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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

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Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

891 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 891
Hads: 2,764
rAvg: 4.69
pDev: 6.4%
Wants: 5,622
Gots: 298 | 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: 891 | Hads: 2,764
Photo of d4114
4.4/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2/9/12 at Stone Brewing

A- very clear golden orange, very similar the elder but a little more on the orange side. Nice white head.

S- Really astringent hops, big everything. Tropical fruits, grapefruit, sweet orange, pine, some actual bitterness and a sweet caramel.

T- Big citrus notes with a ton of bitterness but not in a sharp way it is just there. Not nearly as sweet as the smell which surprised me. No alcohol to be found but there is a slight warmth in the back of your throat. Citrus lingers slightly but has a very dry finish.

M- Pretty standard here, the exact medium light feel a refreshing double should have.

O- I was really really excited to try this but I have to say i'm not really sure if this holds up to the hype, for me anyhow. I think I was still expecting something a little different I guess but this is for sure an awesome A+ beer with insane drink ability. Also didn't have to wait in any kind of line or by a ticket (it wasn't even that busy really) which was a big plus. (1,005 characters)

Photo of mhatters
4.4/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at TJs a few weeks back, from my notes.

Pours a strong orangecopper color with a thick white head and tremendous amounts of lacing.

Strong pine hop nose, some floral aspects as well. Some citrus comes out when the glass is moved.

Amazing flavor, the hop flavors are incredibly complex and powerful - pine, grapefruit, floral aspects all present at one time or another.

The finish is almost sweet, crisp and still powerful.

I managed to get two of these, as the keg kicked in 26 minutes, the second glass was as powerful and tremendous as the first. According to my notes, the second glass seemed a bit more oily than the first, but not in any negative way. A great, great beer. (698 characters)

Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.4/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

after a year...finally we meet again.
this nearly clear golen beverage is wanted. a fine floral aroma like the garden of eden - BUT - do not taste of the fruit of the tree in the middle! oh dear god, i did. it is too smooth. an intensity of bitterness and hop flavor, but not quite the shapness of the elder. a little citrus fruit in the nose and mouth. so nice for 11, doesn't feel like it, so little sweetness for an imperial. i wish i could drink it, but i put the 8 oz glass in a museum instead. ahh, posterity. (515 characters)

Photo of MexicanSkittel
4.4/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is an amazing beer, there's not much to say that hasn't been said. I though in all honesty don't feel it's the greatest thing EVER. As you would assume it to be from all the hype. But the Russian River crew has again produced another gem to treat us eager beer drinkers with. OK OK the beer...

A very brilliant clear golden yellow with hints of off tan straw. A very thin head dissipates very very fast.

The nose brought out pine needles, fresh trimmings of the chronic, a little straw, with sweet hops all cut with a stinging alc.

There was a spiciness to the beer, that after lemon and green herb. The hops were more to the back of the pallet that all lead to a warm alcohol.

The drinkability of this beer is a personal opinion. I could drink this over and over again. Would it make me see triple? well yea! But there is an amazing balance that gives this beer nothing of a sense of un-drinkability.

See you next year Little guy! (946 characters)

Photo of mschantz
4.4/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at Small Bar - thanks to cuz for cluing me into this under the radar tapping. Pours a beautiful bright hazy mandarin color - much richer in color than Elder. The nose is huge citrus fruit and pine. Taste is citrus and juniper but drier than expected. Really interesting and complex. Crisp finish. (316 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
4.4/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler courtesy of urwatuh8 - many, many thanks for perhaps my #1 want. Split several ways w/ dkachur, proteus93, and one other friend (who has just begun to appreciate DIPAs - beeradvocacy at work!!).

Appearance: Pours a golden bronze body, gorgeously crisp and clear, with occasional sparse, slow, medium-sized carbonation. The head on this one is very attractive - it's a creamy snow-white, an initial finger-and-a-half high, and has above average retention. It in fact never really fades beyond a healthy thick dusting of snow and a firm, spongy collar. The lacing is similarly attractive, strewing waves and chunks of foamy, occasionally glittery lace all over the place.

Aroma: Very reminiscent of HopSlam, actually. It's incredibly citrusy and fruity - definite apricot, pineapple, strawberries, peach, white grapefruit, blood oranges all make themselves known throughout the course of the sip. It's also fantastically sweet, with notes of honey, tons of pale, saccharine sweetness. The loss of half a point is due to - upon intense, intense inspection - the emergence of a faint whiff of ethanol, light and spicy, and though not imbalanced with the other notes. This one's borderline 4.0, IMO, if only because I get almost the same thing out of HopSlam, with no alcohol there.

Taste: Massive bitterness up front and throughout, though it's a very soft, gentle, well-balanced bitterness. It melds fantastically well with the intense, large, biting citrus, grapefruit, ruby red grapefruit, tons of tropical fruits, and backed up by a big, bold, simplistically sweet malt backbone.

Mouthfeel: Wonderfully smooth and even, with a moderate, subtle carbonation, a surprisingly moderately-viscous body - i.e., I would expect it to be a lot thicker given the amount of malt that had to be pumped into this one - gentle, and subtle, pleasant, nice.

Drinkability: I actually liked the Pliny the Elder better, I do believe, though they're really, truly very different brews. The Elder seems to be a far less balanced brew, actually, with a far more herbal, minty, hop-forward nose than this brew. This one's balanced, but bigger all-around, and (in my personal opinion), the sum of its parts is just a little less overall than the Elder. That's not to say this isn't a fantastic beer - it's stellar, amazing, well-crafted. If you like balanced beer and HUGE beers, this one's for you - it's big, tasty, aromatic, well in-proportion with itself, and just all around amazing. I give many, many thanks to urwatuh8 for the growler of this fantastic brew. As an aside, the Russian River growlers are super-awesome sexy - sort of low to the ground, squat, maybe like a Russian babushka? Regardless, if I lived in Cali, I'd move into RR for this one. As it stands, I'll likely only try it once, and was very, very glad to do so. (2,828 characters)

Photo of DocJitsu
4.39/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color was a golden light orange.  Citrus bouquet. No head at all, but nicely carbonated. Nice mouthfeel.  An immediate blast of pine that yields to alternating grapefruit and floral flavors. Finishes with distinct grapefruit. No discernible alcohol warmth despite having an ABV of 10.7%.  Great beer, but not my own personal number one--certainly not the best on the planet.  (379 characters)

Photo of rhartogsq
4.39/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had it in a wine glass type vessel at Toronado San Diego 2/18/14.

The color was a great, golden ale color. I was expecting a little darker, but you can't smell or taste color, so no worries. No head, no lacing.

I didn't get much on the nose surprisingly. some tropical notes for sure. Some hop oil.

Taste was great. The booze was minute in it. the hops didn't linger at all. very smooth and enjoyable. tropical hop extract perhaps?

mouth feel was very creamy and stuck to the side of your mouth, I liked that.

was happy I lucked into getting this beer to cross off my bucket list. Would have it again if available, but not wait for a long time in line for it. The experience drinking it with other people waiting for it was actually pretty neat, as we all had the same goal. (779 characters)

Photo of IntriqKen
4.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Hollingshead Deli in Orange County, CA.
Poured a golden yellow with a white half finger head that melted slowly to top covering, very sticky lacing. Beautiful.
Lots of hops and a little brown sugar amber malt in the aroma.
Very balanced with it's sweet amber malt and fresh grapefruit peel bitter hops...nothing really fighting anything...just two very strong, impressive opposites complementing each other very well.
Great DIPA from a great West Coast Brewer.
Wish they would bottle this stuff. (510 characters)

Photo of Jef59
4.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a hazy gold with a billowy, creamy head that clings till the end.

S - Spicy pine and intense citrus give a firm punch to the nose while the sweet smell of malt gently follows.

T - Call me crazy, but I don't think it's as aggressive as the Elder. It's super balanced and super piney. A honey-like sweetness calms the intensity of the citrusy flavors: grapefruit and pineapple are most prominent. So spicy and sweet, it's very complex.

M - it feels like the th carbonated sap of a pine tree is smoothly sliding around my mouth. Velvety an light yet still rich an thick.

O - I do hate how hyped up this beer ha become. I definitely think there are better Dipas out there, but I can't deny that this is definitely in the top 10. Extremely delicious. Dangerously refreshing. (783 characters)

Photo of laxboy3496
4.37/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at Russian River Brewing the day after the Super Bowl. I'll be honest, it was just too big for me and I LIKE big beers but there was just too much going on. It is still a fantastic beer but I found myself getting through my ordering other RR offerings after finishing my 10oz. pour. I'm glad I tried it but didn't think that it was worth elbowing my way through the crowds. (387 characters)

Photo of waltonc
4.37/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap tonight at Monk's Kettle.

A: Pours clear golden color with a moderate white head.
S: Very fresh citrus, pine, and floral hop notes. Really good smell to this.
T: Again, the citrus, pine, and floral hop qualities dominate the taste, but are somewhat balanced with the malts. Still an out-of-control hop bomb, but far better than most, and probably the best California IPA I've had.
M: Mouthfeel is spot on for the style. Not too heavy, not too light, and the carbonation is perfect.
D: High ABV and out of control hops hamper drinkability, but this is very good. (570 characters)

Photo of oddb0d
4.37/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I might be one of the few who at least from the 2013 batch of PTE think that it wasn't as good as other beers that I have had. The beer reminded me of a apple or cider after taste. It wasn't as hoppy as I personally would like and it's very smooth. Reminds me of a cross of Apple Cider and Chardonnay and an IPA.

I have heard that 2013 was different from previous years. I prefer Pliny the Younger. Glad I got to try it at Russian River Brewing. (447 characters)

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.37/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler shared by mreusch. Thanks! Served in a Boulevard Tank 7 glass. Poured a deep gold with a thin white head. Massive piney hop aroma. Flavor is dominated by hop bitterness as you would expect, but there is a solid malt base without being sweet. Very drinkable for the abv, alcohol was not very evident. Lots of hops without being too green in the flavor. Nice mouthfeel, medium to full bodied. Believe the hype. (416 characters)

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.36/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

(combination of samplings consecutive days at City Tap House and Monk's Cafe, respectively)

I'll just start off by stating that this is one of, if not, the most well-balanced, elegantly-crafted hoppy ale(s) I've come across. A true example of brewing art. That said, the taste is quite fine but perhaps a bit underwhelming for more seasoned hop heads.

The liquid is a fiery orange hue with a jewel-like glow, faint haze, and nearly pure white, sticky-cottony foam that stands for a bit before being overcome by lip oils and/or the alcohol level. Looks nice, but nothing out of the ordinary.

The smell is somewhat, somehow restrained, but has one of the most well-defined, 3D aromatic representations of a handful of newly-dried hop cones in the palm of one's hand - dirty/earthy with a ghostly, subtle, spirit-lifting, mildly-mineral, tonic alcohol delivering it to the sinuses... mild orange-citrus undertones... once again, nice, but requiring a few healthy, deep inhales to take it in.

The flavor is ridiculously refined - it is easily seen that this is PtE, attenuated, flattened-out. Tastes about the same, just the depth and definition found in PtE is lacking in this. One would guess, however, that the alcohol would jump out a bit more in PtY and, yet, it doesn't at all. It's amazing how well-hidden it is, though a sense of quiet warmth rises by the last couple sips. Perception of bitterness is minimal, if at all a factor. Extremely well-balanced, but nearly brut-champagne-like in its dryness - the hops (flavor) and malt are too quiet.

Where this beer really captured my attention and imagination was in its absolutely feather-light body. It's as if the carbonation was the only thing that indicated to my senses that I had beer in my mouth. I wouldn't be surprised if this beer finishes at down close to 1.002-1.004. While I attempted to savor it at CTH, at Monk's (owing partly to the excellent special draft list) I powered through it in 3-4 sips. Sooo easy to drink. Dangerous. (2,001 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.36/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap for Churchill's Renaissance at Churchill's Pub & Grille in San Marcos, CA.

Pours a clear golden color with an off-white head that fades to nothing. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of pine and citrus zest hops, honey, and alcohol. Taste is of citrus zest, citrus fruit, slight pine, and a honey sweetness. There is a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a light level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good DIPA that is quite tasty but it doesn’t quite live up to the hype in my opinion. (584 characters)

Photo of NJpadreFan
4.35/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Russian River- Pliny the Younger

A- Bright clear copper orange with a huge fluffy white head. Good messy lacing down the goblet.
S- Strong pungent pine hops with a big dose of alc. and sour grapefruit.
T- Thick malt, slight burnt brown sugar. Huge pine hops, oily fresh pine hops. Alcohol and bitter grapefruit rind.
M- Thick malt up front with quite a bitter oily pine tar hop body. Alc. and bitter dry hops finish this off.

Overall- Gulped my beer down in under a minute! Alc. is potent in this 1. Very drinkable. (517 characters)

Photo of WOTO97
4.35/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Pizza Port San Clemente

A: translucent gold with thin white head and decent lacing

N: tons of citrus, primarily orange with some grapefruit, noticeable fresh pine in the background, fair amount of alcohol

T: big hit of hops right away, loads of citrus, passing note of mint, loads of hop bite (literally coating the cheeks with a warm bitterness), finishes with a faint fresh herb note, very dry, ABV very noticeable

M: extremely dense feel straight away, very round, mellow body, very fresh and clean

D: incredible, only planned on one but had to get a second, (576 characters)

Photo of Mark
4.35/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Was very pleased to find this at a favorite little place of ours, Pleasantons Main Street Brewery. Nice crysal clear light amber color was topped by a nice white head that retained well and left nice patterns of lace. Aroma, hops hops and more hops. Very piney and inviting. Taste, very hoppy with emphasis on the pine, fantastic freash taste and very smooth despite the high bittering. Not thick and viscous like some other beers of theis type can be. How can I give a average drinkability score to a beer that tastes exceptional? Well I don't think beers in the 11% realm are the kind you sit around and knock back. This is a great beer but I don't look to get ripped on one brew. (682 characters)

Photo of dfernandez77
4.35/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:
Vibrant chrysanthemum yellow. Crystal clear. Medium white fine head that dissipated quickly.

Aroma:
It was served cold. First aroma was sweet - not malty sweet, cleanly floral sweet - with crisp herbal notes. A 12 oz pour allowed time to warm slightly, aroma and flavor opened up. Hints of desert sage and green peppercorn, clean tangerine sorbet like aroma in the backbone, and a echo of juniper.

Taste:
Malt is very clean and crisp, the residual sweetness is more like blonde candi syrup than malts. Hardly any yeast esters, no fruitiness unlike typical ale yeast. The bittering is low, but the hop presence is huge - clean, bright, peppery, and crisply herbal. Alcohol presence is remarkably clean, more like a good gin than the boozy or hot character in most big DIPAs.

Mouthfeel:
Medium body, slightly dry. Finish is very long, hoppy, and carries the crispness of hop oils.

Overall Impression:
I see many pours of PTY are about 5 ounces - and I don't think that's enough to get the full impression. At first I was a little underwhelmed. But after about 4 sips and 1/3 through the glass it really picked up. When it warmed just slightly and opened up it really started to shine. As it warmed and opened it remained clean, crisp, and invigorating across the board. The alcohol was not boozy or hot, but clean almost like a white spirit. The malt was clean and very slightly sweet, balancing the hugely floral and herbal hops very well. Altogether, fantastic.

A 4 hour wait in line for one pour is a bit of a buzzkill, yet I'm glad I did it. However, I don't think I'll do it again. It's worth doing at least once. (1,638 characters)

Photo of egajdzis
4.35/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a bright golden color with a medium sized, creamy, white head that left nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of piney hops, citrus fruits, tons of resin, caramel malts, and light alcohol. Strong pine in the taste, more citrus fruits, bitter grapefruits, with some sweet malts, and alcohol in the finish. Much more enjoyable than DFH 120. (339 characters)

Photo of pjwilson
4.35/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: that's a fine looking glass of beer, that can't be denied. Pours a nice pale, slightly amber color. That is some haziness to it, the hoppier the beer the more hazy. poured in to a pair of pint glasses to share with my dad. that head stayed along time.

smell: volumes and volumes and volumes of hop aroma. However, it doesn't really smell all that different than the standard Russian River IPA or Pliny the Elder for that matter.

taste: well, i ate a small dinner and i can feel a buzz with one sip. You can taste the hop fiber, alcohol, more hop flavor. There is alot of bitterness, more than the elder by far. The bitterness drowns out more of the flavor, however, there is still quite a bit of hop flavor in this sucker. If there was something like hop jucie this is. This tastes as close to "beer" as lambic does, if you get my drift. over the course of a pint i warmed to this beer more and more and it's not as bitter as some other beers i've had, again more hoppy than bitter.

mouthfeel: you can actually feel the coursness of hops in the mouthfeel. While that is probably an illision, to say that this beer is syurpy, would be an understatment.

drinkabiliy: it's a sipper, but i'd imagine most triple ipa's would be.

My quest for the hoppest beer in the world ends here.(come to think of it i wasn't really on a quest, but i degress) However, this isn't really a beer I'd like to have that often really. Pliny the Elder is far more drinkable, and is just an all around more balanced great beer. I know this beer is a hop showcase, but I think just a hair more "oumpf" in the malt deparment would improve it. Still what can I say, if you see it you'll no doubt grab a growler, although a growler is sure alot of this beer, i would recomind enjoying this beer very, very slowly (1,812 characters)

Photo of Mahlik
4.34/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Apex in Portland. Poured into 6 oz glass.

A- Pours a clear golden color with a thin white head. Head dissipates quickly. Minimal amounts of lacing.

S- Glorious amounts of citrus, grapefruit, apricot, pine and floral hops. This beer really brings the hops for sure. I don't detect any malt presence.

T- Apricot, citrus and slight pine flavors become immediately recognizable. It's followed by some resinous and hop oils. Not much going on as far as malts go. So it's basically hops followed by more hops. This one is bitter from start to finish.

M- Medium-full body with a good amount of carbonation. Very dry finish. The alcohol does leave a warming feel on the palate. An odd syrupy feel to it that I'm not used to in an IPA/DIPA. Very drinkable for 11% abv.

O- Pretty damn good beer. While I do think this beer is hyped up too much, it's still well worth seeking out if you can. As a side note, I'm probably in the minority here but I think I enjoy Elder better than Younger. Elder has a little more balance to it. Regardless, get yourself some Younger if you have never had the opportunity to try it. (1,120 characters)

Photo of gueuzer
4.34/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Falling Rock.

App- Straw colored with a slight bit of white head. Dissipates fairly quickly. White lacing left behind.

Sm- Fruity, resinous, pine. Pineapple. Some malt sweetness lurking back there. Amazing.

Ta- Resinous hops, some hop bitterness but the malty sweetness really shines though. Great balance. Very minimal heat.

Dr- Amazing considering the copious amount of ingredients that go into this beer. Everything is well balanced and alcohol is hidden exceptionally well.

Overall- I would choose this over elder. however, its not so much of a difference that i would go to the ends of the earth to get it. Excellent beer though. (650 characters)

Photo of dmsohyea
4.33/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2/15/11 on-tab at San Diego Brewing Co

Spent about two weeks watching Facebook to actually get a taste of this beer. Luckily I found it at the SD Brewing, a fantastic establishment with good beer of their own.

A: Pours a deep orange with a small amount of head that dissipates quickly. Clear and crisp, little to no lacing.

S: Nothing beats the smell of this beer. Simicoe hops, pine, citrus that you can smell from several feet away. You have to get it right off the tap or the smell will diminish in a hurry. As the beer warms up you start to get a bit more of the scent when drinking. Edit: I stand corrected. The nose on this beer is somewhat muted compared to other DIPA and TIPA's on the market. It's still great, but the smell isn't as strong as it should be. Lowering this from 5 to 4. I have had this at four different tastings now, and my opinion only of the smell has lowered. Everything else is is accurate. Still extremely smooth and wonderful.

T: Sweet and malty with upfront bitterness and an alcoholic finish. Complex flavor without being too overpowering. That being said, I didn't give the taste a '5' because the alcohol is still there and so is some astringency that I wasn't expecting.

M: Mouthfeel is fantastic. Bar none. Creamy and sweet without feeling like you're eating a malt sandwich. Goes down smooth.

D: It's actually quite hard to session this beer. Besides being quickly intoxicated, the strong bitterness lingers on the back of the pallet for a long time. A great beer that I wouldn't want to have more than 2 of. (1,552 characters)

Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 891 ratings.