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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,439 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,439
Reviews: 845
rAvg: 4.68
pDev: 9.62%
Wants: 4,560
Gots: 133 | FT: 0
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:
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 added by: xlperro on 01-27-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,439 | Reviews: 845 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Smarty_Pints
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Smarty_Pints, Feb 19, 2014
Photo of financebrad
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

financebrad, Sep 05, 2013
Photo of bullywee
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

bullywee, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of Rastacola
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

A phenomenal beer. A little sweet, but that sweetness carefully balances the beer and the high ABV. This beer is very hyped up and very deserving of it. I'd love to sit and drink multiple in a calm setting rather than a hectic Philly bar.

Rastacola, Sep 02, 2014
Photo of roblund
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

roblund, Mar 11, 2012
Photo of Beerswag
4.51/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at pour house sacto, ca..looks a clear 24k, vibrant tiny bubbles from the bottom of the tulip glass, lots of micro bubble action..smell is pine, apricot, and white grape, some sweet fruit juice as well. Taste is exactly as the smell suggest, pine, bitter-floral hop profile, very smooth and tasty..nice punch of hops without the lingering resinous sticky feeling of beers in this same style...mouthfeel is perfect, light creamy carbonation, with slight micro bubble action on the front of the tongue which smooths out quickly on the palate.. overall a well executed and dialed in iiipa. Food paring is: savory and mild- spicy foods, suxh as indian food, lamb lollipops with basil or mint sauce, or some heavily salted/seasoned nuts.

Beerswag, Mar 04, 2014
Photo of pkalix
4.51/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

well, I finally got to try it. bought the raffle tickets at Beachwood BBQ so didn't have to wait in the line. $40 in raffle tickets produced one pint=a deal better than waiting in that long line and with the weather lately, that works.
much creamier head than I expected, and much more fuller and thicker, too! lots of pine, lots of sweet aroma; even the family said it smelled sweet from their prospective locations at the table! malty, bready, pine-y, sweet and bitter finish. not too much like The Elder, as others have said, but very good. in fact, not even close to Elder when considering the volume of different DIPAs and (T)IPAs out there and the amount of differing flavors of them (and the Blind Pig after, I thought, was much more stable and tastier!). nice lacing down the sides.
overall, I finally tried it! I would drink it again, but without the lines and the raffle tickets. I would very much prefer to sit at the pub and line them all up- the Plinys, Blind Pig, the Row 2, etc.... and just taste them all altogether. and then, of course, come back the next day and do all the wild ales...! but saying that I would drink it again without the lines says so much, doesn't it? it's good, but not worth the lines.

pkalix, Mar 02, 2014
Photo of spoony
4.51/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Cheeky Monk into a tulip-style glass.

A-This brew looks like a IIPA, i.e., very little head and a clear brew with a orange-tinted, slightly off-pale coloring.

S-The smell is intense and complex. I detect citrus flavors ranging from grapefruit to orange to lemon. I also detect a honey and pepper. This brew is on the fruit forward end of things, but there is still a light whiff of dank pine and sage.

T-The taste is not a complete fruit bomb like the smell. I still get grapefruit and other citrus as dominant, but there is more chalky, earthy, oily, dank flavor from the hops that moves on the stage here. I also pick up a hint of caramel malt, which makes for a nice balance. The concentration of flavor and balance of hop and malt are impressive.

M-The feel is mildly slick and oily. The carbonation is low and the weight is medium bodied.

O-It is hard for a brew like this to live up to the hype, and I'm not sure it did, but this is a damn good beer. The impressive thing here is the balance of malt and hops (and ABV, which is nearly imperceptible) combined with such an intensely strong flavor. Other brews that strive for intensity come of as overly bitter or one-trick ponies, but this brew does a great job of drinking well at 11.0% while maintaining full flavor force.

spoony, Mar 01, 2013
Photo of Soonami
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review of Pliny the Younger from tasting notes taken on March 3, 2011.

PtY is a pretty beer, that is a golden amber with just a little whisp of pale white head. It has surprising little cling for a beer of this hoppiness, but that might be due a protein rest or the low mash temperatures to make a highly fermentable malt. The beer smells very hoppy, with good citrus and fruity character as well as a dank piney aroma, probably from the Simcoe. This isn't as hoppy as I thought though, but it's hard to live up to the reputation. The beer tastes surprisingly sweet, although, at 11% I should've expected that. The hoppiness was expressive and very fruity, but the bitterness seems very restrained, perhaps tempered by the malty sweetness. This beer isn't the hop-bomb that I was expecting, I thought it would be a Pliny squared, but is more like Avery Maharaja, an Imperial IPA with big malt flavors. The mouthfeel is absolutely creamy and the carbonation is delicate.

Was it worth the wait? Does it live up to the hype? Would I wait several hours for this beer? The answer is probably no, but it's tasty.

Soonami, May 22, 2011
Photo of OStrungT
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After months of patience, I finally got the chance to try this fine beer. I had it on tap at the Liars Club. All I can say is wow.

This beer pours a golden yellow with a thick fluffy off white head. The head fades slowly leaving thick laces all around the glass.

This beer has a hoppy aroma, but it is n ot overbearing like similar beers. I was surprised at how balanced the aroma was. It smells grassy. Also, I can detect a citurs aroma. A very slight piney aroma mixes in making this beer smell incredable.

This beer has a grassy hoppy flavor. It tastes hoppier than it smells. It has a plesent citrus, grapefruitlike flavor to it. It also has a strong piney flavor. I can detect some alcohol flavor in the finish.

This beer is very full bodied. It has a very aggressive, yet also quite pleasent flavor. It is carbonated well. It leaves a grassy aftertaste.

I dont know how good of a session beer this would make. 11% ABV is a little high. Also, the flavor is quite aggressive. I am sad that I am not at the Liar's Club still to drink some more. I hope to get another chance to sample this beer again soon.

OStrungT, Jan 22, 2006
Photo of Dukeofearl
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted on tap 1/28/06 at Hollingshead Deli in Orange, CA. $4.50 for a 25 cl "half" order.

Pours a rich full deep golden orange that looks very syrupy. A very slight bit of bubbles cling for dear life at the top.

This is one well constructed beer. I went in expecting a hop bomb overload that would blow its uncle Pliny the Elder (check your Roman history for their relationship) hoppiness out of the water. I was wrong. This still has a huge strong fruity hop profile, but it is well balanced by a solid malt underpinning, with brandy-like qualities.

This is one of those dangerous beers- a sipper that is really easy to drink right down. Alcohol is nicely present, but oh-so hidden. Watch out!

A very good beer. To be honest, I like the Elder better, but that's just personal taste- this is one incredible beer.

Dukeofearl, Jan 29, 2006
Photo of baiser
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was pretty excited when I saw this on tap at the Toronado towards the end of their barleywine fest. Pours a hazy golden copper body, with a white fluffy head. Tremendous aroma, delicious west coast style hops. peachy, grapefruit, intense. First taste, so smooth, you don't notice the 11% abv at all. Tremendous beer, probably the best DIPA I've ever had.

baiser, Apr 21, 2006
Photo of Ezekiel81923
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed a tulip of this on draft at Teresas's this afternoon. It was a quiet tapping, nothing advertised or broadcasted about it. Which I personally enjoyed much more so than the mayhem of other releases. Anyways, this was my first time having it.

Appearance: A nice clear golden color with a small white fluffy head on top. Everything about this beer screamed PtE on steroids and this was just the first indicator.

Aroma: Didn't even have to bring this glass to my nose. Even from afar, hop aroma's of pine, grapefruit, citrus, and pineapple with a touch of sweetness in the background.

Taste: Jesus. So much of a hop presence it's amazing, but never overbearing. Strong pine presence with some citrus and grapefruit to it. To say it had a solid malt backbone would be deceiving, it is very hop forward, but somehow there is enough malt to balance out both the hoppiness and the intense bitterness at the end. Also has just the right amount of sweetness to balance it all out. Certainly the most powerful hop experience I've had without it getting to the point of being unpleasant. Truly amazing.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied while being very smooth, crisp and refreshing. No hint whatsoever of the 11% ABV while drinking this, even as it warmed up.

Drinkability: Well, realistically it is low. This is a phenomenal beer but let's be serious, no one could drink more than 2 or 3 of these without the alcohol catching up to them.

So glad I got the chance to finally try this one. Definitely a world-class example of a double IPA. Special thanks to Matt at the Beeryard for giving me the inside info ahead of time and the whole crew at Teresas (I only vaguely know Andy) for having a very tame, relaxing and enjoyable tapping of Younger.

Ezekiel81923, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Capone's 4/18/07.

Clear, true-gold in color. Modest, off-white head. Lacing minimal, some legs.

Aroma is grapefruit, peaches and honey. Smelled pine in my growler of Elder a few months ago, but didn't get that as much here. Tasting this side by side with Elder, and Younger doesn't smell as sweet.

Taste was grapefruit, big time. Younger has stronger hop bite than Elder. Biscuity, but covered in grapefruit jam. Well balanced, but still screams with hops, if that makes any sense. A bit sweeter than the Elder, and a more noticeable ABV. Grass and pepper at finish.

Medium to medium + in body. Carbonation seemed medium. Immediate feel of alcohol warming in Elder, alcohol warming with Younger when you pick up the glass...

Very, very good. If I wasn't drinking it side by side with Elder, I would probably have no complaints at all. As it stands, it is a touch sweeter and, to my taste, quite a bit hotter. I would happily drink this until I fell over, but when it came time to fill my growler, I took the Elder home with me.

, Apr 25, 2007
Photo of Orangevango
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite clear with a smallish head that dissipates quickly leaving a little bit of foam around the edge of the glass. This beer smells fabulous. To quote a friend "if hops had a vagina this is what it would smell like" The fresh, grassy, grapefruity, cleanliness of this aroma is what I want to reek of when I get out of the shower. (even though I would probably find myself only able to attract middle-aged fat and/or balding men with beards). The flavor follows the smell, though it is not as complex or nearly so orgasmic. Super-dry and bracingly bitter, I would even say that the bitterness is a bit over the top, but only a bit. The mouthfeel is unremarkable, acceptable levels of carbonation... not tannic or anything.

I kinda stopped taking notes at this point because I got enthralled by actually consuming this beer. It is made for drinking, that much is for sure, but my two glasses sent me straight to bed... yummy stuff.

Orangevango, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of JohnParadee
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

6 ounce pour into short tulip glass, enjoyed during PtY tapping event at Side Bar in West Chester (shout out to my man, Brendan, the ever friendly bartender at this awesome establishment). PtY was not hazy, as I had anticipated, but rather clear. Slim collar and decent lacing, although both head and retention were likely compromised by nature of event (servings were pre-poured before I got to the bar rail). In any event, the nose was incredibly flamboyant/expressive, with sweet piney hops evident. In the palate, the experience was at first extremely hoppy, followed by a mango/papaya floral fruit note, and finally, a sticky piney/citrus burn.

Loved this, though it was hard to match the hype.

Had PtY again, a couple weeks later, at a surprise tapping hosted by Monk's Cafe which was announced via e-mail blast. I just happened to be in Philly that afternoon, having lunch 6 blocks away. Needless to say, I dropped my fork and SPRINTED to Monk's, where I was fortunate to enjoy two full pours before the keg kicked an hour later. Must say, it was better than I had remembered. Would now give it 4.75. Cheers!

JohnParadee, Mar 19, 2014
Photo of joepais
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to errantnight for hooking me up with this long time want.
Growler poured into a Sam Adams Pint glass produced a finger worth of white head, that goes to a nice ring of lace that slides down the glass. The body of the brew is a clear golden yellow to orange in color.

The first thing I notice at the cracking of the growler, was the hiss and the aromas of fresh hops. Big pine and cat piss (LOL) along with citrus and grasses. There is a wide rage of hop aromas coming from this one. One of the best noses from a DIPA I have ever smelled.
The flavor can best be described as Elder on steroids. I don't know if it's the malts that add balanced to this hop forward brew, or the alcohol warmth. There is a nice light orange flavor sweetness coming from the elixir. With the hop dryness holding back the alcohol warmth in the end. The brew has a medium feel to it with surprisingly good carbonation to it for a growler. A true testament to Derek stately care of this one.

Well I have a growler of this one to cherish for the whole day, and I didn't even have to stand in line at the EBF for it. I will make a few calls to see if anyone want to help finish this but I won't be to sad if I cant find anyone ;-)
I do know I won't be driving too much today though. Final thoughts... As an east coast guy I wish it was a little more balanced, but it is true to form for an west coast DIPA

joepais, Feb 20, 2010
Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks, Prufrock, for sharing this rare and delicious treat. Served cool in a taster.

Pours an amber yellow with nice white head that dissipates but leaves good lacing.

Nose is big with pine and floral notes, I like it over the more common overwhelming grapefruit of most west coast IPAs.

Taste is superb! What PtY is most notable for is what's missing. There are no defects in the flavor of this beer, no cloying sweetness, no stale hops or pungent maltiness. Can't stand Imperial IPAs that are syrupy or reek like barleywines.

Mouthfeel is moderate, not nearly as heavy as any other 11% beer I can name off hand. Thanks, Vinny, for making it so damn drinkable. A half gallon disappears fast.

PtE from the growler is the best beer I've ever had and keeps its crown, but the mighty son is a very close second. My bucket list certainly includes visiting RR in person to have PtY directly on tap.

BattleRoadBrewer, Oct 02, 2010
Photo of JAXSON
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this op tap at Flanigan's Boathouse in Summer 2006, just rating it now for some reason. Maybe I'm just sobering up from that strange mid-afternoon event, held on Monday of all days. Fresh bursts of pine cones and grapefruits on the nose, with a lingering sweetness. Orange body, slightly darker than its elder kindred. Just such a wonderful flavor, an explosion of the aforementioned, more candi sugar than the Elder, swirling lighter fruits mingle into an extraordinarily balanced, large, and impressive IIPA. Not the grapefruit peel wonders of Dreadnaught, but an exceptionally balanced utter assault here.

JAXSON, Oct 31, 2010
Photo of khiasmus
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Many, many thanks to Wespatrick for sharing this gem. Had at a tasting last night, Feb 13th. Reviewed from notes.

"Well, here we are then, gents. It's officially.. well, apparently, the best in the land."
"Go ON then, let's have at it!"
A hissy-pop and up swings the cap, as the aroma already begins to waft about the room, blending with the cheese-and-crackers upon the table, and making quite a name for itself, though we have yet to tilt it.
A glug-glug and it's in the glass in front of me, and the seriousness of evaluating comes due.
There's an almost-clear orange with tiny specks afloat throughout... "What is that?" "What?" "The specks there." "I don't see them." "Don your glassies then, old man!" "Ah... I suppose just a lack of filtering, then, and perhaps tiny hop-pebbles." "Lovely."
A finger-thick head rises up but settles quickly, at first gives the illusion of lace, but then shows itself to be sliding down after every savory sip.
A long, enjoyable whif, and the loads of grapefruit and resin come out. "Gents, it smells just like Sculpin!" "Ah, come off it, not just like Sculpin!" "No. Really."
The aroma and flavour are both monstrously grapefruity, with just a bit of resin thrown in... "Come along fellows, let us be honest, all of us know what a grapefruit tastes like, but when was the last time you chewed pine needles?" "Ah... what time is it? About... eight hours ago." Guffaws all round.
The percentage really does little to show itself except in a bit of warming after each swallow. The carbonation is medium-high, the body is rather thin, it's a tad boozy. But just a tad. "Really though? Have you ever had an 11% that was so drinkable?" "Yes sir. Unearthly." "Ah. Touche."
It only makes sense, as Wes pointed out, that this be the number one DIPA on the site, with Sculpin being the number 1 IPA. I could not get it out of my head that this beer is precisely imperial Sculpin. Just the same dangerous drinkability (As in, if a drinkability scale could go higher than five, this beer would be there), the exact same grapefruit-dominant hop profile, an excellent and well-crafted beer. The best DIPA? Not to my palate, but obviously well-deserving.

khiasmus, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of LaChupacabra
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Really late on posting this. Notes are from February. Had it on tap at Surly Goat, Father's Office, Tony's Darts and Churchill's Pub within a few weeks of each other.

A: Pours a very clear golden-orange. One finger of medium-white head. Head dissipated very quickly, leaving nice lacing behind.

S: Lots of grapefruit and orange. Behind that there is tropical fruit, floral scents and pine. Smells very sweet.

T: The alcohol on this one is hidden really well. Has a well balanced citrus and tropical fruit sweetness with a malty backbone. Very crisp and drinkable. Less hop bitterness than the Elder on this one.

M: Medium-light body with medium carbonation. Has a great stickiness to it, which is probably my favorite part of this beer.

O: This is a very well balanced, refreshing and drinkable beer, especially considering that it comes in at 11%. With that said, I prefer many other DIPAs (yes, I know this is a triple) to this and I don't think it's worth going nuts over.

LaChupacabra, Nov 09, 2012
Photo of Bajasith
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Making a 125 mile trip worthwhile. Feb 13, 2010 was the start of a brew tour beginning at Port Brewing to grab some Red Poppy Ale and Angels Share Grand Cru.
Later spent the afternoon at Stone Brew and Bistro for some 2010 Baleywine and other famous Stone brews. Stone Brewerie had PtY on tap Thursday and were all out Saturday. I was told a local pub would have it on tap later in the evening.... I am there...
After 18 months I was able to have some Pliny the Younger in my hands so here it goes...
A: Pours radiant golden color with slight copper haze around the edges. Small frothy head that dissipated rather quick with nice lacing.
S: Very similar to PtE with a stronger smell of thick hops hanging around the fizz of alcohol. Reminds me of a thick forest after a rain.
T: Very well balanced. I am not sure if alcohol content of PtY helps balance the bitterness of the hops but let me tell you, it felt like a sweet tinge at the end.
M: Heavier and almost chewy compared to PtE.
D: Have to be carefull with this one. High ABV can hit you rather quickly since there is no end with PtY. Lighter ABV would make this brew highly drikable one after another.
Overall, PtY is the best DIPA I have had (for now)...

Bajasith, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of IceAce
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Billed as a Triple IPA with an ABV of 11.0% according to the taphandle.

Pours orange / copper in color with excellent clarity for an IPA of any type. The nose is seductively fruity sweet with a very strong backdrop of resinous floral hops.

The foretaste scrubs the front of the tongue with 'just right' carbonation while the hops perform a vise-like grip the full length of the sides of the tongue. Even the midtaste is dominated by the aggressive hopping while the elevated ABV begins to show a warming effect toward the aft of the mouth. The finish is thick with the generous grain bill while the hops begin a slow, slow exit stage right.

Mouthfeel is thick-n-chewy and only the over the top alcohol content reduces drinkability by ½ point.

Pliney the Younger is a big, complex beer and well worth almost any journey in an effort to seek out its hoppy goodness.

IceAce, Jan 30, 2005
Photo of kleffman
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What can I say about this beer that hasn't already been said? I believe this is my third or fourth year having it, and it has always been incredible.

Grabbed a pint of this nectar of the gods at O'Briens. Pours a very clear deep orange color with a nice little head on top and just a bit of lacing.

Smell was not as over the top as I remembered and hoped for but still a rather nice citrus, lemon and slight piney hoppy sweet aroma.

Delicious taste that was actually quite sweet but not in a cloying way. Perfect amounts to balance the explosive hops and extreme alcohol levels. It all melds together so well you would have no idea it's so alcoholic.

A great full bodied mouthfeel with a nice prickly carbonation that makes for an easy drinking beer. I can't think of very many 11% beers that go down as well as a pint of Younger.

This is one seasonal offering that I'm very excited for every year. I can't imagine how crazy people are going to go for the bottles of it once the new production brewery gets up and running.

kleffman, Feb 14, 2008
Photo of BieresDesMoines
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours with a small but solid head with a good effervescence. The beer couldn't smell more like pine, just wonderful like walking in a pinewood forest. I love aromatic beers and I could smell this one five feet away when the growler was opened. This is one of the driest hoppy beers I have ever tried, and now I fear I am going to crave it constantly. The beer is bracingly bitter and piney with some great complimentary mango and very mild citrus flavors that lend a hand in the complexity, this is not to say that the fruit notes sweeten the beer at all. There is just not a trace of the huge alcohol , just one remarkably well put together beer.

BieresDesMoines, Mar 23, 2011
Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,439 ratings.