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Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,471 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,471
Hads: 13,115
Avg: 4.6
pDev: 15.43%
Wants: 6,661
Gots: 3,309 | 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: 3,471 | Hads: 13,115
Photo of rowew
4.52/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thought I'd give this another review now that it is readily available in Colorado. Picked up a bottle, plus its on tap at several different locations (woohoo!). Great hop aroma, slightly cloudy gold color with just a bit of red. Nice head retention. Amazing combination of a solid malt backbone with tons of hops. This one is an awesome addition to the great beer selection in Colorado, and I'm sure I'll be consuming quite a bit of it.

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Photo of ironlung
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Nice bubbly amber, not much head due to soft pour. Bottle is a riot " sit on eggs not on pliny" humm wonder if i should age this one? LOL

S: Hops, hops and a little malt backing.

T: Wow this is a VERY nice double. the taste is spot on! Nothing overwhelming just perfect balance.

M:All the hops you'd want in a world class double, leaves the mouth dry and waiting for next drink.

D: A damn fine i2pa. The 8% is so well hidden. I am very pleased to be finding this and the pig all around the bay area!

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Photo of Reino
4.4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled On: 090208 (18 days old when consumed)

Appearance- A beautiful burnt orange with gold fills my New Belgium goblet. A smidgen over 2 fingers of head sits on top looking creamy and delicious. The head falls down at a medium pace, leaving some very nice lacing. Can I judge the book but it's cover?

Smell- Defuckinglishes smell! Pine, orange, mango puree, and a tiny bit of alcohol heat underneath. I made a comment in my notes the next night on the same batch that said, "Smells like a forest after a hard, grapefruit juice rain."
It looks great, and smells even better...

Taste- This beer is like a hop cage match with the malts being a nonchalant referee. First I get spicy pine smashed with orange juice and spicy mango. Then, I get a round of lemon rind and bitter, lingering grapefruit making for quite the wave of acidity. There is a bit of malt in the middle, but you forget about it pretty quick with it being sandwiched by intense hops. I am let down that the juiciness I get in the smell doesn't hang around in the taste. I get more bitterness from the fruits than juiciness. The grapefruit is more pith than pulp. There is definitely tasty fruit flavors in there and I really enjoy the taste, but I'm greedy and wanted more.

Mouthfeel- Slick, enamel stripping mouthfeel. I do find the feel to have a bit of wateriness to it, which I wasn't expecting. It's the one thing I have against Blind Pig, and I didn't expect it to be present in the Elder, too. After taking two sets of notes, I read my buddy theWolfofMibu's review and he nailed something about the mouthfeel, "Feels like I brushed my teeth with Crest pine needle flavored toothpaste."

Drinkability- For the style and abv, this beer goes down smooth and it's tough to pass on another after the first. I could see myself getting together with some friends, having a few pints of this, and making some bad decisions. Great stuff, but not my favorite DIPA. Having lived in the Midwest and the PNW, it takes something near perfect to "Wow!" me in this style. Pliny comes really close, but falls short.

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

16.9 oz bottle that I am indebted to Wetpaperbag for quite a while Poured into a tulip. Bottled on 8-13-08.

A: Pours an oily, yellowy, amber. This beer is a bit hazy, definitely not clear. Got a good two fingers of beautiful, tight, off white head. The retention is pretty good, sticking around for a while. The lacing is sticky as hell, leaving a lot of beautiful webbing on the glass that just goes all the way down the glass. The lacing and head are just perfect.

S: The smell is if you cut a fresh, ripe grapefruit, this is how this beer smells. Just a beautiful, thick citrus smell. There are also some really nice mandarin orange scents coming through as well. Nice piny hops are present giving some nice bitter smells coming through. This beer smells great.

T: Taste is great as well. Really lush grapefruit flavor is first and foremost. The meat, the flesh, and the rind are all present. The grapefruit is sweet and tart. Tangerine and orange flavors are coming through very clearly. Piney and spicy hops are here coming through as well and are cut with a nice bready malt. Little bit of pepper in there as well. Oddly the bitterness does not play a role until the finish. I was kinda expecting this to be a more bitter hop bomb. This is still amazing.

M: A heavy medium body that is incredibly oily. This beer just sticks to your mouth and does not let go at all. All the flavors mingle on the palate incredibly long. Aftertaste is of bitter hops that challenge the palate at times. This beer is drying, but it just makes you want more.

D: Drink it. This beer is great. It looks and feels amazing. The flavor is damn near perfect. I think fresh, this beer would blow me away. Such a treat to enjoy and joy to have.

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Photo of erikm25
4.82/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Bottle date: 09/22/08. Pours a crisp yellow with honey gold hues. Tight thumb size head after fast aggressive pour. The head is a rich creamy sauteed butter and olive oil coloring. Lacing drapes across the glass.

S: Nectarines coated in spiced and spruced pine with minced orange peels. Strong smell of fresh mandarin orange, pineapple, and dewy cut grass. Hops are apparent coupled with a touch of sweet bread. Thick floral and rich brown saccharine aromas. Easily one of the best smelling beers I have experienced.

T: Grapefruit, lemon, tangerine, and an assortment of other tropical fruits. A pleasant pine hop and clover finish that makes this quite refreshing. Impressive caramel malt and sweet candied base provides the perfect counterpoint to the tropical citrus mint taste. Overall, the balance amazing and it can be easily forgotten there is 8% tag here.

M: Mouthfeel is lush, juicy, and full bodied.

D: I had been waiting to try this and it lived up to what I expected. It is almost too drinkable. I will be grabbing a few more of these while I can.

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Photo of JoeMayo
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a clear, dark golden color with a thin cap of head which sticks around for almost the whole beer.

S- Lots and lots of pine. There is a slight malty sweetness in the nose, as well as a little citrus and spicy, floral notes, but the piney hop aromas certainly dominate.

T- I was afraid that it would be astringent based on the smell, but it was actually somewhat well-rounded in terms of intensity. The piney flavor hits really hard and I had to look pretty hard before getting any citrus (grapefruit and pineapple). I really liked that it was very hoppy, but not painfully bitter.

M- Much more refreshing than I would have immagined, but with a crisp, lingering bite in the finish.

D- One at a time is enough for me. I'd like to have it again in the future, but I couldn't handle two in a row.

Although I really enjoyed this beer, I think it may be getting a little more hype than it deserves. If there was a little more citrus or malt, just to counter the pine a little, it would be up there with the world-class beers.

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

Thank you to brdc for sharing this great beer.

It poors a reasonably clear yellow with a thin white head and medium carbonation, as expected from a beer with high levels of hops.

The aroma feels heavy on citrus fruits. Again, as expected from the hops, there is the floral and spicy notes.

One of the things that surprised me was that despite the level of hops, it was not overly bitter. There is plenty of hoppy flavor but it is quite smooth. You do not notice the alchol content and is not as sweet as the aroma.

It has a healthy texture in the mouth and is not particularly dry. There is a nice crispness, which overall reasults in a very drinkable beer. I would recommend this to anybody that enjoys the pleasure of a well balanced beer that has plenty of hop flavor. I certainly see why people love this beer.

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.45/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Golden body with a reddish tinge. Head is thick and creamy. A vision in my Stone RIS tulip.

Nose is spicy and piney. Sweetness is present, but the strong hop spice dominates.

Flavor is deeply steeped hops. Having seen the hop bill for this brew, I know that I am not familiar with two of the varieties. It presents a very complex and interesting blend of various hop characteristics. Pine dominates, not so much citrus to my palate, but it is there. The sweet malt is also there, but obviously not the main attraction. Very tasty indeed.

Mouthfeel is creamy with a moderate amount of the enamel stripping quality that I love.

Drinkability is remarkable, considering the ABV. I think that the pineyness could build up over a few pints, limiting drinkability at some point, but this one 500mL bottle will not be enough.

Love it! Please bottle the Younger next for those of us who cannot just drop into the brewpub.

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Photo of Silenus89
4.22/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

P. Golden color with a nice hazy to it and excellent lacing

S. Citrus, pine, grapefruits Truly a nice smell

T. Pine a little honey and citrus

MF. Good Carbonation medium bodied

D. Very good drinkability for a DIPA

I like this beer alot but this isnt the best offering from RR for me

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Photo of GoreStorm
4.92/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

now THIS is what i was expecting out of the mighty pliny.

Poured a light golden honey color with a fluffy nice sized head.

i didn't even have to raise the glass up to smell the wonderful hop scent and excellent malt profile. what a great smelling DIPA!

wonderful and similar to the scent. a bit fruity as well, maybe a hint of apricot in there?

crisp and clean mouthfeel

drink em if you got em!

you know, generally, i don't even care for pales, IPA's and DIPA's...etc. this is a testament to how excellent this beer is. good show.

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Photo of SickBrew
4.3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from the Belmont Station in Portland OR. on my first visit. The beer looks good with about one finger of head in a pint glass. Nose is about par for this style but I was expecting just a bit more from such a highly decorated brew. Taste is good and meets expectations. I do like my imperials to boast more hops and bitterness with some malty background and this just fell a wea bit short. Mouthfeel is medium and the carbonation is good. Overall this is a really good IIPA, but not super great.

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Photo of number1bum
4.45/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

MANY thanks to mymrnngjckt for this treat. I beat his ass in fantasy baseball and he included this in a mixed 6er prize. Thanks man.

Pours a slightly chill hazed orange amber color with about a finger and a half of light ivory head on top. Head retains pretty well, keeping a thin lace and leaving a little bit of stick. This was looking like a 4 at first but after each sip the lace reloads itself and stays nice and full all the way down.

Smell has an incredible burst of grapefruity citrus hops, and a ton of pine resin, as well. Huge hoppy nose that is really amazing and very aromatic.

Taste is also loaded with awesome hop flavor. I'm not sure what I can say that others haven't said. Just tons of grapefruity citrus and pine resin, and some herbal characters, as well. There isn't really a prominent malt flavor here but the hops are loaded with flavor so this never feels like a true hop bomb, although it toes the line. Bitterness is substantial but it doesn't quite overwhelm the hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is not quite full, and actually as hoppy as it is I'd expect it to be a bit slicker and creamier.

Ok, yeah, this definitely lives up to the hype. Top notch DIPA for sure. Thanks again Kevin.

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Photo of jojox
4.04/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Monks in Philly. No notes, just from recall.

I was excited to try this after missing a few of the kegs around in SEPA - apparently we'll be seeing a lot more of it from now on.

Hazy gold color, good head, lasting.

The smell is very IPA, tons of hop resin and sticky bitterness.

Tastes like the smell, hops from beginning to end, but also somewhat balanced by the malt. I don't know how old this is but I'm guessing its different than the guys drink in CA in the shadow of the brewery. Still, strong but not over the top hops.

After getting a few sips in, I don't notice the hops anymore. There develops a kind of dull middle taste, I can't describe the flavor but it's kinda vanilla/cream/strangeness that's dull and takes over the middle of the palate. It also makes the mouthfeel a little dead. If it was on tap every day, I probably wouldn't drink it all that much, to be honest...

very drinkable, but I'm a little disappointed with this dull middle flavor. Its not a bad flavor, it's fine, but not as interesting as I wanted.

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Photo of LittleBreeze
4.49/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks, Daniel, for sending this one

This was a fun beer! Cooper with a big white head. Fantastic citrus smells. Big grapefruit, lemon and the right amount of pine. Big hops but the sweetness on the finish balances it all. Extremely drinkable. I wouldn't mind this beer being easier to get. It could easily become one of my favorites.

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Photo of kmeves
4.32/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear light copper/amber body with a frothy off white head and medium carbonation. Aroma is medium sweet with grapefruit, pine, bread and caramel sweetness. Flavor is grapefruit, pine and caramel. Very simple yet a wonderful blend. Medium to full body, thick texture. Sweet bitter/caramel flavor lingers nicely. Great beer!

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Photo of blitz134
4.52/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was lucky enough to have a friend graciously send me two bottles of this and the pig...

Clear, dingy yellow colored brew. Nice foamy white head on top that clings to the glass well, middle of the road foam density. Carbonation bubbles quickly rise to the top. Given the hop level the appearance is as expected.

Aroma doesn't dissapoint. Its got a bit of everything in here when it comes to the hops, quite floral and sweet, pink lemonade and grapefruit, tangerine rinds, hint of hop spiciness. Some bubble gum hints. No malts, hehe.

Actually...this one isn't that bitter to me. Tons of hop flavor, really smooth bitterness. Hello tastebuds! This is the UPS man delivering a bit ol' box of hop flavor right to your door! Flavor is a bit less sweet than the aroma, more pungent and piney notes show through along with more citric fruit rinds. Basically no malt or yeast contribution. Notes of the alcohol are non existant.

Nice smooth mouthfeel, not really dry, a bit fuller than expected. It lacks that sharp edge IPAs usually have. I don't think the carbonation level is that high either really. If it was any higher you wouldn't be able to pour it given the head retention properties hop oils have.

Pretty good stuff. Alcohol is well hidden which could be dangerous. I would pick this up on occassion. My taste preference have shifted over the past year and a half, so I'm no longer focused on super hoppy beers like I used to be. I dont want to say this is overrated, but I've had other beers on the market that I thought were just as good as this one is.

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

Another Russian River offering that lives up to the hype. A well balanced, well crafted double IPA.

Pours copper with a huge fluffy head that falls to amazing lacing. The aroma is strong with floral hops. The flavor is vast, with grapefruit dominating, with a tea-like tannic finish. The mouthfeel is thin, slightly clingy. Delicious, well balanced with an apricot-like finish.

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Photo of watchnerd
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from City Beer in San Francisco.

Holy molly grapefruit! Citrus explosion in my nose that goes nuclear in my mouth. It's like performing cunnilingus on a woman made of citric acid.

And a little bit of that hemp stink one gets with West Coast hops.

Not as in your face or as bitter as, say, Stone's Ruination Ale, although, in a floral sense, just as hoppy. Ultimately more drinkable than the ruination ale, though.

I've got to get more of this stuff. It's up there with Old Rasputin for one of the best West Coast brews.

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

A - Clear golden yellow with a bigh white head.

S - Big citrus hop scents. Grapefruit, lemon, pine. Man this smells good.

T - Big hop bite of grapefruit, lemon rind and pine. Good malty backbone with a slight sweet caramel.

M - Good carbo and medium body. Smooth and balanced.

D - This is a supremely drinkable DIPA. I could toss these back for a while, though I would be able to taste anything else afterward.

Overall, just a sublime example of a DIPA. One of my favorites. Wish it was easier to get in Chicago. Guess I will have to settle with 3F.

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Photo of bigelo1016
4.82/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - beautiful hazy light amber with a pillowy white head and excellent lacing

S - WOW. Smack in the face with grapefruit/citrus aroma and a nice pine spicy note

T- Hops dominate at first. lucious citus notes followed by a sweetness at the end. all the while the malt backbone carries it.

M- Perfect carbonation, medium body, suprisingly smooth for this level of IBU

D- really easy to drink (except for the price)

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Photo of eberkman
4.12/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured clear orange/gold into a snifter. Sticky white head, lots of lacing. A good looking beer.

Aroma is awesome. Huge, juicy ruby-red grapefruit from the Cascade hops. One of my favorite smells in the world.

Taste, however, while good, was a bit of a letdown. Not the citrus fest I was anticipating. But a nice malty backbone with good, powerful hop presence. Seemed to oddly lack some of the sweetness I associate with other DIPAs, like DFH90.

OK mouthfeel -- silky and oily. Drinkable in the sense that it's a good sipper and an interesting, complex beer. But it's a sipper, not a session beer.

Overall, a very good DIPA. But it didn't quite live up to its legendary billing. That said, I'm stoked to have had the opportunity to try it. You can't get it on the East Coast.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.27/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Dlucky for this one. My first Russian River experience. Poured into my snifter.

A-Body is a nearly crystal clear vibrant amber and some bubbles can be seen rising to the top. Pours with a one finger foamy white head that quickly subsides to a thin collar but amazingly it leaves traces of lacing all the way down the glass.

S- While the foam is still present the nose is dominated by juicy citrus (grapefruit) hops. When the foam subsides a more spicy hop can be detected.

T- Upfront is lots of almost sweet juicy citrus (mostly grapefruit). Underneath is a hint of malt. Piny hop flavors rise for the finish. It leaves a medium strength residual bitterness behind...which can be overwhelming at first...but as you sip more it becomes more of an underlying spicy compliment to the juicy citrus flavors upfront. Very well done.

M- Medium carbonation and a smooth, somewhat oily, yet light body.

D- This is an excellent DIPA. I have been dying to try Russian River beers ever since I joined BA and this is my first one. I am looking forward to their other brews. This was unfortunately gone too fast. Did I mention that the alcohol was completely hidden?

Note: This is the only beer in my top 50 I am below the rdev on.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.87/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy amber orange color with a small head and nice lacing.

Scent of sweet fruits and sour citrus. A huge and full scent without being over the top, marvelously balanced.

Taste is sharp and fruity with a huge hop character. Lemon, orange and mango primarily make up the fruity flavor while earthy malts compliment the hoppy bitterness. Goes down with a hoppy trail that fills the mouth. Finishes dry and malty, with the bitter lasting flavor of hops. Alcohol is very nearly unnoticeable, again superbly balanced.

Mouthfeel is light, clean and tight, very smooth traveling through the mouth.

Drinkability is very high, I can't get enough.

Awesome stuff, if I could find it locally I would buy it by the case, growler, pint, keg, or any other vessel I could find. Highly recommended, and a must try for IIPA lovers.

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Photo of mhewes
3.93/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A : Pours a nice clear golden color with a good head, not much lacing

S : Citrus and floral hops, a touch of malts

T : This one has a really strong malt backbone to it that I wasn't expecting. The hops were a lot more muted than I was expecting. You could still taste them (mainly citrus) but I was expecting more from it

M : Medium-bodied, good carbonation

D : Real easy to drink but I was disappointed in it after seeing how highly rated it was. To me, it didn't have that something special to make it stand out as being the best of the imperial IPAs out there.

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Photo of waldowin
4.32/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky golden amber, light becomes diffuse as the glass widens. Just a ring of head, eggshell white in color, lacing is nonexistent. Not surprising for a beer with this much hop juice, but not exceptional.

Smells of pine needles, cedar, and a hint of grapefruit. Very thick, like shoving your nose into a pine tree and breathing deep.

Taste is very mild on the tip of the tongue, and then swirls into a biting tang on the edges of your mouth. Just a small hint of malt in the form of grapes and malt in the center of the mouth, but no more than enough to let you know it's there. Finish is very dry and slightly acidic.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly not thinned out, for a beer with this much hop action. They didn't pound on the sugars to make it "balanced", it's just about right. Really surprising for a DIPA.

It's a very good DIPA, has more hops than you'll ever need, and tastes great. It's just so bitter and acidic, that more than one bottle would leave you with a sour stomach. Definitely worth a buy though!

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Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,471 ratings.