Pliny The Elder
Russian River Brewing Company

Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder
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Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
IPA - Imperial
Ranked #3
Ranked #33
4.64 | pDev: 7.76%
Saturday at 12:35 AM
Aug 24, 2003
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!
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Ratings by Nyarko-San:
Photo of Nyarko-San
4.46/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by Nyarko-San from Pennsylvania

Oct 13, 2021
More User Ratings:
Photo of Youvegotyourselfastew
3/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by Youvegotyourselfastew from New York

Just a regular hoppy ipa to me

May 10, 2022
Photo of maddogruss
5/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by maddogruss from New Jersey

Had this on draft.
A: pours an amber body with small white head with excellent retention and lacing.
S: strong grapefruit smell with a subtle sweet toffee malt
T: a nice blend of burnt toffee and some earthy, subtle grapefruit notes; well balanced
M: medium bodied, smooth and crisp
D: nice feel and taste combo; awesome tasting beer; def worth the trip to the west coast to get on draft.

May 09, 2022
Photo of osheamatth
4.56/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by osheamatth from New York

I’ve been after a Russian River brew for years and have been striking out forever. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a joint in LA that had not one but TWO on draft. So…Pliny the Elder. Classic looking WC double IPA with really nice amber color. Those hops get right to the point on the nose: sap, resin, orange, grass, and a little baked bread. Palate follows the nose but the upfront hops that the aroma had slip into the background so that the balance between citrus & pine can come together. Finished nice and refreshing.

May 08, 2022
4.18 by Pro_Magnon from Texas on May 01, 2022
4.73 by Affinity from Missouri on Apr 30, 2022
Photo of barndweller
5/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by barndweller from California

I ordered a box of 12 directly from Russian River. It arrived in 2 days with a bottled on date of 8 days old. I pulled a bottle out of the box and they were cool to the touch. I laid a few of them on their side in the bottom of the refrigerator for a couple of hours and I've just poured one into a large british pint glass. I'm halfway through this drink now and everything about this beer is absolutely excellent. I live near the beach in Los Angeles and I've been drinking beer for 50 years. I'm married to a Geordie expatriate from the northeast of England. I've had the opportunity to try thousands of
great beers. This beer is absolutely remarkable. From the delicate astringency of the first sip to the final mustache wetting last gulp. My hat is off to the people brewing at Russian River.

Apr 28, 2022
Photo of Sparty1224
4.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by Sparty1224 from Michigan

Serving: 1 Pint 1.25 Fl. oz. bottle poured into a Tree House teku glass. Bottled on 3/29/22, making this 29 days old (or fresh).

A: Pours a pretty clear, golden yellow color. Bright white, foamy head.

S: A good balance of fruity notes and piney notes. Some pineapple and mango accented by a sweet piney resin. Doesn't really pop a ton though.

T: Nice pineapple, mango, some tangerine. Less piney on the flavor. Pretty bitter and dry finish. Again, doesn't really explode with flavor here.

M: Nice a full, very drinkable. Not a bruiser by any means.

O: I've only had this one other time, on draft about 8 years ago. First time out of the bottle here, and it's pretty fresh. Much like Blind Pig, which I had yesterday, there is really nothing that stands out on first sip to make you think this is a Top 30 beer. You have to think back in the early days when craft beer was just getting going, that, yes, this could be the poster child for the West Coast-style IPA and one of the best beers at the time. And then as the years go on, I think the hype just perpetuates and when people review it, they feel guilted into giving it a 5/5. I've definitely had similar beers, albeit ones indebted to Pliny, but still similar. Arctic Panzer, Perm Funeral, any of the latest IPAs from Short's. This is still a good beer, don't get me wrong. It's just not this amazing world-beater that's going to shock you anymore. And that's fine. It's a legend, it's the OG, and craft beer really wouldn't be where it's at without it.

Recommendation: Despite losing some of its luster, this is still a must-try for any beer lover.

Apr 28, 2022
4.58 by michaelsmith11 from Illinois on Apr 26, 2022
4.46 by darktronica from Indiana on Apr 17, 2022
5 by brn9000 from Illinois on Apr 17, 2022
Photo of Viaduck
4.24/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Viaduck from California

I finally get my chance to sample this legendary IPA. It was given to me by my sister’s friend, a nice lady in her 90’s who is friends with the owners of Russian River. The body is a hazy orange/amber with an off-white head that was smaller than expected. A fairly strong aroma of citrus, pine & hops greets the nose. Its taste is not as bitter as implied by the hoppy aroma & this is a hint of sweet, salty & tartness added as well. Flavors are as expected: tangerine, grapefruit, pine, hops & bread. Medium body with excellent carbonation, no sign of the 8%. Very thirst quenching. I would agree with those that say more recent IPA’s have surpassed this classic. It’s still great. Mr P. Elder has been on my list of must have beers for a long time & im glad to have finally enjoyed it.

Apr 16, 2022
Photo of Newbeergeek1
4.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75
by Newbeergeek1 from Maine

On a cruise to San Francisco and found Gott’s and a Whole Food, one for draft and the other for few bottles. Drafts (I wasn’t driving so I had two) were wonderful and lived up to the hype and then some. I can only hope that the bottles will be close to as good as the drafts. Smooth, left a little lingering bitter taste in a good way, ABV didn’t overwhelm the taste. Being from the east coast I found the hazy vs clear IPA’s kind of a fun discussion with myself. My last beer if I am on death row would be Heady Topper so I am comparing Pliny to Heady and trying to be objective. I must say liked Heady better, but not by a lot! I have been hearing about Pliny for years now and it’s everything I hoped it would be. Absolutely glad I had it.

Apr 14, 2022
4.24 by foundersasap from Michigan on Apr 12, 2022
4.75 by dan_amdg from Illinois on Apr 03, 2022
Photo of atomicbeer
4.03/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by atomicbeer from New Mexico

Draft pint at the Anaheim Packing House. So excited to finally find this beer on draft. A very good beer but not the greatest IPA I’ve ever had. Very nice pine hop blast with a fine malt finish. A good solid 4.00 IPA.

Mar 22, 2022
4.54 by cgrunin from Texas on Mar 18, 2022
Photo of DIPA_Davi
4.04/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by DIPA_Davi

It’s a very good IPA. But it’s NOT a DIPA / Imperial and doesn’t even belong in the conversation. If it did, it sure as hell wouldn’t be in the top 25%. This might be the most overhyped beer on BA. Too bad because NoCal has the DIPA market flooded with excellent beers. This isn’t one of them, since it’s not a DIPA.

Mar 10, 2022
Photo of StephenLovett
4.46/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by StephenLovett from California

Pours a clear light gold with a 1/2" head of a mix of white small and larger bubbles.

The nose is deceiving as it's dominated by a bold dry hopped "Cascade" scent that is almost overpowering leading a first timer to expect a typically over-hopped, nothing-but-hops IPA. Happily that's not the case.

The magic here is the balance, something that so many IPA's get wrong. All the more remarkable for it being a double.
Most stronger beers strike a balance with the strong hop aroma and flavor that results from aggressive dry hopping by starting with a high original gravity. This results is a sweet/tart balance that leans in the direction of a California style barley wine and is easy to get wrong.

Consummate skill in the brewing arts yield something that I've never experienced before which is a very pleasing hop forward flavor profile with its resultant citrus / pine flavors, but still retaining the malt flavors, with no sweetness. This beer is just perfectly balanced. It really is a work of art.

Medium body, carbonation strong enough to meet the stronger flavors, but not overwhelm them. Did I mention balance?

It's a bit much for a daily drinker for me, but there is no denying that it's a really exceptional beer, and an IPA I really enjoy which is a rarity. More remarkably its big brother Pliny the younger strikes an equally skillful balance in a triple. Hats off to Russian River Brewing, really fine work.

Mar 07, 2022
Photo of Tallmountainman
4.96/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
by Tallmountainman from Washington

Yes. It is one of the best IPAs in Northern CA

Mar 02, 2022
Photo of Winton_Ross
4.38/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by Winton_Ross from New York

Lovely beverage, but not in my current style of preferred brews? Never cared for green anything in my beverages. Delicious, however, and better with my almost clear-broth chowder.

Feb 22, 2022
Photo of Shanex
4.81/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by Shanex from France

This was a long « want » of mine and I got the chance to finally sip on it thanks again to Beergoot.

This beer is very much deserving of its legend, classic and world class status. Exceptionally well crafted, balanced, hoppy and bitter. Strong ABV thats pretty well hidden here too.

What can I say? No more. Find this beer. Drink it. You won’t have wasted a single penny.


Feb 18, 2022
Photo of EllaRulestheWorld
4.88/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
by EllaRulestheWorld

What I wanted. As advertised.

Feb 18, 2022
Photo of jonphisher
4.14/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
by jonphisher from New Jersey

Pours a pretty much clear light gold; beautiful white dense head with great retention; splotchy lacing.

Very citrus forward aromas, some subtle sweet grainy aroma and some subtle dank.

Citrus forward taste, just as the nose; gentle malt sweetness and littof sap.

Medium body, gentle but plentiful carbonation, high and tongue coating bitterness that is nicely accentuated by a clean dry finish.

Thanks Dave for finally allowing me to try this iconic beer.

Feb 15, 2022
Photo of Tomlarson123
4.49/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
by Tomlarson123 from Ohio

On Monterey bay watching the sunset. From a 510 mil bottled on Jan 22 2022. Hoppy dry. Refreshing full of flavor

Feb 15, 2022
4.5 by ryand14 from Michigan on Feb 13, 2022
Photo of Rug
4.53/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by Rug from Massachusetts

Bottled 1/28/22

Holy hell, Pliny is finally mine! This is one of the first beers I heard about after joining BA, and I finally sourced 2 bottles, relatively fresh as well! I don't know what more to say, so let's just get into it

Pours a clear yellow gold with 3 fingers of creamy off white head that slowly fades to a cap and leaves nice lacing. An endless stream of carbonation from the bottom of the glass

Oh man, the nose on this one isn't super complex, but it's right in your face. I'm picking up on aromas of resinous hops, caramel malt, fresh pine, orange zest, wildflower honey, and light white pepper

This is very expressive, but very balanced. There's nothing angular about this one; the beauty is in the balance. On the front end of the sip I'm tasting orange zest, floral hops, crackery malt, white pepper, pineapple, light honey, and tangerine. The swallow brings notes of caramel malt, peppery hops, pithy grapefruit, honey, tangerine zest, and toasted grain

A medium body pairs with gentle carbonation, resulting in a sharp and dry beer. Finishes totally dry and balanced

Oh man, this absolutely lived up to the hype for me! It's funny, because it's nothing crazy, but it's so well executed that it can't be denied as a world class beer. So happy I have another one to drink

Feb 13, 2022
4.88 by irishevans from California on Feb 05, 2022
Photo of webbcreative
4.7/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by webbcreative from Oklahoma

Tried on tap at The Grove in L.A. while on vacation with my son August 9th, 2021 @3:00pm. Glad I got to finally get this beer! $11 for 13 oz.

Feb 04, 2022
4.4 by GoBearsWalter34 from Illinois on Feb 01, 2022
Photo of jjamadorphd
4.26/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by jjamadorphd from Florida

At long last I finally got to try one of my bucket list beers - and it did not disappoint. Looked great with the lacing it had, was incredibly delicious to the nose, full-bodied to the mouth, and just as juicy to the taste.

Truly a great beer, it was well worth the wait.

Jan 30, 2022
Photo of jngls
4.62/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by jngls from Germany

3 weeks old. Bottle to IPA glass.

Look: Pours a translucent golden brown with a thick and foamy white head. Some lacing. No floaters.

Smell: Intense tropical sweetness paired with piney hop notes.

Taste: Very piney. Very bitter. The tropical notes which dominated the smell pop up here and there in a very subtle, harmonious way.

Feel: Crisp and clean. Perfect carbonation. Very crushable.

Overall: Quintessential and style-defining. Even though the West Coast style is much more narrowly defined than its brother from New England, Pliny is as complex as might be. The interplay of sweetness and bitterness, tropical fruits and piney notes makes it a joy to drink.

Jan 23, 2022
4.5 by not2quick from Missouri on Jan 18, 2022
4.17 by chiefz1 from New York on Jan 16, 2022
4.4 by YakAnglerUSMC from South Carolina on Jan 15, 2022
4.47 by aosmdavid from Texas on Jan 04, 2022
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 15537 ratings