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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

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2,594 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,594
Reviews: 892
rAvg: 4.69
pDev: 8.96%
Wants: 4,985
Gots: 214 | 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: 2,594 | Reviews: 892 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of benito
3.82/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Despairing over not being able to get this on tap at the RR brewpub, I was overjoyed to find it on tap at Toronado in San Francisco.

A: An unmoving copper with a thin head. Still waters run deep, right?

S: Earthy hops--grass and cedar with a touch of sweeter fruit, maybe strawberry. This is certainly one of the strongest hop bouquets I've ever smelled.

T: An ode to the hop. The overall flavor is strong enough on malt and hops that it could pass as a barley wine (especially if Avery were making it), but it emphasizes on bitterness, from start to finish. The molasses like malty flavors up front give way to a dry and bitter finish, with hints of pine, grass, and alcohol.

M: I suppose that the quality of mouthfeel depends on how much you love the hop. The 'balance' is about as good as one might expect from a so-called triple IPA (which I will insist is not truly its own style); nonetheless, the residual bitterness is a little too much for my palate.

D: For sipping. 'Nuf said.

Overall, this is an ambitious and aggressive brew, significantly stronger than its (wonderful) uncle Pliny the Elder. It seems that RR isn't going for a beer that's going to please anyone other than the most die-hard of hop heads; while that may mean the beer won't be universally acclaimed, it's probably that kind of an attitude that helps make forward progress in the US craft brew industry.


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

While in Santa Rosa I visited the brewpub and filled my Growler, brought it home and poured a small glass. I have waited a long time for this to be available and it was worth the wait. Without a doub this is the best over the top DIPA I have ever partaken, and this is my favorite beer type. Poured a hazy gold tending toward orange with a soap suds head that left big chucks of lacing. Huge citrus hops nose, and a rich mouthfeel that feels like port wine on the palate. Flavors are citrus hops and the finish is long and bitter, but enjoyably so. I was prepared to be disappointed after the long wait, but this is the best brew ever for me. So sad I only have a growler. I really love this beer. I was going to save a 5.0 for the very best. This is it!

Photo of rudylaw
4.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

HUGE thanks to dukedevil0 for sharing this with the Chicago BA crew. Just an amazing display of awesomeness by Dave!

Pours an orangey copper with a tiny head.

Smells deep of citrus, pineapple. It's a real deep and inviting aroma. Almost like you're squeezing the fruit into the beer yourself.

All there with a malty balance. To me, this tastes nowhere near as good as it smells. It's not a hop bomb, much more balanced than I thought/wanted.

Medium carbonated and extremely drinkable for an 11% brew.

I was a little let down with this one. I much prefer fresh Elder, HopSpam and Sculpin to this. A damn fine beer but nothing to push grandmothers down for.

Photo of scottiethebody
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of baiser
4.54/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of Greels
4.36/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SeattleBoB76
5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of IceAce
4.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of ineva
5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of roodie
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of SkeeterBoganski
4.75/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of TommyW
4.72/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the EBF 2010.

A- Yellow with a touch of gold; white head that fades to a thin cover.

S- Very fresh hop aroma, citrus and tropical fruits and a touch of alcohol.

T- Blast of fresh hops right off the bat, moving into a citrus and tropical fruit sweetness. I can't really detect any of the 11% abv. The hops leaves a very bitter finish, but it is an extremely clean bitterness.

M- Medium body with a low carbonation.

D- Incredibly easy drinking for 11%. I was worried when I was about to try this that it would turn out to be over-hyped; that was not the case. This beer is very worthy of being at the top of the 'best of BA' list.

Photo of cfadams17
4.25/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of flannelman808
4.47/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 batch...

PTY:  2/16/12 ( I think it's been released for ~12 days)

A:  pale yellow amber and quite clear,  just a tiny bit of haze (i think id actually like to see more).  A thin stark white foam tops it off clinging to the glass fairly well along the way.


S: fallen pine needle and citrus peel are ever present.  Tangerine juice and grapefruit pith.  There is a hint of iced doughnut for me as well.


T:  huge and sticky this shows a sweet candied orange sweetness and Soft zesty bitterness.  along with the citrus pith suggestions, this carries a "green" quality usually reserved for green flash descriptions.  Some forest floor carries out in the mid palate.  Some astringent alcohol in the finish with a sense of its strength but in a dry sort of way (think old raj).  


M:  bright prickly and sticky all at once.  Medium finish.  Lengthily drying out the palate.


O:  not unlike biting into a honey tangerine through the skin.  But don't sweat what ya heard kid.  This is great stuff, if they brewed it all the time I think I would still be popular.  Not something worth waiting in a long line for however.  That said this beer is somewhat unique in its balance of flavors.  It doesn't register too sweet (120 min, brass knuckle, ect...) nor does it fall into a bitter hop head bomb ala Dreadnaught.  No, this one is balanced, well except for that pesky alcohol on the finish.


WOW I finally got to try it! WOOOHOOOO! man this beer is EVERYTHING everyone makes it out to be. or is it?

to try it at an IPA fest at NAJA's place in Redondo Beach (If you live in LA and haven't been I recommend trying Najas out).

Pours a dark amber color and has sticky head retention.

Smells like what one would expect of a big IPA, Lots of citrus and piney notes. Grapefruit aromas lead the way.

There is a hop and flavor explosion once this stuff is on your tongue. Wow I kept going back for more despite the high ABV. This is just an amazing beer tons of balance and complexity, yet it leaves a high note of bitterness to sooth the hophead in me. If you see this beer ever, buy all of them! Of course this will never be bottled so good luck.

Photo of bouncepass
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of callmescraps
4.48/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally got my hands on this one. Called Father's Office, found out it was finally in, and practically threw the lady in the car and raced off. I was not about to miss this.

Appearance - Light orangish. I definitely got the "it glows" thing. It was very nice and clear, with 1-2 inches of whispy head that settled down in a couple minutes. Not a super rich color, but very bright and nice.

Smell - Plenty of hops. Some real pine and grapefruit. Also some lemon/citrus. There's also a little bit of a malt back behind all those hops. Very nice and balanced, but no explosion.

Taste - Very, very balanced. There's that hoppy citrusness, but also some real malt hanging around. There's a bready-ness that I did not see coming. Not too astringent, and the alcohol is nowhere to be seen. That said, the aftertaste is a little tough, a sharp bitterness that sort of clings. Overall, it was one of the more balanced DIPA's you'll find.

Mouthfeel - Really great. Very crisp, not syrupy at all. Just about perfection.

Drinkability - Lethal. Definitely went down faster than planned, although it does begin to accumulate a little. Still, with such a high abv it's incredibly smooth. Even the lady, not a big fan of hops, thought that this one was very, very drinkable. That about says it all.

A very nice beer. Great even. Of course, there was no way it could live up to the hype. I'm not sure anything could. It was very, very drinkable. Still, it seemed a little thin? There was a level it did not quite go, but I think that's how it ends up being so balanced. I'm really glad I tried this one, and I really admire the craftsmanship. One of the better DIPA's you're going to get anywhere.

If you ever see it on tap, pounce! That said, your life can complete without ever having tried it. I'm a fan, definitely.

Photo of JDM44
5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of SirBentham
4.88/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance – Nice golden color. Minimal head on my pour.

Smell – really impressive nose. Similar to the Elder, but smelled a little sweeter.

Taste – Huge hops are incredibly well balanced with a sweet malt. More balanced than the Elder. I can't believe this is over 10%

Mouthfeel – Perfect amount of carbonation. Medium body.

Overall – This lived up to the hype. on par with the Heady Topper for me.

Photo of buffs9
5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of jlb502
4/5  rDev -14.7%

Photo of Auracom
4.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, had to travel to Cali for it once and for all. First day tapping at RR on February 1st, 2013.

A - Purely clear, bright golden coloring. Very little head or remnants of foam, but curiously-decent lacing.

S - Dank, sappy, a tad phenolic, and plentiful grapefruit resin as expected. The sticky dankness of it is a bit surprising and definitely deviates from Elder.

T - Everything that anyone could expect from a landmark beer. Pine cone, of course, but moreso a balanced blending of grapefruit rind, cracker jack, citrus, and light herbs. It's a feat to make a recipe like this taste so utterly simple, yet that's exactly how it drinks.

M - Medium body, perfect carbonation, semi-smooth, lingering residual bitterness from the finish.

D - Easily the most drinkable of the gargantuan Triple IPA's I've experienced. That being said, Exponential Hoppiness reigns supreme for now. Worth the voyage? Probably not. But I don't regret it nonetheless.

Photo of quine
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of mhksuccess
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of MJSJr
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of HipHopsHooray
4.75/5  rDev +1.3%

Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,594 ratings.