Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company
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Ratings: 2,330 | Reviews: 842 | Display Reviews Only:
5/5 rDev +6.6%
Received from the BA's BA, RedwoodGeorge, as part of his recent Home Bottling Project. Thanks a million George for bringing smiles to this hoppy beer lover, along with many others.
Electric tangerine with juicy pineapple edges. The French vanilla canopy is three fingers in height and looks incredibly thick, rich and creamy. There's been very little deflation in the several minutes since the pour and it appears as if the head will last forever. I don't have forever, though, because I'm dying to take a sip. It eventually melts just enough to reveal a thick, sticky coat of lace with a few dots of visible glass. I prefer dirty, hop-flecked DIPAs, but this one is more than superb.
The nose is, without question, one of the best in all of beerdom. I was pretty sure that it would be pure hoppy bliss... and it is. And then some. There's an incandescent, brain-filling explosion of the sweetest, juiciest hops imaginable each time I venture anywhere near the glass. Thankfully, the malt is buried without a trace, allowing the hops to work their incredible, lupulinirific magic. One of the best of all-time.
Pliny The Younger is a gorgeous, unbelievably delicious Double IPA. There's no question in my mind that this style should be all about the hops. Those that favor the caramel malty, more balanced side of the DIPA continuum, edging into barleywine territory, miss the opportunity to brew transcendent, explosively hop-centric beer, the likes of which is sitting before me right now. Make no mistake, this one is all about the hops. And hops. And more hops.
There's a solid, sugar cookie-like maltiness that lays down an unshakable base and provides support for whatever tonnage of hoppage that may be thrown its way. The trick is in laying off any hint of toastedness or caramel-like flavors that would dilute or mask the citric hoppiness. Lightly (and I do mean lightly) brown sugar-crusted candied grapefruit peel abounds, along with a blissful bitterness that is unrelenting in its pithy intensity.
I may be able to appreciate the slightest hint of bitter orange, but white grapefruit is front, center and side-to-side. I'd love to know what varieties comprise the hop bill, but it's pretty obvious that the best hops in the known universe (one or more of the 4-Cs) are represented in a major way. I just can't get over the liquid candy-like, sweet and bitter, unalloyed nature of the hoppiness. Pliny is everything that you've heard it is and is everything that I hoped it would be.
It's nearly impossible to completely bury a 10.5% ABV, but Russian River has given it a Hurculean effort. I'm not sure that I'd want the alcohol to be completely absent since it provides a power and presence that lets you know that this is a serious beer that must be respected. Hell, I repect it for the flavor alone. Maybe it's my elation at the out-of-this-world taste, but I'm halfway through the bomber and I'm barely feeling it. This is the most drinkable 10.5%'er ever!
The mouthfeel is simply perfect. Mouthfillingly full with an incredible lasting stickiness after the swallow. Lushly sappy is my favorite sort of DIPA mouthfeel and this beer fits that descripton to a 'T'. When it comes to the carbonation, I have to give credit to RedwoodGeorge for the amazing re-bottling effort. I had some qualms that PTY would be over-carbonated, but that hasn't been borne out in the actual drinking. It's perfect: enlivening without being the least bit spritzy, fading to muted by the second half of the bomber.
I held off on contacting RedwoodGeorge for a trade that would have brought me a growler of Pliny The Younger because I knew that I would love this beer more than any other that I've ever had and wanted to experience it in Santa Rosa, as it should (ideally) be experienced. When the opportunity came my way, however, thanks entirely to George's incredible generosity, I just couldn't turn down the chance to try one of the world's best.
Before cracking the crown, I told myself that there was no way I could give perfect scores to a beer that had been re-bottled from a keg, no matter how outstanding. I'm glad to report that I was wrong. Pliny The Younger is a remarkable beer that transcends any attempt on my part to put its magnificence into words. I still plan to make it out to Santa Rosa some day. When I do, I'm going to ask the Alstroms to come up with a rating scale that includes sixes, 'cause I'm gonna need 'em.
03-12-2006 23:40:54 | More by BuckeyeNation
5/5 rDev +6.6%
Wonderful. It's chock full of hop flavor. I've had a number of DIPAs, and this beer expresses hop flavor better than any beer that I've ever tasted.
I'm currently tasting this beer against Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig. It's an interesting comparison, but the flavor profiles are quite similar. Pliny the Younger tastes a lot like Pliny the Elder, just as Blind Pig tastes like Pliny the Elder. Each beer steps up the strength and intensity of hop flavor. Blind Pig to Pliny the Elder is a smaller step than Elder to Younger but not substantially so.
Hops are the star in the flavor department. They are citric, piny and very floral. The citrus is grapefruit, orange and tangerine mixed with pineapple. The pine is dark and resiny, like sap. I don't know flowers well enough to identify the floral aspect beyond wonderful wildflowers.
There is a strong malt backbone that allows this much hop flavor to come through. Is this beer balanced? I would say so, but the malt does not express the same complexity and assertiveness of the hops. That is not to say the malt isn't strong or is bad. The malt is actually wonderful. It's like a caramel cookie swirled into a fine hop tea.
The alcohol is in this beer is exceptionally well-hidden. I'm giving this beer a perfect score, in part, because I can't imagine a way that this beer could be differ and be better for it. I say that because I can't imagine this beer without the same strength. I guess the alcohol is present, but it's not unpleasant in any way.
The color is very close to Elder and Blind Pig, which is to say golden-amber and wonderful. The aroma is very hoppy, with the flavors as previously described. The feel is also exceptional, almost oily with hop essence. Sorry, just trying to get through the other categories.
I should probably end this as I just finished my second glass out of the growler (not to mention some Blind Pig and Elder), and I can certainly feel it. It's a great beer. Try it if you can. I hope that they start bottling it. I can't imagine that they couldn't turn a profit on bottles. I know it's expensive to produce, but you can charge a pretty penny nowadays for a bottle of beer. Anyway, great beer.
02-17-2009 02:19:25 | More by popery
5/5 rDev +6.6%
On tap at TJ's in the western burbs of Philly.
Maybe I'm tasting the hype, but this is the third year I've had it and it blows me away every time. And this is after drinking HopSlam and Nugget Nectar heavily for at least a month before getting a glass.
Looks like liquid gold in the glass, if gold were a little darker. The aroma is very similar to the Elder. Possibly a little more potent, which is saying something! Taste is pure hops, but less bitter than the Elder, which is why I prefer Younger.
It's the perfect beer for hopheads. Big thanks to Jeff from TJ's for this one.
02-24-2011 12:54:07 | More by chcfan
5/5 rDev +6.6%
Growler from augustgarage. Many thanks!
Poured into my Firestone Walker pint glass.
A- Lighter than expected.. golden honey in color. 3-finger head that laces impossibly well for an 11% beer. Must be the hops, lol. There's a half-finger of head that refuses to go away.. carbonation looks like it held up well in the cross-country trek.
I've never seen a beer over 10% that has head retention like this.. especially a week-old growler. Damn. Creamy as all hell... lacing is fire-extinguisher-esque in body.
S- Hop assault. Piny, fruity, floral. Similar to Pliny the Elder, just a bit more behind it.
T- Citrus hops, full-throttle. Tangerine/grapefruit and a bit of pineapple. Some tropical mango/papaya. Some pine hops, which come through as 'new-growth' with a bit of an octane quality. A bit of booze and a bit of a peppery note in the finish. This beer is incredibly fresh.
M- Where's the ABV? Choked out by the hops. Phenomenal. I cannot believe this is 11%. Dry.. and I can't believe how much the sweetness of an 11% DIPA is in check. I've had 8% beers that have more cloying sweetness to them.
D- Insane. Growler was no problem. This beer lives up to any and all hype. Takes everything I love about Pliny the Elder and fucking doubles down. Whoa. Excuse the profanity.. the stealth ABV must be creeping in.
I've reviewed 300+ beers and enjoyed probably close to 500 beers since joining beeradvocate. This is, by leaps and bounds, the best beer I've had. And here I thought I was getting sick of DIPAs. Holy. shit.
For those of you living vicariously through reviews, PtE and Alpine Pure Hoppiness are close flavor-wise.
02-14-2010 03:01:16 | More by ShogoKawada
5/5 rDev +6.6%
Received my growler today from moosington-thanks man, this sure was a great trade. It is being shared with two BA's. I start the evening of excitement with the unveiling of the growler.
Poured into a duvel glass the color is light orange with a golden glow. Head is large bubble bit perfect.
Aroma is hopcentric from sniff one. There is a sweet malt behind the hops but the juicy, fruity hop smells are delicious to the nose.
Flavor is full, robust and again riddled with hops. There is a fairly prominent malt backbone but this monster is not sweet. The alcohol is well hidden but sneaks up quickly. If you're a hophead you'll love this grand double IPA.
Mouthfeel is perfect. Not too thin, not too thick, just perfect. This DIPA is a touch drier than any I've ever had; I think its the water.
Drinkability is off the charts. The alcohol is muted, and the flavor volume is tuned up. What an amazing beer. In fact its my only all 5's beer - and for good reason. I will definately seek this one out again; in fact I may go to the release next year.
Before this hopslam was my favorite DIPA, not anymore. West scores again.
02-13-2010 03:20:24 | More by PerzentRizen
Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,330 ratings.