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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.

10,174 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,174
Reviews: 3,135
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.17%
Wants: 4,673
Gots: 1,618 | 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: 10,174 | Reviews: 3,135 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nicnut45


4.03/5  rDev -13.3%

Bottled: 6/03/11
Served in a Duvel tulip glass.

A- Pours a nice honey amber color. Tight beady white head which settles with varying density. A bit foggy.

S- Sandal wood, cedar, pine sap. Some marshmallow from the malt and a bit of corn syrup. Not really as explosive as I thought it would be.

T- Tastes just like it smells. Very cedar/pine sap like. The bitterness almost has a salty like quality to it. Mild white sugar flavors from the malt make a minor apppearance. Alcohol is well hidden. And the finish is dry.

M.F.- A drying puckering M.F. Carbonation is strong with a nice stinging effect that aids the dryness of this beer.

O- Back when this first came out, it was the original and its creator is credited with the style. However, I feel other breweries have raised the bar. It is a rather dry DIPA which you dont see too often and I like that. A great DIPA, but didnt live up to the hype for me.

06-23-2011 00:08:48 | More by nicnut45
Photo of scbrew


4.72/5  rDev +1.5%

Fantastic, overwhelming hop aroma!! It seems as though they have squeezed every bit of aromatics from the hops. Beautiful copper/amber color with a lasting white head. Good body, not too chewy. Malty sweetness is overwhelmed by bitter and citrusy hops. The aroma stays through the end. It leaves your empty glass smelling like hops. PHENOMINAL.

06-22-2011 18:06:18 | More by scbrew
Photo of devgolfs

New Hampshire

4.9/5  rDev +5.4%

Impressive. I'm trying Pliny the Elder for the first time at Eureka Burger in Redlands, CA. I am from NH, and this is not a beer you can find easily out there. My kudos to them for carrying this and so many other great selections.

I have to admit, I was about to get a Hanger 24 beer as I was in Redlands, but after seeing dozens of people order Pliny, I was motivated to give it a try. I'm glad I did. This is one of the smoothest IPA's I've had. As others reviews note, this beer has great citrusy notes and avoids the excessive bite of some IPA's. This should be a must try if you can find it!

06-22-2011 02:44:29 | More by devgolfs
Photo of ExplosivoSR


4.72/5  rDev +1.5%

500ml poured to snifter. Bottled date of 06/03/11.

A - Pours a golden orange with huge head and great sticky lacing. Some of the best lacing I've seen.

S - Straw, citrus, pine, slight tinge of alcohol.

T - Lots of pine and citrus that are balanced beautifully by the sweetness of the malts. Nice crisp feeling as you're drinking, which goes with everything the label says.

M - Sticky and sweet, with lingering taste of pine and a touch of alcohol.

O - Worth any and all hype it gets, this is an incredibly smooth and balanced IPA. A true classic.

06-21-2011 08:03:14 | More by ExplosivoSR
Photo of scarfield


4.95/5  rDev +6.5%

App golden with a generous rocky head. The head settles out at around 1/4 inch. Clear and yet still has excellent lacing throughout the glass.
Smell is surprisingly sweet through the citrusy hops. So well blended in the aroma that nothing stands out, yet everything does at the same time.

Taste- the hops make this beer exceptionally bitter and blends well with the maltiness. The beer is also heavy on the citrus (grapefruit) tones from the hops. There are rich spicy notes that occassionally creep in. This beer finishes with a lingering grassy taste. The taste is long and full.

Mouthfeel- this beer is full bodied and has such a lingering aftertaste that the beer feels heavier than it really is. It feels crisp, fresh, but still has a long and flavorful finish.

Overall this beer somehow was able to live up to all of my expectations for it. We had planned to go to the west coast for our honeymoon, with this beer being the clincher for east V. west coast, but when job interviews instead cut it short to Colorado, finding this was somewhat of a religious experience. The 8.0 abv is smoothly disguised and it is a beer worth all of the accolades.

06-21-2011 01:58:56 | More by scarfield
Photo of AlCaponeJunior


4.7/5  rDev +1.1%

My 500th review so I had to make it a great beer!

Served at the Stone Brewery in an 8oz glass.

Kinda orange-tan in color with a good head and lacing.

Plenty of pine and grapefruit aromas, fruity smells too, oranges and tangerines come to mind, plus a nice malt background.

Taste is of course out of this world delicious, with tons of great oily hops, pine and grapefruit flavors, a nice fruitiness, with a wonderful background of flavorful malts.

Feel is great, mid bodied and lingering bitterness make for a terrific brew.

On tap it's damn fine and wonderful. There's no doubt as to why it's one of the top beers ever.

06-20-2011 15:10:12 | More by AlCaponeJunior
Photo of knucks999


4.38/5  rDev -5.8%

Bottled on 6/3/11. Pours slightly hazy with a nice foam that lingers throughout. This beer has smells of pine, dank, floral hops mixed with a slight spicy note. The aromas are very similar to the taste, where the alcohol is quite nicely hidden amongst the hops and malt. Speaking of the malt, it is there in such a great way that this beer seems balanced. Even with the huge amount of hops, this beer has drinkability. Very nice beer, I love picking up a bottle whenever I see it available and this fresh.

06-19-2011 16:34:29 | More by knucks999
Photo of SawDog505

New Hampshire

4.97/5  rDev +6.9%

The most highly inticipated beer ever for me. I had a coworker get this in Cali for me, thx Joyce! Poured into 13 oz tulip glass. Very bright yellow / orange with a sticky white head. Grapefruit, pine, pineapple, & some grass. Taste with all of those flavors together, a little more powerful then the nose, with a blast of piney grapefruit in the finish. Mouth feel is perfect for a DIPA. Nice carbonation. This was what the hype is all about, the best in this style I have had. Double Trouble close second. Bottle date 5/26/11.

06-19-2011 14:06:17 | More by SawDog505
Photo of WillCarrera


4.65/5  rDev 0%

EDIT: Drinking this again, from a 16oz bottle into a pint glass, bottled on 03/14/13, drank 5 days later, awesome.

A- From a bottle into a pint glass. Pours a gorgeous honey golden color with slight haze. Comes with a huge, fluffy, sticky white head. Leaves awesome lacing.

S- Perfect. The smell leaps out of the glass at you. It's a great blend of honey, piney and floral hops and a huge dose of delicious tropical citrus (pineapple and orange).

T- Loads of hops that have everything from grapefruit and tropical fruits to pine resin and honey. The malts are sweet and provide enough substance to balance the hops nicely. The finish is long, dry, and filled with hops and lingering citrus. The alcohol is only slightly apparent.

M- Medium carbonation, medium body, makes for a silky smooth, creamy feel with a dry finish.

O- One of the best IPAs around, has great hop character and balance, I never get tired of this beer.

06-19-2011 02:11:11 | More by WillCarrera
Photo of hoptualBrew


4.93/5  rDev +6%

Bottled on 06-03-11, drank on 06-18-11.

Bottle poured into big snifter. Pours a deep colorful golden color with nice frothy off white head that leaves some sexy lacing on the glass throughout.

Smells so good! Of spicy citrus hops and tropical fruits. Who said hops arent a drug?!?! This is king of all DIPA/IPAs in regard to aroma, in my humble opinion.

Taste is a little tang sweet upfront with the tropical fruits coming through very nice & smooth. Wow! This is one tasty beer. I was expecting a tad more hops & thickness. For a DIPA, this one is really light and not so hoppy. Its just right for being on the tropical side. Everything blends together nicely. In the aftertaste, the hop bite can be found - but it isnt a Hercules of a bite.

Purchased this one through a vendor who shipped to FL. Got 2 bottles of PtE + a bottle of Supplication for $38 (including shipping).

I dont think I will be getting this on the regular since it is really expensive to get shipped out here. I will most likely get a few bottles every year or twice a year.

Overall, absolutely delicious brew. Stellar DIPA! Tropical, hoppy, light, sweet, mildly bitter. What more can you ask for from an IPA?

06-18-2011 19:15:25 | More by hoptualBrew
Photo of d4114


4.85/5  rDev +4.3%

Bottled on 5/4/11 Opened on 6/4/11

A- Golden yellow orange with 2 fingers of slightly off white head. Awesome looking beer.

S- Full of pine and grapefruit; Always a great smelling beer.

T- Big pine on the taste and lots of citrus; You are left with a good amount of bitterness so its not too dry but very refreshing. No alcohol at all, super smooth drinking.

M- Light-Medium; Really smooth and creamy but doesn't get that wateriness that some other beers get from being the soft.

O- Awesome double IPA. I feel this beer has gotten a little too hyped but this is seriously one of the most smooth and well balanced IPA's you can get and everyone should try it.

06-17-2011 18:38:54 | More by d4114
Photo of calebroberts811


4.93/5  rDev +6%

I got it. That's all I have to say. Here's what I think.

Bottled: 5-4-2011

A - Gorgeous, tight white bubbles. Great carbonation. Finger-finger and half head with a lot of perseverance. Golden straw, honey, yellow color.

S - Mango/papaya explosion. Pine needles, white flowers, shortbread, honey.

T - That same tropical fruit blast accompanied with almost perfect balance of piney hop bitterness. I'm running out of words. Bready fruity esters on the back end. Smooth as hell. No booze burn despite the 8% ABV.

M - Medium body as the beer just keeps having a dance party up in there.

O - Blessed be. The almighty Pliny has spoken and he deserves the hype.

06-17-2011 17:31:22 | More by calebroberts811
Photo of DavoleBomb


4.45/5  rDev -4.3%

On-tap at Toronado, SF. Poured into a pint glass.

3.5 A: Light to moderately hazed light orange color. Arrived with just a tiny bit of head which resulted in just a tiny bit of lacing.

4.5 S: Pliny is extra piney on-tap. Grapefruit and super flowery. From a bottle is good, but fresh on-tap is better.

4.5 T: My friend once drank one of my Pliny bottles that I got in a trade and said, "This is how beer should taste." I'm tempted to agree. Lots of pine, grapefruit, and whatever the taste equivalent of flowery aroma is. Moderate bitterness. Malts are, for the most part, completely hidden, which is fine with me.

4.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Good creaminess and super smooth.

4.5 D: Great beer that is better on-tap.

06-17-2011 05:55:32 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of Scrumtralecent


4.93/5  rDev +6%

Poured from a bottle into a teardrop beer glass. Bottled on 05/26/11.

A - A hazy golden orange with a bubbly white head.

S - Lovely grapefruit and citrus hop aroma. It has a sweet tinge to it that reminds me of honey. Great smelling beer, I sat and smelled it for a few minutes before even sipping it. A smell to savor.

T - Citrus hop flavor with a nice malt backbone to smooth the bitter taste. Great hop profile and well balanced taste make this incredibly tasty. Complex as well with the bitter hops giving way to the smooth citrus that lingers well after the beer is gone. As the beer warms, and more sips are taken, the hops just bombard and take over. But it is such a delicious hop profile of bitter and sweet, that I'm ok losing this war of attrition.

M - First thing I thought of honestly was silky for an DIPA. The hops bite but the mouth is oddly smoothed after it all and left with nice soft mouthfeel. After a while, the hops begin to win and cause fatigue, but the soothing mouthfeel after the first few sips was unique.

O - An incredible DIPA. It takes the beautiful citrus hop flavors well known in west coast IPAs and creates a complex, balanced, and complete IIPA worthy of its ranking. From first hit of the lips to moments after you swallow, this beer does not disappoint.

06-17-2011 03:55:08 | More by Scrumtralecent
Photo of Franch

New York

5/5  rDev +7.5%

there are many beers on beeradvocate and ratebeer that end up with an A+ out of superhype and super limited availability. this isn't one. not only is it not super limited in washington, but the superhype is justified. it is absolutely the perfect double IPA. it doesn't even stand out - there's not really anything i can say jumps out at you - it's just what every double IPA aspires to be.

06-16-2011 04:46:59 | More by Franch
Photo of fox227


4.93/5  rDev +6%

Here's the most important part the review: Bottled on 6-3-11, consumed on 6-15-11. This would make this Pliny in its absolute prime. A month old Pliny is in the shadow of two week old Pliny. It's not even in the same league.

A: Dark Golden color, creamy head that quickly falls, at least in my tulip glass. The lacing is attractive, however.

S: The massive fruit profile of the smell is incredible: pineapple, peach, apricot, citrus - the whole gamut of pleasing hoppy smells are present here.

T: taste follows the nose, and finishes with a bit of warm alcohol. This is what is so unfortunate about month old Pliny: much of the above flavor becomes subdued but the heat remains. Fresh, however, and it's a fruity explosion of massive IPA flavor. Something should be said for balance, as it's not aggressively hoppy at all, so those who fear excessive hops need not worry when buying this world class brew.

M: Carbonation is medium/high - just right. The head is somewhat creamy, and offers a smooth balance to the ever present bubbles. A delicate experience.

O: If you don't like super fresh Pliny, then you might want to start drinking something other than beer. Be sure to check the dates, as this beer fades considerably at around the month old mark. But for those most part, the beer sells out quickly enough that freshness won't be a problem. Happy drinking!

06-15-2011 18:57:00 | More by fox227
Photo of codfeast


4.45/5  rDev -4.3%

bottle to tulip

A: a clear gold, thick 1" head that quickly disolved, sticky lacing.

S: Grapefruit, pine, sap, and candy.

T: Hops, then a little sweetness, faint candy taste. Long hoppy finish on the tounge.

M: Lingering oily feel, dry finish.

O: Maybe not as fresh as it should be(5/4). Not as dynamic has I remember while drinking draft pliney. Still really good, next time I'll find a fresher one.

06-15-2011 18:09:44 | More by codfeast
Photo of doughanson78


4.78/5  rDev +2.8%

500ml bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on: 5/24/2011 Exactly 3 weeks old.

A: Beautiful golden color with a very faint haziness. Fluffy 1 and a half finger head, very slightly off white. Big bubbles throughout the head. Lacing like you wouldn't believe.

S: Immediate huge hop aroma. Sweet apples. Oranges. Pineapple. Lots of other citrus aromas mixed in. All topped off with a very fresh pine tree scent. Just enough sweet caramel malts coming through.

T: Very sweet caramel right on the tip of the tongue. Mostly piney hop flavor throughout the rest of the mouth. Hop bitterness is not overpowering at all. An almost perfect blend of hops and malts. Finishes super dry with all the fruity flavors converging together for just a second or two. Then it's gone. DAMN! Another drink.

M: Great feel. How the caramel sweetness wraps the tip of your tongue making the fruity piney hops run and fight for the rest of your mouth. It all lingers for a few and disappears in a flash. First beer where I've really experienced the Dry Finish. You actually feel your mouth dry back out.

O: I had figured that this beer was way over hyped (probably like a lot of us did). This beer blew me away. I was expecting some huge bitter hop explosion. But the beer focuses on the hop flavors and doesn't destroy your palette. You get all the distinct aromas and flavors out of this beer. They make sure you don't miss a thing.

06-15-2011 04:01:29 | More by doughanson78
Photo of misterhops


4.22/5  rDev -9.2%

Big thanks to trodersark for this one! Bottled on 5/26/2011 and poured into a snifter.

A- beautiful, hazy orange color with a pillow soft 1.5 finger head. looks like fluffy clouds outside the airplane window, and makes you want to jump right in!

S- sweet, sweet hops! a nice bit of pine in there as well. i can tell im gonna like this one!

T- simple, yet complex. grapefruit, pine, and just a little bit of sweetness. not nearly as sweet as i expected from the smell. very nice caramel malt finish with a bittersweet ending on the tongue. the taste is good, but the finish is world class.

M- LOTS of carbonation from start to end. crisp and incredibly refreshing. not "sticky" like a lot of DIPAs tend to be.

O- I really enjoyed this beer and can now understand the hype. would love to have this again while sitting on the patio on a hot summer day.

06-15-2011 01:24:46 | More by misterhops
Photo of ChugginOil


4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Pliny the Elder: Botted 5/04/11 Consumed 5/23/11

Review #200!!!

Finally able to try this beast thanks to armock. Thanks again for the extra!

When poured, Pliny appears translucent orange and looks very clean. A golden amber butte settles perfect with a fingers worth of white head. Webby lacing clings randomly.throughout the glass.

The nose is very fresh, crisp, and inviting. The hop offerings are so fresh smelling and very bold. Citrus and pine are balanced quite nicely.

The taste says it all. The fresh hops are present, offering some grapefruit and lemon zest. A crisp bitterness means business. Balanced with the hops lies a sweet caramel candy taste. Exquisite. There is a light bready malt characteristic lingering in the finish which is nice.

The mouthfeel is very fluffy and smooth. A moderate amount of carbonation ties it up, melding the flavors throughout the palate.

Overall, this is one that lives up to the hype. Pliny achieves balance throughout and it's incredibely drinkable. Soooo damn tasty.

06-14-2011 21:28:21 | More by ChugginOil
Photo of Beejay


4.35/5  rDev -6.5%

Much thanks to dubinsky for getting me a brew I've been waiting to try for quite while.

A: A beautiful golden brown hue, clear with a very nice off white head. Very nice.

S: Big pine scents come out first. Some citrus notes, mostly grapefruit. There is a very nice sweetness to this. Like hot melty caramel.

T: Carmel notes follow from the smell. Followed by grapefruit, pine, and a solid bitterness. The finish has nice toasty notes and a bready finish with lingering bitterness. A very clean finish, very well balanced, and quite dangerously easy drinking.

M: Medium light in body, carbonation is nice. There is a good bit of lingering bitterness to tingle your tongue. There is a nice dryness to it.

O: Overall a damn fine brew. Perhaps a touch overhyped, but still a top notch beer to be sure.

Bottled 5/24/11

06-14-2011 01:22:44 | More by Beejay
Photo of justintcoons


4.4/5  rDev -5.4%

A: Pours golden with an amber hue with one finger of head that dissipates slowly. Low carbonation.

N: Orange, lemon, apricot, fruity pebbles and caramel.

T: Pine, navel orange, lemon zest, papaya, grapefruit, hints of apricot, pineapple and floral notes backed by a sugary caramel backbone.

M: Full, almost chewy, dry, crisp and clean.

O: Very nicely balanced DIPA. Nice caramel sweetness and bitter citrus with hints of tropical fruits. This is very delicious but I expected more from it. Doesn't live up to the hype IMO.

06-13-2011 23:55:53 | More by justintcoons
Photo of wytshark


5/5  rDev +7.5%

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Pliny, and I have to say I was a little skeptical. Is this beer worth the hype, or is it hyped because it's so hard to get?

I'll skip the details, since they've been covered in other reviews.

Suffice it to say, this is that rare creature that not only lives up to the hype, it exceeds it. Usually, even the best brews give hints to their make-up; how they're created. Pliny is a mystery. It defies explanation. Somehow it manages to be terribly complex and stunningly simple all at once. Truly magical.

To those of you not lucky enough to live where you can readily get a Pliny, I will say this: whatever trouble you need to go through to try it, it will be worth it.

06-13-2011 15:08:17 | More by wytshark
Photo of gdfullwv

West Virginia

4.93/5  rDev +6%

When you pour this beer, you will note the nice golden color.

The nose of this beer is quite complex and very pleasant.

Other than nose, the most striking feature of this beer is the way this beer starts our bitter when it first hit your tongue and finishes pleasantly dry.

I love IPA's, and this is the best of the bunch!

06-12-2011 13:47:54 | More by gdfullwv
Photo of billzav


5/5  rDev +7.5%

I can see why this is the Imperial IPA that many a beer aficionado thinks of when discussing world class offerings in this style. Golden orange in color, Pliny The Elder has big notes of grapefruit up front, highlighting the array of citrusy hops. The hoppiness is complimented by roasted malt and caramel with a crisp, clean finish. It never fails to amaze me how this ale can have such a sizable hoppy presence, yet be so surprisingly smooth to drink.

06-12-2011 12:26:12 | More by billzav
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,174 ratings.