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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.

10,830 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,830
Reviews: 3,195
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.6%
Wants: 4,995
Gots: 1,883 | FT: 63
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: 10,830 | Reviews: 3,195 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nevins
5/5  rDev +7.5%

nevins, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of jrcmlc
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

jrcmlc, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of kiki3drt292
5/5  rDev +7.5%

kiki3drt292, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of tugg407
4/5  rDev -14%

tugg407, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of ThirstyHerf
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

ThirstyHerf, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of jegross2
4.76/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Reviewing the infamous Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewing Company. This is universally hailed as one of the top ten beers in the world by beer connoisseurs and is only sold in California. This is my first experience with the brew and the brewery. Thank you BeerAdvocate user LieutenantSours for hooking me up with this one!

Score: 97

Bottled 12/15/11, served in a brandy snifter glass, and enjoyed 01/09/12.

Appearance: Pours a gorgeous, "bright" and transparent honey-orange color with one and a half to two fingers of frothy off-white head that settles into a quarter finger layer. Excellent lacing sticks to the side of the glass. 5/5

Smell: Bright, zesty citrus. Not as in-your-face citrus as Heady Topper or Zombie Dust, but still a really fresh tropical fruit aroma. Tons of orange, grapefruit, lemon, mango and a fresh piney hoppiness. A little floral too, with a scent of freshly cut grass. Getting some smooth maltiness in the aroma with deeper whiffs. 4.75/5

Taste: My first impression is that the beer is a lot less hoppy than anticipated given the citrus/pine hop aromas and imperial IPA label. Flavor is a very smooth, malty citrus throughout without much bitter hop bite. Malty sweet citrus on the mid-palate. Finishes with a prickley pop of citrus/pine hops flavor on the tongue. Definitely tasting some fresh pine/grass flavors before the finish too, but they are more "complementary" to the flavor profile than most imperial IPAs that I have had in the past. This bottle is nearly a month old and I hear this is one that is optimally consumed within three weeks of the bottled on date, so perhaps some of the beer's hoppiness or intensity has faded. Once I get over the "it's nothing like Surly Abrasive" expectations gap, however, I find myself really appreciating the nuance this brew has to offer. Few imperial IPAs strive for this kind of drinkability and flavor balance, aiming for the aggressive. The beer gradually grows more zesty, bitter and hoppy as it layers too, closing that initial expectations gap. I am finding myself enjoying this brew more and more as the amount of beer in the glass dwindles. 4.75/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus bodied with medium carbonation. The carbonation in the beer is just enough to make the hops flavors "pop" on the tongue without leaving the beer too crisp. Finishes dry and bitter. 4.75/5

Overall: While I can't say that this is the best imperial IPA that I have had to date (that honor belongs to Surly Abrasive Ale), this is nonetheless a fantastic brew. Russian River pioneered the imperial IPA, and Pliny the Elder is still one of the top of the style.

Recommendation: An absolute must try imperial IPA.

Pairings: Hamburgers.

Cost: $7.99 for a 500 ml bottle

jegross2, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of StoryOfTheGhost
4.15/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice orange color with a beautiful white head

Smell is terrific. One of the piniest smelling beers I have ever smelled. Citrus, but not as citrussy as I expected. It just smells very fresh.

Taste is just like smell. Piney at the forefront. Citrus. Not as bitter as I would like. Great tasting beer. I think that I hyped it up too much in my mind prior to tasting it, and had too high of expectations. So, I was a bit disappointed, but it was no fault of the beer itself. It really is a terrific beer.

Mouthfeel- It has a nice carbonation, and you can feel the hop oils on the tongue and teeth. Taste does not stay with you as long as I had hoped.

StoryOfTheGhost, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of lastmanonearth
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

lastmanonearth, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of Souleman
4.83/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This has got to be one of my favorite beers of all time. I first tasted it at the brewery in Russian River land (after visiting a farm where we picked fresh hops). The place was packed, they had a ton of beers on tap, but I went straight for the Pliney. The aroma was identical to the fresh hops we had picked and was blown away after tasting it.
Looks and smells are beautiful, and the taste is untouchable. Nice balance of hoppiness and spice that really puts this beer above the lot in the Imperial category.
I recently did a tasting and went through at least 5 different IPA's that I had liked in the past. I got to the Pliney at last and it hit the marks on every level. Still one of the greats in my book.

Souleman, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of thebends1
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

thebends1, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of davidn17
5/5  rDev +7.5%

davidn17, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of phisigben
4.53/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color is pretty standard but what stands out is the nice fluffy white head, its about 2 fingers width and lingers for a while then it leaves very nice lacing with each drink. This is one of the best smelling beers I have ever had absolutely huge piney aroma that smacks you in he face then a hint of some citrus. Taste follows the nose perfectly huge pine flavor right off the bat then some citrus and finally just a touch of sweetness from the malt. I wish there was a touch more sweetness to this but still its pretty outstanding. Mouthful is good for me its thin compared to other DIPA beers that are out there, and the carbonation is on point. This is a great beer I wished we could get some in Indiana at a price point of about $5 for a little over a pint I think this would be a great once a week beer to grab off the shelve if you could.

phisigben, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of CornedBeef
4.63/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16oz bottle into a pint glass. Bottling date of 10/31/11 marked on bottle.

Appearance - Rather unremarkable color, though a nice head formed with good retention.

Smell - Fantastic aroma from this beer. Can't wait for a taste.

Taste - Very complex hop profile. Not too bitter up front, but definitely leaves a bitter aftertaste. Very well balanced with the malts, but just a hair too bitter on the back end for my taste.

Mouthfeel - Nicely carbonated, medium body. Perfect feel for a IIPA.

Overall - This is an outstanding beer, and I'm glad I was able to find a bottle in CO. I'd love to taste it fresh on tap, but I'm certainly not complaining from the taste I got here.

CornedBeef, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of Soxfanmcgee
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Soxfanmcgee, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of ohtheguilt
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

ohtheguilt, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of jsnoek
5/5  rDev +7.5%

jsnoek, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of AutumnBeerLove
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

AutumnBeerLove, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of tyamhydrogen
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired in a trade, very excited to finally sample PTE. Thanks dsgolovin!

Reviewed from two bottles, both bottled on 12/15/11. Poured into a Founders snifter.

A: Impressive 2+ finger white eggshell head forms, slowly dropping to a ring around the glass and a thin residual head that sticks around. The lacing left behind after each sip is beautiful. Excellent presentation.

S: Hops! Pine, grass and grapefruit dominate the nose. Piney bitterness more noticeable early, slowly the grapefruit takes over as the beer warms. A little alcohol.

T: A great balance between piney, dry hoppiness and grapefruit flavors. Sweet malts.

M: Thick and smooth but not syrupy. Good carbonation. A little residual hop stickiness but not a whole lot for a DIPA. 4

O: I really enjoyed PTE, but it didn't have the wow factor that I get from Heady Topper, Abner and other HF DIPAs. Certainly a great beer, just not quite as good as I expected from the hype.

tyamhydrogen, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of s1ckboy
4.4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - white fluffy head, clear amber body

S - tons of hops, pine, very sweet smelling

T - pine, some bitterness at first, good amount of malt, honey on the finish.

M - thin to medium. Perfect amour of carbonation. Good clean finish.

O - great ipa. Very balanced flavors.

s1ckboy, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of RElliott12
4/5  rDev -14%

RElliott12, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of 10shb
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

10shb, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of Idesofmarch89
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Idesofmarch89, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of gushov
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

gushov, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of kevfujii
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

kevfujii, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of Jonster02
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Jonster02, Jan 08, 2012
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,830 ratings.