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Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,473 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,473
Hads: 13,123
Avg: 4.6
pDev: 15.43%
Wants: 6,666
Gots: 3,318 | FT: 97
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-24-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Pliny The Elder Alström Bros
Reviews: 3,473 | Hads: 13,123
Photo of JordonHoltzman
4.53/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle dated 9/9/15, so a little more than a month old, into a snifter, pours a beautifully clear copper orange amber body with a thin head that fades to a few bubbles, outstanding lacing though.
Aroma is of bright citrus, orange, grapefruit, some pine too.
Taste matches the aroma, very clean, just like it's perfectly filtered body. Very well balanced. It's a beautiful beer, but not hop bomb like some double IPAs. I'm curious to try this beer extremely fresh, a few days old. I'll update review then. Overall it's a phenomenal beer, and a gold standard for west coast IPAs. I wish I could get this more often.

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Photo of jphipps83
4.85/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is the top of the line for me, and I would have rated it a 5, but I'm hopeful I find something that tops this one, one day. I'm doubtful of it, though.

Had this on tap at RR, and it completely lived up to the billing. To me, it's the perfect beer, and I'm bummed that I can't get it living in the Midwest.

The balance, smell, taste.....it's all incredible.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.62/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 9/21 poured into wheat glass

A: very little head nice crystal clear body that is golden yellow with hint s of Amber

S: slight orange and apricot a little herbal and a little pine with a nice dose of malts to give this beer exceptional balance

T: nice wash of Orange and a slight taste of marmalade with edges of herbal pine and a perfect light malt back bone almost no bitterness

M: very crisp and clean easy drinking beer is very smooth

O: the easy drinkability of this beer is insane it's so well balanced with almost no bitterness it is easy to see why this is the bench mark for Double IPAs

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Photo of Premo88
3.87/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

16.9 oz. bottle poured into tulip
(6-15-15 born-on date)

L: about 80% clear gold, some definite amber in it with a slight mistiness ... still very easy to see through, though not crystal clear; thick inch-tall head of white foam that is super sticky; some lacing as it goes

S: candied orange, grapefruit ... very sweet -- the malt has had a chance to take over after four months in the bottle, but you can still pick up quite a bit of grapefruit and pine under the sweetness

T: follows the nose for the most part, plenty of orange/grapefruit, a big bitter bite with lots of mango/caramel sweetness from the malt takeover

F: fantastic ... simple, crisp, full ... super drinkable for 8% ABV

O: a classic West Coast IPA, and even at 4 months old it's still very tasty and full of hop flavor; the malt on this one has asserted its presence, for there is quite a bit of the mango/caramel-DIPA sweetness in the nose and flavor; the template here suggests a fresh one would be a big grapefruit bomb, for the hops are still pretty bitter if not overly flavorful

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Photo of WunderLlama
4.34/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear golden with carbonation you predicted it. Thick white foam settles to thick layer , good lacings

I have been waiting a long time to try this beer. I can see how it set a standard for its time. I can also see how other beers were modeled on and improved on the style . Very good beer but not the ultimate

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Photo of caplone
4.44/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear gold with medium head and retention. Smells like walking through a forest of pine trees. Tastes like a good does of pale malt with a dab of crystal malt followed by grass, pine resin, and grapefruit peel on the back end. Overall I find this to be one of the better balanced ipa's out there.

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Photo of Mlkluther
4.1/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been trying to taste Pliny for over a year. Finally got a pint at The Mayor of Old Town in Fort Collins, CO while visiting from Canada.

Great balanced IPA that still has a deep richness of flavour.

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

510 ml (pint) bottle. Pours bright clear orange amber, head fades slowly leaving lace everywhere. Aroma jumps from the glass, resiny pine and grapefruit, fresh baked bread. Great balance in the taste, toasty malt backbone with plenty of bitter resiny pine, strong grapefruit peel, floral notes. The flavor turns earthy, woodsy just before a super dry finish. Medium full mouthfeel is super soft and oily slick. Trend now is towards the big juicy NE IPAs, which I love, but it's nice to come back to this world class resiny bomb. So delishous.

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Photo of Danmullens1
4.59/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Super pumped to open this bottle of Pliny bottled <3 week ago. A clear, pale golden pour into a snifter producing a billowy white head and some amazing lacing. Smell is almost subdued for a double IPA. I get floral hops, grapefruit, with some pine and a little dankness. Very nice. The taste is a great blend of those hop characteristics with very little bitterness. Great balance. Damn, I am sold on this stuff. Definitely lives up to the hype for me. Wish I had another.

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Photo of sittinggc
4.44/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Teku glass and less than 2 weeks old.

Look: Clear golden color with a sticky white head. Good retention.
Smell: Pine and grapefruit.
Taste: Similar to the aroma with lots of pine and grapefruit. Hops are well supported by a nice malt presence. Though the malts compliment the hops and do not overpower. Nice bitterness.
Feel: Smooth with a good level of carbonation.

Overall: Always a pleasure to knock back a pint of Pliny. Has earned its spot as one of the best IPAs around. Cheers!

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Photo of anonymoose
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes in an amber color. The aroma is pretty muted with some pine, malt, and citrus coming through. The taste is an even distribution of sweet malt, hop bitterness, and citrus. It's a great double IPA but I'm not a huge fan of the west coast malt profile.

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

Probably the cleanest IPA or DIPA I've ever had. Similar reaction to the clean taste of a fresh Sculpin the first time I tried that. Very well balanced, very light drinking for a DIPA or 8%. Again, exceptionally smooth, clean and balanced and it's obviously very well made, but the hype is a bit much. For flavor, I'd still prefer Cafe Racer 15 for a DIPA, but they're just different styles of DIPAs. I personally prefer a bolder taste, but if you appreciate cleanness and balance, then I'm not sure how you could do better for this style of beer.

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Photo of aceseth13
4.87/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: An orange amber color, ever so slightly cloudy with a inch of white foam. 4.5

Smell: Leads with the hops and immediately turns to a tropical, pineapple that lingers in the nose. Definite sweetness to the trail end of the smell. A tiny bit of alcohol. 5

Taste: Not as bitter as I expected at all, the hops come through, which leads into a citrus, then grapefruit with a slight taste of pineapple to finish the segment. The taste then shifts backs to hops, and the pine and resin come through in the aftertaste. For an 8% beer the alcohol is nearly undetectable. 5 (I'm a sucker for the hint of pineapple, very refreshing)

Feel: Very good mouth feel, crisp, not too much carbonation. 4.5

Overall: I am blown away by this beer, my favorite IPA up to this point has been the sculpin and I feel this is much much better. It appears once a month at the liquor store by my house and is limited to one per customer, so Ill be hunting for another. 4.75

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Photo of Cook82
4.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured into a New Belgium snifter bottle date 9/2/15 about 3 1/2 weeks old.
As far as west coast ipa's go this is the standard for me. Perfect balance of piney hop flavor and bitterness. One of the few dbl ipa's I've had where the smell and taste are equal (both amazing). Being an east coast guy I see a lot of similarities to Maine Beer Co Lunch but this is a bit better imo. Excellent brew!

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Photo of Elan
4.24/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good but not great. People are a bunch of sheep customers. Limit this shit and everyone goes gagga for it. Put it out as much as Ballast Point Sculpin and I guarantee it goes from a 100 to a 92-94. Anyhow. Bullshit marketing vs good beer.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice medium lacing, gives an inviting visual to accompany the intoxicating aroma. Just waves of floral hops with a such a freshly squeezed vibrancy you'd think you were smelling it right off the vine. The taste is so smooth & elegant for an American IPA. This is the standard because they don't just toss massive amounts of hops in to hammer you with the flavor or the bitterness. You get a great sense and balance of the different hop flavors, so while it might not taste vastly different than many other great IPAs - your orange citrus, your grapefruit, your pine, etc - it is the balance and the ability of it to draw forth subtle hop variances to the surface that makes this such a well regarded beer. It is slick but not oily, lighter on carbonation than I expected and it has just a faint lingering bitterness but it never overpowers the palate.

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Photo of lowers87
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: A classic golden amber, mild carbonation.
Smell: Wonderful hop smell. Doesn't overpower the senses, slight floral aroma. Light pine.
Taste: Tastes exactly how it smells. Very refreshing and extremely drinkable. Classic IPA. Great out of the bottle. Its not extremely complex, just done very well.
Feel: Consistent throughout. Just the right amount of punch. Doesn't drink like an 8%
Overall: I can't find any faults. If you like IPAs, drink this. Lives up to the hype. Great out of the bottle.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice rich golden color. Has a big aroma of pine, resin and a subtle sweetness. Flavor is hops, pine, & some tropical fruit. A little crisp bitter finish but a great IPA overall

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Photo of Lucasballek
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Having had this a few times, I can say that this is best on draft. Bottles must remain fresh and cold for optimum flavor. It's always got a full nose, and the flavor is a great mix of refreshing, and bold. It takes the traditional Bitterness of an IPA, and glorifies it. It doesn't shy away from the bitter, rather leans into it.

Always good!

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Photo of Dolphinsmarlins1
4.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter glass, upon which a relatively thick head emerged. Fruity flavors on the front end that quickly get overpowered by the piney, resinous bite. Solid beer, but definitely overhyped.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Toronado San Francisco

A: Pours a golden orange color with 2 fingers worth of head that sticks around for quite a while and leaves some nice lacing

S: Big hop presence, full of citrus and tropical fruity notes as well as a nice pine background. Quite resinous

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the hops and never lets go. Pine and fruity notes stand out with hints of some spiciness. Malt provides a nice backbone and balances out the bitterness and resinous qualities of the hops quite a bit. Finishes with lingering light bitterness and more resiny notes

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Again, very sticky and resinous

O: Definitely deserves the cult-like following it gets. Impressive in terms of drinkability despite the abv, bitterness, and resinous quality of the hops. Tough to top, seek this one out

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Photo of silverblaze540
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - Huge 1.5 inch thick head that holds well and doesn't move much. Cloudy amber in color. Some carbonation bubbles.

S - Passion fruit, grape fruit, very sweet.

T - Sweet passion fruit front, turns into stronger citrus notes. Finish is a medium bitterness.

M - Very thick and smooth without much burn.

O - A fantastic DIPA. So thick, so sweet, without an extreme IPA bitterness.

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

Very Fresh Keg (as are all Pliny Kegs)

Aroma: Pine hops and a bit of malt. Oh and the hops in Pliny The Elder are right at the edge of being too much without crossing that line. Perfection

Appearance: Bright amber gold. Nice one finger head, which had staying power.

Flavor: A touch of malt with the predominant flavor being piney hops. Very well balanced. Great finish that stays with you just enough.

Mouthfeel: Not to heavy and not to light but just right. Definitely hits the Goldilocks zone.

Verdict : Fantastic IPA. Very smooth considering the 8.0% ABV. Great balance. If you have never had this beer it is worth searching for.

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Photo of Myotus
4.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 510ml bottle (bottled 21Aug15) into a Spiegelau IPA glass.
LOOK: Pours with two finger's worth of white foam that dissipates into half a finger's worth after 1 minute and 45 seconds. Dark gold in color. Large amount of rising bubbles. Lacing is high and thick.
SMELL: Strong aromas of piney hops meet strong aromas of apricots, peaches, mangos, papayas, tangerines, oranges, and grapefruits. Subtle sweet malts and bitter hops can also be detected.
TASTE: Strong piney hop flavors enter initially along with mild sweet malts. Mild fruit flavors previously mentioned enter immiediately after along with strong bitter hop flavors as initial flavors persist.
FEEL: Medium-bodied and subtly carbonated. Goes down extremely smooth. Finishes extremely dry.
NOTE: Diss. A. Pointed... Way too bitter. Don't see what the hype was about. It was great, don't get me wrong. But this is not world-class worthy. Fruits were stronger in the aromas than the taste. Perhaps because the bottle wasn't THAT fresh (only 26 days old). Yellow Rose was definitely better than this.

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Photo of captainsdaughter
4.92/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Wow after having Heady I was unsure anything could ever top it. After having this however I understand how people can appreciate this beer more. Heady is definitely more hops forward and Pliny is definitely more balanced. I still would prefer Heady but this is by far the most well balanced and delicious double I've ever had.

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Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,473 ratings.