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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.

10,856 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,856
Reviews: 3,198
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.6%
Wants: 5,010
Gots: 1,895 | FT: 63
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: 10,856 | Reviews: 3,198 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of kawilliams81
4.33/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

kawilliams81, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of Yoonisaykul
4.28/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

Yoonisaykul, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of beer2day
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

beer2day, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of jamescain
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

jamescain, Sep 22, 2011
Photo of jeff1973
4.47/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Founders pint glass.

A - Dark gold with a fringe of orange. Eggshell head leads very nice lacing.

S - Pine, grapefruit, mango, and pineapple.

T - Pine upfront, then tons of pineapple, bitter earthy finish, then a slightly (very slighly) hint of peach sweetness on the aftertaste. Really hits all the hop flavors.

M - Medium carbonation and medium mouthfeel. Good amount of thickness and silkyness.

D - Medium high. The refreshing taste and carbonation make this go easy. The medium body of the beer is the only thing holding me back.

A solid beer. World Class, maybe? A seriously refreshing drink, just wish it wasn't so hard to get.

jeff1973, Sep 22, 2011
Photo of yankeej13
4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to my friend for trading me this. I have hear all about this beer but never had the opportunity to try this legendary beer.

A- Pours out a real nice like amber color. It has a medium white head of foam that quickly fades. Has a mild amount of carbonation.

S- Is incredibly potent. Has a huge hoppy smell, citrus, piney and even notes of honey.

T- Its amazing. Has a HUGE hoppy burst. A crazy assortment of mixed hops. I great citrus burst right up front. Nice amount of honey, spearment notes. A very grassy taste. Leaves your mouth with a nice sweet citrus finish.

M- Fantastic drinkability considering the abv is pretty high. Huge bold upfront hopes leaves you with great hoppy finish.

Overall- This beer completely lived up to everything that I thought it was going to. A crazy powerful hoppy taste. Wish this beer was on the East Coast. Cheers!

yankeej13, Sep 22, 2011
Photo of tito42
4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served from bottle to an imperial pint. Bottled on 8/18/2011, enjoyed on 9/20/2011.

A: Clear, golden, with active carbonation. Thick, foamy white head leaves very nice lacing and sticks around.

S: Piney hops, pine sap, and spearmint leaves.

T: Very complex and well-balanced. Biscuity malts, pineapple, grassy hops, and honey sweetness. Strong hops presence without ripping your tongue out. Only gets better as the beer warms a bit.

M: Excellent mouthfeel. Exceptionally smooth for the amount of hops and high ABV. The alcohol is masked very well and warms without ever being a component of the flavor. Extremely drinkable for what it is.

O: Top-flight DIPA lives up to its billing. One of the top beers I've ever had for sure.

tito42, Sep 21, 2011
Photo of bum732
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle from cduckett16, Thanks!

S: Big, bold pine notes with tropical fruits, mostly mango, touch of bready malt in the background. Very resiny.

L: Slightly hazy golden yellow, creamy white head that dissipates slightly.

T: Resiny, very bold resiny and pine hops up front with a soft bready sweetness. More layers of hoppiness follows a medium high citrus bitterness. Perfect balance of malt complements the resiny hop finish, semi-dry.

M: Medium full body, medium carbonation. Alcohol kept in check.

Incredibly hoppy without being harsh or bitter. Just an outstanding beer that lives up to the hype.

bum732, Sep 21, 2011
Photo of dbmernin83
4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A growler fresh from the brewery. Definitely the freshest Elder I've ever had.
Pours a dark golden with an inch white head. Great lacing. Carbonation appears to have held up well.
Huge pine hops on the nose. I have this frequently on draft in LA and it never smells this strong.
This beer tastes like awesome marijuana. I know hops are in the same family, so it makes sense, but this is a gigantic skunky hop bomb on the tongue. The bitternessisnt overwhelming, just huge piney hop flavor. This beer had to have been brewed with some malt but it's nowhere in sight. Correction, while the beer warms a sweetness whispers as the hops scream through a megaphone.
For the flavor profile, this beer is light. It goes down too easy at 8%. I imagine this is what hops in a blender + water * carbonation would taste like.
I always thought the freshness thing was a little ridiculous. I get that a beer, especially an IPA should be fresh, but the difference between 2 week old Pliny and maybe a few days old Pliny is ridiculous. Love Pliny in the bottle or at your local beer bar? Try some fresh from the source. Incredible.

dbmernin83, Sep 19, 2011
Photo of schwaeh
4.33/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle sent as an extra by HeavyTaste. Bottled 8/26/11.

A: Pours a glowing golden orange color with several fingers of fluffy white head. The lacing is very sticky.

S: The smell is a combination of pine, juicy citrus, and a nice grapefruit bite. I can smell the alcohol in this one. Malt is hardly decipherable amongst the bouquet of hops, no east coast DIPA here. The aromas are sweet and very bright.

T: Orange, mango, and pineapple wash over the tongue in a wave of fruit followed by a bitter piney sensation. You can tell right away that this is sticky and sweet with lots of hop oil. The bitter grapefruit and pine start to take over the citrus after a few drinks. Very nice balance of bitter and flavor, it doesn't rip your tongue off but it sure makes itself known as a big DIPA.

M: Medium body, very resinous and coating. The flavors linger for quite some time.

O: This last month has been hop heaven for me and this one holds it's own with the best of them. Extremely drinkable for the higher ABV. I happily drink this everytime Fedex brings it my way. Top tier hop bomb.

schwaeh, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of MikeyMikee
4.83/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle Date: 7/19/11 Reviewed on 9/18/11.

Served at Fridge Temp into a pint glass.

Bright, hazy, orange color with an off white head that is short lived.

The aroma is a hop exploision. Very hoppy, very refreshing and crisp. Orange and pine are at the front with some mellow tropical fruits comming in as well.

This beer is amazingly balanced. It is super hoppy but the sweet and bready malts shine through beautifully. The piney, resiny hop character really comes though, with some orange rind on the end. Really great hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is very resiny and slightly drying from the hops. Carbonation is spot on and the alcohol is very well hidden.

Awesome beer, not much else to say about this one. Great balance, great hops, great drinkability, great beer.

MikeyMikee, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of jayhawk73
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled Sept. 7, 2011. 10 days old at review

Pours a beautiful light golden color w/ a really nice off white two finger head. Head sticks around for a while too, eventually goes down to a thin head. Massive amounts of carbonation and lacing on my snifter. Really amazing looking beer, and tops for the style that I've had.
First thing I notice is that it's a really clean, smooth, and refreshing nose. Hops, pine, floral, and minimal malt notes are all there. I can't believe how smooth and perfect this is. Nose is so good I could smell it all day, but there's the whole tasting of the beer I need to experience...
Taste.... Wow. It's so good... and complex.. and smooth.. and drinkable. Simply amazing. The taste is even more superb than the nose, but they're both 5's for sure. I can't imagine any part of this or the nose being any better.
Feel is really great too, full bodied, w/ a major zing from those hops. Very smooth/crisp/chewy, and the flavors just stick around on the aftertaste forever.
Overall, this beer totally lives up to the hype for me. It's simply one of the best beers I've ever had, and I'm glad I finally got to try it. If you have a chance- try this beer.. and as the bottle says, "Respect your Elder".

jayhawk73, Sep 17, 2011
Photo of MADhombrewer
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at County Cork. Served in a Guinness glass.

Appearance- Clear orange with a frothy, white head. Very good lacing. 4.5/5

Smell- Pine, pine, pine. Very well done. 4.5/5

Taste- Piney with a very small malt backbone. Good bitterness that sticks with you. Good and dry. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel- Very good. More on the thin side. 4.5/5

Overall- DAMN good beer! There are things that I wish were better about it, but those are so small I hate to even say anything. There is a reason why everyone uses Pliny as the benchmark for DIPAs. 4.5/5

MADhombrewer, Sep 17, 2011
Photo of Bogforce
4.28/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice tangerine gold color. With a good head that is sticking to the sides of the glass.

S: Getting a big pine hop smell in this beer, definitely some floral in there too. And as well as some citrus, seems very balanced.

Here we go...

T: Very very hop forward, hardly any malt in this which is awesome. A very good fresh hop taste, lots of pine and floral notes. Yum

M: Probably the smoothest drinking IPA I have had. Doesn't leave too much on the tongue but just enough. And is thin but not too thin.

O: It lived up to the hype, even traveling across the US to get here it kept it taste and smell. Wish they made this is 6 packs that I could get around here... Wait... Columbus IPA....

Bogforce, Sep 16, 2011
Photo of sdmvd6
4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle date of 8-18-11...poured into a Duvel tulip

A - Light orange with about a finger of head that dissipates relatively quickly to a thin ring around the glass. Little lacing is left.

S - Pine, grapefruit, and mango hit the nose instantly. Then more citrus and a bit of toasted malt.

T - Big hop bitterness up front with flavors of pine and citrus, notably grapefruit. Bitterness bridges the gap between these fruitier flavors and a toasty malt backbone. [Edit: After having a few on a recent trip to CO, I have noticed an ever so slightly nutty flavor between the initial hop profile and the bitterness in the finish. I have not found this particular flavor in any other IPA, and I really think it contributes to the balance that sets Pliny apart.] The finish contains a touch of aspirin-like chalkiness and more bitterness that lingers well after the last sip.

M - Lots of sticky, resinous hop oil is present in this medium-bodied IIPA. The finish is effervescent and very dry.

O - This is a wonderful IIPA by RR that definitely lives up to the hype in my opinion. This is the third time I have had the pleasure of tasting it, and it has never disappointed. The particular hop flavors that come forward are superbly balanced by great malt character.

sdmvd6, Sep 16, 2011
Photo of Neorebel
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I made tasting this beer a bit of an 'event.' In a Glencairn Scotch glass to get more of the nose... which was a very complex & reminiscent of a spring meadow and sweet nectar. The taste lived up to the hype as well as the amazing aroma- hops of course up front, with a juicy citrus right in the middle of the flavor, finishing nicely with a pleasant bitterness. Did I mention fresh?? it's ever so fresh, it reminds me of drinking the purest bottled water. What's amazing about this beer is how balanced it is, and how the alcohol is masked... almost every IPA is somewhat undrinkable 'all day' in that it is not refreshing - it gives you a dry mouth after a while. This is quite the opposite... What sort of witchery is this??

Neorebel, Sep 15, 2011
Photo of csiewert
4/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

4's on the board. I think this one might have been a little old... probably about 3-4 months old... it was a bit ago and I didn't write down the bottle date so I can't tell you exactly how old it was. Regardless... poured a slightly hazy orange color with a finger of foamy white head that retained pretty well and left a little lacing. The aroma had notes of citrus and piney hops, with some sweet caramel thrown in. Not as much hop aroma as I would've liked, but see above. The taste was nice and balanced, nothing too overly present. There were notes of caramel, pine, citrus and some grassy hops. The mouthfeel was relatively smooth and finished clean. Overall a great beer... would have liked to try a slightly fresher one.

csiewert, Sep 15, 2011
Photo of Humulus85
4.68/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thank you jmmy2282! Heard a lot about this brew since being on BA, here goes...

Poured from the 500mL bottle into a snifter. Produced a very nice two-finger billowy, yet dense, head. Moderate retention, with some very nice, sticky lacing. Great deep honey, apricot color. Deep but super clear, no haze, no sediment. Very nice.

Smell is of fruity hops. Loads of pineapple, a bit of pine, and some subtle grass notes round out this hop dominating nose. Not astringent, very clean, but could've maybe used a bit more punch.

Bountiful tropical hop flavors upfront; more tropical than citrusy, lots of pineapple. Piney in the middle, followed by some nice bready malt, with a super clean dry finish that lingered just long enough. While exceptionally tasty, I think a more complex and layered hop profile could be achieved.

This is easily the most drinkable DIPA I've ever had. It drinks like a strong Pale Ale; super smooth, great carbonation. At 8.00% this is still drinkable enough to be a session beer. Wow.

Overall this is truly an exceptional, world class beer. Whether or not it's the greatest-of-all-time DIPA...well I haven't had them all so I can't say. Is it the best I've ever had...hells ya! I'm glad I have another in the fridge. Thanks again jimmy2282. This is a damn good beer. Cheers!

Humulus85, Sep 13, 2011
Photo of warbird07
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am enjoying this beer in a Tripel Karmeliet tulip. It is 2 1/2 weeks old, but I have had it super fresh, so I feel somewhat qualified to review it..I have really nothing to add by reviewing this beer, except to say that this continues to be an impressivly consistant beer..

Appearence is grand, golden honey in color, very clear, perfect white head and lacing, this seems to be the gold standard for DIPAs as far as appearence..

Smell is a pleasent blend of west coast citrus and pine hops...very clean..and the hops are center stage...

the taste is magnificent, beautiful citrus and pine, clean malt backbone, no alchohol burn, no overwhelming sweetness, balanced and smooth..a fantastic finish with a very distant bitterness..

mouthfeel is smooth as hell, excellent carbonation..again this beer is incredebly smooth..no rough edges..

Overall...like I said I am not uncovering anything new..just afforming the fact that this is one world class beer that everyone should try..

warbird07, Sep 13, 2011
Photo of seanwhite
4.68/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - clear amber with a small white head and heavy lacing. This asked me to drink it, and I obliged.

Smell -Strong piney resins, with a wallaop of citrusy goodness. Not subtle, and its intentional. I could smell 80 of the 100 IBUS.

Taste - This beer is well-built and made to last. It is unbalanced and does not try to be, it is a hoppy beer for hop lovers. Hits the mouth sweet and crisp full of pine and citrus then the hop bitterness grows and finishes with some alcohol and citrus hops. The body sits very well and drinks very well. After reviewing, I ended up opening and drinking my second bottle that was planned to come home to Raleigh with me.

Overall - Well-hyped, but worth the hype. It delivered and I wish I could get this on the regular. I long for more of this top-notch west coast IPA. I would love to find this on tap.

seanwhite, Sep 12, 2011
Photo of MT59917
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pliny th Elder is golden and gorgeous. Deep straw yellow. Not watery looking, but a nice solid gold. Really a beautiful beer.

Hops are a good smell. Yes, a bunch of American hops. All the usual suspects are present with the balance tipping slightly in favor of pine over citrus. Very, very nice.

The taste is that rare and perfect combination of luscious malt and spicey, tangy hops. Phenomenal balance. Russian River hits it out of the park with Pliny. A superb American Double IPA. This beer is the BEST American Double IPA

My mouth feels great and your mouth will feel great too.

I could drink this beer all day, all night. For real. I have lost the ability to sound unbiased. I love this beer! This is my favorite beer of all time!! Try it--you will LOVE it!

MT59917, Sep 11, 2011
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,856 ratings.