Pliny The Elder | Russian River Brewing Company

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Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder
14,809 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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 14,809 |  Reviews: 3,740
Photo of Buebie
4.32/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtasy of stubbone.

Poured from a 16oz brown bottle with a bottling date of 8/28/08. Not as fresh as I would have liked.
Poured off a semi-rigerous pour into an oversized snifter.
Bubbly cask like 2 finger white head, very lage bubbles.
Retention is also filled with soapy large bubbles.
Thick sticky globs of bubbly lace line the glass walls.

Aroma is intensly grassy hops with wiffs of pine and spice.
Malt backing up the hops in a sweet carmelly aroma. Hints of somokey tobacco, fresh cut hay, hemp and more hops! Yum.

Wow, this is good. Great hop balance with malty sweetness. Upfront is smooth mild carbonation. Sweet buttery caramel, with spicie peppery flavors. Hops are almost chewy, so thick and delicious, with an oily slick texture. Prodominatly pine, more grassy earthy hops with flavors of fruit rind and peel.
Finishes dry with a long bitter hop linger.

Very very good beer, I now get the hype.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.69/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - pours a lightly churning straw yellow with some mild haze. A thin soapy head of white doesn't really amount to much but does leave some solid filmy walls of lace around most of the pint glass.

Aroma - some light grapefruit rind and a major pine smell are pretty much what this aroma is all about. Has that BO-ish kind of bend but it is an intense hop experience.

Taste - a light biscuity caramel with a quickly engulfing citrusy flavor of juicy pink grapefruit. Fleshy, flavorful, very citrusy, awesome hop character. The swallow begins immediate drying with the bitterness just edging out in front. Fantastic intensity without the medicinals that are so often associated with hoppiness on this level.

Mouthfeel - a bit thin to average in body, nicely crisp with a notable smoothness.

Drinkability - yes, another completely drinkable brew from RR. Many crispy, hop cradled kudos to BGThang for sending this fine, oustanding creation my way.

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

Got this in a trade with BgThang. Great brew.

A-Nice, hazy, goldenrod color. Head of half an inch or so. Light head remains around the edges as you drink. No lacing to speak of though.

S-Grapefruit and hops. Perfect floral blend of aroma.

T-Slightly sweet with a bitter finish. Very well balanced.

M-Sticky and smooth. Just flows down my giblet.

D-All day every day. Until I got sick of IPAs.

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Photo of Beer-Zombie
3.93/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was tasted at Feces Fest '08 with Onslow and my girl Melani.

this brew pours up a clear copper color with a big bubbly white head. great lacing. the nose is straight grapefruit yo! and floral hops. it tastes very smoothe, mellow hops, lots of grapefruit, floral hops, sticky on the lips. medium bodied, low carbo, sweet finish. Nice IPA...

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Photo of Donnie2112
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

born on 25SEP08, poured from a bottle into my Brooklyn Imperial pint glass

slight hazy amber body, half inch head that seems to stick around for a while, and a bit of lace.

just a bit of brown sugar just a little bit of piney slightly citric aromas

The malts come off rather dry just a little bit of breadiness and asome slight brown sugar. The hops aren't all that overwhelming either just a nice full grapefruit flavor and a bit of pineyness.

Rather full creamy body, medium light carbonation and some light astringence

I was expecting this beer to excel in a different way. I figured that all of its flavors would be extremely out there. Instead this is a full and balanced IPA. Sure you can call it an imperial, sure you can say it's a double. In fact that is a more fair statement with this beer then most double IPAs that are more like extremely hoppy barleywines or just retarded hoppy beers period. This beer is obviously an IPA it is an IPA first and a double or imperial second. In fact making this a double makes this MORE drinkable then the average single IPAs.

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

Thanks for the trade, MasterSki.

A - Pours straw yellow with the slightest bit of haze. Color makes it appear a bit thin and light for a DIPA. A one finger white head that quickly faded. Terrific sticky lacing.

S - Loads of hops. Pine, pineapple, citrus, mango, cotton candy. Slight herbal, grassy notes as well. Initial hoppy nose is followed by some mild sweet bready malts. Impressive balance up front.

T - Piney hops on the open. Transitions to some tropical fruits (pineapple, grapefruit, mango). Sweet citrus through the finish. Very clean. Delicous.

M - Medium bodied. A bit on the lighter side for a DIPA, actually, but not light overall. Moderate carbonation allows this silky smooth beer to just glide over the tongue. Very smooth, creamy even. A bit of hoppy resin on the finish. Nicely dry. No alcohol at all.

D - Extremely drinkable. I'm at the end of my bottle and could easily drink another. Terrific balance.

My first bottle. This was excellent, but not the best I've had. Still, really excellent!

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Photo of Haybeerman
4.52/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Lightly clouded gold color. Poured a 2 finger off-white head with good retention. Ample lacing. Lightly decanted.

S: Citrus, piny, hop aromas - that's about it.

T: Citrus and hops. Some bitterness in the finish is very cleansing.

M: Medium body. Well-carbonation. Goes down surprisingly smooth.

D: Drinkability betrays its big hoppy flavor and abv...dangeroiusly drinkable.

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Photo of SirSketch
4.33/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to gford217 for the Nascar LIF and the trade!

A - Beautiful looking beer. Pure white head with great retention and awesome cascading effect when poured. Very cloudy golden color that varied in shade throughout.

S - Huge citrus nose, especially grapefruit, with spices mixed in. Some caramel maltiness as well.

T - Exactly what I would expect for an imperial IPA. Big bitterness and nice hop flavor. Very acidic grapefruit and lemon notes. Spices here and there. Aftertaste wasn't as tart as I thought it would be.

M/D - Medium body and very clean mouthfeel. Oh, so easy to drink. Amazing brew.

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Photo of pwoods
4.12/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to tprokop for sending this growler awhile back. Review and score taken from notes a couple months ago.

2L cool ass RR fliiptop growler poured into a snifter.

A: Golden orange, good clarity. Strong head, retention and lacing.

S: Strong citrus, grapefruit, and pine. Not overly resinous. Good sweet biscuity malts.

T/M: Exactly the same as the nose. Bitterness is at a good level but I'd like to see more. Creamy body, medium full. Carbonation has held up nicely.

D: Actually very good for a DIPA. Much more drinkable than Younger but not nearly the same beast.

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Photo of Douglas88
4.15/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle generously shared by footbalm, thanks man! Pours a clear golden hue with a tall and thick white head. The aroma is great; tons of sweet citrus hops, a full grapefruit, some sweet fruits, and a background of pine. The flavor was so easygoing and yet so awesome; dominated by a citrus hop flavor, some bitterness getting through but the sweet ripe citrus hop flavors rule the day here. Not overly complex, but very quaffable and excellent. I could drink 20 of these. A nice full body too.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.92/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

You can imagine how excited I was to see Pliny on the tap list at Falling Rock Tap House last night. I almost jumped out of my skin.

Pliny the Elder lives up to it's reputation. I would have NEVER guessed it was an 8% ABV. And a fresh Hob bomb.... Just awesome. Definitely not a beer living just off reputation. This is the real deal. One I wish I could drink all the time.

The beer was a light gold and very translucent. Very little head.

Aroma was unreal. Like holding a bouquet of flowers. So fresh, perfume like and full of citrus notes. One of the greatest smelling beers I've ever seen.

Flavor was so awesome and well balanced. So much hop flavor yet still a smooth and balanced tone from front to back. Pine, citrus, Pine, citrus.

Mouth feel was a little lighter than I had expected. It's bigger than most IPA's but a bit lighter than most DPA's Definitely lighter and color and feel.

Just an unreal beer. Definitely goes into my top 10. (perhaps top 5)

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Photo of easement
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Light golden. Very little head, but nice lacing down the side of the glass.

Aroma- hops and more hops. it smells like a flowershop on a barnyard. dank and musky and floral at the same time

Mouthfeel - kind of thick for an IPA. a little syrupy.

Flavor-hops and more hops. And then some more hops. About half way through the glass you get some malts. you are just hit over the head with hops, but it's awesomely balanced.

Overall- Awesome.

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

A- This beer looked like a thinner version of Grade A honey, with maybe a little bit of head. I'm sure the growler pour didn't do much for the head, but whatever. I'm too excited to care about head.

S- Pine and a smidge of honey. Yum.

T- This is, by far, the cleanest IPA I've ever had. The hops are the star of the show, here, but overall it's a wonderful mix of bitterness and sweetness. To speak in terms of literature, it is the greatest example of unity in the taste of an IPA i've had. It tastes like an IPA should.

M- Clean as hell, but perhaps a bit thin.

D- The relative lack of availability of this beer in the Midwest prevents me from saying this, but I probably could have this every day. IPAs aren't necessarily my first choice, but this was really quite nice.

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Photo of GeoffM
3.6/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Medium-hued golden color with a smallish head that never fully disappeares. Intersting color, almost like a lager (not quite though).

Smell - Piney, smells like an evergreen forest. Hops are quite apparent, naturally. Very citrusy.

Taste - Wow, pretty darn smooth for an IPA. Certainly hoppy but far from overpowering. Very palatable, tastes much the same way it smells with pine/citrus-tasting hops dominating. Not the greatest finish, and it's best not to let it sit around as the bitterness gets worse. It took me a while to finish and the last bit was much less drinkable than at the beginning. Alcohol not hidden incredibly well.

Overall - A very nice, approachable IPA. It's hard to believe it's a double/imperial IPA since it went down easier than most "regular" IPAs I've had. Good introduction to the style.

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Photo of Spikester
4.64/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber with a sizable head and very good lacings.
Aroma is strong floral resinous hops.
Taste is very powerful bitter citrus orange grapefruit hops. Just enough sweet malts to tame the beast. The resins coat the tongue so tasting any other beer afterwards would be difficult. Unless it is another Pliny.
The only drawback to this beer is a smaller than normal bomber size. 16.9 ounces. But as a special brew I give it a big thumbs up!

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Photo of hwwty4
3.7/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Julian for this one.

This is about my 3rd go around with this beer and now I'll finally get around to reviewing it. Poured a 16.9oz bottle into my Tripel Karmeliet glass. This beer pours a translucent shade of light copper with sticky lacing all the way down the glass. The aroma is like a cut fresh pine tree mixed with tangerines and just a slight bit of malty sweetness. The taste is a full frontal assault with a pine branch. The piney notes are really an affront to the palate but the strange thing is it finishes really watery. I figured there would be a bigger bang at the end. The mouthfeel is a bit boozy and astringent but it does create a nice piney mouth coating. This is a good beer, but honestly, I think its kind of a product of the hype machine.

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Photo of charlzm
3.98/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Consumed 11/07/08. Bottle labeled, "Bottled on 092208".

Beer pours a light honey tinted gold with a frothy, two-finger off-white head that soon settles to a fine froth. Copious lacing. Little active carbonation.

Very aromatic beer: piney hops. Sweet. Trace of peppery character as well.

Slightly slick, slightly thick texture.

Flavor is strong, but balanced. Some caramel and/or crystal malt segues smoothly into a citrus medley (bitter orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit), some pine and slightly floral hop finish. Bitterness is present and somewhat muted, establishing a sort of flavor floor or background of slightly hot, peppery bitterness that hovers at the edge of perception at all times.

You MUST be a hophead to truly enjoy this beer. It is well-executed and bold, but I personally find it overbearingly hoppy.

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Photo of strangebrew52
4.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a nice golden color, decent head leaves lacing all the way down, it's a beautiful thing

S: Citrus, Piny, hoppy aromas. Smells like an IPA should

T: Nice and hoppy, citrus flavor. Some bitterness but not overpowering.

M: Medium body with some slight carbonation. Goes down surprisingly smooth.

D: This is one of my favorite IPA's, I could sit and have a few of these. I just wish I didn't have to wait until friends from out West come home to restock!

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Photo of ampzilla
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jctribe25 for the chance to try this.
I received this as a generous upgrade for the Bonus prize in his West Coast Traveler LIF.
Bottled 081308

Ahh, Pliny. You sit in my tulip glass with a nice thick mat of fine bubbles atop your hazey coper self. Though your hops have faded some, they still dominate the aroma with a slight hint of alcohol. Your taste is first bitter with classic west coast grapefruit right behind. Little coating of the tongue, yet your dry finnish invites sip after sip.
I would love to revisit this beer fresh from the source.

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Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Generous extra received in a recent trade with Mauerhan (thanks Topher). Served in my DT tulip. Poured a translucent orange-gold with a half inch frothy, off-white cap embedded with copious tiny ringlets; some tiny bubbles also present in solution. Head dissipated into a soapy skim in the center with a band of ringlets that coalesced around the edges; some spatters of lacing present during the tasting. Nose off the cap was sweet grapefruit and a little bit of piney hops. Flavors were much more balanced; not overly sweet not overly bitter; a residual aftertaste lightly lingered between quaffs. Mouthfeel fell between light and medium with a mild effervescence consistent throughout. Easy drinking with a well-hidden abv. I'm not really an IPA fan, but I'm really starting to dig DIPAs. I can certainly appreciate the qualities of this brew, but I prefer them a little sweeter.

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Photo of benclimbs
4.67/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Awesome BEER!!! I was stoked to try this in their brewpub in santa rosa. Awesome piney (pliny?) but not too bitter hop finish...great depth all over the mouth. It tastes like a good mix between normal super strong imperial IPAs and a solid normal one. This was a terrific beer that i savoured for about an hour.

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Photo of tpd975
4.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on draft at Falling Rock in Denver

A: Pours a lovely golden hue with a nice tall foamy head. Nice carbonation and very good retention. Sheet after sheet of lace left from top to bottom the the pint glass.

S: As in your face as any beer in the world. This one screams hops. Bold citrus hops with tons of fresh green grass, spice, and marijuana.

T: Hops to the Maxxx. The taste marries the nose in such a wonderful way which is so wonderful if you are a hophead. Bold grassy hops with fresh citrus. This one can give you bitter beer face in such a good way.

M: Bold carbonation really carries the flavor clear into the throat.

D: Very drinkable, many would disagree but I could drink several pints of this one.

Overall I have now consumed this one in the bottle, on draft, and via growler. No matter how it comes it is no doubt on of the best beers in the world.

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Photo of leif86
4.2/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottled on: 08/13/08

A: Hazy yellow-orange body. Cream colored and frothy head that leaves copious lacing.

S: Citrus, flowers, and pine. Tasty hop smell.

T: Same as the smell with a little alcoholic kick at the end. Nice lingering bitterness.

M: Well balanced - not sticky, not watery, not creamy.

D: For an imperial IPA this is incredibly drinkable. Pass the Pliny please.

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Photo of drseamus
4.49/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to BgThang for the trade. Love this on tap and growler, needed to try the bottle.

A: Nice slightly hazy straw color. A nice white head that fell very quickly to form some patchy head around the edges.

S: Smelled it as soon as the cap was cracked. Hop assault. I actually considered pressing charges but it's not rape if I'm asking for it.

T: The hop taste is raw but the bitterness is within limits (my limits at least). A ton of sticky pine right up front but the lack of an overwhelming bitterness makes it entirely delicious. There is a good amount of sweetness that in the aftertaste although that might be my perception of the hops.

M: Only medium bodied in spite of the boldness of the hops. Very nice.

D: The best part about this is after you drink half a glass, you can refill from the bottle to top the glass off!

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Photo of hopdog
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Drafting room in Exton, PA. P

oured a lighter golden color with a smaller sized white head. Aromas and tastes of citurs, with some light pine. Light maltiness in the finish. Starts medium bitter and ends lightly sweet. Lacing left on the glass.

Notes from and tasted on 8/26/05.

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Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.65 out of 5 with 14,809 ratings