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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.

10,288 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,288
Reviews: 3,142
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 4,731
Gots: 1,672 | 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: 10,288 | Reviews: 3,142 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zoolzoo


4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Fresh bottle, dated 01/06/10

A: Poured a cloudy golden/copper color, frothy white head

S: The aroma has got to be one of the best ive experienced from an IPA/DIPA, no wait... maybe one of the best out of any beer. The pine is sitting right there on your nose yet all of the mango/grapefruitish citrus notes are very, very evident. The aroma is strong and distinct enough where I can easily pick apart the hops, pale malts, and citrus.

T: As opposed to many DIPAs I feel like the citrus bites first which is enticing, followed by of course hop bitterness. Malts are waiting until the end to make an appearence here, but citrus and pine still dominate whats left of the sip.

Where many IPAs leave me with a bitter pine cone in my mouth for an after taste, Pliny leaves me feeling like I just ate a lemon or an orange. Excellent!

Alcohol is not apparent until a pleasing warming shows itself way at the end of the sip.

M: Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but just thick enough for a DIPA. Carbonation is medium to low, but suits this beer quite well.

D: I could have a few pints of this without a doubt. Its 8% sure, but this is so tastey and smooth.

Ive had many IPAs/DIPAs, and I think Pliny lives up to the hype, period. Im glad I got a chance to try this, and its a shame that everytime I want a Pliny I need to check ebay or seek out a trade. Truely a tragedy!

EDIT: I'm editing my review because I just recently had another Pliny from a different, newer batch, and man this thing is consistently awesome. Additionally, I believe the "taste" element of this beer warrants a 5. I'm moving to California because of a beer, bye.

01-30-2010 23:14:05 | More by zoolzoo
Photo of llllDrGONZOllll


4.58/5  rDev -1.5%

22oz Bottle poured into a tulip

A: A straw like yellow mixed with highlights of gold hazy clouds in the center make it glow when held to the light. A luscious head of off white tops this DIPA.

S: There is a lot to take in all at once but the hops are the star here. Lime and mint first come to mind Christmas trees touches of alcohol and grapefruit. I am picking up hints of hay and fresh cut grass with slight floral whiffs, but the citric is the most dominant. It is as lovely to smell as it is to taste...well almost.

T: Grapefruit citric mint and a slight hoppy sweetness. I say that lightly cause the clingy hop bitterness defiantly squashes any sweetness left from malt or hops. This truly is a hopbomb and more than likely the hoppiest brew I have consumed to date. Is this the wall where do I go from here? I cannot imagine more hops packed into the upfront taste through the swallow and quite a time after the swallow. Truly a fine crafted ale BRAVO Russian River I know understand where all the hype began.

M: This ale glides across the tongue, tingling from hops and carbonation. Pliny goes down easy and is pleasant to take large quaffs. The body is not too thin for the dryness of this ale.

D: If I lived closer to this DIPA it would be even more drinkable, that is the only thing that is holding me back from cracking the other two bottles tonight. I find this brew to quite drinkable the 8% ABV is not even noticeable in the mouth... just the buzz. Most IPAs that I enjoy are 7%+ so this brew just seems slightly bigger. The hops are the addiction here....I feel i could order this in lieu of my usual grapefruit juice for my greasy spoon diner breakfast.

01-30-2010 23:02:18 | More by llllDrGONZOllll
Photo of nycwinter


4.22/5  rDev -9.2%

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass and a snifter.

A= Huge frothy white head. Semi-cloudy golden brilliance. I think there is an internal light emanating from the glass. I could be wrong.

S= I get mint, lime peel, and Christmas trees. There are some sweet but floral notes hidden in there.

T= Up front there is a very citric bite that lingers through to the end. This is accompanied by the Christmas tree. There is a little malt sweetness to balance it, but you may want to ignore that and bask in hoppy crispness.

M= As it warms the alcohol warmth weighs in, but overall it is medium-light bodied and crisp.

D= One bomber is enough for now, but now that I know where to find this, I will incorporate it into my IPA repertoire.

01-30-2010 22:14:01 | More by nycwinter
Photo of Chrisco88


4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Appearance: Golden/amber in color. Forms a thick, frothy white head, seems to last forever.

Aroma: Immediately hit by an intense floral hop aroma. Further sniffs reveal some citrus (perhaps grapefruit) and pine notes.

Taste: Quite bitter and hoppy up front but finishes with a light malty sweetness and a refreshing pine-y aftertaste that lingers but begs for more.

Palate: Very smooth, nice carbonation. Super clean aftertaste and mouthfeel, nothing in particular lingers.

Overall: A fantastic beer indeed. I went into this glass a bit hesitant; the intense aroma kind of put me off as I really don't have much taste for heavily hopped brews, but the complex taste and spot on aftertaste had me enjoying sip after sip. Definitely worth savoring, but damn easy to drink, too, and at 8%...

01-30-2010 20:33:41 | More by Chrisco88
Photo of ATGHomebrewer


4.38/5  rDev -5.8%

A: bright orange-carmel beer. very clear. poured a thick white head. large carboniation bubbles.

S: as expected, large amounts of crisp flowery, citusry hop aromas.

T: actually, a little less pungent hop taste. heavy hop flavor, but keeps a smooth profile.

M: thin, smooth mouthfeel, as expected with the style.

D: very drinkable for any hophead. little malt profile or alcohol to speak of.

very good beer. i have waited years to try this all-time great for some reason. and, i wasn't dissapointed having finally sampled it.

01-30-2010 02:16:13 | More by ATGHomebrewer
Photo of snpub540


4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Been waiting to try this one for a long time. Will it live up to the hype. I dont know???

Poured a slightly hazy light copper hue with a one finger head that was very clingy. Left some delicate web-like lacing down the side of my tulip.

Almost stuck my nose right into this one since it smelled so good. Pineapple hit me first, then some grapefruit and other citrus aromas. Also a very strong pine backbone. So far I'm very impressed.

First sip is like drinking hop juice. I mean this in a great way. Onslaught of grapefruit in the front with the strong, bitter pine as the finish. Surprisingly not very aggressive at all. Aftertaste is very delicious and beckons you to take yet another sip.

Creamy medium bodied mouthfeel as it dances on the tongue. Medium carbonation. Drinkability is good as the alcohol only shows up as a warming effect in the throat. I need more of this IPA!

01-27-2010 23:47:58 | More by snpub540
Photo of Minotaur


4.15/5  rDev -10.8%

On tap: Spinnerstown Hotel

One of those beers that attains legendary status. There is rumor that deep in a barely lit cavern, worshipers perform nameless rites to a giant bottle of P.t.E.

It is a high quality DIPA. The color is crystal clear copper unlike many cloudier DIPAs. The head is pils like and leaves an impressive lacing.

The aroma is over-loaded with hops: pine, citrus, frankincense like.

The flavor is a dense bitter, oatsy hops. It is extremely dry and nutty. Unlike many other DIPAs there is only a tiny hint of malt sweetness. The balance here is not between the sweet-sour typical of DIPA but instead a balance between solid bready grains and sharper spice.

It has a good, smooth but not terribly unique mouthfeel. It is very drinkable especially with heavier/hot/spiced food.

01-27-2010 04:00:35 | More by Minotaur
Photo of mdfb79

New York

4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

a - Poured a light amber color, had moderate carbonation, and about 1 finger of white head that lasted for a long time. Looks great.

s - Smells strongly of pine. Also has some citrus fruit smell to it.

t - The hops definitely jump out at you. Definite tastes of lemon and pine mostly, and finishes with more citrus flavor.

m - A smooth, light to medium body with a small amount of carbonation.

d - I really liked this beer. I had heard a lot about it and it did not disappoint. This is a great DIPA especially if you like that piney/citrus smell and taste in a DIPA.

01-24-2010 15:49:10 | More by mdfb79
Photo of hardy008


4.7/5  rDev +1.1%

Poured into a Duvel Tulip. Bottled on 1-6-2010.

Pale amber color with a two finger foamy white head. Looks spectacular. I can't get over how clear it looks in the glass. Just like Hopslam. Smells of grapefruit, oranges, pine, pineapple, and mango.

The taste mirrors the aroma perfectly. Grapefruit, oranges, pine, pineapple, and mango combine to make a tasty brew. I can't believe how smooth this beer is to drink. The 8% abv is very well hidden. Medium bodied with proper carbonation. Finishes dry. Almost insanely drinkable. I'm glad I was able to get this from South Bay Drugs.

01-23-2010 23:41:10 | More by hardy008
Photo of thecarster1


4.93/5  rDev +6%

from saulcharlesworth - secret santa '09

i'm gonna give a little preface before the review. there were days before this day, when i reviewed beer after beer, loved many, loathed few, but didn't think a day would come when i could review a beer and give it a five in any category, that i could love a beer that much that it wouldn't need an ounce (fl or otherwise) of improvement. those days are over..

a- bottle poured into a snifter, more than a fingers worth of foamy, bubbly head, clear light amber coloring, great head retention fades to a layer of lace.

s- wow, this is one awesome smelling beer. i could smell it as soon as i cracked the bottle open, loads of grapefruit, sappy pine, some peppery notes. this is my ideal smelling ipa/dipa. i literally can't stop smelling it!

t- really nice, loads of hop flavor, citrus, grapefruit, pine, wonderfully bitter - lingers forever. some faint tart green apple notes round everything out. no hint of alcohol. this is one killer beer, so straight forward and honest.

m- great medium body, lots of carbonation, slickness.

d- wonderfully drinkable, i savored every sip, getting more and more sad as the bottle emptied. this is hands down the best beer i've ever had, and the standard to which all dipas should be held. man, i never thought i'd be saying those words about any beer. pliny blew me away, i need an unlimited supply!

01-23-2010 21:52:21 | More by thecarster1
Photo of gdodd12


4.88/5  rDev +4.9%

Had this out of a bottle that I acquired in a recent BIF.

A - It poured quite clearish golden color and had a decent head on it.

S - Lots of pine and citrus hops along with some other fruits perhaps. Great smell

T - Fantastic! The pine was definitely noticable. As were some citrus and fruit notes. And of course the hops are definitely noticed.

M - Carbonation is noticeable as well as the hops.

D - If I could have this at all times in my fridge, I would. Just an awesome beer. I envy those who can get this on somewhat regular basis.

01-23-2010 17:28:23 | More by gdodd12
Photo of pdoran10


4.25/5  rDev -8.6%

Thanks to my sister for bringing this back for me from her trip to San Fransisco.

Really excited to review this one!
Appearance is inviting it pours a clean golden color and produces an amazing amount of head on my first pour. Overflowed the pint glass a bit, oops. The smell is very similar to the appearance. Very clean and crisp. I get a distinct orange and lemon presence blended with piney resin. The taste is agressive! Lots of citrus and pine up front. Finishes surprisingly clean for how strong the flavors are. I'm impressed. Mouthfeel is great! lots of carbonation and it very crisp and refreshing. Drinkability is good, but your tastebuds get a work out. A great beer for sure.

01-23-2010 10:15:32 | More by pdoran10
Photo of YOOJ


4.63/5  rDev -0.4%

Had a few times before, but after not seeing this beer for a while where I live, I jumped at the chance to try it again.

Bright straw color, surprisingly clear and bright for the style.

Smell: Beautiful hops, grapefruit and a little spice.

Sip: Carbonation up front, turning into complex hops. Insistent but flexible grapefruit with almost no hop 'bite' until the smoooth bitter finish. As it warms, develops a slight farmhouse-y flavor.

Oh so smooth. Out-of-this-world drinkable beer.

Alot of DIPA or IPAs tend to be quite similar, but Pliny stands out in both it's complexity and character. It is over-hyped (no doubt fed by the brewery's choice to keep distribution inconsistent most places) but despite that, there is no getting around the fact that Pliny is a ridiculously solid beer.

01-23-2010 03:17:57 | More by YOOJ
Photo of Telix


3.9/5  rDev -16.1%

Got a bottle as a wonderful bonus from olibeer22. Bottled 12/05/09, opened 1/09/10:

A: Pours somewhat clear and slightly opaque (redundant or what?), with a nice head that sticks around for a good amount of time. The lacing is pretty good due to the high level of hop oils.

S: Somewhat soapy, with big lemon, orange, and grapefruit notes. There is some honey sweetness. The soapiness throws it off, it's not very appealing.

T: A nice balance of sweetness and sharp, cat-piss hops. There is some herbal and resinous hoppiness, along with a sliight amount of fundamental malt sweetness.

M: Good body for the style, but I wish it were bigger in the mouth. It might push it out of the style if it were, however.

D: Real tasty and easy to drink. A great west coast IPA for sure, but not exactly my favorite brew.

01-23-2010 01:22:41 | More by Telix
Photo of Beerbeer101


4.35/5  rDev -6.5%

Pours a light amber,orange,golden color. Head is white a smaller thumb sized even with aggressive pour, it falls to clumps of bubbles that leaves some nice lacing on my glass.

Aroma is big on citrus hops some floral with a fresh pine forest after cleansing rain smell underneath. nice caramel malt base this wonderful hop bouquet is riding on. But there is an underlying sweetness that has a caramel character. Smells very nice. The flavor is surprisingly balanced.
loads of hop flavors riding in citrus orange peel, apricot meat blend with the sweetness for a moment before turning to bitter grapefruit, lemon and pine all lingering on your tounge and mouth. Nice every sip is a pleasure demanding another. Taste is classic I2PA great smell loads of hop flavors all mixed not really favoring one variety.

Mouthfeel is mediumish not too big just enough to carry all the hop resins. Carobonation level also medium just enough to aide the flavor but no excess.

Drinkability is great very enjoyable, anyone have a clone of the Pliny's they would like to share? Stuff is so good no alcohol noted you could drink this all day, every day.

01-22-2010 08:02:18 | More by Beerbeer101
Photo of Sixofsigmas


4.93/5  rDev +6%

This is the beer that is a constant battle in my mind/mouth between itself and Sculpin. I love them both for different reasons.

Appearance is a beautiful golden copper pour with a wonderful head that recedes to a finger or less with lacing. TBH I'm still not sure why lacing means a damned thing, but I list it because other people have been. I don't think lacing enhances the beer experience at all other than making sure you have to rinse out your glass before the next one.

Smell is wonderfully piney citrus hops. Strong, raw, grapefruit, it's like smelling salts...it'll wake you right up.

Taste is off the chart... your mouth begins to feel something different, you feel a bite..that's the hops... it washes through your mouth infecting every possibly area. HI I'm Hops...and I'm here to stay... Finishes with grapefruit and smooth but not as smooth as Blind Pig(another Russian River offering). I can't get enough of Pliny the Elder. I have been known to buy a case at a time.

Mouthfeel is wonderful. Delicate carbonation gives way to the staying power of the hops and the clean but slightly oily feel of the beer.

Drinkability.... This is what I could consider my daily drinker... If I can come home and have a bottle or two of this beer... I am relaxed and feeling positive for the rest of the night. Very drinkable... very enjoyable.

01-22-2010 07:30:58 | More by Sixofsigmas
Photo of PhiGDeltaBrewman


4.7/5  rDev +1.1%

Poured into a Bruery snifter, bottle dated 1/6/10 so it must be the years first batch?!?!

reviewing the standard charcteristics have been similar over and over again. this beer is just amazing, im very excited for the younger on feb 5th.

the hop profile both in aroma and flavor just surpass so many other dipa's im very excited to compare it to alot of others tonight but like i said, everone else has already said it about this beer. very fruity and sweet and hoppy and fresh!

01-22-2010 03:57:11 | More by PhiGDeltaBrewman
Photo of TheMadJack


4/5  rDev -14%

Review prepared from notes. Served in Pint Glass.

A: Hazy orange gold. Thin head with islands of foam and bubbles.

S: Pine, orange, lemon, jasmine, mild clove. No noticable malt.

T: Orange zest and pine. Crisp bitterness overall. Warms the chest but lacks complexity. Bold in what flavors are present. Lemon joins orange on warming. Almost no discernable malts.

M: Astringent, puckering, carbonated. Flowing and prickly.

D: At 8% ABV and high IBU's, this one's best with food, but you'll probably want two.

01-21-2010 04:20:16 | More by TheMadJack
Photo of mutterfudder

New Hampshire

4.83/5  rDev +3.9%

Poured into a Stone Ruination Pint glass from a bottle with a bottle date of 12/23/09. Less than a month old! Spectacular. Acquired in trade from htomsirveaux. Thanks!

A - Pours a clear, sharp dark straw color with a foamy, 4-5 minute lasting head. Not overcarbonated, just a slow, steady stream of bubbles.

S - Wow... wowowowow. Hop and citrus flavors swirl in a floral bouquet of... well, forget it. This is one of the most amazing smells I've ever gotten off a pour. Heck, I could smell it from the second I popped the cap on this. Im-freakin-pressive.

T - Sharp citrus notes and light fruity notes. A nice hop/lavender-ish finish. A light enough body with a wonderful "mouth o hops" aftertaste. Just great!

M - Sharp and thin. The flavor lasts a while and leaves a nice hop aftertaste.

D - 8%? Wow. I wouldn't know. This is a hop bomb, and one I could drink for a while.

I remember trying this on my West-Coast swing last year and not being as blown away as I am today. Maybe it was old, maybe it wasn't cold enough, maybe I was too in love with Temptation at the time. But I take it all back: This is one of the best IPA's I've had, bar none.

01-21-2010 00:07:27 | More by mutterfudder
Photo of FoodBlog


4.78/5  rDev +2.8%

This beer is so unique in its flavor and aroma profile it almost deserves its own category. The aroma hits you immediately upon pouring, and it just reeks of fresh citrus, pine, and maybe a little fresh cut field greenery. The first sip of this makes your eyes bug out a bit as you are hit with mouth quenching hops, hints of malt, and great effervescence.

As I said, it is so unique that you simply have to try this to truly understand why this is so amazing. It is obvious that the makers of this beer know what they are doing.

01-20-2010 23:04:20 | More by FoodBlog
Photo of BuckeyeOne


5/5  rDev +7.5%

I've had PtE from the bottle many times since it hit Seattle on a regular basis. I didn't get a chance to have it on tap until recently. Fresh PtE is definitely a step up from the bottle.

Let me begin by saying that this is my favorite beer, hands down. I would have a PtE anytime, anywhere. I will have some in my fridge at all times, as long as the beer stores are stocked.

It pours a beautiful golden amber with an excellent white head and lacing that holds true.

I remember the first time I cracked open a bottle, poured it in my glass and was confronted with a pine forest aroma and the backing of grapefruit. I was floored. I couldn't imagine that a bottled beer could smell so incredible. It was nothing compared to a fresh PtE from the tap. Freshness prevails.

The taste followed the smell. But what is starkly different in PtE from the tap is the true lack of balance. Bottled PtE, for me, is sweeter --- you can taste the caramel malt. I got none of that from the tap --- a true hop bomb. And I was better for it.

Once I built a tolerance for DIPAs, they've become my session beers. Sick.

01-20-2010 22:37:30 | More by BuckeyeOne
Photo of alpinebryant


4.22/5  rDev -9.2%

bottled on date 12.23.09
Pours a clear yellow with a light white head that soon was only at the edges.

Strong smell of citrus, grapefruit, and tons of pine. Yes there is actually malt used to make this beer - you can smell that as well, it is just completely outdone by the insane hop presence.

Tastes very strongly of Pine, grapefruit, citrus, long bittering sensation aftershock after you have taken a few sips. Definitely not undesirable, just possibly not my favorite way to have an ipa. I prefer an IPA more on the sweet side - seems to be a slight dry cloying bite at the very end. Light carbonation, light to medium mouthfeel that is very good for the style. Two of these would go down smoothly

01-20-2010 01:13:38 | More by alpinebryant
Photo of CaptMurdock


4.55/5  rDev -2.2%

Big thanks to youbrewidrink for this trade.

Look: An amber hue with rays of sun pouring from the center. The head rises a good two fingers up and leaves a lovely sticky lacing throughout.

Smell: The hops take center stage and lean toward the piney side with citrus playing a supporting role here.

Taste: A very hoppy brew that works flawlessly with the biscuity malt to create the perfect taste for an IIPA. The piney nature of the initial flavors is very well balanced with the sweetness of the bittering hops. There are also fresh floral notes that really compliment the overall flavor.

Mouth feel: The carbonation is slight and perfect. The medium body is very welcoming and the mouth warms as the alcohol rolls over the tongue. Very nice.

Drinkability: The ABV is about as well hidden as your likely to find in an IIPA which makes this dangerously drinkable.

01-19-2010 16:09:43 | More by CaptMurdock
Photo of tegelaar


4.93/5  rDev +6%

Picked up a few bottles at the pub on a holiday vacation. Bottle dated 12/23.

Pours a dark hazy orange with thick foamy head. Head is golden and sparkles in the light (no really). Head goes away eventually and leaves gobs of lace on the glass. The smell is amazing - tons of hops and citrus. Reeks of farm fresh oranges. Taste is appropriately bitter and sweet with a tremendous hop kick. More citrus and honey with a small malt backbone. A true hophead's dream. Alcohol is very well hidden too. The mouthfeel is great, less thick than most DIPAs which I like. Extremely drinkable as the 500ml is gone before I even realize it. Luckily I bought a bunch! This one completely lives up to the hype.

01-19-2010 00:41:53 | More by tegelaar
Photo of dougofthefuture


4.72/5  rDev +1.5%

Bottle dated 12/23/09 picked up on a business trip. I've had this beer a few times. Better review it, as it is hard to say when I'll have it again.

S - I would usually review appearance first, but this is a beer you smell before you see. The moment the bottle is opened, the room smells like hops. After the pour it is only stronger. Pine is here, and a citrusy pineapple is hiding out as well. Are there hops floating in the bottle?

A - The appearance adds to the sense that this is a delicate beer. No floating hops, contrary to what my nose guessed. Instead, very high clarity, and just slightly amber color. The fluffy head is very slow to dissipate.

T & M - I agree with the general sentiment that pine dominates, but I remember it being even stronger in the past. I wonder if this bottle has started to fade? Either way, the strong pine and citrus hops sit well on the fragile malt backbone.

D - The final effect is the most drinkable IPA/IIPA ever created. For this alone, it deserves its reputation.

01-19-2010 00:32:27 | More by dougofthefuture
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,288 ratings.