. always a pleasure to drink one.

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.83/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Doodler for this bottle.

Poured from pint-sized bottle dated 1/14/2010 into a Ten Penny Ale pint glass.

A: Looks good. Has a golden translucent hue with a frothy, lasting head.

S: Hops, hops, hops. The best feature of this beer. I also pick up citrus fruits and a little forestry, but all in all it's a fresh smelling beer.

T: A perfect mix of hoppiness, bitterness, and sweetness. The flavor profile is characterized by awesomeness. I don't even know; I'm tasting euphoria.

M: Sticky. You can actually feel the stickiness against your teeth if you swish it around in your mouth. Carbonated properly.

D: Wow, too good for 8%. Or is it just because it's 5:00 and I'm so happy to be home from work relaxing with my friend Pliny the Elder?

Overall, hype does not do this beer justice. I wish Pliny the Elder was considered a local everywhere.

Photo of sisuspeed
4.63/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to tjensen3618 for sending this one out east. Bottled on 1/14/2010.

Prying off the cap reveals a sweet rush of grassy, piney hops. This should be a good one. Poured into a tulip glass, Pliny is a clear, peach-orange color with a sticky white head on top. Nicely webbed lacing is left along the glass. Looks great.

The aroma is filled with citrus-infused, pine-laden hops. Lots of grassy hops in this one. Oranges and a sweet malt backbone make up the rest of the aroma.

After a couple of sips I can see why this beer holds the ranking it does. Pliny tastes like someone squeezed fresh hops from their hand right into the glass. Lots of citrusy, bitter, sticky hops. Oranges come out as the main citrus fruit, with a touch of grapefruit settling over somewhat bready malts.

The mouthfeel is very interesting with this DIPA. Your mouth is initially assaulted by bitter hops and then a wave of sweet malts, but the finish is light and refreshing. Lower carbonation, yet somewhat prickly. Pliny manages to be a big beer without a huge malt presence, which is nice.

Drinkability is superb. I could drink Pliny all day and wish I had easier access to it. The alcohol is unnoticeable and the finish is refreshing and light.

Like everyone has already said, this is an excellent DIPA. I think one of the main aspects of Pliny that sets it apart from other DIPAs is that it is so well balanced. Lots of amazing hops upfront, malts in the middle and light on the finish. You just want to keep reaching for this beer, especially if you love hops. Russian River has hit the nail on the head with this one. A must try for every beer lover.

Photo of knight84
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to RichBeer for this bottle!
A: Beautiful honey amber color. One finger of frothy eggshell-white head leaving nice lacing on the glass.
N: The smell of this beer is nothing short of incredible. A rich bouquet of hop perfection. There is a slight dankness opening for resinous pine, black peppercorn, grapefruit, Clementine orange, and lemon zest. Also carries a nice herbal note of cloves and cardamom sweetness.
T: The taste follows the nose very well. Slightly herbal with nice citrus and pine highlights. Blood orange leads the citrus sweetness followed by a slight but noticeable sugar cookie sweetness in the malt profile. Tropical fruits and pineapple linger on the palate.
M: Has medium body, nice carbonation but could be a little more robust.
Overall one of the best IPAs I've had the pleasure of drinking. Extremely well balanced taste with great complexity. The flavors just keep evolving and developing through the whole bottle. Leaves me satisfied but still wanting more. It's really too bad that this beer doesn't see distribution in Michigan.

Photo of rebelthrower
4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A. Pours golden, a little cloudy, with a little orange. Nice ivory head about the size of a quarter.

S. Perfect aroma of hops. Citrus and other fruit.

T. Very citrusy, ans sweet.

M. Very smooth. Perfectly balanced. Not over powering like some other double IPAs get.

D. Very drinkable. I wish I had more than one available.

Photo of OttoBomb
4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle poured into Dogfish Head signature glass (February 5, 2010). "BOTTLED ON: 011410" is printed on label. Received this is a trade with vasdef42. Thanks & Cheers Jared!

Eyes: A nice, slightly hazy rangy-copper-honey color. Two full fingers of light fluffy, cloud like head. Lacing is clingy and significant.

Nose: The reputation of Pliny made me expect a good nose, and it delivers. Sweet honey-hops with floral notes abound. Fresh grapefruit and lemon peel erupts from the glass and I'm looking forward to taking the first sip.

Tongue: The taste matches what the nose promises. This is a very potent, bitter hopfest, but it got that one feature I need to enjoy any IPA: balance. The grapefruit and lemon peel is much more pronounced than the aroma, and there isn't a whole lot of malt here, but there is just enough not to be completely showed aside by the hops.

Mouth: Good carbonation, some bitter aftertaste, but the massive tongue pounding hop character is smoother than most any other DIPA I've had.

Libation: An absolutely lovely creation. Potent, tasty yet smooth enough to make it very easy to drink. The 8% ABV simply cannot be felt/tasted and it's easy to down more than one bottle even though they are half a liter each. Cheers to Russian River brewer Vinnie Cilurzo for his efforts here.

Photo of sophisticated
4.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh man. My little sister out in Oregon sent me a bottle for my b-day. Thanks sis!

A) I poured this into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. I don't know if it was just the glass, but it looked more orange at the top, and more yellow towards the bottom. The liquid was hazy with 1-2 fingers sudsy white head which quickly receded leaving a bit of sticky lace. Not much visible carbonation, and a slick/viscous layer against the glass.

S) Oh man. When I opened the bottle hops just poured out! Hop heaven. Orange, pineapple, pine, grass. Mango. A bit of spice. All begging me to drink!

T) Mmmm...Sweet citrus, mango followed by bitter pines and a bit of pepper or other spice. Each sip leaves a huge hop flavor in my mouth. I feel like I'm going to be tasting hops forever. Delicious.

MF) Medium and the taste sits in your mouth forever.

D) Really good! A little too bitter for me, so one to take your time with. Definitely wish I had another afterwards. A fantastic hoppy treat I am delighted to have gotten to try.

Photo of tzieser
4.83/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to youbrewidrink!

Bottled in November 2009. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Pours a nice, clear deep orange honey-like color with a one finger head that settles into a small lacing. decent retention.

S: An incredible piny, floral and citrus hop filled aroma. Pine sap, grapefruit and flowers are all dominate figures in the nose. Extraordinary.

T: Reminiscent of the flavor-- and that's a great thing. Juicy, piny hops again up front, followed by a great grapefruit-like citrus flavor. The taste sticks to your mouth well after putting down the glass down. Alcohol is very well hidden. Insanely clean finish. Wow.

m&d: great crisp mouthfeel; drinkability is great-- really refreshing. I really wish I could get these all the time.

Do whatever you can to at least try this beer-- it truly is a top 5-10 brew.

Photo of afausser
4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of BeachBumC--so glad to have tried this one, thanks!

Before drinking this, I'd like to point out the bottle. I like it when breweries put effort into their bottles/labels--it's sort of like reading the liner notes for an album and generally makes the entire "beer experience" more enjoyable as a whole. This one keeps it simple in appearance, and has text (and good beer advice!) in basically the entire free space of the label...for example: "PLINY THE ELDER IS A HISTORICAL FIGURE, DON'T MAKE THE BEER INSIDE THIS BOTTLE ONE!" and "CONSUME PLINY FRESH, OR NOT AT ALL!" Okay, okay, fine!

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden orange/light amber with fast moving, medium-sized carbonation bubbles and nearly an inch of fluffy bubbly head. The head disappears exactly the way I would expect it to--it's somewhat persistent but as I type this a great deal of the bubbles pop and what is left is increasingly larger bubbles and a sticky ring of foamy, web-like lacing that have the consistency of soap in a bubble bath. The part of the head that lasts any amount of time (about a half a finger) seems like it'll be sticking around for a bit and ends up being a more consistent, medium bubble size. The carbonation bubbles are not entirely evident from an arm's length (where it sits on the table next to me as I type this up) but when it's held to the light you can see the fine, medium speed and medium sized bubbles moving straight to the top of the glass in just a few lines--doesn't look over-carbonated from here though what there is seems to promise to be decently big.

Smell: Floral hops and honey are the huge notes in this brew, as well as a strong pink grapefruit scent--no huge surprises there. It smells absolutely wonderful, and has a mellow tone to it. I'm also getting notes of sweet molasses, maple syrup, caramel and, to a lesser extent, brown sugar out of the nose as well as a slightly spicy alcohol and hops note which comes across as black pepper and maybe the slightest hint of wintergreen (though this isn't at all hot and is blended entirely nicely with the other scents in the beer. I'm also smelling cold apple juice. There's a very mild citrus note--maybe a slight lemon zest and a tiny squeeze of orange juice blended in.
I hate to compare beers to one another, but because these two are quite similar--it does smell quite a bit like Hopslam, though a more mellow, slightly more honey-toned version. Smooth and creamy. I should note that as it warms, the honey notes come out more and more and it mellows, smelling less like the familiar, crisp Hopslam I have come to know and love and more bready, grainy, apple toned and dark. It retains its heavy floral notes, however, throughout the life of the beer.

Taste: The first notes that I get out of this, oddly enough, are white grapes and pears (though they are not particularly dominant as I continue to drink), followed by a light, lemon and grapefruit hop aftertaste. There are also apple and orange juices present here, but their sweetness is not very dominant due to the bitterness of the hops, which is quite intense. The bitterness itself is not sharp and biting, but dull, dark, and in the background--though quite persistent. This gives it the impression of an almost funky note, though it is still more hoppy than anything else. The floral smell of the hops really changes to hay and grass--and a slight pine--in the taste. Definitely becomes far more orange and lemon juice flavored--and significantly sweeter--as it warms. There's a definite honey note, but the citrus and bitter hop notes dominate far more (though I will note that the warmer it gets the more the nice honey note comes out as well as a maple sugar note, though it's not very syrupy. These both blend very nicely with everything else). The smallest hint of yeasty, sweet, bread comes through as well, though that's not to say that it's malty. Also as it warms, there's an ever-so-slight sourness that starts to come through.

Mouthfeel: Not biting, and the carbonation keeps it crisp yet subdued. The aftertaste is very persistent and bitter yet manages to not be abrasive. Very smooth and creamy. I'm trying to figure out words with which to describe the very present, very persistent, yet non-abrasive carbonation. It is there at exactly the right moments and disappears at exactly the right moments to perfectly complement the taste. A higher carbonation level would have resulted in it being too abrasive and a lower level would undercut the great flavors present in the taste. No heat whatsoever.

Drinkability: One to sip, but it's entirely delicious. The only thing really holding this one back from going down quicker is the bitterness, which is great and totally acceptable for the style and ABV. The combination of smell and taste is really quite excellent. I love when a beer can have significantly different yet still complementary smell and taste elements--nicely done.

Photo of yourefragile
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

500 mL bottled on 1/14/10

Cloudy golden orange color with a frothy white head, nice retention, little lacing. Aroma is a balance yet distinct blend of hops, malt, and tons of citrus (grapefruit, orange, mango, etc). Flavor is upfront with blend of citrus before balanced with malt and strong hop/pine bitterness, balanced throughout, body is medium thick, crisp and a clean finish. This fresh bottle had much more bitter hop flavors than I remembered from other experiences with this beer.

Photo of bonsreeb85
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear copper colored body with a tall ivory head and really sticky lacing, very nice looking beer.

The smell has a ton of grapefruit, caramel malt and very pungent smelling hop 'dankness'

The hop bitterness rules this castle of flavor, citrus and grapefruit give a juicy kick. This is backed by a decent malt sweetness. wow!

The feel is a bit oily from the hop resins, but the high co2 fixes this and makes for a perfect mouthfeel.

The definative west coast DIPA for a reason. Perfect example of flavor, nose and feel.(that is if a hop bomb is what you crave as opposed to the more balanced examples of the style.)

Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 11,459 ratings.