Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company
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Ratings: 10,327 | Reviews: 3,145 | Display Reviews Only:
4.72/5 rDev +1.5%
A - Pours a bright, hazy orange-golden into my snifter with a one-finger thick milky white head and medium to good retention; moderate carbonation was visible amidst the liqui (4.5)
S - Upfront hoppiness on the nose with notes of citrus and pine along with big fruity suggestions with notes of grapefruit and passion fruit (4.5)
T - Pleasantly hop forward on the palate with an intense fruit explosion, well blended with a moderate touch of sweetness; fruity suggestions include notes of grapefruit, passion fruit and other delectable juicy, citrusy flavors. Past the middle and towards the finish, pine flavors were revealed along with some malty notes and a slightly above moderate amount of bitterness which, surprisingly, only comes around the finish, lasting into after taste along with the fruity notes. This is, by far, the best tasting DIPA I've ever had (5)
M - Medium-bodied thickness with a slight syrupy stickiness, apt for the style; slightly higher than moderate amount of carbonation and a creamy smooth texture as it goes down with a slight and pleasant warming (4.5)
D - First off, the PtE is the fruitiest DIPA I've ever had; in fact, it's almost to the point of being juicy and definitely to my delight. It's also not as intense or as bitter as some of the West Coast DIPAs; very juicy, delicious yet balanced for a DIPA and not overly bitter as well. Thus, very drinkable and a session that every DIPA lover would wish easy access to (4.5)
The PtE is the final of the 5 DIPAs in my horizontal taste comparison. I am glad to say that the PtE did not disappoint on the taste factor though I was expecting to be slightly more blown away by the nose and the feel. I loved the fruitiness and "juiciness" in the PtE and am very keen to revisit the Gordon Ale from Oskar Blues which I also recalled to be very fruity.
So without further ado, here's the ranking of the 5 DIPAs: 1st - Pliny the Elder (4.7), 2nd - Moylan's Hopsickle IPA (4.45), 3rd - Stone Ruination IPA (4.1), 4th - Dogfish Head 90 Min (4.1), 5th - Souther Tier 2XIPA (3.8). I would not strictly put the DFH 90 after the Ruination as the DFH is something you can easily enjoy a few pints of at a sitting whereas the Ruination would have destroyed your palate after half a glass.
In terms of hoppiness, bitterness and fruitiness on both the nose and flavor, the West Coast DIPAs easily trump the East coast variants and the Ruination sits on top when it comes to bitterness; Hopsickle ranks second and PtE third (Ruination and Hopsickle were considered a bit too bitter). The East Coast DIPAs were just touched with just a slight bitterness that was no where near the intensity of the West Coast IPAs. Appearance wise, none of them are stunners or a big story to bring home but the Hopsickle and the PtE looked a cut above the rest. The most easy drinking of these DIPAs (without too much of a flavor comparison here) would have to be the DFH 90 with the PtE following in second place.
01-11-2011 16:41:44 | More by basica
4.43/5 rDev -4.7%
Reviewed from notes.
A-Pours rusty orange with amber highlights. Thin, off white head, almost no lacing.
S-Pine needles, grapefruit, orange peels.
T/M-Citric/piney hop profile. Beautifully balanced, with chewy, mouth filling carbonation. Tasty, bracing bittering hops round out the finish.
D-One of the best of its style.
01-11-2011 12:15:44 | More by DaveHS
4.5/5 rDev -3.2%
Draft service into a pint nonic at Russian River.
A: Clear, light orange-amber with less than one finger of persistent white foam head. Heavy lacing remains on the glass.
S: Hops are featured foremost in the smell, almost all grapefruit citrus with scant floral and pine accents. Toast and caramel are faint but detectable as well. No smell of alcohol is detected.
T: Begins off-dry and eagerly hoppy, with bitter and aromatic grapefruit peel backed by more juicy citrus fruit. The middle is drying and delicious as hop flavors lose some ground to restrained cracker and toast--though never grainy. The finish is more lingering than it is intense, with more toast and bitterness that still tastes of grapefruit peel. No alcohol is detected.
M: Thin to medium viscosity, slightly sticky but extremely smooth, with moderate carbonation.
D: A beguiling brew to be sure, this beer is famous not for the intensity of the qualities it presents, but for the way they are united so seamlessly in the final product. Pliny the Elder is so surprisingly smooth that it could change a lot more drinkers' minds about extreme/traditional/artisanal beer styles, if only more had the awareness and ability to seek it out. From the tap or out of the bottle, every encounter with it is made to seem like the first--which is perhaps one of the most favorable attributes any food or drink could hope to aspire to.
01-10-2011 22:58:23 | More by beagle75
4.6/5 rDev -1.1%
Poured on-tap at the San Diego Brewing Co brewpub. They had it on guest tap while we were visiting. The beer was poured into a pint glass, and it poured a cloudy, golden-copper color with a thin, foamy head. The beer has smells of hops and pine, with lemon-lime notes. The flavor ursts in mouth, with citrusy-sweet notes surrounded by the bitter-greens from the hops. Perfectly balanced and smooth in mouth, with a crisp finish. There is a light, sour balance to the bitter aftertaste, and no linger despite the strong flavors and characteristics. Wow! I think I just made a mess in my pants! I'm glad I got to try this on-tap for my first PtE. Now I am just looking forward to the next time I can find it!
01-10-2011 00:11:38 | More by GarthDanielson
4.5/5 rDev -3.2%
Got one of these thanks to Jenray.
The taste lived up to the hype. Incredibly drinkable DIPA. Beautiful looking and smelling beer, with a taste to match. Piney, citrusy, but not overly bitter. I think this one was about 6-7 weeks ago, so it may have lost some of its luster...even so, it was quite good.
Oh how I wish this was available in Texas....but alas, I'll have to stick with good Avery and Bear Republic offerings instead....and the occassional Lagunitas Sucks when I can get my hands on it.
01-09-2011 03:26:36 | More by obrike
4.43/5 rDev -4.7%
Had this on tap at Monks.
A - Beautiful golden clear color with a foamy offwhite head. Looks very crisp and clean.
S - Wonderful grapefruit/citrus nose with some spice and spruce scents as well.
T - This beer tastes so refreshing and declicious. Clean, crisp, slightly fruit, a bit sweet, bitter, spicy. It has it all going on.
M - This beer was smooth and appropriately carbonated. The feel was light and refreshing.
D - Despite the 8% abv, this beer is highly drinkable. The perfect balance of its spicy, sweet, bitter, fruity flavors are the reason why. If you love clean evergreens, crisp fresh citrus fruit and spicy hops this beer is the one.
Notes - I ordered this because Russian River makes some good beer. I hadn't researched this beer prior to drinking, and ordered it blindly. Im so glad I did. Really wonderful fresh flavorful beer with tons of character.
01-08-2011 22:08:32 | More by BeerForMuscle
5/5 rDev +7.5%
Poured into a snifter. Two week old bottle.
Deep orange/tangerine color one finger head.
Huge aroma of grapefruit pine and pineapples
Awesome. Huge citrus flavors, orange and pineapples. Just a wonderful beer. Super drinkable. Light body with medium carbonation.
01-08-2011 20:35:53 | More by oreo
4.58/5 rDev -1.5%
Reviewed from notes, 12/9/2010.
2 week old Pliny the Elder on the east coast...whoa!
A: generous hop scents along with hints of pine and grapefruit.
Ap: copper-orange with a 2 finger off-white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Leaves a nice lacing on the glass.
B/T: mildly carbonated, very smooth, fresh, and crisp. It lingers on the tongue, but does not leave that drying feeling as other IPAs may.
Af: very pronounced grapefruit taste. Of course, full of a great hop profile, with hints of pine sneaking in there. Fairly sweet, but does end on a bitter note.
O: a delcious DIPA that is best served FRESH!
01-08-2011 18:24:50 | More by THECPJ
4.6/5 rDev -1.1%
Bottle dated 11.22.2010. Enjoyed on 1.7.11. Generously received from HoldensHomebrew.
Pours a slightly cloudy persimmon orange with a foamy, one-finger white head. Settles down to a ring of head and one straggling group of bubbles, with thick-bubbled lacing.
The combination of pine, citrus, grapefruit, and floral hoppiness is not unique to Pliny the Elder, but the complexity here is deeper; this is a case where clarity through words is hard to come by. The pine is sweetened through what smells like caramelized sugar; imagine sugared grapefruit for breakfast and you're close.
Lots of citrus and resinous flavor without imparting too much lingering bitterness. There's more caramel backing than I expect or remember (the bottle may be just a week or two "older" than perfect), but it's really driven by the grapefruit and citrus bitterness. As I get further in, I pick up on some orange and just a hint of sweeter tropical fruit notes - this is my favorite part of the beer, coming in mid-to-late palate and only as I get further through the glass.
Medium-full bodied without medium carbonation. Somewhat sticky without distracting.
The standard for a style I don't always appreciate. Drinking this now, it brings back memories of sub-par DIPAs of the past, really putting them to shame. Other DIPAs roam the earth, ghostlike, growing ever staler and hoping to be like Pliny. Vinnie does no wrong.
01-08-2011 03:43:52 | More by Verecund
4.65/5 rDev 0%
Went to Burgers and Brew and enjoyed three pints on tap. My friend works there and told me about this being on tap and knew I had to try it.
I enjoy a few IPAs, but this beer was outstanding. It completely lived up to everything I had read on here about it. The perfect mix of grapefruit and pine with a perfect malt backbone.
Hands down the best IPA I have had to date. There have been a few beers on here that had excellent ratings that I found disgusting (Celebrator Doppelbock that tasted like rancid soy-sauce), but this concoction was great. Highly recommend it to people who think all IPAs are just hop-bombs.
01-07-2011 18:50:50 | More by OKTAVIAN
5/5 rDev +7.5%
On tap at the source. Russian River Brewing Company
Started with a Mortification as I've been drinking a schitt-ton of PtE for the last 6 or so years. One IPA / DIPA I'll never grow out of.
Moved onto PtE and after the first sip, I just started laughing to myself and was reminded again of, and said out loud to my wife: "This is the best beer I've EVER had."
I won't elaborate on whats already been said in previous reviews... but at the source it's the best. I drink it at Toronado at least once a week and have a couple bottles every week. (Yes, batches vary some)
It's IPA perfection, I can find no flaws and wouldn't change a thing. True craftsmanship. Crisp, bright, clean...such a clean beer and every sip keeps you wanting another. So packed full of fresh cut grass, dank, tangerines and almost a faint strawberry-ish pineapple if you look for it underneath the tangerines. At a loss for words almost while drinking it.
Dangerously drinkable. Stays crisp and freshest of hops tasting, I could drink this all day into the night. Doesn't become sweet after a few like many of this style do. Body is a bit thicker on draft than in the bottle which to my preference is great because the bigger the PtE the better in my mind! Can't wait till Feb for PtY.
For the record, my first perfect 5 scoring. And well deserved.
01-07-2011 18:23:54 | More by RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.47/5 rDev -3.9%
Got this one off of a trade; big thanks to Mages64. Bottled on date of 11/30/10.
Appearance: The Elder Pliny pours a clear light golden color with tons of pillowy white head. Retention and lacing are phenomenal. I really can't imagine a DIPA looking much better than this.
Smell: As expected quite a bit of grapefruit and citrus up front, I really get a lot of florals and grassiness in this one as well. The smells seem to be just a touch muted overall, but still very good. It is slightly over a month old so I'm guessing that plays a role.
Taste: I can't imagine much better than this. Pretty grapefruity up front, with a bit of malt mixed in as well. Slight citrus and a bunch of florals hit on the back end. The finish is hoppy without being overly bitter, with a clean finish. This is a very well crafted beer indeed.
Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This is a very smooth drinking beer. It's a bit on the light side with very fine carbonation. Is this beer drinkable? Hell yes, so much so that it borders on supernatural. I had to force myself to slow down and savor. Really a great beer and deserving of it's spot in the beer world.
01-06-2011 07:05:02 | More by zhanson88
4.47/5 rDev -3.9%
It's a rare sight to see a Pliny in Oklahoma. I'd only heard about the mythical beer in bed time stories and only seen it grainy photographs. Somehow though, thanks to a fellow Bartian and humanitarian, I scored an elusive bottle of Pliny the Elder.
I write this beer review not to inform the unaware public of the greatness of this brew, but rather to use it as a badge of honor to prove the fact that I actually landed a rare bottle. The appearance of this beer is light gold and filled with sediment, less than a finger width of head on top. The smell is actually not nearly as pronounced as I figured it would be, though the citrus and hops do come across. The taste is what this legend is made of though. A strong citrus hop flavor, a warm alcohol finish, a malty back bone throughout, this beer is obviously a winner. It's well balanced and highly drinkable (if only I had another to drink...). Overall one of the better beers I've had the privilege to consume. Now I know what the fuss was about.
01-06-2011 01:25:58 | More by TylerBGoode
4.5/5 rDev -3.2%
Yep. Just about everything I heard is true. A wee bit thin in the body and carbonation, but perfectely balanced. It is so smooth and easy to drink that I would not know this was a DIPA with an ABV of 8% if I blind tasted this.
Too bad this, along with the other RR beers, is/are so popular that bottles are so scarce.
01-05-2011 23:00:21 | More by hopshopshops
4.35/5 rDev -6.5%
Reviewing off of notes. Based off of several fresh consumptions.
Pours a light yellow gold color with a white head. Smells of citrus and piney hops. Nothing overwhelming, but good. Flavor is balanced. Extremely balanced. Hoppy, not sweet, but all in harmony with the beer. Masterfully crafted such that everything falls into place. Not a syrupy iipa by any means, this is smooth and drinkable. This is what other iipas should be compared to. Not a transcendent experience like some have claimed - this is like drinking the best of the old guard, the invention of the style. Basically, a fantastic mold for an idea that has lead to an enormous collection of delicious beers. To be respected and tried (more than once).
01-05-2011 06:08:01 | More by seeswo
4.68/5 rDev +0.6%
I should start by saying this is candy sitting in my snifter glass.
The one inch head faded into a faint white cloud laying on top of the beer.
The familiar west coast floral hop bouquet hits my nose when I go in for my obligatory nose inhale. The hops are everywhere and when drinking, blend perfectly with malt backbone. Its obvious that the brewer went for balance rather than an all-out hop war on the palate. The beer massages my taste buds the entire time.
Though there are other west coast double IPAs worth seeking out, your experience isn't complete without one or more Pliny bottles.
01-05-2011 05:18:55 | More by jamestsanders
4.83/5 rDev +3.9%
Bought six bottles today at local store - six was the limit I could buy.
This was the first time I had tried it, despite it's easy availability for me. I'm just getting into craft beers and this is my first review.
A: Not as murky as I'd thought it'd be. Imperial IPA's usually are a bit more cloudy in my experience. It's a beautiful golden orange color with a nice thick head. The head was concentrated with small bubbles in the middle forming an island surrounded by foam.
S: Citrus is the main thing you smell as soon as you crack it open. A closer whiff brings some pine forest undercurrents. Slightly sweet, yet earthy. Smells yummy.
T: The taste of this IPA puts the great smell of it to shame IMO. Again citrusy, yet slightly effervescent. Reminded me of a dry champagne, which considering the sweet smell surprised me. Hoppyness was not as strong as I had expected. It's superbly well balanced with the malts, which is why I think it excels. The high ABV causes it to evaporate off your tongue, leaving you with a crisp slightly medicated aftertaste. This is easily the best beer I've ever tasted.
M: This is hard for me to pit into words, as this is the first beer I've tried to review. It was good that's for sure. Definitely nicely carbonated, and not to thick.
D: Super smooth and easy to drink. The alcohol while obviously there is not present in a cloying amount. It was hard to sit there and review it as I wanted to drink it up right away. If it was more readily available I'd of had a couple in a row.
All in all it lived up to the hype and was as I said the best beer I've ever had. I can't wait to find the one the beats it for me :)
01-04-2011 05:11:55 | More by trippoint
4.6/5 rDev -1.1%
Received as an extra from a generous trade sideswipe through a trade and drank within about one month of the bottle date.
Appearance: this beer poured a nice golden color, but produced absolutely no head, and seemed under carbonated. this could have been a by product of shipping.
Smell: the beer is extremely aromatic, its bursting with citrusy hops and a small amount of piney hop aroma.
Taste: this is where this beer truly shines. starts with a nice citrus hop flavor, followed through with a nice hop bitterness, and balanced out with just the right amount of malt backbone.
Mouthfeel: this beer is in the right place along the lines of dryness, and amount of malt that comes through, but the low carbonation hurt it a little bit.
Drinkabliity: this beer is verry drinkable, would probably have been more so if it were at the right carbonation level.
would definitely recommend this beer to anyone looking for a hop bomb, and I would love to get the chance to try another one, especially one with the proper carbonation so I could re-review it.
01-04-2011 00:43:27 | More by rowingbrewer
4.33/5 rDev -6.9%
From marisatheyounger, thanks so much for getting it here in time for Christmas.
Bottled on 11/30, consumed 12/25.
With the admonishment fresh in my ears from my brewer friends that I'm not letting enough head form, this pour was 1/3 head, 2/3 Pliny. There is so much lacing, light and fluffy full of delicious aroma and generally tracing webs up and down the glass. I like the brightness of the liquid combined with the dense bubbles which make a nice pour and release a good amount of the aroma.
I'd have to say this was the best Pliny of had; now it was the 'freshest' but I believe the pour may well have had something to do with this. Pliny is, to my taste, so light and yet there is so much favor pushed into it I feel a bit like a kid in a cheez-it commercial. Though I will say, I always miss the full citrus that I often see folks mention with this. I get the sour but not the sweet. I do not consider this is an overly 'citrusy' IPA but instead a very well balanced flavor.
The mouthfeel is nearly perfect, though my complaint with Pliny is the very bitter note I usually have at the finish which I don't enjoy. A slight bit of the booze to remind you you're drinking a brew and not a tea and it's a wrap.
01-03-2011 23:25:41 | More by CooperEllis
4.25/5 rDev -8.6%
Pours a dark lemon yellow with a huge soapy white head. As the head recedes it leaves crazy stupid resiny lacing.
Aroma is an immaculate citric and grapefuit hops, with some slightly sweet maltiness in the background (pretty far back to be honest).
The taste is a hophead's dream; waves and waves of resiny, lemon, piny hops balanced out by some pale/caramel malt sweetness. Not for the faint of heart. This is the deinitetion of a Pacific DIPA. My preference is usually for more malt and more East coast hops, but I can appreciate this high quality of this offering and why it is so highly regarded.
There is great carbonation helps bring out the flavor profile and cleans the palate slightly from the hop assault. The beer feels very smooth and full bodied, but still an extremely balanced well made brew. Definitely bitter in the finish but by no means a palate wrecker thanks to the balanced sweet bready maltiness.
Overall, this is one of the top class beers on the planet for a reason; it's the epitome of great intense flavor yet retrained to dominate too much in any one category. I had this beer when I was a hop newbie and I hated it, but I am having it now right after a Hopslam and I have to say I enjoy this more for it's retrain and yet amazing flavor profile.
01-03-2011 18:56:30 | More by claspada
4/5 rDev -14%
Definitely the gold standard of IPA's, but the beer did not live up to the hype at all IMHO. Dollar for dollar, there are a dozen other IPA's I would rather buy.
The nose was really big with all of the standard floral hop notes. The taste was the same with a mouthfeel a little too thin to support the flavor. No major development over time, just a slight transition to a very clean aftertaste.
01-03-2011 04:49:02 | More by kbraniga
4.13/5 rDev -11.2%
Poured from the bottle into a tulip on 1/2/11. Pliny was bottled 11/11/10 and I received the bottle from Oregone in a trade on 12/29/10.
A: Pours yellow-orange-rusty hue with 1 full finger head. Head dissolved slowly into the beer leaving heavy lacing sticking to the sides of the glass.
S: The nose is dominated by citrus, specifically grapefruit and maybe some orange. A slight pine aroma is present.
T: The citrus was present, but not overpowering and not as dominant in the taste as it was in the smell. Not overly bitter, but did have a nice hoppy after taste.
M: Medium bodied with a nice mouthfeel. Not overly carbonated.
D: A smooth and easily consumable beer.
Comments: I wonder what this beer would taste like if it was very fresh rather than being bottled 7 weeks ago. Next Pliny needs to be fresher. However, even after spending a near two months in a bottle, the Pliny was still better than many DIPAs.
01-03-2011 04:27:23 | More by circlenine
4.72/5 rDev +1.5%
Bottled on 11-12-10; consumed on 1-1-11. Thanks to MRMOJORISIN for the Christmas gift. . . .
A: Poured from the bottle into a Piraat tulip/snifter glass. Body is clear, golden-honey in color (I poured carefully, seeing a buildup of sediment at the bottom of the bottle). A small (1/2-finger) whitish head settles on top. Sheets of lace left behind.
S: Smells of grapefruit juice. A nice nose if you like hops. As it warms a tiny bit I also get some pine.
T: Very nice - this is a hophead's dream beer. Grapefruit flavor dominates, but there's also plenty of resiny pine, which lingers into the aftertaste as an almost spicy, peppery bite. Malt foundation is there as a slightly honey sweetness - but only barely.
M: Very nice as well - juicy & smooth but without becoming syrupy.
D: Excellent. Classified as a DIPA, but it doesn't get as sticky as many that are "bigger," at, say, 9% ABV or higher. Goes down more like a straight IPA, though the buzz seems to catch up to you pretty quickly.
Notes: I had a fresher bottle a couple nights ago (it was bottled 11-22 versus 11-12) and it seemed harsher all around than this one, with less of a malt backbone. I tend to doubt 10-12 days can make much of a difference, so I'm crediting/blaming the previous beers I'd had that night for making this beer seem harsher then than I feel it is now.
01-02-2011 02:25:43 | More by Kendo
4.4/5 rDev -5.4%
Poured into an indian wells brewing pint glass, a clear pale yellow body color topped with a creamy 2 fingers of white head. Very little carbonation rises through the brew.
The scents are dominated by a fresh pine hoppiness. Malty undertones come through in a biscuit honey type smell.
The taste is great, the hops shine through in the fore with a sweet citrusy taste which is followed by a palate dominating pine bitterness. I taste fresh plants and if I could eat a combination of chinook and cascade hops this is what I would picture it tasting like.
The mouthfeel is solid, creamy and not overcarbed it slams its foot down on your palate and doesn't let up.
The drinkability is perfect, each sip leaves a bitter aftertaste in your mouth that lingers until youre ready for the next one.
01-02-2011 00:49:44 | More by dwilson01
4.7/5 rDev +1.1%
$5 for 10oz pour from the Craft Ale House in Limerick, PA at their 2nd anniversary bash.
A- This beer is the perfect golden color and had a nice head. Decent lacing all the way down my all too little glass.
s- Expertly blended hops had a great balance that is remarkable compared to most. Grapefruit and pine were the primary aromas.
t- Had a very nice balance to the pale malts, which shone through despite the high IBU. It didn't quite pack the hop punch I expected form such a notorious brew.
M- Great carbonation and a very nice aftertaste that led me wanting to finish off the whole keg!
D- At 8% this is great beer because really if this was available in PA on a non-gouging basis I would drink it all the time.
This is a damn fine IPA but I don't think its worth all the hype that some people make it out to be. I don't think I would pay the outrageous eBay prices or anything.
EDIT: Word on the street from my boys is that this is a stale keg from Craft Brew House, and that I should get a fresh bottle since it was not an accurate representation.
EDIT2: I had on tap at Blue Dog in Lansdale, PA. Much better. Way more balanced and hoppy.
12-31-2010 04:12:24 | More by TheSupremeAJ
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,327 ratings.