1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

11,151 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 11,151
Reviews: 3,226
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.6%
Wants: 5,145
Gots: 1,999 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Pliny The Elder Alström Bros
Ratings: 11,151 | Reviews: 3,226 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of iadler
4.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a Russian River tulip glass. Thanks Brian for both of these! Bottled on 6/03.

A- Gold with a fluffy two finger head. Leaves great spots of lacing.

S- Juicy hops with notes of apricot, peach, mango. There are also some grapefruit and mandarine hops as well. Some sweet malt in the background. One of the best smelling IPA's.

T- Lot's of tropical fruit including pineapple and mango. Some peach, orange zest and grapefruit and sweet malt follow after. Very well balanced.

M- Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Slight oily mouthfeel that coats the tongue.

O- Not really adding much here, but it's indeed one of the best IPA's available. The best attribute of Pliny is the balance and is dangerously drinkable at 8% ABV.

Thanks again Brian!

iadler, Jun 26, 2011
Photo of dleemiller
2.93/5  rDev -37%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I was quite surprised to find a bottle of this in Steamboat, CO. It seems to be a rarity in most parts. As a lover of all things IPA, I had high expectations, which were not met.

Before drinking the beer, I probably knew less about it than most who purchase it. I like my IPAs heavily dry hopped, but the pleasantries of the dry hopping procedure were greatly overwhelmed and sidelined by the bittering hops. I was somewhat uncertain that the beer had even been dry hopped. I also felt the beer was overly thin in the mouth resulting from a total lack of malt.

Overall, I found the beer quite uninteresting. I'd be willing to try it again from tap, but not in a bottle. Maybe it loses its qualities in travel, but it could not have been very old, considering the extremely short length of time it's available in store coolers. I suspect that the hype for this beer has been manufactured by limiting the supply, as I can think of at least a half dozen DIPAs that I would prefer. All I can say is try it yourself (if you can), but don't throw away your palate just because it's been so well reviewed.

dleemiller, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of welldigger888
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared with a dear old friend on fathers day, from my notes.

500 ml bottle w/ a freshness date, poured a clear orangish hued golden with an ample fluffy white head that nleft BIG lacing down the glass.

WOW, what a nose. Big hop pineapple mango peach and huge piney resonious goodness. The hops are the star of the show but the malty goodness holds it's self in perfect support. WOW!!!

Again the hops hold court. BIG tropical fruit and piney hops flavers that are supported well by some malt.Mango pineapple peach grapefruit and tangirine seem like to much, But they all go so well together along with ample piney resonoius. Awesome!!!

This beer has a luxorius feel to me, spot on carbonation oily chewy and dry.

I feel this beer holds up to the hype. Reminds me of a filtered boyking from coast brewing.

welldigger888, Jun 24, 2011
Photo of FARGO619
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a sightly hazy golden color with a 2 finger head and much lacing.

The nose is awesome. i have been waiting to try this beer since i became a BA. Lots of grassy, earthly notes overpowered with citrus and pine standouts. Simply beautiful (although I stand my ground by stating that Hill Farmstead Abner is still the best nose I have experienced!)

It hits the lips and immediately evokes tastes of citrus, pinapple, mango, bready malts, and a nice bitter but pleasant finish.

The mouthfeel is very easy, easy but very complex if that is possible. It is not overpowering but just right, perfect carbonation and sticky sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

FARGO619, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of Adrianized
4.63/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 05.24.11, poured into a snifter this morning.

Clear, golden orange in color.  One finger white head which settles but leaves behind big globs of bubbles which float around.  Good retention.

On the nose I pick up tangerines, pink grapefruit, lemon, floral hops, bready malt, and some piney resin.  A cornucopia of different hop profiles.

The taste is a similarly balanced blend of hops.  First I get the citrus hops, tangerines and sweet-bitter grapefruit.  Midway  there is a subdued bready malt, quickly followed by more bitter grapefruit.  It finishes with a piney resin, which also stays around to provide a very pleasant, dry aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium body, low-medium carbonation, and leaves an oily hops film.  Very nice.

Overall, I agree that this is a near perfect DIPA.  It's so incredibly balanced, yet the flavor intensifies as it warms and continues to coat the palate.

Adrianized, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of nicnut45
4.03/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled: 6/03/11
Served in a Duvel tulip glass.

A- Pours a nice honey amber color. Tight beady white head which settles with varying density. A bit foggy.

S- Sandal wood, cedar, pine sap. Some marshmallow from the malt and a bit of corn syrup. Not really as explosive as I thought it would be.

T- Tastes just like it smells. Very cedar/pine sap like. The bitterness almost has a salty like quality to it. Mild white sugar flavors from the malt make a minor apppearance. Alcohol is well hidden. And the finish is dry.

M.F.- A drying puckering M.F. Carbonation is strong with a nice stinging effect that aids the dryness of this beer.

O- Back when this first came out, it was the original and its creator is credited with the style. However, I feel other breweries have raised the bar. It is a rather dry DIPA which you dont see too often and I like that. A great DIPA, but didnt live up to the hype for me.

nicnut45, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of scbrew
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Fantastic, overwhelming hop aroma!! It seems as though they have squeezed every bit of aromatics from the hops. Beautiful copper/amber color with a lasting white head. Good body, not too chewy. Malty sweetness is overwhelmed by bitter and citrusy hops. The aroma stays through the end. It leaves your empty glass smelling like hops. PHENOMINAL.

scbrew, Jun 22, 2011
Photo of devgolfs
4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Impressive. I'm trying Pliny the Elder for the first time at Eureka Burger in Redlands, CA. I am from NH, and this is not a beer you can find easily out there. My kudos to them for carrying this and so many other great selections.

I have to admit, I was about to get a Hanger 24 beer as I was in Redlands, but after seeing dozens of people order Pliny, I was motivated to give it a try. I'm glad I did. This is one of the smoothest IPA's I've had. As others reviews note, this beer has great citrusy notes and avoids the excessive bite of some IPA's. This should be a must try if you can find it!

devgolfs, Jun 22, 2011
Photo of ExplosivoSR
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

500ml poured to snifter. Bottled date of 06/03/11.

A - Pours a golden orange with huge head and great sticky lacing. Some of the best lacing I've seen.

S - Straw, citrus, pine, slight tinge of alcohol.

T - Lots of pine and citrus that are balanced beautifully by the sweetness of the malts. Nice crisp feeling as you're drinking, which goes with everything the label says.

M - Sticky and sweet, with lingering taste of pine and a touch of alcohol.

O - Worth any and all hype it gets, this is an incredibly smooth and balanced IPA. A true classic.

ExplosivoSR, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of scarfield
4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

App golden with a generous rocky head. The head settles out at around 1/4 inch. Clear and yet still has excellent lacing throughout the glass.
Smell is surprisingly sweet through the citrusy hops. So well blended in the aroma that nothing stands out, yet everything does at the same time.

Taste- the hops make this beer exceptionally bitter and blends well with the maltiness. The beer is also heavy on the citrus (grapefruit) tones from the hops. There are rich spicy notes that occassionally creep in. This beer finishes with a lingering grassy taste. The taste is long and full.

Mouthfeel- this beer is full bodied and has such a lingering aftertaste that the beer feels heavier than it really is. It feels crisp, fresh, but still has a long and flavorful finish.

Overall this beer somehow was able to live up to all of my expectations for it. We had planned to go to the west coast for our honeymoon, with this beer being the clincher for east V. west coast, but when job interviews instead cut it short to Colorado, finding this was somewhat of a religious experience. The 8.0 abv is smoothly disguised and it is a beer worth all of the accolades.

scarfield, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My 500th review so I had to make it a great beer!

Served at the Stone Brewery in an 8oz glass.

Kinda orange-tan in color with a good head and lacing.

Plenty of pine and grapefruit aromas, fruity smells too, oranges and tangerines come to mind, plus a nice malt background.

Taste is of course out of this world delicious, with tons of great oily hops, pine and grapefruit flavors, a nice fruitiness, with a wonderful background of flavorful malts.

Feel is great, mid bodied and lingering bitterness make for a terrific brew.

On tap it's damn fine and wonderful. There's no doubt as to why it's one of the top beers ever.

AlCaponeJunior, Jun 20, 2011
Photo of knucks999
4.38/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 6/3/11. Pours slightly hazy with a nice foam that lingers throughout. This beer has smells of pine, dank, floral hops mixed with a slight spicy note. The aromas are very similar to the taste, where the alcohol is quite nicely hidden amongst the hops and malt. Speaking of the malt, it is there in such a great way that this beer seems balanced. Even with the huge amount of hops, this beer has drinkability. Very nice beer, I love picking up a bottle whenever I see it available and this fresh.

knucks999, Jun 19, 2011
Photo of SawDog505
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The most highly inticipated beer ever for me. I had a coworker get this in Cali for me, thx Joyce! Poured into 13 oz tulip glass. Very bright yellow / orange with a sticky white head. Grapefruit, pine, pineapple, & some grass. Taste with all of those flavors together, a little more powerful then the nose, with a blast of piney grapefruit in the finish. Mouth feel is perfect for a DIPA. Nice carbonation. This was what the hype is all about, the best in this style I have had. Double Trouble close second. Bottle date 5/26/11.

SawDog505, Jun 19, 2011
Photo of WillCarrera
4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

EDIT: Drinking this again, from a 16oz bottle into a pint glass, bottled on 03/14/13, drank 5 days later, awesome.

A- From a bottle into a pint glass. Pours a gorgeous honey golden color with slight haze. Comes with a huge, fluffy, sticky white head. Leaves awesome lacing.

S- Perfect. The smell leaps out of the glass at you. It's a great blend of honey, piney and floral hops and a huge dose of delicious tropical citrus (pineapple and orange).

T- Loads of hops that have everything from grapefruit and tropical fruits to pine resin and honey. The malts are sweet and provide enough substance to balance the hops nicely. The finish is long, dry, and filled with hops and lingering citrus. The alcohol is only slightly apparent.

M- Medium carbonation, medium body, makes for a silky smooth, creamy feel with a dry finish.

O- One of the best IPAs around, has great hop character and balance, I never get tired of this beer.

WillCarrera, Jun 19, 2011
Photo of hoptualBrew
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 06-03-11, drank on 06-18-11.

Bottle poured into big snifter. Pours a deep colorful golden color with nice frothy off white head that leaves some sexy lacing on the glass throughout.

Smells so good! Of spicy citrus hops and tropical fruits. Who said hops arent a drug?!?! This is king of all DIPA/IPAs in regard to aroma, in my humble opinion.

Taste is a little tang sweet upfront with the tropical fruits coming through very nice & smooth. Wow! This is one tasty beer. I was expecting a tad more hops & thickness. For a DIPA, this one is really light and not so hoppy. Its just right for being on the tropical side. Everything blends together nicely. In the aftertaste, the hop bite can be found - but it isnt a Hercules of a bite.

Purchased this one through a vendor who shipped to FL. Got 2 bottles of PtE + a bottle of Supplication for $38 (including shipping).

I dont think I will be getting this on the regular since it is really expensive to get shipped out here. I will most likely get a few bottles every year or twice a year.

Overall, absolutely delicious brew. Stellar DIPA! Tropical, hoppy, light, sweet, mildly bitter. What more can you ask for from an IPA?

hoptualBrew, Jun 18, 2011
Photo of d4114
4.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 5/4/11 Opened on 6/4/11

A- Golden yellow orange with 2 fingers of slightly off white head. Awesome looking beer.

S- Full of pine and grapefruit; Always a great smelling beer.

T- Big pine on the taste and lots of citrus; You are left with a good amount of bitterness so its not too dry but very refreshing. No alcohol at all, super smooth drinking.

M- Light-Medium; Really smooth and creamy but doesn't get that wateriness that some other beers get from being the soft.

O- Awesome double IPA. I feel this beer has gotten a little too hyped but this is seriously one of the most smooth and well balanced IPA's you can get and everyone should try it.

d4114, Jun 17, 2011
Photo of calebroberts811
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I got it. That's all I have to say. Here's what I think.

Bottled: 5-4-2011

A - Gorgeous, tight white bubbles. Great carbonation. Finger-finger and half head with a lot of perseverance. Golden straw, honey, yellow color.

S - Mango/papaya explosion. Pine needles, white flowers, shortbread, honey.

T - That same tropical fruit blast accompanied with almost perfect balance of piney hop bitterness. I'm running out of words. Bready fruity esters on the back end. Smooth as hell. No booze burn despite the 8% ABV.

M - Medium body as the beer just keeps having a dance party up in there.

O - Blessed be. The almighty Pliny has spoken and he deserves the hype.

calebroberts811, Jun 17, 2011
Photo of DavoleBomb
4.45/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Toronado, SF. Poured into a pint glass.

3.5 A: Light to moderately hazed light orange color. Arrived with just a tiny bit of head which resulted in just a tiny bit of lacing.

4.5 S: Pliny is extra piney on-tap. Grapefruit and super flowery. From a bottle is good, but fresh on-tap is better.

4.5 T: My friend once drank one of my Pliny bottles that I got in a trade and said, "This is how beer should taste." I'm tempted to agree. Lots of pine, grapefruit, and whatever the taste equivalent of flowery aroma is. Moderate bitterness. Malts are, for the most part, completely hidden, which is fine with me.

4.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Good creaminess and super smooth.

4.5 D: Great beer that is better on-tap.

DavoleBomb, Jun 17, 2011
Photo of Scrumtralecent
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a teardrop beer glass. Bottled on 05/26/11.

A - A hazy golden orange with a bubbly white head.

S - Lovely grapefruit and citrus hop aroma. It has a sweet tinge to it that reminds me of honey. Great smelling beer, I sat and smelled it for a few minutes before even sipping it. A smell to savor.

T - Citrus hop flavor with a nice malt backbone to smooth the bitter taste. Great hop profile and well balanced taste make this incredibly tasty. Complex as well with the bitter hops giving way to the smooth citrus that lingers well after the beer is gone. As the beer warms, and more sips are taken, the hops just bombard and take over. But it is such a delicious hop profile of bitter and sweet, that I'm ok losing this war of attrition.

M - First thing I thought of honestly was silky for an DIPA. The hops bite but the mouth is oddly smoothed after it all and left with nice soft mouthfeel. After a while, the hops begin to win and cause fatigue, but the soothing mouthfeel after the first few sips was unique.

O - An incredible DIPA. It takes the beautiful citrus hop flavors well known in west coast IPAs and creates a complex, balanced, and complete IIPA worthy of its ranking. From first hit of the lips to moments after you swallow, this beer does not disappoint.

Scrumtralecent, Jun 17, 2011
Photo of Franch
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

there are many beers on beeradvocate and ratebeer that end up with an A+ out of superhype and super limited availability. this isn't one. not only is it not super limited in washington, but the superhype is justified. it is absolutely the perfect double IPA. it doesn't even stand out - there's not really anything i can say jumps out at you - it's just what every double IPA aspires to be.

Franch, Jun 16, 2011
Photo of fox227
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Here's the most important part the review: Bottled on 6-3-11, consumed on 6-15-11. This would make this Pliny in its absolute prime. A month old Pliny is in the shadow of two week old Pliny. It's not even in the same league.

A: Dark Golden color, creamy head that quickly falls, at least in my tulip glass. The lacing is attractive, however.

S: The massive fruit profile of the smell is incredible: pineapple, peach, apricot, citrus - the whole gamut of pleasing hoppy smells are present here.

T: taste follows the nose, and finishes with a bit of warm alcohol. This is what is so unfortunate about month old Pliny: much of the above flavor becomes subdued but the heat remains. Fresh, however, and it's a fruity explosion of massive IPA flavor. Something should be said for balance, as it's not aggressively hoppy at all, so those who fear excessive hops need not worry when buying this world class brew.

M: Carbonation is medium/high - just right. The head is somewhat creamy, and offers a smooth balance to the ever present bubbles. A delicate experience.

O: If you don't like super fresh Pliny, then you might want to start drinking something other than beer. Be sure to check the dates, as this beer fades considerably at around the month old mark. But for those most part, the beer sells out quickly enough that freshness won't be a problem. Happy drinking!

fox227, Jun 15, 2011
Photo of codfeast
4.45/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottle to tulip

A: a clear gold, thick 1" head that quickly disolved, sticky lacing.

S: Grapefruit, pine, sap, and candy.

T: Hops, then a little sweetness, faint candy taste. Long hoppy finish on the tounge.

M: Lingering oily feel, dry finish.

O: Maybe not as fresh as it should be(5/4). Not as dynamic has I remember while drinking draft pliney. Still really good, next time I'll find a fresher one.

codfeast, Jun 15, 2011
Photo of doughanson78
4.78/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

500ml bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on: 5/24/2011 Exactly 3 weeks old.

A: Beautiful golden color with a very faint haziness. Fluffy 1 and a half finger head, very slightly off white. Big bubbles throughout the head. Lacing like you wouldn't believe.

S: Immediate huge hop aroma. Sweet apples. Oranges. Pineapple. Lots of other citrus aromas mixed in. All topped off with a very fresh pine tree scent. Just enough sweet caramel malts coming through.

T: Very sweet caramel right on the tip of the tongue. Mostly piney hop flavor throughout the rest of the mouth. Hop bitterness is not overpowering at all. An almost perfect blend of hops and malts. Finishes super dry with all the fruity flavors converging together for just a second or two. Then it's gone. DAMN! Another drink.

M: Great feel. How the caramel sweetness wraps the tip of your tongue making the fruity piney hops run and fight for the rest of your mouth. It all lingers for a few and disappears in a flash. First beer where I've really experienced the Dry Finish. You actually feel your mouth dry back out.

O: I had figured that this beer was way over hyped (probably like a lot of us did). This beer blew me away. I was expecting some huge bitter hop explosion. But the beer focuses on the hop flavors and doesn't destroy your palette. You get all the distinct aromas and flavors out of this beer. They make sure you don't miss a thing.

doughanson78, Jun 15, 2011
Photo of misterhops
4.22/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to trodersark for this one! Bottled on 5/26/2011 and poured into a snifter.

A- beautiful, hazy orange color with a pillow soft 1.5 finger head. looks like fluffy clouds outside the airplane window, and makes you want to jump right in!

S- sweet, sweet hops! a nice bit of pine in there as well. i can tell im gonna like this one!

T- simple, yet complex. grapefruit, pine, and just a little bit of sweetness. not nearly as sweet as i expected from the smell. very nice caramel malt finish with a bittersweet ending on the tongue. the taste is good, but the finish is world class.

M- LOTS of carbonation from start to end. crisp and incredibly refreshing. not "sticky" like a lot of DIPAs tend to be.

O- I really enjoyed this beer and can now understand the hype. would love to have this again while sitting on the patio on a hot summer day.

misterhops, Jun 15, 2011
Photo of ChugginOil
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pliny the Elder: Botted 5/04/11 Consumed 5/23/11

Review #200!!!

Finally able to try this beast thanks to armock. Thanks again for the extra!

When poured, Pliny appears translucent orange and looks very clean. A golden amber butte settles perfect with a fingers worth of white head. Webby lacing clings randomly.throughout the glass.

The nose is very fresh, crisp, and inviting. The hop offerings are so fresh smelling and very bold. Citrus and pine are balanced quite nicely.

The taste says it all. The fresh hops are present, offering some grapefruit and lemon zest. A crisp bitterness means business. Balanced with the hops lies a sweet caramel candy taste. Exquisite. There is a light bready malt characteristic lingering in the finish which is nice.

The mouthfeel is very fluffy and smooth. A moderate amount of carbonation ties it up, melding the flavors throughout the palate.

Overall, this is one that lives up to the hype. Pliny achieves balance throughout and it's incredibely drinkable. Soooo damn tasty.

ChugginOil, Jun 14, 2011
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 11,151 ratings.