1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

10,293 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,293
Reviews: 3,142
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 4,734
Gots: 1,677 | FT: 55
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Pliny The Elder Alström Bros
Ratings: 10,293 | Reviews: 3,142 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HuskyinPDX


4.93/5  rDev +6%

I have had PtE several times on tap and from the bottle, so I thought it was time to give it a review.

Poured into a Pint, with bottle date code 3-21-11.

A- Bright orange, that is slightly hazy, it clears a bit, but neaver all the way. Maybe I don't wait long enough. Thick, foamy white head with good retention, fades down to almost nothing, but again never leaves. Solid lacing on the glass.

S- Smells like Pine, and Citrus - Orange, grapefruit, and bit of lemon.

T- Tastes like creamy orange and other citrus fruits with a hint of pine.

D- How smooth and creamy can this be? Nice carbonation and balance.

O- You can't ignore the hype, but this one is tops. Compares nicely to Younger, but the flavor is just enough differnt. If you haven't tried it yet, get one now!

04-22-2011 03:30:52 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of TenHornsProud


4.45/5  rDev -4.3%

Pours a light, golden color with thick white head that does not dissipate.

Smells of fruity hop and subtle malt

Tastes of hop....fruity (tropical fruit notes), tangy, slightly bitter, sweet...grapefruit in the back.

Mouthfeel is great, silky smooth.

I was expecting to be knocked out by this beer, but it is subtle and really makes its point on the smooth, fruity hop flavor that lingers on the palate longer than you would want most other beers.

Edit: Two more bottles later and drinking other, comparable beers, this really is worth the hype. The oily finish is simply like no other.

04-22-2011 02:32:04 | More by TenHornsProud
Photo of dcloeren


4.47/5  rDev -3.9%

Thanks to Dnarx. Mad props for hooking me up.

A: poured a beautiful golden honey with 1.5 fingers of bright white fluffy head. STICKY lacing all the way down. Ahh shit son

S: pineapple, mango, grapefruit dominate my nose with a great pine hop backbone

T: Follows the nose quite nicely. Getting all of the tropical fruit and the pine hoppiness. My taste buds are all fully aroused.

M: medium bodied and perfectly carbonated. The smoothest DIPA I have ever had. Drying hop finish but not an overly bitter/dried out aftertaste. Close to perfection

O: this beer definitely walks the walk. The hype is on the money. Amazing to say the least

04-21-2011 01:45:26 | More by dcloeren
Photo of Marty30


4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

500ml bottle dated 03 21 11.Poured into snifter at fridge temp.

A. Awesome Deep gold body slight haze to it.Three finger fluffy offwhite head that recedes to a nice cap. Leaves a good bit of sticky lacing all over the glass.Good carbonation coming from the bottom.

S. Big piney hop notes up front smells crisp and clean.I get alot of pineapple in there,also some passion fruit.Slight hints of lemon also the floral notes as well.Excellent smelling beer.

T. Big hop bitterness right away,just like the smell big piney notes followed by pineapple and mango.Not really that balenced in my opinion.Big bitter after taste lingers.

M. Mouth is excellent.Has A medium feel kind of creamy,so smooth, alchohol is very well hidden.Good carbonation definately tingles the pallet.

Overall this is one of those beers that lives up to the hype.Everyone should try this beer at least once.One of the best DIPA's I have had to date.

04-21-2011 00:18:53 | More by Marty30
Photo of KYBrewgrass


4.65/5  rDev 0%

Thanks to Preismj for helping me obtain this one! Drank from a tulip glass on 4/19/11, bottled on 3/21/11... Tough to get it much fresher considering my circumstances, though I'd be curious to know the difference that a few weeks made! Next time I'm out west...

A- 4.5 Pours a pretty, pure and clean golden yellow with a tremendous two finger fluffy white head. It is just transparent. As it dissipates, it leaves what looks like half-melted ice cream in the center. This reduces to about 1/2 - 1 finger throughout. The brew leaves very sticky lacing all over the glass as I make my way through, and there's a gentle layer of tiny bubbles under its head with every movement. Very uniform. It looks great, though I suppose I expected just a tad more color.

S- 5 This smells of hops and citrus, especially grapefruit. There is more fruit here as well, maybe peach... What sets it apart from others within the style that I've come across is that it has a sweet, flower-like aroma to back it up that is very appealing. At first I find more of the hops to come through, but as it warms it really does open up to more of the sweetness and fruit-like blend. Excellent.

T- 4.5 The elusive PtE (midwesterner, here) tastes as was hinted by its aroma, and is very good. I again get its hops up front, and that is followed by a citrus. Grapefruit and orange come to mind; I'm not getting as much of the floral as I did from the scent, but there is just enough sweetness to balance its finish well. Also, its alcohol is very well-masked.

M- 5 Honestly, it is perfect. Medium in body and the carbonation is just right. It goes down easily and crisp, but finishes with a very complementary touch of creaminess that I'm not sure I've had before in the style, and this just makes it top notch. There's only the slightest dryness, and i find myself wanting more of it as soon as it is gone.

D- 4.5 I would happily take down this brew with the slightest of restraint... It is very tasty, powerful, and balanced. I think it'd be something that I'd savor for nice occasions. Part of me saying that is due to the fact that I can't just go out and buy it where I am located; maybe it'd be different if I could get it all the time. Either way, I had high expectations because of its hype and it really did live up to it. I was probably more critical of it than I am on average given the circumstances, and it was still tough to find fault. An excellent beer that is deserving of its praise, and I hope to enjoy it again.

04-20-2011 13:20:20 | More by KYBrewgrass
Photo of stageseven


4.93/5  rDev +6%

Bottle split with me by Malreever. Super fresh, bottled on 3/29/11.

Ap - Golden color, 1 finger rocky white head. Good retention. Super clear.

Ar - Extreme citrus, tons of hops. Super strong aroma, nothing but hops to it.

T - Grapefruit, orange, and tangerine, strong bitterness in the back of the mouth. Pretty much no hint of anything but hop flavor in it. Maybe a touch peppery.

M - medium-light body, strong but not overwhelming carbonation. No heat to it. Very clean feeling.

O - Extremely good DIPA. Can definitely see why this is a classic. Tons of hop character, with nothing else getting in the way. Really only suitable for a total hop-head. Way too drinkable for 8%. For someone who loves hops, I really can't imagine this getting much better.

04-19-2011 01:14:23 | More by stageseven
Photo of Gushue3


4.13/5  rDev -11.2%

My first Pliny

A- Pours light golden color and sits copper/gold in my glass. 2 finger head thats slightly off white with great retention and lacing.

S- The sweet citrus comes through first, grapefruit, orange, followed by a subtle malt.

T- very balanced upfront, then followed my medium bitterness that turns sweet the end. Sweet/bitter linger

M- lighter mouthfeel with medium carbonation

O- nice IPA. Im more of an unbalanced piney IPA guy but definately apprecite this one.

04-18-2011 19:20:42 | More by Gushue3
Photo of alenonbeeradv


4.28/5  rDev -8%

ive had it many times before and also on tap, but this is the first time ive gotten around to writing a review.

a - golden straw/hay hue. looks a little lighter than the average IPA, i never noticed that before with this beer. a nice bubbly half finger head. also a little peachy color.

s - freeeessshhh and hoppy. this bottle is 10 days old and im so lucky that its as fresh as it is. citrus peel, grapefruit, a little bisquity/malty.

t - moderately hoppy and sweet flavors off this bat. a sweet and almost spiced like blend between the two worlds. very smooth and palatable. nothing that knocks you off your feet, just perfectly balanced. slightly floral and piny.

m - very tame but exiting. mild-med carbonation but an overtaking bready, malty aftertaste that keeps kickin with a hint of everything else in the backround. this sticks to the pallet very nicely.

o - what can i say, im a lucky guy to be able to get me some pliny on the reg. now if only i could get my hands on a glass of the younger on draft...

04-18-2011 03:07:20 | More by alenonbeeradv
Photo of Jparkanzky


4.28/5  rDev -8%

Thank you Brian for bringing this bottle to Lakewood!

A) Golden color to be expected from an IPA, but the head leaves a thin layer of bubbles that cover 90-95% of the top resembling the fog over the swamps of Dagobah.

S) Hoppy, and perhaps a hint of citrus that is difficult to pin down.

T) First impression is "This isn't that hoppy, what's the big deal here" and then the tart flavor of Grapefruit rushes in and brings me back to fond memories of fresh-squeezed Grapefruit juice in a small hotel in Argentina. As a person who ALWAYS chooses grapefruit (in addition to coffee) when given the option on a breakfast menu, this was a real treat indeed!

M) Tart, biting, acidic and dry... If you close your eyes, you could truly believe you are in fact drinking grapefruit juice.

O) An all around great beer.... still not the "knock it out of the park" life-altering experience the hype would lend oneself to believe, but a really great beer that I'm very happy to have had the opportunity to taste. I would certainly pick it up frequently if I were in an area that had this fine beer distributed.

04-17-2011 22:56:03 | More by Jparkanzky
Photo of ghetto90007


4.55/5  rDev -2.2%

Spectacular golden-orange color, white head - chunky when on tap, foamy and even from the bottle. Usually about two fingers. Beautiful, beautiful lacing.

Good God, this beer smells good. Floral, citrus, pine hop aromas. Just wafting in your face.

Puckery grapefruit, and in comes the deliciousness - a cocophany of bitter but tasty hop aromas - flowery perfume, oily pine resins, citrusy grapefruit with the rind. Mild sweet undertones from some malt, but not as forthcoming as the sweetness in the Pliny the Younger.

Medium-bodied and spectacularly drinkable. Make that dangerously drinkable. A bomber of Sculpin and a couple bottles of Pliny the Elder in my fridge spells a lot of trouble for me. Just begging to be quaffed. Good carbonation.

This is a great beer. If it could be believed, I would say this is like Pliny the Younger with slightly muted flavors and a little less balance. A world-class, year-round offering from Russian River.

04-17-2011 03:54:55 | More by ghetto90007
Photo of JamnesCameron


4.1/5  rDev -11.8%

Received in my Secret Bunny basket from mymrnngjckt. Thanks, Kevin! Bottle dated 2/17/11.

Poured into a snifter. Pours a deep gold with an egg shell white rocky head of about two fingers. Head is slow to drop. Some lacing evident.

Aromas of strong citrusy grapefruit hops. Fermented pineapple. Grapefruit zest. Freshly mowed grass. No malt to speak of.

Flavors of bitter, citrus hops, a hint of a malt backbone. Grapefruit and grapefruit zest. This is all about the hops. Finish is long, bitter, and full of grapefruit. For the amount of hops used in this, I'm pleasantly surprised their isn't a grassy note to the flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium with a mouthcoating bitterness, washes the tongue and back of the throat with a puckering bitterness.

Overall an excellent brew. But not up to the hype. I was expecting a more "wow" factor. Again, a very good beer, but not mindblowing.

04-16-2011 23:42:08 | More by JamnesCameron
Photo of eric5bellies


4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Drank at Mad Monk Fremantle

Bottle dated Oct 10

A - Pours a slightly hazy, golden colour with a two fingered White head that reduces to a decent film and laces. 4.5

S - Aromas of citrus and pine with a complex mix of pineapple and a little malt.
T - Quite bitter up front, with very strong hop pine flavours that follow, a little malt ensues, before a very long crisp bitter finish, that just tops this beer off.4.5

M - Light to medium body with medium carbonation.4.5

O - I drank this beer way after its prime and still it’s one of the best IPA's that I have ever had. I will review again when I get a fresh one. 4.5

Ok This bottle Bottled on 4th May 2011.

Thanks to Nicks6217 for this one

A - Pours a clear copper golden colour with an off White head that retains well. 4.5

S - Mango and passionfruit with some pine. 4.5

T - What a difference. Nice hop explosion up front that consists of Mango and passionfruit. The piney hop are almost too much and the finish id dry, bitter and very long. 4.5

M - Light to medium body, a little sticky and medium carbonation. 4.5

O - The best DIPA that I have tried to date. 4.5

04-16-2011 13:42:38 | More by eric5bellies
Photo of lechroy


4.78/5  rDev +2.8%

Poured from a bottle dated 2/2011. Is this the bestest, most hoppiest, but well balanced beer ever?
A- gold. clear liquid gold. good 2 finger head. crisp, white.
S- citrus hoppiness with a touch of pine. only a nose that hop-lovers could understand.
T- yes, a fairly bitter strike going into a nicely balanced malt bill. did I say balanced for a beer this hoppy - YES! Slight ethyl taste. Love the dryness. It's amazing to have a double IPA so dry and crisp. Way too drinkable.
O- Yes, and yes. Simcoe makes this beer just wonderful. Drink it fresh - don't get an old bottle on sale, that's bad form for this style of IPA. Yum.

04-14-2011 05:50:14 | More by lechroy
Photo of jggibbs


4.93/5  rDev +6%

I lived in SF for the past 5 years and this brew was fairly easy to find. Walk to a local Whole Foods and grab a few bottles. No sweat. I've had my fair share.

Now that I moved to Seattle, this is an elusive little bastard. A distributor friend of mine says it ships every 8 weeks and only 100 or so bottles show up for the whole greater Seattle region. Bummer. I've been searching and hyping it up to my friend since I moved back here in January, we missed out on PtY and so far we were unsuccessful until this past weekend.

My buddy and I finally found a few bottles at Brouwer's. Much to my chagrin, the server told us they had it on tap this past Thursday but were all out by Saturday Happy Hour. Oh well, bottles it is.

Bottled 3.28

Poured a golden amber with a very faint cloudiness and off-white, 1 finger head. Little to no visible carbonation.

Smell is hoppy, pine and maybe even grassy. Beneath is citrus and florals. Incredibly refreshing scent. Perfect pick-me-up to remind me it actually is Spring. My amateur nose didn't detect much malt, if any.

Taste of hops, for sure, but not nearly as oppressively as I had thought in the past. I blame that on my changing tastes and my relatively new familiarity with IPAs. After the hops, i get citrus. Bitterness from grapefruit in a delicious way.

Light to medium mouthfeel. Very easy to drink.

Overall, it is definitely a favorite of mine and my friend said it lived up my hype. However, the Double Jack I tried last weekend blew me away. This is right there with it a 1 and 1a in my book.

04-12-2011 19:27:03 | More by jggibbs
Photo of cpmichael


4.6/5  rDev -1.1%

Bottled 3/21/11, if I remember correctly. Anyways, it was super fresh.

A: Pours a beautiful golden yellow, with a nice white foam retention.

S: Smells very hoppy, almost like sniffing a bag of hops. Maybe a hint of a skunk to it, but it's very pleasant.

T: Hop bitterness right away, citrus notes with some lemon/lemon grass to it. Also, pine tree sap.

M/D: Perfect carbonation, not an absolute tongue bruiser, which is nice, very balanced as a dipa goes. I wish I lived on the west coast, I would buy one every time I saw it.

04-12-2011 17:51:04 | More by cpmichael
Photo of fewa


3.85/5  rDev -17.2%

This is a four week old bottled directly send to my by a friend in the US, thanks. Pours a golden color with a nice fluffy head. Smell: huge American hop aromas dominates the nose, grapefuits, flowers, grass, and a bit of orange. A bit too dry in the mouth, with clean malts, more grapefruit. Very strong bitterness, not very drinkable to me. Still nice to try

04-11-2011 19:25:44 | More by fewa
Photo of Impfan


5/5  rDev +7.5%

What can I say that hasn't been said?

This beauty has all the citric, strawberry, and piny esters in exquisite balance like the other top echelon DIPAs, but it's the incredibly floral (geranial) quality of the hops that really sets it apart. Absolutely sublime.

04-10-2011 01:34:45 | More by Impfan
Photo of b3shine


4.58/5  rDev -1.5%

A big thank you goes out to Dempsey16 for this wonderful brew (I suspect he equally enjoyed the Dreadnaught). Bottle to (frosty) pint glass. Delicious :P Hoppy, but wonderfully balanced. Perfectly sketched; drawn from the very palette VanGogh uses for his sunflowers. Beautiful on both ends. One of my top 2 beers (tied with Dreadnaught, although the edge goes to Pliny because I can't get RR with the same regularity that I can 3 Floyds.

04-09-2011 20:10:44 | More by b3shine
Photo of joecast


4.97/5  rDev +6.9%

Nearly skipped this for another ipa at hollingsheads. Ended up choosing the classic and was not disappointed. Probably the third time I've been lucky enough to have it.

light golden appearance with a foamy white head. Plenty of froth f assist the considerable aroma.

Tempting citrus and floral aroma. Bright fresh hops, even earthy and vegetal its so fresh. The aroma you want to have when you expect hops.

By no means one dimensional. Big malt backbone (whatever that means) carries the huge hop flavor and bitterness. Incerdible balance which seems to hang on a knife edge but never steps out of line.

If you have not had this beer before and you are a hop head, do yourself a favor. This is text book how it should be done. Does not put a foot wrong in any respect. Thank you RR, fantastic.

04-09-2011 04:52:15 | More by joecast
Photo of Alieniloquium


4.72/5  rDev +1.5%

500 mL bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Beautiful white head with lacing that clings to the glass. Golden with just a bit of haziness. This is what an IPA should look like.

Smell - There is no way to justify the aroma of a fresh Pliny. Hoppy, citrusy, barely a hint of malt. Strong grapefruit smell. Clearly a hop bomb.

Taste - No surprise: hops. Fresh orange and grapefruit flavors and a bit of pine. Slight sweetness, but it stays behind the hop flavor. Very little bitterness in the start. The bitterness lingers with the finish. The only reason I don't give this a 5 is that it is that the quantity of hops brings it dangerously close to a grassy taste. It's not there yet, but you can tell how close it is.

Mouthfeel - Light for a DIPA, which I think is great. Tingling carbonation adds to the freshness and brightness.

Overall - This beer is why I don't enjoy other IPAs anymore. I know what an IPA can be and I expect it out of every other one I have. This is the bar.

04-08-2011 23:54:35 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of adman08


4.8/5  rDev +3.2%

A-Pale, golden straw color with a good amount of fluffy, white head that leaves excellent lace on the glass. Slightly hazy.
S-Good combination of citrus hop aroma with a bit of fresh cut grass hop aroma.
T-Very nice emphasis on the citrus hop flavor without completely overwhelming the malt flavor. You'd never guess this beer was about 100 IBU's.
M-The hops give this a nice dry finish with just the right amount of malt.
Overall, I can see why this is considered by many to be one of the best beers in the world regardless of style. The combination of citrus hop flavor and bitterness with good malt sweetness is exceptional.

04-08-2011 22:59:38 | More by adman08
Photo of PGHeppJr

New York

4.33/5  rDev -6.9%

From notes SEP09

Buddy brought a couple bottles back from a western sojourn.
Can't really gush anymore about this beer than has already been posted. A real beauty to look at, bright orange with a british judge wig for a head. Nose is of pure grapefruit. Tastes like hop liquor, if it ain't made yet, this will make a good starting point. Damn enjoyable.

Two weeks later another buddy shares his growler that was filled that morning. Just as tasty with even more nose.

04-08-2011 14:55:22 | More by PGHeppJr
Photo of Chriscrundwell12


4.6/5  rDev -1.1%

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a snifter

A- Beautiful Golden body, 2 finger head that dissipates slowly. Excellent lacing, well carbonated
S- AMAZING refreshing hoppy aroma, sweet grapefruit, citrus, pine.
T- Taste lives up to the aroma, smooth bitterness upfront, citrus and pine notes come out right away, hints of grapefruit and malt.
M- Really smooth and refreshing on the palate, bitterness and sweetness are well balanced
O- Just an excellent DIPA, really lives up to the hype. PTE one of the best smelling DIPAs out there. A brew everyone needs to try before they die.

04-08-2011 05:53:16 | More by Chriscrundwell12
Photo of macktbone


4.6/5  rDev -1.1%

I've been enjoying this as one of my "go to" top beers for a few years as well as carrying it all over the world for others to enjoy. Guess it's time to review it...

A- Beautifull rose gold color with a full and often fluffy head regardless of pour style. Lots of carbonation that lasts throughout the drink.

S- Pine, Hops,happiness.

T- tons of fresh hops with a smooth backbone that lingers just enough.

M- solid Imperial IPA bite to it that makes the combination of smooth feel, creamy head, and hoppy bite a perfect combination.

D/O- Great beer overall that has been a great bastian of beer Karma over the years. PTE as far as I'm concerned is second to only one Imperial IPA, they just happen to be related.

04-08-2011 01:59:29 | More by macktbone
Photo of Azurescens


4.43/5  rDev -4.7%

500mL bottle with bottling date 3/21/11 poured into snifter, reviewed on 4/6/11

A: Beautiful slightly hazed golden color with off-white head. Moderate head retention leaves some lacing around glass.

S: Lots of hops in the nose on this one, a big bouquet of citrus and pine notes, barely let any malt aroma through. Slight grassy smell hiding behind the citrus and pine. Great smell for its style.

T: Again, lots of hops. Lots of hop bitterness up front which slowly fades as the hop flavors bombard my taste buds. Some faint malt comes through in the middle and finish, but the hops are what dominate the taste. I can still taste all the hops in my mouth long after taking a sip.

M: Medium-light bodied with good carbonation, very smooth and finishes dry with a lingering tingle on my tongue from all the hops.

O: This is undeniably a great imperial IPA. Very drinkable for 8 percent, awesome hop presence through and through. Definitely one of the best in its style.

04-07-2011 01:10:41 | More by Azurescens
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,293 ratings.