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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

2,394 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,394
Reviews: 845
rAvg: 4.68
pDev: 9.19%
Wants: 4,417
Gots: 123 | 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: 2,394 | Reviews: 845 | Display Reviews Only:
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!

Sammy, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev -9.2%

t0rin0, Dec 26, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.38/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

UCLABrewN84, Mar 05, 2012
Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

zestar, Nov 04, 2013
Photo of spycow
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%

spycow, Jan 08, 2013
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.

Thorpe429, Apr 04, 2010
Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Texasfan549, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of brentk56
4.68/5  rDev 0%
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

brentk56, Apr 01, 2006
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.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 12, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
4.78/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

BEERchitect, Nov 28, 2005
Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +6.8%

GRG1313, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
4.7/5  rDev +0.4%
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!

mikesgroove, Feb 08, 2007
Photo of ygtbsm94
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

ygtbsm94, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of jaydoc
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%

jaydoc, Sep 20, 2013
Photo of womencantsail
4.83/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

womencantsail, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of Knapp85
4.7/5  rDev +0.4%
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.

Knapp85, Mar 12, 2012
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

JAHMUR, Nov 14, 2011
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.

largadeer, Jan 31, 2008
Photo of SocalKicks
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

SocalKicks, Feb 15, 2013
Photo of emerge077
4.63/5  rDev -1.1%
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!

emerge077, Feb 18, 2010
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.65/5  rDev -0.6%
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!

StonedTrippin, Feb 18, 2013
Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Jason, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Kegatron
4.7/5  rDev +0.4%
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.

Kegatron, Apr 14, 2009
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.

Slatetank, Feb 27, 2007
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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,394 ratings.