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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.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

10,536 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,536
Reviews: 3,171
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 4,858
Gots: 1,753 | FT: 58
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: 10,536 | Reviews: 3,171 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerBelcher
4.63/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First off, a big thanks to my cousin for bringing this beer with him to OH on a x-country trip from CA.

I've had this beer at festivals on draft, and thought it was amazing. However, I usually don't rate from samples, so I haven't rated it until I got my own bottle. And while the bottle was very good, I don't think it was as fresh as the samples I've had on draft. Because while the bottle I got was certainly very good, it wasn't the hop ecstasy I experienced in the draft form. So, in this review, I'll likely split the difference.

Color is far lighter than I would've expected. It looks like a golden ale - not too thick, a very light blond/golden color, with a nice amount of head piled on top - a nice picture. Aroma was very hoppy (but hoppier on draft) and was very pine-y and resin-y. Beer was balanced with a nice malt framework...even though this beer is packed with hops, it didn't unbalanced.

Mouthfeel is light and pleasant. I swear I could drink a gallon of this stuff without feeling stuffed and like my mouth was coated with cotton candy (the way I would feel with other very hoppy, sticky IPAs).

This beer deserves its accolades. It really is one of the best!

BeerBelcher, Sep 18, 2009
Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to a certain mail order beer company who sticks it to the man & will ship to PA! 8/19/09 batch. Pours with a big head which settles slowly. Color is a bit light for a DIPA. Smells & tastes of citrus & pine hops and not much else. Mouthfeel is smooth considering the hoppiness. An 8% ABV helps make this very drinkable for the style. A huge DIPA which is worth seeking if you are a hop head. I have had this on draft many times & it is just as good in a bottle. One of my favorite beers, period.

SkinnyElvis, Sep 18, 2009
Photo of DNA
4.58/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm not a big fan of IPAs but I've tasted quite a few and Pliny the Elder is arguably the definitive IPA. The hop aroma is incredible - like my nose was buried in a double handful of fresh hops.

The appearance is typical for an IPA - a nice golden color with a slight cloudiness. The taste is exceptional with a distinctly fresh hop bitterness that lingers.

The only downside for me is the extreme hoppiness that prevents me from wanting to drink another glass. For what is described as a double IPA I would expect a little more malt flavor to come through and help balance out the fresh hop bitterness.

DNA, Sep 18, 2009
Photo of natelocc787
4.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I'll be the guy who says that for me-this beer didn't live up to the hype. Great IPA but I was expecting something legendary like the Pliny to be phenomenal and it wasn't. It was simply as good as other great IPA's. Which lucky for the Pliny's score, I happen to love great IPA's.

The appearance was impressive. Great retention and lacing-we all know the color of an Imperial IPA, no need for me to try and discern what shade of whitish color the head is or what shade of golden orange the beer is and find some new color of crayola to name it.

The nose was outstanding. My homeboy (who apparently has a much higher sense of smell than me) said he could smell it as soon as he cracked the bottle. I however, had to actually get the poured beer closer to my face, but wow. Really well crafted. All the floral, herbal piney and citrus aromas really stand out. Hoppy as heck! Reminded me of the Ruination methinks.

The taste was like the smell. I enjoyed the pineapple aspect in addition to the tangerine and key lime pie flavors. Nice balance I must add between the citrusy and and pineyness of the hops. If this was a seesaw battle I suppose it would lean a little more closer to the ground on the piney side. Tasted siimilar to a better balanced Ruination or a slightly more floral Hop Stoopid.

Mouthfeel was nice and silky but lacked crispness. Could have been thicker and more syrupy for me as well. A little bit too watery for me to give it the 4.5. Maybe my bottle was slightly affected by it's long journey to the Pliny-less state I dwell in, Texas.

Very drinkable. No problem putting this back and the alcohol was well hidden. Very tasty as well, I look forward to many more next year when I move back to Cali.

natelocc787, Sep 18, 2009
Photo of jxhill
4.45/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber color with sizeable creamy white head. Absolutely delicious and citrusy whiff of hops with the faintest toasted notes behind it. Hops fills the mouth with zesty and tangy hoppiness which is well balanced between aroma and bitterness. The grapefruity citrus notes linger on the tongue until fading late into smooth bitterness and nice alcohol warmth. Body is deceptively light. Lots of beautiful lacing.

So this is the Pliny I've heard so much about. And it lives up to its billing. Like so many DIPAs, it is powerfully hoppy. Unlike most DIPAs it manages to be both floral and bitter in well-balanced combination. It is easy on the eyes and complex on the nose and tongue. Certainly a superior DIPA.

jxhill, Sep 17, 2009
Photo of champ103
4.33/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy reddish/orange color. A large beige head forms and gently recedes to leave some nice lace.
S: Mouthwatering ripe and slightly sour apples, pears, orange, and lemon. Floral, pine, and grassy hops. I am a malt head through and through, but there is such depth in the nose here.
T: Again, ripe fruits explode on the tongue. Almost chewy hops. Floral, pine, and grass. A huge hop flavor without the over done bitterness.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. A nice crisp snap on the tongue. Not hard to drink considering the alcohol and the style. A good sipping beer.

If more DIPA's were like this I would drink them more often. There is a huge hop flavor, but it is not just bitterness. For an admit malt head this is very enjoyable. If that is not a great endorsement for this beer, I don't know what is?

champ103, Sep 16, 2009
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.58/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you to redbrewer83 for this. Received in a trade only last Wednesday, drinking this while it is still nice and fresh. Bottled 070909. I had this on tap once and apparently never reviewed it...so here goes.

A: Pours a coppery amber color, with a nice inch of thick head. The head dissipates into a film of head, with nice retention. The lacing left is clumpy and patternless.

S: Every bit as good as I remember it, and I think not being in a bar makes it even better. This is one easily one of the most appetizing beers of any style that I have ever had. Floral hops abound and make my mouth water. I love me some Cascade hops. There is a delectable aroma of apricot nectars, with just a touch of pine in the background.

T: Pliny does not disappoint. Tons of bitter hops, completely hidden in the smell ambush my tastebuds. The hops begin to leave the bitter character and assume a citrusy character of grapefruit and lemon zest. The sweet apricot rounds out the flavor with some floral hops as well.

M/D: Stuffed to the brim with sticky hops, this beer is clean and crisp. It has a lighter texture and feel than most DIPAs, and this makes is supremely enjoyable and refreshing. The bitterness makes my mouth pucker as I sip, but the smooth finish really rounds out this beer nicely. The fruity component adds a layer of complexity that I was not expecting. I am a big fan.

NittanyBeerFan, Sep 15, 2009
Photo of rvdoorn
3.68/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

According to the beeradvocate reviewers, one of the best beers on this planet. After months of waiting, I finally managed to buy two bottles in a beershop. Does it live up the hype...? This beer should potentially the best one of my second beer tasting evening with PapaEugene. Poured into a Rochefort glass. The beer pours hazy-dark yellow (had to think about morning urine immediately), with a beautiful snow-white head that disappeared fast into a somewhat messy lacing.

Smell: WOW, what a smell, extremely strong floral hops (obviously), peach and honey

Taste: My first reaction was WOW again, very very bitter and hoppy, and then a surprisingly a gradual change to nice sweet grapefruit... cool, I always love such different taste-layers in beer! The beer has a fresh bitter, but very soft (like silk) finish. After two or three sips, the previously mentioned grapefruits now seem to be more lemon. Interesting...

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation with a light body.

Overall: Well, I have to say, that at first I thought this was truly one of the best beers I ever had. But after 4 sips, I had to drink water to clean my taste buds and re-hydrate my mouth. This ritual I had to repeat the whole time. This beer is so bitter (which is great), but it makes the mouth dry and insensitive for any other taste (and apparently I'm not the only user that thinks so recently). What a pity, because a beer should also be drinkable. I think the drinkability is highly overrated, the taste, for sure not. It feels a bit strange this beer is rated higher than Rochefort 10 and Westvleteren 8 on Beeradvocate, I personally think that the ratebeer.com rating reflects the quality of this beer better. But still, worth to try? YES! if I drink it again....? well, I still have one bottle left....

rvdoorn, Sep 14, 2009
Photo of mtbbaboon
4.83/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A friend of mine bought be seven bottles of this. What a good friend. This review is from the last bottle I have left. Poured the bottle of into a Duvel tulip glass. Leaves a nice foamy white head that lingers for quite a while. Lots of lacing on the glass. The color is a light orange shade and very cloudy. Tiny bubbles work their way up the glass. I could smell this beer when I opened the bottle. Wonderfully strong in the nose. Lots of hoppy aroma. Noticeable citrus and pine presence in the aroma. The taste is much the same. Absolutely delicious. Big hoppy bite, followed by a strong grapefruit taste...almost tastes like a grapefruit rind was dropped in. A fair amount of bitterness but not overpowering. A real lip smacker. Very strong taste and nicely balanced. Medium body and not a lot of mouth stick. It's got an almost "oily" mouthfeel to it and it makes me want to chatter my teeth. This is real easy to drink, but I need to sip this and savor it. Who knows when I'll get more Pliny. I had high expectations and those were certainly met. Pliny is a fantastic beer.

mtbbaboon, Sep 13, 2009
Photo of pixieskid
4.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed today, 9/12/09, freshness date 8/23/09. Poured from 500ml bottle to a small "pint" style glass at City Beer in San Francisco.
A- Poured a glowing hazy orange, with a surprisingly small head.
S- (I have a weak sense of smell) but citrus hops were definitely present.
T-Incredibly balanced, very smooth, has a rich sweet malt upfront, balanced by a nice citrus hop flavor throughout. Finishes velvety smooth with a mellow bitter/ slight sour taste.
M- rather thin body for a double ipa, perfect carbonation.
D- This is the most balanced DIPA/ beer I have ever had, the alcohol is almost not even present, and the thin body/carbonation make it highly drinkable. However, it has an incredibly dry finish, something I am not a fan of, especially in an IPA/DIPA category. It almost leaves my throat dry as if I am having an allergic reaction?

This was my first encounter with Pliny and despite the issue I had with it's dryness, I will definitely be trying it again. I am hoping that the next one lives up to it's reputaiton.
P.S. Thanks papaeugene for reassuring me that i am not insane, and that Pliny has a strange dry/ dehydrating affect on ones throat. I shall be trying it on tap tonight at Toronados,SF, and I have my fingers crossed.

Update: Turns out that I was indeed having an allergic reaction, but not to the beer. Since this review I have had Pliny on numerous occasions and must say that it truly is an exceptional beer. Wonderful balance, great undertones, and not overly dry by any means. I have thus updated the rating.

pixieskid, Sep 13, 2009
Photo of PapaEugene
4.15/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Should be the most promising beer from the second beertasting session with rvdoorn. We split a 500 ml bottle.

A: HAzy dark yellow color. No head worth mentioning. Big bubbly irregular lacing left.

S: HOPS all over the place. Honey, peachy, citrus and something floral.

T: Starts of with a bittersweet citrus/honey taste but after a few sips it shows a great grapefruit taste. Main part is obviously dominated by hops. Aftertaste is bitter but soft.

M: Medium carbonation and a light body. Very pleasant mouthfeel.

D: Being very impressed by smell/taste initially, somewhere half through my glass I feel my mouth drying out and the bitterness taking hold of all my papilla. To keep enjoying this beer, I went to rinse my mouth with water a few times. This left me in doubt about trying this beer again.

PapaEugene, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of Ek0nomik
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured In: Tulip Glass
Attained through a trade.

Appearance: Pours a golden yellow color with a trail of bubbles running in the middle of my glass from bottom to top with a finger of head. A nice amount of oil covered bubbles are showing up in the head. As time passes by a thin layer of head remains as the beer quantity slowly drops down. A generous amount of lacing at the top of my glass, with an enormous amount of lacing in the middle; my glass has turned from clear to white. I'm surprised at how bright and clear this beer is. I was expecting something a little more cloudy and more copper in color.

Smell: This is what an IPA should smell like. Finally a West Coast IPA from my trade that I want more of. Nothing except resinous hops on the nose. A fantastic blend of grass, citrus, and flowers.

Taste: Bitterness comes up first, with almost no malt flavor (which is great! - not that I hate malt, but in an IPA I want nothing but hops) followed by a great blend of hops. A nice blend of earthy hops, including grass, flower, and pine, followed by a blend of grapefruit and orange. I love the feeling of the hop oils coating my tongue. The grapefruit aftertaste leaves me wanting more.

Mouthfeel: A medium bodied beer, with a nice level of carbonation. Hop oils coating my gums, teeth, and tongue.

Drinkability: Russian River, please start distributing to Wisconsin. This is a beer I could have multiple of. A fantastically brewed beer by RR. This was the first PtE I had, and the first beer from RR. I'll be asking for this in a trade many times in the future.

Ek0nomik, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of berkey
4.63/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up an extremely fresh batch for the recent holiday weekend and enjoyed it so much I decided to re-review. Just getting around to typing up notes now. Bottled 08/31/09 consumed 09/05/09.

Forms a great fluffy white head with amazing retention. Body is a very crisp and clean amber color. Leaves rings of beautiful lacing as it goes. This is about as good looking as they come.

Aroma is dominated by stong pine notes with some underlying bitter pungency. A healthy dose of citrus can be picked up here followed by a sweet cereal-like malt backbone.

Flavor follows the aroma fairly faithfully. Deep resinous pine is outstanding on this fresh bottle. I notice that seems to be the first thing that fades on other bottles I've had with only about a month on them. This tends to create a slightly unbalanced hop profile that makes it much less enjoyable. The way the different flavors are stacked against eachother to create a unique balance is really the strenght of this brew. A fairly sweet beer at moments but the dry bitter pungency hides the moderate booze incredibly well. The citrus from the aroma is still here but more as a supporting player.

Drinkabilty is so high on this one it's tempting to session it but at 8% that's usually not a great idea. Clean and crisp on the mouthfeel. Possibly the most refreshing DIPA I've tried.

The label is no joke: DO NOT AGE! I can't think of any other beer where freshness makes such a dramatic difference.

berkey, Sep 11, 2009
Photo of 0tt0
4.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've had this at Toranado in San Francisco and I was fortunate enough for a friend of mine to bring me back two bottles from his recent visit to Sonoma. According to the label, it was bottled on 8/19/09. It also implores me not to lay bottle #2 and drink it fresh. Not sure if I'll heed that one...

The beer pours golden in color with some amber hints at the edges of the glass. Really, its the color of a dried apricot. Head is stark white with some tight bubbles.

The appearance is certainly nice, but its the nose that lets you know right away that this is something terrific. It smells like hops that have just been dumped into the boil: green, citric, grassy, and somewhat sappy. I feel like part of Pavlov's pack.

The collar dissipates quickly, but a quick swirl of the glass brings it right back. In fact, when swirled, it looks like a tornado, albeit a very pretty tornado. First sip is, just as suspected, all fresh, wet, green hops. Tangerine dominates the citrus flavors up front. What's remarkable is that it shifts as it slides across the tongue to a grapefruit note that is immediately balanced by the malts kicking into gear. The malt is hard to pin down--not as sweet as honey, nor as "dark" as caramel. Whatever it is, its lovely. The finish is where all the hops really assert themselves: sappy, almost like an American barleywine, with some warming alcohol that was well cloaked up until that point. It is deceptive.

This is an exception DIPA, probably the best there is in terms of a fresh, grassy hop flavor and a great malt balance that never forgets that the hops are the star of the show. In a weird way, I'm almost glad I couldn't have this beer every day. Instead, I'd rather have it every year or so. Something to look forward to, no?

0tt0, Sep 10, 2009
Photo of spwalshesq
4.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My beer buddy and I had been dying to try Pliny the Elder after reading all the rave reviews and high marks, but because Russian River doesn't distribute to the right coast, we had to reach out to a left coast contact to have it sent east. It is a great beer and worth the wait.

Pliny has a golden honey color with a nice, 2-finger head which receded to sticky lacing. The aroma was pure hop heaven - almost hempish - this beer should be enjoyed in a large tulip glass in order to fully appreciate the nose. One of the better smelling beers I've had the pleasure of sampling.

Pliny the Elder has an interesting taste. It's piney, a hint of citrus with a faint sweetness at the end. Let this brew swirl around your tongue to discover its character - it has a palate-smacking lasting flavor that lingers much longer than most beers. Its high hoppiness has a very clean, almost astringent aftertaste. Don't chill this beer too much -- its full character comes out as it warms a bit.

This is a very drinkable beer for a DIPA. I've had some DIPAs that are maltier and more full-bodied which are more appealing to me. So while PTE is one mighty fine beer, I guess I can't say that this is the best DIPA I've ever had. I think Southern Tier's Unearthly tops Pliny as far as Imperials go, but if you're going to have more than one in this style, you might be wise to go with Pliny.

Now if I can just get my hands on PTY!

spwalshesq, Sep 10, 2009
Photo of nickd717
4.68/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Russian River.

A - Brilliant golden color with an off-white head and good lacing.

S - Piney, citrusy and floral, delicious hops with a hint of sweet malt. The hops really dominate though. Weed also apparent. When consumed fresh, the aroma on this bad boy is almost unbeatable.

T - Excellent hop flavor - piney, citrusy, and a little floral - with sweet caramel malt and sugar providing that perfect balance.

M - Smooth mouthfeel with hop oiliness fairly low for a DIPA and body a little lighter than I would have expected, which is not a bad thing at all. Finish slightly bitter and dry.

D - Somewhat light body really adds to the drinkability, which is almost off the charts for a DIPA.

nickd717, Sep 08, 2009
Photo of HopHead84
4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Consumed on 9/7/2009 and poured into a tulip. I'm ashamed to admit that I take this beer for granted. Fresh bottles are always on the shelf at my local store and it's always on tap at a nearby bar, yet I rarely drink it. I realized the other day that I hadn't even reviewed this staple, so I picked up a bottle today. This is dated 8/31/2009 so it's just a week old. The beer appears golden orange with a silky and frothy two finger white head. The head lingers for a few minutes and as it recedes it leaves a thick coating of lacing clinging to the glass.

The nose is astounding. It's a nice balance of pine resin and bitter grapefruit. Other citrus is peach, orange peel, and mango, and some floral character is evident. A hint of crackery malt is present far beneath the hop display.

The flavor is initially slightly herbal and bitter grapefruit with pine, with just a touch of sweetness that is quickly enveloped by dry bitterness. The malt provides some balance, but only a trace of its crackery presence is detectable in the flavor. The hops are in top form tonight, exhibiting tropical fruit flavors and a nice high level of bitterness. The long finish is dry and highly bitter with lingering pine and citrus. Alcohol is well hidden and only makes a brief appearance in the finish.

The beer is light medium bodied with a medium level of carbonation and a dry, sticky mouthfeel that is near perfect.

Pliny is the archetype and one that has influenced a myriad of stellar Double IPAs yet has managed to remain the leader of the pack. This is arguably the best Double IPA on the planet.

HopHead84, Sep 08, 2009
Photo of jlindros
4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this awesome-o surprise as an extra from Solomon420, thanks again Damian! I've been holding this beast in anticipation for a short while, and today was my son's first birthday so I decided to crack it. Imagine a kid getting locked in a candy store but also have the unfortunate disadvantage of diabetes or something, that's what it was like not just destroying this beer immediately.

A: It's got a strangely erotic bright orange color with some light haze and light frothy head that sticks around lightly. Super clear color. Even my eyes are thanking me.

N: Hops just dominate and the pine and citrus just rip my nostrils ashunder. The light malty goodness and slight sweetness also dance around the nose, but the added slight grapefruit at the end add a nice touch. A gentle floral adds lightly to it. Earthy beast-like hops ravage my nose, with lots of fresh hop oils.

T: OK, after months of waiting (since I first setup the trade, not waiting on this beer) its time... guhhh, groggle, slurp, very wet and juicy hop burst, not so much of the crazy pine and dryness as expected, its got a delicate citrus grapefruit and slight malty body, perhaps some tropical juicy hop as well. A nice poignant zip. Theres a touch of spicey hops and earthy tones that seem to build up the more you drink it. But there are some nice piny citrus hops as well. This seems to touch each category of hops except grassy. The alcohol is hidden very well.

M: A light malty body with some light carbonation, a slight sticky and juicy feel.

F: Huge hop smash towards the end, lots of bitterness with citrus and pine but still pretty juicy, slightly dry but doesn't dry out as much as I thought it would for the huge hop kick. The intense bitterness fades quickly leaving you begging for more and ready for the next sip. It's got a big juicy slab in the middle of the end that just makes the drinkibility astronomical. I'm just slamming this thing back like it's going out of business, which is dangerous for 8%.

Final thoughts: This is an incredible beer, as expected. I had huge hopes and it didn't smash them. Perhaps could have used a slight more malt (I'll prolly get reamed for that) but thats IMHO. The hops and flavors are so balanced that it was just amazing to keep drinking and drinking. So many different hop flavors that balance out well and come from every angle, like getting gang jumped. I can't wait to get more. It's almost as if someone juiced a grapefruit using a pine cone made of love and ecstasy. I feel like a hopped hippie after drinking this!

jlindros, Sep 06, 2009
Photo of ahalloin
4.58/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am happy and consider myself very fortunate to be reviewing this warhorse of the craft beer industry. I wish it was available in my area, but the absence and relative difficulty of getting it makes it that much more gratifying to try.

Poured from the 500ml bottle with the plain, no-frills label.
Pours a yellow golden color with a decent white head of about two fingers width.

Smell is very fresh and earthy smelling with notes of red grapefruit flesh, other citrus, and a hint of toffee backbone. The hop aroma is very organic in quality, almost as if smelling the flower on the vine.

Taste is really nice and balanced with elements of grapefruity citrus, a peppery, bitter finish that lingers long after the swallow coupled with a decent malt backbone that is merely a catalyst for the acidic hops.

Mouthfeel is quite adequate with a medium carbonation.

Drinkability is awesome. I found it easy to guzzle...almost too easy, as I was soon starring at an empty glass wondering what happened to possibly the greatest beer I have ever tried.

ahalloin, Sep 06, 2009
Photo of tr4nc3d
4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ahh, my first pliny, bottled on 07-20-09, so its not that old and should give me a representation of what it truly is.

Poured from a 1 pint .90fl oz bottle into my pint glass

Pours a light copper color with a two inch slightly off white head. Average head retention that when fades leaves soapy lacing scattered on the sides of my glass.

Smell is of mango, some grapefruit, pine needle hops, grass, and earth like.

Mellow taste of slight citrus that blends nicely into some bittering hops. Very slight malts could be tasted in the backbone but the bittering hops dominate it.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with high carbonation. Easy drinking even with the medium bitterness.

This is not as fresh as possible, but seeing how its not even 2 months old its pretty much going to taste like this. Overall I was kind of disappointed since Pliny is a very respected beer in the craft beer world.

Its good to experience drinking Pliny, but do not get into the hype.

***UPDATE***
Had this beer today and it was 3 weeks old this time. I have to go back and say that this beer changes pretty dramatically with age. This time around, this beer was pretty top notch and a really good IPA.

tr4nc3d, Sep 06, 2009
Photo of nickfl
4.45/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Two fingers of white foam on top of a clear, golden orange body. The head settles slowly and leaves thick lace.

S - Pungent pine, grapefruit, mango hops. Very fresh with a powdery hop pellet character. Some malt in the background with toasted sweetness and a hint of alcohol.

T - Very fruity hop flavor with moderate bitterness up front. Lots of pineapple and orange hop notes. A good bit of malt richness with toffee and bready notes. The bitterness steadily increases towards a finish of fruity hop flavor, biting bitterness and toasty malt struggling to show through.

M - Medium thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - This is a very good beer, but it is not perfect. The bitterness is just a bit harsh and well... thats about all I can come up with to complain about. The hop aroma is great and the flavor is exceptional. It is well balanced and a really nice DIPA that remains drinkable despite the huge flavor.

I have been looking forward to getting ahold of one of these for a while. So, the question is; does it live up to the hype? Well, probably not, but it would be almost impossible for it to. It is not that this isn't an exceptional beer, it is just that there are other DIPAs that are just as exceptional. This is certainly in my top 5 for DIPAs (top 3 probably), but I think Hopslam is just a bit better.

nickfl, Sep 04, 2009
Photo of boogyman
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First time on a PtE from the bottle. First review here at BA. Purchased today from Bottleworks in Seattle. ($5 a bottle, not bad) says it was bottled 08/19/2009, so this is about as fresh as a Washingtonian can get from the bottle.

A- Pours a nice dark golden color with a good finger of head. I poured it into tulip glass and I poured pretty slowly so didn't get as much as some might have. I am liking the bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. After drinking it some, I notice the lacing is awesome, just foam sticking everywhere.

S- Oh Christmas!!! The first thing I noticed was an awesome piney Christmas smell. I also smell some fruityness to it. Mango? Grapes? Orange? Grapefruit? Very fresh smell. It really does smell quite awesome compared to some IPA's I have had lately. The strong smell puts a big smile on my face and I am anticipating the taste which is to come.

T- The fruity pine needle is definitely there. The hops flavor is perfect. Not overpowering at all. It likes to linger on your tongue for a while which keeps you going to the next sip.

M- Goes down very easy and as said before, the taste lingers on the tongue forever and it is wonderful. If you swill it in your mouth a bit, the bubbly feeling is quite nice. Feels very pleasant going down. I can't taste the alcohol but it feels very warming. So far, this beer has very much lived up to its reputation.

D- Can I open my second bottle yet? It doesn't seem to make me feel too full or cause lots of beer burps. I could very easily drink a number of these in a row and I highly doubt I could ever get tired of it.

In conclusion...

I love this beer, plain and simple. I have been teasing my palate with different kinds of IPA's and Imperial IPA's lately but so far, nothing has come close to the amazing explosion of smell and flavor this beer has just provided. I am prone to being disappointed when I have high expectations for something and this one of the few instances that I can say that this beer certainly lives up to its expectations, and then some. I cannot wait until I can get my hands on some Pliny the Younger in the Winter/Spring. If possible, go get this right now.

boogyman, Sep 03, 2009
Photo of brownbeer
4.33/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle.

Piney hops,Focused on juicey malt balance. Subtle tropical fruit(pineapple)

This beer was really well balanced and not bitter, for people who don't like over hopped ipas.

Quite drinkable, smooth. Drink one today and drink it fresh(by the label(.

brownbeer, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of BayouBengal1537
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First off have to thank my future mother-in-law for picking this beer up for me in California. Hands down best beer i've ever had so far. 500ml bottle poured into snifter
A - Pours a beautiful golden/orange color with a 2 finger white bubbly head that sits atop the beer beautifully.

S - Fresh citrus hop aroma that is outstanding! grapefruit, peach, floral hops, tropical fruits....amazing

T - Citrus hops, piney hops upfront, grapefruit, peachy/tropical fruits present. Nice bitter aftertaste but its very pleasant. The balance of hops and malt is out of this world...perfectly balanced.

M - exceptionally clean and fresh, feels like silk over the palate. Alcohol is hidden extremely well

D - extremely drinkable, i savored every sip. I drank this one too fast and wish I had more.

Let me just say Pliny the Elder is a freaking experience, the beer is amazing to say the least

BayouBengal1537, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of ShogoKawada
4.83/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"From Oakland to Sacktown
The Bay Area and back down
Cali is where they put they mack down"

-Tupac

Poured into a wide snifter from .5L bottle. 28 days old, from bottling to my glass. BIG thanks to augustgarage, who hooked a Rhode Islander with this fabled beer.

A- Full-bottle pour into my snifter leaves a shimmering golden beer with hints of orange and copper colors. An aggressive pour leaves a frothy, delightful head on the beer which laces immediately.

S- Hops... sweet hops. As far as other IPA/DIPAs go, this has the hop sweetness similar to the 90 min. DFH, but lacks the malt sweetness of the 90. Grapefruit, citrus, and pine hops all blend together to create a fabulous bouquet. Possibly the best-smelling DIPA I've ever had... with exception of the DFH Squall IPA. I love this smell like a fat kid loves cake.

T- This is the real deal. I think this beer just blew my mind. Powerful hops here. Follows the nose, grapefruit, citrus, and pine hops. Incredible hop flavoring here, finding it hard to put into words. It's like someone created a blend of hops that eliminates everything an over-hopped beer does wrong. It's sweet but not too sweet, a bit tart, mildly bitter, but wonderfully concocted. A hop head's dream, I cannot imagine improving this flavor at all. Haven't tried PtY, but who cares? I sure don't. Gimme more Elder! Pale malt is there to provide a nice body, but do little to add to the flavor. Fine by me, this is expertly crafted.

M- Pretty decent body, almost like silk in your mouth after you sip. Good carbonation, too. Mouthfeel is hard to pin down, the flavor is all my head can wrap itself around right now.

D- Moderate to insanely high depending on your ease of procurement. If I could buy this at my local store, I'd buy this by the pallet and drink it morning, noon, and night. Since I have to trade for it, it's kind of a pain to get (although the trade was mind-boggilingly easy). I want to thank augustgarage for the chance to try this beer... Hope to have this on tap someday, and will look into procuring some more at some point.

My favorite DIPA is still the Squall... unfiltered and bottle conditioned = awesome, but I doubt I'll get another fresh bottle of that unless DFH brings it back. This beer handily beats out the standard 90 min in a bottle.. and I'm somewhat of a DFH groupie. RR ain't fucking around with this beer.

Long story short: Overhyped? Nope.

This beer is a bear, a burly beast, a hop conquistador here to take over your tongue. World-class. The 600-pound DIPA in the room.

ShogoKawada, Sep 01, 2009
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,536 ratings.