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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.

9,610 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,610
Reviews: 3,120
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.17%
Wants: 4,402
Gots: 1,379 | FT: 52
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: 9,610 | Reviews: 3,120 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rbd13

Rhode Island

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

sampled 08-04-11 (bottled 06-29-11)

Pours clear golden with two fingers of solid head, nice lacing left on glass.
Big hoppy ctrus and grapefruit on nose.
Complex yet balanced flavors of floral and citrus hops and malty characture.
Nice oily hoppy mouth coating, alcohol lingers on the finish. Very nice!

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2011 14:13:35 | More by rbd13
Photo of KOrtega


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

Served from a bottle poured into a tulip glass (46F). Bottled on 21 September 2011; served on 15 October 2011.

A-Pours a clear golden-orange color. A nice, thick foamy white head. Good lacing after every drink.

S-A good swirl brings out pine. As the beer settles, more floral and citrus aromas are revealed. Overall sweetness to the aroma.

T-The sweet aroma carries into the first taste of the beer with grapefruit character. The malt backbone reveals itself and balances nicely with the hops and bitter finish.

M-Takes over your palate with a lasting bitterness. Starts slick but finishes sticky and mouthwatering.

O-The aroma to flavor transition is terrific. A good breath through the nose during a drink prepares the palate for the beer. The lasting bitterness that sticks to the palate makes your mouth water for another drink.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2011 05:34:52 | More by KOrtega
Photo of monitorpop


4.1/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 9/16/11, opened on 10/14/11

A: Bright clear gold, beads of carbonation flowing up. Huge, 3 finger foamy white head with considerable lacing left behind.

S: Pineapple, pine and citrus.

T: Grapefruit, sweet malt, light pine and hints of nectarine. Mild hop bitterness comes on slowly in the finish.

M: Creamy, yet crisply refreshing, medium body with medium carbonation.

O: Very drinkable, really well balanced beer. Not overly bitter like many in this style.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2011 02:09:21 | More by monitorpop
Photo of Paincane


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

Bottled 9-7-11, Consumed 10-11-11
A: Copper, amber colored pour into New Belgium globe glass. Produces a two finger white head that has excellent retention and leaves behind a lattice of lace on the rim of the glass.
S: Floral hops abound! Citrus and pine notes are present.
T: Very hoppy with floral and pine flavors hitting initially. Next, comes a bit of malt backbone with citrusy, almost grapefruit flavor ceding to a slightly bitter finish that seems to linger but never overtakes the palate.
M: Medium-bodied with vigorous carbonation. Very well-balanced.
O: Extremely drinkable IIPA that surprises the taste buds by never reaching the anticipated bitterness and concealing its ABV quite well. I have been able to secure two more from this batch and am looking forward to enjoying them very soon. It is a real treat for the senses.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2011 22:50:50 | More by Paincane
Photo of kdp2011


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

Finally got to try this brew after a very long wait. I am a huge fan of IPAs and Double IPAs. After reading a little while ago that this was top in its class, it was a must. Very hard to find though since I am on the East Coast.

-Great head while after poured into pint glass
-Great light copper color with a golden hue
-Lace was great with a thick mark left on the glass with each taste
-smell was fantastic with piny and floral hop hints hitting my nose
-taste was gripping with smooth characters and bite behind it.
-Overall awesome IPA that every fan of this type of ale should have on their want list

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2011 20:48:17 | More by kdp2011
Photo of KJGAGNE


4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fresh Pliny, consumed last Friday. This was actually the first fresh Pliny I have recieved. Served in a New Belgium tulip glass. The Head and glass retention was perfect. The smell was piny and a little floral scent. The taste was phenomenal. Grapefruit, pine, and HOPs!! The abv very well hidden. It blew the doors off all the other Pliny I have had. Fresh Pliny is where it's at!! love it!! Thanks Riko for the extra!

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2011 06:02:31 | More by KJGAGNE
Photo of JuicesFlowing


4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a New Belgium globe. Perfect,golden cream colored frothy, silky head. It dissipates some, but leaves a thin yet frothy layer as it goes down. Massive sticky lacing on the glass. The smell is bold, a combination of pine and citrus, a very clean aroma that's not overpowering. I'll admit, i don't drink a lot of IPAs or DIPAs, but this beer is extremely tasty. Again, the pine, citrus, grapefruit flavors are all well balanced and work harmoniously. The mouthfeel is crisp, smooth, and for lack of a better word, perfect. Overall, I waited a long time to try this beer, and in fact I had to overpay for it on Ebay just to get it. To say that I was skeptical is an understatement, as this beer has reached mythical status. But I can attest to it's reputation, this is a fine, fine beer. I'll probably never have it again due to the price, but I'm glad I got to see what all of the fuss was about. I don't drink DIPAs usually, but surely, this one is King.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2011 16:54:26 | More by JuicesFlowing
Photo of DaveHack


4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle dated 9/21/11 into my RR-tion glass. This is not my first, nor my last Pliny thanks to Cisco619 and killer PA distribution (we get it on tap)

This stuff pours a gorgeous, clear orange. Decent 1 inch head dissapates to leave a thinb white film and nice lacing all down the glass.

The smell is absolutely fantastic! Fresh, oily hops dominate.The smell is a fresh citrus with a bit of pine. It's hard to detect much else over the mouthwatering hop aroma.

Taste is right up there with the smell. At first contact on the tongue there is a wonderful blast of hops, just slightly bitter. This deliciousness continues all the way through the swallow. It never turns overly bitter. Just a delicious, oily hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is no exception to this fantastic beer. Nice smooth, creamy feel. It is never too heavy or thin. The ABV is absolutely hidden. Carbonation is just right.

This beer is magic. While I prefer it just a touch on tap, it is still excellent in the bottle. It never gets old. This is one you MUST try.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2011 00:40:44 | More by DaveHack
Photo of Amalak

New York

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

A. Very nice caramel color to it. There's a nice white, foamy head that leaves a ton of lacing. Basically opaque.

S. Solid floral scent. Some fruitiness.

T. Has a beautiful rye crispness to it. Some nice sweet honey/lemon to it. Very well-balanced hoppiness. Good dark-fruit aftertaste.

M. Very nice but not over-powering tingle. Goes down smooth, even though it's carbonated.

D. The hype is real. This is as smooth and complexly balanced as a beer can beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 23:55:03 | More by Amalak
Photo of cvm4


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

Bottled 9/16/2011, drank 10/8/2011

A - Pours a clear golden color. Has a nice pale white 2 finger head on it.

S - Fruit hits you head on when you stick your nose in for whiff. Pineapples to grapefruits to mangoes. These hops have lots of citrus characteristics in them.

T - Sweet citrus flavors in the forefront with citrus peel/rinds on the backend. A nice bitter finish brings it all into harmony. The alcohol was barely noticeable.

M - It just coats your palate. Not a thick IIPA, but very crisp and refreshing.

O - This is on my top 5 list when it concerns IIPAs. The most drinkable and well rounded IIPA I've come across. Until you drink one, you won't know that the hype surrounding this beer is not really hype at all.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 21:20:42 | More by cvm4
Photo of hippityhophead24


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

Bottled 9/16/11 consumed 10/7/11
Appearance: Nice clear golden orange color. Lots of bubbles coming up from bottom of glass. Two finger frothy head with nice lacing until the last sip.

Smell: Smack in the face of grapefruit and pineapple. Smells delicious. Lots of citrus hops and slight bitter aromas as well. Little pine and resin in there somewhere. I wish I could have this aroma as an air freshener.

Taste: Burst of citrus hops. The flavor follows the nose very well. Definitely get a lot of the oils from the hops, with a little bitterness, and pine. The balance between the hops and the slight malt character is outstanding. Malt lingers on the tongue. No booze taste at all.

Mouth feel: Very light on the tongue, not thick and syrupy like some higher ABV IPA’s I’ve had in the past. Nicely carbonated. Resin from hops let it coat your whole mouth to get the full flavor.

Overall: I honestly think this is one of the best IPA’s I’ve had. At least on the top five list. Got two bottles, going to save one and drink it at a warmer temperature to see the difference. Great beer. If you find it, buy two bottles, send me one (can’t get it in TN), and drink the other. The fresher the better!

Glassware: 550ml bottle into snifter.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 02:52:25 | More by hippityhophead24
Photo of RHCP313


4.58/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up and brought home in a checked bag from GABF in Denver.

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a tulip.

Bottled on 9/16/11, consumed 10/7/11.

A: Just a fantastic looking beer. Pours a very pretty gold with some copper highlights when held to the light. Fluffy white head rises and falls, resting into a bubbly, lacy white head that leaves thick walls of lace behind.

S: Strong, ripe and juicy fruit. Mangoes, pineapple, grapefruit, wonderfully floral hops. This is one of the finest aromas I've ever come across in a beer. I'm finding that all of these rumors are coming through in spades.

T: Sharp, oily hops up front followed by a rounded bouquet of citrusy rind. Bearably hot. The sweet malt is supportive, yet lets this outstanding balance of different hops shine. Oddly, I feel like the nose is so outstanding that it dwarfs and maybe steals a little bit from the overall taste. Still, fantastic.

M: Definitely a palate killer, takes over the palate. Nice prickly but not overbearing carbonation, lets the beer really move all over and coat the palate.

O: This is definitely a top tier beer. Strong and bold yet very well rounded and drinkable. PtE lets all components of the beer shine in a wonderfully structured balance. The price tag on these is refreshingly affordable. This kind of offering at a $4.99 price tag is more than well worth it, and a definite treat.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 01:43:27 | More by RHCP313
Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN


4.3/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Surprised I haven't reviewed this, I have visited it many of times. This particular bottle was gifted by baybassboy after a weekend of beer drinkin and double haulin, thanks Mo.
This beer pours a golden clear color with a white head that leaves very good lacing on the glass. Extremely attractive beer. The nose is mainly citrus and pine notes with a very slight malt character barely present. Citrus and grapefruit upfront with some very potent but welcomed pine notes. Great mouthfeel with a medium body, creaminess and a bitter cling that sticks to your mouth. Its a great beer that I'm thankful to have access to.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2011 02:14:14 | More by BdubleEdubleRUN
Photo of fatmcb1


4.68/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Russian River tasting room.

Golden, orangish color with a half finger of creamy white head. Huge lacing along the glass.

Big hop smells that are especially piney and are reminiscent of fresh grass. Plenty of citrus, grapefruit, and pineapple.

Lots of cirtus come through in the flavor first. It follows the nose pretty well. There is also a slight malt that makes it finish perfectly balanced.

Carbonation and mouthfeel are spot on. There is a ton of oily stickiness that leaves the beer on your palate, which is a great thing.

This is dangerously drinkable, and ranks among my very favorite IPAs. Having it the first time at Russian River was a treat.

Serving type: on-tap

10-05-2011 20:06:12 | More by fatmcb1
Photo of bulldogp04


4.47/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer several times both on tap and in bottle and have experienced quite a bit of variation ranging from the best IPA ive ever had to a slightly underwhelming (although still good) IPA.

This beer is lighter orange/yellowish is color with a nice off-white head. Smells of citrusy, grapefruit, and pine resin hop goodness. Taste is very similar, although notes of backbone malt are there just enough to balance out the hop bite. Notes of tropical fruits come out as well. Carb and mouthfeel are perfect, and usually the beer finishes nice and spritzy dry.

Overall, seek this great beer out as it is amazing fresh and relatively easy to trade for!

Serving type: on-tap

10-05-2011 04:12:54 | More by bulldogp04
Photo of mocktm


4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another enormous thanks to cpferris for yet another kick-ass brew I don't have means of acquiring, except through extremely generous BA's. 500ml bottle with a 8/11/2011 bottling date, also lending itself to sport some pretty stern, yet comical warnings against aging this; I got to it as soon as I could.

This beer is like Tom Brady, too pretty to be so good. Gorgeous and clear, a clean and golden orange with two fingers of just off-white head that leaves sticky rings of lace all over as the glass becomes empty.

Massively pungent grapefruit and pineapple presence on the nose; aromas of fresh cut grass and pine, supported by a bread malt undertow.

At first sip, this seems fairly straight forward, but its deceivingly complex, revealing its nuances as it warms. As the nose hints, tropical fruit and resinous in the forefront, with a tongue prickling spiciness and subtle medicinal quality sneaking through to accompany an assertive hop bitterness. Balance is lent by a modest malt sweetness to round it out.

For the ABV and size of this bottle, it was gone too damn quick. Medium bodied, crisp and semi-dry in finish, this boasts a sticky oiliness from the hops along with perfect carbonation levels.

What more needs to be said? If you're a hop-head and haven't had this, that'll need to be remedied immediately. As others have said, a damn near perfect DIPA; go see for yourself, Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2011 01:03:06 | More by mocktm
Photo of knepper


4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really don't see a point in explaining myself here. Awesome beer. I gave it a 4 on appearance because it looked too perfect. This beer is dry hopped to hell and it still looks like a crystal clear pilsner in the glass...

Anyway, from a midwestern standpoint, i'd like to see a few more examples with the spicy, smooth bitterness this beer provides. there are some great 2xipas in the area that showcase great flavor and aroma but they seem to get weak in the knees when it comes to giving the beer that final ibu burst.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2011 22:53:48 | More by knepper
Photo of PatrickSullivan

New Jersey

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

A: Pours a clear golden amber with a great fluffy white head. Nice, thick lacing follows.

S: Pine is on the forefront of the nose with a good amount of pineapple and grapefruit to boot. There's a hint of malty sweetness in the background.

T: All those wonderful scents show up in the mouth. Some great pine and grapefruit hoppiness with some orange notes in there and a tiny bit of pineapple. Good malt backbone brings this to balance. Not excessively bitter and hides the alcohol quite well.

M: Medium in both body and carbonation with a nice smoothness and a bit of oily stickiness. Very drinkable.

O: A very well made, delicious DIPA. The hype behind it carries through the beer itself.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2011 15:36:36 | More by PatrickSullivan
Photo of schultzi22


4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Three week old Pliny in a tulip.

A: Pale and clear with a thin layer of head that remains on the top of the beer.
N: Enticing nose with the malt aromas taking a backseat to crisp grapefruit hops.
T: This would have blown the younger, hop-crazy me out of the water. As it is, the wonderful grapefruit and citrus verges on the edge of excess but never quite gets there. Yum.
M: A perfect crispness with just the right amount of body and carbonation. Absolutely no complains here.
O: The definitive DIPA. The flavors evolved through warming of the 500mL bottle, but were always enjoyable. I have trouble thinking of over DIPAs I would pick to drink ahead of this. There are no flaws in this beer, and I will continue to drink it at every possible opportunity.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2011 01:25:34 | More by schultzi22
Photo of JonathanG


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

On-tap at Hops & Pie, served in a pint glass.

A: Orange-amber colored, clear, with medium-carbonation for a DIPA.
S: Lots of piney hops, then a bit of cannibis, followed by citrus notes. The semi-earthy malts become more pronounced as the beer warms up a little. An intoxicating nose, if you're a hop-head.
T: Lip-smacking hops again. You don't taste the 8% ABV. Malts a bit more pronounced on the palate, than the nose.
M: Lots of hops, but the malt is there to balance things out, adding another dimension to this. Solid would be an understatement.
O: Great stuff. I'd definitely drink it again!

Serving type: on-tap

10-04-2011 00:00:20 | More by JonathanG
Photo of 2xHops


4.18/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Everyone raved, raved, raved, raved about this beer. Okay, I get it.
I was fortunate enough to have a friend surprise me with a bottle as he knew one of my favorite beer styles is Imperial IPAs.

I poured this into a snifter, and yes, the beer's fresh. It was bottled on 9/16/11.

The appearance was good, as good as it should be. There was a healthy amount of head, and the color was just right. The smell was typical. I could smell the hops, pine, and so on.

Taste? This is a personal preference: it was good, but so what? It was decisively good, but I was not bowled over in awe. It had a bit more of pine flavor than I wanted, but it was very balanced in every other respect. The hops were there, but they were not too singularly overpowering.

The mouthfeel's great. The aftertaste wasn't too bitter nor something I feel like I need to wash my mouth clean. It was good.

Overall, I think it was a great beer. I just don't think I can buy in the hype all of you have been raving about. I think the rarity of the beer, and the fact that it's difficult for anyone to get this, has slightly artificially push this beer to mythic status. I wouldn't go out of my way to trade for this beer, I'm just saying, that I can find some more IPAs that are just as good!

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2011 23:44:04 | More by 2xHops
Photo of southside

South Carolina

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

A-pours a pretty golden color with little head.

smell-very citrusy and piney smells, it smells very fresh (was a 2 week old bottle).

taste-this is not the best IPA in my opinion, but the balance between bitterness and sweetness is just perfect. as well balanced as an IPA can get, the rest is all just preference.

mouthfeel-just like a balanced IPA should be--not too thin and not too syrupy.

overall--worth trying for sure. its rarity definitely hypes up people's taste buds, but it's so well balanced and delicious it's hard to fault people for doing so.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2011 17:27:21 | More by southside
Photo of antlerwrestler19


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

Bottled on: 9/16/11

I must say that this is the freshest bottle I've had of Pliny, wish I was able to find it a day after it was bottled but this is still pretty damn fresh smelling. Pours a deep clean golden color with a nice finger and a half eggshell colored head - can see straight through this brew. Aroma is incredible - floral, citrusy, and piny - sweet and inviting, just as expected. The taste is right up there with the aroma, distinguished juicy citrus hoppiness with a subtle bitterness and malt character towards the finish - a simply delicious work of art. The mouthfeel is fairly light with a bit of moderate prickly carbonation - highly drinkable. Pliny is rated at an A+ for good reason, it is much deserved.


Serving type: bottle

10-03-2011 04:41:05 | More by antlerwrestler19
Photo of FLBeerGuy


4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 9/16, poured into my Pints for Prostates pint glass on 10/1, now that's fresh. Respect hops, consume fresh it says on the bottle, OK, this one's not leaving Denver.

Pours golden with a white head that leaves good lacing.
Nose is piney and citrus hops... beautiful nose
Taste is citrus hops balanced out with some maltiness. Not overly bitter, very balanced. The aftertaste is more bitter than on the way down.
Mouthfeel is light, well carbonated.

Drinks very easy for a double IPA, can't believe it is 8% ABV. Very well worth seeking out and drinking fresh.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2011 01:43:18 | More by FLBeerGuy
Photo of agomega


4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle served in a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a clear pale golden hue. Thick foamy white head with exceptional lacing.

Smell: Tons of citrus hop aroma and lovely floral notes.

Taste: Amazingly smooth and well balanced considering the heavy hop aroma. Tons of citrus and floral hop flavor, but virtually zero harsh bitterness. There is a slight hint of nutty and biscuity malt flavors to serve as a background for the hop flavors.

Mouthfeel: Very light bodied and extremely drinkable for an Imperial IPA

Overall: An exceptionally drinkable imperial IPA. This beer is big in every way and yet it is perfectly balanced. True art in a glass.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2011 01:32:07 | More by agomega
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 9,610 ratings.