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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.

10,268 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,268
Reviews: 3,141
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.17%
Wants: 4,714
Gots: 1,663 | FT: 56
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: 10,268 | Reviews: 3,141 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JonathanG


4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

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!

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


4.18/5  rDev -10.1%

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!

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

South Carolina

4.55/5  rDev -2.2%

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.

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


4.93/5  rDev +6%

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.


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


4.7/5  rDev +1.1%

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.

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


4.72/5  rDev +1.5%

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.

10-03-2011 01:32:07 | More by agomega
Photo of Jammies


2.93/5  rDev -37%

A- pours a yellowish orange with a quarter an inch of foam. Great retention, decent lacing

S- light and slightly hoppy, not much there

T- Mild citrus notes. very bitter! Nothing can really compare with the bitterness.

M- smooth and watery. Rolls off the tongue nicely

O- for being a top rated beer on a lot of forums, I'm disappointed. I've had plenty of IPAs that are both comparable and better overall.

10-02-2011 15:23:44 | More by Jammies
Photo of mattbing


4.93/5  rDev +6%

Living in Michigan, Pliny The Elder is not an easy thing to come by. Thanks to some maneuvers, I've had about a dozen. I was apprehensive at first, given all the hype, but I have to say this one lives up to it.

Pours a beautiful golden yellow-orange with an off-white head. And the smell. I've never had a more aromatic beer. A complex array of pine and grapefruit dances around your nose. The flavor can only be describes as a symphony of balance. Bitter without being overwhelming, and hops with just the right amount of malt.

At 8% this is deceptively drinkable. It does not demand your attention like more DIPAs. This is clearly the best of its style, I only wish it were more accessible.

10-01-2011 23:10:44 | More by mattbing
Photo of Cisco619


4.6/5  rDev -1.1%

500ml bottle dated 9-21-11 into Duvel tulip

A: Pale golden hue with a nice, hop oil presence. 3 fingers of soapy, white head that settles to a filmy cap. What you want your ipa to look like.

S: This has one of the most impressive noses in all of beerdom. Mango, a hint of citrus & a healthy hop bitterness dominate. The balance achieved here is incredible. Simply impressive.

T: Orange peel, grapefruit, a touch of tropical fruit to round it out. A nice hop bitterness helps to balance the flavors. Finish is a bit herbal.

M: Medium mouthfeel with a nice stickiness from the hop oils that leave a pleasant herbal, almost mediciny aftertaste(if that makes any sense). Hop oils are still running down the side of the glass as I type this..

O: Simply an amazing offering. It is clear this was created by a deft hand. The heights one can ascend to when they become a master if their craft.

10-01-2011 02:30:23 | More by Cisco619
Photo of LeeryLeprechaun


4.63/5  rDev -0.4%

Bottle dated 9/21 consumed 9/30.

Pliney is a beautiful golden orange hue that just begs the drinker to pick it up and gently sip the contents of the glass as a small ring of foam forms a sticky lace on the glass.

The aroma is of grapefruit and other citrus hops and smells just perfect for an IPA.

Pliney is crisp and sweet to start with a warm and bitter finish that hides the amount of alcohol that is present in the beer.

The mouthfeel is amazing and the hops leave the palate very clean and the drinker thirsting for another taste.

Pliney is an exceptional IPA and deserves all the credit that that it is given.

10-01-2011 00:51:18 | More by LeeryLeprechaun
Photo of Phelps


4.1/5  rDev -11.8%

Enjoyed from the tap at Stone’s bistro inside some stemware. I’ve tried this beer twice from the bottle and rated it less than favorably (well, compared to everyone else). Having been heretofore unimpressed, I’m excited to see what a difference a tap and guaranteed freshness can make.

Almost perfectly clear pale orange and capped with one finger of pure, sticky, frothy white. The head dissipates slowly until it becomes a thick, frothy ring. So far, so good.

The nose isn’t ass-kicking or intensely sticky, but it is bright, sweet and tropical. Grass, mango, apricot and citrus peel all show up, with some resin in the back and hardly a hint of malt.

While resin may have largely stayed out of the aroma, it’s certainly made its way into the flavor. My first mouthful is thick with sticky resin, grass, orange peel and hints of pineapple and mango. Honey and crackers do their best to support the bitter backbone and seem to be bent about as far as they can be. It’s like drinking distilled hop bitterness, which make sense with this beer’s use of hop extract.

I’ll say this for Pliny: for such a hearty brew (8 percent?), he’s surprisingly easy to drink. The light, thin body contrasts the big, sticky flavor and lends itself to easy quaffing, offsetting the heat in the throat and moderate bitterness.

Well, my world wasn’t shattered, but it’s not hard to see why others clamor for this beer. Very tasty, very drinkable. There are better DIPAs out there, but not many.

09-29-2011 23:34:05 | More by Phelps
Photo of rudeboy916


4.95/5  rDev +6.5%

quite simply this is the best dipa i've ever had. This beer lives up the hype and more.

smell: wow you can really smell the fresh hop flower on this one.

taste: that malts back up the hops on this one. Yeah there's bitterness but that is not the defining feature of this beverage. It's more about the hop flower taste. really good

Mouthfeel: perfect for stlye

drinkablility.: went down like great. could drink this all nite. Serving type: on-tap

My dad is now obsessed and compares every beer to Pliny, so rediculous but nessesary.

09-29-2011 18:23:42 | More by rudeboy916
Photo of buzzardman


5/5  rDev +7.5%

I've been a fan of ipas for awhile now and after having this beer it has set a whole new standard for me as far as ipa's go. Pliny and ruination are my top two favorite beers. Pliny has the lead a little because sometimes ruination can have a little bit to much bitterness to it. love the color of this beer pours a nice clear burnt orange and the hop scent for it is spot on perfect. because of this beer I now know that simcoe hops are the bomb and I'm always on the hunt for beers that have that piney simcoe taste.

09-28-2011 23:15:57 | More by buzzardman
Photo of beerdweeb


4.93/5  rDev +6%

Fresh Pliny is out of this world. Definitely one of the best DIPAs around. Pours a medium amber color with sticky white head. Aroma explosion of citrus and pine. Straight dankness all around. Fruity and piney with a sweet malt backbone on the tongue. Hop profile marinates and lingers. Medium bodied. Deserves its reputation as being one of the best DIPAs in the world.

09-27-2011 02:30:27 | More by beerdweeb
Photo of STKPICR0720


5/5  rDev +7.5%

Overall WOW thanks Mike for sending me this brew. Bottled on 8/18/11 this brew pours a very light golden hue. Hops up front, in the middle and in the end. Very easy drinking 8% abv. I also picked up on a buttery taste that made the beer even smoother. I honestly really cannot explain how good this brew really is. Find one or move to California and get it all the time. Awesome brew and once again thanks Mike for the trade.


09-27-2011 01:35:31 | More by STKPICR0720
Photo of quirkzoo


4.68/5  rDev +0.6%

Beautiful, almost dayglo, orange with a thick sticky white head. Smell is pure hops. Lots of pine and grapefruit, very clean with almost no vegetal or malt aroma. Taste blasts you with bitterness. It is strongly bitter but again very clean. The hops dominate with more pine and grapefruit which are so strong it was hard for me to detect much subtlety behind them. Everything about this beer is super clean which lets the strong hops and bitterness shine, front and center. Good carbonation and a very easy drinking beer. Overall this is a great beer. I didn't give perfect scores for smell and taste because I like a bit more complexity but what is there is very strong and clear and enjoyable.

09-26-2011 15:29:57 | More by quirkzoo
Photo of JohnnyHopps


4.78/5  rDev +2.8%

Pouring from the bottle, one is immediatley struck by the yellowish orange color of the beer. Notes of hops, pine, and citrus are striking in the aroma. Even before tasting, it is very apparent that this is not your average beer. The beer is uncommonly smooth. The hops and well balanced with the smooth texture. There is potential for this beer to go down easy, and consume in mass quantities. It is not an IPA, just for the sake of being hoppy. Pliny the Elder is not trying to out-hop other beers. It has a unique flavor and texture which sets it apart. A well designed beer.

09-25-2011 15:38:56 | More by JohnnyHopps
Photo of burnstar


4.93/5  rDev +6%

Pours a clear orangish gold. Nice sized head. Lacing on the surface and sides. Smell is huge piney, citrusy, and spicy hops. Cloves, lemons, and grapefruit. Taste is tremendously hoppy and sharply bitter. Bitter grapefruit. Resinous. Piney. Hops overpower everything throughout. Some sweet maltiness far in the background. Lingering bitterness. Full bodied. A bit boozy. Well carbonated. Overall a hop powerhouse. Really great stuff- an awesome DIPA.

09-24-2011 23:13:59 | More by burnstar
Photo of alisah318


5/5  rDev +7.5%

An amazing fresh and hoppy beer. In the top five for me, although I am a hop head! Hard to find though. I have discovered most stores keep this in the managers or stewards office. The aroma is a truely fresh hoppy one that Is hard to come by. I would love to travel to the brewery in sana rosa

09-23-2011 22:22:30 | More by alisah318
Photo of MrVonzipper


4/5  rDev -14%

Crystal clear golden-peach color with a solid frothy white head with nice retention and lacing.

Nice mild pine, pineapple and citrus hopped nose with a mild malt backbone.

Nice mild caramel malt flavor supporting a floral and mild pine hop character.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, fresh and crisp with a mild stickiness and medium carbonation.

Overall a very nice DIPA. I've had it several times and this by far was the best I've had. Whatever tweak they might have done has made it better balanced.

09-23-2011 20:24:07 | More by MrVonzipper
Photo of Jules11788


4.08/5  rDev -12.3%

A: Pours a golden straw color; small head, light lacing

S: Fruity, earthy, very floral, like sticking your nose in a bouquet of flowers

T: Lots of hoppy bitterness, some earthy/peppery flavors, finishes smooth and bitter as the flavors open up at the end. Was not nearly as citrusy or floral of a taste as I expected from the reviews, more of a traditional IPA but perfectly balanced with lots of subtle earthy hop flavor.

M: Medium-thick, creamy, no hint of booze at all

O: This was a little disappointing with all the hype surrounding it, but it was still a very delicious beer nonetheless.

09-23-2011 17:13:57 | More by Jules11788
Photo of kawilliams81


4.33/5  rDev -6.9%

Served in a pint glass. Bottled 8/18/11

A- Light copper with 2" white head. Large bubbles cling to glass with excellent lacing.

S- Grapefruit and pineapple.

T- Sweet malts. Citrus is present but not as dominant as the aroma. Nice citrus and pine hop bitterness to round out this beer.

M- Medium bodied. A bit oily, but very smooth.

O- Very good IPA, but not sure it is the greatest beer ever like most people think. However, I would drink this regularly if I had access to it.

09-23-2011 00:16:57 | More by kawilliams81
Photo of Yoonisaykul

Quebec (Canada)

4.28/5  rDev -8%

Finally. Thanks to Ynot2 for this unexpected gift.

Bottled 080911

A- Beautiful, almost rosy, gold. Ordinary white head which dissipated in a few sips. Looks good.

S- Smells very good but not amazing or anything. A lot like many other good Double IPAs.
Marmelade and pine all wrapped in some nice alcohol.

T- Great. A little more woody and grassy of a finish than I'd like. Extremely smooth taste.

M- Medium carbonation which foams up just enough. Perfect amount of dryness. Mouthfeel is also great. S

O- A very very good IIPA but it's not exactly a life changing experience. Tastes like many other great ones.

I'd love to be able to buy these here for 3.99
Hope to try some fresh some time, hopefully in California!

09-23-2011 00:16:41 | More by Yoonisaykul
Photo of beer2day

North Carolina

4.93/5  rDev +6%

On tap at The Library in Santa Monica in tulip glass.

Deep gold color with 1-finger raw paper cream head. Light retention and sheets of lace on backside of the glass.

Nose is outstanding. Complex, with pine and citrus notes. Lots of pine but a deft mix of pineapple, grapefruit, apricot ... very nicely done.

Absolute explosion of hops on the tongue. Gets very spicy towards the middle of the pour with light pepper. Again, a bountiful mix of pine resin and citrus flavors. Exceptional mix. No hint of the abv here.

As strong at the flavor profile is, it would be hard for the body to match. It comes very close.

I could literally drink this all day.

09-23-2011 00:13:44 | More by beer2day
Photo of jamescain


4.93/5  rDev +6%

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass, bottled on 8/9 (I believe) consumed on (9/6).

Appearance: Clear golden orange with small bubbles rising to the top with an off white colored head about a finger thick that clings to the side of the glass and fades into a thin lacing.

Aroma: Pine, pineapple, peach, tropical fruit, citrus, lemon grass, and grapefruit very fruity and exceptionally blended.

Taste: Complex, a hint of sweet malt, pineapple, peach, citrus, and grapefruit. This is what separates the good IPAs from the exceptional, world class, IPAs, the depth of flavor.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly drinkable, the huge amount of hops and the higher alcohol do not take anything away from its drinkability. Medium carbonation and a medium-light body with a crisp dry lingering finish.

Overall: It definitely lived up to its hype, I would love to try a fresher version though. At a month old it was pretty much on the decline at this time, but it was still phenomenal.

09-22-2011 14:05:13 | More by jamescain
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,268 ratings.