REVIEW: Pliny the Elder by Russian River Brewing Company

Today, I found out I needed to tear down and rebuild my entire shower. With that, it’s finally an appropriate time to drink the highly-regarded Pliny the Elder by Russian River Brewing Company.

Pliny the Elder

This renowned Double India Pale Ale (DIPA) was generously gifted to me by Drunk Female. As IPAs are my preferred style, I had long been trying to get my hands on this rare beer. Russian River Brewing Company, based in Santa Rosa, CA, bottles the beer in very limited quantities. Living on the East Coast, I hadn’t any luck locating Pliny the Elder. My efforts included begging Drunk Female to send me a bottle, and nothing else.

Russian River Brewing Company describes Pliny the Elder as “well-balanced with malt, hops, and alcohol, slightly bitter with a fresh hop aroma of floral, citrus, and pine.” The label instructs you emphatically to drink the beer fresh, yelling at you throughout it’s perimeter:

“DOES NOT IMPROVE WITH AGE!”
“AGE YOUR CHEESE, NOT YOUR PLINY!”
“IF YOU MUST, SIT ON EGGS, NOT ON PLINY!”

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While I felt proud that my beer had only been bottled within two months, I felt like a failure because I had been sitting on my beer for weeks waiting for it to hatch. Would the quality be compromised?

Not at all.  The beer’s aroma was quite pleasant. The hop aroma doesn’t knock you out, and the scent has citrusy nodes (orange peel?) and herbal nodes (herbs). Its color is a golden orange enhanced beautifully by several Instagram filters. The flavor is very true to the aroma with a crisp mouthfeel that is might refreshing. The bitterness is mild and perfectly balanced against subtle fruit flavors reminiscent of tart grapefruit and sweet pineapple. The malts taste like sweet biscuits, which sound an awful lot like doughnuts and I might run to the grocery store after this review.

Pliny the Elder is dangerously drinkable at 8.0% ABV, a fact I didn’t notice until I was 3/4 of the way done (Uh oh.)  Many revered IPAs are so aggressively hopped that you can’t break down the subtleties, but Pliny the Elder is not one of them. That is what makes this beer so special to me. The hops are on point. I can’t confirm if the beer improves as it warms, because I finished it in approximately two minutes.

Ability to Find In Stores Yourself Rating: 0.5 out of 10
Probability I’m Going To Get Some Doughnuts Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Overall Rating: 9.5 out of 10

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  1. September 28, 2015

    […] River Pliny the Elder: Reviewed it. Moving on, all aboard the drunk […]