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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.

10,626 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,626
Reviews: 3,179
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 4,899
Gots: 1,795 | FT: 57
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: 10,626 | Reviews: 3,179 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mocktm
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another enormous thanks to cpferris for yet another kick-ass brew I don't have means of acquiring, except through extremely generous BA's. 500ml bottle with a 8/11/2011 bottling date, also lending itself to sport some pretty stern, yet comical warnings against aging this; I got to it as soon as I could.

This beer is like Tom Brady, too pretty to be so good. Gorgeous and clear, a clean and golden orange with two fingers of just off-white head that leaves sticky rings of lace all over as the glass becomes empty.

Massively pungent grapefruit and pineapple presence on the nose; aromas of fresh cut grass and pine, supported by a bread malt undertow.

At first sip, this seems fairly straight forward, but its deceivingly complex, revealing its nuances as it warms. As the nose hints, tropical fruit and resinous in the forefront, with a tongue prickling spiciness and subtle medicinal quality sneaking through to accompany an assertive hop bitterness. Balance is lent by a modest malt sweetness to round it out.

For the ABV and size of this bottle, it was gone too damn quick. Medium bodied, crisp and semi-dry in finish, this boasts a sticky oiliness from the hops along with perfect carbonation levels.

What more needs to be said? If you're a hop-head and haven't had this, that'll need to be remedied immediately. As others have said, a damn near perfect DIPA; go see for yourself, Cheers!

mocktm, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of knepper
4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really don't see a point in explaining myself here. Awesome beer. I gave it a 4 on appearance because it looked too perfect. This beer is dry hopped to hell and it still looks like a crystal clear pilsner in the glass...

Anyway, from a midwestern standpoint, i'd like to see a few more examples with the spicy, smooth bitterness this beer provides. there are some great 2xipas in the area that showcase great flavor and aroma but they seem to get weak in the knees when it comes to giving the beer that final ibu burst.

knepper, Oct 04, 2011
Photo of PatrickSullivan
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear golden amber with a great fluffy white head. Nice, thick lacing follows.

S: Pine is on the forefront of the nose with a good amount of pineapple and grapefruit to boot. There's a hint of malty sweetness in the background.

T: All those wonderful scents show up in the mouth. Some great pine and grapefruit hoppiness with some orange notes in there and a tiny bit of pineapple. Good malt backbone brings this to balance. Not excessively bitter and hides the alcohol quite well.

M: Medium in both body and carbonation with a nice smoothness and a bit of oily stickiness. Very drinkable.

O: A very well made, delicious DIPA. The hype behind it carries through the beer itself.

PatrickSullivan, Oct 04, 2011
Photo of schultzi22
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Three week old Pliny in a tulip.

A: Pale and clear with a thin layer of head that remains on the top of the beer.
N: Enticing nose with the malt aromas taking a backseat to crisp grapefruit hops.
T: This would have blown the younger, hop-crazy me out of the water. As it is, the wonderful grapefruit and citrus verges on the edge of excess but never quite gets there. Yum.
M: A perfect crispness with just the right amount of body and carbonation. Absolutely no complains here.
O: The definitive DIPA. The flavors evolved through warming of the 500mL bottle, but were always enjoyable. I have trouble thinking of over DIPAs I would pick to drink ahead of this. There are no flaws in this beer, and I will continue to drink it at every possible opportunity.

schultzi22, Oct 04, 2011
Photo of JonathanG
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

JonathanG, Oct 04, 2011
Photo of 2xHops
4.18/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

2xHops, Oct 04, 2011
Photo of southside
4.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

southside, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of antlerwrestler19
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.


antlerwrestler19, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of FLBeerGuy
4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

FLBeerGuy, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of agomega
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

agomega, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of Jammies
2.93/5  rDev -37%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Jammies, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of mattbing
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

mattbing, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of Cisco619
4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Cisco619, Oct 01, 2011
Photo of LeeryLeprechaun
4.63/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

LeeryLeprechaun, Oct 01, 2011
Photo of Phelps
4.1/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Phelps, Sep 30, 2011
Photo of rudeboy916
4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

rudeboy916, Sep 29, 2011
Photo of buzzardman
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 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.

buzzardman, Sep 29, 2011
Photo of beerdweeb
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

beerdweeb, Sep 27, 2011
Photo of STKPICR0720
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 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.


STKPICR0720, Sep 27, 2011
Photo of quirkzoo
4.68/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

quirkzoo, Sep 26, 2011
Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.78/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

JohnnyHopps, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of burnstar
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

burnstar, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of alisah318
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 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

alisah318, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of MrVonzipper
4/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

MrVonzipper, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of Jules11788
4.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Jules11788, Sep 23, 2011
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,626 ratings.