Pliny The Elder | Russian River Brewing Company

14,457 Ratings
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-24-2003

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 14,457 |  Reviews: 3,694
Photo of gabedivision
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

poured from the bottle to a tulip glass

(bottled 8-16-13, so about 2 weeks old)

A- pours a slightly hazy almost clear deep orange with a 1 finger big fluffy head that sticks all over the glass and makes a nice lacing

S- Huge pine right up front, followed by a citrus blast of grapefruit, dank sticky weed, oranges, tangerines, pineapple, just a lovely smelling west coast DIPA

T- grapefruit, pine, peaches, mangos, lyche fruit, just massively hopped up beer, tons of citrus. orange juice, bitter grape fruit skin on the end, hints of alcohol come through a bit and the heat gives it a nice balance.

M- just perfect on feel, so easy to drink medium in body, medium carbonation, bitter, sweet.

O- its been a long time coming to try this one, the king of the DIPA's! certainly a great beer, just perfectly balanced malts and hops, classic west coast style through and through, now i can see why this is one of the most sought after beers in the world, truley a classic.

 975 characters

Photo of WolverineFan1243
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Barnoloid
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Well, I was excited to try this one and the beer lived up to the hype. Apex Portland had this on tap and I happened to be in town. As it warmed I actually got more of the subtleties here. The bitter forward, grapefruit centered hop profile shines here and proves to be the star as the blend of dankness and sweet slight malt kicks in on the back end.

 350 characters

Photo of TCgoalie
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ok, just mowed the for my just reward! Thanks Matt!

Poured into a large snifter, there is still reasonable head across the enlarged surface area. Splotchy lacing surrounds the edges of its straw like peachy hue.

Tropical pine heaven on the nose. Just one sniff showcases the balance between hop and malt. Pine, pineapple, and nectarine meet a rounded complimentary caramel malt backing.

As in the aroma, I am very satisfied with the balance. More pronounced in the taste is the piney resin. Pineapple and tangerine play within the taste with a supremely mellow malt backbone tying it all together.

A mellow medium-full feel in the mouth with drying in the end...very nice.

Nothing in this beer is new, nothing blows me away, but it is strong in all areas without flaws. I could drink this all night and be happy. Please ship to Michigan!

 853 characters

Photo of Barleythenred
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to my friend who randomly asked me, "hey do you want a pliny the elder i got one." The shock and hysteria just made my day and i now have a new best friend.

Appearance: finger tall, frothy, white head with a orange glistening color

Smell: citrus with a mild skunk

Taste: bitter smoothness with a fruity tangerine flavor

Mouthfeel: bubbly and light

 358 characters

Photo of alanamato
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of WallingBrew
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of ChaseTheAce
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of ThemThangs
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

The first IPA I actually liked. Smells and looks great. Taste is great as well, notes that remind me a lot of pineapple and pine. I haven't seen it available in awhile, but when I do, I get some.

 198 characters

Photo of lynx1245
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours golden with light cloudy sediment that clears quickly. White head recedes quickly into large bubbles floating on top of the golden sea. There actually was some lacing submerged in the liquid - never seen that before! I love how the head dances around as you swirl the beer in the cup.

Smell: Wow! This has an INTENSE smell. I could smell some orange peel in the background but what really sticks out is the smell of weed. Only a day before I tried Pliny I actually tried a homebrew that I later found out was infused with marijuana. There is no doubt, Pliny has the exact same smell! I guess that's what fresh hops smell like... (or maybe its another secret ingredient).

Taste: Unlike the weed beer I tasted, this beer was excellent. Pine, big hops, grapefruit, malts. This has it all! There was still a slight hint of mary jane but that might have just been the smell that greeted me with every sip.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated. Very smooth and dry finish. Definitely just feels green and clean.

Drinkability: One is not enough! I need more more more! I can't wait to go back home and buy some more of this.

 1,131 characters

Photo of BWood
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Great beer. I'm not huge into IPAs but this was truly a pleasure. wish I had more.

82 characters

Photo of Mikus
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This was exceptional, three weeks in the bottle. Well sought out, highly hyped up, and lived up to every last praise. Picked up a couple of 510s at BDBS in Gaslamp (they were in the back), and immediately cracked a cold one back at the hotel. The only thing that may have improved this is my Spiegelau! Beautiful orange/amber color with a finger of white head. Huge West Coast IIPA nose full of citrus (orange, lemon) and strong pine. Similar notes to taste, yet exceptionally pronounced. Opened up greatly as the brew was slowly sipped and savored. Clean, dry finish. The benchmark for the IIPA style for me moving forward.

 624 characters

Photo of UBrew1984
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Josbor11
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of rkarimi
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75


3 characters

Photo of JulianTellez
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Quite possibly the best beer I have ever tried and just stating that from the hype. Always try to get my hands on a bottle for special occasions: birthday, graduations, and holidays. I recommend this to everyone I know. Opened a few weeks old bottle and poured into a tulip and saw a great 1.5 finger head form with great retention. Giving it a nice whiff you get a great scent for pine and other citrus notes. I had high expectations about this beer and after tasting it I can honestly say that they were meet. Not bitter at all very smooth and goes down at a relatively quick rate which can be a problem since its about 8%. I think the best part of this beer is that the more you drink it the more you enjoy it. It is consistently good and stays at the top of my top beers. I can't find myself to get tired of this beer and once you taste it you will see why.

 861 characters

Photo of Hyptochrons
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Scored a bottle of this stuff for the first time thanks to HopsAholic79!! Bottled 12/24/15

Poured into a Lawson’s snifter. Clear golden orange color with two fingers of fluffy head, leaves some nice lacing. Overall looks great I cant wait to try this stuff!!

Upon cracking the bottle its become clear that im in for a real treat. Dank earthy smell with some definite citrus character – getting what seems like orange and grapefruit rind, as well as a pleasant hint of pine. Its not like a citrus bomb where you feel like your in a tropical paradise, but hot dayummm the nose on this brew is appealing.

Citrus up front, complimented by a subtle but definitely noticeable sweetish malt flavor. Finishes with a slightly sweet pine taste that sits really nicely on the tongue. Its all about BALANCE, achieved to perfection. Mouthfeel is on point.

It is hyped? Yes. It is a great beer? Yes. So who cares if its over hyped… or if its the best IPA in the world. This is all subjective of course. In addition, no point to compare it to Heady or SOS… because its completely different, which is great because variety is what keeps you guessing. To me this is an absolutely excellent beer, ridiculously balanced and drinkable… amazingly refreshing and crisp. Would love to give this baby a try a few days after bottling! I would highly recommend this brew, its nothing like Heady or SOS but that’s what makes it so great.

 1,430 characters

Photo of oregonskibum
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Consumed PtE many times, but thought my 100th review would be a good time to review it. Plus it's fresh, bottled 5/26, consumed 6/12.

A: Color is a bright tangerine orange with hints of gold at the edges. Pours with a healthy 1 1/2 inch head, gradually dissipates leaving some limited lacing.

S: Can't get enough of the smell. Huge resiney, piney hops dominate. There may be hints of citrus hops and some bready flavors. Knocked down .5 because I know in a side-by-side that PtY knocks this flavor up even one more notch.

T: Taste continues where the smell leaves off with more oily, green, piney goodness. A healthy malt backbone provides a slighly sweet taste that balances out the beer. The finish is bitter with enough hop flavors to make for a very nice finish. No noticable warmth from the 8% alcohol.

M: Medium body (light for style) with moderate carbonation. Very dry and easy to drink. There are 5% beers that feel bigger than this. So very nice.

D: I'll admit to being biased. I have long considered PtE to be one of the best beers in teh world and if stock on a desert island, this would be my choice. Simply a great smooth, easy drinking hop-bomb that brings out the best of the Simcoe variety.

 1,212 characters

Photo of HotHands
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


A - pours a golden orange with a good-sized fluffy white head.

S - Mmm, citrusy, piney hops with a bit of floral honey. I can't say it's the most intense aroma, but it's still pleasing.

T - holy hoparama! Lots of citrus and resiny pine in the hops dancing around with a nice malt backbone. The hops also give some nice floral and earthy notes. A nice hop blend - I can pick out the Simcoe.There is just a tiny bit of sweetness to balance out the hops. It takes a bit of time for all the flavors to work out.

M - slick, resinous feel. Not heavily carbonated, just fine.

Overall - There's a reason why Pliny is the standard Imperial IPA. It does everything right. It may not be the most innovative beer out there, but it doesn't need to be, much like Sculpin is to single IPAs. I find it hard to find faults here. It doesn't have some of the cool hop flavors that I like in other beers (like the tropical fruit flavors in Nugget Nectar), but it's the most well balanced imperial IPA I've had.

 1,004 characters

Photo of deparker
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of BreakfastStout
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of rarapacz
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of BrettStewart
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of chazasu
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of Humulus85
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thank you jmmy2282! Heard a lot about this brew since being on BA, here goes...

Poured from the 500mL bottle into a snifter. Produced a very nice two-finger billowy, yet dense, head. Moderate retention, with some very nice, sticky lacing. Great deep honey, apricot color. Deep but super clear, no haze, no sediment. Very nice.

Smell is of fruity hops. Loads of pineapple, a bit of pine, and some subtle grass notes round out this hop dominating nose. Not astringent, very clean, but could've maybe used a bit more punch.

Bountiful tropical hop flavors upfront; more tropical than citrusy, lots of pineapple. Piney in the middle, followed by some nice bready malt, with a super clean dry finish that lingered just long enough. While exceptionally tasty, I think a more complex and layered hop profile could be achieved.

This is easily the most drinkable DIPA I've ever had. It drinks like a strong Pale Ale; super smooth, great carbonation. At 8.00% this is still drinkable enough to be a session beer. Wow.

Overall this is truly an exceptional, world class beer. Whether or not it's the greatest-of-all-time DIPA...well I haven't had them all so I can't say. Is it the best I've ever had...hells ya! I'm glad I have another in the fridge. Thanks again jimmy2282. This is a damn good beer. Cheers!

 1,301 characters

Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
4.6 out of 5 based on 14,457 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.