Pliny The Elder | Russian River Brewing Company

14,341 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:
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Reviews: 3,678 | Ratings: 14,341
Photo of c_tails
4.63/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

from bottle dated Jan 5 2017
not much else to say that hasn't already been said but in the face of all of the hype and that this is my first time trying this beer i do have to say its quite perfect. such an excellent balance of the fruity/grapefruit/pithy hop elements with big bitterness and a light dose of booze on the back end it is hard to argue that its not perfectly crafted. i'm glad i have more to drink from a trade.

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Photo of peterpunk15
4.46/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bit darker than most NE IPAs I'm used to, smells really good and the taste is good, not great. I feel like this is a superb offering of a basic concept.

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Photo of NickandToni
4.9/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Maybe the very best West Coast IIPA there is. I was lucky enough to grab some bottles with my brother and share this great beer with him. Outside of Whole Foods in San Jose, you have to walk out of the store and upstairs to this great beer drinking spot. The bartender was great and we were lucky to share a couple bottles.

L: A much clearer pour than I'm used to back east
S: Mmm. Pine sweetness, matched with some tropical goodness, with a pleasant grapefruit (cut in half, sugar sprinkled, and flame torched) aroma just waiting to be enjoyed
T: Matching the nose, which by the way, is a staple of greatness. Full of magic and depth while delivering a well balanced moment worthy of sharing at your biggest occasions.
F: The mouthfeel is light for such a big taste. Lighter than expected but says volumes to this remarkable experience
O: Whenever on the West Coast I will make this a go to beer. Among the very best in world.

When one has a life mission, lives the dream, creates a moment of enjoyment to all that shares your craft, you sleep with dreams that your life's work makes a difference. Thank you Russian River Brewing Company. You made my trip to California special.

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Photo of Red5StandingBy
4.63/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 510ml bottle into standard pint glass. Bottled on January 13th 2017.

L: Clear light coppery yellow. Two finger white head with great retention. Sticky lacing.

S: Pineapple, pine, grass, light toasted malt biscuit, mint.

T: Grassy/earthen hops, citrus and pine make their presence known as well. Toasted biscuit malts. Perfectly balanced and complex. Absolutely delicious.

F: Medium body, very crisp and refreshing.

O: Well known as one of the most prestigious beers of all time and it more than lives up to its reputation.

Update: Same bottle, bottled on March 29th so less than a month old.

L: Same

S: Adding Grapefruit.

T: Grapefruit added here as well. Man this is so delicious.

F: Nothing to add.

O: Still blown away.

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Photo of cambabeer
4.48/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Well I finally had it, I probably over-hyped this one going in. This is just good beer. In an age where there's so much craft beer out there that it all tries to be crazy and unique, this one just hits all the marks with out trying. I tried to put myself back in time as well to when there weren't a billion IPAs on the market and yeah, this would have blown my mind. Simply put, I think this set the standard for a reason, but people are out there now successfully making beer just about as good. Not knocking this beer at all, but if you're waiting for a beer to change your entire life, that's not what Pliny is doing (in my opinion). Nice yellow color, quite a bit brighter than a lot of IPAs out there. The pine in the nose is 90% of what comes through. Mild carbonation and just a ton of hops in the aftertaste. This is good drinking, and beer as it should be.

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Photo of manku
3.68/5  rDev -20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a few at Whole Foods...$5.99 seemed like a good price. Brew date 1/13/2017, so pretty fresh!

I'd first drank this 7-8 years ago... a friend at a liquor store turned me onto the time, I could buy as much as I wanted! (Think it was $4.99 then, maybe even $3.99). Even then, before I even knew what an IPA was, I found them too hoppy and bitter. However, scarcity and an open mind makes me try it when I do see it retail.

I prefer lagers, wheat beer and belgian ales...more malt than hop, so these double IPAs don't do much for me. Really too strong and powerful to enjoy, though this is more balanced and clean than many.

Had a Far Out IPA on tap the other day that I enjoyed much more...

My advice: ignore the ratings and hype and trust your own taste buds. They're the only ones that matter!

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

Glad to finally get to try this one, not too detailed of a review there are 'Pliny' of those on here. One of the best overall beers I've had, if you haven't tried it you need to!

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

Bottle dated 12-22-16 poured into a snifter about a month old.

A: a clear and very clean amber color. Around 1-2 fingers of head and tons of lacing left as it faded.

A: The pine definitely dominant with a little grapefruit and a hint of some type of spice.

T: Multiple tastes in this one. An interesting flavor to start and then the pine really shows up. As I pause in between drinks I get a little more of the grapefruit and a little spice.

F: Hops and more hops with some bitter pine rounding it out.

O: A fantastic beer with an amazing hoppy taste. Left me wanting another one or two. Definitely hit the mark and lives up to hype. I really want to try the Younger version to compare.

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Photo of gopens44
4.69/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Looks beautiful. Classy, almost fake looking advertisement contrived head. Two, nearly three fingers of firm, fluffy solid slightly off white foam provides a confident lacing that remains consistently about an inch high in design thoroughly across the glass.

Nose provides an equal portion of malt and hops invasion that results in slight pepper, a little bubble gum, mango, muted pine and a hint of vegetable earthiness.

Taste is equally satisfying, but departs from any sweetness that was in the nose while maintaining a solid attack of pine bitterness and alcohol bite that I was missing from drinking all the New style IPAs lately. With this one I can almost taste what went on to influence so many west coast IPAs I've come to enjoy. It truly is the"Elder".

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Photo of neil2me
4.49/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've heard so much about Pliny over the last few years and I finally had an opportunity to have it on a trip to San Diego.

We found it on tap at Toronado (great beer bar), and I was expecting something earth shattering, but for me the hype did not live up to reality. That's not to say I don't like it, but I was expecting more.

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Photo of NapaClancy
4.93/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After more than 100 of these its time to rate. Piney aroma and taste coupled with slight tropical dry vibrant mouthfeel leading to a crisp clean very hoppy but so concealed with flavor and very little malty tone coming in a distant 4th dimension on this. Tried them all and still my amazing. You marry this kind of beer.

You cannot get tired of this beer. It will haunt you.

For those who like a juicy hop bomb!

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Photo of afroskully
3.89/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Had this at the brewery last month. After all the hype I was moderately underwhelmed. I'd definitely drink this again, but after tasting a lot of what the NE is pumping out in the IPA world, I'd much rather the fruitier juicier varieties. Having said that, this beer is very well balanced. Creamy, bready flavor without bitterness. I favored the Blind Pig over this one, but this is a solid DIPA.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.8/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

17.25 oz. bottle dated 11/11/16

Pours clear gold with a dense creamy white foam head. Smells bready and doughy with loads of bright tropical fruit and citrusy notes of passionfruit, guava, mango, peach, papaya, grapefruit, orange peel, with floral earthy herbal grass and dank resinous pine. Tastes like passionfruit, guava, mango, peach, papaya, grapefruit, orange peel, some bready malts, with bitter floral earthy herbal grass and dank resinous pine. Feels medium bodied, creamy and smooth with moderate low carbonation. Overall a real great and classic DIPA.

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Photo of soaksash
4.88/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is it. This is probably the beer that will turn any beer snob snob into a beer snob (apologies, not really a fan of "beer snob" as a term but it sounds quite poetic).

The thing is I only had it twice, but it still remember it vividly. Among IPAs, it is by far one of the easiest to drink. The perfect analogy is Jennifer Lawrence wearing a dominatrix costume. Its powerful, fragrant, hoppy, amazing complex but it light and unbelievably easy to drink, lulling you to a state of wanting to drink it over and over (of course, responsibly)

After drinking a huge array of IPAs, you realize that complexity and power are different things, and most IPAs confuse overly powerful flavors with complexity and general deliciousness. This is one of few that manages to pull it off

Apologies it sounds ranty, just finished a bottle :D

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

A clear light gold color with a nose of citrus and honey. A creamy effervescent mouth feel, a malty bitterness with citrus mingling and that same hint of honey emerging on the finish. As it warms, more is emerging. This seems like a simple beer at first but don't be fooled. There are subltle complexities here that need to be studied. That would explain the long run Pliny has enjoyed.

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Photo of alexbutler
4.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Not over the top aroma but this guy packs a punch. Beautiful creamy head sits on a perfectly crystal clear amber body. There's a pine crispness and a deep woodsy undertone that carries the mouthfeel... Lingers just long enough to appreciate the complexity of the hops but not too long as to have your mouth feel caked over. I'm very impressed with this... It was on my to-do list for a long time. Cheers!

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Photo of jimmypanda
4.76/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Aroma: pine, some resinous notes, citrus/floral characteristics typical of West Coast IPAs
Appearance: copper color with a hint of haziness, head was about one finger and had great lacing
Taste: Citrus, orange, grapefruitish notes followe by a subtle dankness to it. Crisp, dry finish and lingering hop bitterness.
Overall: an amazing example of classic west coast ipa's and all the hype is somewhat overdone but I can see why it is so sought after. I compare this IPA to the Beetles of IPAs on the Westside.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.59/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours semi transparent yellowish color nice thick foamy white head lasted several minutes and left tons of lacing down the glass.

Aroma - Pine, grapefruit, orange peel, pineapple and hint of mango. The aroma is very balanced between the tropical fruit and pine.

Taste - Wow super smooth, more of the pine and hops come out in the flavor than in the aroma, still getting the grapefruit and orange/mango. It is hard to believe this is 8%.

Feel - medium body nice hoppy bite good carbonation slightly bitter.

Overall - This has been a huge want for me for some time and it lives up to the hype. Amazing flavors and so smooth.

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Photo of Drvitlkeyustolit80
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First had 6/6/15 at the Cheeky Monk in Denver. The process I went through to get this beer was insane. I drove from Easton, PA to Denver, CO just to get it. I mean I did continue on to Boise to move in my brother, but the beer was the highlight of my trip.

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Photo of Amguerra305
4.16/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear yellow with a slight tinge of a hue towards the red spectrum but not close to Amber. Smell is citrus dank. Hints of orange and grapefruit, almost juicy in some way. The taste is very balanced for what is supposed to be an over the top IPA. Strong pilsner malt sweetness up front followed by only a touch of bitterness on the back end. It feels medium heavy and sticky. Overall this is a solid beer That gives hope to those who do not normally enjoy IPA's that there can be some great ones out there. Malty and bitter but not overtly so.

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Photo of jhartley
4.41/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 510ml bottle into a Teku glass. Bottled on 10/12/16, so roughly 5 weeks old.

Appearance: Light amber body, clear and filtered. About a 1/2 fingers worth of head, which dissipated over a couple of minutes and leaves plenty of islands of lacing in the glass.

Aroma: Pine, grapefruit, pineapple and spice.

Taste: Starts out with a tea like flavor, which slowly fades into spicy pine and grapefruit and a mild tropical fruitiness.

Mouthfeel: Full on hops right away and a nice lingering pine bitter-tang.

Overall: Oh yeah! Lives up to the hype! Curious to see any differences this might have if it was super fresh, because this one is tasty! The aroma seems a little muted to me, but the taste more than makes up for it!

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

Serving type: freshly bottled (10/31/16) 500 ml bottle into a tulip glass

Pours a beautiful orange amber color with the slightest of haze. Smells of intense grapefruit, honey, resinous pine, with a pleasant malt sweetness. Taste reflects the smell perfectly. Initial huge flavors of grapefruit intermingled with pine finish with a semi-sweet lingering bitterness. Feel is medium plus, semi thick, fluffy, sufficient carbonation to tingle the tongue. Overall, this is a perfect West coast D/IPA. If you can imagine a perfect West coast D/IPA, this is probably it.

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

I seriously forget how amazing this is. The two i bought were bottle on 10/11/2016.

Poured into a tulip, the aromas are oustanding as usual. Nice clean white head about 3/4 of an inch. The color is that perfect color you get from a good IPA. The nose is almost sweet with amazing hop flavor. The middle has a great malt backbone to give a great full flavor. The finish is nice and dry with a good leftover hop profile aftertaste. The mouthfeel is very smooth with the perfect amount of carbonation. Also leaves a very nice lace on the glass.

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Photo of jaw3944
4.98/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This beer definitely lives up to the hype. While pouring it is could tell it was going to be good. It has that color all good IPAs have. About halfway through the pour the smell had reached my nostrils and what a smell it was. As good as it looks and smells it tastes even better.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.71/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Beer is a clear pale gold. Head is a nice and clean foamy white.

Smell is pretty hoppy. nice sweet malt backbone. Pine and grapefruit hop notes are good. Grapefruit notes are slightly stronger. Sweeter nose.

Taste is the same but more bitter and with a pine finish.

Heavy body. Tingling carbonation. Dry finish.

Very good. Worth the trip.

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Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
4.6 out of 5 based on 14,341 ratings.
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