Pliny The Elder
Russian River Brewing Company

Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder
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IPA - Imperial
Ranked #2
Ranked #14
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: 3,890 | Ratings: 15,454 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of MastodonFarm
MastodonFarm from Pennsylvania

4.26/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Rich copper color and unctuous mouthfeel. Malty and hoppy. This is a very well-made beer. But as with so many pioneers in so many fields, the rest of the field eventually caught up, and this isn't as remarkable as it once was.

Wednesday at 07:31 PM
Photo of CopperGoblin

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

This beer is elegant and as fine as a star shaped box. It looks as though it can peer into my eyes and tell me my deepest thoughts. It smells like the brilliant mist expelled from a frightened skunk as it sets in the dewy morning air. The taste is reminiscent of the tears cried by a cabbage after losing a leaf to the sweltering sun. The feel rivals a gentle lover’s soft embrace. Overall, this is a beer worth dying for.

Wednesday at 03:47 AM
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JohnniEMc from Pennsylvania

4.61/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

It is truly a beautiful rich and bright amber color in an eight ounce serving, inside a clear glass. There's a nice tight white head that seems to be perpetual. Despite the brightness and near translucenty, this has some body. Look at the lacing inside the glass, Wow! The aroma is of a good piney and biting hoppiness, but it's not overpowering. The taste is just about West Coast IPA perfect. That means there's a solid, but not sweet, malt body cleanly carrying a poignant resinous, yet dry bitter hop taste. Nothing out of whack, delightful across the tongue, rare is the beer better than this. A necessary advisory, this is from Philadelphia, three thousand miles away. It certainly must taste even better on the other side of the country.

Jun 11, 2021
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ben741 from Canada (ON)

4.66/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a unicorn where I'm from. I've finally got to drink it and it lives up to the hype. It might not be revolutionary anymore but it's a damn near perfect example of beer style. If you don't like this than West Coast IPAs aren't for you.

Jun 05, 2021
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UWDAWG from Washington

4.54/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 510 ml bottle into a snifter.

Look- Between pale and medium gold, mildly hazy, average head retention, above average lacing, white sudsy head.

Smell- Pine resin, citrus.

Taste- Pine resin, grapefruit.

Feel- Between thin and medium body, average carbonation, high bitterness, moderately prickly, sticky lingering pine finish.

Overall- Delicious West Coast IPA.

May 20, 2021
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Whyteboar from Michigan

4.69/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A tale of 3 beers, all Pliny the Elder.
The first one I ever tried, courtesy of @jayorear in a BIF was transcendent- absolutely astonishing to me and my friend who I shared the bottle with.
We drank the second bottle about 10 days later and wondered if it was the same beer. It was still good, but just a WCIPA of average taste. Odd.
So now I’m trying one that is exactly 1 month past the bottle date and it’s back as the best, but not transcendent.
There must be a fairly narrow window for this to be at its best, and it’s that reason alone I can’t rank it all 5s.

May 10, 2021
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BeerAndGasMasks from Virginia

4.28/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the can (IPA Fest in Cyberspace Provided), it pours a clear yellow golden color with a nice white head that remains for a long time. In the nose, it is citrus, mostly pineapple, and is enjoyable. In the mouth, it is the same, with a solid malt base. Very nice brew!

May 07, 2021
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KT3418 from Colorado

4.75/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Theres stuff out there now that can absolutely rival this but having a good bit of IPAS before this one I can definitely say this beer is actually as advertised. Super tasty. The review below me said something about how rare it is that hype meets quality and I agree and that review is from 6 years ago. This was just really good and at least to me Russian River stuff is getting much easier to get at least in Colorado.

May 03, 2021
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Craftbeerfan666 from Norway

4.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer, the myth... the legend. It was of course a divine experience to taste is the first time- however, it’s a beer that you’ll gladly revisit at any chance given. A refreshing and amazing good old East Coast IPA, full of hoppy excitement

Apr 20, 2021
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BerkeleyBeerSleuth from California

4.66/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Nice orange body with a creamy head. Aroma is orange, mango, pineapple, papaya, passionfruit. An aroma explosion. Taste matches with the aroma. Very juicy. Good piney bitterness. Gentle malt flavor in the background provides a nice backdrop for the beer. Creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol is well concealed. Good body for an IPA. I usually have trouble taking down higher abv beers but this one is so well blended it's hard to tell I am drinking anything but heaven. A great beer.

Apr 07, 2021
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Peach63 from New York

4.68/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours pale yellow with a 2 inch white head, which lasts. Moderate lacing to the end.

Aroma is intensely floral, pine, grapefruit, mango.

Taste is malty, pine, grapefruit, mango. Delicious, resinous goodness.

Medium bodied, light carbonation. Dry, bitter finish.

Outstanding! One of the best DIPA's. The aroma alone is to die for.

Mar 31, 2021
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Negt from Massachusetts

4.06/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Living in MA, I don’t get this beer very often. I recently acquired 3 fresh bottles. It’s a good beer, it’s well balanced and dank but I don’t think it holds up to more modern ne/hazy dipas. I even think HT is much better in regards to a more American style double. That said, it’s a very enjoyable beer.

Mar 24, 2021
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Sigmund from Norway

4.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle, kindly shared by gunnar. Deep golden to orange colour, moderate white head. Very nice hoppy aroma, fruity and herbal notes. Intense hoppy flavour, but not too bitter. Fruity and spicy notes, well balanced.

Mar 18, 2021
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GoGurty from California

4.4/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A solid double west coast IPA that is smoother than most. I get the hype behind this beer but I don't find it as enticing as other double IPA's. Not my favorite from Russian River Brewing but definitely a powerful beer.

Mar 18, 2021
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Todd from California

4.87/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

510ml bottled on 02/02/2021. "Not packaged from resale." Sample from the brewery. Thanks, Vinnie!

I've consumed Pliny the Elder hundreds of times over the years, and most of those were on draught at The Falling Rock when I lived in Denver, but I've never sat down with a bottle for a proper review on my own.

Pours a lively, light, pale, honey colored beer with a hint of haze and a thick, creamy head that laces down the glass with each sip. Big piney note in the nose with citrus and a soft floral aroma. Mouthfeel is sublime. Crisp and prickly on the palate, and then creamy, firm, a bit chewy, and incredibly smooth. Malty sweet with a light clean breadiness. Hoppy and fruity with pineapple, orange, ripe, juicy, fleshy, tropical fruits, and grapefruit rind. This is broken up by a dry bitterness with pine, resin, and an oily and ashy presence that sticks to the palate for what seems like forever. And I want it to last forever. Biscuit. Honey. Warming alcohol. Bone-dry finish. Spicy linger.

Despite the market being absolutely flooded with India Pale Ales, and good number of them being what I'd consider world-class, in 2021 Pliny the Elder still stands after all these years as the gold standard for both West Coast and Double IPAs. And after drinking it countless times, it never gets old.

Mar 17, 2021
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jdhops from Tennessee

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

Bottled 2/16/21.

L: Pours clear golden, with visible tiny bubbles rising from the bottom like champagne. Short big-bubbled white head sticks all around the glass. Nice splotchy lacing.

S: Pine forest, flowers, and citrus. All noticeable but not strong.

T: Bitter pine up front, smoothing out with floral and citrus notes midway, then back to a piney/hoppy punch that dries at the finish.

F: Medium mouthfeel. Appropriate carbonation. Not soft, but right for the style. No alcohol heat.

O: As advertised. The standard for west coast double IPAs. The early and late piney hoppy bitterness is almost perfectly balanced by the citrus and floral notes in between.

Mar 06, 2021
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michaelness526 from California

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

By far my favorite IPA. The fragrance is out of this world: yeasty, citrus, and overall super fresh. Taste is slightly bitter upfront but finishes aromatic and soft on the palate. I cannot wait to try more of Russian River Brewing Company’s stuff

Feb 19, 2021
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dubers89 from Iowa

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

Just the perfect representation of what a West Coast IPA should be. Loads of pine and very slight citrus on the nose and palate. Clear. Wonderful balance between the body and hops.

Jan 25, 2021
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gatormain from Nebraska

2.6/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Has a nice hop aroma and bite to it. Taste is mediocre. The pine taste is a bit overpowering and consumes most other flavors. Pours a nice transparent gold. Ranks in the bottom half of imperial IPAs I have consumed.

Jan 21, 2021
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dmincer from West Virginia

4.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I've been lucky enough to revisit this beer over the years. Still a classic. Still amazing. Its the prototypical west coast IPA and there's still a place for this in the world of hazies and sour IPAs. The aroma and taste are spot on. The bitterness is beautiful. Its crisp and biting. I hope it never changes!

Jan 10, 2021
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NJ908Jimmy from New Jersey

4.61/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is the pinnacle in my opinion. With every single brewery adding oat cream, lactose, and goat’s’s nice to see a true WC style dominate without the need to over yeasty and create a haze bomb.

Jan 05, 2021
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Jacobjarvis98 from California

4.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Love love love this beer. Pretty hard to get from where I’m from, but always find away to get my hands on it. I love how it’s so smooth yet pretty bitter at the same time. Russian river makes amazing beers! Cheers!!

Jan 01, 2021
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IBU_Hunter from California

4.58/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my updated review based on a super-fresh 1-week old Bottled Jan 13, 2021 bottled Pliny The Elder. Originally I thought it was imbalanced dry, but today that changed by a lot for good!!!
*Aroma: Beautiful, floral, mild tropical, pleasant!
*Looks: Beautiful light-amber with superb head that sticks nicely.
*Taste: Superb, well-balanced, light, but nice hoppy bite.
*Finish: Very Dry, but light & refreshing. Not too malty by any means, the dry hoppiness is over-powering but with a fresh bottle you don’t mind it!
*Overall Verdict*: I can see why people like this beer. I officially respect & like this Beer because you can’t find many Beers like this!

Dec 29, 2020
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simonrgilbert57 from California

4.66/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Truly a well done beer. Honestly there's little to fault it for. Has a clear look with a thick head. Smell gives a good portrait of the complex flavors of hops and pine. A bitter taste stays in the mouth for a while, proving how robust of a beer it is. Overall, Russian River Brewing has demonstrated superior brewmanship, even though heavier imperial IPAs like this aren't always my cup of tea.

Dec 25, 2020
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ruskirivi from California

4.82/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Can't ask for much more in a beer than this. Probably about as perfect as you can get in a beer. Taste, look, head everything is absolutely excellent. Not too expensive but unfortunately can be tough to get your hands on, although not as much as the younger

Dec 16, 2020
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 15454 ratings