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Pliny The Elder | Russian River Brewing Company

3,587 Reviews
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Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-24-2003

User Reviews
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Reviews: 3,587 | Ratings: 13,810
Photo of rypkr
4.16/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 2-19-16

A - Poured hard into a snifter. Hazy pulpless orange juice looking with a very soapy looking frothy white one finger head.

S - tons of citrus, very tropical. Pretty sure this was fermented from a can of concentrate banana-orange-mango juice my poor family bought from the dollar store growing up.

T - extremely subdued and not what I was expecting. Very clean/crisp/bright but also much sweeter than I expected. Zero alcohol. Very good, extremely drinkable.

M - High carbonation but thin. Drinks like a light beer.

O - I have no complaints with this beer really. It's well rounded and very good. But there's nothing "WOW HOLY SHIT" about it. If this beer is a 100 then it's a 100/115.

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Photo of Dopen993
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

510 ml into tulip. 1/25/16

First time drinking.

L. Golden orange with a touch of haze. 1 finger head with nice sticky lacing.
S. Lovely mix of malts and hops. Lots of tropical fruits such as mango and orange mix with a touch of pine and sweetness.
T. Balance is near perfect. For 8% I don't receive a touch of alcohol. A nice blast of hops up front leads to a sweet and smooth with a bit of a pine bite on the finish.
F. I'd say it's just on the the lighter side of medium mouthfeel with average carbonation.

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Photo of Pauken
4.46/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Ok so I feel comfortable rating this now as I've had a few at different times. Great beer and would drink it any day. However, it seems like a thing of the past. Personally prefer Heady, SOS, Green, Julius, Haze, and Hoof Hearted IPA's. Not to mention some others as well. Fantastic beer and legendary, just not up to par with what's happening now IMHO.

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Photo of hasher
4.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at a bar. Had good hoppy bitterness that fades smooth. Good citrus smell. Pine, bit of booze but not overpowering. Great mouthfeel. Overall a great beer. Compares with heady topper and some of the tree house beers out east.

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Photo of jtodeasa
4.2/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Not a West Coast IPA fan but this is the pinnacle of that particular style.

Looks are a 5. Clear, beautiful pale golden malt.
Smell is my only complaint. Beyond the Douglas fir and grapefruit pith, I can smell that 8%. Not cool.
Taste is subjective. Like I said, this is the pinnacle of its style. I just happen to not care for it.
The feel is a winner. Carbonation and body are on point.

Out of a 510ml bottle into Riedel Burgundy glass. Bottle stamped 2/12/16.

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

Outstanding beer! One of those beers where each sip is high quality, from the smell at the beginning to the hop and malt in the middle to the complex flavors at the finish.

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Photo of KoG
4.13/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap and out of the bottle. Well balanced with no overpowering bitterness and some piney flavor. Blind Pig hits the spot better and has more hop flavor. There are better dipas out there.

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Photo of donspublic
4.54/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into pilsner glass, nice 3 finger tanish cream head, outstanding lacing. Clear golden look withe the head that last. Smells like a big citrus bomb and the taste delivers. Nice residual sweetness at the end. Only beer on my radar for my Napa trip.

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Photo of Alby
4.99/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had an opportunity to get 3 of these bottles via a trade. I am not an IPA first and foremost but if you were to give me an unlabeled bottle of Pliny, I would tell you without a doubt that is one of the best IPAs that I have ever had. Bottled on 2/19/2016 this brew almost resembled liquid gold from its looks, the smells, oh my the smells, piney, with a hint of citrus as if I ran into a forest of freshness, and the same with taste followed with the ever present IPA bitterness BUT did not take away from the flavor profile at all. I'm glad to have had this brew.

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

Oh man this is good IPA. Very rich flavor. Maybe someday I'll have a better IPA then the Ballast Point grapefruit Sculpin, or the Russian River Brewery Pliny the Elder Double IPA. I would put Odell Mercenary Double IPA just a touch below this, still great, world class. Maybe in blind taste test I would pick the Odell? I think perhaps the only IPA that is well known that I have not tasted and is better then this would be Heady Topper, and Pliny the Younger. Until that day this stuff and Ballast Points Grapefruit Sculpin are the best beers I have ever had the pleasure of imbibing. Cheers!

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

Poured from a bottled dated 2/25/16 (9 days old) into a Hill Farmstead tulip glass.
A - Wonderful clarity, golden straw in color, meandering carbonation supports a thin white cap. Again wonderful clarity.
S - Tropical notes blend seamlessly with deciduous elements, Striking in complexity, sweet malts and a citrusy jam round out the nose.
T - The balance throws me off balance! Malt extraction is near perfect, the hop profile says expert craft on display.
M - Full n body, a bit slick on the palate, a sweet linger with just enough bitterness to close the deal.
O - There has been so much written and for good reason. This offering is to be treasured fresh as per directions on the label.

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Photo of Kikinik
4.83/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

What more can I say, It's Pliny the Elder!

I was able to try this lovely brew first in the form of 2 bottles with excellent results.
Smooth, flavorful, balance, harmony.

Really make me appreciate what is possible with the right level of hops and malt.

Then, I was able to drink this amazing brew out of a keg in Boulder at CX Nationals a couple years ago. WOW. I didn't think it could get better, but fresh out of a keg was incredible. Seriously!

If you can get some, GET SOME! (hard to come by up here in Minneapolis...)

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of those brews I had been in search of for a long time - I finally scored a bottle a few days ago and popped it this weekend. I decided to pop it the same night as another sought out beer that lived up to the hype - Zombie Dust. This one sadly - did not. Good beer but def not up to the hype. I can think of 6 DIPA's that I prefer. Again, pretty tatsy brew but not worth searching out. Just MO.

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Photo of Jbagel1
4.23/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I love the Elder its a great double IPA. Its the double that you always want to drink but you can't always have it. (unless your really lucky) All i know is when I see a case of the Pliny I get it. Its probably the best double Ipa out there or its at least in the top 5 best doubles IPAs.

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Photo of SebastianOwl
4.28/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled dated 2/12/16; drank on 2/29/16 in a tulip glass; I have obviously been wanting to try this for a long time and got a random opportunity today; 2 1/2 weeks old is about my limit these days on hoppy beers so this fits in my typical review window; this beer is great but it just does not match the hype, nor my extremely high expectations for hoppy beers these days

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Photo of TheDoctor
4.49/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Service: Bottle
Bottled on: Feb-11-2016

Pours a crystal clear gold-copperish with a fat little two-inch cream head that is fairly solid throughout. Honeycomb of thin lace with decent retention. (4.25)

Perfect balance of brightish malt and piney citrus. Oranges, pine cone, potpourri, bread, caramelized sugar. (4.5)

Big thick wave of malty bitterness. Citrus rind left to ferment in pine sap, soap, bitter orange, slightly sweet white dough, clover. (4.5)

Medium-full body, with sticky resinous shellac, lingering doughy warmth, soft carbonation. (4.5)

Wow, this is an excellent beer!
Really full of malt and sticky west coast hops. Neither is never NOT there, but the hops slowly creep to prominence in a wave of citrus pith to pine pitch that ends in a vageuly warm, hoppy finish. Dryish, sweetish, piney, fruity, malty, hoppy. Just a solidly great beer that hits a lot of highpoints.
Would actively seek this one out in the future. (4.5)

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Photo of Eric41Smith
4.02/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Excellent beer. Over-hyped. Was the best on draught that day. Thought it could use a little more flavor. However, well balanced and enjoyable. Worth the taste, not the wait.

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Photo of justme
4.54/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Wanted to try this one for years. Lives up to it reputation. Not as hoppy as I thought it would, and that delights me. Big creamy head, smooth drinking.

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

One of those beers. Beautiful color (dark golden) with a strong citrus nose. The hops aren't overwhelming bitter once it warms up a bit, gives a bit of citrus. Really smooth. Has distinct feel over say the NE hoppy beers. Very glad I got to try this out.

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Photo of ale2thechief
3.94/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Crossed off my bucket list. Beer had more of a malt dominance than I would have expected. I would compare this to Finch's Hardcore Chimera. I prefer the New England juice bombs over this malt/hop supplication. I am sure 5 years ago I would have rated this higher. However, with the surly's, Tree House, Trillium and other brewers on the scene; Elder is showing its age.

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Photo of remingtonsteele1987
4.84/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pouring a pint into a snifter, you get the clearest, rich butterscotch appearance with a pale white and foamy one finger head. Strong papaya and citrus nose, and those flavors definitely come through along with the creamy texture. The sweet and hoppy bitterness is so balanced. The carbonation is so fine it feels like cotton candy melting in your mouth. No other beer gives me this sensation. Although the Younger is so much bigger in every way, this is just as bold and delicate. I drink this everyday! Love it!

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

Poured dark straw colored with one finger fluffy white head that never seemed to dissapear and laced for days! Scent was citrus and pine. Flavor followed scent well but was more defined: grapefruit, pine, subtle sweet maltiness to balance out. Great beer!

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Photo of TH28
4.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

510ml bottle. 1/25/16 bottle date (19 days old). Appearance: crystal clear golden orange, with a thick slightly off white head. Nice lacing. Aroma: Strong fresh fruity melon and citrus, with a bit of pine. Taste: Light malt sweetness with a touch of caramel, turning to a strong, juicy, grassy, resinous hop flavor. Only the lightest touch of citrus comes across. Bitterness slowly builds into strong crescendo. Mouthfeel: Light body for the style with a moderately high carbonation. Finish: Very dry with a strong grassy bitterness. Overall: Probably the easiest drinking, most refreshing IIPA you’ll find. Lighter malt base than most but still balances the strong bitterness well.

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Photo of brewaddict
4.63/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

L - Pours Clear and Golden with a nice white head and really good lace
S - There is a ton of citrus and pine in the nose
T - I taste grapefruit, fresh pine, lemon zest, with a malt sweet backbone and clean finish
F - Rich and slick with great carbonation
O - I know the debate rages, but no one can deny that this is a fantastic dipa. It's the balance that makes this a great beer. The fact that it has a clean finish that puts it over the top for me.

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Photo of Amfield
4.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is the beer that opened the door to double IPAs for me (my favorite beer style now). I think it has a great crisp hop that is well balanced and sweet.

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Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,587 ratings.