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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.

10,795 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,795
Reviews: 3,191
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.6%
Wants: 4,989
Gots: 1,871 | 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: 10,795 | Reviews: 3,191 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BretSikkink
4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Worth the hype. This is a great IPA.

Orange in color with fantastic lacing, served at Pizza Port Ocean Beach.

Nose is powerful and brings the hops big-time. Plenty of herbs in with the citrics, and enough malt to prevent embarrassment.

This is a tasty beer. Very hoppy and forward. Bright and citric, but well-balanced with a vinous herb note.

Malt isn't much! Alpha acid delight. Great f'ing beer.

BretSikkink, May 04, 2011
Photo of challenja
4.22/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Straight from bottle to GAsP... {0l@sT:( cup.. the first time.. A beautiful looking beer, a gorgeous orange copper tone. Good head like a well trained girlfriend.

S: Tons of citrus, tropical fruits, pineapple,honey, and slight burnt honey malt. I could smell it for days..

T: Tropical fruits, citrus (Pink Grapefruit, Ripe Tangerine and tons of Lemon), pale malts, and a slight alcohol flourish in the finish. I was really disappointed by the rating.. Either the best or second best rated beer on here. I paid 8 bucks a bottle with shipping to get it here to VA. Thank you California Wine store. Shelled out for 4. Gave one of the White Whales away to my best friend, who ranks it as his favorite IPA. It doesn't make my top 8. Boo!!

MF: Nice body, smooth but has some astringency to it. I attribute that to the overpowering Lemon zest to this IPA. I can't add anything more. I was very disappointed by its lack of MF..

Overall: The most Overrated IPA of all time. If you like this I would buy Coronado's Islander IPA and be better satisfied.

Serving type: Bottle.

challenja, May 03, 2011
Photo of Yagman3000
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Secured 17 bottles from an amazing west coast connection. My dream came true when the boxes arrived today safe and sound. Poured into a brandy sniffer that I wish I could swim in for a summer or two.
Appearance is a beautiful apricot that poured with about two inches of foamy head which disappeared rather quickly as it settled into the glass.
Smells of grapefruit and pine. Hints of apricot and peach. Hops extraordinaire!
Taste is a dream. Sweet, bitter, herbaceous, and syrupy in the best was possible. Definitely a double but not overwhelming alcohol or abusive bitterness.
Mouthfeel is again, syrupy with a remarkably clean finish.
Overall it's everything they say it is. It's the more mature fraternal twin of Dogfish's 120 minute that doesn't need to be loud to make a statement. It's power is in it's complexity.

Yagman3000, May 03, 2011
Photo of Mozz74
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

ALWAYS my first pick. Has the IPA bite, but isn't that what is all about? yay it is! Color is beautifuly set. Taster is is full of depth but not heav. ABV is average to other ales of this type. It sells out at the local Liquor store that has it sometimes. Local pub always has it on tap or some Russian River Beer, which are all gooed in my opinion!

Mozz74, May 03, 2011
Photo of ADTaber
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Btl poured into a Schlafly tulip at DLD

A: pours a golden straw color with a thick 2 finger white head with good retention, leaves a nice lacing pattern

S: floral and piney hops, pine resin, some citrus, hint of malt

T: impressive piney and citrus hop flavor, grapefruit, trace of bready malt, finishes with a nice hoppy bitterness

MF: medium bodied, medium carbonation, somewhat greasy finish

O: this is a solid IIPA, the hoppy citrus flavors complement each other nicely, glad that I was able to try it but don’t think this is really worth all the hype

ADTaber, May 02, 2011
Photo of ihoffman
4.53/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours very nicely, like gold in a glass. An impressive 2 fingers of thick, ivory colored fluff rests at the brim and nicely holds to the glass until you're finished.

S: Piney and floral, like freshly cut grass.

T: Extremely flavorful and complex. Piney upfront with some grassy undertones. Taste then turns citrusy. The in between pineapple and grapefruit flavors blend well with the subtle bready finish. Very delicious and very drinkable.

M: Medium bodied and carbonated on the lighter side. Simply clean and crisp.

O: A very carefully balanced brew that lives up to the hype. Glad I ran down to the pub to try it.

ihoffman, May 01, 2011
Photo of GrandCruDrew
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650mL bottled poured in my Russian River Pint glass. Bottled on 4/06/11. Tasting against the Surly Abrasive side by side.

A- Beautiful straw color, golden with a great 2 finger head that has great retention and lacing. It's holding on to the glass quite nicely. Pretty clear.

S- Mmmmm, citrus resin, grapefruit, floral, with good malts in the back.

T- Taste resembles the nose. Grapefruit, other citrus fruit, all the floral hops that I love. A good balance with the Malts. Good clean finish.

M- A good clean mouthfeel and solid finish.

Overall- Great DIPA. Dangerously drinkable at 8%. I'm glad that I have been able to try it so many times. I think that I'm pretty happy with my Michigan DIPA's though. I just wish Hopslam and Double Trouble were year-round.

GrandCruDrew, Apr 30, 2011
Photo of biggred1
4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to kylehayworth who just gave me this bottle for no reason other than being a cool human being!

Bottled 4/6/11

Brassy golden with a big, creamy ivory colored cap that leaves sheets of crusty lace on the glass. The aroma..yeah, real nice. Fruit juicy and resinous grapefruit rind and sticky pine sap with subtle caramel cube sweetness. The flavor is a perfect combination of some of my favorite hops, Columbus, Simcoe, Chinook and Centennial and the aromatics really bring out the flavor with each sip. The big resinous hop notes are just balanced with malt sweetness. Medium bodied, slightly sticky and smooth with soft carbonation. One of the best DIPA's I've ever had, a beer that truly lives up to the hype.

biggred1, Apr 30, 2011
Photo of abraxel
4.35/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in a BIF from holden303 -- opened mere minutes after unwrapping and poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Golden-orange with a little bit of cloudiness and sediment. An off-white head

S - Mmmm, piney, citrusy hops. A little biscuity malt, too. Very tasty.

T - Hoppy hoppy hoppy! Loads of hop flavor: piney, resiny, citrusy. There's also a lot of bitterness, but it doesn't linger or impede any of the other flavors; it just makes itself known and gets out of the way.

M - Medium mouthfeel. Smooth, moderate carbonation.

Overall, really quite good. I would gladly drink another!

abraxel, Apr 28, 2011
Photo of beerprovedwright
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lovely pour resulting in a wonderful three finger head of thick fluff. Lace is full and clings to the bottom of the glass. Color is a 13 on the SRM color chart. Snell is intense, with aromas of grapefruit, pineapple, apple, mint, and malt. Taste is very complex, with flavors of grapefruit, orange, pineapple, apple, lemon, mint, pear, and malt. Mouthfeel is very full and creamy, with goodly amount of carbonation to add zing. I really like this beer!!! So refreshing with the great citrus flavor smashing over the top. So refreshing, and a great buzz also. I will get some more.

beerprovedwright, Apr 28, 2011
Photo of MrIncognito
4.22/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Encinitas Ale House from. First glass from a freshly tapped keg

A - Copper orange body with a 2-finger white head with small, tight bubbles.

S - Strong citrus hop aroma with orange rind and grapefruit dominant. Nice sweet maltiness in the background with a fusel alcohol aroma.

T&M - Not quite a strong of a hop punch as I was expecting. Very hop forward but not overly bitter at all. Citrus hop bite and sweet malt go well together. Hop flavor lingers well and tastes great. Warming alcohol in the back. Very slick and oily mouthfeel with less than moderate carbonation.

O - Excellent DIPA and I'm very glad to have tried it. Not sure it really lives up to all the hype, but it's delicious none the less. Great flavor profile and everything is in balance. Definitely one of the better if not best DIPAs I've ever had.

MrIncognito, Apr 28, 2011
Photo of northaustin
4.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

pour is a very clear golden/light amber with minimal white lacing that disappears quickly and leaves a stringy lacing.

smell: nice resonous beginning, subtle alcohol and a floral/earthy hop massacre.

taste: sugary, followed by a hefty dose of grassy/piney hops. minimal alcohol.

mouthfeel: oily as possible. me likey.

northaustin, Apr 28, 2011
Photo of Trilogy31
4.03/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange sunset with red tones. Bottled 4/06/11. The head is three fluffy fingers of egg shell white foam that slowly dissipates leaving thick spider web lacing. Nose has rich malts, floral/pine, some lighter citrus notes and almost a little spicy hop bitterness. Taste is alot of bitter piney hops upfront, a touch of earthiness, rich malts that balance nicely with a hoppy finish, not overly sweet. Very drinkable for a dipa but i still like a touch more complexity out of what i am drinking - maybe some tropical fruit or heavier citrus notes. The beer is well balanced but it is simply perfect with just a hop/malt balance and not much else there.

Trilogy31, Apr 28, 2011
Photo of Dan3279
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have to thank my buddy Nick for the trade and getting me this beer fresh! The bottle is only 21 days from being bottled. I poured the bottle into a pint glass to find a great golden colored body with an one inch white head. As I drank the beer you could see the white lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma is dominated by the grapefruit hops and at the same time is very inviting. The taste is exceptional the floral citrus flavors hitting your pallet immediately. Though at the same time it has a great balance and is not over powering at all, its clean and crisp. There is a perfectly balanced bitter - sweet aftertaste that after a few seconds leaves you wanting more. The mouthfeel was great, like I said its very balanced and you don't really notice the alcohol at all, especially being at 8%abv.

Overall this is an exceptional beer and I think its worth the hype. My first thought is that its sad that you can't sit on this beer and save it for a special occasion. At the same time getting your hands on this finely made beer is special enough to make an occasion out of it!

Dan3279, Apr 27, 2011
Photo of tarheels86
4.22/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


A- A deeper yellow with a medium, bright white head. Decent amount of rockiness and nice retention. Very sticky, encompassing lace.

N- Heavy kumquat, red grapefruit, Valencia orange, tangerine. When this beer is fresh, you really get a tropical fruit explosion. Papaya is possible. The hop extract used here is quite a change.

T- Even when fresh PtE is quite astringent, piny, resiny, with bitter peel and melon rind. Fruit and oil up front move quickly to an onslaught of IBUs in the finish with bitter Brazil nut and Kola nut.

P- A little prickly, sharp carbonation, mostly oily and thick/oily.

It's definitely an amazing experience, but with so many amazing West Coast DIPAs out there, it's really not much better than things like fresh Sculpin, Double Jack, and greatly inferior I think to Alpine Duet.

tarheels86, Apr 27, 2011
Photo of JoshVandy
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500mL bottle opened and shared with Emmaus217 on April 24, 2011.

Bottled on March 29, 2011

A- Poured in a Cigar City snifter. An absolutely beautiful golden straw color with a fantastic 1 finger white head that stays for a long time. Incredible lacing on the glass after each sip.

S- Glorious hops. Sweet glorious hops. Pine, citrus and floral notes, along with a strong grapefruit characteristic. This smells not of this world.

T- All hops again! Sweet and strong citrus notes throughout, with a nice floral undertone. Strong grapefruit and orange presence. A well balanced and perfect Double IPA.

M- Lots of bitterness comes through from the hops, but it's surprisingly clean and crisp with a nice bitter aftertaste after your last sip, calling you back for more.

O- This is the finest example of the style I've ever had. Simple, yet complex in all the right ways, nothing really gets in its way of just knocking your socks off with hop bite and a clean and crisp feel. It does what it does perfectly.

JoshVandy, Apr 26, 2011
Photo of ccm414
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the 1 pint .9 fl oz bottle...

A- Pours a very nice, crisp looking golden honey yellowish color. Pours with a 1 and 1/2 finger head that leaves excellent lacing around the glass.

S- Fruity, sweet hops. Strong mango, orange and grapefruit come through, smells F-ing fantastic!

T- A nice citrusy hop flavor, similar to the smell, equally as pleasant. A nice bitter finish. Not as floral as the scents it gives off, but the balance is as good as it gets. The 8% abv is well masked.

M- Clean and crisp, nice medium bodied DIPA. A nice creamy feel, really perfect.

D- HIGHLY drinkable. Too bad there's not a plethora of this stuff to go around. Especially up here in New England, thanks to my brother in San Diego, I have 3 bottles!
And as the label says over and over and over and over, I will not be aging this one. Too good to wait on anyways.


ccm414, Apr 26, 2011
Photo of Schmittymack
3.45/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

OMFG, let the hate begin. Poured a golden color into that damn shaker glass. Aroma of citrus and pine. Taste was citrus with too much bitterness in the end for my palate. Good but I don't see the "holy crap. I HAVE to try this. My pallete just doesn't sem to get it.

Schmittymack, Apr 25, 2011
Photo of JayAre46
4.53/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pliny we meet again and you are 21 (Days) today congrats....Welcome, im pouring you into a stone specialty glass and you give me a white cloud of God 2 1/2 fingers of head (its the glass) your color i call, goldenhoneyfuck

A - Mangerine brilliance and flashes of pineapple...you know now that i think about it i really like pineapple flavors and aromas in beer. Slap of grapefruit in the back but mostly sweet fruits, light piney hops also somewhere in between the beginning and end, what gives. GO HOME SON

T - follow the yellow brick road, that amazing fruity pineapple and its gay cousin, mangerince. Good mango flavors blend with the fresh hop notes like something i can't explain or shows a great blendiscidic appeal. the hops not overpowering which sometimes i want, but not this time,not in the face of Zeus like hopping. The alcohol is a ghost rider in the dreams of david hasselhoff with miniature nicholas cages dancing to salsa ever so creepily.

M - Medium bodied, medium to low carbonation...for me this is where the beer becomes God like, this absolute creamy feeling is what creates it more significant than the challengers. This aspect is top of the line for the dipa family.

O - It definitely lives up to all the hype, which i find rather obnoxious but it is what it is, it is Pliny, a behemoth of a creature that ice skates to Con te Partiro while knitting portraits of his family, which brings me to my final thought...I want the younger, Cali im coming GODSPEED
Thanks D

JayAre46, Apr 25, 2011
Photo of dlap
4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottle date 3/29/11 got on a trade
A:poured a honey golden color with a loose white head.
S:the first whiff goes through my head like a wave, beautiful smell of citrus hops with pine notes
T:taste of piney hops with a bitter end that does not linger
M:increadably smooth mouth feel
O:hops meet creamy mouthfeel with a balenced bitter end,loved it
Wolf among scrubs

dlap, Apr 25, 2011
Photo of SWMeyer4141
4.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for the trade Dnarx, really appreciate you coming out there.

Bottle dated 03-29-11

Appearance-Crisp light golden color w/ a bit of haze. Two good inches of head that slowly dissapears, leaving about a 1/2 finger head thats been pretty stirdy for a while now. Nice lacing.

Smell-This is exactly the aroma I want on my air freshener in my car, house, and cologne. Hands down the best aroma I've ever smelt coming from a beer, or anything. Instantly slapped in the face with different tropical fruits and citrus. At first I got the Mango, then the citrus(lemon, grapefruit), then some pineapple and back to the mango. Perfection.

Taste-Hops aren't as much as the star as I thought. They stay around throughout the whole experience, strongest on the finish along with the pine. Off the bat you get a light, crisp, citrus flavor, and towards the middle you get some of the tropical fruits. I'm stuck between a 4.0 and a 4.5.

Mouthfeel-Creamy, smooth, crisp, once again another perfect trait. Medium bodied, great carbonation, no alcohol detected, no burn.

Overall-This beer is so easy to drink. The expectations are SOO high on this beer and the Aroma and Mouthfeel are spot on. I think I was expecting a little more of a slap in the face, but still a great beer. Nonetheless, I would drink this every day.

SWMeyer4141, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of tbrown4
4.45/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

BA review #100, perfect timing on this one.

I got a bottle of this from my buddy Jeff in Seattle. Being so sought after I was expecting a lot from this beer. A few of my friends have come across it in the Philly area on tap, but I had yet to have it. Split this bottle with my buddy Greg to celebrate his newly acquired fatherhood.

500ml bottle dated 3.21.11 (one month and one day old) -> Duvel tulip.

A - Cloudy bright gold, foamy off white head, light sticky lacing. Small head retention through the tasting. Steady carb streams at first.

S - Extremely aromatic, complex hop and citrus notes. Some dank earthy hop tones creep up as it warms.

T - Up front citrus sweet, mild hop bitterness. Middle is tart and creamy orange sweet. Feels extremely well balanced between the sweet and bitter side. Both sides shine!

M - Decent carb fizz, feel thin to medium bodied.

O - Tastes and feels very well balanced, looks gorgeous and there's no hint of alcohol. Very easy drinking and not a palate killer. This lives up to the hype. It's an extremely well made beer. Within the style you won't find one better.

tbrown4, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of buffs9
4.38/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: deep golden color, nice head, and carbonation.

Smell: immediate strong sense of hops, citrus and pine.

Taste: The hop flavor was certainly very noticeable. Wish it tasted more like it smelled.

Mouthfeel: smooth w/ a bit of creaminess.

Drinkability: Pliny is good and getting through the pint is not a problem, though I have to say I prefer Odell IPA and Mycenary to this.

Serving type: bottle

buffs9, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have had PtE several times on tap and from the bottle, so I thought it was time to give it a review.

Poured into a Pint, with bottle date code 3-21-11.

A- Bright orange, that is slightly hazy, it clears a bit, but neaver all the way. Maybe I don't wait long enough. Thick, foamy white head with good retention, fades down to almost nothing, but again never leaves. Solid lacing on the glass.

S- Smells like Pine, and Citrus - Orange, grapefruit, and bit of lemon.

T- Tastes like creamy orange and other citrus fruits with a hint of pine.

D- How smooth and creamy can this be? Nice carbonation and balance.

O- You can't ignore the hype, but this one is tops. Compares nicely to Younger, but the flavor is just enough differnt. If you haven't tried it yet, get one now!

HuskyinPDX, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of TenHornsProud
4.45/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light, golden color with thick white head that does not dissipate.

Smells of fruity hop and subtle malt

Tastes of hop....fruity (tropical fruit notes), tangy, slightly bitter, sweet...grapefruit in the back.

Mouthfeel is great, silky smooth.

I was expecting to be knocked out by this beer, but it is subtle and really makes its point on the smooth, fruity hop flavor that lingers on the palate longer than you would want most other beers.

Edit: Two more bottles later and drinking other, comparable beers, this really is worth the hype. The oily finish is simply like no other.

TenHornsProud, Apr 22, 2011
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,795 ratings.