Pliny The Elder | Russian River Brewing Company

BA SCORE
100
world-class
14,491 Ratings
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
rrbeer.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
14,491
Reviews:
3,698
Avg:
4.6
pDev:
8.04%
 
 
Wants:
7,320
Gots:
4,328
For Trade:
106
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 14,491 |  Reviews: 3,698
Photo of 2beerdogs
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, I love this brew!!! I first had it down Pizza Port way, in Carlsbad. Hard to find on tap in socal. Well blessed me...thay had it had Brewfest in Portland!!! Good nose, lightly sweet with a hint of the hops to come. The hint of pine and citrus meeting malt graces my mouth, good feel, not too heavy or full, and the swallow...now I get that slightly dry, crisp finish with...hmmm a bit of pine again. Wow, I love this beer!!!

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Photo of TheName
4.29/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried on tap at the Oregon Brewers' Festival. Started with a 4 oz taster but went back for the full mug.

Poured a nice straw gold with lots of big foamy head which the volunteer told me to nose-oil off (WHA--?!). Head left fairly quick but left nice lacing along the top. Nose was wonderfully tart, citrusy hops but not overwhelming in the least.

First drink came with a perfect malt and a beautifully clean, dry hop remainder. A great light, sweet maltiness with a detectable piny/grapefruity follower. Nice and creamy, big in the mouth but goes down very easily. I could drink this (slowly and carefully) all day and it didn't ruin me for other beers I tried later.

This is how a double IPA should be. I've gotta find a way to get it in Seattle.

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Photo of Brewfan
4.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aquired from my sister Kristen in Cali. Made the trip 2 weeks after purchase, and was delivered in perfect condition.
Poured into my Ommegang chalice.
Decent thick white head with medium retention. Fine white long-lasting lace. Slightly murky orange color.
Automatic pine nose. HUGE hops bouquet. Spicy, not much malt to be desiphered from the smell. Smells very wet. Oh wait. I just put my nose IN the beer. Pineapple fruitness, with citrus pith.
Monstrous hop bomb. Like sucking on a hop-laden pine cone. More citrus comes to the front. Some maltiness comes through, but not nearly enough to take away from the hops. Very dry. Nicely balanced and extremely drinkable for a beer so hoppy. Surprisingly, 8% doesn't really come through on the tongue. Makes this even more drinkable.

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Photo of ReDave
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What a treat! I was surprised to see this on tap. I've read about this, and was wondering if i would get a chance to taste this. Wonderful Hollinghead Deli in Orange apparaenlty has this or one of his nephews on tap regularly. Nice amber color, with good creamy head. Very hoppy/grassy, slightly flower aroma. Very sticky lace all the way down. Very balanced malt and hop flavor, but that could be the hop-head talking. Would love to have a 90 minute, ruination, Buzz Saw, and Pliny the elder taste off. But would need to take a nap afterwards. Love this beer

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Photo of dickroop
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I strolled from Crown City Brewing down Pasadena's Raymond Avenue to Lucky Baldwin's. The bar in this place quickly revealed why it's so famous. Amongst the MANY taps, I saw 3 brews I had heard so much about, the most famous: Pliny the Elder. "Make sure you try this one," the bar man said, "when we get in a keg, it's gone in a day or two."

Served in a 10-oz goblet, it was light golden with a head that didn't quit. The nose was powerful hops with malt backbone for support. Flavor was complex, piney hops with carbohydrate sweetness, and noticeable alcohol. A very pleasant feel, smooth to savor and firm body. Drinkability is down because of too high alcohol for a session brew.

This DIPA seems a likely legendary and a lucky find for me.

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Photo of SethB2
4.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on tap at Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa.

The beer was poured a little on the cold side in a typical bar pour manner to prevent to much of a head. Other than that, it looked great. Non transparent, dry-hopped orangish color with a huge amount of lacing. Smell was, well, hoppy. Mainly piney hops, combined with a grapefruit citrisy hop presense. A malt backbone was also there, but had a hard time breaking through the hops. Taste was much like the smell. Great beer. The malts let themselves be known a little more in the taste, leading the way to a very balanced IPA. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both great as well.

I wish they would bottle this stuff. Great, great beer.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.31/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Toronado. Bright amber orange with a full white head. Head lasts well for an IPA. Body is medium to full with intermittent carbonation attacks. Aroma comes on complexly featuring an appealing amount of pineapple on top of a subtle pine/juniper base. By far, however, the pine is overshadowed by citrus juice, peaches, and grapefruit. The aroma could be described as candy like if it didn’t trigger receptors in your brain that say: Warning Hop Blast A’comin! Feels tangy and acidic with a citrus medley blast of lime, lemon, grapefruit, and nectarine. Perfectly balanced (for the style) with a sweet malt base and only residual pine oils in the flavor. More delicate then expected. My tongue is not destroyed after two glasses. I guess that makes this one a drinker.

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Photo of merlin48
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to Redwoodgeorge for this one. This review is of his unauthorized bottling earlier in 2006. Chill hazed, apricot body is topped by a sturdy, offwhite, one finger head that has exceptional retention and deposits a massive amount of patch lacing on the English pint glass.
Aroma is brutal. Supra raw hops are guilty of fourth degree assault on the nasal cavities. Pine and freshly grated lime peel wreak havoc. Wow! What a wonderful job this brewery has done by creating such a hopnicient aroma.
Mouthfeel is divine. Medium bodied and well carbonated. Hop presence is cutting and pervasive.
Taste follows the aroma, with a pervasive presence of fresh leafy hops. If I didn't know better, I would say this brew has been randallized. Tastes like chewing on a pine cone you've just plucked from a Douglas Fir, accented by chewing on freshly sliced lime rind. Malt presence is here, barely enough to add a hint of caramel and salvage drinkability. Finishes dry and bitter, with a hops burn.
Pliny The Elder is worthy of its hype, but no match for Pliny The Younger in my judgement.
Seek this out. It's worldclass. Thanks, George!

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Photo of scottoale
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at my local pub, this poured a deep gold with a 1/2inch of white head in a pint glass. The head dwindled and left some nice lace behind.

The smell...ahhh the smell, super fresh pine-sappy hops rip at your nose, smells like a fresh cut forest, a hop-lovers dream.

The taste starts out hoppy, stays hoppy and then it finishes hoppy...which makes me hoppy er...happy. A nice malt flavor that gets spanked right off the bat, goes a bit citrusy only to be slapped again with a spiky, resinous pine hop finish. Whew...

Good meaty body with some punch and a ton of hops too boot...I need a keg of this stuff. It's a the top of the 2IPA's in my book, a hop lovers MUST!

My hat's off too Russian River...2X well done, Cheers!!!

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Photo of mickeymac
4.8/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap from a pint glass at Toronado, the Elder looks very elegant with a thick white blanket of head covering a glowing golden orange. Each drink leaves another level of lace clinging to the glass. The smell is pine, citrus, and loads of malty goodness. The taste is even better, walking a perfect tightrope between the strong malt flavor and the hop bitterness. With every drink, new flavors come out. At times it seems to have almost a candy sweentess, with some drinks caramel, and with other sips a doughy quality. It's almost chewy, with a tremendous mouthfeel. The drinkability is amazing. With an incredible selection at Toronado, I went back for a second Elder. This is one of the best beers I've ever tasted.

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Photo of ggaughan
4.67/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I previously reviewd Pliny the Elder in December when I had it on tap at the Toronado on an earlier vacation. I am reviewing it again as I was lucky enough to get a growler of this fine brew from my local, The Flying Pig in Malvern, PA.

My Pliny the Elder poured a vibrant gold color into a Duvel tulip glass and I was suprised that when I completed the pour a great white head arose from the bottom of the glass and gave me a nice big piney, hoppy aroma that was so refreshing. The taste does not disappoint either. For a hop lover this beer is great. The bitter hoppy taste and citrus on the tongue and all through my mouth make this a very drinkable beer but at around 8% it is dangerous to put down and not have another. You can definitely taste the hops in your mouth long after the beer has gone down your throat as if you are sucking on a pine cone. I will be sure to savor this one over a night or 2 until the growler is all empty.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.92/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received from RedwoodGeorge as part of his recent Home Bottling Project. Thanks again George.

Sun-fired ochre with lemon drop edges. The alabaster crown is a thing of beauty. It's firmly creamy (and eventually vanilla milkshake melty) and is a lace generator of the highest order. The upper third of the glass is almost completely coated with thick, frosting-like lace. It'd be great to see some hop flecks swimming about, but for a 'clean' DIPA look, it's hard to beat.

I had little doubt that the nose would be dripping with hop esters and I'm happy to report that it is. In terms of absolute resinous pungency, it might take a backseat to the Younger, but it's still one of my all-time favorites. It's hard to go wrong with Vinnie at the helm and with a hop bill that consists of some of the best hops in the world: Simcoe, Centennial, Columbus, Chinook and Warrior. Just typing the list gives me goose bumps and makes my mouth water.

For some reason (reputation perhaps) I didn't expect to like the Elder as much as I liked the Younger. Not that it's even possible, since I consider the latter to be one of the top handful of DIPAs in all the world; and therefore one of the top handful of beers in all the world. I have to say, though, that it's close. This is an outstanding effort that hits all the right notes in that 'ideal DIPA symphony' that I listen for each time I crack open a bottle and take a drink.

If anything, the malt:hop balance favors hops more in this beer than it does in the Younger. Since the brewery calls that beer a Triple IPA (I believe it!) that utilizes three times as many hops as their standard IPA, it has to be a relative lack of malt. I'm not one to complain about a beer's hoppiness, but keep in mind that the Elder is more raw and more smack-you-silly bitter than the glorious, nectar-like, hop explosive smoothness of the Younger.

In the right hands, a hop bill as incredible as the one listed above can't help but result in a mind blowingly delicious beer. And that is exactly what has made the journey from Santa Rosa to my mouth. Brilliant, palate-shattering, hopsticky white grapefruit, pineapple and lemon zest fill my mouth and ravage my tongue... and I couldn't be happier. Who cares if the Elder doesn't have the well-mannered elegance of the Younger? True hopheads will rejoice in its 'no holds barred' alpha acidity, much as I'm doing now.

I've been so blown away by the flavor that I haven't yet given a thought to the mouthfeel. No matter, I still have a third of a bottle left. I'd better be quick about it because the 8.0% ABV is beginning to catch up with me in a big hurry. The mouthfeel, while less full, syrupy and sticky than the Younger, is still outstanding. Again, I have to thank RedwoodGeorge for an amazing re-bottling effort that is nothing less than perfect.

Pliny the Elder is an equally hoppy, slightly more bitter, lower in alcohol, lighter bodied (but still full-bodied) version of Pliny the Younger. Both are exceptional beers and both deserve every accolade that is bestowed upon them. More hop alchemy from the ridiculously talented Mr. Cilurzo. Long may he brew!

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Photo of kmcnair
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hello, my name is Kelsey and I am a hophead.

I remember the first time I tried Pliny, so innocent and nieve I was... a night at O'Brien's Pub in San Diego with friends... "Oh, Pliny the Elder, thats a weird name for a beer... I'll try that one." And the rest my friends, is history.

There's a reason why Pliny the Elder is winning gold medals in major beer competitions worldwide. GABF, WBC, (more to come I'm sure...) This beer defines a style, Double IPA beyond compare. Find another IPA that takes hops to this level, infact... I double dog dare you.

This beer pours perfect medium copper and makes a full white head that fades slow, retains well and leaves a great deal of bubbly lacing on my glass.

The aroma is simply hypnotic. I could inhale this beer for hours, pine, citrus, herbal, dank, crisp fresh biscuity caramel malts. Lovely. Stick your nose in the glass and inhale, it is absolutely perfect.

The carpet matches the curtains, the flavor is equally as impressive and complex as the aroma. Stable, clean bitterness, blends with a fortified layer of caramel and nutty malted barley that perfectly balances intense dank, citrus, piney hop flavors. Its spot on, exactly what I would expect the stanard for the style to taste like.

Smooth, clean and crisp carbonation, light to medium bodied, finishes clean and dry. Leaves a lasting impression on the palate. It takes a real accomplishment to be so complex, aromatic and flavorful, yet continues to bring it home through the mouthfeel category as well.

I love this beer, I feel that it does everying that I want it to, and then does it to perfection.

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Photo of kdmorse
4.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Never thought a simple Indiana boy would get the chance to give this legend a sip, but here I am. Visiting friends in Santa Monica, enjoying the people, the culture, and the view, and drinking some great beer from the West coast.

A: Vivid orange color that can only be replicated by the 256 Crayola box topped with a film of creamy white head. The head clings to the glass in waves of rocky goodness.

S: Smells like the California sun. Fresh, vivid, citrusy, clean, happy. Lots of hops with hints of malt. Smells like a bowl of citrus fruit fresh from the farmers' market.

T: Well balanced beer. Crisp, fruity hops with subtle malt undertones. Big focus on sweet grapefruit. Sometimes it hints at being too sweet, but never quites get to that point.

M: Sticks to the glass, the lips, the palate and the ribs as it goes down. Syrupy but perfect mouthfeel.

D: Could only drink one. Would drink it again and again, but only one in a row. Too sweet and powerful to spend an afternoon drinking.

Notes: When my friend to me to the Father's Office for dinner, I never imagined I would see Pliny on tap. Just getting the chance to try this brew was worth any price, and it was priced quite fairly ($7/pint). It is nipping at the heels of my favorites (DFH 90 Min & Dreadnaught), but not there yet.

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Photo of bruachan
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

on tap at the source. santa rosa, baby

oh tha anticipation. i've had the IPA but only heard tell of this one. no disappointment here

good lacing follows a thin creamy head all the way down

grass, florals, citrus in the aroma. deep piney hop flavors. just as if i trapsed from a lush meadow with orange trees into Muir Woods and started huffing pine needles. ooh so hoppy, but ooh so tasteful

my favorite hop bomb to date

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Photo of RoyalT
4.47/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This came out a hazy, beautiful orange in color with a big, hefty white head.

Smell - This fella has a monster hop profile. The Pliny is piney, that's for sure. There actually seems to be a couple variations of pine smell in here along with some strong floral notes that carry that raw "off the vine" hop fragrance. The citrus hops are rich and sweetish.

Besides all that, this puppy has a huge malt profile. They aren't really toasted at all but have more of a caramel character. All and all this thing is packing quite a wallop!

Taste - This is a big, bountiful DIPA, full of all the delicious flavors from the aroma. All of the hops work in harmony to provide an amazing hop experience with every sip. The malts don't let up for a minute, either. The thick, caramel malts remind me of the 90 Minute. Everything is big yet very well balanced, in a massive hop-head kind of way.

Mouthfeel - This is big but I'd still call it medium-bodied. It is slickly smooth in the cheeks and dangerously easy to drink.

Drinkability - This goes down like none other. The Younger is bigger but doesn't go down as easy as this. At 8.0 ABV I'm sure this has snuck up on many a Russian River patron over the years.

Update - I first reviewed this in 2006 and had a chance to sample it from the bottle again in 2010. It is raw this year and has a monstrous pine aroma. The flavor will cause the uninitiated to dial 911. As massive as the hops are in this beer, to me, still as I said four years ago, it is the malt backbone that separates this man from the boys. I've seen a few examples like this of hop overkill, but this is the only really big monster hop beer that tries to be a true, complete, well-rounded beer if you know what I mean. Most won't even notice the malt base as this one is so hoppy, but it's that almost unnoticeable malt backbone that completes the package.

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Photo of audiojon
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

As far as DIPAs go, this is second only to Pure Hoppiness in my book. Consumed at O'Briens on tap, but also had at the Liar's Club previously. This is one of the top DIPAs imo, most everything Russian River puts out is delicious and this is no exception. I won't waste your time with taste desciptions, just know that the scent is wonderful, taste is wonderful, everything is wonderful about this brew. Drink this early and often!

Honestly, if I had to drink two DIPAs the rest of my life, it would be this and Alpine's, hands down.

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Photo of NolanGTI
4.92/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is quite simply one of my favorite beers, regardless of if you call it Pline-E or PlynnE, it is definitely HopE. After tasting numerous times over the past year or so I recently was lucky enough to grab two more fresh pints at UJ's on the Manatawny (which seems to get a bunch of Pliny for some reason).

It pours a nice slightly hazy orange with an aroma that knocks your socks off. A very light colored head dances on top of this beauty taunting you to take a sip. I could spend an hour just smelling this beer if it didn't taste so damn good. Tons of hop aroma, pine cone and citrus. Magnificent.

While there are some slight malt tones in this baby it is like drinking pure hops, but somehow feels balanced and not overwhelming. With a nice 8% ABV it doesn't overwhelm. Just a pure stunner, travel to get your hands on this beer, its that good.

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Photo of Crosling
3.36/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Draught tonight at Toronado in San Francisco, California. Light orange in color with attractive lacing, and I rarely say that anymore. Extremely hoppy with hints of dry, burned pine, juicy grapefruit along with big tangerine and orange flavors. I don't really like the strong dry hopped character. It seems like it needs more middle hops or something. The malt character could be more substancial as well.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.91/5  rDev -15%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

crystalline light amber. bubbles skip effortlessly through. hazy, barely existent foam touched surface. thick collection of chunky orbs hug the edges. lacing looks like flames erupting from the fierce elder brew. smells of fresh strawberry-infused grassy hops. fresh greens accompanied surprisingly by a candy-crisp roasted malt lathered with butter. expected the hop explosion of the century and was granted something far tamer. balance is key, grasshopper... just unexpected. overall, this beer has that 'sweaty armpit' ipa smell.

mouthfeel and savor factor are through the roof. this feels like what i imagine drinking fresh-squeezed hop juice would be like. and the strong malty backbone allows the hop oils to be delivered in smooth, rich, velvety sips. flavor is dominated by the more bitter, dirty-tasting hopleaf crystals but doesn't feel too abrasive. aftertaste reminds me of lime rinds and the bitterness of chewing on a freshly-snapped tree branch. quells the heat factor (this beer is hot for 8%!)

overall a crazy beer. good, not earth-shattering though.

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Photo of KyleVick4
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a good brew.

A: mildy cloudy dark gold color with a decent head and a little lacing.

S: Hoppy. Deep hoppyness. Hints of sweetness in the background from the malt.

T: Hops galore. The bittering hops hit you nicely at the end and the tounge is assulted with a barage of sweet malt immediatly followed by hops and more hops.

M: Very nicely done, not too carbonated but just a smidge syrupy from the alcohol. But barely noticable. Feels medium bodied in mouth.

D: Keep going back for more. Almost cried when I finished the bomber. Couldnt have more than a few in a night, but I also was amazed at how fast I tore through the 22 oz

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Photo of stacey14
4.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Until recently I was never able to enjoy hops the way the typical BA hop-head does, but I have finally moved over to the.... light side. But even when I did not love the hops, I could easily see the brilliance that is Pliny the Elder. It pours out to a beautiful golden color with a normal amount of head and intricate lacing, and the smell is that of pure, unadulterated hops (among other herbal aromas I've heard mentioned). The taste, however, is what has always blown me away: intense hop flavor that rivals few and makes Russian River's super-hot pepperonis seem bland and tasteless. This is a beer to be enjoyed by smell, taste, sight, and really any sense that you can muster up.

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Photo of mntlover
4.67/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

George's uauthorized home bottleing project Brewed Jan 14, 06 Bottled Jan 20, 06 Thanks George :)

Pours a light amber/orange/ golden color mixture of all three really . Head is white a smaller thumb sized even with aggressive pour, it falls to clumps of bubbles that leaves some nice lacing on my glass.

Aroma is big on citrus hops some floral with a fresh pine forest after cleansing rain smell underneath. In a word wonderful like the Younger not quite as strong but still like snorting fresh hop leaves. Don't forget then nice caramel malt base this wonderful hop bouquet is riding on. Strange but after my first sips the malt aroma seems to vanish but still in the taste.

Taste is some swet caramel malts with loads of hop flavors riding in citrus orange peel, apricot meat blend with the sweetness for a moment before turning to bitter grapefruit, lemon and pine all lingering on your tounge and mouth. Nice every sip is a pleasure demanding another. Taste is classic I2PA great smell loads of hop flavors all mixed not really favoring one variety. Not quite as big and amazing as the Younger or Dreadnaught but pretty damn close.

Mouthfeel is mediumish not too big just enough to carry all the hop resins. Carobonation level also medium just enough to aide the flavor but no excess.

Drinkability is great very enjoyable, anyone have a clone of the Pliny's they would like to share? Stuff is so good no alcohol noted you could drink this all day, every day.

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Photo of AlexJ
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I finally tasted Pliny. It's all true folks. This beer is a masterpiece of brewing. Clear glowing honey colored pour with a densely layeres eggshell white head that remains as a tight cap, leaving gentle rings of crusty lace.

Aroma makes me want to cry it's so good. Generous golden malt roast washed away by floods of sticky orange, grapefruit, grated lemon zest, sweet wildflowers, and freshly shaved pine bark. I would wear this as cologne.

Flavor mimics the nose, only it's better! A perfectly clean golden malt entry with hints of honey and sweet biscuits is carried away by waves of grapefruit and tangerine, pinapple, freshly crushed wildflowers steeped in honey, and resinous, oily cannabis pine sap that is both sticky and coating. Glorious, magnificant, stupendous, marvelous stuff this is!

Body is bigger than medium, not quite large, with a creamy mouthfeel, tight carbonation, and a sticky, resinous texture that just begs for another sip of this sweet, sweet nectar.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.77/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pliny the Elder pours into my tulip glass a lovely crystal peachy orange color with a nice half inch of creamy white head that leaves spotty lacing all the way around the glass. Great clarity! As the glass reaches my nose an instant smile graces my face. Explosive, enchanting hop nose with notes of citrus, tropical fruit, pine resin and grapefruit. A ribbon of sweet caramelly malt stands guard behind the wall of hops. As I sniff I imagine picking a fresh, bright green hop cone and rubbing it between my fingers as I inhale deeply. Quite simply an amazing hoppy nectar rivaling any I have had before.

First sip brings just enough sweet, crystalline caramelly malt body before the impending wave of luscious hops rolls in. A blend of citrusy, piney hops that seems to get better with each sip. Peach tones, pineapple and tropical fruit enhance the amazing oily hop flavor here. Sweetness gives way to a nice wave of bitterness on the way down. The Elder finishes with a lingering fruity hop flavor that leaves me waiting for the next sip. All hype aside, this is an amazingly well built and balanced Double IPA that deserves the praise.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy. The small bubbly mellow carbonation makes it so smooth and incredibly drinkable. I've nearly finished the 22oz already and I could see this being the perfect session DIPA. The Elder has plenty of hoppy wisdom to share with those lucky enough to be in its presence. Cheers to Vinnie and everyone at Russian River for producing all of their incredible brews. Also thanks to RedwoodGeorge for allowing me the opportunity to sample this one. The bomber I'm drinking was precisly counter pressure filled from a keg under the advice of professional brewers. Now it's time to plan my California trip so I can drown myself in Pliny at the source!

7-24-09 - RR 500ml bottle dated 06-10-09:

As delicious and hoppy as my original review. It is great to see that they bottle this wonderful elixir now. The hops have faded a touch in this bottle so I would say drink it as soon as you get it and as fresh as possible for sure! Thanks to photomike for sending me this bottle. Simply amazing stuff.

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Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
4.6 out of 5 based on 14,491 ratings.
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