Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Pliny The Elder | Russian River Brewing Company

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder
14,600 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:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 14,600 |  Reviews: 3,711
Photo of gelasin
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of KYGunner
3.79/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very pretty color of light radiant gold fills the snifter as a loosely built, fizzy head sets atop. The complexion is more reminiscent of a wine than an ale but it certainly looks good.

The aromas are earthy and natural with a grassy, mossy, floral and even cannabis leaf scent. Around the edges grapefruit makes an appearance.

I'm guessing this holds a lot of Simcoe hops as I'm bombarded with deep vegetative, leafy, mossy and yes, cannabis, flavors. The hops certainly stand out but it's not the flavors I desire in an IPA. It is properly complex with a lot earthy tones but again not desirable.

This, I fear, is simply not my cup of beer and I believe that people do love it, just not me.

 695 characters

Photo of SgtDel
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of LumpkinBrews
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of bellsd62
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of SnaxStL
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of Big_Eatums
4/5  rDev -14%

Photo of shagal
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of JesseLara
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of BigJYoungblood
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of Saltee
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of utopiajane
3.96/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This pours a dark banana yellow, slight haze, golden honey color with a creamy soft white head that fell slowly and left really great lace. The nose took a while to fully realize itself. It had a light pineapple and a light pine. Pale malt and lightly breaddy. Hop resins even on the nose. Hop floral and a sweet honey with the malt. There was no alcohol on the nose but there was a nice deep round hop scent.

Taste was silky and smooth. The malt is soft but firm and very well done. it had a lightness to the body and a sweet bread that never took center stage away from the tremendous hop qualities. Fruits were fleeting on the palate. The pineapple gave way to tart grapefruit, then a little apple and pear showed up to add crispness and a touch of sweetness. Right in the middle it became bone dry and chalky. It had the taste of astringency or of an aspirin you chewed by mistake. Bitter hops flourished and this was delightful. They had a tiny bit of oil to deposit them along the palate and reside finally at the back. Light pine and a touch of malt. The resins are also light and they do their job keeping all those flavors lingering for a nice full aftertaste of a substantial bitter and the sweetness of the fruits. There was an alcohol warmth at the back of the throat but nothing hard from it on the palate.

This beer was great but in my opinion it did not live up to all the hype. It was rousing with a well done bitter, it had a malt that was one of the best I have seen but it lacked definition in the fruits. It couldn't have been prettier to look at. Not the best I have ever had but I am glad I tried it and would drink it again but I won't kill myself trying to get more. It was stronger then you might expect and I liked that. Was perfectly fresh as this was bottled on 8/16/13.

 1,802 characters

Photo of RussBeercier
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of HinsdaleILbeerdrinker
3/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

While vacationing in Southern California, went to the Stone brewery in San Diego. They are the distributor for Russian River. Bottle was three weeks old. Being from Chicago, looking forward to my first taste of Pliny. Smell was okay. didn't get the pine smell others mention. Taste is best described as boring. I didn't get any hop bite or tingling or malt sweetness. Definitely easy drinking but that's not what I'm looking for in an 8.0 abv beer. Overall, glad to try but reaffirmed that there are plenty of great local (Midwest) beers to enjoy and much better West Coast options.

 582 characters

Photo of JohnG190
4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pliny the Elder pours a pale amber, lighter than expected, with a white, fluffy head that dissipates quickly. Not much lacing but that may be more because of the shaker pint it was served in. Aroma is big and fruity, lots of grapefruit, pine, and lemon. Grapefruit and pineapple hit the front of the tongue. Finishes dry. Mouthfeel can best be described as smooth, medium-light bodied with light carbonation, drinks much easier than its 8% ABV. Overall, this is one of the smoothest, easiest drinking Imperial IPAs out there. Outstanding job Russian River.

 556 characters

Photo of pjkelley82
4.94/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had this (along with other dipa's) at a East VS. West Dipa Head to Head Showdown I hosted on 8/27/13

Round 3 East - Heady West - Pliney

Overall heady won but pliney was no chump... pliney looked so beatifull and smelt even better. Pliney had great carbonation a nice citrus grapefruit taste and smell.. and out of all the prickly alchohol tasting beers pliney completely destroyed them... a well balnced beer and I wouldn't mind having this beer any day of the week... out of all the beers pliney came in 3rd for me but that's because of my love affair with double jack which took second but deservingly so it is #2

 617 characters

Photo of soonerchamps
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of rstenson
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of bobbilance
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of JasonLovesBeer
4.76/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

My very first Russian River experience - no availability here in BC, but was recently in OR. Background: IPA's are actually a ways down the list of my favourite styles. I am a gueuze / lambic / saison guy by summer and imperial stout and belgian quad guy by winter. I still drink a wide variety of big IPA's just because they are so plentiful over the warm months and it's not like I don't like them or anything.

Nose: I expected to smell this beer pretty fast upon opening just based on its stats and legacy. Sure enough, it didn't take long before big citrus and deep, deep earthy notes pricked my nose. Brisk pine primary notes, with grapefruit citrus not far behind and floral notes in the background.

Taste: First impression is this a thick, full bodied IPA. It has the kind of body you expect from a quad, or even stout. Huge, rich bitterness of pine wood, earth, maybe a little bark. The important adjective is rich - the flavours are deep and encompassing. The citrus / floral qualities from the nose are back there somewhere but mostly it's just fresh, earthy hops flavour preserved and presented grandiosely.

Finish: The pine-like hops and warming effect last and last and last. I know the alcohol is playing a big role here, but you don't taste the alcohol itself.

Balance: Man, this is the part where Pliny I am sure gets its reputation. It's all hops here - it's not hoppy with a bready malt backbone, it's not hops with a little bit of alcohol prickling. It's just plain hops. I feel like in any other instance this would mean the balance isn't right, it's too much bitter and not enough body. However, in Pliny there is in fact plenty of malt, and it plus the alcohol work hard to do great things, and they do it completely anonymously - you don't notice them, they are behind the curtain, but they are boosting the hops so it can be all it can be.

Conclusion: If I were to search for something negative to say about Pliny the Elder, I'd say that the hops isn't particularly complex. I've had big IPA's with a lot more going on flavour-wise. In reality though, I know this isn't really a bad thing at all - the hops flavour is fresh and great, and thus complexity isn't going to improve the beer necessarily. I've never had an IPA before with the elegant balance and big body that Pliny has, glad I got the opportunity to do so.

 2,352 characters

Photo of anders36
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of Bonzo531
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip.

A - Liquid pure gold. One of the most beautiful sights you'll ever see. Amazing lacing, nice retention.

S - Heavenly. Citrus, pine. I wish I could have a Pliny the Elder cologne.

T - Simply the best beer I've ever had. Tastes like a christmas tree smells, with perfect balance of citrus.

M - Perfect.

O - The best beer I've ever had. Wish I could drink this every day. Will buy this any time possible. Would beg on the side of the road for money to get one if I was broke. Don't miss an opportunity to drink this if one is presented to you!

 567 characters

Photo of matt82gill
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of sourpower
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of leviathan96
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.65 out of 5 with 14,600 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.