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Average Review High Score Low Score Reviews Tried Consumed
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Latest news for Pliny The Elder
Zymurgy Magazine Announces 2013 "Best Commercial Beers in America"
Review by almarzo on 02/11/13  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
94 2 12 18 5 10 2013
First full review, I figured this was a good beer to start with. I shared a bottle with the manager of Riverside Liquors in Grand Rapids, MI.
A: nice 1 finger off white head, holds for a while than fades, but leaves some great lacing. The beer is slightly dark orange in color. The cup used could have been better.

S: A great balance of citrus, pine, and a slight bread / malt presence. Very floral and amazing just too just smell

T: Citrus and pine from the hops right away coats the tongue and leaves a lingering bitter-sweetness. Not to drying, but it makes its bitter presence known, some light malt comes through. Smooth body with a hoppy, piney or (peppery?) after-taste. Nice carbonation.

O: Worth the hype, so glad I was given the opportunity to try this beer! It met my expectations yet it was a very modest beer that just hit all the right marks. True to form, well balanced, and just a great drink.

Served In: Other

Review by everetends on 05/29/10  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
92 3 11 18 5 9 2010
Old Review
16.9 oz bottle that I am indebted to Wetpaperbag for quite a while Poured into a tulip. Bottled on 8-13-08.

A: Pours an oily, yellowy, amber. This beer is a bit hazy, definitely not clear. Got a good two fingers of beautiful, tight, off white head. The retention is pretty good, sticking around for a while. The lacing is sticky as hell, leaving a lot of beautiful webbing on the glass that just goes all the way down the glass. The lacing and head are just perfect.

S: The smell is if you cut a fresh, ripe grapefruit, this is how this beer smells. Just a beautiful, thick citrus smell. There are also some really nice mandarin orange scents coming through as well. Nice piny hops are present giving some nice bitter smells coming through. This beer smells great.

T: Taste is great as well. Really lush grapefruit flavor is first and foremost. The meat, the flesh, and the rind are all present. The grapefruit is sweet and tart. Tangerine and orange flavors are coming through very clearly. Piney and spicy hops are here coming through as well and are cut with a nice bready malt. Little bit of pepper in there as well. Oddly the bitterness does not play a role until the finish. I was kinda expecting this to be a more bitter hop bomb. This is still amazing.

M: A heavy medium body that is incredibly oily. This beer just sticks to your mouth and does not let go at all. All the flavors mingle on the palate incredibly long. Aftertaste is of bitter hops that challenge the palate at times. This beer is drying, but it just makes you want more.

D: Drink it. This beer is great. It looks and feels amazing. The flavor is damn near perfect. I think fresh, this beer would blow me away. Such a treat to enjoy and joy to have.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-29-2008 05:43:48

Served In: Tulip

Review by Ricarrdo on 01/31/10  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
98 3 12 19 5 10 0
This is one of the most incredible beers I've had. I'm a hophead and love IPA's and this has become my favorite beer. It pours a golden hue with some slight dark overtones and the hop smell hits you like a brick, but, unlike some IPA's the hops carry over into the taste and give you a citrus, piney, incredible mouth feel of exploding hops. The beer has some malt to attempt a balance, but it is not really discernible - of course, I hate malt in my IPA's - whether single, double, or triple (OK, that's a contradiction - you have to have malt, but I like as little as possible and Pliny gives me that). I can imagine, though, if you are not an IPA person or don't like hops, then you won't like this bruiser... This rating is for the beer out of a 16.9oz. bottle but I have had this beer on draft and the draft is even better...

Price: $5.00 Served In: Stange

Review by Surly Duff on 01/15/10  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
92 3 10 19 5 9 2009
Thanks for this bottle Fro.

Bottled 12/23/2009

Pours a brilliant light copper with a frothy white head atop. The foam settles after a minute or two and leaves a nice coating of sticky lace clinging to the walls of the glass. A small ring of foam remains around the edge of the glass and a tiny layer of white remains covering the top of the brew.

Wonderful hoppy aroma. Lots of grapefruit and mellow pine. Lemon and a hint of orange also come through. Malt makes itself known with a nice light and slightly sweet caramel note just slightly punching it's way through the great hop notes. I could smell this beer all day.

Smooth malty body with nice mellow caramel and a low carbonation allow the beer to slide across the tongue with ease. Then the star of the show arrives. The hops are wonderful. Sweet grapefruit is in abundance with a nice mellow and not bitter lemon co-mingled in. Just a hint of bitter pine and then bubble gum rounding out the flavor and riding out the aftertaste. As you sip more, the pine bitterness begins to start each sip out and then quickly give way to the fruity grapefruit and bubble gum.

Wonderfully balanced with huge aroma and flavor. I could drink this stuff all day.

Served In: Pint Glass

Review by joe1510 on 11/27/09  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
86 2 10 18 4 9 2009
Pint Bottle

Bottled 7/10/08

I received a couple of these in a recent trade with BrewerB, thanks again Brian! The Elder Pliny pours a surprisingly clear bright golden with big sunshine bright highlights when backlit. Carbonation bubbles creep up the sides of the glass to the dense head. A standard pour brought about a two finger white billowy head that eventually receded to a solid cap worth of quality staying power. As the head falls it leaves big intricate lacing down the glass and sheet lacing where each drink was taken.

The nose on this beer is all big and pungent hoppiness. There's something in the big hoppiness of this beer that brings to mind Hop Wallop. There are heavy handed doses of dense pine sap, resinous hops, dissolving aspirin, pineapple, orange, and lightly sweetened grapefruit. Hemp seed makes a big showing as well. Yes the aroma really is that loaded with hoppy goodness. When I say heavy handed in the hop department that's a good thing. While the hops run the gamut the sappiness and resin qualities take the lead. There's not a great deal of malt noticeable in the nose but what's there is cake like and way in the back.

The flavor is still hop heavy, obviously, but seems to be a bit more muddled then the nose suggested. The front end hits with big notes of sappy and resinous hop juice but the middle is where things get muddled when the citric qualities of the hops try and join the party. The aspirin bitterness makes an appearance on the backend when things begin to clear up and lingers through the finish. The maltiness is more pronounced in the flavor with a frosting like sweetness drizzled lightly with caramel. Don't get me wrong, the hops still hold the fort and the malts can't figure out how to cross the moat.

The body of this beer is right where it should be. Although the abv is up there at 8% the body is velvety and right down the middle of the spectrum. The carbonation is smooth and natural with a really nice soft texture. The big hopping adds a growing bitterness as the glass empties.

The drinkability is good for a beer with such large alcohol content. As a matter of fact this bottle is disappearing far to fast for my liking. The bitterness is mild enough to keep on drinking and still enjoy the beer for what it is.

I have wanted to give Pliny a go since I've been active on this site and I'm glad I finally get the opportunity to do so. Although I gave this beer good reviews I can't help but be a little disappointed after all the looking forward I've done over the years. I was looking for a total hop bomb but this beer fell a little short. I guess if the anticipation around sampling this beer wasn't so high for me I would have given it a better review but it is still an excellent beer.

Reviewed: 8/6/08

Served In: Pint Glass

Review by Dr. Rockzo on 11/10/09  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
94 2 11 19 5 10 0
Originally reviewed 06-09-2008 (this is purely for the growler, bottles aren't as amazing but still are damn good).

Finally, the illusive and sought after Pliny! Received a fresh growler from the RR brewpub in a fabulous trade. Poured generously into my tulip glass.

A: A gorgeous shining orange/amber color with just the slightest bit of haze and floaty goodness. A huge, off-white head that leaves a ton of lacing in my glass. Very much like sea foam, and similar to the Blind Pig IPA I had last night, only even frothier and thicker.

S: Huge hop smell upfront, as expected from the hype. Complex mix of ruby red grapefruit, oranges, lemon zest, and a fresh floral essence. Being a double, there is also a bit more sweet, caramel malts present in the smell compared to the Blind Pig. Very enticing and pungent aromas.

T: Yummm...I'm in awe that I'm even drinking this nectar of the gods right now. More huge grapefruit and other citrus flavors mix with fresh pine needles and a floral hop taste. Sweet malts enter in to help balance the huge hop load. The hype holds up again.

M: I think this is where RR excels in their IPAs. This beer has the most perfectly balanced, medium body and light to medium carbonation. The hop oils coat the tongue wonderfully and leave a clean, tingly bitterness lingering. So perfectly clean and smooth drinking.

D: At only 8%, and incredibly smooth and balanced (while still being a hop bomb) I find this to be the near perfectly drinkable DIPA. Clean, bitter, refreshing, balanced, I could go on. Time for another!

As close to a perfect DIPA I've had so far. The Port Hop 15 comes close, but Piny lives up to the hype and I'm so glad to have tried it fresh, strait from Russian River. World class DIPA and a holy grail worth seeking.

Served In: Tulip

Review by Lum on 11/04/09  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
92 3 12 18 4 9 0
Thanks go to Nanoslug for this one!

Pours a slightly hazy golden straw color, almost brassy looking. Lots of floaters in here, they are just hangin' out - that's cool with me. One finger of soft, white head, displaying outstanding retention properties. A carbonation bubble every now and then finds its way from the bottom to the top. Fantastic lacing.

Aroma is all hops. Floral and fruity, pine and citrus. Grapefruit and pineapple, nice blast of conifer goodness as well. A sweetness pushes its way forward... honey. malts are back their somewhere, wrapping themselves in the whole experience and lending their balance to the whole equation - but this is all about the hops, have no doubt.

Oh yeah, all about the hops. Huge tongue abrasion of grapefruit and pine resin. Lemon zing to it. Very hop bitter - but that's what we want, correct?!? A mild sweetness way, way in the background, from the malts - barely enough, just to let you know that they are there. Some biscuit goodness as well, along with that field of freshly mowed hay taste on the back of the tongue. Grapefruit and pine, clear through the finish.

Medium in body, crisp, abrasive and assaulting mouthfeel. Very dry, moreso towards and throughout the finish. Carbonation is superb.

I really, REALLY enjoyed this. Cliche to say, but if this was available locally...
Excellent stuff. Slight warming hint at the ABV, but it is disguised quite well. Bold and brash, typical of a West Coast hop bomb. And this is every bit of that.... and then some.
Great stuff.
Thanks Adam!
A must try!!!

Served In: Pint Glass

Review by bakes on 07/19/09  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
88 3 10 18 4 9 2009
Thanks to WeeHeavySD for the bottle! Bottling date 6/10/09.

Pours a hazy amber with a white head that will probably be leaving lace next time Halley's Comet comes around. Aroma of all kinds of citrusy hop, hits of pine, and a biscuity malt nose underneath - more dry than marmalade-like.

Starts out with a brilliant, slightly orangey-sweet tea-like maltiness for a brief second, then the hops start their work, bitter, resinous, orange then apricot then pine then faint lemon zest, one after the other, with a toasty caramel-on-biscuit malt singing along in the background. Bitterness carries this one through, with the ending bringing a bright hit of hoppiness before fading away. Not at all cloying or overly malty - dry yet still very drinkable. Medium, not-too-big mouthfeel; it's the yin to Dreadnaught's yang in the DIPA category, if that makes sense.

I had half this bottle before I dared review it. I was trying to pick out it's defining characteristic, flavor wise, and realized that it does nothing incredible, but almost everything in balance and very very well. Last time I had it, on tap from a keg of questionable age, it underwhelmed. This one gets it right.

Served In: Pint Glass

Review by seaoflament on 04/22/09  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
94 3 11 20 4 9 2009
I bought this bottle yesterday at SouthBay Drugs and Liquor. I first reviewed this beer from the tap during the Stone 11th Anniversary Event, back in the summer of 07. Just recently I noticed that I haven't reviewed this beer from the bottle and that tap review doesn't do this beer justice so now I'm reviewing this beer from the bottle. Bottled on: 040709...How is that for fresh!

Into my Pizza Port pint glass it goes. Pours a golden orange color with a rocky two fingers of foam. Great retention with some lacing.

Juicy orange, grapefruit, sweet lemon, and hints of pine with a sweet cracker and caramel malt background. A little more pine and some grass later on. More tropical aromas of tangerine, apricots, papaya, nectarine, peach, and some mango. A bit of orange candy too.

Very similar to how it smells. Starts off with a combination of bitter orange and caramel malt with a bit of toast as well. Medium bitterness with orange zest, lemon zest, caramel malts, toast, and a pine finish. There's also some bitter nectarine, un-ripe apricot, and a fruity alcohol just barely noticeable in the finish. A bit of orange candy near the middle with dry and bitter lemon in the finish. After a few sips I can taste hints of papaya near the end...not a big fan of papaya but I sure don't mind it in my pliny. There's just so much flavor in this beer. There is quite a bit of hop flavor (fruity, citrus, piney, grassy, slightly herbal) and then the light caramel, cracker, and toast malt so perfectly balanced.

So smooth with medium-low carbonation. Truly a benchmark for the double IPA category.

Served In: Weizen Glass

Review by thickfreakness on 01/16/09  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
94 3 12 19 4 9 2008
Draught at Monk's Kettle in San Francisco.

Bright clean and clear. The prototypical IIPA look with some awesome lacing.

Aroma of big deep pine resin, melon, fruit, and a little bit of spicy malt.

Taste is similar with just the cleanest but extremely bitter profile with no hint of the alcohol whatsoever.

So dry and awesome. Medium body with a good amount of carbonation.

The draft version of Pliny the Elder just absolutely owns all other IIPAs that I've had so far. One of my favorite beers and one of the most drinkable too.

Served In: Pint Glass

Review by tayner on 12/28/08  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
76 2 9 15 4 8 2008
pours a golden wheatfield color with a white sticky, lacing head

green, raw, bitter hops in the nose backed with some sweet malty backbone

hop juice in a bottle - hop bomb- green, floral, bitter hop juice in a bottle.

decent carbonation, creamy mouthfeel, oily finish

This was a little hard to drink alot of on its own, for me, as the bitterness was overwhelming after awhile, but if I had paired this with food, any food, I could drink much more of it.

Served In: Pint Glass

Review by smellysell on 09/21/08  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
78 3 8 17 3 8 2008
Pours a hazy, light amber into my snifter. The head is big, soapy, and stark white. The retention is nothing to write home about, but despite this, the lacing is very heavy. I’m looking forward to delving into this one.

There’s no mistaking this one. Hops, hops, and then some more hops! There is a little of everything hoppy in this aroma. Resiny hops, piney hops, citrus hops, and floral hops. Did I mention that it smells hoppy?

Surprisingly, the flavors are actually really balanced. Along with the pine and grapefruit from the hops, there is also a nice touch of malty sweetness. It’s a bit straightforward, but enjoyable. There’s no mistaking that this is a hop dominated beer, but it doesn’t have the over the top bite that a lot of DIPAs have.

The body of this one falls somewhere in the middle. Carbonation is very light, almost non-existent. It’s probably the smoothest DIPA I’ve had, I could drink many of these in a sitting with no problems. It’s very drinkable, especially for 8 %.

As I said before, while it's a good beer, and is surprisingly drinkable, it isn’t great. The lack of complexity is the biggest disappointment. Perhaps it is just a victim of my expectations being too high?

Served In: Snifter

Review by Tip Top on 12/29/07  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
88 3 10 18 4 9 0
Review from 01/10/07

This review started as a side by side tasting with what I deem to be some of the greatest DIPAs out there. Pliny vs. Dreadnaught vs. Goose Island IIPA vs HopSlam.

A - Pours a clean light golden body with minimal bubble action. Small head that recedes. Very nice lacing that sticks all the way down.

S - Nice hop profile to the nose of this one. Typical of a SD DIPA, there are big floral, citrusy hops all over here. Lighter than expected, but very nice.

T - The hop profile in this one doesn't hit right away. Starts sweet and fruity. Towards the middle/finish of the taste of this one, the hops hit. Grapefruit and lemon are wonderful. Great taste.

M - Medium bodied. Carbonation is subtle, but good.

D - Of the upper escelon of DIPAs, this one is lighter than most. Mouthfeel is lighter and not sticky like the rest. This is a great beer, mind you, but not up there with Dreadnaught.

Served In: Other

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