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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.

10,187 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,187
Reviews: 3,135
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.17%
Wants: 4,675
Gots: 1,623 | FT: 55
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: 10,187 | Reviews: 3,135 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ShadesOfGray


4.2/5  rDev -9.7%

Got via trade...pours a golden blond with bubbly white head that dissapates pretty quick and leaves mild lacing. Not too cloudy, but definitely not clear. Strong bitter IPA aroma, with a slight fruity scent...kind of like a watermelon.
Great DIPA...citrus, hoppy, bitter, lots of grapefruit aftertaste. Refreshing, light and crisp, and flavorful for a DIPA.

12-11-2009 22:07:45 | More by ShadesOfGray
Photo of sinstaineddemon


4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

from a trade with largadeer, thanks Chris

A - little to no visible carbonation, despite a half finger of bubbly pure white head, PtE is a light straw color

S - wow, hops triple threat, piney, citrus grapefruit, and floral, with some welcome, but unexpected, tropical fruit type aromas, like guava or papaya

T - floral and grapefruit flavors up front, quickly followed by molasses and brown sugar to balance, the tropical fruits is extant to the flavor and lends a bit of a sweet citrus, though overall its still got the IBU's to pack a punch, and the finish has notes of white pepper

M&D - this beer is insanely balanced and super smooth the for the hop bomb it packs, super smooth, its hard to not allow this beers reputation influence my review, but simultaneously not be too harsh for the same reason, this beer is an A, and should be

12-10-2009 01:48:42 | More by sinstaineddemon
Photo of Jayli


4.7/5  rDev +1.1%

I FINALLY got some Russian River beers!
Had at Russian River on 11/27

A: This beer pours a murky copper color with a one finger of creamy white head. Head recedes quickly leaving thick sticky sheets of lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is a big burst of floral and piney hops with a faint malt backbone and a touch of citrus on the end of the nose.

T: Taste is AWESOME. bitterness hits you up front with a nice amount of citrus hops. Middle is filled out with a mixture of floral hops and a mild but present malt backbone. Finishes with a strong grassy/piney flavoring. Finish is very bitter but doesn't stick with you.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, clean and crisp at first with an oily finish.

D: Great beer, hop bomb that isn't too over the top, excellent representation of the style, goes down a little too easily... damn you for not distributing my way!

12-09-2009 22:23:09 | More by Jayli
Photo of jdense


4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

On tap at the Horse Brass 12/9, fresh keg that won't last the night-lucky me!

Imperial pint, golden amber brew, a finger and a half of rocky white head, slow dissipation with exquisite lacing. Huge grapefruity hop nose with a bit of bready malts providing a nice balance. The taste is much like the smell, huge chunky grapefruit hops with a bit of noble pine hidden, and bready malts, leading to a smooth dry finish. Not overly bitter, nice and fruity. Dangerously drinkable. There is nothing in the world like fresh Pliny, and in the end, I much prefer the tap version. An exemplar of the style. If you can find a fresh keg sit down, relax, and enjoy one of the world's best beers. Outstanding.

12-09-2009 15:48:15 | More by jdense
Photo of biophiliadude


3.68/5  rDev -20.9%

Tap to snifter.

A: Yellow/orange, lacing, 1/4 inch head.

S: Cake, flowers, grass, citrus.

T: BOOM! grapefruit! not much else...

M: Foamy, to smooth, to bitter.

D: While it's very well made there was surprisingly little going on. I like my DIPA's with a little more complexity and malty sweetness on the end. In RR river terms i would classify this as just a regular IPA - to explain away the lack of sweetness - and the PtY as their DIPA. Good but I've had far better.

12-08-2009 22:03:15 | More by biophiliadude
Photo of CharlatanSin


4.53/5  rDev -2.6%

Finally got my hands on this thanks to the handsome and wonderful user boatshoes. Thanks boatshoes! I'm a double IPA fiend, so naturally, I'm very excited to crack this open.

Poured from the pint bottle into an oversized wine glass. Brew was bottled on 10/21/09.

Appearance: A nice double IPA amber color, with a bubbly thin white head leaving solid lacing.

Smell: Mouth-watering citrus hops. Grapefruit and tangerine. Some pine in there too. Nice, complicated hop profile. I'm excited.

Taste: Bitter as hell, as those pine and citrus hops have their day. I'm picking up the grapefruit more than anything else. There's a bit of tropical sweetness underneath. The whole thing is way more subdued than I'd have guessed from the smell and reputation. That's not a problem, just not quite what I was expecting. Very yummy.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, and more crisp than any dIPA that I've had. Refreshing.

Drinkability/Overall: I can't taste the alcohol whatsoever. Another one of the dIPAs I'd drink all day, every day.

It's amazing, and it earns its sterling reputation. Still, it doesn't quite take the dIPA crown for me (DFH 90 Minute still wins). I'm gonna have to find a hookup in California so I can get this every couple of months.

12-08-2009 18:23:40 | More by CharlatanSin
Photo of GregSVT


4.2/5  rDev -9.7%

500ml bottle, bottled on 10/21/09, poured into a Brooklyn snifter.

A: Pours a hazy yellow/orange color with a big white head that fades and leaves some nice sticky lacing on the side of the glass.

S: The nose is intoxicating...lots of hops, tropical fruits, and some malt. Pretty much what I've come to expect from great DIPAs and Pliny doesn't disappoint.

T: Taste is all hops at first with a huge grapefruit component and a lasting bitterness. As it warms a bit the tropical fruits show themselves in the finish. I'd like more of the tropical fruits but this is relatively fresh. I bet with age it is very malty and fruity.

M: Mouthfeel is about par for this style...could be a bit stickier. Carbonation is nice and makes the beer creamy.

D: Very nice DIPA and I would drink this again. Given the smaller bottle size I could probably drink 2 or 3 before being nicely buzzed.

This lives up to the hype and is recommended if you like DIPAs.

12-08-2009 02:55:55 | More by GregSVT
Photo of Intimidtor


4.47/5  rDev -3.9%

Let me follow suit. Aquired this is trade from Sideswipe. Poured into my Great Lakes Brewery pint glass. Poured a dark golden color with about a finger width of head. Great smell strong hop aroma. Taste was perfectly hopped not much malt presence but its not neeed. Mouthfeel is really good. I prefer a thicker mouthfeel but this was very good. High drinkability, smooth, alcohol flavor is very hidden. Summary: Great beer, great flavor, well constructed, and highly recommended.

12-08-2009 01:36:51 | More by Intimidtor
Photo of kbutler1


4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Received this from a very generous california trader. Surly Furious for PtE = happy times all around.

Nice big bottle with a bottled date of 11/18/09.

Pours a beautiful golden hued color with a nice big, fat white head. Slight haze. Color is a little lighter than expected but good.
Smells of cirus and pine.
Very aggressive hop profile throughout the whole experience. Excellent mouthfeel.

Bottle is coverd with DO NOT AGE warnings and I think it best to heed this warning. I get much more hop from this and less malt flavor compared to most other IIPA and don't think that letting the hop profile decrease with age would be very good.

12-08-2009 01:06:33 | More by kbutler1
Photo of bwhite105


4.83/5  rDev +3.9%

Everything about this beer is fantastic.
It pours a beautiful amber with a surprisingly thick head. Complex and delicious aroma popping with hop and floral nodes. Wonderful balanced taste that incorporates everything one would want in an IPA. It is amazingly drinkable for a double IPA. Arguably one of the best American made beers.

12-08-2009 00:47:29 | More by bwhite105
Photo of DrKnoskelson


5/5  rDev +7.5%

When I heard the Hulmeville Inn had it on tap I stopped by first thing after work.

Served in typical 16 ounce pint glass. I could smell the beer as soon as the bar keepplaced the hazy gold amber vessel in front of me. Only trace amounts of head.

Immediate, very bright, upfront hoppiness. Citressy and clean hop taste. Initial taste of hops give way to an amazingly complex hop flavor but also strong malt profile that doesnt back down. This beer is the complete elucidation of what an inperial ipa is.

Extremly drinkable for a hop freak such as myself.

12-05-2009 22:45:06 | More by DrKnoskelson
Photo of Hrolhp


4.8/5  rDev +3.2%

I had been looking for this brew for quite a while. Was very interested to see if it lived up to the hype.

I was not let down in the slightest.

Upon pouring into a pint glass I got 2 fingers of a beautiful lacy head.

I did expect a bit more nose, but it was pleasant. Grapefruit with pine notes. But you do have to dive it to get a good whif.

The color is a clear hay not as deep as one might expect. But quite pleasing.

The taste is were this wonderful elixir shines. More subtle at first sip then I figured, but as the glass progressed the depth was stellar.

The mothfeel was just as it should be with nice mild carbonation.

The drinkabillity is top notch. You could imbibe all day and night enjoyng every sip.

12-05-2009 22:32:54 | More by Hrolhp
Photo of woosterbill


4.85/5  rDev +4.3%

Review #100. Big thanks to sed777 for hauling this all the way from CA for my first in-person trade. First trade, first Pliny, top-ten beer, first morning review. I'm excited.

500ml bottle, bottled on 10/08/09, into a Duvel tulip.

A: Deep, rich, slightly hazy body with perfectly light carbonation, topped by a two-finger head of dense white foam. Impressive retention and a uniform spiderweb of feathery lace all around the glass. I honestly can't imagine a better looking DIPA - it's just dark enough to suggest body, but light enough to promise a whole-hearted hop attack. Beautifully clingy lacing really ties the whole package together. Wonderful.

S: Ahh, hops. How do I love thee? While it's tough to count all the ways, this beer reminds me of several right off the bat: ripe citrus (mostly grapefruit, but also some orange zest), cleanly aromatic pine that becomes more pronounced midway through, and always just a hint of smoothly sweet tropical fruit - pineapple? The pine definitely stands out as the dominant aroma, though, and it a good way - it's amazingly fresh and inviting. My expectations were almost certainly impossibly high for this beer, but the only way it lets me down is in a slight lack of intensity. The smell is fantastic, but I really have to dive in to the glass to pick up everything. Still, a fantastic display of the versatility of hops.

T: Whoa. I was not ready for that. Everything I smelled in this beer I'd smelled before (if not in the same proportions), but this just delivered a full-force judo slap to my tongue. I don't even know what to say about the first sip, other than holy shit. I can't wait to see how this develops. As I go along, I continue to be amazed at two things: the sheer piney intensity of bitterness that sets the back of my tongue on delicious fire, and the fact that this amount of bitterness is in no way unpleasant. A couple other major hop-bombs I've had have been so over the top as to be distasteful (I'm looking at you, Hop-15), but this manages to surpass anything else I've had in terms of sheer hoppiness without turning me off at all. But I digress. As I get further into the glass, I find that the pine (while maintaining dominance) starts to give way just enough to let some bright-tasting grapefruit rind come into play, as well as a decidedly smoother touch that even starts to incorporate just the faintest hint of lightly toasty malt. This in no way detracts from the supremely dry, puckering, finish, but makes the beer all the more drinkable. Simply amazing.

M: Nice, round medium body with extremely fine, delicate carbonation - just not quite enough of it for me to give it full marks. Still, a great-feeling beer.

D: Hands-down the highest flavor-to-drinkability ratio I've ever encountered (especially among hop-bombs). If I were ever going to attempt suicide by beer, this would be what I'd turn to to down the requisite gallons. Unbelievable.

Notes: I might move to California just so I could get this beer fresh as often as possible. I don't know how comparatively old 8 weeks is for this one, but the label's incessant harping on freshness makes me all the more desirous of tasting this straight from the bottling line. Hugely hoppy, hugely flavorful, hugely complex, and hugely drinkable, this is a brew that deserves all the accolades it receives. I'm so glad that my foray into trading over BA resulted in such an incredible beer experience. Thanks to BA, Scott, Vinnie, and, of course, Pliny.


12-04-2009 16:20:30 | More by woosterbill
Photo of sensorglitch

Ontario (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

A- Excellent Golden color, with an orange tinge

T- Excellent balance of the citrusy tastes with hops. Normally I am not a fan of Hops, but this really was special. This beer had multiple levels that I really liked.

S - Great Bouquet was very aromatic, rolled off the tongue well

M - This beer was a refreshing beverage! I really liked it

D- This beer was something I would love to drink.

Excellent Beer, I would definitely suggest it

12-02-2009 03:42:24 | More by sensorglitch
Photo of ehammond1

4.6/5  rDev -1.1%

Bottle (2009)

Holiday Wine Cellar
Escondido, CA

Orange, glowing, translucent color.
Inch-high head that sticks around, leaving lots of thick and sticky lace around the glass. Head is a creamy off-white.

Tropical and pungent fruit aromas, along with piney hop character in the nose. The citrus fruit smell is certainly dominant and smells exceptional.

Hoppy flavor, but certainly balanced. The fruit flavors come at the end and make the sides of my mouth pucker. Along with the brilliant hop bitterness, I taste grapefruit, pineapple and lemon. An exceptionally balanced and drinkable DIPA; the alcohol is hidden exceptionally well; well done!

Incredibly drinkable, perhaps too drinkable? Not heavy or thick in the mouth, goes down quickly and easily; this beer is absolutely refreshing, which I wouldn't often say about a DIPA.

11-30-2009 05:59:54 | More by ehammond1
Photo of oceanman


4.53/5  rDev -2.6%

Bottled 10/21/09, opened 11/29/09.
Pours a rich copper color with off-white head.
Soft but vivid aromas of pine, floral (lavender), bubble gum, vanilla, with a dank, leafy undertone.
Palate shows same floral/grassy notes, sharpened considerably by the bitterness.
Mild carbonation, smooth feel for such a broad, rich palate. Very flavorful, but not a palate-wrecker. 500 ml will leave you wanting more.

11-30-2009 02:40:19 | More by oceanman
Photo of Chinon01


3.6/5  rDev -22.6%

Appearance - 49er football helmet color with soapy spotty lacing. Implies a tempting density and mouthfeel.

Nose- Sticky weed resin with malt sweetness lying on top.

Taste - Similar to nose with some tropical fruit and lemon. Bone dry finish with lingering hop presence. Malt disappears quickly revealing solely hop in finish. Not balanced.

Mouthfeel & Drink - Thinner than I thought it would be but it works. Hops are aggressive. Drinkability is limited due to aggresive hoppiness but not awful.

11-28-2009 04:24:55 | More by Chinon01
Photo of nerow


4.78/5  rDev +2.8%

Had on tap at Fathers Office II in LA.

A-Dark Golden color, beautiful, creamy, thick, one inch head. Lovely lacing.

S-Citrus hops, slightly grassy, moderate pine as well.

T-Begins with some tropical fruits and pine, followed by a mellow grassy flavor and finishes with a charming citrus. Nice subtle sweetness across all parts of the tasting experiance makes this the best rounded IPA I've ever drank.

M-Superlative. Creamy, refreshing. Wow.

D-Entirely too high for a brew with 8% ABV. The alcohol was buried amongst the complex rich flavors.

I've been waiting for a long time to try this beer, and it certainly didn't disappoint. This is one of the overall best balanced beers I've had, with no weaknesses discernible in any area. A standout for sure in terms of the taste, it's wonderful that Russian River didn't succumb to the typical California brewing philosophy of IBU's over flavor. It also complimented my meal extremely well, and didn't overwhelm the subtle flavors of my Office Burger. Supremely drinkable. This will become the yardstick that I measure all other IPA's with.

11-28-2009 02:34:41 | More by nerow
Photo of mattp

New York

4.85/5  rDev +4.3%

Had it on tap lst week at the Falling Rocks Tap House in Denever while in Colorado for work. Really great beer bar.

The pint was a orange/bronzy color with a touch of haze. Hopalicious aroma! Citrus, pine-you name it. As expected the hops were the first thing noted when tasting the Pliny, which then yielded to an earthy fruitiness as the pint went on. Yummy. Even though it was 8% I was happy to have a couple of pints in fairly quick succession. I wish I didn't have to travel 2/3 of the way across the country to have some.

11-27-2009 18:37:30 | More by mattp
Photo of mightyj


4.65/5  rDev 0%

a - golden color with a thick head

s - pine, grapefruit, citrus

t - pine, good hops kick. easily the best and smoothest IIPA i've had yet.

m - clean and crisp, great amount of carbonation

d - even though its 8% it's an easy drink. wouldn't mind having a few pliny during any night

11-27-2009 08:56:34 | More by mightyj
Photo of DaveJanssen


4.63/5  rDev -0.4%

Split a 500mL bottle 2 ways. Bottled on 9/10/2009, reviewed on 9/24/2009.

Ar: Intense pine, citrus, grapefruit resin, very fresh hop, lemony citrus, herbal funk, husky grain

Ap: clear straw, off white head, good retenion

F: Pine resin, citrus peel, alcohol, herbal/leafy hop, plant matter, husky malt, lemongrass, clean 2 row malt, lightly doughy, strong pleasant bitterness, lots of resin, slightly too vegetative

M: Resinous medium body, medium carbonation, clean pleasant bitterness

O: Best sample of Pliny i've had so far, great hoppiness but a bit too vegetative/rough hop presence. Still very good

11-27-2009 05:52:37 | More by DaveJanssen
Photo of InspectorBob

New Jersey

4.88/5  rDev +4.9%

Heard that this was on tap at Eulogy Belgian Tavern in Olde City. So last Friday,off I go to get a taste. Let me tell you, for me, it lives up to all the hype.

It was served to me in a goblet, golden in color,thick creamy head. Many citrus notes, orange,lemon perhaps grapefruit. The mouthfeel was so very smooth. This is 8%ABV, you sure could have fooled me. It was so drinkable maybe the alcohol will hit you after having four or five LOL.

One of the best beers I've ever had. I could drink alot of this. Excellent just excellent.

11-26-2009 15:32:41 | More by InspectorBob
Photo of rtepiak


4.35/5  rDev -6.5%

pour is lighter than most. a golden color with a thick tight head that sure does linger. nose is a bit more citrus but well balanced. orange, lemon, and grapefruit. palate leads on first with sweet so the candy of pineapple comes out. followed by a moderate bitter citrus. good blend of bitter as the malt works well. bitter finish leads to a mild floral quality. somewhere in between honey pollen and lemongrass. very well balanced in that it doesn't go do too heavy at all... excellent feel. carbonation and crispness wise. quite drinkable whenever.

only other that i've had that was as good was a well aged great divide hercules and the double crooked tree by dark horse... great great brew.

11-25-2009 15:13:31 | More by rtepiak
Photo of capra12

New York

4.53/5  rDev -2.6%

Shared with speedwayjim. Bottle dated 10/08/09

Appearance: Poured a 4 finger creme colored frothy head with coarse and fine bubbles. Golden orange and clear in color

Smell: Strong, fresh and rich hop aroma that is a combination of pine and sweet hops, smells like walking through a hop field even though I have never but that is what I would imagine it to smell.

Taste: Opens with a strong piney hop profile which becomes slightly grassy and tangy/sour in the middle as a green and bitter hop profile finishes the beer leaving a mildly hoppy aftertaste.
The flavors in this are very nicely balanced and rich and complex.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, smooth and slightly dry on the finish.

Drinkability: I would have this again and recommend this to those who need to try the gold standard for IPA's. For all the hype on this I would have this again given the opportunity and I need to try this on tap.

11-24-2009 06:03:27 | More by capra12
Photo of velosuds


5/5  rDev +7.5%

Edit 3/17/2011: I never get tired of this beer. I have enjoyed it amazingly fresh (bottled direct from the brewery 3 days after bottling) and many times as much as 2 months old. This has been amazingly consistent for a DIPA. Perhaps my favorite beer. Hands down, hands up, hands tied behind my back. No cliché is wasted on this magnificent brew. Absolutely delicious. My only regret is I can't get it on demand. Awesome beer, worthy of all its accolades.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a clear pint glass. Bottled on 11/09/09. Purchased at 99 Bottles in Federal Way, WA.

A-Pours a gorgeous golden-orange color with a two+ finger, bone white head with great retention and copious, sticky lacing. Beautiful appearance. Nearly perfect.

S-Floral and citrus hops are wonderfully fragrant. The aroma is almost intoxicating. I love this beer.

T-God, I love this beer. Very well balanced, yet complex. Hops are aggressive without overpowering the taste buds since it is balanced by a delicate malt sweetness that is absolutely delicious. A real treat. No bitter after taste and alcohol content is hardly noticeable for its 8% ABV. Extremely well constructed.

M-Very smooth and extremely well balanced. Carbonation is perfect.

D-Dangerously smooth given ABV. Tastes great cold and as it warms.

This is among my favorite beers and would rate higher if it were more affordable and available.

11-24-2009 04:58:43 | More by velosuds
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,187 ratings.