Pliny The Elder | Russian River Brewing Company

Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder
Liked This Beer
4.65 w/ 14,533 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

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 14,533 |  Reviews: 3,703
Photo of Joshpu
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of tuckerlikesbeer
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of SteeleWright
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of wyatt13
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of LtColFrankSlade
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of server222
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of rolive
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of ajkiser12
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of BTHU
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of rickyleepotts
3.67/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Boy, am I excited about this one. We ended up in San Diego for Thanksgiving this year, and being so close to the Russian River Company, I just had to track down a bottle of this. This beer is VERY rare, but not as rare as Pliny the Younger. That beer, from what I hear, is only available at the brewery and is only available a few times a year. But this beer is bottled, but is also rare. I didn’t realize that until I started calling around. I called BevMo! first, and was informed they don’t even carry it. I started calling liquor stores around the area (we were in La Jolla) and found a really small wine shop that had two bottles left. It was 10 miles away, but we went to find it and grabbed the last two bottles.

The guy behind the counter suggested we try one right away, and then try the other bottle in two weeks. This is a beer that will NOT cellar, and actually tastes better the quicker you drink it. Ours were bottled on November 1st, 2012. So tonight, after a long wait, we are drinking a bottle of Pliny the Elder. I. Can’t. Wait. Bottoms up, people!

In the Glass: It looks like a domestic in the glass. Thin, mostly clear, but a nice, impressive white head. I read on BeerAdvocate that the lace was nice, but I am not seeing a good lace here. But who cares? When I started to pour this, I could smell it. That is my focus! Let’s see what happens when I stick my nose in the glass. I might actually stick my nose in the beer this time… it is Pliny after all!

Nose: It smells like an IPA. That’s good, because I like that style. It is my favorite style, actually. But the nose isn’t overwhelming. People say this beer “isn’t worth the hype”. I hope the nose isn’t a prelude to that. I am sick of waiting. Let’s drink!

Flavor: It’s an IPA. I will give it that. It’s good, but it’s not overly hopped. The aftertaste, which I will get to in a minute, is the best part. They call this a double IPA… and like other double IPAs on the market, I wouldn’t consider them “double” based on my ideas of the word. The bottle reminds us to drink this fresh, and not to age it. Our bottle is nearly a month old, but it shouldn’t/wouldn’t be bad… yet. We will be trying our second bottle in two weeks.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is elegant. Very thin on the palate, and easy to swallow. This is what some might call a “chugging” beer. Don’t chug it, though. it’s too expensive. The bottle also recommends drinking this cold. We did. For a beer with this much hype, I must admit… I had bigger expectations.

Aftertaste: This is the best part of this beer. The aftertaste is big, and hangs on for several minutes after you swallow. That is my favorite part of a double IPA… the lingering bitterness that the beer brings. This one packs a punch at the beginning, and lingers… but always reminding you an IPA has been enjoyed. This isn’t a beer I would recommend trying first, as it will destroy your palate.

Pliny the Elder is good. But it’s not great. The beer is VERY hard to find, and while not very expensive when you do, not that impressive. There are some unique characteristics here, but nothing to write home about. I wanted to like this more than I do, and while it is still a good IPA… it’s just that. An IPA. I wasn’t impressed with Dark Lord, either. There is too much hype over beers like that. Maybe that is what spoils it for me. Not sure. But Pliny the Elder is just that… a hyped beer that doesn’t live up to the hype. BeerAdvocate rates this 100. So do the bros. Would love to discuss this beer with them further. I can’t give it more than a 3. Bottoms up, but only because this beer is rare!

 3,685 characters

Photo of bluesplit63
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of e30todamax
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of hoppytobehere
4.82/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

510ml bottle, born into this world on 10/23/12, so about a month old.

A: Pours a nice cloudy gold color with soapy 2 finger head. Sticky lacing all around the glass. Retention for days. Good lord.

S: Pine needles, grapefruit, fresh American hops.

T: How do you improve on this? Just a perfectly balanced IPA. It transitions nicely from hops to citrus to freshly baked bread malt. Heavy on piney hops, but I love that stuff.

M: Soft, good levels of carbonation. Can't think of many beers that have a better mouthfeel. Stuff is like soft butter.

O: The perfect IIPA? Pretty much.

 582 characters

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

Had on tap in pint glass.
The color is nice...
The smell is wonderful...don't know how to describe it, but it is one of the most striking of any beer I have smelled.
The expectation created by a good smell often leaves one disappointed when it comes to the actual taste...not so with this beer, very full flavor.
Very drinkable beer...not too thick and sweet, very refreshing.
Overall...I like this beer.

 405 characters

Photo of Weeds21
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of Madskill
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of joedevivre
4/5  rDev -14%

Photo of mkbeirne
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of jpvenezia
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of mbw314
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of jdaddy
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of Revenant
3.75/5  rDev -19.4%

Photo of Powderhornphil
4.42/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This was previously a had for me. I thought it was time to give it a full rating.

Poured from a three week old bottle.

You can tell this is a thoughtfully and skillfully crafted beer. Beautiful to look at and a joy to taste. Showcases the hops in an expert way. Finishes very dry.

Likely there isn't much to say about this beer that hasn't been said, so I won't try. I wiil jusy say: Very enjoyable.

 402 characters

Photo of EricLander
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of Tee2Grn
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 98.3% out of 100 with 14,533 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.