Pliny The Elder
Russian River Brewing Company

Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder
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American Imperial IPA
Ranked #2
Ranked #15
4.69 | pDev: 7.68%
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder
Notes: Pliny the Elder is brewed with Amarillo, Centennial, CTZ, and Simcoe hops. It is well-balanced with malt, hops, and alcohol, slightly bitter with a fresh hop aroma of floral, citrus, and pine. Best enjoyed FRESH! That is why we make it in such limited supply. Actual bottling date is printed on each bottle!
Reviews: 3,847 | Ratings: 15,310 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Mister_Faucher
4.11/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a chalice, bottled on 04/20/20.

Look- Clear golden color, modest bright white head with great retention and some sticky lacing. light carbonation streams visible.

Smell- Citrus (orange, grapefruit and lemon zest), tropical fruit (pineapple and mango), sweet malt, whiffs of pine and floral/grassy hop notes.

Taste- Similar to the aroma. citrus and tropical fruit, pine, sweet malts with a mildly hoppy bitter finish. Very well balanced.

Feel- Medium bodied, slightly sweet yet dry and really crisp, super refreshing. Medium carbonation on the tongue.

O- Really nice overall but I don't get the hype over this one, just like Jai Alai or Union Jack. Just a really well crafted IPA.

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Mister_Faucher from Washington, May 22, 2020
Photo of BourbonForBeer
4.15/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It's good, it's balanced, standard of west coast ipa. (Imo) it's only great within 2 weeks to a month after that the taste falls off quickly. Get it fresh and it's a 4.5/5 if it's not fresh after a month it's a 4 at best, which is why I feel 4.25 is a fair and acceptable rating. I think it's over hyped and overrated. Personally I think midwest has better ipa's generally speaking as of the past few years. (I lived in CA and this was my regular 8 dollar beer)


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Photo of ChrisBuckey3000
4.9/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I normally can't stand IPAs because their hoppiness just tastes like detergent to me. Pliny the Elder is a blessed exception and deserves its reputation. I can't recommend it highly enough and if you can get your hands on a bottle, give it a try.

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Photo of penguinsgoboom
4.79/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A: Pours a rocky 1 finger head. Color is a bright clear goldenrod. Lacing is sticky and forms a beautiful web

S: SO incredibly fresh and bursting with brightness. Definite hop characteristics. Zesty lemon and other citrus aromas. Some pineapple and just enough grassy funkiness to balance it out.

T: Beautiful hop flavor that cascades one on top of another. Citrus, orange fighting to take over. There is a bit of caramel malt in the background to reign things in. Finishes super clean.

O: Wow. Truly one of the best beers in the world. It showcases hops in a way that other beers can only dream of. The alcohol is almost undetectable. Simply worldclass.

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penguinsgoboom from California, Apr 18, 2020
Photo of Hops_Monster
4.92/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

As close to perfection a West Coast IPA can get. Bursting with hops, fruit, a little malt. Nose is incredible. Crisp and refreshing. What more can you possibly ask for? If you're wondering if it lives up to it's hype, yes it does.

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Photo of fun2moto
4.48/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Ok,,, I know all the hype about this beer. I do not like IPA's nor do I like the bitter taste that comes with them. My local gastropub... havent been in a while do to COVID..... but last time i was there they had the ELDER on tap. My server knows my likes and my dislikes. He sneaked this one on me as a sample taste and I was kind of intrigued. I hate these kinds of beers but for some reason it just clicked with me. I had a 16oz pour and was actually liking it. Every sip I found something new. I am a Barlywine / Malty beer guy... the stronger it is the better.

After my mug, I decided to pursue the quest and try it again. Our local market carries this beer but on a only two per visit policy. Well with COVID going on I have a mask and sweatshirt and BB cap as I enter the store.. I purchase two and take off my sweatshirt and cap and look completely different and buy another two. LOL...

I have just finished my 4 beers 16oz bottles during the last two days. I have determined that it is a good thing to supplement my malty beers for the polar oposite and go for a piney IPA . I am now a convert... I have tried a few other IPAs such as Green Flash and a Stone AB ale.

I will stick with Pliney any variety. I have yet tied the younger , But I have tried Blind Pig and found it kinda of a watered down version of the Elder..

I now see what the hype is about and am now venturing out into the IPA evil world.

So any of you guys like me who love Malty triple's , doubles or Barley;s minus the hopps I think you may find a new world.

Cheers BA world and have enjoyed writing my first review...

As for the rating portion.

Look - Looks like a nice medium stray color, with a light head.
Smell - Smells like I am out in the mountains among pine trees
Taste - Wow this is actually good for an IPA hater
Feel - Nice carbonation and the light oily pine coats the tounge perfectly as to really taste those hops
Overall - I am a convert!!!!

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Photo of DFred
5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just enjoyed a very fresh (10-day-old) bottling of Pliny the Elder. I had heard all of the hype but could never find a bottle locally. What a surprise to find it temporarily on the shelf of a local store. I don't have anything to add to what's been said before other than, "Boy, that was good." Great beer--thanks Russian River!

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DFred from California, Mar 29, 2020
Photo of ptym4040
4.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Flawless. One of the (if not the), top beers I've had.

Consistent experiences between bottles and tap.

Hop forward but refreshing at the same time - a perfect balance. No off-flavors and clean finish.

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Photo of Parmesan
4.74/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L:. Pours a golden straw yellow with a fizzy white head and nice lacing on the glass.

S:. Lots of ripe tropical fruit, including mango, pineapple, orange, pineapple, pine and sap. Smells amazingly inviting.

T: Lots of tropical fruit, including mango pineapple, notes of pine, sap and berries, a medium bitterness. This is still the high point of the West Coast IPA.

F:. Medium to large body, but still nice and drinkable.

O:. Pliny still remains the benchmark of what a West Coast Double IPA should be.

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Parmesan from Colorado, Mar 22, 2020
Photo of WinnieDog13
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is not the best beer ive had but a very good ipa. This is a very good blend of sweet and bitter, the hops are not too overpowering like a lot of ipas. There are better options from Russian River.

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WinnieDog13 from New York, Mar 22, 2020
Photo of OrtheusMaximusRex
4.25/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

100? No. So many more good beers out there. Another offering from Russian River is "Happy Hops", it is a much better beer than "Pliny The Elder". Pliny is a great beer, but when another beer from the same brewery, and many more from 3 Floyds, Trillium, Tree House, and others, are better, where is the 100 justified?

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Photo of REVZEB
4.37/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

At long last, Pliny is mine! Mostly clear golden body with a fluffy white head, decently active carbonation, lacing as you go. Plenty of west coast hops, pine, slight floral too, grapefruit, orange, and a touch of pineapple. Tastes as it smells, with slight caramel malt and botanicals, surprisingly sweet on the finish with hop resin. Feel is crisp, clean, and very well balanced. Can see why this was the toast of the town 17 years ago, still holds up as a good DIPA now

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REVZEB from Illinois, Mar 12, 2020
Photo of jrc1093
4.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled on 2/18/20

Pours a brilliant deep golden copper touched by a vague fog to the body and topped with 2 fingers of dense, lasting white foam slowly fading to yield a landscape of thick, comprehensive lacing along with a thin cap and collar.

Aromas opens with subtle clementine, pine needles, and a quietly acidic grapefruit edging into a slight lemon zest in the middle of a seamlessly integrated malt character; soft tropical undertones shine forth with a lasting flow of overripe mango, peach skins, strawberry, and guava touches.

Taste presents tangerine prominently upfront with a sweeter pineapple building into a very quiet notion of evergreen needles and earth along the mid-palate; underripe grapefruit peel and hints of oregano precede and dark blueberry must and a flaky malt backing before a lingering tropical cream lingers beyond the swallow.

Mouthfeel offers an oily medium body with a medium carbonation perfectly entrenched in the background belying a near-unrivaled consistency across the mid-palate; flaky malt dryness eases to a deft coating of lupulin-laden hop oil contributing a mild though stiff bittering into a fluffy, truly effortless finish/swallow and a warming glow of innocuous alcohol presence.

A stunner of a DIPA refined to the highest level, running the spectrum of hop and malt harmony to an end product pure and comprehensive; simply the apex of the style, a dreamy culmination.

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jrc1093 from Connecticut, Mar 04, 2020
Photo of TooManyGlasses
4.81/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Second time acquiring on a San Diego trip, after first falling for this beer in Santa Rosa a few years ago.
Bottle purchased from Barons Marketplace in Temecula, CA - bottled Feb 11/20 so 3 weeks old.
Pours a crystal clear dark golden with 2 fingers of creamy white head. This is how beer should look.
Off the head the aroma is intensely hoppy - pine up front, as warms increasing notes of citrus, some ripe pineapple, and a creeping touch of dankness.
The taste is deliciously malty with early sweetness - orange, orange peel, pineapple, and pine - the hops balance the sweetness with a wonderful but never over the top bitterness.
Medium full mouthfeel - exceptionally smooth with a silky sensation on the palate and a mild lingering piney bitterness. The alcohol is present in a warming manner but in no way boozy.
Maybe the hype makes me love everything about this beer, but Pliny is magical.

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TooManyGlasses from Alberta (Canada), Mar 03, 2020
Photo of Buckeye55
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

World-class brew! Pours a hazy orange color with moderate head. Scent is dominated by hops, with some earthy/grassy undertones. Taste is wow, perfect blend of hops and citrus. Medium mouthfeel and an aftertaste that ends like it tastes

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Buckeye55 from North Carolina, Feb 28, 2020
Photo of Ghrymm
4.62/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Well after a few years of drinking Elder and going to the Younger event in Santa Rosa i am posting this one.
Bottles Feb.4th 2020 Drinking on Feb,26th so very fresh.
A awesome smooth Imperial, all i need to say after so many reviews.

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Ghrymm from British Columbia (Canada), Feb 27, 2020
Photo of EMH73
4.71/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a clear golden color with an inch and a half fluffy white head. Smells of incredible citrus and pine. Tastes of grapefruit, grapefruit pith, orange, underripe peach and pine. Damn near perfect dankness. Medium bodied and carbonated, dry and bitter finish

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EMH73 from New York, Feb 20, 2020
Photo of DEZ01301960
4.29/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had this beer in California. Hard to track down. Two bottle limit. Great for the price point but probably past it's prime.
nice flavor but somewhat overhyped.

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DEZ01301960 from Illinois, Feb 15, 2020
Photo of McKenzie1743
3.3/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Now, I know that people absolutely rave about this beer. For me, it was like watching "The Irishman" after hearing all the buzz about it being up there with "Raging Bull" and "Goodfellas" among the Scorsese classics.

And, just as was my experience less than halfway into "The Irishman," my thoughts about this beer a few sips into my pint were "um, is that it?"

I expected much more from such a madly-hyped beer.

My initial sip had me a bit puzzled. Why were there so many different types of hops competing to be recognized? Why is the color of the beer more like that of a Belgian tripel than an IPA? Is it trying to be all things to all people? While not unpleasant, by any stretch (mouthfeel was a balance of fizzy and creamy, with a little bit of metallic zing, finish left a bit of welcome sweetness), it still paled in comparison to far superior American and Belgian IPAs (like Troubadour Magma or Lawson's Sip of Sunshine, or even Sierra Nevada Torpedo), which for me all have better integrated malt and hops flavors. After a few more sips, the wheels totally came off the bus for me on this one. The competing hop flavors and aromas tended to all go to neutral corners, so rather than getting an integrated, complimentary overall flavor profile all I got were separate, discordant notes. Which left in the middle something that tasted like a pretty good pilsner.

Overall, a 3, but not one I'd be likely to try again.

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Photo of Mac_Dre
4.86/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

The gold standard of IPA's. I luckily live in California and recently found a grocery store with an impressive craft selection that stocks Russian River. It's a two beer per customer limit with a bottle coming in at around $7.50 for a pint. I must admit the devil is always on my shoulder telling me to try and buy more than two with an inexperienced cashier, or to stash them behind other beers and come back, but I resist. I think it's important to follow stores rules so that more people get the chance to experience what a God tier IPA tastes like.

As for the beer itself, it's really a quite simple description that people like to complicate. It's a very, very smooth IPA. It is an 8% IPA that still has bite but finishes sweet. It's just really well balanced and quite frankly, delicious.

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Photo of cratez
4.77/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Rating from notes. Consumed October 2012. "Big citric orange peel, tangerine, and juicy grapefruit flavours, a bit of pineapple and nectarine mid-palate, spicy bitter hop finish with some warmth going down. Benchmark West Coast DIPA."

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cratez from Ontario (Canada), Jan 25, 2020
Photo of samatheis
5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm not a huge IPA fan, but this is the one exception. Flat out amazing. On tap it is liquid heaven in the glass, from the first sip to the final, leave you wanting another.

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Photo of flyingpig
4.42/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

51cl bottle from California as a gift:
Clear amber with some bubbles rising but it's lighter than expected. The head is fluffy & white, holding very well with good lacing too. The smell was a fresh & hoppy one with floral notes & a pleasant bitterness, some grapefruit at the end too but nothing overly pronounced. Citrus & grapefruit kick off the taste with a freshness, faint pine & subtle tropical fruits, most notably pineapple; the bitterness is slightly stronger here too. The body is strongly carbonated & medium with a clean feel & the alcohol content is hidden well too. Very nice & easy to drink; not the best DIPA I've had but it is certainly up there.

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flyingpig from United Kingdom (Scotland), Jan 07, 2020
Photo of summitsix
4.71/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Purchased a bottle dated two weeks ago on Christmas Eve 122419 (wow!)

Vigorous pour into tulip glass

L: beautiful, filtered, gold hue, healthy white beer foam floating on the top
S: dank hops, piney
T: very well balanced IPA, bitter, lots to savor
O: text book west coast style IPA, still noteworthy in the New England style craze

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summitsix from California, Jan 07, 2020
Photo of hophead723
4.82/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I quite literally snagged two of these and ran, I will not be stopped. Brewed only 3 weeks ago, it was damn fresh.

Look: Gorgeous light gold color, sporting a rich and fluffy head of pure white foam. It sticks to the glass and decorates it with clean bands of lace, and as soft as a cloud as you dip your nose into it for each glorious gulp. Steady carbonation streams from the base of the glass in organized pillars of tiny bubbles rising to fuel the aromatic head.

Smell: The aroma is bursting with pineapple, mango, grapefruit, guava, lychee, evergreen pine, mandarin peel, floral wisteria blossoms, and orange blossom honey. A kiss of honeysuckle and caramel biscuit round out the incredible and enticing aroma.

Taste/Feel: The hoppy, blissful bitterness carries with it lush notes juicy pineapple, guava, mango, lychee, pink graprfruit, and pine. Blasts of tropical fruits and aspirin bitterness sing in harmony with a masterfully executed malt profile. The perfect balance of hops and malt has been achieved! The extremely drinkable and smooth body glides across the palate. Slick and clean, smooth and satisfying. A barrage of deliciousness that is well orchestrated and evolves as the beer warms. For example, one gulp would yield peppery pineapple bitterness lingering at the back of the palate, while another gulp tasted identical to sweet mandarin orange for over a minute at the front of the palate. Superb.

Overall: Most brewers hope and dream of this immaculate execution. I wish it were more available.

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hophead723 from California, Dec 20, 2019
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 15310 ratings