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Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Educational use only; do not reuse.

11,652 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 11,652
Reviews: 3,306
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 7.94%
Wants: 5,573
Gots: 2,307 | FT: 73
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
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Ratings: 11,652 | Reviews: 3,306 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rodkin
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ticking a pretty big want. Thanks to tripelhops for getting me this bottle. Bottled on 4/17/12.

Pours a nice golden haze, about 1/4" to 1/2" head that reduces nicely to very slight film of bubbles. Visible carbonation rising up the glass. Looks maybe a tad thin? I mean, it looks great, but I'm nitpicking here.

Smell has some pretty awesome citrus. Pineapple, orange, grapefruit, maybe a little bit of peach sweetness. Not really getting much malt in here. It's really just all about the hops. No complaints from me at all, though. The smell is just about perfect.

Taste has a lot of the same citrus as the nose, especially the grapefruit. Getting more of a malty, grainy kind of flavor too, but it's pretty mild. Some pine. There's a significant bitter bite, but it's not a tongue bruiser. It is, as all the reviews say, fantastically well balanced. Everything goes together really smoothly, and nothing tastes out of place. There's only the slightest hint of alcohol in here. Dangerously easy to drink.

Mouthfeel is great. Really nice carbonation, medium body.

Did it live up to the hype for me? Yes and no. I'm looking for flaws and they're just not coming up. This beer is really perfectly executed, and for what it is it's hard to beat. That said, it didn't wow me as much as I thought it would, and I think it could definitely be improved on. I wouldn't lose sleep if I could never have this beer again, and I don't think it's worth trading your firstborn child, but I will gladly have more whenever I get the opportunity.

Photo of bumchilly25
5/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of md655321
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of Jdubbs1025
5/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of ste5venla
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Underdogbisco
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of CPditka
5/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of viettran07
5/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of javi10653
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of SuburbanDuke
5/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of ycortez
5/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of InsuranceGuy
4.25/5  rDev -8.8%

Photo of falloutsnow
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From: CE, from Colorado, much thanks
Bottled: 4/3/12 (review 6/29/12)
Glass: tulip

I enjoyed this much more out of the bottle than on tap. This is certainly one of the excellent examples in the DIPA style with some very nice fruit-forward hopping and substantial depth going on. That being said, I still don't think this is the "best ever" beer. Would be quite satisfied to have this regularly available, but there are enough solid varieties out there that I don't miss this one's unavailability.

Pours a tall, off-white head of 2-3cm, made up of small bubbles, that has better than average retention. Head gradually fades to a thin cap atop the body with a thicker ring around the perimeter of the glass. Head leaves some solid lacing along sides of the glass. Beer is nearly opaque from sediment, but still slightly see-through. Golden orange in color, with light bringing a yellow hue to a lighter orange body. Carbonation is visible along the sides and bottom of the glass, looks to be fairly active.

Aroma of very nice, mildly sweet apricot preserves, very deep grapefruit rind, faintly sweet orange rind, and fairly bright malt sweetness nestled nicely behind all this.

Tip of tongue picks up slight malt sweetness with hints of apricot and orange flesh. Front of palate accentuates these initial flavors with deeper toffee-like malt sweetness, and bolder apricot and orange flavors. Mid-palate brings out extensive grapefruit flavor and bitterness, allowing just a bit of the continual apricot and orange flavor to persist and seep through. Back of palate captures more grapefruit bitterness and citrus flavors including grapefruit, tangerine, and tart orange. Closes with a brief flash of ethanol, leading to a long-lingering bitterness that's on top of some lightly sweet toffee-like malt.

Beer is medium to medium-heavy bodied, with medium-level carbonation. This causes the beer to foam up a bit on the palate, resulting in an at-first crisp mouthfeel, then one that feels smooth and fairly creamy. Finish is dry with ethanol only being noticed in the close, and then, only a small amount.

Had on tap at Bobby G's in Berkeley, CA
Served in a Pliny the Elder pint glass (standard US)
Review from notes
Original rating (4, 4, 4, 5, 4)

Pliny the Elder is a very good, balanced DIPA, but that balance, for me, does not make this the "holy grail" of beer that it seems to be. Enjoyably grapefruit-accented with touches of pine resin and malt components, this is a good, classic DIPA. While I'm not sure this deserves the accolades it receives, I would not pass over another glass of this, and am curious to try it out of a bottle. However, I'm not sure I'd be this curious if it weren't for the hype, mystique, and limited availability of the beer.

Some questions: what makes this more impressive than a very good IPA or any other very good DIPA? Is balance equivalent to excellence? Why is this considered so special? I asked myself these questions during the course of drinking this, and had no certain answers; I suggest that all beer advocates consider them while partaking, too.

Arrives with a small (1.5cm) head of white foam, composed of fairly dense, small bubbles. Head eventually descends to a ring around the glass with some thin islands of foam atop the body. Leaves some spotty lacing along sides of glass, which is renewed with each sip. Body is a rich golden yellow color with slight orange tints. Carbonation is easily visible through the transparent body.

Aroma of grapefruit-like hop contributions, along with some pine resin as well. Not predominantly tropical or over the top with explosive noticeability of hops. Some pale malt sweetness tempers the hops. I don't detect any ethanol. Good, but I don't notice anything out of the ordinary relative to a good west coast IPA.

Taste is similar to smell, with grapefruit-like flavors; noticeable, but not overwhelming bitterness; a bit of pine resin; more detectable malt sweetness than in aroma, which also contributes a hint of grain. No ethanol flavors, which somewhat suprised me given the ABV. Quite good, balanced, but again nothing that astounds me or makes me think this is somehow miles apart from any other solid IPA or DIPA.

Beer is medium to medium-heavy bodied, with medium-level carbonation. This causes the beer to foam up a bit on the palate, leading to a slightly smooth, but still crisp mouthfeel. Finish is dry, from the hops. No ethanol burn felt. Very impressive for a DIPA in all aspects of this.

Photo of majcher33
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of Beer21
4.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I picked up my bottle at the brewery so it is fresh. Poured it into a Russian River pint glass. It pours a beautiful golden with a half finger head. The head is nearly white and lingers shortly.

The smell is absolutely wonderful and full of hops. Lots of citrus and pine. I have had beers with more hops aroma, but this one is near the top.

The taste is right up my alley. Full of bitterness and simplicity. Very crisp and refreshing. The malt is very subtle which helps accentuate the hop profile. It is very similar to Russian River's Blind Pig.

The mouthfeel is appropriate for the hop and malt profiles with a crispness, moderate alcohol, and thin consistency. Well balanced for a hophead like me.

Overall this is one of my favorite beers, but hard to come by in my home state of Florida. It is not the best IPA I have ever had, but it is one of the top five.

Photo of jstewart1130
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of RandyMartini
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: clean and clear.

S: Light and hoppy.

T: pronounced, but mild hops. It has the all of the characteristics of an IPA without over powering it.

M: light on the tong.

O: Probably the best beer that have I ever had. I was caught by surprise. I only ordered it, because it was the only IPA at the butcher shop that I hadn't drank before. I was just blown away by how complete and balanced this was.

Photo of SaneMan
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of ctrevino
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of pavpav12
5/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of WeedKing4
4.23/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at the brewpub. Tastes very hoppy with a bitter finish that attacks your tongue nicely. Lots of citrus and grapefruit notes. I love how these California beers give me hop burps. the alcohol is well hidden in this one too. This is a top quality iipa.

Photo of TonyTalon
4.25/5  rDev -8.8%

Photo of tobster24
5/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of atone315
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%

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

Received in trade. Bottle dated the end of March 2012. 500ml bottle poured into a pint glass.

I have been wanting to try this brew for a long time and was finally able to. While it definitely lived up to the hype, not sure that it's my favorite of this style.

Pours a transparent golden/orange color. Medium sized head with a vigorous pour.

Smell is of citrus, hops, and floral scents. Taste is similar to the scent and what you would expect, but I also get the slight addition of pine.

The alcohol in this one is well hidden and I don't get to much of it.

Overall there is a reason this beer has the overall rating it does and I can see why. Will be looking to find it again.

Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 11,652 ratings.