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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.

10,259 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,259
Reviews: 3,140
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 4,715
Gots: 1,660 | FT: 56
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: 10,259 | Reviews: 3,140 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of axeman9182

New Jersey

4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Glad to crack a beer of this caliber for my 50th review, and cheers to psiweaver for the May 12th 2010 bottle. The beer pours a burnt orange in my Duvel tulip, with a frothy, 3 finger off white head quickly forming and lingering. The lacing is decent, but just a bit short of earning a 5 for appearance. A pungent hop aroma is present even as I pour, and grapefruit, pineapple, and bitter orange peels are appreciable. Each sip leads off with the briefest of flashes of bready and caramel malt sweetness, before a shotgun blast of hop bitterness asserts itself. This fades into a more citrus hop flavor, largely pineapple and grapefruit. If the hop bitterness vs flavor balance was tipped a little bit more towards flavor Pliny would get a 5, but it's not quite there. Carbonation is high, but to good effect as it helps highlight all the juicy hop goodness, and I'm surprised at how creamy the mouthfeel is given the relative lack of malt presence. I wouldn't expect to notice much alcohol at 8%, but I don't find any at all as I sip on Pliny, and it's so damn tasty that it's a struggle to stop and savor this despite the bitterness. Truly world class, and the template against which all DIPAs should be measured.

06-11-2010 03:22:57 | More by axeman9182
Photo of rawthar


4.43/5  rDev -4.7%

A- Hazy golden blood-tinged yellow, with a thin white sticky head that left some pretty traces of film and collar.

S- A brilliantly bitter hop assault, more on the pine and grass side than citrus. Nary a malt tone sneaking past that concrete wall of hops.

T- An intense hard bitter hop, with a sharp tar/rubber tire backbone, a lot like PtY, but with a tad bit less of a complexity. Can't wait to try them side by side next year.

M- Thick, full, and robust.

D- If there weren't so may other awesome beers to sample at this Philly Beer Week event, I'd have been drinking this all night. Can't wait until the next time it taps nearby.

06-11-2010 02:11:47 | More by rawthar
Photo of robwestcott


4.58/5  rDev -1.5%

bottled 3/26/10

poured the color of golden honey, with a bit of sediment, from the bottle to a dogfish head signature glass with a full finger foamy head leaving quite a bit of lacing. faint piney aroma that's overwhelmed (in a good way) with citrus of all kinds, grapefruit, orange, and mystery citrus of unknown origins ?

both tangy, and sweet upon the first sip with a slight, though not bothersome at all, bite to the tip of the tongue and all the way back. incredibly smooth and creamy.

i'm not schooled to the DIPA, but i'm bettin' they're not all this dam good.

06-10-2010 00:34:16 | More by robwestcott
Photo of korguy123

Ontario (Canada)

5/5  rDev +7.5%

Bottled 5/12/2010 Courtesy of whitebricke
Here we go the moment of truth!

A- Clear, light copper hue. Gigantic fluffy white head. Superb lacing.

S- Piney, citrusy goodness. Orange grapefruit, mandarins. The smell is making my mouth water; can only hope that it tastes as good as it smells.

T- Boy does it ever! Piney, sweet, grapefruit, lemon rind. The bitter hop oils puts a smile on my face.

M- Creamy, silky, bitterness tingles my cheeks. The feel is just perfect.

D- This is by far the most drinkable DIPA I've ever had. Nowhere do you realize that this is 8%. It's too bad I'm 2500+ km away because I'd never drink another beer.

Extra special thanks to whitebricke for supplying me with this! It's travelled very far, and we hit a couple hiccups on the way but he was right; it was WELL WORTH IT!! This definately is a world class brew and I'm so glad I got to try this. Thanks Ted!

06-09-2010 00:32:28 | More by korguy123
Photo of Dantman


5/5  rDev +7.5%

This was bought at Capone's in Norristown, PA. I got this awesome IPA on tap and it filled my palette with a long-lasting, yet appealing hoppy-ness. I found the smell to be strong and it enhanced the taste as I enjoyed this beer. It is certainly one that I will enjoy again.

06-08-2010 23:14:03 | More by Dantman
Photo of Lolli1315


4.58/5  rDev -1.5%

A- Nice white frothy head with beautiful sticking lacing all over the glass. Orange hazy color, mouth is watering just from looking at it.

S- Heavy doses of bitter hops, and earthy pine smell along with some citrus compliments. Some citrus fruits noticeable as well, pineapple and maybe grapefruit to be specific before they are drowned back into the hop oils.

T- There may be the faintest hint of malt that is overwhelmed by hop bitterness. The grassy and pine tastes very evident as citrus notes dart in for a glimpse of taste before fading back into the extreme hoppy taste. Finishes with a slight but smooth taste of alcohol that leaves you refreshed.

M- Medium body with a moderate amount of carbonation that makes this smooth drinking for a summer day.

D- Surely a palate killer as this one attacks the mouth pretty well, but still remarkably easy to drink the entire bottle.

06-08-2010 00:51:44 | More by Lolli1315
Photo of BeerFMAndy


4.33/5  rDev -6.9%

12 oz tap pour into an American tumbler at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA.

A - The glass arrives at the table with a lightly hazy golden yellow color with a thin white head from the pour and good lace left all over the glass.

S - Pliny just reeks of American hops. It's got a huge, bold aroma of grapefruit citrus and a hint of lime and pine. Pale malts back it all up nicely. A fantastic hoppy nose.

T - The flavor mirrors the aroma with a bold grapefruit citrus punch and lemon and pine hints. The malts are overshadowed in the taste but, really, that's ok.

M - This beer packs a bitter punch to the finish. The hops just tear you up. Medium-bodied and well carbonated.

D - I love this beer and it's flavor and potency but it's just a little bit bitter for me to put down more than one of.

06-07-2010 23:34:26 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of Gorgoroth


4.83/5  rDev +3.9%

Special thanks to mattc7301 on eBay for this excellent acquisition.
Bottle date: 04/23/10
Reviewed: 05/16/10

Presentation: Lovely brown glass bomber with the minimalistic, post-modernist-looking label using primarily bold red and green contrasting colors. Contains some humorous messages about drinking Pliny while fresh around the perimeter of the label.

Appearance: Steady pour into an oversize snifter yields a deep gold body with orange hues, creamy off-white head which dissipates quickly to small, foamy islands, leaves creamy, spotted lacing; active carbonation.

Smell: An assault of floral hops on the front of the nose with elements of spicy black pepper, honey, and pine.

Taste: Sweet floral hops up front with a bitter and dry hop finish; notable malt character with honey notes on the palate.

Mouthfeel: A rather thin body with a creamy texture from the head, lively carbonation, and a smooth but very dry finish.

Drinkability/Final Thoughts: A very potent but also very drinkable brew. I figure at a few weeks after bottle-date, I'm drinking it about as fresh as I ever will in Michigan. And as such, I was a little surprised to find that it is not the most outrageously hoppy or powerful Imperial IPA I've had. But that doesn't detract from the beer itself. I do think it lives up to its infamy and am very glad I was able to come by a bottle, especially such a fresh one. If they were available in my area, I'd probably buy them often, but as it ends up costing me nearly $30 to get a bottle of this in my hands, I'll probably stick with just the one for now.

06-07-2010 02:15:26 | More by Gorgoroth
Photo of Brabander


4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

My 100th review!!

Got the beer in a trade with SevenB. Many thanks to my BA brother Troy from Oregon!

This is my very first VERY good American beer that i drank. I can see why this Pliny is on the 7th place in beerheaven.

Poured in my Struise glass, a gift from Urbain from the Struise Brouwers, the beer shows itself very well. A nice big white head with a fluid which has a lot of carbonation. That's what i like in a beer.

The smell is exeptional, i am not the best 'smeller' but here i smelled a lot of nice fruits like peach and a bit of pineapple.

The fruittaste gives the beer a very good mouthfeel. A hell of a beer, can i get some more?

Drinking an aged pliny? Read here:

We had a beertasting at Beerpirates place on sunday the 15th of may 2011. Jeffo, Claark13, Bierschenker, beerpirates and i drank a whole bunch of beers. Thanks for your hospitality Wim!

Poured in my Westvleteren tastingglass this beer still looks good. almost a year old it has lost some of it's hops. Very good to drink though!

I had a third pliny in august 2011. To be honest the pliny was not as good as the Elliot brew from the Struise brouwers. Too bitter....

06-05-2010 19:01:09 | More by Brabander
Photo of DeutschesBier


4.88/5  rDev +4.9%

This is only my second review, and I just had the honor of trying my first Pliny. To celebrate this, I will now write my review as a conglomeration of every review ever written for Pliny on Beeradvocate.

Serving type: 500ml bottle (dated 5/17/10) poured elegantly into my luxurious Ultra des Ecaussinnes tulip glass.

Smell: As I slowly cracked open the silver cap, my face was immediately hit with the hop power of 1,000 Saturns (if Saturn was made of hops). The beautiful bouquet of orange, grapefruit, and other citrus smells hung in the air like an autumn leaf slowly falling off a tree.

Appearance: A light gold color like the Summer sun setting over a plush prairie. The sheer beauty of this beer makes me want to go outside and paint a landscape.

Taste: A wonderful dry, malty finish strains the tastebuds with bitterness. As soon as the glorious hop flavor slowly fades away like a dying man taking his last breath, the bitterness rushes in like a speeding freight train. Only this freight train is carrying bitterness.

(Okay, I'm done. In all seriousness, this was an amazing beer that truly lived up to the hype. I am so glad I got to try this fresh.)

06-04-2010 15:02:22 | More by DeutschesBier
Photo of Pabs311


4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Courtesy of Smutty33

A- pours a beautiful, clear yellow-orange. nice thick white foamy head that settles slowly leaving some good looking lacing and making a mess of the glass.

S- alot of hops. i picked up some nice citrus hops as well as some nice tropical fruit aromas. also a backing of pine and earthy hops here. there's a decent malt backbone to the aroma as well that holds up nicely against the hops.

T- not what i was expecting. i was expecting a bitter hop blowout all the way through. exact opposite. nice fruit hop flavors mainly citrus and tropical fruit with some pine and earth in the background. good maltiness helps carry this beer along and doesnt let the hops beat the hell out of ur palate.

M/D- full bodied, smooth as hell. great beer and easy drinkin for the ABV on this one. not much to complain about here. i look forward to gettin my hands on some more of this one.

06-02-2010 19:45:37 | More by Pabs311
Photo of MbpBugeye


4.65/5  rDev 0%

Stoney73 sent me two bottles, the second one was an awesome surprise. Both bottled on 5/17/10. I finally get to try some PtE.

A- Very nice looking. Super clear and bright, glowing orange with yellow highlights. The head is very dense and very white. It sticks around for a while before it fades into some soap sudsy looking pillows. Spotty lacing all the way day is the result.

S- Wow, amazing smelling. Obviously its heavy on hops. All sorts of hops. The pine is the first that comes to my attention. Lots of very spicy hops, rosemary, parsley and sage. Swirl this around after it warms slightly and there are notes of orange creamsicle and grapefruits.

T- I was slightly let down in the taste department. I cant give it a 5 here. I wanted more of that creamsicle, grapefruit and juiciness I was getting on the tail end of the nose. There is lots of pine and spiciness. Alcohol comes around from time to time upon the finish. Towards the end of the glass, after it got slightly warmer, malts came out. They were toasty and nicely sweet. A big wash of bitterness lingers well after each swallow. While it is very good, its not the best tasting IPA Ive had.

M- Dry, lingeringly bitter but not oily. The body is right around medium as is the carbonation.

D- I really could drink this stuff all night. It goes down way too easily.

06-02-2010 06:21:08 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne


4.83/5  rDev +3.9%

I've had this beer on tap before, but this review is from a 500ML bottle with a Bottled On date of May 17, 2010, so just about two weeks ago. I poured this into a Duvel Tulip.
Look: A hazy, pumpkin orange with moderate carbonation. Large, 2 1/2 finger head that stuck around for about 5 minutes. Moderate lacing is left behind.
Smell: Hops all over the place. Lots of pine and citrus notes and some less pronounced earthy hops in the background. There is a sugary alcohol at the end, but it isn't too overwhelming.
Taste/Mouth: Almost as good as on tap. Just like it smells. Unlike a few other DIPA's I've had, they really found a great mixture of hops that are strong and bitter, but not overwhelming. Goes down smooth and dry.
Drink: Great price, great beer. It's a big beer but won't knock you down. I could sip on a few of these often enough. It's just a bummer that I have to cross town to get it.

06-01-2010 22:27:19 | More by OBeerMeGreatOne
Photo of TrueRates


4.47/5  rDev -3.9%

Pour is light amber-copper with small white ringed hear around edge of glass. Aroma is spruce, resin, pine, citrus, orange rind, and green hops. Flavor has a sharp hop bite with forest green flavors and citrusy rinds. Pretty clean finish and dry on the palate. Drinkability is dangerously high and extremely food friendly. Dear Vinnie, please expand distribution to the great old Midwest.

06-01-2010 03:04:33 | More by TrueRates
Photo of ryno09


4.43/5  rDev -4.7%

A little bit fruit and some pine-yness - just your typical west coast IIPA nose. Bottled on 5/12 this is about as fresh as I could get. The hops hit you up front with freshness but the malt nicely balances out in the end. Just a really smooth drinking beer with incredible balance considering the hop bill on it.

05-30-2010 23:05:21 | More by ryno09
Photo of IBUStu


5/5  rDev +7.5%

This beer is well spoken for here. I get floral grapefruits and oranges in both the smell and the taste and the balance of grapefruits and oranges tilts to the oranges as it warms up in the glass a little. The feel is perfectly viscous, the carbonation is perfectly carbonated, and the look is perfect looking. It's a bright orange sunset with bubbles.

This is my favorite beer and I consider myself lucky to have it within a 5 minute walk of my house. I never drink more than one in a night and rarely more than one a week. The day I get bored of this beer will be a sad one indeed.

05-30-2010 07:11:00 | More by IBUStu
Photo of liquidcraft


4.55/5  rDev -2.2%

Appears golden and rich in color with a foamy head that stuck around for a couple of minutes. Smells like I'd expect with the bright hop dominance. Lots of grapefruit, a little pine with some baked bread in the background. Tantalizing.

Tastes great. Awesome balance between the citrus and pine like flavors. The citrus has elements of grapefruit, oranges, lemon zest. Starts out with the sweetness of fruit and the bitterness flares up briefly in the finish. Doesn't feel too carbonated or too syrupy, huge fan and wish that RR distributed to MI (really enjoyed the other couple of beers I had from them). Wouldn't mind having a couple of these in a night.

05-29-2010 20:59:33 | More by liquidcraft
Photo of homebrew311


4.9/5  rDev +5.4%

Received as a kick ass extra from an awesome trader- thanks millah! I've been wanting to try this for a long time now. This bottle is 2 weeks young!

A: pours a very pale golden yellow color with a half finger head upon pour, head leaves sticky splotches of bubbles, head doesn't retain itself for long

S: holy hops! huge pungent juicy aroma of grapefruit, lemon, pine, some grassy notes, and a nice noticeable malt backbone, bready notes with yeasty accents. This stuff smells amazing.

T: the front has a lot of nice sweetness with notes of honey and grapefruit, this gives way to a huge hop bitterness, nothing overwhelming but certainly in your face, this then gives way to the malt backbone that I noticed on the nose. The balance is perfect. Everything is big and bold, but nothing overwhelms. As I sip on this, I wonder where the 8% abv is, because it drinks like a 4%er. Wow, I have been missing out on this brew- extraordinary!

MF: clean crisp mouthfeel, medium carbonation, very smooth going down

D: this is a world class DIPA and I am thrilled to have finally tried it, and super fresh as well. This certainly rivals Abrasive with my favorite DIPA around.

05-27-2010 04:03:31 | More by homebrew311
Photo of MarvinSnyder

West Virginia

4.53/5  rDev -2.6%

5-25-10 - poured into a tulip glass - 500ml capped bottle - bottled on date is 3-22-10

Appearance: Pours a spectacular, light, golden, honey brown. This beer is clear to mildly hazy with a creamy, bubbly, white head. Nice lacing forms and lingers all over the glass. A truly beautiful beer!

Smell: There is the distinct aroma of evergreen pine, zesty grapefruit, spearmint, ripe pineapple and sweet candied orange with a suggestion of honey.

Taste: Hop bitterness lead by citrus and pine flavors are balanced by some bready malts and candied oranges. Also, the hop bitterness is experienced both up front and on the back of the tongue with artful equilibrium.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation. Again, nicely balanced, not too thick or thin. The feel is smooth and silky over the palate with just the right amount of syrupy consistency. It becomes more impressive and discernibly complex as the beer warms a little.

Drinkability: Exceptionally drinkable with incredible balance. In addition, the alcohol hides in this beer, quietly providing gradual warmth.

Comments: An outstanding beer overall! This is my first Pliny, so this review is probably a bit premature, as multiple tastings are needed to properly gauge its complexity.

05-26-2010 00:05:53 | More by MarvinSnyder
Photo of Bizz88


4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Picked up this gem at the super liquor mart in Littleton CO. Poured a golden yellowish sunburst orange hue with a fast diminishing two finger head with some lacing that lasted thru to the end. Aromas of piney hops, citrus, an a touch of honey. Had an grapefruit orange rind touch of sweet malt taste with a dry finish. Light medium body with the right amount of carbonation. Oh yeah! Will drink this little darlin again.

05-25-2010 22:16:06 | More by Bizz88
Photo of CraftAleRookie


4.93/5  rDev +6%

Served in a tulip glass at the Blue Dog.

A- Golden (with a hint of orange), hazy- with a 1 finger foamy head that reduced to a lace-foam that painted murals on the glass.

S- Hop heaven- citrus, pine, citrus, pine, and citrus. Part of the experience of this beer is the nose full of sweet hop aroma with each sip.

T- Full hop flavor, but the bitterness does not overpower up front. Dryer, subtle finish with more of a hop bite on the back of the tongue.

M- Nice balance-doesn't feel thick (for a DIPA); good carbonation, medium to full body.

D- If there were a hotel next door, I'd continue to drink these until I'm just able to walk to my room. Unless I have friends along who can carry me, if so pour me another!

This beer truly lives up to it's legend. You don't drink it, you experience it!

05-25-2010 22:11:50 | More by CraftAleRookie
Photo of Gobzilla


4.65/5  rDev 0%

I've had this beer so many times but I finally have the guts to review this gem.

A: pours a golden orange with yellow hues as well with a finger of fluffy white head and leaves sticky lacing all the way down the glass after every sip.

S: loads of fabulous piney hops with nice sweet malts, citrus fruits, caramel, and hints of honey in the nose as well.

T: beautiful pine hop notes like the nose but the sweet malts balance out perfect and cirtus fruits, caramel, and sweet honey propel the overall flavor experience. Really great balance of ingredients that go into this treat.

M: medium body with moderate amount of carbonation to accent the overall flavor of the beer that has a nice refreshing bitter finish and lingers on the palate.

D: I really appreciate this beer the more I drink it. I can't say enough good things about but I'm glad that I have access to it on a daily basis. I've had it on tap and in bottle but you can't beat a fresh pliny out of the bottle.

05-24-2010 05:25:48 | More by Gobzilla
Photo of DrMalt

Saskatchewan (Canada)

4.53/5  rDev -2.6%

A - somewhat of a hop haze? A midpoint between orange & yellow. Fantastic 2 finger sturdy head with loads of lacing.

S - Not the twangy grapefruit, pine that I was expecting, but indeed a pleasant sweet floral & citrus bouquet.

T - Again not what I was expecting - no over the top bitter, astringent flavours, however, what super way of carrying off the hop flavours of grassy, pine & citrus. No off or indifferent flavours whatsoever. Just a well refined profile.

M - This is where Pliny makes his mark! If I closed my eyes I thought I was drinking a draught version. Very, very creamy and smooth, with a lighter body and mouthfeel. Alcohol is subdued for a DIPA.

D - Well that was a different DIPA than I was expecting for a West Coast brewery. I used think that best was boldest - not true anymore. What a wonderful hoppy & drinkable DIPA.

Thanks to a fellow beer hunter for directing me onto this last bottle of PTE in the store!

A fellow hophead shared this bottle with me - our hop smiles were in full gear after this beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2010 23:06:38 | More by DrMalt
Photo of alli4051


4.4/5  rDev -5.4%

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a pint.

Bottled on 3/23/10. Consumed on 5/2/2010.

Pours a slightly hazy, coppery, golden color. Small but thick white head that recedes quickly and leaves lots of lacing behind. Nose is hugely hoppy, mostly citrus hops. Taste follows the nose with tons of hops. That hop bitterness is off the charts but in a good way, not like some other double IPAs that just fry the palate. Despite the abundance of hop flavor and bitterness there is a distinctly malty note towards the finish. The high abv is well hidden, although as it warms some alcohol notes find their way through. Drinkability is great too, could drink these all day were it not for the high abv. This is a GREAT beer but I think I got a little swept away in all the hype as I felt a bit disappointed. Maybe I'll see if I can get a fresher bottle next time around but I doubt much could have possible been lost in a little over a month. A thoroughly excellent beer but not the epic IPA I was expecting.

05-23-2010 02:42:10 | More by alli4051
Photo of bamadog


4.9/5  rDev +5.4%

Glad I finally managed to get hooked up with another bottle of this as it's been almost a year since the first time I was able to try this beer, and it was well worth the wait. Poured from the bottle to a pint glass, the review is from notes taken on 5/22/2010.

Appearance: Pour is a crisp, golden and coppery color and starts with a 1/2 finger white head with pretty decent retention; head eventually fades to a full, but uneven skim; body is perfectly clear and shows light carbonation; the beer leaves nice washes and spots and small curtains of lacing behind as I drink it down.

Smell: Tons of wonderfully bitter and smooth citric hops (grapefruit and orange peel) -- nose is super strong and just makes my mouth water thinking about drinking this beer; a slight malty and sweet backing kind of sneaks in there, but the hops really dominate and they're awesome!

Taste: Holy schyte, near perfect! Tons of wonderfully bitter and citric and flavorful hops -- a perfectly balanced beer with a slight honey-sweet malt backing that allows those hops to dominate -- wonderfully simple, but amazingly awesome and refreshing.

Mouthfeel: Body is of medium weight, and the carbonation is smooth, yet present; doesn't sit heavy at all which is a little strange for a DIPA, but damn, I'll take it! Very crisp and refershing; a nice thick coating is left on the mouth.

Drinkability: This is definitely an all-day kind of beer. I don't care if it's 8% or not, I would glady drink this one as much as possible as it's so damn refreshing and flavorful.

05-22-2010 23:48:39 | More by bamadog
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,259 ratings.