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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,660 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,660
Reviews: 906
rAvg: 4.69
pDev: 8.96%
Wants: 5,101
Gots: 242 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,660 | Reviews: 906
Photo of Huhzubendah
5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A huge thanks to Matt (drabmuh) for sharing his growler with me!

Served in my Russian River pint glass.

A: Remarkably clear, beautifully light in color, effervescent, white fluffy head that leaves generous amounts of sticky lacing

S: Huge hop aroma with grapefruit, citrus, floral notes. Alcohol virtually non-detectable in the nose.

T: This beer is worth all the hype. Wow! Unbelievably smooth. Huge hops, no astringency, the bitterness and sweetness walk a tightrope of perfection. The taste hits you initially with smooth hops, then transitions to a sweet, sticky deliciousness that coats the palate, and finishes with a wonderful bitterness that begs to begin the sequence again.

M: Everything is perfect here - carbonation, freshness, this beer is phenomenal.

D: At 11%, this beer kicked my ass, and I loved it. I finished three pints, and would've hurt myself even worse if we didn't run out.

Photo of corby112
4.03/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampling this live right now at Capone's.

Pours a dark golden orange/tangerine color with golden orange hues when held to a light source and a two finger fluffy, soapy white head that has amazing retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap. Soapy chunks of white lacing are left behind.

Uber fresh dank oily hop aroma that is very floral with a lot of sweet citrus notes balancing out the earthy pine. Slight malt presence and a somewhat strong alcohol character. The high ABV is noticeable in he nose and takes away from the hops a bit.

Chewy full body, especially for the style, that is bursting with uber fresh earthy piny and sweet citrus hops. Very floral with lots of lemon peel and grapefruit as well as some tropical mango and pineapple. There is a slight malt backbone providing some balance but this beer is all about the hops. There is a good bit of alcohol heat that takes away from the hops a bit too much for my liking but overall the ABV is decently masked. This beer is still dangerously drnkable but I wish that it had a little less heat. I've had this beer several times and I love it but I still prefer Elder.

Photo of afsdan
4.75/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of DoubleJ
4.77/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2009 version. I've had this year's version a couple times, at Beachwood BBQ and Verdugo Bar. The hop aroma is much more pungnet in the nose than I remember, and I can taste a smoother, more balanced beer in this year's version. Some caramel and bready notes emerge alongside with the intense, puckering hops, and it's slightly cleaner too. Overall, I like 2009's version a little more than the 2008 version, and the latter was pretty awesome as well.

2/13/08 (4.5/4.5/5/5/4.5)

I was fortunate to hear this beer would be on tap at Hollingshead's this week. I raced over this afternoon and grabbed a 12 ounce sample, which was poured into a goblet. On to the beer:

The beer glows a deep orange color. Aroma was very hoppy, lots of metallic smelling hops at first, but it mellowed out to be sweeter as it warmed. My first impression on this beer was that it isn't as "intense" as one might think. Extremely smooth and syrupy thick on the palate. All I could think of was hop juice, yet still has a nice balance to it. The long lingering flavor of hops comes to no surprise.

What else? If you find this, savor the flavor, and enjoy!

Photo of weeare138
4.44/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much thanks to hopdog for this hand filled bottle...don't know if/when I would ever see it on draft around here.
Appears a light gold with a small off-white head that slowly fades out. Scattered spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of bready, biscuits, citrus, rich resinous hoppy pine, and vanilla. Much like The Elder.
Taste is of the same and very delicious with a touch of caramel standing out.
Mouthfeel is slightly sugary and mildly piney, woody, and candy.
Drinkability is decent with some ABV that's noticable.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.97/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks very much to Grant for sharing this growler at the Brick Store Pub. I've somehow missed this every year in California even though I'm usually there every time it comes out- sadly I'm usually working too hard then to seek it out or go up to Santa Rosa. I love the Elder, and this beer is every bit as good as I'd hoped. Pours golden with okay head and some excellent lacing. Very nice for a growler. A beautiful blast of pine on the nose with some lovely sweet caramel malt providing a nicely layered backbone underneath. For me, the taste is perfect. Sweet malt and a heavy dose of extremely fresh tasting piney hops that have just oozed their oils into this brew. Some nice citrus on the finish as well that combines with the sweet malt for a nice slightly candied finish to the herbal explosion that came beforehand. Deep flavors that roll on and on. Exquisite. The mouthfeel is at first prickly with hops and then smooth with creamy malt. Looong finish. Utterly delicious. I could drink this all day and pay for it later. Not as dry as the Elder of course, but even more deeply flavored. A masterpiece from my favorite brewery.

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

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

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

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

Photo of ShanePB
4.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a 6 oz mini snifter glass at Capones in Norristown. After waiting in line for 1.5 hours, let's see if this was worth the wait...

A: Crystal clear honey-orange body with an extremely tiny, almost non-present, white foam head. Some moderate to low lacing, actually - no retention really, either.

S: Sweet and prickly pine sap notes and pink grapefruit up front. Slightly bitter, with some lemongrass and a very faint whiff of honey in the back end. Really an outstanding smelling beer.

T: Up front are some rather harsh pine notes, a slight bitterness though not as much as I was expecting from an 11% IIPA. Melon sweetness, generic citrus qualities and prominent orange flavors complete this bitter to sweet flavor profile.

M: Smooth and creamy, low carbonation (strange) but overall, pleasant. Not as wonderful as the mouth feel I got with Pliny the Elder.

If I'm being completely honest, this was very good but wasn't worth the 1.5 hour wait in line for. I was fortunate enough to get two pours of this beer, totaling around 12 oz, but this doesn't really need all the hype surrounding it. In my opinion, Pliny the Elder wins the battle against Younger, although I was hoping it would be the opposite. Oh well.

Photo of smakawhat
4.61/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap at Monk's Cafe into a wine glass for the charity event Alex's Lemonade stand. 2 1/2 hours of waiting in line, good chats, and good crowded insane times!

Glass poured ahead of time. Pale brass yellow to bronze amber body. Very clear and crystal, not much noticeable carbonation. Given with only a thin off tan to white soapy collar that never lets up. Very pretty looking IPA, with some matching spider like lacing.

Nose is familiar. A great wet sense of juicy hop orange and tangerine. There's a honey sweetness behind this also, it really reminds me of hopslam, and a very dry heat that come off of it. Not boozy smelling at all. Clean, but doesn't give me the sense of a big body coming.

Palate hits hop front hard. Big juicy but still wet body, not unlike Zombie Dust, but with a quenching almost pilsner crispness. Hop explosive notes of hinted orange from the nose, but the body is far more tropical with giant fruits of mango, maybe peach, but giant fruit punch tropics. Incredibily dry finish, almost getting into brut champagne territory, with pine hop complimenting the arid quality nicely. There is just a touch though, a peck of grainy character on this in the swallow.

It's very memorable, and hardly contains any alcohol boozy heat. I completely forgot this just barely kicks in over ten percent abv, it sure doesn't feel like it at all. It personally for myself is just missing that hint of bigger body, and oomph, and a certain "wow" factor. It's so close but it's a great beer. I'll never forget it.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After tap, now on to the growler courtesy of Grabbin2nd.
Growler popped loud and we all scream YESSS!Poured a nice golden orangish color with great carbonation and nice white head. Nose is pine, grapefruit, booze, perhaps hint of ornage peel. Taste is pine, grapefruit murdering the palate with hops, bittering medium way with floral, citrus and hop oils coming out, caramel and booze being pretty subdued by all the damn flavors. Mouthfeel is light booze, stinging, oils but dry at the same time, pine. Drinkability, best enjoyed with many friends.

Photo of BillRoth
4.85/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had at Capone's at yesterday's Russian River Fest.Frankly, had come just to check off PTY from my wish list after many years of wondering. Fortunate to get four 5.5oz servings, and transfered 3 to a decent size tulip glass. My wife insisted on having 1 for herself. This might have been "sharing the love" a bit too far.

Descriptions noted before cover it pretty well. But I am writing this because I expect many who have not tried it may have the same misimpression that I had before tasting.

Having had PTE ...and can't keep track of many, many other excellent IPAs (Imp, double imp, DIPA, etc etc etc)from West Coast and otherwise I was expectig just a bigger/supposedly better beer...what a mistake.

The first impression was so surprising...that the hop profile was excellent; absoltutely delicious, vast ( no surprise)... but no haymaker/slap to the mouth. No jolt, just so full of flavor. The malts were big and very present in taste and mouthfeel, but not distracting or bullish.

Thought it was very good.

Half way through the glass it struck me that this might be the best balance of big hops and big malt that I had ever had. The arome remained so pleasant.

Thought was exceptionally excellent.

Finished glass. So smooth, hops and malts so married, so well. Wow.

But this was an IPA...Here I was expecting a rock concert...and instead I got artistry.

I found it the most drinkable and enjoyable IPA I have had...or at least in so long a time that comparison is moot.

Hope you get a chance to try this special beer.

Photo of Zorro
4.65/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled thanks to RedwoodGeorge and his most Excellent trade!

Pours a clear copper colored ale that forms a surprising amount of head in my Duvel tulip glass despite the alcohol level.

Smell is vast quantities of fresh hops, I can tell THAT 3 feet from the glass as I look at it. Big abundant hop aromas here. The first thing that hits your nose is a stiff aroma of bitter oranges and Meyer lemons, a very citrus smelling IPA. Lots of pine and spice scents are in this one. Black pepper, lemon grass, cardamom, fennel. Fruit scents of papaya, mango, pineapple and probably others, this stuff numbs up your sense of smell after a while.

Taste is surprisingly mild at the beginning and is dominated by fruit flavors, peaches, melon and passion fruit at the start. Spicy hops flavors join in next pepper coriander, lemon zest, angostura bitters, and a bit of juniper berry. Quite a tasty beer indeed!

Mouthfeel is quite good.

A super tasty beer here that I could almost give straight 5s for but I do think Pliny the Elder and Three Floyds Dreadnaught are just a little better. Having said that I will hit this stuff like a starving Mako Shark anywhere I see it offered. Word Class Beer! That sums this up.

Photo of akorsak
4.57/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A growler filled at the Union Jack's Inn On The Manatawny. Thanks to Phatz for sharing it.

A: The ale has a vibrant golden color that nicely blends orange and yellow tones. The head has held up nicely, coming in thick and billowy on each pour.

S: The aroma is this thick with big juicy hops. Aromas include grapefruit, apricot and soapiness. The malts are big too, caramelly and big.

T: This IPA is incredible. The hops are thick and powerful from the first sip to the last, providing apricot, pineapple, grapefruit and lemon rind flavors. The malts don't shy away from the hops either. They are big and chewy, full of caramel and biscuit. The strength of the malts is enough to push this into barleywine territory (but that is another argument for another day).

M: The mouthfeel is intense from start to finish, showcasing an incredible array of hops and a big malty profile.

D: If only this beer weren't 11%... The ale is delicious with a great hop profile that refuses to let go of your tastebuds.

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of HopHead84
4.77/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2/26/2011

On tap at Stone for the Don Younger toast.

A: Burnished gold and perfectly transparent with a huge frothy white head. Excellent lacing.

S: Monstrous hop aroma, with big pine notes accompanied by grapefruit, orange, and a little apricot. Bright, vibrant, and exceptional. Booze is really well hidden.

T: Deeply resinous with well masked yet apparent alcohol in the flavor. Malt provides a little backing but no evident taste. Lots of pine and grapefruit. Alcohol is incredibly well hidden for the ABV. Great hop flavor, one of the best in the style. Some orange and grapefruit rind in the moderately bitter finish. Overall, the flavor exhibits massive hop influence with a smooth upper moderate bitterness. Never astringent or harsh.

M: Medium in body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is crisp and sticky. This aspect is amazing. Unlike many other Double IPAs that attempt to approach this ABV, it's never heavy on the palate.

Overall: I love this beer, but I think a few others I've had in the last year are just as good. Regardless, this is world class and it was nice to finally try this year's batch with minimal effort.

Photo of billab914
4.79/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a very generous BA for dealing with the madness at the release and shipping through one of the worst storms DC has ever seen to get this to me. It's been a long weekend of driving up and back to Buffalo and I've been looking forward to opening this growler.

Poured from a growler into my Russian River tulip glass. Pours an amber orange color with a one finger white head. The head settled and clung to the sides of the glass where it left excellent lacing on the sides.

Aroma pretty hoppy with citrus, grapefruit, pineapple and pine all present in the nose. It also has a somewhat sweet aroma to it which I really like. It smells so fresh and delicious, it really showcases the hops better then any other beer I have had.

The taste is just as hoppy as the nose lets on. It has a good amount of pineapple and grapefruit flavors up front with more of a pine finish. There is a sweetness to it that is stronger up front and then is somewhat balanced out by the bitter pine finish. The alcohol is a little present in the finish, and it definitely gives you a warming feeling after a glass. They really do an excellent job on both this one and elder at getting that sweet flavor but also balance it out with the bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good especially for the abv. It's a very good tasting and smooth drinking beer which makes it very drinkable. It is pretty high in alcohol content and that is quite evident after drinking one glass so there is a definite limit on how much of this I want to drink.

Photo of KAF
5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of Kelp
4.59/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received this from sugit.

Pours forth an orangy color. Little whit head that stays and no lacing.

The smell is easily the best part of this beer. An overwhelmong amount of hops is the first smell. Followed by citrus and not just the normal grapeftuitiness. A finish of toffee maltiness and pine.

This a great beer, but I liked the Elder better. This is way to easy to drink for the ABV that it is. Hops right off the bat, then citrus follows orange and the grapefruit. Pine follows with a finish of malt and grapefruit left on the tongue.

A pleasant warmth to the brew from the alcohol. A bit thinner than i expected. Decent carbonation and very smooth.

This was way to easy to drink down. I am glad I shared this with a few people, because if I had kept it I don't believe I would have remembered much the next morning. A lovely brew, just not as good as the Elder to me.

Photo of John_M
4.97/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Local 44 and Memphis Taproom in Philly yesterday.

The beer pours a striking golden peach color with good head retention and lacing. On the nose... this beer is just heaven. There is a huge blast of pine and dry bitter citrus, with a hop presence so intense that it imparts almost a slight skunky, marijuana aroma. Have seen this in a few over the top wet hop bombs in the NW, but suffice it to say that such an intense, gorgeous nose is extremely unusual and impressive. The flavors on the palate replicate the nose, except there is an intensity of flavor that is just astonishing. Tried this side by side with the elder - the elder was almost light and watery by comparison!!! The finish just goes on and on in this beer, and there is an underlying creamy smooth mouthfeel to this beer that is, once again, astonishing.

At 11% alcohol, drinkability is of course a problem, but this great beer carries its alcohol very well. Ended up drinking three 10 ounce glasses of this great beer, before I was finally worn out. For a hophead like myself, this beer is a wet dream in a glass. Fabulous stuff!

Edit from 2/11. Was fortunate enough to have several glasses (three if the truth be known) at the brewpub on the release date (friday). Nothing really to add to my review, except to note what an incredible treat it was to have this beer so fresh. Fresh at the site; a couple weeks old in Portland; roughly a month old in SEPA... younger is consistently excellent and delicious.

Photo of rolltide8425
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of iL0VEbeer
5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.27/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A beer I thought I'd never get to try. 64 oz. growler poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Clear orange body with a small white head. A few wisps on the surface and a thin collar.

Smell - Orange. Some pine hops. Lots of caramel malt, but doesn't smell all that sugary.

Taste - Tastes like an amped up Pliny. Orange hops up front. Sweet pale malts. A touch of booze. Pine hops build in the back end with a moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Not a sugar bomb, which I was afraid of. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Glad I got to try it. It's very good. I'd take a lot of things over it, especially if it avoids a trip to CA to get a taste.

Photo of ppoitras
4.97/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle obtained via trade with RedwoodGeorge. Thanks for the opportunity... Brewed 1/3/2006, hand-bottled via counter-pressure system 1/19/06.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/8" off-white head over the clear light amber brew. Head fades reasonably quickly, with plentiful lacing. Aroma is a twinge of tangerine, and then christmas tree pine aroma that dominates it all. Flavor is as the nose indicates, with a fruitiness upfront that is quickly shouted down by the piney-yet-somewhat-fruity hops explosion. I can feel enamel dripping off my teeth, and it's great! Mouthfeel is amazing, that for all the hops power, it still has discernable flavors, and drinkability is superb for the style, not just another bottle of hops with a grain hull or two for color. Worth the hype. Thank goodness for "George's Unauthorized Home Bottling Project".

Photo of johnnnniee
4.17/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes: Sampled at EBF 2010. Pours a murky pale golden color with a stingy off white head that dissipates quickly. Wonderfully complex hop aroma, lots of citrus grapefruit and orange being in the forefront. The flavor is big with lots of caramel offset with plenty of hop flavor mostly of the peach/grapefruit/orange vein. Medium body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet resinous mouthfeel. Very nice big IPA that I waited much to long in line to taste. I’m glad I got to try this its a great beer, but I think I prefer the elder.

Photo of chippo33
4/5  rDev -14.7%

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,660 ratings.