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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

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Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

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894 Reviews
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Reviews: 894
Hads: 2,765
Avg: 4.67
pDev: 7.28%
Wants: 5,717
Gots: 306 | 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.
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Reviews: 894 | Hads: 2,765
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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Photo of BeerZombies1
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had it on tap at the Escondido ale house. Waiting only about an hour with my wife and some really great craft beer strangers. Beer was truly nectar of the gods. Lived up to the hype and the experience overall made it that much better! Can not wait until next year to get my hands on another pint.

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

Had this on-tap yesterday and am having it from a growler now. If this beer were available year-round, I'd drink nothing but.

a: This beer pours a slightly hazy somewhat dark gold. In an effort to get glasses out faster, Natalie Cilurzo was filling pitchers with younger and pouring glasses out of that. The head size tended to vary depending on how quickly she was going. At home, pouring slowly, this develops a one-finger head that dissipates before too long, but still leaves a nice lacing.

s: Hops. Hops. More hops. I'm also doing a side-by-side comparison of this and Elder. For all that they have similar piney-grapefruity hop profiles, the difference in intensity is staggering.

t: I'm almost at a loss for words. On the one hand this is every bit as intensely bitter and hoppy as its older cousin. On the other hand, there's this sweetness as well. It doesn't taste malty, though. It's almost like the sweetness is a facet of the heavy citrusy oomph. And despite being 10.75% ABV according to the RR chalkboard, there's not a hint of alcohol that can be tasted.

m: At the pub, it poured out of the tap so slow it looked like maple syrup. I was almost expecting something very heavy, but what I got was a medium-bodied sipper with just the right amount of carbonation.

d: More. More. More. The insidiousness of PtY is not that it's a great beer. The insidiousness is that it is so bloody drinkable that every empty glass is a major disappointment. An empty growler is cause for tears. When you start drinking this beer, you don't ever want to stop.

I have one growler left. On the one hand I'm having to fight off the temptation to open it now, because once I do, that's all I'll have left for an entire year. On the other hand...so good...

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Photo of ajramirez1
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at APEX pdx. 11% of greatness. I've had tried over 900 beers and this 1 takes the top spot by far. Incredible taste, not as hoppy as i would have guest, but thats what makes this beer unique.

This beer is quite amazing. Worth the wait, will be trying this beer every year/every chance i get...recommend everyone who appeciates beer tries this at one point in your life.


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

Finally hit our city of San Diego. Had the pleasure of drinking 3 of these bad boys. Was also comparing it side by side with Pliny the Elder. Pretty amazing how RR can make the Younger taste like Elder and pack in 5% more ABV. Excellent beer!

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

Many thanks go to RedwoodGeorge for this wonderful fresh 67.6 oz/ 2 liters of pure heaven on earth.

This baby pours a lightly hazy peach color with a nice fluffy white two finger sized head, leaves lots of lace web down my glass. For an 11% brew this nice big head was not expected but is wonderful. The growler itself is great the coolest looking growler I have seen.

Aroma is holy cow wet sticky fresh from the vine hops. Fresh pine tree dripping sticky sap all wraped in grapefruit rinds. Like sticking your head in a barrel of fresh hop. There is some bready malt underneath along with hints of spiciness. If you love hops this is for you, I have never smelled anything this good, strong and fresh before.

Taste is big full huge amounts of hops very nice lots of juicey flavors fruity and piney tingle the taste buds. Man its like chewing on fresh hops how does Vinnie get so much hop flavor in this one? Its like randalized beer without the green stuff in your teeth. OK all these hops and you would think just tounge numbing bitterness but no, it is bitter but more balanced then should be possible.There is a lingering grapefruit bitterness with hints of pine but nice bready malt base does come thru and adds some sweetness also some spice shows up but probably coming from the huge amount of hops. This one truly is a triple IPA unlike the other triple IPA that tastes more like a barley wine, nothing against Devil Dancer but this is the shit here. This is the big IIPA all should be judged by.

Mouthfeel is nice smooth big almost creamy but a little to much carbonation for creamy. The carbonation adds a touch of zest to the hops. You can almost feel the hop oils rolling over your tounge.

Drinkability is beyond great, where the hell is the 11% well after a few pours I know its there and didn't finish my growler in one night so it will kick your ass atleast for a light weight like me but you will not know it until you get up. The only thing hurting drinkability here is having to go to Santa Rosa to get more. Vinnie can you please bottle this and send some to the Vintage Cellar. I have rated one other beer a 5.0 but that was probably a mistake, no mistake here you want the best triple IPA, or double as stylized by BA, then this is the one to rule them all. Again want to thank RedwoodGeorge for this one.

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Photo of bluz4frank
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Can I say anything more about this beer than has already been published? Sat next to Vinnie during the day we were there. He mentioned he thought it was the best batch so far. I agree. My fourth year attending and it was definitely the best. A good friend is a photographer for the Santa Rosa Press Democratn who has done dozens of stories about Vinnie and his beer. Even HE said it was the best batch ever.

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Photo of mdlb44
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the perfect imperial IPA in my opinion. It deserves a 5 for so many reasons. Perfectly balanced, great mouth feel, with that perfect TIPA kick at the end. Hop forward but nice and smooth. Perfect

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Photo of Habanero58
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The things I will do to taste world class beers!!

Made a 11,000 mile or so round trip from London, UK to Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, CA to be there during 3 of the 14 days of PtY at Russian River. Was in the first throng on Superbowl Day so hello to anybody who also got that little emerald green wristband!! Great organistation here from the Russian River team. Anyway...

No sooner than we were seated (having quickly made friends in the queue) than the magic words "Younger"? were spoken and the beer followed shortly after.
I will have to start backwards and say the thing that astounded me most about this beer was the drinkability.
It is so smooth and creamy and the 10.25% ABV announced on the RR blackboard is just SO well hidden that you really do not realise how strong it is.

Even with my poor sense of smell the floral, fruity, piney scent of PtY blew me away as when I had first tried PtE.

I returned to RR for two more days and on my last visit sampled PtY and PtE alongside eachother as I find this helps me to really spot any differences.
That they are close siblings is no doubt but the thing that stood out for me was that I thought PtE had a much drier finish. The bitterness was certainly there but seemed more discreet in the Younger.

Anyway, mission accomplished, it was nice to meet possibly the most drinkable, the most quaffable beer of all...which it probably shouldn't be? Amazing!!

And my bottles of Supplication and Consecration survived the flight home! Thanks to everybody who made me so welcome in Santa Rosa and RR.

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Photo of sicandy63
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Light golden color with a minimal white head.

S- Hoppy, nice citrus aroma, and slight pine scent.

T- Piney, very hoppy, and a good amount of bitter flavor.

M- Long finish, slightly drying. Medium-low carbonation, the hop resin leaves a strong but pleasant bitter coat in your mouth that is a complete palette jackhammer

O- This beer was amazing. There is a big difference between this one and Pliney the Elder (since I drank them one after the other). The hops really come trough it. Definitely worth it and highly recommend it.

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

Growler split between a few people. Crystal clear golden orange body with a tall off white foamy head. Sticky and clumpy lacing galore. Huge hoppy as hell aroma that is spectacular. Pine and citric hops just bombard your nose. Some nice floral hops in there as well. Very light sweetness in the nose that seems to be just enough to make it seem balanced even though this is overflowing with hoppy goodness. The flavor is packed full of hop goodness. Very juicy with hops and it has a good amount of the hop sweetness that I taste in 120 minute but without going overboard. Citric, pine and floral earthy flavors are there in abundance. Pretty much hop juice is the way I would describe it. It’s fairly bitter but not to the point of being a palette destroyer. Mouthfeel is ridiculously smooth for the strength and the hoppiness. Just the right amount of body to it. No alcohol to be found anywhere. It couldn’t be any more drinkable, it almost went down like water. While most of my other favorite double IPAs are the smack you around and rip your tongue out kind this one manages to be a super refined and smooth hop bomb that managed to stay balanced and still hoppy as hell.

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

The benchmark of all beers as far as I'm concerned.

The beer has a light golden color with citrus and floral aromas. This sour beer has a strong grapefruit taste but the bitterness does not linger long.

This beer is almost impossible to find unless you live near Santa Rosa. I accidentally had my first taste on a wine trip to the area, having enough of the grape juice I asked around for a great beer spot and was unanimously pointed to the Brew Pub on 4th. My beer life has never been the same.

Cheers for this beer and a second cheers for it's limited production.

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

Has it really been a year since I sipped this delicious nectar? Yes. Yes it has.

Far too long.

A season has come and gone. Winter has given way to summer, and again submitted to the chilling winds of the North.

This beer is beautiful. Crisp and golden, with a head that should not be possible for a 11% ABV beer. To gaze at this beer, is to look at beer porn

Smell is very citric, a contrast to the more pine-like Elder.

Taste is OSUHJFOHHJKKkkk. Impossible to put into words -- Heavenly. Strong citrus hops with a malt backbone that is certainly pronounced, but not overwhelming.

Mouthfeel -- Again, this beer defies its ABV with a crisp mouthfeel that is light on the tongue. Doesn't finish quite as dry as Elder

Drinkability - Finished two imperial pints, and would have had more if there weren't health/safety issues to consider.

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

First brew rated, figured it should be 'the One'.

All I can type is 'incredible' and 'epiphany'. It was when I drank Adam from HotD for the first time. Wow!

It ranks as one of the best beers ever sampled. Drank 3 between sour sample.

Beer Nirvana! I can hear Angels!

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

For my first BA review, I humble myself in the presence of PtY. I realize giving a perfect score is a dangerous move, but it truly represents my experience and what the beer deserves as an example of the style.

PtE was largely my entrance to craft beer, and after trying many more fine brews and gallivanting around BA I knew that PtY was a must-have.

I tried it on-tap at the RR brewpub in Santa Rosa (mid-february), Ben and Nick's Bar in Oakland (early march), and the Trappist bar in Oakland (late march).

Servings: at the brewpub, a 10 oz pour into a nonic pint. Ben and Nicks served a 10 oz in a stemmed tulip, and the Trappist poured 8 oz into a RR tulip.

Appearance: it glows. It was darker each time I tried it, but overall a deep golden orange.

Aroma: incredibly potent. Wonderful tropical bouquet cut with that familiar pine. Compared to PtY? More sweet and fruity than dank/musty/bitter. Fresher.

Taste: I'm very hop-tolerant, and this is clearly a celebration of a carefully constructed hop profile, but it isn't trying to prove anything. It's been said before, but the real triumph of this beer is the balance. You can taste hops inside and out, you can feel the buds prickling in your throat, but JUST enough malt presence carries you through to a graceful, ever so slightly dry finish. It's a big beer, but there is nothing cloying about it.

Mouthfeel: Just a bit heavier than the uncle, but clean and smooth still. The Trappist uses 30% NO in their taps, which imo countered the dryness a bit and left a more lingering mouthfeel. Carb is right on.

Drinkability: the beer is highly enjoyable; it's only extreme in its freshness and balance--it goes down like mother's milk. However, I felt the effects after each glass, humbled like Icarus.

Russian River is a truly great brewery. PtY does not compete by being heavy-handed, so I regret the constant need to compare it to other hoppy beers. There is no need for skepticism; it is a masterpiece. Like Mark Starr said, when you get to this level, it's just a matter of preference. If you're looking for the most extreme hop experience, your search doesn't end with PtY. Most likely it will simply take a detour into the rest of what RR has to offer.

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Photo of 59071240749
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

TaNgerine hued copper, slight haze--yeast or dry hopping?
Slight offwhite head. Struggling carbonation. Gorgeous
from the looks this is a substancial beverage...it sits in a Belgian tulip glass ready to pounce like a massive orange tiger.

Get anywhere within a few feet of this beverage and you'll be treated to a blast of dank citrusy floral spicy deliciousness.
Pure hop oils pulsating, filling the air and your nostrils in a way that no other dipa can do. Put your nose to the glass and it smells like opening vacuum sealed packets of all the finest
american hop varieties put together in a symphony of perfection.
Such amazing hop design going on here.

Drinking it unloads this symphony of aroma into your mouth. Take a sip and you'll quickly want a gulp--this is 11% abv but somehow it drinks like a session beer. Flavor is rich sticky resiny hops balanced with tropical fruit citrus pine dank garlic
spicy herbal. The resins just coat your mouth and suck you in

how does a beer this big with so much ibu and dry hopping finish so dry? I can't figure it out. Insanely good and my favorite double ipa of all time. Year after year Russian river kicks total ass with this one

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

Believe the hype... that's all that really needs to be said about this beer. perfection.

pours a deep golden almost amber color that is truly something special to behold. a small off white head rests atop the body of liquid awesomeness, lacing the glass minimally, and leaving only the slightest trace of itself. The smell is super piny, citrusy, hops all over, with a hint of cannibus. the quintessential aroma for an ipa.

The flavor is so overwhelmingly amazing it's hard to put words to. citrusy and piney, tons of hops. earthy and bitter as all hell. a little honey flavor. bitter grapefruit and alcohol in the finish. amazing. a palate destroyer for sure.

The mouthfeel is oily with hop resin and nice and thick on the palate. wonderfully, perfectly carbonated. The drinkability for an 11% beer is equal to the most drinkable single ipa available. incredible.

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

Half pint at Russian River on 02.06.09. Board behind bar listed PiY as 10.5% with GOBS under the I.B.U. One of the most unique colors of beer I have ever seen. No head in sight and the glass was glowing orange. All I could do was stare for a few minutes. While doing this, I could smell Younger from a foot away. Crazy giant boozy grapefruit whiffs. Really. Chewy as hell. Grapefruit taffy. Cascade spearmint jolly rancher. Enormous whopper of a DIPA. Exceptionally drinkable for the size. Had a tulip of Younger Sunday night @ Toronado and could have had 6 more. But what's the point? This beer is the shit.

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

Better than Pliny the Elder, but very hard to get.

This brewery makes the best beer that I have tasted - hands down. The bar is full, day and night. It is so crowded, that it ALMOST takes away from the beer. I have never walked away without a smile on my face.

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

Tasted the beer at the bar. I had to wait in line for about one hour and a half. I then just proceeded to drink two 10 oz younger glasses in almost no time at all. It is really exceptional how easy drinking the beer is for its size.
I later ordered an Elder and a Younger to compare then side by side.

Appearance is fantastic. A hazy orangey color, just a tad more copper than the characteristic yellow of pliny the elder. Under some lights they seemed almost the same color, but when held up, you can clearly see that Younger is a bit more orange. Very nice. It is a little hazy, but I guess it goes with the style and the amount of hops. Not a very large head but it really doesn't matter, the beer was very nicely carbonated.

Smell is wonderful. Piney, citrus hops. I swear this has got to be the best smelling beer ever. Perhaps I like the smell of the Elder just a tad better, just because it is a bit dryer. Nonetheless a LOT of hops and a delicious smell.

Taste is just fantastic. It is impressive how the Younger can make the Elder seem not as good. It really has a nicer, maybe a little more balanced taste. Not as dry, and just as much hop flavor.

Everything was amazing about the beer. The only bad thing is they only make it once a year and I had to travel FAR to get it.

Drinkability is excellent. I would have had more, but did not want to get home without a brain.

The best beer I've had hands down. Really hard to express how this one makes the Elder seem like a normal beer. Although we all know the Elder is also great. I hate to give out a perfect score, but this one just plain deserves it.

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 894 ratings.