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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.

11,423 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 11,423
Reviews: 3,249
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 8.6%
Wants: 5,294
Gots: 2,100 | FT: 67
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-24-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 11,423 | Reviews: 3,249 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jsh420
4.18/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottled 12-17-10

pours hazy yellow gold with a 1 finger head that left spotted lacing

smell - pine pine and more pine then some grapefruit - classic west coast ipa at its finest

taste is bitter as hell pine and grapefruit with very little malt until the aftertaste to give it any real balance

mouthfeel is light with good carbonation that is both crisp and creamy

drinkability is good but i hate to say it without me eating any food to balance out that bitterness i would not drink another back to back

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

Had on tap at Eureka Burger

A - Light amber color with a small head that dissipated quickly leaving a little lacing, very clear beer - nice colors

S - Crisp hop nose of floral and citrus

T - Hoppy with citrus and pine - more citrus like taste with a smooth finish off the tap then the overwhelming pine of the bottle. Bitter but agreeable in the IPA/DIPA search. Lingering hop taste pine/citrus with light chewiness.

M - Light finish, nice carbonation, clean easy to drink, light bitter linger, but mostly the pine and citrus notes from the hops lingering around.

D - Definitely preferred this off the tap in drinkability compared to the bottle. Both are great, this just seemed smoother and fresher - despite getting bottles rather quickly. Not such a smack in the mouth bitter and more the smooth finish of Blind Pig.

Girlfriend also preferred this off the tap as compared to the bottle, and it was clear and crisp as opposed to the bottle we had that had hazy bits floating in it. This was crystal clear, smooth, great taste, nice hop profile, and not overly bitter with a clean linger finish. Very very nice. This was roughly $3 for 8oz off the tap if I remember right, and locally by the 16oz bottle it runs about $5.99 or so - so very nice for a bar price and a bottle price. Definitely recommend...

Photo of steevo
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks @a74gent for making this one available to me!

Poured from a 500mL bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Copper-gold and slightly hazy. Short, dense head.

S: Citrus and pine.

T: Pleasantly bitter. The powerful hops linger. A little sweetness. Balanced!

M: Nice carbonation up front. Sticky hops hang on.

D: I could have easily drank another. Or two.

Pliny The Elder is true to its reputation. I'm looking forward to partaking in this one again!

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

bottled 12/13/10 consumed 01/23/11

clear gold colored ale, with a medium to light head that quickly disapates. Lots of flaoties. Well balanced smell between floral and earthy hops. Sharp tastes that follows both the smell and style quite well. Medium carbonation creates a refreshing mouthfeel. Very drinkable. This beer is extremely well balanced and a perfect example of the style. Does not blow me away, which may be a freshness issue, but a solid effort within an exemplary style.

Photo of cdkrenz
4.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I sampled this fine beer at the fine establishment known as Hollingshead Delicatessen in Orange, California.

A - Pale copper body with a light tan head at a finger's height.

S - Citrus and pine hops abound. The aroma is very inviting.

T - Citrusy and pine flavored hops opposite a perfect match of rich sweet malt. This is exactly what a DIPA should taste like.

M- It has a rather smooth intake but it offers a slightly coarse texture going down.

~ This is an excellent drinker. The 'head' is topped by nearly none. I look forward to again sampling this fine brew in the future.

Photo of Chronofied
4.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served from tap into a pint glass. Allowed to warm about ten minutes before drinking.

Appearance - Murky Straw gold color, with minimal head and mild carbonation. Translucent body with appropriately light head for the style, and modest lacing.

Smell - Grapefruit immediately, layered with pine; it's very apparent that the hops is going to be killer. Malt and yeast smells are hard to detect under the pungent hop aroma. The beer just *smells* sticky... and citrus fruity sweet.

Taste - The hops bind up the tastebuds fairly quickly with fruity pine. The hop character is powerful enough to almost conceal the sweet rich caramel of the malt. This brew is much sweeter than most other brews with such a huge hop character. The grain even comes through with a little hop spiciness to usher it along. It finishes with remarkably little bitterness.

Mouthfeel - More carbonation that what is visible. Sticky as soon as it hits, creamy while it's in the mouth with almost no alcohol burn. The mouth and tongue become numb after a while between the hops and the carbonation. Quite memorable.

Drinkability - Order as many as you can, if you don't mind destroying your taste buds for a session. A glass goes by so fast they really can get away easily. Excellently drinkable.

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

On tap at the Bier Stein in Eugene, OR

A: Light hazy copper color

S: Thick hoppiness, I could tell this was going to be a hop bomb.

T: Hoppy goodness through and through

M: Nice carbonation, the hoppiness just melted down my throat.

D: What can I say? I still don't get the hype about this beer. It does taste like heaven in my mouth, and I'll drink it any chance I get.

Photo of Vdubb86
4.47/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a modified tulip glass

Thanks to hannydawg for this beer.

Bottle dated 1/12/11, so still pretty fresh.
Pours a clearish golden color with a nice decent head of white foam when poured aggressively. The smell is of piny Pliny...sorry I couldn't help myself. I like how the backer too it is sweet in nature after the strong hop citrus notes on the palate. There is a malt bill note to the beer that I must admit give it a nice overall balance. This beer is extraordinarily easy to drink.

Photo of pburland23
4.83/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into my Great Divide Brussels glass.

At long last, I was able to get my hands on a bottle of Pliny and damn it was worth the wait.

Pours a brilliant, bright, clear orange with about two fingers of thick, white head that slowly receded to the thickest, most luxurious lacing I've ever experiences.

Smell is of piney hops with hints of citrusy, grapefruit notes. Closing your eyes and taking a deep inhale makes you feel as if you're in the middle of a coniferous forest.

The taste also highlights piney hops and a mellow grapefruit flavor on the back end. It's a wonderfully tasting beer. The hops don't overpower. They're balanced and not overly bitter. There is just enough malt backbone to balance out the intense hopping.

The carbonation is spot on for this medium bodied DIPA. The drinkability is insane. Pliny is so balanced and so incredibly smooth, I could sit around and drink it all night long. Wow.

My first Pliny experience definitely matched the hype. I loved that it's just 8% and not a stereotypical hop bomb. It's an inviting and complex brew. A crowning achievement for the guys at Russian River.

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

Big thanks goes out to JRod1969 for the opportunity to try this.

A: Hazy orangish color with about 2 fingers of slightly off white head. Very sticky lacing surrounds the glass.

S: Aggressive. Pine and grapefruit are what you notice right away. There's a sweetness to the smell that very enjoyable. Tropical. Very complex, very inviting.

M: Excellent flavor. Like the nose, grapefruit bitterness and pine are front and center. Underneath the hop assault is a sweet malt profile. Getting more of a tropical fruit flavor towards the end. Wonderful.

M: Oily. Dry, but not as much as you'd expect such a hop forward beer to be.

D: Alcohol doesn't show itself at any point. It's a wonderfully crafted beer that I could plenty of if readily available.

Sublime. The accolades that this beer receives are well deserved indeed. Pliny the Elder is a brilliant example of the style and I can now see why it's at the top of everyone's list. Thanks Jared.

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

Enjoyed the beer in a tulip glass. The beer had an opaque golden color. This beer did not smack you in the face with aroma or taste. the 2 were very well balanced. The beer accentuated an entire hop profile from citrus in the forefront to more herbal pine on the back end. The bitterness did not overwhelm. The beer finished dryer than I expected but the hop bouquet lingered on the palette.
This beer was very drinkable for a IIPA. A very refined and complex beer.

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

Poured into a Duvel Tulip

Bottled on 12/13/10...I know many will say 5 weeks is too long for an adequate review, but I will update this when I get some fresh Pliny, which is due my way in the next couple weeks (note editing review to reflect review on 02/02/11, bottled on date 01/12/11)

A: golden to amberish in color- clear body, huge 2.5" white head, recedes to a modest cap....clarity in the body, this is a beautiful beer, cap stay constant, lots of messy lacing

N: PINE, some tropical fruits, similar to Hopslam in the nose in that it smells like freshly opened hop packets and every bit as vibrant, in two words--- world class

T: very piney, similar to Stone IPA in flavor profile imo, not blown away (3 week bottle did blow me away), great hop flavor, very dry and very little malt profile coming through....bitterness is vibrant but not overbearing, this is pretty awesome, more citrusy in the 3 week bottle than the 5 week old bottle. I matched this one head to head with a Hopslam (bottled 01.11.11) and they were neck and neck for me.

M: light and pleasent for an Imperial anything, very good and a wonderful chewy consistency, not as easy drinkability as Hopslam, but every bit as enjoyable

D: high, high, love it

Photo of RyanWo
4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass. The appearance was amber red with a slight hop haze and beautiful white head that laced the glass. Aroma was thick with grapefruit, pine, grass and other tropical fruits. The taste follows suit. A thick hop flavor with a great balance between the hope and malts. Lighter body moderate carbonation. A treat for your senses.

Photo of TheCrowsNest
4.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Naja's Place, Redondo Beach, CA

Poured a gorgeous golden orange from the tap with a smaller head.

I didn't feel the nose on this as much as anticipated. Very floral.

I don't often find myself describing DIPAs as "refreshing" but god damn. The hops are very strong but balanced perfectly as to not knock your palate off it's rocker. Classic piney, grapefruit.

Could drink these for days on end if they didn't ring in at $8 a pop for 12 oz. A beer that lives up to all expectations and still excites on that first taste.

Photo of tobin
4.3/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at the Russian River Brewpub

This double IPA poured a clear, amber color with white foam that settled but clung and coated the inside of the glass a bit. The smell was fruity, spicy hops with not much malt. The taste was grassy, fruity hops with a good bit of malt to balance. The hoppy flavors lingered very nicely. The mouthfeel was smooth, dry, and very hoppy with medium body and moderate carbonation. The finish was slightly astringent. This was a very nice and very hoppy double IPA.

Photo of dgfair
4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

500 mL bottle poured into Duvel tulip. Bottled on 12/17/2010.

A - beautiful golden orange color with a brilliant white head that sticks around the entire way through the entire drink and leaves lacing all over the glass. Brilliant clarity, as good as an ipa can look.

S - very resinous pine aroma, probably the piniest hops i have smelled in a beer. Not a whole lot of depth here, but the pine is very nice.

T - extremely clean hop flavor with the perfect amount of bittering and earthy flavor. Mostly pine, but there is a nice little hit of grapefruit to balance the hop profile. The best thing here is while the beer is very hoppy, it doesn't kick you in the face with over the top palate crushing bitterness. A very delicate double ipa if there is such a thing. The dry but not overly sweet malt backbone is the perfect canvas for this perfect showcase of hops.

M&D - the beer is perfectly carbonated and feels so smooth going down. For an 8% ipa, i could drink these one after the other. Amazingly drinkable.

Overall, this is a fantastic beer, and right up there with the best double ipas I've ever had. Difficult to obtain, but well worth it when it is sitting in your glass at the end of the day.

Photo of leakyfaucet12
4.58/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1 pint poured into snifter thanks to Josh in Cali. Reviewed from notes

a- Orange & Perfect. I wish that everybeer looked like this

s- Fruit, Pine, Hops, Smells like Jesus' Armpits

t- Took a huge sip of this, Tones of fruit, pine and citrusy hops. I love this beer. Makes me hate California out of jealousy.

m- Tons of carbonation and frothy

d- I want some more of this beer went down easy. Almost too easy

Photo of mjsheehan08
4.68/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5


First ever Pliny experience at teresas next door in Wayne Pa. 

Pours an orangey rusty hue. When held up to light, explodes into a fiery deep orange. Nice little cream head that minimizes after first sip and leaves a nice little rim of head. Lacing clings to the side of the glass in clumps. 

I am a little disappointed in the glass that I was served in. It was like a mini champagne flute that does not bring out alot of the aromas of the beer. I get mild floral aromas and hops. I am thinking about spilling it out on the bar to try and get a better whiff, but I don't wanna get kicked out before I have had another beer. 

Taste is amazing. Piney as hell, with alot of floral notes, pineapple, grapefruit, and a really great bitterness at the end that lingers for a while. This was def worth the wait and lived up to the hype. 

Mouthfeel is full, and it really makes it's presence known on the palate. Minimal carbonation up front and it bubbles hard in the end. 

This beer hids it's booze well in the taste, but I haven't eaten lunch and I can feel it in my head. This review is taking me forever. 

Photo of Rjhami
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served from 500ml into tulip. Bottled on 12/13/10

A - Glowing golden-orange with a thick head to start a couple fingers wide. The lacing spreads all over into a spider web of bubbly stickiness.

S - Extreme amounts of pine and then citrus of all kinds. A very crisp finish without noticing the alcohol. As I drink this beer I notice sweeter notes like butterscotch.

T - A huge hoppy beer with tastes of grapefruit, pine needle & pineapple. An excellent slightly dry and bitter finish that is just right.

M - Medium bodied that is a little creamy yet so well balanced to the carbonation. Most satisfying to the palate with some bleu cheese and crackers.

D - For an 8% beer it is highly drinkable. You would not think the abv was even that high. This brew lives up to the hype; although the chase for this beer can be a nuisance it is always greatly rewarded.

Photo of nniicckkww
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Bottling date 12/17/2010. Drank 01/13/2011. This is the freshest Pliny I can get here on the east coast.

Clear honey amber gold with a fluffy white head. The head left a nice lacing on the glass until I finished it. Perfect amount of carbonation and the head retention was spot on.

Aroma of pine and fresh grapefruit. Fresh citrus taste up front with piney resin in the middle leading to a slight malt backbone. Dry. Yum. This is anything but cloying. The balance is perfect. I can taste the hops. I'm surprised the beer doesn't have a green tint to it.

Light body masks the alcohol. So drinkable it's scary. I could have a six pack of these. Delicious.

I must make a trip to Russian River and Toronado to sample the "fresh" Pliny. This is a world class IPA and I can't imagine how good it must be within days of bottling/tapping.

Photo of lnashsig
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Augustgarage for popping my Pliny cherry and introducing me to the kickass world of California IPAs!

Poured into a dogfish head snifter- about 3 fingers of head that lingered for about a minute before residing into some intricate lacing on the glass. Smell- hardcore pine, grapefruit, big citrus flavors on the nose. I'm already aware that I'm not worthy of the beer nirvana I'm about to experience. Taste- big beautiful bitter hops hit my palate on the front, some nice brutal hop burn here. The bitter hops quickly makes way to a nice big malt backbone that evens out this hop monster. Mouthfeel- I noticed some really nice carbonation here, also nice silky finish.

This really lives up to the hype, period. Thanks again Augustgarage for the experience.

Photo of BobZ
4.1/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Mike (mrunseen) for the trade.
16.9 Oz. bottle. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Golden yellow, nice billowy head initially that only dissipates to about a ½", excellent sticky lacing.

Smell: As expected big hops, heavy on the pine and citrus especially grapefruit.

Taste: Follows the smell verbatim, strong on the bitter grapefruit coupled with a pine flavor on the finish. Frankly, I'm getting little or nothing from the malt, not a lot of depth or complexity to this one, dominant hops. A nice aspect is how pleasant the grapefruit bitterness is on the palate, it does not linger. This aspect helps give this beer a clean, crisp flavor. This is a very good beer for the style, but not as multi-dimensional as I generally prefer my beer.

Mouth feel: Very smooth on the palate, nicely carbonated.

Drinkability: Very nice beer and the 8% ABV is completely masked.
I had two of these before deciding to review, the first was almost 2 months old and the latest was just a month old. I must say the younger beer was better (this surprised me, as I was skeptical with regard to "how fresh" people have said you need to drink this beer). To my taste the older beer had far more of a pine flavor, the citrus was barely there, hidden in the background behind a big pine cone. The younger had the taste I described above.

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

Bottled on 12-28-2010. Big thanks to Diomede for these Fresh bottles! Split with some people at the local liquor store:

A - pours a nice orange, bronze, amber color with a slight bit of head that dies into a foam ring. I've had Pliny's with frothier heads but it may have been the glass that I poured it in. Lacing was pretty good but just didn't stay.

S - Nice citrus notes! Pineapple, grapefruit, orange and lemon rinds. Also great pine notes and slight maltiness. Smells awesome!

T - Starts off with the nice citrus notes of pineapple, grapefruit and orange, but was also followed by a pine bitterness and resin notes which lingered long after the drink, leaving a bittering flavor in the mouth (which is not a bad thing.) Little bit of maltiness and bread but that is covered quite quickly by the fruit and pine.

M - Great carbonation and smooth mouthfeel. Refreshing and crisp.

D - Way easy to drink. I love the smell and flavor of this brew. I've been drinking a lot of DIPAs lately and this one is up there, although I do enjoy Abrasive much more :) Solid brew from Russian River and is also on my seeking list.

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

I poured Pliny the Elder into a Dogfish Head large snifter. With a dark orange hue, it looks exceptional. A cloudiness is present which makes the beer translucent. A light white colored head appears righr after the pour and lingers throughout the drink. A decent lacing also exists.

A rich hop, floral smell permeates from this beer as well hints a citrus. This continues through the taste with a nose of light citrus and a bit of pale malt flavoring. This is finish is nothing short of amazing. Lots of hops come through in the taste. The floral tastes also come through and linger after the sip goes down. For a double, the hops do create an overally bitter taste. I read in a brewing book that this effect is created by dry hopping.

The mouthfeel is great for this one. The carbonation goes great with thr flavoeing of the beer and it goes down very smooth for an IPA. I had 4 of these so far and they have all been great. Honestly I would really take their warning and drink them right away.

Photo of diomz88
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S - fruity, flowey and citrusy, with a little scent of hop there too.
A - golden orange, whittish head,
T - HOP! right away the hop. but it's the hop that you will like and appreciate in a great brew. Citrus, caramel, and malty.
M - very smooth, medium to full bodied. no aftertaste, for me.
D - oh so drinkable, one of the great beers out there.

Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 11,423 ratings.