1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Educational use only; do not reuse.

11,680 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 11,680
Reviews: 3,312
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 7.94%
Wants: 5,597
Gots: 2,326 | FT: 76
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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Pliny The Elder Alström Bros
Ratings: 11,680 | Reviews: 3,312 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Durb777
3.75/5  rDev -19.5%

Photo of KristaHall
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of csmartin6
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of bobbypaulson
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As a person who lives in Minnesota Pliny the Elder is not available as easy and as often as I wish it could be. I was lucky enough to have some fresh bottles sent to me (as fresh as they can be) however I was even more lucky in early January to get a growler set to me the same day it was picked up from the brewery and delivered to me super quickly!!! I can still remember the huge pop of the 2L swing top growler. So from the grower into a tall pilsner glass the color was light orangy brown in color with a thin white head that disappears quickly. The smell is very big and hoppy and sweet. The taste is super balanced with the amount of hop and sweet. All this high ranked IPA are all so hard to rate because they all are so amazing, it's hard to decide which one is better.

Photo of jfmamj
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of SickNukes
4/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of Bottletap
4.25/5  rDev -8.8%

Photo of beerMeh
5/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of brewskifan55
4.41/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass at cvm4's Yeti tasting. This was the warmup beer. And what a warmup it was!

A: Clear light yellow/orange with a one finger off white head that gave way to big bubbles. Decent lacing.

S: Major piney. Floral. Like walking in a forest of evergreens. May the hops be with you.

T: A hop/malt combo. Crisp, not bitter. Grapefruit, oranges. A clean finish. Oh, so smooth.

M: Light to medium. Light carbonation.

O: I'm not a hop person, but Pliney is a convincing brew, ultra smooth and highly drinkable. It really doesn't get better than this. Glad I got to try some.

Photo of Enish266
4.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 500mL bottle into Hess Willi Becher glass. Bottled on 05/16/12. Purchased for $6.99 from Holiday Wine Cellar.

A - hazy, light golden yellow. One inch head that dissipates after a few minutes with a moderate pour.

S - Pine and mango with hints of pineapple.

T - first taste is lightly sweet that then reveals its hop-awesomeness. Bitter, but not over the top. Just enough malt backbone to let you know it's there. Also finishes sweet with a hint of caramel and bitterness.

M - a little thin for the style. Doesn't coat my tongue or mouth as much as I hoped or remember.

O - A very good DIPA. A lot of competition in this style nowadays. Alpine and Kern River are worth competitors that are sort of local to SoCal but are arguably harder to find. Still one of the paragons that most DIPAs will aspire to be.

Photo of mtbdonn
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Hazy golden orange with a good sized white, foamy head.
S - Big fruity hop smell; lots of grapefruit, pineapple, orange, and just a little lemon.
T - Similar to the smell but with lots of hops, grapefruit, pineapple, orange, lemon, pine, as well as some floral and other earthy flavors. Considering all this, it isn’t too bitter. There is slight bitter presence, but there are so many other flavors it isn't overpowering. The fruit flavors provide a very subtle sweetness along with some pale malt as well.
M - Medium to full body with a nice balance of carbonation; very creamy and smooth.
O - Absolutely delicious, the best IPA I've had! Great drinkability, goes down easy and tastes absolutely wonderful. The hop flavors work very well together making it quite refreshing.

Photo of linttrap
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of MaChiNe
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of thebornotaku
4.38/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A note: This beer was bottled 5/14 and I am doing this review just past midnight making it officially 5/19. The bottle says to enjoy it fresh, so I figured I will listen to it...


Starting with the bottle, you would never assume much about this beer. While a lot of other brews sport complex, flashy labels, Pliny stands out in it's own right. It has a dark green label with a big red circle and the words "Pliny the Elder" written inside it. Minimalistic. Perhaps Russian River wants the beer to speak for itself? Given the reviews, I would certainly say this is the case.

The bottle also makes it very clear that this beer should be enjoyed cold and as soon as possible. So I'l oblige it.

Second part of the appearance is the pour. Pours an amber-goldish color with minimal head that dissipates quickly.

Smell? Hops. Obviously. This is a double IPA, and seeing as how it's named Pliny The Elder, you should fully expect hops. If you're looking for anything else, turn away. The smell is robust but not overpowering. It's inviting and not overbearing. Unfortunately I'm battling with some allergies right now (damn you Sonoma County! Being close to the brewery has it's perks, but not without it's disadvantages...) so it's hard to pick off some of the finer nuances of the smell.

On to the important part though, the reason why we drink beer, and the reason this one is so popular... the taste.

It's hoppy without being too bitter or overpowering. The one-dimensional hop attack that is most IPAs and especially double IPAs certainly doesn't apply here. It's certainly a lot hoppier than it is malty, but that's the point. Because it's fresh, I'm picking off a lot of floral and citrus flavors. The flavor is complex and balanced. I was expecting overpowering bitterness but that isn't the case here. Russian River says that it's 100 IBUs but don't let that be offputting. This beer is just a drinkable as any average 50 or 60 IBU IPA. Not to mention, this beer hides it's 8 ABV well. There's no hint to let you know that you've just downed a half a liter of 8% ABV beer aside from the side effects. Usually when things start climbing in the ABV range I add "booze" to the list of flavors but that isn't the case here.

Mouth feel is good. Decently bodied, a little carbonated. Again, well balanced. Crisp and refreshing enough to make each sip truly enjoyable, but with just enough creaminess and body to leave a little lingering in your mouth until the next sip.

Overall, I'd have to say that this is indeed a damn fine beer. It didn't live up to the legend it's been made out to be, but I figured that people would exaggerate a bit, and plus because I live near the brewery, it has the whole "local following" aspect as well. I should note however that it is better than similar DIPAs of higher costs (cough cough Double Jack...), at $4.39/ea at my work (when you can find it...). Certainly a good buy if you're in the mood for an IPA. I would even recommend picking this up over most "normal" IPAs because it's drinkable enough that spending the extra dollar or two on the bottle will earn you something that's that much better. If you're considering buying it though, or are ever in the area by the brewery, I would say don't hesitate and just do it. You'll be glad you did.

Photo of jmccraney
4.25/5  rDev -8.8%

Photo of erha2
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Massbmx
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of gaugebozo
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Because I'm drinking one a little out of date (bottled in February, it's now mid-May), I'd like to not put numbers in, but am forced to.

A - Well supported head, medium/light amber color with good lacing.

S - Great. Piney, grapefruit and lemony notes.

T - Great, but to be honest, I've had better. Strong hops flavor, but well balanced malt and bitterness. Sometimes IPAs toss in a lot of caramel malts and get too sticky or go super bitter and are hard to drink. I really appreciate how the hops are allowed to shine.

M - Pleasing body, and perfectly carbed.

O - This is a great beer. I think not giving it a perfect rating comes down to a few things.

1). I've had IPA's that have better hop flavor and aroma, bordering on sitting in a room full of hops while you drink them. This could be because this one's a few months old.
2). Would expect better lacing with an IPA like this.
3). Smell mainly hop flavors, could be more complex. Again, this is all IMHO.

Altogether an awesome beer that could be better. Whatever the case, I'm going to finish this one bottle off and look forward to another chance to get one. Na zdrowie!

Photo of KTEWhitney
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of baybum
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of Spartan213
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of John_R_Strayer
4.25/5  rDev -8.8%

Photo of hopfrenzy
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of waiting4lunch
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Kingpin7704
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 11,680 ratings.