Monday, April 4, 2011

Pliny the Elder - Russian River Brewing Company - Beer Review

I usually don't do too many written reviews, but when I finally got my hands on Pliny the Elder I just couldn't resist.  This beer has a flock of diehard fans that worship at the altar - for example it gets an A+ on beeradvocate.

Pliny the Elder is an imperial IPA and is brewed by Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, CA.  It is 8% ABV and 100 IBUs.

BEWARE!  This beer is for hopheads only!  If you don't like hops, then do not attempt to drink this beer.

A few quick points...  On the pour there was a two finger head.  Very clear, crisp, light amber look to the beer.  Not much lacing on glass.

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This book by Randy
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The aroma was strong.  You don't need to bury your nose in the glass for this one.  You can smell it a mile away.  Strong citrus, orange scent with a bit of pine and sweet malt laying underneath.

When tasting the beer, your tongue takes a lashing from the dry piney bitterness.  There is a slight alcohol bite/dryness to it and occasionally the sweet malt stops in to say "hi".  At the same time this beer electrifies your tongue.  There is a battle between the carbonation, the alcohol and the hop bitterness for the attention of your taste buds.  Who will win?  With this beer?  Always the hops.

It's easy to see how a beer drinker could become accustomed to this and then find every other beer boring.  This is a full-fledged attack of bitterness that hits you in the nose, smacks you in the mouth and lingers like a black-eye.

All hopheads should be required by beer law to drink this beer.  It's definitely worth a taste.

For meer mortals, this beer gets a 7 on the BBA scale.  For the hopgods I give it a 9.  I guess I'm somewhere in the middle at an 8.  It's a good beer.  Try this beer and see what all the fuss is about.

Let me know what you think about Pliny the Elder in the comment section.




  1. Agree. Lives up to the hype. Even as a San Deigo dwelling hop head, I'll go out of my way to buy bottles of Pliny the Elder. In fact two of my top three current bottle choices are from outside San Diego, the other being Avery's Dugana. The local that has held high on my list is Green Flash's West Coast IPA - nectar of the gods.


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