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.

9,913 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,913
Reviews: 3,127
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.17%
Wants: 4,559
Gots: 1,514 | FT: 54
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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Pliny The Elder Alström Bros
Ratings: 9,913 | Reviews: 3,127 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HosP


4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received from Scottfrie in a trade, thank you very much!

A- Golden, with a slight haze. Small head that left lace down the glass.

S- Very hoppy smell. citrus and pine mostly. Not as strong as I imagined it would be.

T- Full of hop flavor, just like it should be. Bitterness is there but doesn't take over the beer. Just enough malt taste to keep it smooth!

M- Medium body. Good balance between hops and malts. Good amount of carbonation.

D- Makes me wish I lived on the West Coast! I am a big fan of Dreadnaught, which isn't normal, but this is an ideal dipa! If I had one dipa to drink from now on, this would have to be the one so far!

Where can I get more of this?!?!

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2010 02:48:55 | More by HosP
Photo of dpnelson1978


4.45/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.
Originally tasted: 5/1/2010

On tap (at Toronado!) into a glass pint.

S: Pine hope aroma gracefully dominates with hints of apricot citrus floating in the background. Well balanced and far from aggressive. Hits you in the face and makes you say, "thank you."

A: Deep amber body filled with shimmering haze and topped with a big loose head that recedes quickly leaving a generous sticky lace and a thin bubbly ring around the base.

T: Sweet caramel and bready backbone showcasing an undeniable pine intensity and lovely grapefruit flavor. Well balanced throughout giving way to lingering bitterness.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation. No resin stickiness. Bitterness prickles the tongue.

D: Great beer, but not something to overdo. Have one and enjoy it, then process it. This is a special drink.

O: Worthy of the hype. A special DIPA and a special beer period.

Serving type: on-tap

07-08-2010 01:01:04 | More by dpnelson1978
Photo of Chizoad


4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Baby steps. The first time I had this one I wasn't prepared. Now I've revisited it after some "seasoning".

Looks great in the glass. Nice off white head with a clear amber color and some bubbles dancing around the edges. Smells of a wide range of citrus, with the hoppy bitterness promised but somehow not overwhelming.

This is exactly how the beer tastes, but everything blends ideally to make something that is unbeatable for the style. Pine, juniper, maybe even cedar, jumbled amongst orange and grapefruit rind with lemon in there too. Enough sweetness to actually do some good balancing.

Resin never overwhelms the palate, with medium body and carbonation. Shockingly drinkable, probably because it tastes so damn good.

Even if you don't take price into consideration, this is a stupendously good beer. For $4, it probably can't be beat.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2010 16:34:10 | More by Chizoad
Photo of sm007thie


4.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- golden color, slightest haze, lumpy creamy head if poured aggresively.

S- smell is absolutely fantastic. if you take your time, you can smell every fresh hops odor imaginable. grassy, citrus, piney, resinous goodness. wow!

T- exeptionally smooth given the intense hops character. each sip has a pleasant grapefruit flavor followed by an split second of hops bite and a sm007th, complex hops finish. malt is present enough to balance, but is definitely playing a minor supporting role.

M- carbonation seems to reverberate off of the toungue giving pliney a refreshing feel.

D- obviously a beer of this intensity and ABV wasn't formulated with "drinkability" too much in mind. however, everything works together so well to create an invigorating brew.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2010 23:55:29 | More by sm007thie
Photo of earthling


4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Like so many other obsessed enthusiasts and alcoholics, this is one of my all-time favorite beers. Its heavy, strong, and sometimes overwhelming aroma is incredible and inspiring. The pungence of Pliney commands any pot smoker to drink beer and any beer drinker to pay attention. Pliny is the secret mistress of any IPA lover, its contact-high inducing aroma erecting senses and inducing appreciation.

Pliney the Elder makes people happy, as does its proclamation "DO NOT AGE!"

Any home brewer leaves incredulous after tasting this beer for the first time, whether he likes it or not.

Pliny's intensity nearly commands a new classification for beers. It's so well crafted that the incredible amount of hops used don't contribute unduly to its bitterness. The citrusy, evergreen, even piney of pliny balance the bitterness and malt to create a truly amazing beer.

Serving type: on-tap

07-03-2010 09:16:19 | More by earthling
Photo of TMoney2591


4.47/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Thanks to stoutjimmy for this bottle!

My second Pliny, but first review thereof. It pours a hazy, golden amber-straw, topped by a quickly-dying finger of white froth. The nose comprises a hella-ton o' pine, along with some grapefruit, orange peel, maple sap, and a tiny bit o' caramel in the back, trying to maintain some semblence of a malty backbone. It's got me convinced it's hoppy... The taste follows very similarly, though the two DIPA elements are both sharpened for battle: The hops are especially fruity and flowery, while the malts (caramel and toffee, natch) are stronger, more up to the task of balancing out the hops. I gotta say, the hype has been dead on: this is the most balanced DIPA I've had in a long time. And quite tasty, too. The body is a light-ish medium, with a moderately active carbonation and a fairly dry finish. Yup, this old Roman naturalist lives up to the hype. Get some!

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2010 05:29:38 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of sfprint


4.45/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Hazy, ice tea brown. Bubbles racing too the top. Quickly dissipating head.

S: Excellent. Excellent. Sweet, pine, apricot with very mild hops. Beautiful smell. Apple juice too. Can't detect any alcohol.

T: Not too bitter, like I find many IPA's to be. It has more depth than most IPA's, multiple flavors that come in parallel. The bitterness is separate from the almost fruity, tea like layer. Interesting and very nice.

M: It's not special, but it's very good. It lightly carbonated, and feels great going down.

D: great. If you can hang with the bitterness of IPA's this is among the top.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2010 07:00:05 | More by sfprint
Photo of GarrettMD

New York

4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a very nice golden color with a two finger white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Good lacing. Great heavy carbonation, same as most RR brews.

S - Extremely piney. Slight citrusy background that goes well. mostly piney, floral, hops though. Very slight bready smell as well.

T - Great taste, very close to the smell, still very piney, but the citrus flavors come out more. Slightly sweet, but the malts balance that out. Overall, the hops are not too overpowering, they are in perfect balance with the rest of the beer.

M - Great mouthfeel, carbonation with the hop bitterness just gives your mouth a lot to process.

D - Extremely drinkable. Doesn't taste anything close to 8%. Very smooth and the well balanced hops don't cause this beer to be too bitter.

If I could get these more readily, I would drink them much more often, because it is by far my favorite IPA. I haven't had Pliny the Younger, but I can't see any way to improve on this beer. It just seems to be the perfect IPA.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2010 21:31:23 | More by GarrettMD
Photo of elgiacomo


4.22/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle courtesy my sister from Seattle. Bottled May 17, 2010, consumed a little over a month old.

Pours a hazy golden amber with a large fluffy off-white head that recedes nicely to a foamy island and ring. Leaves thick clumpy rings of lacing.

Aroma is piney, citrus, grapefruit, tangerine, tropical fruits, some floral hops, caramel malt, yeast and bread. Pretty fruity and sweet, almost sugary for a DIPA, but as it warms the pine and citrus rind really come into play.

Flavor is some nice juicy citrus, grapefruit, pineapple, pine and resinous hops, some spicy malt, a little sweetness, then an excellent lingering bitterness on the finish. Not a whole lot of alcohol, which I like, glad this is at 8% ABV instead of 10%+ like some in the category.

Mouthfeel is pretty full, quite sticky, medium carbonation.

I've been looking forward to finally cracking open a Pliny, and this was a real treat. Really runs the gamut on flavors and evolves a lot as it warms. Excellent stuff.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2010 04:36:30 | More by elgiacomo
Photo of Cossacks19


4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a week old bottle. Appearence is light amber / golden color, with an off white head that hangs out a bit. Great lacing all the way down the glass. Flavors are a great balance of ever so slight bitter hops and sweet malt flavor. Tasted sweet honey, grapefruit, creamy butter, and slight tang of orange peel. On the palate it is medium bodied beer with a great balance of dry and refreshing finish. Overall one of the best beers I have had to date. Perfect beer for any morning, afternoon, or night!!!

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2010 22:35:17 | More by Cossacks19
Photo of pacchef23


5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Have had Pliny the Elder a couple times at The Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle. Great pub. Both times I had Pliny it was just about the perfect beer. I could not get enough. It was so well made with layers of flavor and hops from start to lingering finish.

Serving type: on-tap

06-24-2010 17:49:23 | More by pacchef23
Photo of hoptrip619


4.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For several years I thought this beer was the be all end all IPA and it was. Recently, I've noticed the hop aroma and flavor has become less prominent.

This review is based on my two most recent encounters with PtE at Hamilton's Tavern and the Neighborhood.

A- Pours a deep golden color with minimal head and slightly sticky lacing.

S- Floral and citrus hops are still there but much less assertive than in the past. There is some sweet malt aromas mixed in that weren't always so prominent.

T- I still really like the flavor of PtE more than other IPA's on the market but there is a lot more residual malt sweetness nowadays. The zesty citrus and floral hop flavors are still there but it isn't as dry.

M - Medium with appropriate carbonation

D- Still one of my favorites but obviously the increase in production has caused a slight slip in overall quality.

Serving type: on-tap

06-24-2010 16:46:57 | More by hoptrip619
Photo of dnolan36


3.68/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I finally tried my first Pliny the Elder this evening that I got in trade and was happy to try my first. As soon as I poured it into my glass you could smell the hoppyness and had a nice 2-3 finger head. It had a extremely pleasant citrousy and piny aroma. At the first sip there were strong citrus and grapefruit taste with the right amount of hops.

It is a very decent beer, but not sure if it lived up to all the hype. I went into this one thinking I was going to taste the amazing beer ever and that just was not the case. It is definitely toward the top for it's style but not the best.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2010 04:56:54 | More by dnolan36
Photo of Bendurgin


4.83/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Hygmod for driving this one out from California!

Poured this into a pint glass. Pours golden orange with about two fingers of fluffy white head. Nice lacing on this. Lots of piney hops in the nose and bit of citrus zest lingers. The hops tell me this is going to be a hop monster. I can't wait. This is a really juicy DIPA. A big hop flavor and citrus juiciness coats the tongue. Nice carbonation on this and the juicy flavor makes this feel great in the mouth. At eight percent, this DIPA is easy to enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2010 23:02:21 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of nerdrocker101


4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served from a bottle. Shared from my buddy Kraig.

Golden-orange hue with a thin, white sheet of head on top.

Citrus and piny aroma with just a floral hint.

Big, resiny pine and grapefruit taste. Perfectly hopped with a nice bite.

Smooth and nicely carbonated.

I'm no hophead, but this is definitely a wonderful beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2010 20:13:32 | More by nerdrocker101
Photo of Duttonic


4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served from bottle born on 06/21/10. Luckily Sacramento is close to Santa Rosa, this may be the freshest beer I've ever had.

A- Light copper/deep yellow, two fingers of head with pour. Bubbly, so bubbly. Lacing as I drink it down.

S- So delightful, like a bouquet of hops. Faint citrus.

T- Citrus (grapefruit, maybe a hint of lemon), hops, hops, hops, but not in the least bit overpowering. Smooth. Really smooth.

M- Creamy, tart, lip puckering, but again not overpowering.

D- I could drink this regularly, if I could find it. This is the first time I have ever seen it and I really hope it isn't the last. Thankfully I bought the limit of three bottles.

If your near Sac, Taylor's Market has them in a limited supply. You have to ask for them, so get them if you can.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2010 04:57:35 | More by Duttonic
Photo of Adamdc


4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh bottle (6/8/10-2 weeks old) thanks to billinlafayette. Poured into tulip.

A: Deep orange pour with active carbonation and 1 inch of a fluffy white head.

S: Citrus and pine balanced out nicely by malt backbone.

T: This may sound ridiculous but the taste is very balanced----both the hop flavors and the hop/malt balance. I know this is a DIPA but I wouldn't refer to this as a hop bomb. The various hop flavors all complement each other-- lemon, orange, pine, grass,etc.

M: Fantastic! Solid medium body.

D: Very, very drinkable! Goes down very nicely.

This is a very nice DIPA! Do I think it deserves its 'legendary' status?? I'm not sure.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2010 01:59:33 | More by Adamdc
Photo of Spica66


4.83/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Extra from bmcclure trade. Thanks Ben!!

After receiving bottles that were only 10 days old from Nickd717, I have re-reviewed and it gets an even better score than before in the smell department.

A: What a beautiful color! White head with slight lacing left.

S: Beautiful, citrus and slightly floral hops on the nose. Malt is there and smells very fresh.

T: Perfect balance between malt and hops. And I mean perfect!

M: Smooth and nice.

D: This bottle just disappeared.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2010 19:43:46 | More by Spica66
Photo of Kelly88


4.53/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass

A- clear gold color with off white head that faded to a thin white cap. Sticky lacing hugs the glass

S- spot on for an ipa. Floral,citrus and pine. Benchmark for the style.

T- big hops with huge grapefruit flavor and grassy pine notes in the swallow.

M- feels medium with good carbonation. Resiny feel

D- its an ipa so you can't have too many. One 500ml bottle seems like quite enough. I really enjoy this beer every time I drink it and it is one of the pinnacles of the style

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2010 03:18:31 | More by Kelly88
Photo of IdrinkGas


4.33/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a DFH snifter glass. The fruity and floral aromas really stood out as soon as I opened this beer. IMO this is a very drinkable session beer. The alcohol is hidden extremely well. It tastes like it smells.
There is a reason this beer is one of the most sought after on BA. One of the few beers that actually lived up to the hype. I would love to try this beer on tap.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2010 19:57:59 | More by IdrinkGas
Photo of ZeroSignal


4.58/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle, born on 5/12/10

A - Pours a mostly clear golden orange-amber; 3/4 inch of head that sticks like glue to the side of the glass.

S - Piney hops, strawberries, and oranges; fantastic fruity nose goes toe to toe with the hops

T&M - Pine and citrus hops exploding on the pallet; nice floral and herbal undertones. There is a lot going on here and my pallet can't pick everything out! The feel is smooth and slightly chewy...some biscuity malt presence. Flavors continue to intermingle well after swallowing.

D - I wouldn't pick this out as an 8% is I didn't read it on the label; very well hidden. For having so much going on this is very easy to drink, and enjoy!

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2010 03:31:26 | More by ZeroSignal
Photo of Baraka


5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was fortunate enough to pick up some Pliny while on a trip to Colorado, and it was without a doubt worthy of all the hype. It pours a deep gold with a solid head that leaves plenty of sticky lacing on the glass. The nose is all beautiful citrusy hops. Upon taking a sip, I noticed that while there was a malt backbone somewhere in there, this beer's complexity is all in its hops: grapefruit and pineapple flavors abound with a wonderful hop bitterness that stays around after each drink. The alcohol content is heavily masked by the hop explosions, making this an incredibly drinkable brew.

IMO, a perfect beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2010 14:29:48 | More by Baraka
Photo of chalsk

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at Capones. Of course you follow up the Younger with the Elder. A very tasty brew. Has a lot of characteristics that you find in 90 minute. Complex double IPA but the sweet and bitter are very well balanced. Is less creamy than the younger, giving you that nice harsh hop bitterness that double IPA fans presumably enjoy. Elder has a nice clean dry finish. I would say this and 90 minute are my favorite double IPA's.

Serving type: on-tap

06-16-2010 02:36:54 | More by chalsk
Photo of VelvetExtract


4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Exactly what I was expecting when got this beer.

A-nice light orange color with a pretty 2 finger head. Huge lacing. It simply looks the part. What a DIPA needs to look like.

S- Very intricate smell. Many different flavors:standard hop aroma combined with both citrus and pineapple scents. the malt is present as well; very complex. The best smelling beer to me.

T- Beautiful. Well balanced yet intricate and unbelievably enjoyable. Excellent and complex hop presence with a delicious malt backbone. The hops are intense and delicious. The taste lingers forever and it makes me a happy dude.

M-medium to heay body with an absolutely ridiculous slick feeling that
coats your entire mouth.

D-alcohol is absolutely masked. Drinks like an IPA with 5% alcohol. The best.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2010 04:49:35 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of BigIrishman

New Jersey

4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber with an orange hue. Nice big head on top that leaves plenty of lace.

Smell: Huge hit of simcoe hops. There is that awesome mix of mango and pineapple that makes these russian river brews amazing. The aroma is sweet and really enticing.

Taste: Blissfulness, is that a flavor? There is just heaps of fruity hops, including that wonderful mango pineapple peachy taste that clears the sinuses. A really bitter back that finishes almost sweet, and just forces you to come back for more.

Mouthfeel: Very dry and crisp, leaves your tongue sticky.

Drinkability: This is true hop head nirvana. There are more hops than you know what to do with and the perfect balance makes you yearn for more. One of the beers that proves how good beer really can be.

Serving type: on-tap

06-14-2010 14:36:05 | More by BigIrishman
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 9,913 ratings.