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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,130 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2130
Reviews: 835
rAvg: 4.69
pDev: 8.53%

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: 2,130 | Reviews: 835 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of bradford


4.58/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had on cask at Naja's Place on my 21st birthday.
I was excited watching the beertender pump this one out of the beer engine and my mouth was salivating as she handed me my first legal "good beer." The beer was a dark orange with very little active carbonation, but a uge white frothy head. The taste was... well it's Younger. It's fantastic. Hoppy, creamy, smooth, hoppy, delicious. This was a most fantastic beer, I wish I could drink more of it, but it was my 21st and I was at Naja's and there were way too many other beers I had to try that night. I might not have been the best "advocate" that night, but dammit, how many times o you turn 21 at Naja's? Fantastic stuff, highly reccomended.

Serving type: cask

05-20-2007 14:56:24 | More by bradford
Photo of Callenak


3.6/5  rDev -23.2%
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.

Serving type: cask

09-18-2006 23:22:50 | More by Callenak
Photo of Rumrunner


4.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! On cask this beer takes a different form. I love it from the tap, but I find it difficult to drink more than one. From the cask, the smoothness allows for many pints. The ABV does not.

I had a few pints of PLY at Naja's Place. The bartenders were working that hand pump.

It pours a beautiful dusky gold. A nice frothy head. The scents are crisp and fresh. A very clean scent. Some nice hops, but not too bitter on the nose. The scents are bold but not overwhelming.

The flavors are extremely clean. A great mix of bitterness, but not so much that there is no barley. There is a nice barley back-bone to this beer. I am very impressed. I don't find this IPA to be very fruity, which I am very happy about. It has more of a sour and bitter flavor. The flavors compliment each other and do not fight for dominance. The bitterness previals, but the malts find a way to exert themselves. This beer has no bad aftertaste.

From the cask this beer is perfect. It is silk and velvet down the throat. What a treat. I cannot convey how the cask has made this beer so succulant and easy drinking. It is smooth like a like pure ice.

From the cask this IPA is a great blend of flavors and smoothness. It is still bold, but the smoothness is just phenomenal. Drink it if you get the chance. Keep them coming Russian River.

Serving type: cask

09-18-2006 07:27:24 | More by Rumrunner
Photo of DogFood11


4.9/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this beer served off of a hand pump at Naja's in Redondo beach served in a 8oz chimay glass. I have no idea how they could possibly improve this beer. OUTSTANDING.

Appearance. Perfect 3/4 inch head that maintains itself throughout. Dark brown/amber color. Very inviting.

The smell and the taste are identical in my opinion what you smell is what you get. Aromatic, fruity but not overpowering. The taste is a beautiful blend of hops. Its bold up front but once again a perfect balance. Finishes dry with just a touch of malt sweetness left behind.

Mild carbonation and a deep warm feeling in the gut adds to this well crafted brew. Drinkability is off the charts. If I ever get the chance to buy this by the palett count me in.

Serving type: cask

07-03-2005 18:42:48 | More by DogFood11
Photo of jsunj


4.45/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pliny the Younger. Oh how I've longed to try you over the years since entering the craft beer world. Finally had the opportunity to try this beer on tap at Lucky Baldwins in Old Town Pasadena earlier in February this year, side by side with PtE might I add. This beer definitely deserves its place on the BA top 250. Piney, floral, boozy, yet still retaining its balance.

Serving type: on-tap

04-17-2014 23:48:59 | More by jsunj
Photo of Kramerwtmf


4.79/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This review is based on my experience about two months ago. Pliny the younger is an amped up version of the elder. It's a little bit sweeter than the elder but I think it masks the 10.25% really well. Such a great beer but I've come to expect that from Russian river.

Serving type: on-tap

04-17-2014 02:50:47 | More by Kramerwtmf
Photo of andrewsando


5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

this was the best beer i ever had. belive the hype. full bodied, very smooth with a high abv. creamy head on top. very hard to get. waited an hour and a half and luckily was still on tap. would definitely do it again. i have tried almost all the top beers and this definitely my favorite of them all.

Serving type: on-tap

04-02-2014 20:38:58 | More by andrewsando
Photo of Detroit_Velvet_Smooth


4.89/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had 2 10oz pours about a month ago at Falling Rock Tap house in Denver, CO. First time trying it, extremely smooth with the perfect balance of bitterness and floral/citrus, extremely drinkable and crisp. Beautiful rich amber color, and the smell contained everything from fresh wild flowers, to tropical fruit, to earthy. Lucky I got to have a second!

Serving type: on-tap

04-01-2014 17:33:46 | More by Detroit_Velvet_Smooth
Photo of Ancalagon


4.95/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Been living in Santa Rosa for a while now and had heard all the hype but never gone down to Russian River to try it. Wish I had gone sooner. The Elder is great, but this is better. The first thing you notice is the color. Like liquid gold. Very thin head. Smells strongly like citrus along with pine and some tropical notes. Taste is exceptional. Not as hoppy as the elder. Great balance of hops and malt. Real thickness in flavor. Perfect amount of carbonation. Felt smooth. Overall this beer lives up to the hype.

Serving type: on-tap

03-22-2014 16:23:30 | More by Ancalagon
Photo of Jaxbrew


5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

When I heard about Pliny The Younger, I was at my infancy stage of beer enjoyment. I had read many reviews and often thought, "how the hell can any beer be as good as people rate this to be??!!" So, I decided to break Vinnie's rule and enjoy this beer at a local watering hole weeks after "it should have been enjoyed." Well, Vinnie, I can't imagine how this wonderful contribution to the beer world could get any better, even after sitting through a coast to coast joyride, over many wonderful brew towns in this great place of freedom to brew whatever the heck you want to! All I can say is thank you. One day I will enjoy this citrine jewel in the location of its birth, until then...

Serving type: on-tap

03-19-2014 23:01:02 | More by Jaxbrew
Photo of JohnParadee


4.53/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-19-2014 03:01:05 | More by JohnParadee
Photo of dahlen22

New Jersey

4.66/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Monk's Café in Philadelphia on 3/11/14:

Appearance: Golden color with a bigger than expected head (guy pouring out of keg was busy, so...)

Aroma: Face full of crazy fruit hops.

Taste: Clean, hoppy taste , fruit that is in the nose, pine, and the alcohol is well hidden. Very balanced.

Overall: Stood in line for 90 minutes in 42 degrees with a wind chill. Pretty much knew from the start that each person was getting one 7oz. glass. Was this beer good? Yes. Would I ever wait in line again for 7 ounces at $15.00? NOPE. IMO, this beer is very over-hyped, and that was the general consensus at the bar. Had two Elders afterwards, and was quite content with that. Glad I tried it, and I recommend people do the same, but prepare for lines and inflation. Cheers!!

Serving type: on-tap

03-13-2014 23:18:35 | More by dahlen22
Photo of Treyliff

West Virginia

4.84/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Monk's Cafe Mad Monday, 6 oz pour into a small wine glass

A- Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a small creamy white head that reduces to a small layer, leaving a touch of lace behind

S- citrus explosion with lots of grapefruit, orange peel, cantaloupe, guava and passionfruit. I could literally smell this from about three feet away

T- raw danky hops are front are so clean and showcased, to a degree that i've only experienced in a few DIPA's. A clean malty sweetness compliments perfecty, hemp and fresh clean mint close it out. The finish is very similar to Elder, only a bit hoppier

M- medium body and mouthfeel leads to a creamy mouthfeel and a clean hoppy finish. Alcohol is hidden nearly perfectly

O- this one lived up to the hype for me, it has many characteristics as Pliny the Elder, just more hoppy goodness packed in. I had to stand in line for a long time to try this, but it was worth being able to say that I've sampled this legend.

Serving type: on-tap

03-13-2014 13:42:04 | More by Treyliff
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-12-2014 04:29:24 | More by Bouleboubier
Photo of bonkers

New Jersey

3.95/5  rDev -15.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-12-2014 00:17:54 | More by bonkers
Photo of socon67

New York

4.41/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured at Monk's Mad Monday event.

A - Golden pour with a clear look. Foam head settled fast (*these were poured rapidly for 100+ people). Slight lacing rides down the glass.

S - Strong scents of pine, some pineapple & mango tropical fruit smell, and hop resin that gives some lingering tobacco notes.

T - Rich flavors of tropical fruit at the front. There is an intense malt presence that keeps the high IBU's tempered. It is not a hop bomb at all.

M - This cannot be any better. Balance on a triple IPA can only be matches, not improved. The body of Younger feels rich on the palate.

O - Now that this is ticked on the bucket list, I can say that PtY is a work of brewing art. Vinny made an inspirational beer that seems less impressive as more heavily hopped & well balanced beers are made. This is the original, and still iconic beer.

Serving type: on-tap

03-11-2014 00:54:06 | More by socon67
Photo of BeerZombies1


5/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-10-2014 18:45:20 | More by BeerZombies1
Photo of peacemakers48


5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my favorite beer now, just a bit better than the heady topper. This is the smoothest sweetest tasting IPA I have ever had. It doesn't even taste like alcohol. The aftertaste is second to none. I tried it twice and still cannot believe how good it is.

Serving type: on-tap

03-10-2014 15:59:25 | More by peacemakers48
Photo of Oakenator


4.9/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Straw yellow color. Clean filtered.

S: Piney, molasses, leafy.

T: Abundently bitter. Leafy, arugula to pepper spice. More depth of flavor than expected with this extreme hopping.

M: On a five ounce pour leaves a tingle on lips and tongue enhancing the subtle spice.

O: Worth the 10 minute wait in line. Different than expected.

Serving type: on-tap

03-08-2014 16:09:53 | More by Oakenator
Photo of santomark


4.7/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - Poured an amazing clear body, almost liquor distilled status with how beautifully crafted this was! Bright golden body, slight hues of copper and orange. Not a lot of head, I am assuming from the fact you're only allowed 6oz.

S - Pine, loaded with tropical fruits, followed by a maltness.

T - Very balanced! I cannot stress this enough, this beer is well balanced. Piney, mango, oranges, pineapple, etc. Very medium malt backbone.

M - Very sticky, great going down the hatch, dry, clean and crips.

O - This is one beautifully crafted beer. Is it worth the hype? I would say yes, only because going to get this is a treat and an experience. I understand why they limit your consumption with this brew. If you're fortunate enough to have more than one serving of this, you best pace yourself, I had about 3 to 4 servings and it does get you loaded. It's highly drinkable and just an all around beer drinkers dream.

Serving type: on-tap

03-07-2014 20:41:08 | More by santomark
Photo of tkdchampxi

New Jersey

4.91/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: not as cloudy as Heady Topper, but a beautiful burnt amber orange with 60% opacity. Thin, fluffy head with a sea-foam look and 1-2cm rise.

S: not as hoppy as I expected; more malt and biscuit with sweet aromas and almost a tinge of smoked grain. The finish on the aroma is familiar american hop oil, with citrus notes.

T: A perfect balance of citrusy hops with strong malt backbone. This is not the hop-bomb that some beers are (like Boulder Hazed and Infused), but there is a much stronger malt balance to this that makes the beer level nicely. The hops are certainly there, without being overwhelmingly tropical, sweet, or citrusy. There is thickness to the flavor. There is complexity to the flavor. There be dragons here.

M: A perfect amount of carbonation that can be described as smooth without being flat, carbonated softly without being pillowy, and with bubbles that are crisp without biting.

O: This beer lives up to its hype. I had two back to the back, and the second one was better than the first. Each was served in a different glass, and for whatever reason, the second was able to open up to the air more and provide a better flavor/ aroma base. Either way, this was an excellent beer that is as well-balanced and delicious as an IPA can get. Only Heady Topper is (arguably) better by a difference of the slightest degrees. You cannot tell that this beer is 11% ABV.

Here is a shout-out to Memphis Taproom in Philadelphia for providing an amazing, courteous, and well-organized PtY event!

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2014 19:10:55 | More by tkdchampxi
Photo of CWO


5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this beer for the first time today on tap at the Memphis Tavern in Philadelphia. I now understand what the hoopla is all about. Although my mainstay is Belgian style beers as I'm not generally a fan of hop forward beers, this creation was excellent. Look forward to more of the same from Russian River.

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2014 18:10:06 | More by CWO
Photo of rickrem


4.73/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

6 oz pours in wine glasses. Not much but at least a try.

Nice big flavor with the pine and a touch of sweetness coming through.

Well balanced, big mouthfeel, heavy but not too syrupy. High ABV adds to the body without the alcohol jumping out at you.

Serving type: on-tap

03-05-2014 04:46:21 | More by rickrem
Photo of homebrew311


4.56/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a clear gold with thick white head that leaves tons of lacing. Nose is full of tropical aroma, citrus, grapefruit, and pine come through the strongest. Taste is expertly balanced with plenty of piney hops. To a of apricot and grapefruit throughout with bitter undertones. Mouthfeel is surprisngly light and had a slightly creamy feel. This is truly well balanced and the alcohol is nearly undetectable. Very good!

Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2014 01:49:53 | More by homebrew311
Photo of Beerswag


4.51/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2014 00:50:38 | More by Beerswag
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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,130 ratings.