Pliny The Elder | Russian River Brewing Company

14,495 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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 14,495 |  Reviews: 3,699
Photo of s_wit
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of boilerwillie
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of MenardMa
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of thegiantc
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of mjpolzin
3.98/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The top three beers on beer advocate are all some variety of an IPA. Although I like a good IPA as much as the next guy, I wonder how much of this is just hype that builds on itself as more and more people review these particular beers. A few months ago I was privileged enough to try Heady Topper. Although it was very good, I couldn't possibly rate it as high as most people do. I feel the same way about Pliny the Elder.

A good pale ale to me is very clean and crisp. The malt base just serves as a barely noticeable background to let the hops shine through. Pliny definitely fits this profile but because of my individual tastes I can't rank it above many of the imperial stouts that I love so much. I can't even say for sure that it is the best IPA I have ever had without doing a side by side comparison.

So, final verdict...a very, very good beer but not among the greats, at least for me.

 899 characters

Photo of hperea
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of AOShabaz
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of 2013beer101
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of srgj88
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of In_Control_Mike
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Nivek43
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of Inglewood
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of DavidHume
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of IAmAWalrus
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of kwc017
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Okay. I was so psyched to try Pliny the Elder I was like a kid on Christmas morning. I was on vacation and went to the Horse Brass Pub, which is freaking amazing, and promptly ordered a pint. It is a really, really good beer but I think the hype and wait got to me. I wasn't blown away but I think that may be my fault. It is super hoppy, not much malt just the way I like my IPA's. I think my expectations were just unreasonably. I have tried it since and I think it is one of the top 5 IPA's I have ever had.

 510 characters

Photo of TheosTheories
4.86/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A- nice bright golden color, half finger of white head

S- pine, citrus, grapefruit, dry orange peel, little malt sweetness

T- classic west coast DIPA, piney, floral, big grapefruit, citrus, and the great hop flavors are well balanced with a little malt sweetness hidding in the back, this one is also really bitter, which I love, if you're not a fan of bitter beers this will destroy you.

M- smooth, medium body, nicely carbonated very dry

O- overall a perfectly well crafted DIPA. Nice and bitter and dry with a huge hop presents, but is well balanced with a nice malt backbone. Great!

 592 characters

Photo of Maxwell
4.49/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours an oranging yellow with amber highlights, kind of like a sunrise… The beer forms a big, pillowy head of rocky white bubbles that are slightly off-white. The head lasts nicely, but does mellow down from its initial height to about a half-finger’s width. As the head dissipates, it leaves a nice sticky patchwork of lacing on the glass. In body the beer is crystal clear and clean, but does present a slight haze from the malt. On the nose, the beer smells of citrus and spicy pine. Floral and herbal notes dance around the edges of the nose but big citrus tangerine and grapefruit are the primary players in the beer. The nose is not blowing me away, but is just a very solid example of a hoppy beer dank pine and a touch of sweet caramel can also be sensed in the smell. As a whole, the smell tends to remind a little of a fresh pineapple blended with pine. On the tongue, the beer tastes surprisingly balanced. The bitters are big and coat the mouth, but there is a strong bready sweetness to add balance. Light stone fruit notes can be picked out in the hop character, as well. The finish sees the strongest bitter kick, which is a bit over powering and should feed any one’s bitter cravings. Acidity in the beer is light but bright on the sides of the cheeks. Again, this beer tastes like a classic DIPA. In flavor, the beer begins as sweet, candied citrus, expanding into fresh Florida oranges, with a touch of orange peel and rind. Grapefruit, pine needles, and pineapple dance in the back along with the malts superbly balanced sweet caramel bread, which helps to give the hops their candied quality. I wasn’t that taken with this beer on the initial sip, but that was foolish of me. Pliny is a subtle beast, building simple complexity from its hops, and making each sip different. Soft boozy heat can be felt in the back of the throat, but that is just another part of the complexity of this beer. This flavor is one I could sip all night. In the mouth, Pliny feels surprisingly on the light side of medium in body, with a fluffy carbonation that pillows the tongue nicely. Mouthfeel is slick, and crisp, making the beer dangerously easy to drink. Slight astringency can be felt as the beer moves across the tongue leaving the mouth only softly tingling with bitters. Saliva does gently pool in the cheeks, but overall the mouth is left rather clean and ready for further sips. Overall, this beer is a whale worthy of whaling after. Beautiful complexity and subtly make this a beer I could drink several of, which is dangerous for its ABV bracket. Where many of the modern DIPA’s slam you in the face with juicy hop character, Pliny is subtle and perfectly balanced. This will please the hop heads and even those that are skeptical to hops. My mother, a diehard stout fan, but “pale and hoppy beer” hater, actually loved this when I brought one over last night. My only complaint is that the nose is mild compared to some DIPA’s, but to be fair to Pliny, its recipe was developed before the designers of those other DIPA’s even knew they liked hops. Pliny the Elder is a pleasure to drink. I can’t wait to get my hands on more Russian River beers.

 3,189 characters

Photo of Paul68
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of jdb288
3.89/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle. Pours liquid gold with light head. Aroma is citrus and pine, some tropical fruit. Taste is tart apple, bright hop, resin. So well balanced (did that need to be said?). Short, clean finish. This is an amazing beer. Need to try the Younger for comparison.

 261 characters

Photo of JakeDebus
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of GarthT
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of SupremePie
3.75/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of paumase
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Sm00thHoperator
4.83/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Full of pine and tropical fruits this beer captures the essence of what a American west coast DIPA is all about! One of my favorites!

Mouth feel is soft and balanced with the creation of malt and hops combined.

The appearance is almost a sunset orange my favorite colors on a DIPA.

No taste of the 8% abv and that super bitter hop bite or spice that sometimes turns your average beer drinker off to ipas, which is why I think this beer is so highly rated.

 459 characters

Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
4.6 out of 5 based on 14,495 ratings.
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