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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.

11,431 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 11,431
Reviews: 3,253
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.17%
Wants: 5,320
Gots: 2,123 | FT: 67
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: 11,431 | Reviews: 3,253 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jvillefan
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A medium golden yellow with a pearl white two finger head that hangs around for a good amount of time.

S: One of the best hop aromas from any IPA, or beer, that exists. There is pine and citrus that balance each other perfectly.

T: The best IPA that is relatively easy to obtain. There is pine and hop that are very strong and are balanced perfectly by citrus and caramel.

M: Perfect carbonation and decent viscosity. It could be a little more viscous but still far above average.

O: You need to have this beer, right now. It is amazing.

Photo of demuzik
4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just add me to the long list of Pliny lovers...

Yes, this one lives up to the hype. Why? Not because its like nothing you've ever tasted... its still beer, its still an IPA, but because they do everything right with this beer... its a culmination of all the best parts of an IPA. You can usually find ONE thing to complain about in any beer, but not here.

Its a beautiful clear gold in color, the aroma is a huge citrus, pine bouquet, the taste is shockingly balanced, allowing you to taste both caramelly sweet malt tones yet tons of hop flavor and just the right amount of better. A lot of IPAs will smack you with too much blunt bitter, but this is the good hop flavor that we know and love.

Its light and crisp on the palette, remarkable for 8% ABV.

I'm not easy to please but this one is more or less the holy grail of IPAs in my book.

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.38/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ThaFATkid for sending this west coast jewel to me here in ``Kentuckiana''.

Oh boy! I've wanted to try this beer for a long, long time. The bottle says this baby was born on 10/14. I drank it on 11/11. 29 days isn't a very long life, but this baby died valiantly.

It poured out a hazy apricot with a nice 2-finger head that dissipated quickly and left some thin lacing on the glass (did I mention I bought a new glass for this occasion?). I got a nice IPA nose of lemon, grapefruit, orange rind, and fresh flowers.

The taste is awesome! It's tart and prickly from the hops, but still maintains a nice malty smoothness with cookie-like flavors underneath the bite. I get big flavors of lemon, grapefruit, and kiwi with some subtle hints of biscuit, honey, and butter underneath. It has a nice, firm mouthfeel without being creamy. It lacks that sweetness that a few IIPAs have that can make them taste medicinal. I didn't drink another beer this night because I wanted to see if I'd still be tasting this one the next day (I did).

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

This review is for a growler of Pliny purchased right from the brewery on Thursday 11/10/11. Poured into my brand new Russian River stemmed glass. I also had Pliny there on tap on Thursday and from a bottle earlier this evening and all three really seem to match up quite well.

Appearance - Pours a brilliantly clear yellow-golden color, with almost 2 finger high, foamy, off-white head. Lace is minimal and the head fades to a light covering over top.

Smell - The smell is really out of this world. Lots of juicy sweet tropical fruits, grapefruit, nectarine maybe, pineapple, floral qualities, sweet citrus, bubblegum, light honey, almost a sugary sweetness to this, and maybe a bit of pine. Simply fantastic smelling DIPA!

Taste - Follows along with the aroma quite well. Lots of sweet tropical fruit, grapefruit and pineapple, maybe some apricot, citrus notes that are both sweet and sharp, substantial bitterness that melds wonderfully with the citrus and sweet fruit flavors, a bit more pine than in the aroma, with a bit of honey from the aroma as well. Wonderful tasting DIPA. I'm really not sure that it could get any better than this!

Mouthfeel - Mouth is what I think a DIPA should be. Consistency is creamy, carbonation is moderate or round (just right actually), body is medium-full but not too heavy by any means, and the finish is about average length, with lingering bitterness and light tropical fruit and citrus sweetness.

Overall - This is, without a doubt, completely deserving of a world class rating within the DIPA category! As I said in the taste section, I don't know that it could get any better than this. I made the trip to Russian River Brewery on a whim and boy am I glad I did. Pliny the Elder is simply amazing! Cheers!

Photo of julian89
4.47/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One of my good friends and I lucked out this past week. I received a bottle of Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout and he bought two bottles of Pliny the Elder. We had the most epic beer tasting afternoon ever. We began with the famous beer from the Russian River Brewing company...

Appearance- Very clear with a head of 1 finger and minimal lacing. It has a nice amber color with visual active carbonation.

Smell- Crisp with notes of apple, apricot, plum, and light malt.

Taste- Initial attack was a a smooth fruity mix with excellent carbonation. The progression across the palate leads to a perfect "bittering hops" end. The hops explosion in this beer is fantastic and one has to admire RRBCs' ability to balance the ratio of aromatic to bittering hops.

Mouthfeel- It is a light-bodied brew. I have to comment on the carbonation again, perfect and ideal to accent flavors and mouthfeel.

Overall- Excellent and lives up to its name. Very drinkable. I would love to head out to California to try the younger.

Photo of jpbebeau
4.4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1st review, ever—forgive the inexperience. Made it a Pliny, which I was excited to pick up recently. Bottled 10/25/11.

A: Pours a clear golden amber into my new Duvel tulip; small carbonation bubbles release from the center. First pour failed to produce much of a head due to user error—and split w/ my wife—but I bought a few bottles and cracked open the second tonight as well. A nice one-and-a-half-finger head on the second pour, slowly dissipating as I sip, but clinging consistently and frothily to the side of the glass.

S: Maybe I'm a bit congested, but I wasn't overwhelmed by the aroma. A pleasant floral smell. My wife caught a bit of honey, and I'm inclined to agree, but only after hearing her say it. Picking up some melon toward the end of the glass.

T: Strikes the palate with a hint of sweetness, giving way to a quick bit of malt and then the bitterness of the hops, which never threaten to overwhelm me, but remain pleasantly present for a few moments after I swallow. Getting a little grapefruit at the end, too. Though I can feel the alcohol—now into my second glass—I'm not tasting it. Hops calm even further as the beer warms and I reach the bottom of the glass.

M: Full-bodied; a comfortable middle ground that's neither too thick or too thin. Little, if any, carbonation—but certainly not flat feeling.

O: All-around, a highly-enjoyable DIPA. I can see why it's so highly regarded, but I was expecting to have my mind blown, and didn't.

I remember really enjoying a Firestone Walker Double Jack I had a couple months back, and I'd be curious to try it again with the same critical/less-inebriated eye I've turned to the Pliny.

This was my first attempt at a beer review, and I was hesitant to display my ignorance, particularly on such a revered beer. But I was glad I did, as doing so made me slow down and savor the beer, exploring its intricacies and appreciating what it had to offer.

Photo of YumYumGumGum
4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Average look, no big deal there. Perfect carbonation got it a 4/5.

S: Amazing cascade aroma with small floral hops.

T: Best IPA i've ever had. Bottled 091611. Distinct front of tge tongue bitterness that fades to a very smooth and consistent finish that showcases a very mild but wonderfully sweet cascade ipa.

M: Nice carbonation. A little bit of sticky sweetness.

O: Not only my favorite IPA, but ultra-fair price.

Photo of Jacobob10
4.83/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on-tap @ Toronado in San Francisco, CA.

Visiting from New Jersey, I was very excited to try both this bar and some Russian River beers. My girlfriend and I settled up to the bar, she ordered a Schneider and I dove head first into the Pliny.

Bright orange in color with a thick, creamy, white head. Tons of citrus and fresh hops in the aroma. Very appealing. The flavor lived up to my hopes. Strong, bitter grapefruit and pineapple that is nicely balanced out by bready malts. Rings along the side of the tulip glass all the way down. So drinkable for a double IPA. Not usually my favorite style, but this beer won me over. World class, a must try.

Photo of nc41
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lives up to the hype which is rare. A citrus/grapefruit bomb, but nicely balanced and very drinkable. Very hoppy and definitely not a sweet DIPA, maybe a bit thin for a DIPA. IMO just a notch below 2008 Hopslam in overall greatness, and much better than the 2008/2010 Hopslam which IMO seemed a tad too sweet. The only problem is obviously distribution and freshness. I would guess most styles like this the hop hit would fade quickly, I'm sure a two month old Pliny wouldn't be as good as as 30 day brew. But by trade or by internet store a must try for any IPA lover, and reasonable too. If I lived in Ca I'd have year round it's that good. Sane ABV levels too.

Photo of rstone57
4.83/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm lucky enough to have this at the packy a block away from apt, Le Beau.

Poured from a 22 oz. torpedo into my C's Tervis Tumbler.

Color is golden orange with a fingers thick foamy head and lacing that remains throughout.

Smell is citrus and hops.

Taste is an explosion of grapefruit and hops with medium body and carbonation.

This is West Coast Double IPA.

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

A: Bright Golden to Orange in Color. Nice 1 finger head. Left lacing all the way down the glass.

S: Citrus, Tart, Bright, Sweet, Hoppy

T: Crisp, tart and sweet balance perfectly to give you an extraordinarily fresh, powerful and flavorful DIPA.

M: Amazing. How is this a DIPA? How is this so drinkable??

O: This IS Double IPA, everything else is "a" DIPA

Photo of Rizalini
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my 100th beer review, and I have to thank scottfrie for getting me the freshest bottle possible! Thanks for shooting me this great brew Scott. Bottled on 10/25/11 and poured into my Deschutes tulip... Cheers!

A - Pours a crystal clear peachish-orange color, with a fluffy 1 finger white head. Great lacing as the remaing bubbles cling to the side of my glass.

S - I could smell this as soon as I opened it, and it really doesn't get any better than this! The smell is so in your face with the piney grapefruit aroma. There's a juicy pineapple smell that follows that makes my mouth water!

T/M - ...and the taste follows suit perfectly. Pineapple and apricot in the beginning, and a great tongue-gripping bitterness that pleasantly lingers. Medium-full mouthfeel, great carbonation.

O - Pliny lives up to the hype. End of story. The hops is definately in the forefront, and the beer is extremely drinkable! I don't know how else to say one of the best IPAs ever. Thanks again to scottfrie, A+ trader!

Photo of paxtonthegreat
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My favorite IPA I've ever had. It is such an explosion of floral grapefruity notes and the hops just keep coming and coming with no bitter aftertastes. A pleasant sweet malty mouthfeel is also balanced in there. I live in Michigan so I have to always have the homebrewed version of this at all times in the keggerator. A++++

Photo of zaphodchak
4.13/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear goldenrod body, whitish head. Rather a bit of lace.

Nose is all citrus/grassy hops.

Quite bitter, grassy, lemon, lime, maybe grapefruit. Solid, classical DIPA. Not my style of choice, but for what it is, good.

Smooth, creamy.

Quintessential example of a west coast DIPA.

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

Poured from the bottle into a schooner at my beer tasting club; as one would imagine this one was highly coveted and absolutely lived up the reputation. A gift from a business partner; we're all now best buds...:)

A - yellow amber, slightly cloudy, finger-high white head that sticks around for a while leaving behind some streaky lacing

S - massive pine/juniper nose on this; it just screams hops!

T - tastes like it smells with a huge pine and jumper hops profile with hints of citrus in the background; so well balanced and enduring; just enough malt to balance it out but the hops are clearly the star. Elegant and powerful.

M - slightly oily and cut nicely with some sharp carbonation; still maintains a relatively light body in spite of all of this power

D - definitely for hop-heads

Clearly a classic; powerful pine hops that permeates every inch of this brew but still maintains an elegant balance. One of the best. (No surprise there).

Photo of taigor
4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into small snifter glass.

A - Poured clear golden color with big white head that slowly dissipated leaving lots of lacing around the glass.

S - Lots of citrus, hops and floral scents.

T - Tons of hops with citrus and slight earth flavors.

M - Medium bodied with high carbonation.

O - Exceptional IPA that is very crisp, refreshing and very well balanced. I would highly recommend it if you can find it.

Photo of mattboyer182
4.53/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep orange hue with a fluffy white one fingered head. Great lacing.

S - Pure aromatic hops. Loads of citrus. Maybe even a hint of honey.

T - Fresh hops, underlying notes of citrusy zest. Has a very long lastinf flaor. Bitters all the way though.

M - Medium bodied and heavy carbonation.

O - What can be said? It's Pliny. I can't wait to try this on tap to see if it can be better.

Photo of nitro0292
4.78/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The illustrious Pliny. Finally managed to get my hands on some of this. Just for full disclosure, I wanted to think that this beer is over-hyped and overrated. It isn't.

Bottled on 9/21/11 - this is my third bottle, the first of which I had on 10/15.

Moderate pour left about an inch of stark white, soapy head with tight bubbles. Poured a crystal clear yellow-amber. Visible carbonation flowing up from the center of my tulip. Great retention and lacing all the way down.

Smell was fantastic. After I popped the top, I caught a burst of citrus and pine hop aroma - I hadn't poured it yet. Once poured it was more of the same...very hop forward with a touch of a cracker scent. Not smelling any residual sweetness at all. Just like anything ending in "IPA" (that is brewed in the US) should be.

Taste is delicious. Bold hops sting the tongue with bitterness and floral, pine and citrus notes. Just enough light, bready malt to keep a little bit of balance. Finish is dry and bitter with a lingering hop presence. Do not be fooled by the fact that this is an IIPA, there is only enough sweetness to balance some of the bitterness. There is not a significant malt taste at all - it is a hop lover's dream, a hop tea without being overly astringent, bitter or puckering. Just full of robust hop flavor.

Personally I like a thinner mouthfeel with my hops, and this delivers. It does not present the typical feel of an IIPA, it is thinner. Has moderate carbonation which helps prick the tongue, keep the feel rather light (despite the ABV) and release the aroma.

Best DIPA I've had.

Photo of Auracom
4.39/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Many thanks to my friend Al from California for getting this to me. Bottled just about one month ago, so it's not exceedingly fresh but it's close enough. 6-7 oz. into my C&B tulip on Halloween 2011.

A - Translucent gold coloring with a single-finger's worth of eggshell white head. Good retention, fantastic lacing and legs across the sides of the glass. Understated and I like it.

S - Pine cones, malty (caramel) sweetness at the front. Underneath I'm getting light citrus notes, mainly grapefruit, along with flora.

T - Wonderful initial hop bite that moves through the mid-palate with absolute ease. Hop oils and resin combine with more pine, caramel, honey, and malt grains. Backend is grapefruit zest and a reduced hop bite. Finish is quite dry - the hops really suck moisture out of the sides of my cheeks in this one. Lingering bitter aftertaste.

M - Thin-medium body. Quite smooth and even a bit creamy, which I find surprising. Carbonation is just fine.

D - I'm honestly surprised. A combination of midwest (Three Floyds) bias and the belief that Pliny might be overshadowed by newer DIPA entries left me expecting something not nearly as delectable as this. Pliny's hop character is considerably better than what I find in FFF Dreadnaught but Pliny doesn't achieve the same level of balance. Honestly, I'm not sure this bothers me. It is a great, great offering and finally, FINALLY, I can say I've tried a Russian River brew. :)

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

Big thanks to Thafatkid for this one.

Bottled on date of 10/14/2011

A: A beautiful golden color.

S: Tons of hops with fresh citrus and pine notes

T: Very hoppy with citrus and pine notes with a bitter finish.

M: Really enjoyable, this beer fresh is an absolute treat.

Overall: This is one of the highest rated beers in the world for a reason. This is a really balanced and drinkable beer that is really well executed.

Photo of Shagtastic
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow thanks to vissai for my first chance at pliny! From my new favorite russian river growler

A: Clear golden color, decent head off the bat, even with a weeks growler mail

S: Love the tropical fruity nose with this one. Awesome on the smell!

T: One of the best IPA's I've had. The hops are perfectly balanced and incredibly tasty on all counts.

M: even for an 8% this is insanely easy to drink.

O: I absolutely love this beer! I wish I had access to it because it would be a weekly beer for me. I totally recommend this to any hops fan. Grab it while you can!

Photo of kmatlack
4.47/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into my Ovila goblet. Yet another Cali IPA from my parents Halloween package. Bottled on 10/14/11.

A- A very vibrant golden copper color, very very thin bone white head. Plenty of carbonation, doesnt look overdone though. Slightly hazy.

S- Extremely fresh citrusy, pineapple aromas. Smells sweet, grainy, piney, awesome aromas coming from this guy. Smells of tropical fruits, more sweet candy flavors. Fuggin awesome.

T- Perfectly balanced bitter hop flavors and malt sweetness. Piney citrus goodness followed by a sweet bitterness and goes to a lingering bitter fruity aftertaste. Excellent.

M- Slick and lively carbonation, easy drinking, very good.

O- I dont like buying into hype at all but this beer is excellent. Glad my dad sends me these on the reg.

Photo of Heatwave33
4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle to a Dogfish Head Snifter. Thank you Bdige!

Color: Gold with a whitehead.

Smell: Sweet citrus, hops and earthy note.

Taste: Very hoppy, citrus and earth tones.

Mouthfeel: Great cabonation, smooth with a slight dry finish.

Overall: When I opened the bottle and started pouring the aroma blew me away. My mouth was watering like a St Bernard. The taste was sublime with the all the great hops and sweet citrus tones. All around phenomenal brew. Cheers!

Photo of ef88
4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Guy Forget from Truckee for hooking this one up!

Poured 1-pint bottle into snifter.

A: 2-finger, white soapy head. Light amber color with consistent carbonation. Lacing sticks around for a bit.

S: Some fruit, citrus, cotton candy, and pine.

T: Most--oxymoron alert!--sessionable double IPA ever. Just try it.

M: Chewy with some nice mild carbonation at the end.

O: My only gripe with Imperial IPAs is that they're too aggressive. This one, however, is a great example of a more...down to earth (?)...Imperial. This beer smells great and tastes better.

**Hard to find, easy to drink: Only negative is that it's not available in Pittsburgh!**

Photo of HopsHopenstein
4.63/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Everything about this beer is Exceptional all the way down the line. The best IPA/DIPA that i have ever had.
The apperance is a clear golden color with perfect carbanation and head.
The smell hits you as soon as the seal is cracked on the cap. Its a beautiful arrangement of hops and grapefruit (almost tropical) with a very small amount of pine fragrance. No alcohol in the nose at all.
Taste is extremely hoppy but not overly bitter. As with the nose its a balance of citrus and hops with a great crisp finish. And for a beer with an 8.0% tag on it i dont taste or feel the alcohol.
Mouthfeel, very clean very crisp perfect carbantion.
Overall like i said in the beginning my favorite Ipa/Dipa i have had to date everything about this beer leaves me craving another. And given the fact that its extremely drinkable i can have a couple more. Everyone should try this beer at some point in there travels. It lives up to its hype.

Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 11,431 ratings.