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.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

10,500 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,500
Reviews: 3,166
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 4,842
Gots: 1,739 | FT: 57
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: 10,500 | Reviews: 3,166 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ILikeGoodCider
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%

Enjoyed on 06.20.09 from a 500ml bottle poured into a tulip glass. Bottled on 05.26.09.

A: Copper in color. Clear w/a lighter orange-yellow color toward the narrower parts of the glass. Well-carbonated, coating the sides of the glass with thick foam.

S: The nose is loaded with hops; its thick and resiny. Pine and grapefruit notes dominate, nicely sweet with a hint of tree.

T: The hops are blindingly bitter, sweet with grapefruit and citrus notes. A floral, herbal flavor that's hop-heavy - the ale is quite fragrant, loaded with hops and not bashful in this regard. The caramel malts are most evident in the aftertaste, adding a graininess that mixes nicely with the hops.

M: Satisfying, deceptive and enjoyable. The hop profile is clearly the star.

D: The 8% alcohol is hidden behind the Spector-esque wall of hops. An epic DIPA.

I've heard (read) the hype. I'm a believer. I have a few bottles if someone in a far-off land would like to trade.

ILikeGoodCider, Jun 21, 2009
Photo of leedorham
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%

Poured into a snifter and took care not to carry any sediment.

A - A hazy bright polished copper hue with a 3/4" head. decent lacing throughout.

S - Heavenly hop aroma. No harshness at all. Very floral and bright.

T - Very floral and lightly sweet taste with a good balance of hops. Nothing is overpowering yet the taste is full of character.

M - Light on the palate but not thin. The carbonation helps out a lot with distributing the flavors and balancing the sweetness.

D - This is the easiest drinking imperial/DIPA I have ever had.

leedorham, Jun 21, 2009
Photo of HOPOLOGIST
4.95/5  rDev +6.5%

I personally think all good beers these days cost way to much. But this one despite how expensive it is for a 20 Oz bottle takes the cake. It is hands down the best brew I have had ever. Great for special occasions.

COLOR: Great color with a clean golden hue.

HEAD: Nice oily head fizzing with aromatic hops.

SMELL: My first whiff of the opened bottle was like being transformed into a giant sensitive nose with wings soaring over rolling hills full of huge piles of pine and orange grapefruit and lemon trees that had just recently been run through a shredder. I felt like I was being taken to another realm of beer. The combination of hops just smells choice.

POUR: beautiful orgasmic fluid with leggs sticking to the inside of the glass after the head subsides. Truly a magestic experience.

TASTE: The best part. Nirvana. Its like dying and going to heaven full of beautiful women wearing hop flower string bikinis. Packed with a crisp, fresh, piney, grapefruity, orange citrus taste. Full of delicious oily resin that coats your mouth leaving it with a tastey lingering hoppy eutopia. It lasts too. Then you are begging for your brain to send signals to your arm to raise the glass to your lips for a second mouthfull of tingly heaven.

CARBONATION & ALCOHOL: Just right. The booze and alcohol are perfect for the flavor of the beer. They really do a great job at Russian River. Hard to beat this one. I've been trying.

HOPOLOGIST, Jun 21, 2009
Photo of david18
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Love it, love, love it. Like everyone said. The perfect balance of hops and malt that isn't too much of anything. Not too hot, not too hoppy, nothing. Just perfection. I've had it on tap and in bottles. The best part is that it also travels well. I've had this shipped to me in new york from the west coast several times and never had a problem.

david18, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of supercolter
4.28/5  rDev -8%

Maybe I need this one on-tap. Appearance is very good nice head- looks very oily and fun. Smell is nice with some decent fruitiness.Good firm blast of hops with decent amount of bitternes detected. The tasted is a bit weaker- seems like this has lost a bit of hoppiness- I want it on tap. Mouthfeel is very good. Lots of oily and maltiness. Drinkability is very good.

supercolter, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.53/5  rDev -2.6%

I got this brew in a trade with danielcurtis81, Thanks Dan!

500ml bottle served in a snifter.

Hazy bright copper color with a big fluffy white head that remains as a pillow and leaves lots of sticky lacing behind.
Citrus hops fill the aroma nicely.
Grapefruit in your face bitter, citrus hop blast upfront with a sweeter piney hop taste in the background.
Medium/full bodied with a creamy feel.
Way too easy to drink for a beer at 8% abv.

JoeyBeerBelly, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of carp420
4.2/5  rDev -9.7%

thanks to ScreamForMe for this one

12 oz. -> duvel tulip

hazy copper, with a two inch bubbly foamy head, that didn't last cut simmered on top nicely and laced fairly well

a nice pine hoppy smell with a touch of citrus mainly grapefruit and lemon, with a bisquity malt that balances it very nicely

taste pretty much as it smells. but better, a huge slick pine flavor and citrus, mainly grapefruit, the malt makes it damn near perfect

carbonation burst upfront with a thin slick feel

i could drink this everyday and a shit ton of it at that

carp420, Jun 19, 2009
Photo of moosiz
4.38/5  rDev -5.8%

bottled on 6-10-09, obtained in a trade. thanks again to Chris. i poured this into a tulip glass it is a very clear burnt orange color with a nice creamy head that fades slightly into a creamy ring. great sticky rorschach lacing.

earthy pine with a citrus undertone. there is a mild sweet spice in the background.

piney sweet with a bitter hop grapefruit creamy finish

quick bite followed by flavor explosion. nice carbonation and that creaminess followed by absolutly no overpowering aftertaste.

this is so drinkable. i do believe this beer for its style really deserves the rating it has obtained. very smooth

moosiz, Jun 19, 2009
Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.55/5  rDev -2.2%

bottled on 4.29.09. golden orange, slight haze, nice creamy white head and lacing. incredible floral notes dominate the nose with some honey, citrus, grassy and tropical fruit notes underneath. lemony, sharp but not harsh bitterness overpowers the very light sweetness of the biscuity malts. seems almost completely dry/attenuated. body is on the light side of medium, nicely carbonated, with a spritzy/prickly mouthfeel. long hoppy bitter finish with some aspirin-like astringency. thanks to natasharai for this one.

MrMcGibblets, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of smittyjr
5/5  rDev +7.5%

WoW, thank you RichBeer for this tasty treat! Being in MN trading or traveling is my only way of accessing this beer.

The bottle had a freshness date of 4.7.09, poured into a short-stemmed, elongated flute glass.

A- pour resulted in a golden-copper body with 2-finger head. Retention good, slight-lacing all the way down the glass. This DIPA looks sexy, awesome clarity, great color and good bubbles/carbonation.

S- This is one of the best smelling beers i have come across, it really smells like gods vagina. Huge grapefruit, mango, pinnapple, citrusy goodness! As it warmed, i smelt a slight skunky-ness to the smell as well, a good skunky-ness, resin skunky-ness. Real deep i smell a small amount of pine as well, it is right alongside the skunky-ness.

T- Very similar to the aroma; tropical fruits, pinneapple, grapefruit, mango. there is also a slight sweet maltiness half way through. slight piney skunkness and slight caramel as it warms. It finishes with a great hop bitterness at the end. Tastes frickin great!

M-Light to medium body, great carbonation, very soft on the palette. leaves your mouth clean, with light bitterness that lingers in a good way!

D- AWESOME! drinkability was through the roof! i thought for a DIPA, the alcohol flavor was non-existent, great work Russian River! it was soft on your palette, tasted phenomenal and left me wanting more!

With a bottle date of 4.7.09 i thought there would be some fading, but i don't think there is any at all! i read many reviews with much fresher bottle date-to-review date ratios, and i don't think i am missing out on any of the described smells, tastes, or mouth-feels.

Thanks again to RichBeer for the hook-up on this bomb beer!

smittyjr, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of beertunes
3.48/5  rDev -25.2%

Served on tap at the Green Frog Cafe in Bellingham, WA from the only keg to make it north of Seattle. After years of hype and expectation, could this beer live up to it's reputation?

A decent looking medium/light straw color that poured with a lot of carbonation leaving more head than I prefer. The beer was very clear and the head left a solid amount lacing.

Yes, the aroma was predominately grapefruit hops but the pine scent lingered in the nostrils.

This beer was all hop flavor with little to no malt foundation on the tongue. The citrus tastes gave seamlessly way the sticky pine flavors, making for a nice flavor progression.

The body was very thin and gave a less than great experience in the mouth.

Drinkability was good but the beer drank too smooth and easy for an IPA. The beer drank as easy as water. Not saying that the beer was watery, but without the hop sharpness and malt backbone that make IPAs enjoyable.

Overall a good, solid IPA that I enjoyed, but found not worthy of it's place among the immortals in the heavens. A couple other thoughts. I had several of these over the course of a week so this review reflects the combined experience, not a single glass. I thought that 8% was a little on the low side for an Imperial IPA, Hop rod Rye is also 8% and considered a standard IPA, and in my opinion a much better beer. The beer may have suffered in my eyes due it's reputation, but I did not think this was the 7th best beer in the world as the rankings here show.

beertunes, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of angelmonster
4.2/5  rDev -9.7%

Had this on tap at Falling Rock

Pours a 2 finger white head. Transparent golden, orange body. Head retention and lacing are good.

Smell is of sweet grapefruit, pine hops, not much else

Taste is of sweet citrus hops, slight alcohol. Not too bitter, has a nice balance

It is slightly over carbonated. Mouth feel is smooth going down. Light body but not watery

Drink ability is good for such a high abv. Hops dominate the beer but are not over powering. I need to buy a bottle of this and try it again as I thought it was good but not amazing as many people claim it to be

angelmonster, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of nomomentwasted
4.93/5  rDev +6%

I've had this beer a few times, both out of a pint-size bottle and on tap at Stone Brewing Co. most recently. The on-tap is better if you have the chance, the flavors really come out a bit better.

Appearance: looks great, good rich color and pretty decent head for a Double IPA. Nothing above any other good IPA, but great nonetheless.

Smell: Awesome. Rich pine and hop smells come quickly, with a slightly floral smell. One of the more fragrant noses I've experienced, especially on an IPA.

Taste: Great. Crisp, with major notes of hop and pine in a great balance. Barley is understated, with bitter and strong hops.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and fresh, the bite isn't too heavy on the drink, with only a slight bitterness afterward. Nice and pleasant

Drinkability: Awesome. The 8 is masked well and very session-worthy. Always leaves me wanting more, and have yet to be disappointed.

Comes highly recommended, as the reviews would imply.

nomomentwasted, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of Lerxst
4.53/5  rDev -2.6%

Been waiting to get my hands on this one for a while. Bottled 05-13-09. Thanks to Joey.

A-Amber with an orange tint. Thin head with nice lacing than hangs around a long time.

S-Smells fantastic. Piney hops are at the forefront as you'd expect. Nice notes of grapefruit.

T-Hops, hops, hops. Nice bitterness, with some floral and citrus hints.

M-Very crisp and dry with a nice bite. Medium body, for my tastes the carbonation level is perfect.

D-I could easily put quite a few of these away without thinking twice.

This is an excellent DIPA. If only it were easier for me to get.

Lerxst, Jun 14, 2009
Photo of kdoc8
4.78/5  rDev +2.8%

Had this on tap at the Bier Stein a few times as well as in a bottle. It tends to taste differently each time I have it on tap which is weird. Served nice and chilly with a white bubbly, foamy head. Great smell of floral and fruity hops. Clear and deep golden with an amber color. The taste is great, but can change depending on when/where you have it. The best I've had was actually from the bottle - a great refreshing taste of strong floral hops up front, then the fruity hops hit your palate, followed by just the slightest hint of well-covered, crisp alcohol. Very refreshing and drinkable for a double IPA.

kdoc8, Jun 14, 2009
Photo of TheViceBlog
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%

Everytime I drink this one I enjoyed it more than the previous. The fresher the better!

I've yet to have Younger, but I've had most of the other "major" IPAs and this is the most fragrant and tasty one I've enjoyed so far. So, so fragrant, like sticking your face right into a pine tree.

More pineyness and floral flavors on tastes, an explosive hops sensation, beautiful balanced, delicious.

A smooth, smooth mouthfeel, even for a fairly big boy this goes down as easy as a flat macro. I could drink these all night. Unfortunately, living on the east coast, I rarely get access to PtE. Actually, maybe that's a fortunate thing. I'd certainly abuse it like a crackhead if I could!

Can't wait til I one day get to try this on tap straight from Russian River.

Aaron
www.theviceblog.com

TheViceBlog, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of umpquabrewer
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Glass- Tripel Karmeliet Tulip

Temp- 49 degrees

A- The head is tight and cream colored, about 1/2in. It is a nice golden raw honey color and unfiltered.

S- The first thing I get is citrus and pine! It starts out grapefruit and pine needles that transition to pine and tangerine. Awesome!

M- The mouth feel is very nice, it's not too light, actually almost creamy.

D- Great carbonation that has a piney, peppery and hoppy finish. It is a wonderful dry finish that allows you to enjoy this great IPA without the expected heaviness.

Ironically this is not my favorite of beer but happens to be my first review. I am now a fan!

umpquabrewer, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.45/5  rDev -4.3%

Bottled 5/13/09

A - Caramel/light brown, slightly unfiltered with an average head and great lacing

S - VERY fresh hops, earthy aroma with a faint sweetness in the background. Very clean, dry and in your face woody hop cone aroma!

T - Again, hops all over the place with hardly any sweetness at all. Taste varies a bit from the aroma with piney, sap-like, toasted, and almost peanut-butterish aftertaste. Very long aftertaste that lingers forever and no alcohol flavors.

M/D - Medium body with a rough texture due to high carbonation and finishes very dry. Easy to drink, not too heavy but the alcohol sets in quicker than expected.

VaTechHopHead, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of Slatetank
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%

I had this on-tap at the Drafting room for brunch, leftover the west coast brewery night.

Served chilled in a goblet.

A -Gentle hazed dark golden color w/ slight greenish tint and very thin light head. The lacing clings to the glass tenaciously and the bead is pin sized.

S - Great scent w/ a blend every grapefruit you can think of ruby red, pummelo, and pine needles w/ sweet orange blossom and valencia notes

M - Crisp dry feel w/ only the slightest malt sweetness. drenched in hop oily texture and high amount of bitterness w/ low astringency. The texture is resinous w/ floral feel and has a dry, acidic warm finish

T -The pleasant bite of citrus grapefuit tanginess and acidity w/ piney hops sharp edge and more resinous pine flavor w/ mild lemony sweet orange notes. The taste has a light sugar tinge w/ floral elements and a finish that is dry and spiced hop taste similar w/ warmth similar to a jalapenos kick

D - A fantastic Imperial IPA any way you slice it. The originator and the one that sets the standard for the west coast style w/ great drinkability - worth any hype -this gives hops the glory

Slatetank, Jun 09, 2009
Photo of Casey10
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Wow very good, cool looking bottle ,great tasting beer.

A - orange, amber color

S - citrus, pine, orange

T - Tart, yet smooth oranage flavor really good.

M - orange,grapefuit very tart.

D - Would love to drink many, very good.

I could drink a lot of these slowly, Great bottle with a unique taste !!!

Casey10, Jun 09, 2009
Photo of AVDeuph
3.85/5  rDev -17.2%

500 ml bottle courtesy of ironlung via trade, bottled 4-29-09.

A: Pours a peachy-orange color with pink undertones, a lot clearer than I was expecting. Solid all-white head and leaves great sticky lacing.

S: Piney piney piney hops with a faint background of grapefruit.

T: Follows the nose, with an addition of a little bit of meaty/bready backbone. Hard and lasting bitterness.

M: Each sip inadvertently takes a while to swallow. This beer is so coating for me that it takes a couple gulps to get the entire sip down (maybe it has something to do with what I just ate) Medium-low carbonation.

D: Hmm, hard to say for me. With some good food I would love to have several of these, but alone honestly I don't think I want more than one (I feel like I need a change of pace).

I have to say that I am just a little bit disappointed. I know there is a huge debate about this so take it for what it is worth, but I would have liked some other flavors to be present here balancing (somewhat) the hops taste. I like the complex character of 90 minute, Double Crooked Tree, and Hopslam too much to really think this is wonderful.

AVDeuph, Jun 09, 2009
Photo of farrago
4.05/5  rDev -12.9%

Pours a moderate one finger head of off-white, mixed bubble size foam, some stickiness to the lacing whereas the head mostly gone in about a minute or so. Light golden-yellow in color with a metallic orange tinge which brightens more than darkens, comes extremely close to transparency. There's a certain bluntness to the nose, like it kicks there door open and then just stands there unmoving in the door way, thick pink to white grapefruit, tangerine citrus notes resonant yet not juicy nor zesty per se, in turn the floral notes more citrus blossom than well-rounded "musk" and the peach, nectarine, pineapple, papaya fruit scents present more thrust than expansiveness, not insanely hoppy nor grassy but sufficient enough to put any malty scents way in the background. Medium-bodied, too tightly wound as well as aggressively carbonated to really get full-bodied. Peppery mouth entry, quite spicy, forestalls the grapefruit, mandarin orange citrus component for a tick or two. Pine resin clearer here, florality a little more hidden. Doesn't come off as that dry, hence more juice in the peach, nectarine, mango fruit and less tropical bite. Sweet tea leaf oils accrue with time and at the very end you can tease out some cocoa powder. Can't say it's not balanced but when you don't risk many agile dance moves, hard not to be. (Bottled 04/07/09)

farrago, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of bennetj17
4.83/5  rDev +3.9%

Bottled 5-26-09, thanks to FMetzger for bringing this one back from the brewery fresh. Hazy appearance, color is halfway between copper and gold. Half-inch, off-white foam holds steadily, leaving a sudsy lace. The hop dominant aroma leads with pine notes, as citrus fruit stays more in the background.

The taste begins with a wonderful orange/grapfruit tang, balanced decently by the toasty malt. Solid bitterness, but less than I expected. The finish is excellent as the dry pine notes leave you wanting more. All aspects of the flavor agree nicely, and nothing gets too intense/harsh. The overall taste is nearly perfect, it seems effortless. Medium body, moderate carbonation, very nice mouthfeel.

Overall a world class IPA. Always best fresh. Wish I could buy it in Arizona, maybe someday...

bennetj17, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of aggiearcher13
4.7/5  rDev +1.1%

On tap at Falling Rock.

A: Best looking IIPA I've ever seen. Lighter than I expected, it's a golden-orange with about an inch of head on it. The head really stuck around on this for a while, it was quite impressive. I was about half way through the pint and there was still a thin layer of foam. Beautiful lacing on the glass.

S: Not as much of a hop punch as I was expecting, but I had rather high expectations. Pine, citrus, floral. It's wonderful.

T: Wow, as soon as I had it I knew it would be the only beer I was going to drink all night as moving to anything else would leave me disappointed. Pine, citrus, wonderfully bitter and well balanced by the malt.

M: Mouthfeel is good, it didn't blow me away, but there's nothing I would change about it.

D: I had five of them before/during the hockey game, it was all I wanted to drink. Dangerously drinkable.

aggiearcher13, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of beerman207
4.83/5  rDev +3.9%

I've been waiting a while for this one. Special thanks to my wife who brought this home from her trip to Washington.

A - Reddish gold look - 2 fingers of head leaving behind some nice swirling and lace on the glass.

S - Pine, grapefruit very pronounced also some sweetness coming through.

T - Very crisp. Grapefruit and pine comes through in the taste. It has a bitterness and also a bit of sour to it which was an excellent balance. The beer is quite complex and the taste is what I was hoping for.

M - Almost perfect in terms of carbonation and the feeling I get in the finish - it has a nice sour/bitter finish with just a little warming from the ABV.

beerman207, Jun 05, 2009
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 10,500 ratings.