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

889 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 889
Hads: 2,736
rAvg: 4.68
pDev: 6.62%
Wants: 5,469
Gots: 284 | 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:
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: 889 | Hads: 2,736
Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -20.9%
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 UCLABrewN84
4.36/5  rDev -6.8%
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 Thorpe429
4.6/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Union Jack's Easter Hopfest on 04.03.2010.

A: Poured a pale apricot with a very nice, fluffy white head with loads of lacing as it goes down.

S: Bitter hops apparent from the beginning. Mostly tropical--mango and pineapple, mostly--alongside some grapefruit and other citrus notes. Not an iota of malt sweetness in the background.

T: Mango, pineapple, grapefruit, and apricot come from the hops. Apparently I need a hop break, as this one was bitter, but I didn't detect it much at all. The bitterness really complemented the fruitiness of the beer. Interesting "fruit" character, as the hops provided plenty of fruity characteristics without any actual sweetness.

M: Medium bodied, fairly dry, and good carbonation.

D: Amazing that I finally got to try this one after having so many things fall through this year. Looking forward to having it again next year, when I may just have to go straight to the source. (926 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.65/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the table with a hazy light amber body, a solid head and lots of splashy lacing

Smell: A wondeful grapefruit and floral aroma beckons the drinker

Taste: Sweet biscuity foreground which is joined by a magnificent combination of bitter grapefruit and sweet floral flavors which persist well into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation\

Drinkability: A truly engaging and refreshing concoction (448 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.64/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

ranked one of the best beers in the world for a reason. this is one ive been dying to try for a long time and finally got the chance. followed the falling rock taphouse on twitter anxiously waiting the announcement and finally it came. tapping at 1pm, doors opening at 11am, I was in line by 9:30. had to play it safe. turned out to be a beautiful day of chatting and sharing beers with some great new friends. the beer itself was a joy, worth all the wait and anticipation. it came out in a tulip looking as radiant as a bar of gold, maybe with a slight orangey tint to it, and a couple fingers of pure white lacey head that leaves sticky tracks on the side of the glass as it sips. the nose is fabulous, rich in high alpha hop varietals mostly of the citrus persuasion. grapefruit rind, tangerine, and sweet lemon are apparent, and a bright ale yeast contributes some depth. it smells extraordinarily fresh and decadent, sure to be a treat. the taste is shocking. that first sip was just divine. I let it sit in my mouth for about a minute, just letting it soak in. huge floral and citrus hop notes. some bready body from the yeast, but holy cow the texture of this is what surprised me the most. its not sweet and viscous like so many American big IPAs. its light on the tongue and very clean in the finish. its bitter, but it isn't a blinder in that regard. its sweet, but it isn't sappy or sugary or thick. I think the mouthfeel allows for the flavors of this beer to develop perfectly, without making it unnecessarily weighty or sticky. that element was just so pleasing. when the waitress came around offering up seconds, I shot my hand into the air faster than ive done basically anything in the last ten years. the first sip of that one surprised me too, because it was cold again. I hadn't realized how much this beer opens up with temperature. the great blossoming. theres just so much hop going on here, very west coast, very very fresh. I am not sure from a brewing standpoint what makes this so special, and why other brewers cant offer stuff like this up on a year round bases. it has a similar hop profile to the stone enjoy by series, but trumps it by miles. the pliny the elder could easily be my every day drink, but so could this. it really doesn't seem as alcoholic as it is, totally masked. wow. I really appreciate the opportunity to enjoy this, and would like to thank the people of falling rock and the crew at my table for this event. what a beer, what a good time! cant wait for next year! worth they hype and then some! (2,547 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Kmpitz2 for sharing his growler...I wouldn't have done it for him. This beer is just too good. I have often criticized Double IPA's for trying to acheive balance when IPA's are supposed to be completely out of balance. This beer taught me better. Sweet and bitter can come together in a great IPA. The look is solid but to be expected straw, golden with a haze and incredible head retention. Aroma is bitter and hop flavored solidly, but not to knock your socks off. A boquet of hops is the fullest and roundest that I have had without intimidation. The flavor is a combination of sweet malts that hinge on confectionate sugar and cotton candy with a yeasty (almost musky) aura about it that adds much complexity. The hops give tremendous, but not sharp, bittering and pine, oak, nut, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper flavors. The carbonation always kept the beer soft and creamy. Never prickley or hot. Finishes a combined sweet and bitter. Not as drying as you'd think. The high alcohols hit only in the aftertaste and never become fusal or too sweet. This is truely and ideal beer. (1,088 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
4.67/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well... It took a few years to get it but I finally did and I'm honestly glad that I did. Not only was I able to have the Younger but I had the Elder to pair with which was perfect. This beer poured out as a really nice looking golden copper color with a thin white head on top. The lacing isn't too sticky on this which I was surprised. The smell of the beer is loaded up with tropical fruits, pine and other forms of hop aromas. There isn't much in the way of malt coming off this bad boy on the nose. The taste of this beer is big. It's much easier to taste the massive different between the Younger & Elder when having them side by side. Younger lingers on the tongue for a very extended amount of time which keeps the beer in the glass for a longer period of time (which I personally enjoy). The flavors of pine and tingling hop flavors just cut into your taste buds leaving you with cotton mouth almost immediately after the first sip. The mouthfeel of this beer is a bit heavier than the Elder. It's little bit more oily too. Overall this beer is something that I'm proud to say that I got to try finally. I'm even more glad that I compare the two with each other. I can see now why people like the Elder better than the Younger simply based on the drinkablity. The younger is something that needs to be enjoyed over a good amount of time where the Elder is more session-able even though it's not. I wouldn't decline either Pliny on any day, I enjoy both beer a lot and I look forward to the next time I get to have this beer again. (1,539 characters)

Photo of largadeer
5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Golden-amber in the glass with the faintest hop haze and a quarter-inch of white froth. Head retention is very good for such a high gravity beer, and the brightness and clarity are impressive.

The hop aroma is huge. Very resiny like Elder, but with a slightly greater sugary malt presence. Notes of pine and tropical fruit from the hops, the depth is outstanding and there's barely a hint of sweetness despite the staggering 11% ABV.

Plenty of juicy, resiny hops in the taste, but they're expertly balanced by the light malt backbone. Zesty and fruity hop flavors mix with notes of peach, pineapple and biscuit. A puckering hop bitterness comes out in the finish, overpowering the malt and drying the palate slightly.

Sticky, lightly oily with semi-crisp carbonation. Dry and bitter but displaying amazing balance, the bitterness never becomes wearying and the alcohol is hardly noticeable. (893 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received from the BA's BA, RedwoodGeorge, as part of his recent Home Bottling Project. Thanks a million George for bringing smiles to this hoppy beer lover, along with many others.

Electric tangerine with juicy pineapple edges. The French vanilla canopy is three fingers in height and looks incredibly thick, rich and creamy. There's been very little deflation in the several minutes since the pour and it appears as if the head will last forever. I don't have forever, though, because I'm dying to take a sip. It eventually melts just enough to reveal a thick, sticky coat of lace with a few dots of visible glass. I prefer dirty, hop-flecked DIPAs, but this one is more than superb.

The nose is, without question, one of the best in all of beerdom. I was pretty sure that it would be pure hoppy bliss... and it is. And then some. There's an incandescent, brain-filling explosion of the sweetest, juiciest hops imaginable each time I venture anywhere near the glass. Thankfully, the malt is buried without a trace, allowing the hops to work their incredible, lupulinirific magic. One of the best of all-time.

Pliny The Younger is a gorgeous, unbelievably delicious Double IPA. There's no question in my mind that this style should be all about the hops. Those that favor the caramel malty, more balanced side of the DIPA continuum, edging into barleywine territory, miss the opportunity to brew transcendent, explosively hop-centric beer, the likes of which is sitting before me right now. Make no mistake, this one is all about the hops. And hops. And more hops.

There's a solid, sugar cookie-like maltiness that lays down an unshakable base and provides support for whatever tonnage of hoppage that may be thrown its way. The trick is in laying off any hint of toastedness or caramel-like flavors that would dilute or mask the citric hoppiness. Lightly (and I do mean lightly) brown sugar-crusted candied grapefruit peel abounds, along with a blissful bitterness that is unrelenting in its pithy intensity.

I may be able to appreciate the slightest hint of bitter orange, but white grapefruit is front, center and side-to-side. I'd love to know what varieties comprise the hop bill, but it's pretty obvious that the best hops in the known universe (one or more of the 4-Cs) are represented in a major way. I just can't get over the liquid candy-like, sweet and bitter, unalloyed nature of the hoppiness. Pliny is everything that you've heard it is and is everything that I hoped it would be.

It's nearly impossible to completely bury a 10.5% ABV, but Russian River has given it a Hurculean effort. I'm not sure that I'd want the alcohol to be completely absent since it provides a power and presence that lets you know that this is a serious beer that must be respected. Hell, I repect it for the flavor alone. Maybe it's my elation at the out-of-this-world taste, but I'm halfway through the bomber and I'm barely feeling it. This is the most drinkable 10.5%'er ever!

The mouthfeel is simply perfect. Mouthfillingly full with an incredible lasting stickiness after the swallow. Lushly sappy is my favorite sort of DIPA mouthfeel and this beer fits that descripton to a 'T'. When it comes to the carbonation, I have to give credit to RedwoodGeorge for the amazing re-bottling effort. I had some qualms that PTY would be over-carbonated, but that hasn't been borne out in the actual drinking. It's perfect: enlivening without being the least bit spritzy, fading to muted by the second half of the bomber.

I held off on contacting RedwoodGeorge for a trade that would have brought me a growler of Pliny The Younger because I knew that I would love this beer more than any other that I've ever had and wanted to experience it in Santa Rosa, as it should (ideally) be experienced. When the opportunity came my way, however, thanks entirely to George's incredible generosity, I just couldn't turn down the chance to try one of the world's best.

Before cracking the crown, I told myself that there was no way I could give perfect scores to a beer that had been re-bottled from a keg, no matter how outstanding. I'm glad to report that I was wrong. Pliny The Younger is a remarkable beer that transcends any attempt on my part to put its magnificence into words. I still plan to make it out to Santa Rosa some day. When I do, I'm going to ask the Alstroms to come up with a rating scale that includes sixes, 'cause I'm gonna need 'em. (4,440 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.62/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Dave for sharing this, never thought i'd try it.
Apparently review #1300...

Out of the sturdy genie bottle, it poured a golden yellow orange, with bright clarity and sticky residual lacing. Deeply resinous nose, almost cheesy, with a pleasant soft citrus undertone, and a touch of alcohol. Not super pungent, but very nice.

Floral and fruity citrus dominates, just a ton of grapefruit, softly bitter in the back, building to a dry firm bitterness in the finish. Super well balanced, soft and smooth feel. The bitterness is fairly easygoing, this wasn't as brutal as might be expected. Infinitely drinkable, a few snifters would be dangerous.

Overall this is a fantastic west coast DIPA, maybe not the Best of All Time, but one to seek out for sure. Thanks again Dave for the opportunity! (807 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.67/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to jgaston for the growler!

Pours an ever so slightly hazed pale amber with a big frothy head that qucikly faded to reveal a ton of swirly lace that clung all the way to the bottom.

Smell was, how do you say, HOPS! Must intense frwsh hop smell, almost burned the nose hairs, this is gonna be good.

The taste, everything I expected and more. So bitter it brings tear to the eye, huge pine hops, very fresh tasting, no balance here, none needed. Absolutly intense, slight warming from the alcohol and a very dry finish.

This was right on the money and at 11%abv, its a doozy to say the least. This lived up to the hype for me at least, a true double, dare I say almost a triple IPA, wonderful wonderful brew! (730 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.82/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After standing in line for that long, just about anything would taste good. So I had several glasses to make sure my judgement was clear.

A: The pour is a slightly hazed golden, amber color with a finger's worth of white foam that sticks around forever and leaves some nice lacing.

S: I think it's pretty obvious how this one smells. The hops are amazingly intense with aromas of bitter grapefruit and pine. The malt is there in a sense, but it's more mixed in with the incredibly bitter nose.

T: The flavor is pure resinous, bitter, pine with plenty of bitter grapefruit. The alcohol is not at all present (despite the beer being 11%). The bitterness starts before the beer even hits your lips and lasts all the way until the next sip.

M: The body is full with a moderate level of carbonation. The bitterness lingers on the palate but it really just makes you want some more.

D: This is an absolutely amazing beer. Despite its strength and intense bitterness, you just want to have more and more. I had at least 30 to 40 ounces of this and could have had plenty more. (1,073 characters)

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.72/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap tonight at Father's Office in Santa Monica. Enjoyed a relaxing 3 10oz pours with no lines, hassles, or assholes.

Pours an orange haze with a thin white head which fades rapidly. Falling face first into a vat of fresh hops and jammed into your nose. Grapefruit, citrus dominates. Hops and more hops, followed by waves of more hops. Ending in a crescendo of... hops. So well balanced, smooth, perfectly bitter and singular like a clarion call. Still hiccuping frothy hops as I type. The ABV is well hidden until it creeps up on you. Wham! Bam!! Hype or no hype, this is an amazing triple IPA. Well done. I'll be counting the days till February 2012. (655 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.72/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this on-tap at Capone's, poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a very clear golden amber color with hardly any head at all. A ring of white carbonation clings to the edge of the glass.

Smell: This beer smells awesome, one of the best I've run into. The smell is quite sweet with tons of citrus hops, I'm smelling tangerine and clementine. There is some malt in there with the hops as well. I would describe it as crisp.

Taste: Again, there are a ton of hops here too. The taste is not nearly as sweet as the smell. Pine and citrus hop bitterness smothers the tongue. The malt is adding some sweetness. The finish is super bitter with a hint of warmth from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium with a very low amount of carbonation. Just enough to feel a tingle on the tongue. The beer sticks to the tongue, and there is a super dry finish.

Overall: This beer is very good, one of the best in fact. I really enjoyed the hint of alcohol along with the other flavors. Given the strength of this one, it is super easy to drink. The hop profile is wonderful. (1,072 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.72/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap @ Union Jack's (Boyertown, PA) on 4/11/09. Part of the '09 Easter Hopfest.
Served in a tulip glass.

Pours a beautiful crystal clear copper with a 1/2 finger of creamy brite-white head. Retention is just fantastic, continuing to bubble during the duration of the glass. Huge flare-up when swirled gets this back to it's original head level immediately, leaving a great looking smattering of lacing back. Just a top notch look here. The aroma on this beer just OOZES hops and tropical fruits. Floral notes, spices, piney residues, grapefruit, pineapple, and mango. If it's associated with West Coast hops, it's crammed in here. Thick bread and caramel add an extra layer to the nose, mixing with the citrus to impart a robust tang. There's also a touch of alcohol beef to the proceedings but it in no way infringes on the other smells in this. Overall quite fantastic and I could sit here and sniff this all day!

The first thing I think of upon my first sip is how well balanced this is. Huge spicy and piney hops up front that are immediately cut and evened out by a slick backbone of caramel, bread, and tropical fruits that just explodes in the middle, before settling into a exceedingly bitter finish that lays a dry feel and lingering warmth on the palate. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with an overall creamier feeling carbonation but there is a definite sharp prickle to it as well as you swallow. Of course, probably the highlight of this beer is the magnificently hidden ABV. At 11%, there is absolutely some alcohol beef to the overall profile but it stays warming, never gets stinging, and fits in with the general hugeness of the beer.

Hands down, this is a hoppy masterpiece. The exceptional balance, flavors, and most of all drinkbility of their flagship Pliny the Elder taken to a new level. Seek it out. (1,832 characters)

Photo of drewone
4.92/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the daily pint, served in a tulip glass.

Crisp orange color, medium head, super sticky lacing.

Oh! the smell! Really amazing! Very bright fruity with some grass - you could smell it from a foot away.

Tastes like liquid candy - rush of citrus hoppiness - amazing balance - super hoppy yet also sweet and some bitterness, left with a linger hop flavor in my mouth. Very little alchol presence - it would be easy to drink way to much.

Good amount of carbonation, get a slight burn.

As good as I remembered it, really outstanding. (542 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A growler filled at the Union Jack's Inn On The Manatawny. Thanks to Phatz for sharing it.
A- Light amber with ample white head

S - Extremely Hoppy aroma -floral, citrus and heaps of pine abound

T - Kicks and envelopes taste buds with hop acidity, malt sweetness creeps in at the finish

M - Full round and substantial with sharp hop edges

D - Less than average drinkability due to over the top hops, alcoholic strength, but a delightful taste nonetheless

Edit -prior ratings A 4, S 4.5, T-4, M 4.5, D-4 from Growler

I went to the release this year and had it on tap -2014 I want to update since I was so impressed with the difference having it fresh from the source.

Start with appearance- the color is spot on with light haze and lasting head with fine bead. Smelling this- The smell is phenomenal, I don't think I have smelled hops as fragrant or clean with tropical fruit citrus and sweet floral odors in an Imperial IPA before -just incredible and wonderful in every way. The feel is equally great -practically no alcohol and lots hop resins with mild sweetness and semi high carbonation with moderate bitterness and semi-dry finish.

The flavor is great just embodies everything good about an Imperial IPA, Hops are the star but nice amount of malt body to support and the smooth flavor is seemless without much alcohol taste at all and I had this on an empty stomach/clean palate. Overall extremely drinkable for 10%+ and worth the time it took to try it on tap at the brewpub which I was skeptical of but recommend having this fresh to appreciate the true glory that is Pliny the Younger. (1,604 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
4.12/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Monk's, Philly, PA

Does it live up to the hype? Well, kinda. At least it did in 2011 and earlier. Are there local beers that are just as good that you won't wait in ridiculous lines for and pay upwards of $20 a pour for? Sure. Still, no real complaints about PtY here.

2011 batch. Poured a golden peach color, nicely carbonated, with an attractive, fluffy white head that laced well. I expected just a really good IPA here, but no, it's much more. Big hops in the nose, and a medley of light fruits and citrus, with a noticeable sweetness. The hop bitterness and the fruit tastes complemented themselves pretty much perfectly. Lots of floral and citrus hops, juicy fruits of all kind: mango, grapefruit, orange, grapes, pineapples, apricots... Just so much going on here, and all great. Medium mouthfeel, smooth and delicious, and highly drinkable...if you can find it.
Rating: 4.35-4.5

2012 batch....meh....very underwhelming. Notably different. More bitterness, more hype, less fruit, less flavor. Supposedly this lapse was due to a Simcoe/Amarillo hop shortage, and the subsequent replacement of Chinooks in the recipe. Makes sense if true. Still a solid beer, but no better than "okay."

2013 batch. About the same as 2012. I guess they changed the recipe after all. Oh well. (1,303 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
4.22/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-draught into a 10 oz glass at Russian River's taproom during the 2012 release. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were through the roof given the brewery, site ratings, and how good Pliny the Elder was.

A: Pours no real head - but with a floater. Colour is a nontransparent gold. I'm disappointed by the lack of a head; you could blame the glassware, but the brewery chose it. It's vibrant and appealing, however.

Sm: A citrusy hop aroma. Quite powerful and fresh. Clean and inviting. Floral hops. Pine. Juicy citrus; grapefruit. Refreshing and appealing.

T: Hoppy, but delightfully well balanced with a citrusy body and relaxed mellow balancing climax. I really like it. Layered and complex for an IPA - surprisingly so. Some hop bitterness comes through in the aftertaste. Crisp and fresh. Pleasant. No alcohol comes through. Quite subtle. Really refreshing. Would pair well with food. Supple. Quite enjoyable. Orange peel comes through, maybe citra hops as well. The structure is nice, with a subtle body, unobtrusive open, and nice finish.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Just the right thickness, until the finish, wherein it's a touch too thin. Suits the refreshing feel of the flavours quite well, but not perfectly. A touch sharp on the finish.

Dr: Delightful. Well priced for the high quality, but evidently difficult to acquire. Very refreshing and enjoyable. Best served fresh - of course. I'd definitely have it again if I could find it. I'm shocked as how well it conceals its ABV. Certainly amongst the best IPAs I've ever had (not to mention imperial IPAs). The only IPA that comes to mind immediately that compares is Sculpin.

I was skeptical of the hype, but while it's not a perfect beer - nor the best beer in the world - by any means, it's a great beer worthy of any beer fanatic's time. Well brewed, Russian River.

A-

----
2013 Batch: High A- (Consumed at Verdugo Bar in Los Angeles) 16 oz/$16 (1,926 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An incredibly huge thanks to Adam (Nanoslug) for sending a fresh growler of this to me. Served in my Kuhnhenn tulip.

A - Three fingers of creamy-white foam, with incredible retention and gorgeous lacing. Semi-transparent gold, with tiny bubbles slowly & lazily rising upwards. This is the standard by which DIPAs are measured.

S - Huge, complex bouquet of flavors - mossy pine, fresh-cut grass, tangerine, Braeburn apple, grapefruit, and a touch of pineapple. Mild touch of malt in the background, but this is a huge hopbomb.

T - Incredible balance - great fresh hoppiness and sweet tropical fruit flavors, but also more malt than the smell lets on. Sweet and hoppy aftertaste that keeps me reaching for the glass. Only the tiniest hint of the 11% ABV.

M - Medium viscosity, reasonable carbonation. Smooth and creamy, with just a touch of tingling. Leaves a sticky resinous feeling after swallowing. Not sure what else I can ask for in a DIPA.

D - This is the most drinkable 11% beer I've ever had. The only thing that would keep me from filling up my glass is passing out.

This is incredible stuff - it takes all the things I love about Pliny the Elder but to the nth degree. This is a must try for all lovers of beer. (1,225 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

once poured from the growler, the brew slipped over the lip of the pint, and I had to suck up some...pre-inspection, I'm wowed by this beer! Holy dribble cup, Batman!

Clear golden/ pale peach appearance, with an excellent cup of lacey, snow -white froth on top. Very attractive IPA, so far.

Nose is all pine, hints of pineapple and other tropical fruit, pineapple, peach, apricot, banana, lemon...braces of bitterness, but all of it pleasing to the hophead. Just heavenly!

Taste: all those good things and more, the tropical and citric fruit blaze over the palate, bright and luscious, hoppy, bitter, but overwhelmingly pleasant and tasty...the extra liquor doesn't click in right away, but makes itself felt eventually...11%?? Hooo, daddy!

There's enough malt here that it's not a raw hop blitzkrieg overpowering anything else in the brew, but hops are king here, as if there were ever any doubt. Damn, Zam-Bam-A-Lam!! this is a true killer-diller, not for the weak of heart or palate!


much thanks to Axisjones for the growler! (1,045 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

REVIEW 500!

I slayed a growler of this last night with the help of the other Matt. Weapon of choice was my Stone IPA tulip. I obtained a growler in a trade with great BA. As a result of our heroic undertaking, my mind is still not firing on all cylinders, but this is the best DIPA I've ever had and only my second straight 5.

Beer poured from a Russian River growler into a Stone IPA tulip. Beer is yellow to orange and CLEAR! The pour forms a white head about an inch to a half an inch in thickness that falls away leaving some lacing on the glass. Carbonation is moderate to high and really steady. The bubbles nucleate at the bottom of the glass mostly, beginning small but rise slowly increasing in size as they rise to the head. The head retention is good. No chill haze, beautiful color, good head dynamics, nice level of carbonation, its a beautiful beer.

Aroma is primarily a lot of hops....a lot of hops. Very citrusy with some pine notes in there. There is some sweetness, its a dominate aroma component. Its difficult but sometimes I think I can smell some alcohol but mostly I can not. For being such a huge beer, I really can't tell based on the aroma at all. The aroma is also huge. I can smell it from across the table. I found myself not even drinking it just smelling it, very complex, very big, very wonderful.

Taste time, balance. This beer hits all the parts of the palate, forward, middle and back. Obviously there is hop bitterness in the back, there is some sweetness up front, but no alcohol. Beer is medium bodied, definitely not a malt bomb like some DIPAs tend to be. There are almost fruit notes in the mid-palate. Some sweet orange or almost lime flavors. Beer finishes cleanly, leaving no aftertaste. Bitterness grows as it does with most big hoppy beers, but it does not interfere with the other flavors or drinkability.

I was going to originally rate the drinkability as a 4.5 for this beer. But I had some food between my pints of it and after some food a blew through my second pint. It is an amazingly balanced and completely wonderful IPA. At 11%, it is unlikely that I would make it my daily drinker, but it is the most dangerously drinkable 11% beer I've ever had.

EDIT: I had this again at EBF (4 ounce pour) and compared it side by side with Pliney the Elder. I realized as Matt and I were drinking this growler that it was an important but absent variable in my review is comparing it to another beer. We drug out an Exponential Hoppiness for comparison but it wasn't the right thing to do.

At the fest I had 4 ounces of each next to each other. My wife and I both tasted each and agreed that Younger was better than Elder. It was sweeter and thicker, had more fruit notes on the palate and smells were uncomparable. The hop aroma on Younger blew the hop aroma on Elder out of the water. I'm not going to write an additional review of this beer on draft, I just thought I would include these thoughts in my present review. (2,971 characters)

Photo of orangesol
4.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had this one on-tap at the pub a few times over the course of SF Beer Week '14 and I am adjusting my scores up a bit. Really an incredible DIPA when it is this fresh.

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Old Review...

Served on-tap at Monk's on Russian River Monday. Finally captured the dragon.

A - Pours clear golden orange with a fluffy one finger tall white head leaving thin sheets of lace down the glass. A very nice looking beer.

S - Smells of fresh cut grapefruits, apricots, pine needles, pungent citric hops and a touch of sweetness creeping in as it warms up. The balance of aromas is very well maintained throughout.

T - Starts off with a ton of tropical fruits - mostly grapefruits, mangos and pineapples - quickly giving way to a mix of strong, bitter citric hops, fresh cut pine and a bit of sweet malt. The balance of this beer is amazing for how big it really is. Finish has plenty of lingering bitterness, clinging to the pallet long after the finish.

M - Medium-Light body with a well balanced flavor and moderate carbonation. Bitterness is surprisingly mild, lingering on the pallet for quite awhile.

O - What more is there to say that hasn't already been said? This one is easily one of the best beers I have ever had. I could drink this one all day, and that is saying something. (1,275 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4.57/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer pours a beautiful golden color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is outstanding. It's your typical West Coast DIPA, but done to perfection. It has your standard pale malt base which seems to provide adequate balance. The hop aroma is sublime. It's citrusy with hints of pine. It's very bitter, yet not as much as I thought it would be. The taste is great; so smooth and drinkable. The alcohol is nowhere to be found. What there is , is a damn tasty beer that's relatively light and loaded with hops. This is a thing of beauty. The mouthfeel is great as well. It's a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. The drinkability of this beer is off the charts. There's not heat whatsoever, just heavenly golden nectar. (768 characters)

Photo of mothman
4.8/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

HUGE Thanks to Jerz for hooking me and my crew up! We don't get a lot of good beer up in Fargo, so this is a treat!

Growler opens with a nice big pop.

Poured into Bruery snifter.

Pours 1 finger of white head. Pretty decent retention. Leaves a lot of lace rings. Color is a clear golden bronze.

Aroma: Sweet floral hops, has some sugar flavors to it, it has a lot of pine notes which is really nice. Big grapefruit citrus with some other blended into it. The aroma is huge hops and a nice sweet malty profile.

Taste: It starts out with a massive amount of pine hops (some floral hop profile). It is sweet, but bitter. The malts are bready, but don't balance it out too much, which is good. The grapefruit citrus is dominate and really brings a lot to this beer. Maybe some orange citrus sticking out a bit.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, but nothing that overly done which is really nice. It is incredibly smooth. It has a much bigger body than any other ipa. Just massive and tasty. A nice amount of carbonation. Ends very very clean for the style.

Overall, this beer is very fine. Lots of massive flavor and incredibly drinkable. My part of this growler of this is going fast and is incredibly easy to drink. You really can't get a much better beer for this style. This beer deserves to be at the top of its class. Thanks a ton Jer for getting this growler! Everyone loved the beer and was happy to try it. (1,403 characters)

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 889 ratings.