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Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Educational use only; do not reuse.

11,874 Ratings

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Ratings: 11,874
Reviews: 3,364
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 7.94%
Wants: 5,779
Gots: 2,471 | FT: 80
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-24-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 11,874 | Reviews: 3,364 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cvm4
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled 9/16/2011, drank 10/8/2011

A - Pours a clear golden color. Has a nice pale white 2 finger head on it.

S - Fruit hits you head on when you stick your nose in for whiff. Pineapples to grapefruits to mangoes. These hops have lots of citrus characteristics in them.

T - Sweet citrus flavors in the forefront with citrus peel/rinds on the backend. A nice bitter finish brings it all into harmony. The alcohol was barely noticeable.

M - It just coats your palate. Not a thick IIPA, but very crisp and refreshing.

O - This is on my top 5 list when it concerns IIPAs. The most drinkable and well rounded IIPA I've come across. Until you drink one, you won't know that the hype surrounding this beer is not really hype at all.

Photo of hippityhophead24
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled 9/16/11 consumed 10/7/11
Appearance: Nice clear golden orange color. Lots of bubbles coming up from bottom of glass. Two finger frothy head with nice lacing until the last sip.

Smell: Smack in the face of grapefruit and pineapple. Smells delicious. Lots of citrus hops and slight bitter aromas as well. Little pine and resin in there somewhere. I wish I could have this aroma as an air freshener.

Taste: Burst of citrus hops. The flavor follows the nose very well. Definitely get a lot of the oils from the hops, with a little bitterness, and pine. The balance between the hops and the slight malt character is outstanding. Malt lingers on the tongue. No booze taste at all.

Mouth feel: Very light on the tongue, not thick and syrupy like some higher ABV IPA’s I’ve had in the past. Nicely carbonated. Resin from hops let it coat your whole mouth to get the full flavor.

Overall: I honestly think this is one of the best IPA’s I’ve had. At least on the top five list. Got two bottles, going to save one and drink it at a warmer temperature to see the difference. Great beer. If you find it, buy two bottles, send me one (can’t get it in TN), and drink the other. The fresher the better!

Glassware: 550ml bottle into snifter.

Photo of RHCP313
4.6/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up and brought home in a checked bag from GABF in Denver.

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a tulip.

Bottled on 9/16/11, consumed 10/7/11.

A: Just a fantastic looking beer. Pours a very pretty gold with some copper highlights when held to the light. Fluffy white head rises and falls, resting into a bubbly, lacy white head that leaves thick walls of lace behind.

S: Strong, ripe and juicy fruit. Mangoes, pineapple, grapefruit, wonderfully floral hops. This is one of the finest aromas I've ever come across in a beer. I'm finding that all of these rumors are coming through in spades.

T: Sharp, oily hops up front followed by a rounded bouquet of citrusy rind. Bearably hot. The sweet malt is supportive, yet lets this outstanding balance of different hops shine. Oddly, I feel like the nose is so outstanding that it dwarfs and maybe steals a little bit from the overall taste. Still, fantastic.

M: Definitely a palate killer, takes over the palate. Nice prickly but not overbearing carbonation, lets the beer really move all over and coat the palate.

O: This is definitely a top tier beer. Strong and bold yet very well rounded and drinkable. PtE lets all components of the beer shine in a wonderfully structured balance. The price tag on these is refreshingly affordable. This kind of offering at a $4.99 price tag is more than well worth it, and a definite treat.

Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
4.28/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Surprised I haven't reviewed this, I have visited it many of times. This particular bottle was gifted by baybassboy after a weekend of beer drinkin and double haulin, thanks Mo.
This beer pours a golden clear color with a white head that leaves very good lacing on the glass. Extremely attractive beer. The nose is mainly citrus and pine notes with a very slight malt character barely present. Citrus and grapefruit upfront with some very potent but welcomed pine notes. Great mouthfeel with a medium body, creaminess and a bitter cling that sticks to your mouth. Its a great beer that I'm thankful to have access to.

Photo of fatmcb1
4.63/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Russian River tasting room.

Golden, orangish color with a half finger of creamy white head. Huge lacing along the glass.

Big hop smells that are especially piney and are reminiscent of fresh grass. Plenty of citrus, grapefruit, and pineapple.

Lots of cirtus come through in the flavor first. It follows the nose pretty well. There is also a slight malt that makes it finish perfectly balanced.

Carbonation and mouthfeel are spot on. There is a ton of oily stickiness that leaves the beer on your palate, which is a great thing.

This is dangerously drinkable, and ranks among my very favorite IPAs. Having it the first time at Russian River was a treat.

Photo of bulldogp04
4.46/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer several times both on tap and in bottle and have experienced quite a bit of variation ranging from the best IPA ive ever had to a slightly underwhelming (although still good) IPA.

This beer is lighter orange/yellowish is color with a nice off-white head. Smells of citrusy, grapefruit, and pine resin hop goodness. Taste is very similar, although notes of backbone malt are there just enough to balance out the hop bite. Notes of tropical fruits come out as well. Carb and mouthfeel are perfect, and usually the beer finishes nice and spritzy dry.

Overall, seek this great beer out as it is amazing fresh and relatively easy to trade for!

Photo of mocktm
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another enormous thanks to cpferris for yet another kick-ass brew I don't have means of acquiring, except through extremely generous BA's. 500ml bottle with a 8/11/2011 bottling date, also lending itself to sport some pretty stern, yet comical warnings against aging this; I got to it as soon as I could.

This beer is like Tom Brady, too pretty to be so good. Gorgeous and clear, a clean and golden orange with two fingers of just off-white head that leaves sticky rings of lace all over as the glass becomes empty.

Massively pungent grapefruit and pineapple presence on the nose; aromas of fresh cut grass and pine, supported by a bread malt undertow.

At first sip, this seems fairly straight forward, but its deceivingly complex, revealing its nuances as it warms. As the nose hints, tropical fruit and resinous in the forefront, with a tongue prickling spiciness and subtle medicinal quality sneaking through to accompany an assertive hop bitterness. Balance is lent by a modest malt sweetness to round it out.

For the ABV and size of this bottle, it was gone too damn quick. Medium bodied, crisp and semi-dry in finish, this boasts a sticky oiliness from the hops along with perfect carbonation levels.

What more needs to be said? If you're a hop-head and haven't had this, that'll need to be remedied immediately. As others have said, a damn near perfect DIPA; go see for yourself, Cheers!

Photo of knepper
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really don't see a point in explaining myself here. Awesome beer. I gave it a 4 on appearance because it looked too perfect. This beer is dry hopped to hell and it still looks like a crystal clear pilsner in the glass...

Anyway, from a midwestern standpoint, i'd like to see a few more examples with the spicy, smooth bitterness this beer provides. there are some great 2xipas in the area that showcase great flavor and aroma but they seem to get weak in the knees when it comes to giving the beer that final ibu burst.

Photo of PatrickSullivan
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear golden amber with a great fluffy white head. Nice, thick lacing follows.

S: Pine is on the forefront of the nose with a good amount of pineapple and grapefruit to boot. There's a hint of malty sweetness in the background.

T: All those wonderful scents show up in the mouth. Some great pine and grapefruit hoppiness with some orange notes in there and a tiny bit of pineapple. Good malt backbone brings this to balance. Not excessively bitter and hides the alcohol quite well.

M: Medium in both body and carbonation with a nice smoothness and a bit of oily stickiness. Very drinkable.

O: A very well made, delicious DIPA. The hype behind it carries through the beer itself.

Photo of schultzi22
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Three week old Pliny in a tulip.

A: Pale and clear with a thin layer of head that remains on the top of the beer.
N: Enticing nose with the malt aromas taking a backseat to crisp grapefruit hops.
T: This would have blown the younger, hop-crazy me out of the water. As it is, the wonderful grapefruit and citrus verges on the edge of excess but never quite gets there. Yum.
M: A perfect crispness with just the right amount of body and carbonation. Absolutely no complains here.
O: The definitive DIPA. The flavors evolved through warming of the 500mL bottle, but were always enjoyable. I have trouble thinking of over DIPAs I would pick to drink ahead of this. There are no flaws in this beer, and I will continue to drink it at every possible opportunity.

Photo of JonathanG
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Hops & Pie, served in a pint glass.

A: Orange-amber colored, clear, with medium-carbonation for a DIPA.
S: Lots of piney hops, then a bit of cannibis, followed by citrus notes. The semi-earthy malts become more pronounced as the beer warms up a little. An intoxicating nose, if you're a hop-head.
T: Lip-smacking hops again. You don't taste the 8% ABV. Malts a bit more pronounced on the palate, than the nose.
M: Lots of hops, but the malt is there to balance things out, adding another dimension to this. Solid would be an understatement.
O: Great stuff. I'd definitely drink it again!

Photo of 2xHops
4.18/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Everyone raved, raved, raved, raved about this beer. Okay, I get it.
I was fortunate enough to have a friend surprise me with a bottle as he knew one of my favorite beer styles is Imperial IPAs.

I poured this into a snifter, and yes, the beer's fresh. It was bottled on 9/16/11.

The appearance was good, as good as it should be. There was a healthy amount of head, and the color was just right. The smell was typical. I could smell the hops, pine, and so on.

Taste? This is a personal preference: it was good, but so what? It was decisively good, but I was not bowled over in awe. It had a bit more of pine flavor than I wanted, but it was very balanced in every other respect. The hops were there, but they were not too singularly overpowering.

The mouthfeel's great. The aftertaste wasn't too bitter nor something I feel like I need to wash my mouth clean. It was good.

Overall, I think it was a great beer. I just don't think I can buy in the hype all of you have been raving about. I think the rarity of the beer, and the fact that it's difficult for anyone to get this, has slightly artificially push this beer to mythic status. I wouldn't go out of my way to trade for this beer, I'm just saying, that I can find some more IPAs that are just as good!

Photo of southside
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A-pours a pretty golden color with little head.

smell-very citrusy and piney smells, it smells very fresh (was a 2 week old bottle).

taste-this is not the best IPA in my opinion, but the balance between bitterness and sweetness is just perfect. as well balanced as an IPA can get, the rest is all just preference.

mouthfeel-just like a balanced IPA should be--not too thin and not too syrupy.

overall--worth trying for sure. its rarity definitely hypes up people's taste buds, but it's so well balanced and delicious it's hard to fault people for doing so.

Photo of antlerwrestler19
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled on: 9/16/11

I must say that this is the freshest bottle I've had of Pliny, wish I was able to find it a day after it was bottled but this is still pretty damn fresh smelling. Pours a deep clean golden color with a nice finger and a half eggshell colored head - can see straight through this brew. Aroma is incredible - floral, citrusy, and piny - sweet and inviting, just as expected. The taste is right up there with the aroma, distinguished juicy citrus hoppiness with a subtle bitterness and malt character towards the finish - a simply delicious work of art. The mouthfeel is fairly light with a bit of moderate prickly carbonation - highly drinkable. Pliny is rated at an A+ for good reason, it is much deserved.


Photo of FLBeerGuy
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 9/16, poured into my Pints for Prostates pint glass on 10/1, now that's fresh. Respect hops, consume fresh it says on the bottle, OK, this one's not leaving Denver.

Pours golden with a white head that leaves good lacing.
Nose is piney and citrus hops... beautiful nose
Taste is citrus hops balanced out with some maltiness. Not overly bitter, very balanced. The aftertaste is more bitter than on the way down.
Mouthfeel is light, well carbonated.

Drinks very easy for a double IPA, can't believe it is 8% ABV. Very well worth seeking out and drinking fresh.

Photo of agomega
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle served in a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a clear pale golden hue. Thick foamy white head with exceptional lacing.

Smell: Tons of citrus hop aroma and lovely floral notes.

Taste: Amazingly smooth and well balanced considering the heavy hop aroma. Tons of citrus and floral hop flavor, but virtually zero harsh bitterness. There is a slight hint of nutty and biscuity malt flavors to serve as a background for the hop flavors.

Mouthfeel: Very light bodied and extremely drinkable for an Imperial IPA

Overall: An exceptionally drinkable imperial IPA. This beer is big in every way and yet it is perfectly balanced. True art in a glass.

Photo of Jammies
2.96/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- pours a yellowish orange with a quarter an inch of foam. Great retention, decent lacing

S- light and slightly hoppy, not much there

T- Mild citrus notes. very bitter! Nothing can really compare with the bitterness.

M- smooth and watery. Rolls off the tongue nicely

O- for being a top rated beer on a lot of forums, I'm disappointed. I've had plenty of IPAs that are both comparable and better overall.

Photo of mattbing
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Living in Michigan, Pliny The Elder is not an easy thing to come by. Thanks to some maneuvers, I've had about a dozen. I was apprehensive at first, given all the hype, but I have to say this one lives up to it.

Pours a beautiful golden yellow-orange with an off-white head. And the smell. I've never had a more aromatic beer. A complex array of pine and grapefruit dances around your nose. The flavor can only be describes as a symphony of balance. Bitter without being overwhelming, and hops with just the right amount of malt.

At 8% this is deceptively drinkable. It does not demand your attention like more DIPAs. This is clearly the best of its style, I only wish it were more accessible.

Photo of Cisco619
4.62/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle dated 9-21-11 into Duvel tulip

A: Pale golden hue with a nice, hop oil presence. 3 fingers of soapy, white head that settles to a filmy cap. What you want your ipa to look like.

S: This has one of the most impressive noses in all of beerdom. Mango, a hint of citrus & a healthy hop bitterness dominate. The balance achieved here is incredible. Simply impressive.

T: Orange peel, grapefruit, a touch of tropical fruit to round it out. A nice hop bitterness helps to balance the flavors. Finish is a bit herbal.

M: Medium mouthfeel with a nice stickiness from the hop oils that leave a pleasant herbal, almost mediciny aftertaste(if that makes any sense). Hop oils are still running down the side of the glass as I type this..

O: Simply an amazing offering. It is clear this was created by a deft hand. The heights one can ascend to when they become a master if their craft.

Photo of LeeryLeprechaun
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 9/21 consumed 9/30.

Pliney is a beautiful golden orange hue that just begs the drinker to pick it up and gently sip the contents of the glass as a small ring of foam forms a sticky lace on the glass.

The aroma is of grapefruit and other citrus hops and smells just perfect for an IPA.

Pliney is crisp and sweet to start with a warm and bitter finish that hides the amount of alcohol that is present in the beer.

The mouthfeel is amazing and the hops leave the palate very clean and the drinker thirsting for another taste.

Pliney is an exceptional IPA and deserves all the credit that that it is given.

Photo of Phelps
4.1/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed from the tap at Stone’s bistro inside some stemware. I’ve tried this beer twice from the bottle and rated it less than favorably (well, compared to everyone else). Having been heretofore unimpressed, I’m excited to see what a difference a tap and guaranteed freshness can make.

Almost perfectly clear pale orange and capped with one finger of pure, sticky, frothy white. The head dissipates slowly until it becomes a thick, frothy ring. So far, so good.

The nose isn’t ass-kicking or intensely sticky, but it is bright, sweet and tropical. Grass, mango, apricot and citrus peel all show up, with some resin in the back and hardly a hint of malt.

While resin may have largely stayed out of the aroma, it’s certainly made its way into the flavor. My first mouthful is thick with sticky resin, grass, orange peel and hints of pineapple and mango. Honey and crackers do their best to support the bitter backbone and seem to be bent about as far as they can be. It’s like drinking distilled hop bitterness, which make sense with this beer’s use of hop extract.

I’ll say this for Pliny: for such a hearty brew (8 percent?), he’s surprisingly easy to drink. The light, thin body contrasts the big, sticky flavor and lends itself to easy quaffing, offsetting the heat in the throat and moderate bitterness.

Well, my world wasn’t shattered, but it’s not hard to see why others clamor for this beer. Very tasty, very drinkable. There are better DIPAs out there, but not many.

Photo of rudeboy916
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

quite simply this is the best dipa i've ever had. This beer lives up the hype and more.

smell: wow you can really smell the fresh hop flower on this one.

taste: that malts back up the hops on this one. Yeah there's bitterness but that is not the defining feature of this beverage. It's more about the hop flower taste. really good

Mouthfeel: perfect for stlye

drinkablility.: went down like great. could drink this all nite. Serving type: on-tap

My dad is now obsessed and compares every beer to Pliny, so rediculous but nessesary.

Photo of buzzardman
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've been a fan of ipas for awhile now and after having this beer it has set a whole new standard for me as far as ipa's go. Pliny and ruination are my top two favorite beers. Pliny has the lead a little because sometimes ruination can have a little bit to much bitterness to it. love the color of this beer pours a nice clear burnt orange and the hop scent for it is spot on perfect. because of this beer I now know that simcoe hops are the bomb and I'm always on the hunt for beers that have that piney simcoe taste.

Photo of beerdweeb
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Fresh Pliny is out of this world. Definitely one of the best DIPAs around. Pours a medium amber color with sticky white head. Aroma explosion of citrus and pine. Straight dankness all around. Fruity and piney with a sweet malt backbone on the tongue. Hop profile marinates and lingers. Medium bodied. Deserves its reputation as being one of the best DIPAs in the world.

Photo of STKPICR0720
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Overall WOW thanks Mike for sending me this brew. Bottled on 8/18/11 this brew pours a very light golden hue. Hops up front, in the middle and in the end. Very easy drinking 8% abv. I also picked up on a buttery taste that made the beer even smoother. I honestly really cannot explain how good this brew really is. Find one or move to California and get it all the time. Awesome brew and once again thanks Mike for the trade.


Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 11,874 ratings.