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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.

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 cassanoj


4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Craft Ale House in Limerick. Poured into a flute glass. Orange golden color, white head, solid layer of lacing.

Smells like the freshest hops in the world, wilderness fresh. Pilsner malts, citrus, grassy notes. Seriously, did they pluck these ingredients from the Garden of Eden?

Tastes like... a perfectly balanced beer. The malt lays the groundwork for the hops to do their deed. Clementine or tangerine citrus, grapefruit. Balanced, fresh.

Mouth feel is full and creamy, and then becomes dry, crisp and bitter.

The word of the day is "balanced." I also feel I'll appreciate PtE the more I get my hands on it. The Elder is an intelligently humble beer and I don't think just one tasting does Him justice.

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2010 19:46:59 | More by cassanoj
Photo of guyforget


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

Delicious beer.

Appearance is great, a nice golden orange w/ a thick head that fades to a lighter foam. Constant carbonation floating to the top of the glass.

Smells excellent, huge citrusy ruby red grapefruit and pine from the hops. In the back theres a little malt and maybe some yeast. No surprises, but the nose is exceptional, mouth-watering.

Taste lives up to the scent. Certainly the hops are the star, thats the point. The grapefruit notes are huge.

Mouthfeel is great, theres good carbonation and its pretty crisp. Bitter lingers long but isnt puckering or overly resinous.

I dont know if I could have more than 2 pints in a night, but certainly drinkable in that I could have one every day.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 23:31:37 | More by guyforget
Photo of soupyman10

District of Columbia

4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally got my hands on a few bottles of these through South Bay Drugs and Joey - thanks again.

Pour is fine, deep orange with a finger of slightly off-white head that dissolves down to a thick foam. Tons of rising bubbles through the crystal clear beer. Light lacing.

Huge explosion of smells when you pour the beer. Enormous, beautiful fruity citrus and pine hops. Light bread. A light malt backbone to balance things out. A monstrous and fantastic nose, reminiscent of their similarly fantastic Blind Pig.

Flavor is likewise fantastic, seems to work perfectly with the aromas. No surprises here. Huge pine and citrus hops up front. A nice scratchy hop bitterness on the tongue, all over the place. Light cookies in the background. Big but also perfect example of a West Coast IPA. A big drying beer. Incredibly smooth. Tastes how an IPA does in my head, if that makes sense.

Good medium body with busy carbonation. No issues here.

A really delicious beer that is super drinkable, to the point where I think it straddles the line between IPA and DIPA - almost too smooth for how hoppy it is. Fantastic.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 01:31:26 | More by soupyman10
Photo of tattooedtolley


4/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a yellow gold. The aroma is mainly hops, fruity and piney. The taste is what shocked me most, there is a real apple sort of flavor. I don't know what that is but its interesting. I can't say I love it but I do find it intriguing. Enough bitterness to satisfy. Pretty drinkable for a larger IPA. Its obviously a well made beer and worth seeking out for the experience but the hype that seems to still be around it is maybe a bit much. I am glad though that much more of the country is seeing some distribution and hopefully one day we'll be getting it over here.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2009 20:35:25 | More by tattooedtolley
Photo of caresville

New Jersey

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

bottled on 10/08/09. poured into pint glass from bottle. bottle courtesy of jklinck.

before i review this, i just want to say that this now surpasses DFH 90 Minute as my new favorite hop monster.

a- dehydrated piss yellow or a carbonated looking motts apple juice.

s- grapefruit, grapefruit, grapefruit!! smells like if you were burning various bitter and sour fruits like grapefruits, lemons and limes on a bale of hay.

t&m- wow. burnt grapefruit.

d- if you are not into hops you are not going to like this beer. plain and simple. if you are, i find it EXTREMELY difficult to not enjoy this beer, or fall in love with this beer. period.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2009 06:00:20 | More by caresville
Photo of hrking


4.05/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nose is very floral. Hops galore from the first sip all the way through. Finishes dry and thin. This one is fruity sweet with hops and slightly resiny. Maybe picking up some sugars here as well. great IPA from a master brewer...This one being 100+ ibu's a little too hoppy for me anything over 70 is considered a waste of hops but this is a hop monster..

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 23:50:09 | More by hrking
Photo of MysterySwirl


3.5/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mike for the legendary PTE.

Opening this bottle and pouring into a pint glass, i get a clear orange color with golden highlights and a 1finger length white foam head.

This beer is pretty balanced. There's bitterness and citrus-y notes with a definite grapefruit presence and a sweetness that reminds me of pineapple but that could be the solidness of the malt that lets it balance against the bitterness of the hops.

Everyone should try this beer at least once. I'm not a huge fan of IPAs but I'd drink it again.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 07:27:34 | More by MysterySwirl
Photo of Mora2000


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

Thanks to Kaiser81 for this bottle.

Pours a golden color with a white head. The predominant aroma is grapefruit. There is a ton of hop flavor in this beer with grapefruit and citrus as well as maybe some earthiness. The mouthfeel is a little thinner than I expected but that doesn't detract from the overall experience. Very drinkable beer with a complex hop flavor profile, but the beer is still very well balanced. I can see why this beer is rated as highly as it is.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 04:07:59 | More by Mora2000
Photo of HeyItsChili


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

Picked this up at Florian's in Truckee, CA.

A - Pours an opaque, glowing orange with golden highlights and a foamy white head.

S - Citrusy hops, strong piny resin.

T - Frontend is nice and bittersweet, extremely clean, crisp, and refreshing. Multiple levels of hoppy bitterness.

M - Not as sticky as a lot of comparable DIPAs, pretty smooth and medium bodied.

Exceedingly drinkable. I could go for another one right now.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2009 04:14:07 | More by HeyItsChili
Photo of BuffaloTapHugger

New York

4.35/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Light color of a hazy orange, spectacular display with tons of white foamy head and top notch lacing.

S: Citrus hops and Cat Urine. A+

T: Super hopped up, clean throughout the drinking process, lots of citrus notes. The kicker!

M: Medium body with a bite, stellar carb action, sticky sticky, ABV could kick ya while your down if ya know what I mean. Would love to session if ever given the opportunity.

D: Pedestal this brew cause that's what it needs. Pliny is welcomed any day 'round here, my address is...

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2009 02:07:06 | More by BuffaloTapHugger
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


4.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is what beer is all about. And excuse me if the review doesn't conform to your Gestappo (sic) desires of conformity.

Appearance, whoa, straw yellow, but so damn clear, but I never like anything this color, so I can't say its exceptional. Everything else is. Delic uber (subject to deletion, not English?) hoppy resinous grapefruit make your nose hairs stand up aroma. Taste is almost like you feel your dopamine kick in and give you a physical addiction to the beer. Mouthfeel and drinkability = forever. Its got a gripload of delicious hops throughout it. Citrus, pine and tropical fruit all at once, a corn syrup primer/addition keeps the body light and dry. This is what its all about.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2009 05:58:44 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of BedetheVenerable


4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 16.9oz slimline, Euro-style brown pop top with awesome, minimalist label with really cool info and drinking instructions about the beer.

Appearance: Hazy dark golden beer with lots of fine sediment in suspension and a bright white cap that shows really nice retention and a bit of lace.

Smell: Actually more subdued than I was expecting; it's not a "rip yer face off" kind of beer, it seems. Nevertheless there are gorgeous citrus and pine aromas; fresh, vibrant, clean, and supremely inviting.

Taste: I'm at a loss for words here, I really am. I was unsure what to expect from Pliny, as it's a beer whose reputation precedes it. There are not unforseen flavors here, etc. It's got the typical citrus/pine notes of the best American IPAs; they're fresh and juicy with just a touch of dry maltiness in the background. There's nothing outrageous here; rather, everything is in perfect balance. This is fresh, with just a hint of hoppy sharpness. Alcohol levels are hidden dangerously well, and while the bitterness is substantial, it's not overly aggressive or overwhelming. Pliny just puckers the mouth slightly and makes you want another sip.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy and supremely smooth.

Drinkability: High

Conclusion: It's a legend; I'm so glad I finally got to try this. Thanks SO much to Tolann for this, what an awesome trade. I can honestly say that this is everything I was expecting and more (and I was afraid that I would be disappointed because of the hype that this beer carries with it).

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2009 04:48:21 | More by BedetheVenerable
Photo of bbkd3b


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

Poured from a 500mL bottle into a tulip glass. Pretty excited about this one, and when I pour it, I can see the hype so far.

A: Great golden color, with a thin head (beige? off-white, at least) and decent lacing. Exceptional clarity in spite of the beer's sparkling nature. Fantastic.

S: Wow... nothing quite like this. Strong pine and citrus scent, but nothing overbears. Each time I smell it, it's wonderful. High character!

T: Pine right off the bat, on the tip of the tongue, side of the tongue, doesn't matter. BUT, it's assisted with ye ol' citrus flavor. Hop characters all around, but there's a sweetness underneath that keeps it balanced and... seriously, this beer is amazing.

M: Body may be a little thin, but there's really good carbonation. The alcohol has no presence, greatly hidden. Aftertaste: fantastic.

D: Gimmie some more! To give you an idea: the store I bought this at put a limit to 4 per customer, because otherwise it'd never be in stock. High drinkability.

Overall/notes: I drank this and watched In Bruges. I know, it's a movie set in Belgium, but I didn't have any at the time! Didn't matter: they're both amazing. Drink this beer if you get a chance. I'm buying more before I leave for Columbia. Lots, lots more....

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2009 08:42:24 | More by bbkd3b
Photo of Anthony1


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

Pours a nice clean/clear golden yellow color, some carbonation, nice small fizzy off-white head which lasted a little while, some islands and sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is hoppy, piney, grapefruit, and some caramel. The taste is a little sweet and lots of hops, and grapefruit. Medium body. Very drinkable,

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2009 06:37:45 | More by Anthony1
Photo of NYCWheatFanSC

New York

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

Bottle courtesy of 916tmcmanus916, a great trader! bottled two weeks ago on 11/30

A - a nice shimmering golden yellow with an orangeish light malty hue. Quickly receding white head.

S - really strong notes of citrus and pine, plenty of grapefruit in this one!

T - Pine and hops, hops hops! This blows many other DIPA's out of the water in terms of hoppiness, especially the east coasters I'm used to. Even taste some tart, not-yet-ripe pineapple in the back. Alcohol is seemingly non-existent despite the 8% ABV.

M - Very nicely carbonated, almost perfectly. The slightly lower than normal carbonation gives it a creamy goodness.


Serving type: bottle

12-22-2009 04:17:47 | More by NYCWheatFanSC
Photo of ppoitras


4.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

500ml bottle obtained via SS09 from vasdef42. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" golden beige head above the slightly cloudy golden amber brew. Pillowy head falls ever-so slowly, with sticky lasting lace. Aroma is stoutly of herbal and piney hops. Taste begins with a peek of bitter, goes sweet in the middle, and closes with bitterness and the hops character seen in the nose. Mouthfeel is super smooth, and drinkability is incredible. A beer this hoppy without providing nasty bitter face takes skill. This one is always a pleasure.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2009 23:52:56 | More by ppoitras
Photo of Harry72


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

Expertly poured into a 10 oz tulip glass at my favorite tavern by my favorite bartender. End of a rough week, and desparately in need of something good. Pliny did not disappoint.

A: golden straw color, very pure white head.

S: aromas of pine, bartlett pear and dusty books of philosophy

T: Complex and lawyered, with hops, magnificent hops predominating, with a slight hints of malt.

M: May I have another?

D: A third please?

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2009 18:39:37 | More by Harry72
Photo of cbarrett4


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

Poured from tap at Henry's 12th Street Tavern in Portland:

What a smoking ass beer! This is arguably the best IPA I have ever had. The guy next to me was a beer novice and asked what I had... he ordered one and his first instinct was "HOLY SH*T! That's one mean beer!"

Poured with a very persistent head that settled to a thick lace. With just a swirl of the tulip glass the head would form back up nicely. The nose is intense with lots of pine and citrus, great malts to balance. On the palate the hops are aggressive but work well into the overall richness, body, and complexity of this beer. Talk about depth, the finish is long and complex.

Seriously one of the best beers I have ever tasted.

Serving type: on-tap

12-19-2009 02:37:22 | More by cbarrett4
Photo of steve8robin


4.1/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one in a trade...

A: Kind of colored like a bud. Little white head that fades quickly.

S: Smells slightly hoppy with a strong scent of pear.

T: Very hoppy upfront with a nice peary aftertaste. Not awesome, but not too bad.

M: Highly carbonated with a hoppy aftertaste.

D: Goes down decent. Not hard to get down like normal IPA's (I'm not a fan of IPA's).

All in all, for an IPA lover, I think this would be awesome. It has the IPA refreshment but also has a unique flavor for an IPA. Original, but not really my style.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2009 01:45:42 | More by steve8robin
Photo of raverjames


4.2/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a recent gift from ipa247. I have had it a few times before, but I never actually made an attempt to review it.

A: Darker golden color with a nice white 2 finger head. Great head retention. You can tell this beer isn't filtered very much because of the cloudy body.
S: Slight citrus with lots of pine. I can smell a bit of grapefruit, but the pine is the main character.
T: Sweet pine needles and bitter grapefruit. Some earthy tones come forward here that I didn't find in the aroma.
M: Bitter, yet slightly sweet. Med carbonation give an nice refreshing sensation.
D: I could drink it all night! I wish this was available in VA.

This is one of the top ranked IPAs, but the flavor profile is just a bit too piny for me. I prefer the grapefruit brews like Sculpin. I still love this beer and recommend it to all IPA lovers.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2009 00:55:57 | More by raverjames
Photo of TheKingsOfHop


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

500ml. bottle poured into our OPa-OPa pint glasses:

A: Clean golden apple colored body, with a strong flow of carbonation leading up to a thin white head. The head leaves behind a thick concrete lacing. Leaving this beer looking pure and well constructed.

S: The aroma is filled with fresh cut grapefruit, than there is grassy, and piny undertones with hints of tropical fruits such as mango and papaya.

T: Right out the gate this is easily the most balanced DIPA we have had, that being said: Both ends of the spectrum are hit, from sweet rich caramel malts and toffee, to nice hints of floral. Citrus delicious piny hops that grab your tongue without letting go till your very last sip.

M: Creamy, and light. Yet full bodied for a refreshing DIPA.

D: Will satisfy the biggest hop head, but at the same time it's an awesome introduction beer to the style. Extremely drinkable, worth seeking out. "Highly Recommended"

The Kings Of Hop

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2009 00:00:53 | More by TheKingsOfHop
Photo of ArtofBrewing


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

Nothing short of spectacular!
A: Clear, light honey color, with a delicate head.
S: Hoppy perfection. Herbal with a slight hint of honey.
T: Hoppy, slightly biter, w/ a mild sweetness in aftertaste
M: Perfectly carbonated and smooth
D: Near perfect IPA. I will drink PTE whenever it is available.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2009 02:49:16 | More by ArtofBrewing


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

Served in a snifter. Finally.

A: Average head, white & fizzy and didn't last too long on my draft pour. Light but bright yellowish-orange colored body that was crystal clear and sparkling. Average lacing also but afterall, lacing is nice to look at, not really indicative of anything I'm concerned about. The bubbles marched like ants, in perfect line and cadence, all the way up the sides of the glass.

S: Enormous and somehow (almost miraculously) tame hop aroma. ENTER: slight biscuity malt character, right on time. Not only was the hop:malt ratio on point but so was the distribution of hop aromas. The hop profile: Pine, citrus (grapefruit) and grass, and even a little bit of pine, citrus (grapefruit) & grass too! Light suggestion of leafy yeast character as well. Perfection. 5.0, no questions asked.

T: The well-mannered Pliny introduces peach & clementines. Delighted to make YOUR acquaintance... Acceptably low level of phenols. Moderately bitter and moderately acidic which is perfectly rounded out by a light sweet flavor. This beer really exercises all corners of the tongue. Phenomenal.

M: Full body. Big carbonation that is both fizzy and lively. Slightly astringent.

D: I guess after 10 or so of these, I might consider trying something else.

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2009 01:40:59 | More by FeDUBBELFIST
Photo of stewart124


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

Pours a hazy orange color with lighter hues. There is a very nice off-white head that is thick and rocky.

There is a bold hop presence in the nose along with a huge malty note.

Whoa! What a complex beer! Pine, citrus, caramel and a huge bready character. There are esters of pineapple and pear that only add more complexity.

The mouthfeel is so smooth and rich. I really couldn't ask for a smoother drinking DIPA. The alcohol is very-well hidden and it finishes suprisingly dry enough that I could keep putting these away if only it was sold in the area.

A truly solid DIPA. I had been waiting quite a while to try this and maybe the hype behind the beer influenced my review. Who knows? Any fan of hoppy beers needs to seek this one out.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2009 00:10:26 | More by stewart124
Photo of TheJollyHop


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

Bottled on 10/21/09 - Poured into a tulip

This highly coveted DIPA pours a light amber with a very thin head. The color reminds me of a tropical, thirst quenching elixir, which is arguably pretty close to its essence.

The Aroma of PtE is arguably its most standout quality. Tropical fruits (mango) are prominent with some floral notes scattered about. Beneath this sweet hoppy aroma are some undertones of pine.

The taste is very smooth, with no astringency at all. Some tropical fruit and biscuit malt is noticeable as well. PtE really showcases the sweet, refreshing, and crisp qualities, that hops can impart to a beer. Malt sweetness definitely plays a supporting role, and there is only the smallest touch of lingering bitterness on the aftertaste. There is some pleasant alcohol warming at the end of the swallow.

Lightly carbonated with a thin body, but perfect for the refreshing nature of this beer. With the combination of crispness and noticeable but subtle sweetness, PtE ranks among one of the most drinkable DIPA's I have had the pleasure to savor.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2009 06:05:35 | More by TheJollyHop
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 9,913 ratings.