1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

9,799 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,799
Reviews: 3,125
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.17%
Wants: 4,496
Gots: 1,457 | FT: 54
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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Pliny The Elder Alström Bros
Ratings: 9,799 | Reviews: 3,125 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BravoTwo


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

A - Clear golden amber with a slight head

S - Very piney hops smell, very aromatic with a floral tone. Smells very inviting.

T - Exceptional piney hops taste with clear flavors. Very crisp and clean with distinctive flavor. Tastes like a northern California forest would taste if you drank it.

M - Clean and clear, crisp with good carbonation.

D - Really great, very drinkable double IPA. Very clean and tasty, and easily drinkable. I'm sure that directly off the tap this beer would even be more enjoyable.

Serving type: growler

10-23-2007 00:00:53 | More by BravoTwo
Photo of shertz


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

Served in a Pint Glass at The Drafting Room in Exton, Pa. Ate a little chicken gumbo along side.

A- Cloudy, with a mellow orange color. Some bubble rise throughout.

S- Piney hops! Citrus, very little to no malt, just hops. Typical West Coast hops smell.

T- Phenomenal!! Sweet Jesus, I love the hoppiness of this beer. Strong Piney/Citrus hops and very little malt. Unbelievable.

M- Nice, medium carbonation. Numbing effect on tongue from strong hop presences. Amazing.

D- This beer is as good as it gets in my book. Best IPA I believe I have ever had. I'm glad it is hard to get because it makes it extra special. Everything as advertised.


Serving type: on-tap

10-21-2007 02:03:53 | More by shertz
Photo of klewis


4.33/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super extra thanks to weeare138 for this extra!!
Hand bottled 10/8/07 into a 12oz

A: Pours a crystal clear amber with a brief bubbly head. Spotty flares of lacing.

S: A big beautiful smell of floral hops and caramel malt. Very inviting.

T: Nicely balanced with a sweet malty taste quickly giving way to a vegetal and grassy hop taste and a good dose of bitterness. A bit earthy in the finish.

M: Full-bodied, thick, and syrupy. Carbonation is very fine and minimal.

D: Not the best DIPA I've had, but a damn fine example anyway. Glad I got the chance to try this.

Serving type: growler

10-13-2007 02:53:22 | More by klewis
Photo of sfoley333


4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into pint glass from tap at Pizza Port Carlsbad 09-30-07.
One of my favorite double IPAs first tried here back in 2004.
Poured copper orange color with nice sticky head with scents of the herbal pine of Norcal with hints of citrus. Taste more grapefruit pine flavor with nice balance between very bitter hoppiness and sweet maltiness. That where this beer shines the most. Mouth feel nice smooth feel that helps with the flavor to mask the 8% alcohol content. This helps make it very drinkable but becareful because this one will pack a nice punch.

Serving type: on-tap

10-01-2007 05:30:45 | More by sfoley333
Photo of genog


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

Pours an orange brownish color with a frothy and creamy white head that builds up several inches in the glass. Lacing is left along the side of the glass as this one is consumed. Smell is of herbs, perfume, earthy, and pine, with some citrus notes. Taste is at first hoppy and citrus, but finishes with a moderate bitter finish. Mouthfeeling is a bit oily and maybe syrupy as well.

Serving type: growler

09-22-2007 19:27:10 | More by genog
Photo of franksnbeans


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

Pours a surprisingly golden color for a DIPA with lively carbonation and a sizable head that laces throughout the entire pint. Smells like bready sweet malt and fresh juicy hops. Taste is as it smells, big juicy hops with a huge rush of balancing malt. Medium at most in the mouth with good carbonation. Rediculously drinkable for a DIPA!! No abv apparant, just some hop juice to brighten my day.

Serving type: growler

09-22-2007 18:59:13 | More by franksnbeans
Photo of Lothore


4.22/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured on tap at the brewpub. It is a beautiful deep golden color with a small head which sticks around until the bottom of the glass.

S- Smells of oily piney hops with a distinct sweet maltiness in the background.

T- Tastes of bitter piney hops with a good amount of sweet maltiness to balance it out. A bready doughy flavor is in the background.

M- Thick with a lot of carbonation that gives you an awesome kick. Great mouthfeel to say the least

D- For an 8 percent abv brew this went down extremely smooth. I drank it so fast in fact that I definitely was feeling the alcohol afterwards that I didn't taste. All in all a great DIPA.

Serving type: on-tap

09-17-2007 01:33:38 | More by Lothore
Photo of Lupe

New York

4.45/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear honey-orange, topped with a two finger frothy white head that lasts. Nice lacing left behind along the sides of the glass.

Strong hop aroma. The smell hits you before you even pick up the glass. Lots of citrus hop goodness with some pine and malt in the back ground.

Lots of hop flavor but nicely balanced by the malt. More balanced then you would think from the aroma. Citrus and floral flavors give way to some toasted malt sweetness.

Full bodied and creamy. Very refreshing and wonderfully balanced, more so than other double IPAs.

Serving type: on-tap

09-15-2007 20:15:42 | More by Lupe
Photo of colinsk


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

This is the classic Double IPA or Imperial IPA if you prefer. The hop aroma is so strong you will smell it before you raise the glass to taste it. While the aroma is overpowering it balances the intensly strong hop flavor present in the beer. The malt and bitterness balance in nearly perfect. Be careful of the excessivly (but to style) alcohol in the beer! If you like double IPAs this is a great beer to try.

Serving type: on-tap

09-13-2007 16:37:16 | More by colinsk
Photo of session1979


4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to flexabull for giving me the opportunity to sample this wonderful beer.

Setting: Drank this over labor day weekend and boy what a treat.

Appearance - Poured a clear honey amber with a frothy 2 finger marshmallowy head. Great retention and lacing.

Smell - One of the most complex nose's I have experienced full of citrus, pineapple, pine, floral spices, gummi candies and light warm malts.

Taste - Refreshingly bitter raw hops which are very nicely balanced with malts and floral notes. The taste is not as complex or intense as the nose but very nice.

Mouth - Full creamy body coats the mouth with wonderful hop flavors. Just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability - A very well balanced and therefore easy to drink beer. I could easily enjoy 2 or 3 glasses in a sitting.

Overall - What a wonderful culmination of time and effort from Russian River. This beer warrants all of the accolades it receives and will continue to impress craft beer lovers for ages to come.

Serving type: growler

09-12-2007 18:14:04 | More by session1979
Photo of Overlord


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

Exceptional IPA. Exploded with bitter, grapefruit/floral hops. Drinkable despite the strong flavor and high alcohol content. Some sweetness in the form of pink/white grapefruit and citrus, but also a great balancing array of bittering flavors. All of the various tastes are superbly blended.

Pours a beautiful coppery color. Tough to find, but excellent.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2007 05:51:22 | More by Overlord
Photo of Floydster


4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Originally reviewed a couple months ago, but had to do another because it is by far my favorite beer

Served in 12 ounce goblet at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach near the pier and King's Harbor and a 1/2 liter tankard at Hollingshead's more recently

I will start off by saying that Russian River is my favorite brewery in the world and this is their best beer, this is also the beer that made me want to start reviewing beers and made me an IPA fanatic, particularly doubles and imperials

Unfortunately, I have not been able to try Pliny the Younger yet, cannot wait until Hollingshead's in the city of Orange gets more after the new year

Pour was a golden orangish yellow color with a 3/4 inch foamy head that let the perfect smell out through its small openings

Smell was full of hops and some small amounts of citrus including lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit

Taste was nice and bitter, not too much of the fruit in the aroma can be tasted, especially at the ned of the sip, this a strong tasting double IPA that is closer to perfection than anything else I have had, it has a nice bitter bite at the finish making you want more and more

Could drink these until I pass out they are so good and the alcohol is hidden very well, the brew is not too heavy, actually extremely light for an imperial IPA

Good to know that they keep this year round at the bar near my house, always be the number one candidate when there is not something else interesting to try

This is going to be available in 22 ounce bottles in about six months because RR is expanding, that should be a great treat for everybody on the east coast who does not have access to this beer

Pizza Port is having a two dollar pint night featuring this coming up and you could be certain that I will be there drinking at least five of these, if not more

I have not tried Dark Lord Imperial Stout from Three Floyds or the Younger like I previously mentioned, but I believe this should be the highest rated beer in the world, flawless

It is so complex and subtle at the same time, this is hands down my favorite beer in my favorite style of beer

Gotta try this if you are a fan of IPAs, or just want to try one of the best beers in the world in general

Serving type: on-tap

09-03-2007 05:43:05 | More by Floydster
Photo of BeerTruth


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

Last of three beers I had at Russian River, perfect beer to end my trip there. Poured into a nonic pint glass, ah yes, Happy Hour all day on Sunday :)

Pours a mostly clear copper hue with a lot of bubbles racing to the top that create a perfect fluffy white one finger head that stays around until the very end. Stickiness is everywhere on the glass. Smell has all hop scents mixed in; evergreen pine, grapefruit/lime citrus, and earthy hops. Caramel malt does make an appearance, just enough to balance the huge hop character. Taste starts off with a tiny bit of alcohol but is quickly taken over by the huge citrus hop flavor. Grapefruit, lemon, lime, oranges with a good pine undertone. With how much hop is present on the tongue, this beer isn't dry or very bitter at all. Caramel malt is actually quite noticable for such a hop bomb. Mouthfeel is medium bodied bordering on full with a whole lot of constant carbonation. Creamy DIPA which is a very enjoyable in every aspect. For 8% abv this one goes down very easy. Get your hands on this one for sure. I would definitely love to try the Younger, see how that compares.

Serving type: on-tap

08-27-2007 04:36:34 | More by BeerTruth
Photo of jeffjfindley


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

Lovingly consumed at Father's Office. A fair color for an IPA, coppery, and with abundant head. Retention was respectable, but not enviable. Smell was grassy, and alive with sweet malt and sticky hops. Taste was nectary, caramel with a fine blend of hops, with center stage shared beautifully between pine and citrus characters. Mouthfeel was rich and malty, but very clean. Unarguably, this is one hell of an IPA.

Serving type: on-tap

08-26-2007 01:32:51 | More by jeffjfindley
Photo of HardTarget


3.78/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at O’Brian’s in San Diego

Aroma: Mild grassy hop (sorry, pub reviews always suffer on aroma).

Appearance: Amber glass with great clarity, thin cover managed a bit of lace.

Flavor: Tangy hops are firm but not overwhelming. Base is adequate but not sweet.

Mouthfeel: Oily texture, medium heavy body.

Overall Impression: Hyped? It’s a good IPA, double is subjective. No flaws, chock full of hops, but I just didn’t “wow”. I’m thinking that D/IPA’s are to the West Coast as Mild Cask Ale is to the UK. Maybe there is a subtleness that I’m missing. I love me some hops, but this just struck me as a good, not great beer.

Serving type: on-tap

08-19-2007 19:05:30 | More by HardTarget
Photo of celistealth


4.58/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured an attractive bright orange with an average head, somewhat persistent retention left sticky and spotty lacing.

S: Smelled surprisingly bright and sweet for a DIPA. Notes of citrus peel and a subtle resin of piney hops. Though strong and oily, not overly resinous/bitter.

T: Much rounder than the nose, the citrus and pine notes from the hops are complemented by underlying malts and what I can only describe as a buttery, oily sweetness. A long finish of grapefruit zest, followed by minty piney resin, with a toffee-like background throughout.

M: Quite oily and syrupy, without being overly viscous or astringent. What I could only describe as buttery-oily and chewy, with smooth carbonation that thickened the brew without making it airy.

D: A bit more drinkable compared to most other DIPAs due to its subtler hoppiness, but also more filling due to its thick mouthfeel and full flavor. I could do a couple pints in a night, but any more would be labored.

Serving type: on-tap

08-15-2007 07:31:10 | More by celistealth
Photo of trevorwideman

Manitoba (Canada)

4.58/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Toronado, SF, CA.

Pours a rich orange-red with 1/2 inch of head with lots of sticky lace and mild carbonation. Aroma is resiny, piney and floral, but the citric hops dominate.

Flavour-wise, this one is all about balance, balance, balance. Pine, grapefruit, oily hops, and alcohol balanced out by caramel, vanilla, and lots of bready and crackery malt. Very yin-yang, but still leaning towards the hops a bit. Massive amount of flavour, you can't help but hold this one in your mouth for a bit and savour it. Mouthfeel stings a bit with the high acidity, very sticky. Medium body, medium carbonation, dry as hell. I could drink this all night long, no joke, screw the 8%, I'll just hurt in the morning, It'll have been worth it, and I would taste hops forever and ever and ever.

Serving type: on-tap

08-11-2007 20:14:45 | More by trevorwideman
Photo of sessycuban


4.68/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Sampled at the great Naja's Place in Redondo Beach.

A - The beer pours a deep golden color, with a slightly hazy, finger deep head with great retention and lacing.

S - The beer smells strongly of citrus with orange, passionfruit, and other tropical notes. I get a tinge of alcohol.

T - The beer is surprisingly not overhopped. I'm also getting fruits, a slight malty note; the body is heavily citric with lemon and orange dominating! This tastes absolutely wonderful.

M - The beer is medium bodied, low in carbonation, and finishes dry.

D - This beer is extremely drinkable for a DIPA, largely because it's not particularly alcoholic. I think you can enjoy this with almost any type of food.

Serving type: on-tap

07-31-2007 23:09:17 | More by sessycuban
Photo of Halcyondays


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

Pint on-tap at Hollingshead,

A: Amber coloured, with a thick, white head, which leaves excellent lacing.

S: Smells like a pine forest, very fragrant, if I go up to the taiga in Canada, that's what it should smell like.

T: Delicious, full of pine and grapefruit bitterness, probably the most bitter beer I've ever had, but that's part of its appeal to this hophead, a great beer taste.

M: Smooth, creamy, and o' so resiny, perfect for a Double IPA.

D: Incredibly drinkable, even for an 8% beer, it's so delicious, you'll keep wanting more, Russian River is doing great things in the world of craft beer, I can't wait to see what they try next. In conclusion, this is a great craft beer and Double IPA, worthy of its accolades.

Serving type: on-tap

07-30-2007 22:46:05 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of mmcave


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

After all the wait finally a 750 ml naked, unmarked, and capped bottle received in trade with Risser09. Chilled and poured into a Duvel tulip glass foamy off white (sort of cream) colored head rose to one finger and now lingers a centimeter above the surface, lacing is already apparent. The body is a robust orange with warmer lighter highlights.

Smell is obviously very aromatic tones of hop fragrance, ballasted by a solid malt backbone. I get notes of grapefruit, mild almost hidden touches of piney grass toward the finish, floral accents, that piney raisin like aroma which I assume comes from the clash of substantial malt slamming up against a hearty hop and dry hop regimen. I also notice touches of fresh earth and maybe if I imagine a touch of blueberry and bubble gum.

Taste is extremely balanced in comparison to the aroma. Bitterness is not over welling or sharp, the hops provide great balance and showcase themselves in a very round manner with out making the beer too bitter or crushing to the palate. Although malt is not the focus of this beer it does play an extremely integral roll in the flavor. I don't think many dark malts or high Lovibond Crystals where used. The malt really provides a great ground for the hops to function, clean slightly sweet and sticky, but not toasted or over done. There is that tasty slightly resin like, olily mouth feel, which is always welcome in a Double IPA. I get fruit notes like strawberry and others.

The ABV limits this slightly to maybe two to three glasses in a sitting but thats fine.. If I were to use this in a dinner setting I would put it more toward the end just because of the slight lingering quality. I normally don't think of Double IPA as food beers, but I think this one in-particular could do the trick, because of its subtle and semi dry finish....

In my experience there is something about Russian River's beers that just do it for me. Its not that they are doing any thing that much crazier or more out landish than any other brewery, its that they are doing it more tastefully, this is of course my opinion and subject to change in the future, but for now I love you russian river. Nothing is over done and nothing is under attended to.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2007 00:52:30 | More by mmcave
Photo of ccrida


4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Woohoo, I finally got to try this, and boy was it fantastic! Had 2 full pints at the Oregon Brewers Festival, in the plastic mug. Pliny is pale orange with a modest, olive tinged eggshell colored head that left nice lace.

The aroma is just incredible, very fragrant, floral and bubblegum like, with a bit of pine resin. Dry hopped with columbus, centennial and simcoe, and man to they come across nicely here, bright and fresh.

Like the smell, the taste is the perfect DIPA, again very floral, with tropical fruits and a nice sweetness that is soft and not at all sugary, and while there's the requisite malt and bitter backbone, Pliny is all about the fragrance of the dry-hopping. I'm amazed that they can make a beer so hoppy and delicious while keeping it smooth and sweet, and not to bitter or pungent.

The mouthfeel is soft and smooth but pretty low carbonated, and has a medium body.

This is the ultimate DIPA, so fresh and tasty, and while very fragrant, the hops don't beat up the palate at all. It was my first and last pint of the night, and truly memorable. Can't wait until they start distributing this up here!

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2007 16:39:37 | More by ccrida
Photo of msubulldog25


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

Just tried this one, on-draught at OBF 2007. I've had this at least one other time (a 4 oz. taste), but this is a full mug pour (pint).

A: A dense, soapy ivory-colored head atop an amber/golden pour. Lots of sheeting, creamy foam. A clear liquid with sporadic carbonation rising to that thick head.

S: Full of pine and resin. This one is all about the hops, very little malt/grain gets through.

T: So full of pungent hoppiness. 92 IBU but might as well be 192 the way this finishes - very bitter! Lots of pine and a grapefruit pith that strips the enamel off your teet. No part of the tongue left untouched: a sharp bitterness, a fruity/citric sourness, a light malt sweetness and a slightly briny cream.

M: Stunningly thick mouthfeel; this one is full, syrupy & sticky. Little carbonation. Rich, rich, rich!

D: Whew, this can only achieve a good '4" because of the harshness of the bittering and the overpowering hops. My tastes are for a more balanced DIPA; this is a hop-head's dream beer. Definitely worthy of the high praise, personally not one I'd have too often...

Serving type: on-tap

07-26-2007 20:46:15 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of mymrnngjckt


4.33/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I had this one on tap at Capone's. Nice deep amber/orange color. A complex fruit smell to the hops in this one. I smelled a lot of different fruit but still got the hop smell. It simply tasted great. Next to DFH 90, this was my favorite Double IPA so far. A bit less alcoholic than the DFH and you can tell in the taste. Good carbonation gave it a deep mouthfeel.

This is very hard to find but the next time I come across this, I will nothesitate to get another.

Serving type: on-tap

07-25-2007 19:25:18 | More by mymrnngjckt
Photo of jbsteiny


4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Toronado in SF, this fine ale only bolstered my East Coast awe at the very name of Russian River. The bartender told me that it was an IPA, so I was surprised to read that it was 8% ABV, as it went down so easily. The beer's real strength is in its masterful hop bouquet (pine, mango, grapefruit) which fills one's nostrils to the brim, yet relents when hitting the tongue. Extraordinarily well balanced, these mighty hop flavors part, allowing the sweet bready malts to emerge. The only hop flavor to make it to the finish line is the resinous pine, which (in the humble opinion of this reviewer), keeps this beer from perfection. Aside from that bitterness, the mouthfeel manages to be creamy & crisp, a remarkable feat, and this ale goes down incredibly easy. Bravo!

Serving type: on-tap

07-20-2007 04:58:30 | More by jbsteiny
Photo of MuenchenerKindl


4.35/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A HUGE thanks to ClockworkOrange for a bottle of this exceptional Gem.

Poured from a big magnum hand filled from a keg. The liquid is a thick clear orange with very good carbonation. Lots of swirling bubble trying to figure out which way is up. The Head came up big a full two fingers in a pint glass. Yes this bottle help up just fine. Great job guys.

The smell is a slightly sweet lightly pine like hoppy aroma with orange and apricot note.

The taste is very nice, not a over the top as on would expect just a very good hoppy experience. the alcohol is not noticeable, the hoppy finish is well supported by a good malty background. the overall impression is between a big IPA and a DIPA. it is mild not harsh just a true and enjoyable brewing gem.

The mouthfeel is good not real thick but big enough. The carbonation is great.

The drinkability is very good one of the easiest drinking beers of this style.

Prosit und Zum Wohl, MK

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2007 05:25:46 | More by MuenchenerKindl
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 9,799 ratings.