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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

891 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 891
Hads: 2,764
rAvg: 4.69
pDev: 6.4%
Wants: 5,615
Gots: 299 | 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 rustycentipede
3.3/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at Apex in Portland. Was surprised to find it a very average imperial IPA.

A - Poured a very pale clear gold with no head and lots of bubbles.

S - Citrus and pine

T - I did not find this beer to be nearly as hoppy as I was hoping it would be. It was a pleasant taste, definitely nothing to complain about, but nothing stood out as special about this beer. A standard piney bitterness but very little residual hop flavor.

M - Very nice, almost champagne-like mouthfeel.

O - I am glad to that I got to try it, but I would not make any effort to have it again. It is by no means a bad beer, but I don't think I would have thought twice about it if I had not heard so much about it prior to drinking this. It's true that this beer "doesn't taste like it is 11%", but in my book that is not necessarily good. I found it to be lacking in both malt and hops flavor. (879 characters)

Photo of DT509er
3.38/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm a IPA guy, but my taste buds are over-loaded from the alcohol on the triple IPA's.

PTY was a rather surprising taste for me, I found it to have a subtle alcohol effect with a sweet taste overall. Texture was creamy, reminded me of a Cream Ale soda (texture only). No real head to each pour, its beer in the glass top-to-bottom.

This is a good beer but if I had to stand in line as others have done, and continue to do, this is not the beer I would wait for.

Prost! (474 characters)

Photo of PDXHops
3.44/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to a hot tip, I got to enjoy a couple of the first glasses poured at the Horse Brass Pub. Served in a small nonic glass.

Pours bright and light golden orange with an almost pure white head. The head is ~3/4 of a finger, and with some gentle swirling lingers pretty well considering the ABV. A little bit of lacing is teased, but drips back in.

Loads of pine and grapefruit aromas, plenty of sweeter tangerine, peach(?) and floral notes, with quite a bit of alcohol weaving through it all. I can only imagine how great this would smell in a big snifter. Served in a nonic glass is no way to show it off, though. Really had to dig in there to enjoy the bouquet, literally getting my nose wet a couple of times.

There's not much of the sweet fruitiness I was excpecting based on the smell, but there's a ton of pine and grapefruit. The balancing sweetness tastes not of caramel or even light malt, but rather like simple syrup. Odd- it doesn't complement the bitterness very well. As it warms, the alcohol becomes increasingly pronounced and distracting. Pronounced alcohol burn as it warms up. Booziness aside, it's not as big and aggressive as I expected (I definitely prefer the Elder).

Mouthfeel is decent. There's a slick/oily quality that, in combo with gentle carbonation, smooths out the substantial ABV. However, it doesn't disguise a distracting sugary stickiness left on the palate in the finish (sticky hops= good, sticky sugar= bad). Not nearly as raw and angry as expected from a beer with this much hops.

Drinkability is OK, but not great for me based on the sugary stickiness, weird sweetness(tasted at times like straight simple syrup instead of light malt) and, to a lesser degree, the alcohol burn.

Overall impression: Glad I got a chance to give it a try without promising my firstborn for a growler trade. Intense and pretty enjoyable, but doesn't live up to mystique (and isn't even the best DIPA from Russian River). (1,951 characters)

Photo of timobkg
3.5/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an 8oz tulip.

Had this on tap together with Elder and Blind Pig, so I'll compare to those.

Younger is the cloudiest of the three, with quickly dissipating head. I was surprised by the lack of head, given the amount of hops involved.

The aroma was surprisingly mild, again given the amount of hops in here.

Younger tastes maltier and sweeter than Blind Pig, but hoppier and more bitter than Elder. Whereas Elder is well balanced, Younger tips that balance towards the hops. The alcohol is hidden, but you can feel that this is a potent potable.

Overall, I feel this beer is over hyped, and the hype and rarity drive up the scores. It's a good beer, but it's not great, and I prefer Elder. (704 characters)

Photo of Callenak
3.63/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served on Cask at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach.

This is the second time I've tried the younger, once on tap and once on cask. I've had the elder many times and will be drinking some tonight for MNF. I had to try the younger again before I reviewed it to give it a second chance. So many people say that it's better than the elder I thought it deserved a second go-around.

Pours a pale gold with a big head. Took the bartender a lot of pumping to get this one poured just right. The head subdues rather quickly. Not sure if that's the cask or the ABV.

The smell is of course hops plus a good dose of alcohol. The beer is 11% after all. The alcohol is almost dominant.

The taste is overload. Tons of hops and lots of alcohol burn. I'm sure there is sugar used in the brewing of both the elder and the younger. I like a good, strong beer, but the alcohol is almost to much.

If you are going to compare the Younger to something it might as well be the Elder. I had an Elder right afterwards and reaffirmed my preference. The Elder is perfection. Taste completely unique in a time when every brewer is brewing a DIPA. The Younger reminds me of several other DIPA's I've had. The hops are great in it, but I just don't care for the alcohol burn. (1,255 characters)

Photo of brdc
3.68/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks a million to alcstradamus for his generosity.

So this is it, the new number 1! Opening the growler produces a loud hiss, which is obviously a great sign.
Poured into an Allagash tulip-type glass, it is a fairly clear golden orange body capped by a white fluffy head. It shows good retention, and produces sheets of lace on its way down. After several minutes I am left with a thin collar and a decprated glass.
Nice aroma, with a combination of multiple tropical fruits, pineapple and grapefruit at the forefront, with caramel malts and cookie dough coming out from time to time.
I have to disagree with buckeyenation here, as this one feels a lot closer to barleywine than a pure hopbomb. Yes, the flavor shows a hop explosion, with all the above mentioned fruity hoppiness, grtapefruit and pineapple, and fortunately, the grapefruit is noit overpowering, but maltiness is clearly present.
Caramel and cookies are there, and there are some sweet traces on the palate.
Nice carbonation, lending a smooth consistency.
This is a good beer, but IMHO, far from #1.
I am very glad I had this opportunity, thanks again to alcstradamus, but I believe Hopslam and Dreadnaught are better.

OBS: As I finished my review, and a new average is made, it is now at #2. Westy is back on top. (1,292 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

on-tap at Pizza Port Carlesblad. The more aggressive version of the elder in a side-by-side tasting. Hop attack of the palate, and a lot of malt. Powerful hop attack, common amoung the double IPAs I have had, is not satisfying to me. The elder is much smoother, and now my favorite. White head. You don't detect the alcohol in the taste, but it's there! (353 characters)

Photo of ShadesOfGray
3.73/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at a "secret" tapping, Gray Lodge in NE Philadelphia. Poured into a stemmed pint glass, whatever that may be called! Was fortunate to get the first glass! Pours a bright copper/yellow color. Very small white head that dissapates to a thin ring, pretty quickly too. No real lacing to speak of, but could be due to the "bar-glass" washing methods.

Aroma was not as strong as I expected, but good! Piney hops, obvious grapefruit, and honey. Other than that, similar to most big name DIPA's.

Flavor was a little let down to be honest. It's good, but too sweet IMO. I hate to say it, but I prefer Elder better. The hops come fore front immediately, followed quickly by the intense sweetness, and finally followed again by another wave of hops and a dry boozy finish. I had heard that the grapefruit is very well detectable in Younger, they weren't kidding! Very carbonated and thin light, yet crisp mouthfeel. I actually enjoyed Younger less as it warmed up, it got even more sweet. Over all, a very good beer, but way too hyped! Again though, another good beer from Russian River! (1,089 characters)

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.75/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Falling rock had this on tap, and I didn't want to miss it. served in small snifter at the half pint volume.
Bright ruby and amber brew, really likes the light and shines like a lantern. Good dense, white, and foamed head. Great lacing after every sip and quick swirls...all the way to the end.
Mild hops aroma, yet complex. The alcohol is well concealed. Some floral and vanilla seem to be present as well.
Balanced taste to it. For as much hops as this thing has, the malt is present just at the beginning and a bit in the end. Smooth and sharp. Not bitter, buy very dry.
Deceiving beer with the abv. Dangerous, but very nice.

Update:
This is my third PyT review, the other two being in 06 and 09.
Falling Rock tapped this tonight and I got in on the first of 3 kegs.

Clear, clean light copper pour. A 1 finger white head foamed up. Lacing was thin, a quick swirl brought about the head again, yet lacing didn't quite stick.
A good blend in the aroma of citrus hops, some butteriness, pine and faint biscuit.
A rather lack luster taste. A soft citrus body develops with thin pine and an aftertaste of malt. But that doesn't last long. The body is thin, the bite is quiet and the balance is easily overlooked. At 11% abv, it is very easy drinking. I'm a bit disappointed in this one this year. Still good, but not world class, imho.
Update the update: 2011 sample. I dunno, the taste just isn't meeting the nose (i've upped the smell score). Doesn't seem as juicy as I remember or expected based on the aroma. The appearance today wasn't all that good...no head...but that was due to the pour
Averaged out the scores above
Update: On tap at Backcountry Pizza in Boulder, Feb 11 2012. This version seems thinner. The nose is softer and less hoppy. Nothing bad about it. The feel is drier without the bite. It just kind of evaporates and leaves the palate quickly. (1,870 characters)

Photo of Docrock
3.77/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Russian River taproom at 2012 release. Served in a 10 oz glass. Had very high expectations given the hype.

App- No head whatsoever. Color is a nearly transparent gold. Other than the lack of head it was an attractive beer

Sm- Full citrus aroma. Fresh and clean, pleasant but not too heavy hop fragrance.

T- Well balanced hops, citrus, some bitterness and orange peel.Very little sense of the alcohol content. Bitter aftertaste but a good finish overall.

Mf- Smooth, but little sense of any carbonation, seemed a bit thin on the finish. Flavor was appealing.

Ov- A good beer. Not sure if it's worth all the hype. My mates were a bit dissapointed as well but it's still a good beer. Enjoyed the experience and the atmosphere. I would try it again if I could find it, but probaably won't make the 2000 mile trek again. Fortunately ties it into a business trip

I was a little sketchy of the hype and while it's not the best beer in the world by any means, it's still good and the experience and atmosphere was great, a lot of great beer talk at Russian River.

-DR

reviewed from personal notes.. (1,119 characters)

Photo of Samichlaus82
3.78/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is clear, light amber in color, with a thin white head that leaves minimal lacing around the glass. Aroma is bursting with grapefruit and hops, with notes of sweet honey, caramel & fruit. Taste is sweet caramel malt upfront, mildly piney in the mid-palate, with a slightly bitter hop finish. Not too hoppy though. Very rich & well balanced. Mouthfeel is light in body, smooth, & again slightly bitter in the finish. Overall, is it the best Imperial IPA in the world? That’s subjective; I see how people could think so. I think it’s pretty damn good, but I tried it in a blind tasting among other DIPA’s, and it certainly wasn’t my favorite. The hype plays a lot into this. Still, extremely glad I got to try this! (732 characters)

Photo of dbONE
3.8/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a large mouth glass, the head was firm and perched on a nice golden pedistal.

The aroma was like sitting under a Pine tree eating sweet grapefruit, oranges and tangerines. A complimentery blend for the nose.

Well here is another beer using an abundent amount hops. Are brewers aware of the shortage?
The sweet maltyness is a good balance for the hops used. A clean finishing medium bodied DIPA that won't leave your face turned inside-out.

Following the frame work of just about every other DIPA around this one is full of citrus and pine. There are notes of grass clinging to the piney resign. Sweet grapefruit and moderate carbonation smooth it out pallett for a clean, dry finish at the back of the tounge.

This one is a good find, another notch in the post for Russian River. (794 characters)

Photo of xhcadamx
3.82/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours the exact same color as Elder but with less head and very little lacing

S - I can understand why this was named after Pliny the Elder - the aroma profile is almost identical - just way more floral.

T - Alcohol is very prominent followed by a STONG FLORAL hop presence a bit of grapefruit. Unlike Elder there is no emphasis on the malt.

M - Creamy and smooth if the alcohol didn't have such a strong presence this would be highly drinkable

D - the strong alcohol burn is a let down

People are going hog wild over this beer but it's definitely not the best double / triple IPA I have ever had. (606 characters)

Photo of Bilobatemonkey
3.82/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

So much hype for this brew! I'm glad I finally got a taste. Not sure why everyone is up in arms about this one. Tastes very similar to PtE but with a higher ABV. I actually prefer PtE. Is PtY worth all the hype? In my opinion, no. If you haven't tried it, I do recommend giving it a try if you have the opportunity. (315 characters)

Photo of benito
3.82/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Despairing over not being able to get this on tap at the RR brewpub, I was overjoyed to find it on tap at Toronado in San Francisco.

A: An unmoving copper with a thin head. Still waters run deep, right?

S: Earthy hops--grass and cedar with a touch of sweeter fruit, maybe strawberry. This is certainly one of the strongest hop bouquets I've ever smelled.

T: An ode to the hop. The overall flavor is strong enough on malt and hops that it could pass as a barley wine (especially if Avery were making it), but it emphasizes on bitterness, from start to finish. The molasses like malty flavors up front give way to a dry and bitter finish, with hints of pine, grass, and alcohol.

M: I suppose that the quality of mouthfeel depends on how much you love the hop. The 'balance' is about as good as one might expect from a so-called triple IPA (which I will insist is not truly its own style); nonetheless, the residual bitterness is a little too much for my palate.

D: For sipping. 'Nuf said.

Overall, this is an ambitious and aggressive brew, significantly stronger than its (wonderful) uncle Pliny the Elder. It seems that RR isn't going for a beer that's going to please anyone other than the most die-hard of hop heads; while that may mean the beer won't be universally acclaimed, it's probably that kind of an attitude that helps make forward progress in the US craft brew industry.

Recommended. (1,416 characters)

Photo of garbercury
3.83/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lucky enough to have this on tap on a visit to Russian River.

Mmmmm. PTY, taste the hype.

A---Good looking beer, no doubt about it, not a ton of head but well laced with a awesome orange hue.

S---Yep, this has some hops in it, lots of pine and some fruit esters.

T---Complex with a lot going on besides the hops, citrus of course, mango? Pineapple? For being a hop-bomb, this has a very nice flavor and finish.

M---dry and tart with the hops finish

D---I will say up front, hop-bombs are not really my thing. I have had this beer on two separate occasions and if you are a hop-head, this is a very solid choice, I like it much more than the Elder, which pretty much reminds me of Pine-sol. I guess that is what is funny about styles, Pty is treated like it is the second coming of Jesus or something, it is not. Dont trade away your first born to get this, but certainly make an effort to get some if you enjoy this style! (930 characters)

Photo of dbalsock
3.83/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Light amber/golden color and very clear with smallish white head that stays around and provides some slight lacing.

Smell: Floral and citrusy, all I can smell are hops and sweet fruits. The aroma is very intense.

Taste: tastes like it smells, with grapefruit coming in and a pine forest on the aftertaste. The malt base isn't as deep as I expected and this is not as balanced as the Elder, but the amount of hops is quite impressive. This is a hop-heads dream. There's also some alcohol, but for 11% it's covered very well by the intense hopiness.

Mouthfeel: Very bitter, especially as one keeps drinking it. It seems to magnify the bitterness with each sip.

Drinkability: For the amount of alcohol in this, it is way to easy to drink. It goes down the throat and is bitter enough to keep someone gulping. I'm very impressed and although it's not quite balanced enough for my tastes, I can see why this is so highly regarded. (949 characters)

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.85/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got to try this on tap at Capone's. Pours orange with a thick white head. Aroma of nice hop oils and crackery malt. Flavor is quite malty with a sweet finish. A bit heavy and harsh at times and not as citrusy as the growler version I had. Certainly not as citrusy as Elder. Second time around I was less impressed by this one. It is a heavy IIPA and at times overbearing. Fun to try, but I think I'm done seeking out this one. Elder is better!
8/4/8/4/15 (3.9/5) (462 characters)

Photo of br3wmeister
3.87/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a light hazed golden orange in color with a soft silky white head. The head retention was okay and it had minimal lacing.

S-Some nice fruit and floral hop aroma. Then some nice caramel and vanilla, a touch of pine hops as well. A little hint of copper metallic aromas as well.

T- Soft citrus fruit and sweet caramel initially then some great pine flavors come through. More fruity orange flavors come through the pine with hints of caramel and vanilla, then another burst of dry pine bitterness. The beer finishes sweet and juicy with some lingering dry metallic flavors.

M- Light bodied with a great refreshing juiciness to it. Hops cut through with some nice dry bitterness and balances things out.

Overall I would say this beer is way over hyped. Give me the Elder! (781 characters)

Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.92/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Churchill's On Churchill's Renaissance day

Look: Pours a darker shade of yellow with some orangish hues and totally translucent. 1/4 inch head and little retention

Smell: Copious amounts of pine and pine resin with a touch of citrus zest

Taste: You get that same pine resin upfront and its almost too much. I remember someone at my table saying "it reminds me of walking in the forest" The backend carries some nice citrus and honey notes which actually saved it for me

Mouthfeel: Medium body and mildly carbonated and incredibly bitter and dry. Which each sip my mouth became more and more dry and the beer became harder to drink

Overall: Glad I got the chance to try this one and glad all these west coast BA's hyped the shit out of this because I was excited to try it and then totally let down. Will NOT drink again (834 characters)

Photo of bonkers
3.94/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Second time having younger, this time at monks, 6 ounce pour in a goblet. Pale yellow, no head, poured ahead of time for at least 100 people. The aroma was light pine. Taste was pine, citrus and alcohol, slightly bitter. The carbonation was good, full bodied. I was very disappointed younger, all 5 of us agreed elder was a far superior brew. Younger is good, but not as good as the hype. (388 characters)

Photo of pennywhistle
3.95/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

It smelled VERY strongly of hops. My nose is not fancy enough to decipher the different scents - to me, it was just super hoppy. It was light amber/gold, with no real head to speak of. It was sweet and watery when sipped, but had a syrupy feel on my lips afterward. It was nice, sweet, and subtle. Overall, the first half of the glass was really nice. However, after that...it just stopped being all that great. Maybe the hops killed my palate, I don't know. But it's not a beer I would drink a lot of. (502 characters)

Photo of jdense
3.95/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. pour at Apex PDX first anniversary party 5.7.11, $8.50.

Half finger white head due to full pour, pretty quick dissipation with minimal lacing. Clear orange amber body, very little visible carbonation. Big pine hit in the nose, resiny, any fruit aromas are subsumed by the pineyness. Taste mirrors nose, very bitter on the back end, like chewing on pine needles. Despite this keg being a few months old, quite a bit of alcohol heat. Medium mouthfeel, decent effervescence. To be honest, I don't see what the big deal is. Frankly, I'd rather have another Tankslapper! (573 characters)

Photo of domtronzero
4/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at O'Brien's.

A - Clear golden yellow colored with a short lived, thin ring of whitish head that lasts throughout.

S - Big piny resinous citrusy hops. Sweet malts and light alcohol come through as it warms.

F/M - Somewhat sweet malts with tons of resinous piny hops. Citrusy, grapefruity hops, but mostly piny. Rather bitter, but with a lingering malty sweet flavor in the end of the dry-ish finish. Moderate carbonation and medium bodied.

D - Pretty good considering its such a huge beer. Tasty, smooth, and huge, but well made. (540 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Falling Rock $7 per 1/2 pint, wow. Served in a wine glass, nice orange color, smells amazingly hoppy like Pliny the Elder. Tastes bitter, hoppy, stronger. Honestly I think the Elder is better. This didn't seem to add hoppy value, only alcohol. A delicious IPA but the elder is better as far as I'm concerned. (322 characters)

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