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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

Educational use only; do not reuse.

890 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 890
Hads: 2,771
Avg: 4.67
pDev: 7.28%
Wants: 5,811
Gots: 315 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: xlperro on 01-27-2005

Pliny the Younger, the man, was Pliny the Elder’s nephew and adopted son. They lived nearly 2,000 years ago! Pliny the Elder is our Double IPA, so we felt it was fitting to name our Triple IPA after his son. It is almost a true Triple IPA with triple the amount of hops as a regular I.P.A. That said, it is extremely difficult, time and space consuming, and very expensive to make. And that is why we don’t make it more often! This beer is very full-bodied with tons of hop character in the nose and throughout. It is also deceptively well-balanced and smooth.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 890 | Hads: 2,771
Photo of NWer
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at RRBC on Tuesday the 8th and again on Friday the 11th.
Trying very hard not to get caught up in the hype but couldn't help it.
This is one amazing beer. The perfect balance between flowery smoothness and hoppy essence you want from a DIPA.
It just tastes sooo good!
Thanks for the memories RRBC! My new gold standard to measure all others.

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Photo of Prospero
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2/28/11 - 8oz pour in to a tulip glass

The color was exceptional, a clear shiny copper color with a thin white head that was only about 1 finger or so that dissipated quickly.

The aroma was full of citrusy & floral hops. A very intense aroma for a beer, but had the perfect blend of hops in the nose that work very well with each other.

Taste was amazing. It was sweeter and maltier than I expected, possibly to better balance out the loads of hops this beer has. Full of grapefruit and sweet like honey. The finish has a nice piney note on the end as well.

Mouthfeel was perfect, not too heavy or light, the carbonation was a bit lower than most IPAs, but suited this beer just right. It really brought out the smoothness and balance between the malts & hops on the tongue without the bringing out the bitterness.

This is quite possibly the best balanced IPA I've had even though it's a TIPA. I love the Blind Pig and Pliny the Elder, this is just one step beyond and much more refined. Excellent beer, well worth the wait, only wish it was more readily available.

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Photo of williamjbauer
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this in a pint at the Brewery, loved it so much got a growler also served into pint glasses (6)

A - Slightly hazy golden with one finger white head with good lacing and good head retention.

S - Great hop profile with balance of citrus and pine and a bit of malt sweetness.

T - Smooth and balancde beginning to end, amazing hops grapefruit, orange, lemon, pine, with a sweet malt and the best dry bitter finish I've had in an IPA. Nice alcohol flavor as well.

M - Full body, medium carbonation.

O - Best IPA I have ever had. This is my favorite style. This is among my favorite beers. DRINK IT!

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Photo of sloejams
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was lucky enough to have a friend bring me a growler of this, last month after a trip to Northern California. Immediately after opening the growler the hop punch hit me. A bouquet of hops almost overwhelm me. It poured a golden haze while the aroma continued to permeate my senses. The balanced foam head filled out what looked to be a picturebook painting of what a pint should look like. The scents still swimming around my nose: piney, gorgeous hops with a slight citrus undertone. It was a complex aroma that was truly remarkable.

My first sip completed everything. The aroma perfectedly made it’s way to the taste: it was a complex delight of many flavors, including a slight sweetness. The mouthfeel was a bit creamy, well carbonated but decidedly easy drinking for it’s 11% ABV.

This is as closed to a perfect beer as it can come, possibly the best beer I’ve ever had.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was one of the first 20 people in the joint SuperBowl Sunday and thought I might as well order a Younger while I'm here. I mean...everyone else was doing it.

I've had this beer now 5 years in a row and it never disappoints. (Note - I did review the 2009 Younger but I was new to BA then and to reviewing beers. That review was all over the place so I'm going to leave it out of this review. If you want to compare it that bad search my profile)

A - Looks very similar to Elder, the pour was to the tip of the 10oz glass so no head to speak of but the lacing stuck all over the glass from top to bottom. Looks, crisp and beautiful for an DIPA this big.

S - Smells similar to PtE but a tiny bit muted in comparison in regards to not as pungently floral. BUT, the Tropical Fruit and hemp and earthiness coming out of this is fantastic. Smells very balanced. Can't wait to dive in.

T - I've heard Younger referred to as Elder on Steroids which I agree with and disagree with. How could it be on steroids if it's a smoother beer? BALANCE...wow. It's everything Elder is but a bit stronger malt profile to balance out the enormous amount of hops. The Tangerine forward Grapefruit that the Elder provides in citrus is replaced by Younger with Tropical Fruits and I want to say strawberries. There is less pine in Younger than Elder but the earthiness is still present. Similar bitter finish in the end but not quite as much as Elder. If I could give a 6 here I would.

M - Similar qualities to Elder but smoother and easier drinking??? This is a 5

D - In my 2009 review I gave this category a 4 but this year is the easiest drinking Younger I can ever remember having. I could session this beer, and pretty much did as I drank my 3 pours and my wife's 3 pours as well. I could have kept going but she was starting to get annoyed with me.

Final Thoughts - If you can improve upon Elder which near impossible to do, it's been done with Younger. Many similarities but this is more complex and masterfully crafted. There were more "stages" to this beer. I kept thinking to myself...when you get this this level of IPA (10% +) it really can't be crafted any better. Truly world class. Never had a better IPA or beer period.

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Photo of dertyd
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

this was by far the greatest beer I have ever tasted in my life the smell was of nothing but tropical fruits papaya pineapple passion fruit mangos some grapefruit the flavor was of the same nothing but tropical fruits and so so so smooth what an amazing beer Russian River the wait was worth it

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Photo of Wendt
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ok, had to find out what the hype was all about. Waited 90 minutes and was told I was a genius for going on a Tuesday. The nice thing is, Russian River only allows in as many as can be seated (none of the usual madhouse, quite civilized) and they charge the normal pricing for it (and are proud of it! Truly a labor of love!). Background: I'm not a hoppy guy. Doppelbocks, stouts, porters, ciders are where I live. This beer changed all that. Smooth, amazingly smooth with a hoppy finish at the back / center of the tongue. Not overpowering at all in taste but packs a punch at 10%. Very much worth the wait. Best beer I've ever had? Yes. Easily the best IPA. Got to enjoy seven (10 oz) glasses this year and I'll be back for more next year.

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Photo of simcoeluv
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have been attending the Pliny the Younger release for several years. I have never rated the beer before. It has always been very, very good.

2015 is the most balanced Younger I have tasted.

It is great. There are no competitors.


Hint - ask for a tulip glass, pour the Younger in it and let Younger warm for 15 or 30 minutes - it will be better than you even imagined.

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Photo of blues_fever
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For not being an IPA fan, this Triple IPA is something that I wish you could purchase in a bottle. Tap availability only makes it taste that much better, sucks for those who do not get Russian River.

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Photo of BuckeyeOne
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had this elixir twice --- once during its regular Feb. '09 release at the Eastside Tavern in Olympia and once, surprisingly, at HopFest at Brouwer's this past summer.

It pours a deep amber color with a foamy off-white head with nice lacing.

The smell is a sweet, yet floral hop kick. The pine and grapefruit are very strong.

While I expected the hoppy pine and grapefruit taste to follow the aroma, I was surprised at how sweet it was on the tongue. Don't get me wrong --- it's a palate killer. In both instances, I tried other brews following PtY and it was a waste.

It has a heavier mouthfeel than I expected it would. It was kind of syrupy, but in a very good way. It was smooooth.

Because I didn't notice any alcohol burn, I drank a couple of these right off. It came back to bite me.

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Photo of MiScusi
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Hollingsheads, poured into a Chimay goblet, transparent rich golden orange with not much foam. The smell is earthy but mostly citrusy hops. Pine citrus leafy hop taste. You get a nice bitterness in the end but its not overpowering. The mouthfeel is really good as there's not too much of a syrupy feel to it. There is a nice level of carbonation that is just prickly enough. This is about as drinkable as any triple or even double IPA could be. The high alcohol hits me but doesn't stop me from ordering another. I'm going back for more in a couple days.

I was able to revisit Younger at Lucky Baldwin's Delirium Cafe and must say that it's now my favorite IPA of any kind out there. The aroma really hit even more today as fresh citrus and pine and it was again exceptional. I think it deserves a 5 overall.

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Photo of mc4z
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Toronado (SF). This beer is awesome. I could dock random 1/4 points, but for the style, it doesn't get any better. This pours a medium orange color that is surprisingly see through. The smell is juicy citrus fruit with a light sweetness. The taste is lots of strong citrus fruit. It's bitter, but at the same time balanced by the sweetness from all the malt. There is virtually no alcohol presence, which is quite a feat for an 11% beer. This beer is incredibly drinkable and perfectly balanced. Far and away my favorite TIPA.

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Photo of drowland
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had from a growler at RBWG 2010. Easily the best DIPA I’ve ever had. Amazing fresh hop flavor there with earthiness, citrus, floral, and more. The flavor is right up there as well, plenty of hop and bitterness but enough malt so it’s not a crazy unbalanced mess. Love it!

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Photo of DwnTwnBwn
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had more than my fair share at the pub Friday afternoon (2/5/2010), which turned into an epic beer day. Thank you Russian River staff. And then shared two growlers one with Hoffmans and another with friends over the weekend.

A- Came in a 10 ounce glass with only a touch of a head. It's a clear golden liquid a touch darker then the elder. Beautiful. The head fell to a nice mat of tiny bubbles that covered the top of the beer. Laced very well on the way down

S- This beer has an aroma second to none. There is copious amounts of hops which envelope all your senses in its beauty. There is a nice contrast between the fresh wet pine up front to the sweeter grapefruit towards the end. A funny side note is that there is a hit of another medicinal herb to the aroma that comes through. All of the hop aroma is backed by a sweet honey like malt aroma. This has the best aroma I have ever smelt.

T - Pure ecstasy. Notes of hops immediately shock your tongue from front to back. The Fresh pine brings images of forest hikes early afternoon as the sun begins to warm the wet due off the needles of the trees. This then moves into a Blackberry like citrus flavor which is maybe the best part. The malt backbone hops all of this up with the strength required. The malt is honey like and sweet to balance the bitterness so that all the notes can be enjoyed. Amazing.

M - This beer seems too light for the amount of flavor that it contains. Perfect amount of carbonation to keep it light enough on the palette but sweet enough to give it the right presence. Bitterness dries out the finish leaving your mouth parched and urging for another sip.

O - I am having a difficult time here determining what constitutes a perfect beer. Because this now proved to me that it is not a product of its style but its ability to deliver all possible flavors with out overpowering the intent of the beer. This to me is another perfect beer. Vinnie Good Job, and sorry about drinking all your beer.

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Photo of SpdKilz
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drove up seven hours to Sacramento to stay at Abel's (abecall98) in Sacramento this past Friday, then drove another two hours Saturday morning to go to Santa Rosa...all so I could try this beer again on tap at the SOURCE.

Appearance - Given to me in a 10oz glass. After waiting in line for almost three hours, I was more thirsty for water than for beer to be honest. But alas, after seeing this beer, in its beautiful golden hue against the three o'clock sun...I pushed my thirst pangs aside. Slight white head that dissipates relatively fast, but leaves some nice thing lacing.

Smell - Wonderful. People were saying it smelled/tasted more "hoppy" than last year (IMO PtY is more citrus while PtE is more piney/hoppy). I don't know what they were thinking. The massive amounts of tropical aroma were prevalent even before I brought the beer to my nose. Grapefruit, orange, tropical fruits, slight pine, hops, and a malty aroma almost not noticeable due to the sweet tropical fruits.

Taste - I can honestly say, Holy Cow. This beer IS all that it is hyped up to be. Seeing as I drank more PtE oz for oz than any other beer last year, I just can't get over how different this "brother" to PtE is. Such an amazing tropical fruit/citrus quality. I had SO many of these while at the RR pub. I am so glad I went up there.

Mouthfeel - SO creamy, thicker viscosity, decent carbonation, slick, amazing.

Drinkability - If I gave this to someone, had them literally quaff down the beer, and then tell them it was over 10% they would laugh at me thinking I'm lying. This beer, this year over last, seems to me to be just insanely drinkable. Having no alcohol in my system and having this after standing in line for so long I would have expected to get some alcohol taste or warmth. No. Nothing. Utterly amazing. This is my FIRST perfect five I have given in over two years on BA. This beer deserves it hands down. Especially seeing as the most well versed style I know is IPA/DIPA, this beer just outdoes EVERYTHING. I am SO glad I drove up from LA for this. Amazing on tap.

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Photo of notyourdadsbeer
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On draught at Oskar Blue's Liquids and Solids in Longmont, Co. Poured into an 8oz snifter.

A: Deep gold with amber hues but more on the bright side of amber then the dark. Solid head retention that fades into a spiderweb like lacing on the glass.

S: Massive piney hops is the first aroma to hit your senses. It's as if you too a wiff of the biggest pine tree in existance and let the flavor wash over you. Touches of citrus grapefruit also take shape behind the chronic and pine notes.

T: Massive pine to match the nose. Comes across somewhat sticky and resinous but the bitter is truly there. Citrus fruit such as mango and pineapple are present but pine and chronic flavors are dominate. The malt is solid and doesn't subdue the hops but instead balances them very well.

M: Because of the prefect malt backbone this beer weighs heavy on the palate. Top of mouth is coated but the bitterness creeps from the back of the palate to the front. Citrus notes linger on the middel of the tongue and the finish just doesn't stop. Almost no booziness present.

D: Having the oppurtunity to taste this beer is up there with getting superbowl tickets. It's worth the time, effort, and money. It's exceptional in all standings for what an Imperial IPA should be. It's not over hopped nor is it over malted, it's perfectly balanced- just like all the beers RR does. I only wish it were made more often or in higher quantities because 8oz's is just not enough.

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Photo of Denmark
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What to say? This is the best beer I've ever tasted - and boy, have I tasted a few good ones.
The aroma was superb - I would have never thought that a beer could smell that good. The whole experience of the beer was simply ecstatic. Brewing on grapefruit and oranges is original and brilliant!

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Photo of gregshead
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

on tap at Toronado SD

A: a beautiful light copper orange color.

S: lots and lots of grapefruit hops hit the nose.

T: the hops are what I taste from beginning to end. Lots of pine and grapefruit overwhelm my mouth. So much hops aftertaste. Minutes of it. I should just wait to see how long the hop aftertaste lasts.

M: amazing carbonation reallly masks the thickness of this beer. Contributes to it's amazing drinkability.

D: the 11% is sooo well hidden. I have to slow myself dwn from drinking this one like I would a single IPA. This beer is from a different planet. A planet I want to live on all the time.

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Photo of AbyssJunkie13
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was luck enough to have this 2 days in a row, 2 10z pours at RR and 2 more the next day at a tapping at Bobby G's in Berkeley. All 4 were equally amazing, though nothing will ever match the first couple sips I had at RR. Rarely does a beer live up to the hype, but this one surpassed it for me.

Poured a golden yellow with a thin head that disappeared very quickly.

The aroma was great, but not amazingly strong. You could really tell that this beer was all hops.

The taste was literally mind-blowing. It's like a hop explosion in your mouth. And all hops, but it a really balanced way, if that makes sense. LIke all of the characteristics of hops you can have in a beer (grapefruit, pine, floral, tropical, bitter) that were all balanced perfectly harmoniously on the tongue and permeating every corner of my mouth. You can't even taste the alcohol.

It has a very light mouthfeel for what I would've expected, and that, plus the extremely great taste, contributes to the danger of this beer because I could easily drink 3 before I even felt drunk. In fact, I could literally drink these all night, or as long until I passed out! In fact, on my 2nd day of Younger, I was drinking with an inexperienced beer buddy, and he enjoyed it so much, he's the one who asked for a 2nd round, not really comprehending the effect of 10.25-11%. He was definitely feeling it by the time we made our way around the corner to Triple Rock.

Overall, I would have to say it surpassed all my expectations, and I will definitely be putting Younger day on my calendar every year for as long as we are blessed with this beer.

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Photo of Benm1024
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got to try the beer at a local restaurant that got a couple kegs of it. 10 oz pour.
I was going into trying the beer with an expectation of it being good, and it did not disappoint. I was very surprised at how well the beer came together as more than just a better Pliny the Elder. It was more citrusy as opposed to piney, and it did not at all taste like 11% alcohol. I cannot give it anything other than perfect scores because there is nothing more I could possibly ask for in a beer.

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Photo of AndrewCalvi
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was sadden when i heard that Russian River sold out of this beer in the first 8 hours. Frantically I called up every local beer bar in with in an hours drive of Santa Rosa, and found out that Toronado would be tapping a keg in a week at a special Russian River 'tion night. The first sip was very magical and I knew that it was worth the trip. The gobs of hops are not over whelming like you would first expect. I think the bitterness is so intense that your taste receptors just shut down. The 11% alcohol sneaks up on you like drinking a glass or two of really good wine. You get a nice buzz going on, and you do not feel full or bloated from drinking a few pints, since they serve this to you in 8 oz. pours. That was probably one of the greatest nights in my life, until a week later I found out that RRB had a top secret keg of this stuff still available. I noticed a difference in the taste just by the Younger aging only a week, it wasn't as crisp and intense as I had remembered. Although it was still a great beer to drink. That night I had 3 glasses of Younger and a basket of beer bites. I would pay $100 any time to be able to have that night again. It was one of the best meals i have ever had.

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Photo of Walshwi
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I used to live on the east coast and I've had plenty of cases of Heady Topper. Pliny the Younger is a different beer, but one that I prefer more than Heady. This beer is certainly worth the hype and four hour wait.

I could bloviate about smell, taste, mouthfeel, etc... But instead I'll just be blunt: this is a heavy, syrupy hop-bomb that is refreshingly clear and easy drinking. It is nothing short of poetry in a bubble glass.

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Photo of peabody
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I don't give up all 5's very often but this one deserves it.
Pours out really clean and clear with two fingers of white suds. Pine tree in a bottle here. I mean the oily pine shit you get on your hands after cutting down a pine tree. Very strong pine smell in other words.
Tastewise, the bitterness hits first with a blackness from hades. You get used to it really quickly. Then the pine smell is twice as strong.And the malt and mellowness take over.
Really a complicated drink here.
Mouthfeel is perfect and you never know you have had an 11% beer in your hands. This is the perfect mouthfeel for an IPA.
Drinkability should be lower since you can't get this all the time. In fact, this year it only lasted 12 days. This is a travesty!
This is the perfect IPA for now. I can't wait for the beer to beat this one!

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Photo of scottoale
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at O'Brien's, once again. Served in 10oz. glasses, a brilliant yellow gold with pristene clarity and a pure white 1/4" foam head.
It looks so inviting, especially when you know what your getting into.

Sweet hoppiness greets the nose. Citrus nectar of grapefruit, tangelo, honeysuckle, pine and peppermint, permeate the nose. The best hop smell in an ale, ever!

The taste is unlike any 2X IPA, once you get to know it. Sweet hoppiness reigns with tangy citrus and somewhat sappy pine leading the way. In steps a slight malt note, followed by a fresh peppermint and lightly bitter finish. Balanced and clean throughout...best hop flavor ever.

Medium bodied with the alcohol burried within the complex flavor. The carbonation is subtle yet perfect...refreshing as cool spring water. This brew is way too drinkable...there will never be to much hype put on this ale, it's the best in it's class, bar none.

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Photo of largadeer
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Golden-amber in the glass with the faintest hop haze and a quarter-inch of white froth. Head retention is very good for such a high gravity beer, and the brightness and clarity are impressive.

The hop aroma is huge. Very resiny like Elder, but with a slightly greater sugary malt presence. Notes of pine and tropical fruit from the hops, the depth is outstanding and there's barely a hint of sweetness despite the staggering 11% ABV.

Plenty of juicy, resiny hops in the taste, but they're expertly balanced by the light malt backbone. Zesty and fruity hop flavors mix with notes of peach, pineapple and biscuit. A puckering hop bitterness comes out in the finish, overpowering the malt and drying the palate slightly.

Sticky, lightly oily with semi-crisp carbonation. Dry and bitter but displaying amazing balance, the bitterness never becomes wearying and the alcohol is hardly noticeable.

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 890 ratings.