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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

Educational use only; do not reuse.

891 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 891
Hads: 2,789
Avg: 4.67
pDev: 13.06%
Wants: 5,991
Gots: 334 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 891 | Hads: 2,789
Photo of JSEg
4.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really enjoyed this beer. Worth waiting 8 hours? Probably not. But what beer is worth 8 hours? Overhyped? Not by a long shot. Russian River really put a ton of work into this beer and it shows. The smell was incredible; intense grapefruit which I love. This beer is 10% but is not boozy what-so-ever. In fact, almost no alcohol taste and very easy to drink. I think everyone owes it themselves to at least experience this beer once.

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Photo of hoppytobehere
4.31/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Falling Rock, February 22. 10.25% ABV

A: Clear body. Light copper color with a little head.

S: Loaded with hops, smells like Simcoe to me. Booze is noticeable. This is a huge beer.

T: Follows the nose. Huge hop bite without being too bitter. A little hot. PtE with just an absurd amount of hops. Incredibly drinkable all things considered.

M: It's no PtE in this dept but decently carbonated and a little sticky.

O: I'm not a ticker, but I'm really glad I had the opportunity to try this. It's an excellent beer, but would never waste 3 hours of a day again to get it. I can think of several IIPAs that are better and also aren't impossible to get.

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Photo of mc4z
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Toronado (SF). This beer is awesome. I could dock random 1/4 points, but for the style, it doesn't get any better. This pours a medium orange color that is surprisingly see through. The smell is juicy citrus fruit with a light sweetness. The taste is lots of strong citrus fruit. It's bitter, but at the same time balanced by the sweetness from all the malt. There is virtually no alcohol presence, which is quite a feat for an 11% beer. This beer is incredibly drinkable and perfectly balanced. Far and away my favorite TIPA.

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Photo of UAhobbes
4.9/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've been about the hype for two years now...learning about the Younger releases last year and missing my opportunities. After striking out twice already this year, my opportunity came this morning (2/22/14). After the hours of driving, parking, waiting, holding in a coffee dump, waiting, making small talk, waiting, finding a quick spot for said coffee dump, waiting, taking pictures, waiting, and more waiting....my snifter was poured and the deliciousness was before me.

It's an odd feeling, seeing 6 ounces in front of you and realizing that each ounce equated an hour of your life. It's an odd feeling, having what you've "dreamt" over, researched, and hyped over to be in front of you. What do you do first?

Smell: It smells like heaven, or what I hope "heaven" to smell like. To me, it's smell is the liquid brother of bacon smell. The aroma coming off this thing was amazing. Super piney with hints of citrus.

Taste: I sipped too quickly. I don't know if it was the hours of waiting or the general anticipation of it all but I sipped before it had a chance to open up. The first taste, to me, wasn't worth the hype. It wasn't until five-ten minutes went by that I realized just how delicious this beer tasted. The longer I waited, the better it became. The Younger went down so easily, especially for it's 11 ABV.

Overall: Worth it. The combination of how delicious it was, coupled with the camaraderie one creates with other beer nerds makes for a wonderful experience. I'm glad this isn't an everyday beer for it gives us something to yearn for throughout the year.

Long story short, enjoy the process and let it breathe.

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Photo of beersgud
4.66/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Stem glass poured from tap at tap room San Diego's 7th anniversary party.

Pours golden with about 3/4 inch head, ideal appearance for an IPA.

The aroma for some reason is a little hard to find. Very clean, but honestly not too strong. What I am finding is typical of the style. Piney with a hint of citrus.

Taste is where this beer really lives up to the hype. I can't imagine an IPA tasting a whole lot better than this. Remarkably clean for an 11 ABV. This beer goes down dangerously easy. So mellow for a beer that is so aggressively hopped.

Very light and airy but strikes the taste buds at the same time.

Overall, probably the best IPA I've ever had. A little bit better than a hopslam or an enjoy by, but not by a whole lot. Don't know if it's worth the hype, but then again, hype grows exponentially. Definitely worth seeking out if you can find it, but I wouldn't wait 8 hours at the brewery for it like some of the stories I've heard. All in all, an amazing beer, the gold standard for the style.

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Photo of rhartogsq
4.39/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had it in a wine glass type vessel at Toronado San Diego 2/18/14.

The color was a great, golden ale color. I was expecting a little darker, but you can't smell or taste color, so no worries. No head, no lacing.

I didn't get much on the nose surprisingly. some tropical notes for sure. Some hop oil.

Taste was great. The booze was minute in it. the hops didn't linger at all. very smooth and enjoyable. tropical hop extract perhaps?

mouth feel was very creamy and stuck to the side of your mouth, I liked that.

was happy I lucked into getting this beer to cross off my bucket list. Would have it again if available, but not wait for a long time in line for it. The experience drinking it with other people waiting for it was actually pretty neat, as we all had the same goal.

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Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4.75/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

On tap at Falling Rock in Denver.

After what I'd heard about the lines at the brewery in Santa Rosa, I didn't know what to expect here. Showed up at 4 pm. No line at all. Sat down. Had a blind pig and PtE while waiting and had my Younger handed to me at 6 pm.

What an experience. A true world class beer full of hops, pine, and citrus on the nose and tongue. Wonderful mouthfeel and a lovely light orange hue.

It lives up to the hype. If you have the chance, drink this beer.

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Photo of ThePaleRider
4.98/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had this white whale on tap at Hamiltons in San Diego

Great IPA appearance and fragrance. What sets this IIIPA apart from others is the fact that it's 10.25% and still drinks as smoothly as a pale ale. Goes down really well. Didn't give a perfect rating because the body is a little light. This brew feels and almost drinks just like the Elder, but packs more of a punch. Was it worth waiting in line for? YES.

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Photo of DennyCrane
4.57/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this on tap in SF at Toronado. $6 for what looked to be an 8oz pour.

Minimal head, wonderful appearance. The color was magnificent. Definitely got me excited.

Smell was great. Somewhat similar to the Elder. Definitely good.

Taste was awesome. First few sips, i swooshed it around in my mouth. Really good stuff. Very crisp and drinkable for a "triple IPA".

Mouthfeel was like a normal APA, not a big hop bomb. Very crisp.

Overall I really enjoyed this beer and am very glad that I got to try it. I hit RR in Santa Rosa on Sunday night around 9 PM hoping I could sneak in and get a glass before the end of the day allotment but I missed out by 10 minutes. As much as I enjoyed this beer, I am very glad that I didnt wait 6 hours in line like alot of people.

If you can get this beer without too much hassle, go for it. It is great but not worth the madness. I suppose nothing really is...

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

Being from Sonoma County, I figured it was time to brave the lines for this reported "World Class" beer. I am not a fan of IPAs by any means, but felt I had to try PtY at least once in my life. I really was hoping the 2.5 hour wait would be worth it.

Well, suffice to say....it was. For a triple IPA I was surprised how good it was. The experience was very nice, from the smooth hops flavor (was expecting a Lagunitas IPA-like assault), crispness, citrus notes, and high alcohol content that went down super easy (as did the second one). While still not a IPA fan, PtY most definitely lives up to the hype and worth your time.

If you have a beer bucket list, I'd say this needs to be on it, and crossed off!

Cheers RRBC!

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Photo of
4.59/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

At Russian River Brewery
Three 10 oz pours

A: Clear golden orange, slim to no head, constant bubbling from bottom of glass.

S: Smells like expected, very nice! Pine, citrus, hops dominate.

T: Great! Piney citrus and lots of hops. Pine resin, can taste the alcohol but its hidden well. Slightly less bitter than previous years. Nice aftertaste. Perfect pair with jalapeños.

M: Medium to heavy body. Almost creamy. Resinous and syrupy. Nice. It's a big beer.

O: Excellent. A more syrupy, resinous Pliny the Elder. This beer is hyped like mad, worth it if you get the chance.
Perfect pair with Pliny bites!

Got to the brewery in Santa Rosa at 9:40am on Friday, Valentine's Day. I waited in line for two hours, then recognized someone up front when I went to pee. Otherwise would have waited five hours. Wouldn't have been worth it if I didn't see them. Solid afternoon with top notch beer, making new friends.

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Photo of DT509er
3.38/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm a IPA guy, but my taste buds are over-loaded from the alcohol on the triple IPA's.

PTY was a rather surprising taste for me, I found it to have a subtle alcohol effect with a sweet taste overall. Texture was creamy, reminded me of a Cream Ale soda (texture only). No real head to each pour, its beer in the glass top-to-bottom.

This is a good beer but if I had to stand in line as others have done, and continue to do, this is not the beer I would wait for.


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Photo of JRscott24
4.98/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This treat was being served on Valentines day at a local bar in Danville, CA. 2 full kegs tapped out in 43 Mins. Once again, this beer did not disappoint. A full-bodied brew with a powerful hop aroma and lingering taste. It is the perfect example of a triple IPA. Incredibly smooth. Incredibly strong. Memorable flavor.

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Photo of jdhowe
4.57/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Bobby G's Pizzeria in Berkeley, CA.

A: Pours a crystal clear golden orange with little to no bubbly white head and a fine, thin, white ring of head around the glass. Continuous bubbling is visible from the base of the glass.

S: Super sweet and syrupy. Resinous hop character of pine, earth dankness, grapefruit, peach, and stone fruit. Tons of malt sweetness. Lots going on in this beer.

T/M: Really full medium mouthfeel with carbonation that feels low, but only because of how syrupy and resinous the beer tastes. Completely smooth with tons of hop resin coating the mouth. Prickly carbonation up front with a surprisingly subtle hop bitterness that isn't really harsh at all gives way to super resinous hop character, primarily citrus. Tons of malt sweetness provide waves of juicy stone fruit and candy. Finish is smooth, juicy, coating, and moderately bitter. Alcohol is well hidden.

O: This is a really excellent beer. It's hardly worth the trouble to get to enjoy it, but it's really quite nice. The abundance of flavor is almost too much, though; it's so thick and flavorful that after even a few ounces I feel pretty satisfied. I probably wouldn't drink this daily given the chance, but am glad I've gotten to enjoy it a couple times and would definitely do it again if it wasn't so much of a pain to get.

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Photo of spark3148857
4.55/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Toronado

Pours clear pale golden color with little to no head to speak of. Aroma is pretty much spot on with the Elder, super balanced, super hoppy, with notes of pine and citrus. Taste is like taking a fistful of fresh whole cone hops and shoving them in your mouth. Huge vegetal, piney, slight citrus, but mostly just a ton of hop oil that coats the mouth and pretty much destroys the palate. Younger really shines on the mouthfeel. Smooth, silky, with absolutely no boozyness to speak of. Practically unheard of! Am I glad I stood in line for 30 min at Toronado? Yes. Is it the best triple IPA I've had? No. I would probably prefer having the Elder over the Younger on a regular basis but wow what a great triple IPA.

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Photo of Wolberjs
4.83/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

1st BA review. Go big or go home I suppose.

Drinking side by side with pliny the elder at russian river brewery. So review will be stilted by the direct comparison.

A - both are beautiful clear amber beers. The elder is still bubbling away but younger is not. 4.75

S - Same piney notes on both, but younger has the more complex citrusy fruit. 4.75

T - younger has the more complex and pleasant taste. More citrus fruit on top of the piney taste. 5

M - even though elder has the more carbonation the younger mouthfeel is better to me. Younger has the best mouthfeel of any ipa I've had, so it'd be a 5 in its class but doesn't compare as well to smooth silky stouts like bcbcs, etc. 4.5

O - slightly better than elder. So... Yeah fantastic. 5

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Photo of Zaso
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served from a tap in San Francisco during the launch week. Pours just like any other IPA of it's style; Crisp, golden and clear. A sniff brings about a lot of similar notes as Pliny the Elder, but I get a lot less pine and more of that malty sweetness on the head, especially as the beer warms. Citrus, a subtle grapefruit and some bitters all present. The taste, like the Elder, stay true to it's smell, and the abundant hop character comes right out at the front, with a consistent, malty undertone that slowly takes the focus as it goes down, leaving a very palatable taste in your mouth. This beer hides its alcohol just as good as any I've had. It really gets lost in the sweetness from the malt, and I wouldn't have pegged it as a >10% beer if I wasn't already aware that it was. The style of hops that are used really compliment the malt well, so there isn't a flavor that dominates the taste of this beer. It's smooth and the tiniest bit more creamy than a usual IPA. This beer really has the same taste as the Elder, but with a sweeter backing to balance well with the additional hops. Not as malty as a 120-minute, but not an overloaded hop-bomb either. You can tell it has been meticulously balanced.

In the end, this beer is really just an IPA. There no special ingredient or process that goes into it's production. It hasn't been fused with anything extra or aged in special barrels for extended periods of time. It's just an IPA, and that's all it will taste like. That being said though, after sipping on it for awhile, it's hard not to appreciate how drinkable it is for a triple. If anything, the alcoholic will sneak up on you before you want to stop drinking this beer. On one hand, it's hard to give all 5's to any beer, but on the other, give Vinnie credit where credit is due for cramming such a large hop bill into as remarkably well-balanced and drinkable a beer as any. 5/5.

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Photo of Trilogy31
4.9/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Been. Long time since I logged in, wanted to hate it but its worth reviewing. Had it at Marriott SF drank 6 10oz pours trying it for my first time. Absolute pure clarity on that yellow gold with a finger of foam. Smashing citrus and pine in your face almost a bit of resin, literally I cracked a smile. Drying but not cloying at all. With rich citrus and forest maybe apricots and a deep bitterness that was clean no sweetness. One dimensional but pure perfection not a pliny fan but fing amazing for what it is at that abv.

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Photo of smanrob
4.69/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Showed up at 6:30AM on 2/7/14 (opening day). We ended up getting the very last table of the first set of people in. All things considered, I think we ended up having some good timing. They opened the doors around 10:30 and we were in by 10:50. Overall, we waited in line for just over 4 hours and spent about 3 hours in the pub enjoying the Younger and a few of their other gems.

This is our third pilgrimage for the Younger, and while it's always worth the wait, I'm sad to say that relatively speaking, I think this is their first strike. Last year I walked out knowing that "this is a top 2" beer... this year I left having to debate about whether or not it's a top 5 beer. Why??? Hop balance is ineradicable as to be expected, but this year there seemed to be an overpowering of Warrior hops and the Simco hop flavor that is so distinct may have been overwhelmed by the Chinook. Not to take anything away from the final balance, and I know that this is like nitpicking the Mona Lisa, but that was just my opinion.

*Only getting to enjoy the beer on on day each year may lead to inaccurate recollection, so I thought I'd get this review down ASAP. Additionally, it is hard not to hype up a beer just to self-justify the long line and waiting in inclement weather.

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Photo of Jevers
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Came to Santa Rosa for the PtY release, waited in line for six hours in the rain, and this was worth it.

Appearance-Bright gold, served with little head, little lacing down the glass.

Smell-beautiful piney, resinous hop aroma

Taste-Awesome hop bite, but with a really good malt back

Mouthfeel-Dry, but really good on the palette


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Photo of BierJager89
4.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Hazy orange with a white head.

S:Tons of orange, mango, papaya, tropical fruit in the nose.

T: Fresh orange, mango, papaya, pine, tropical fruit, a touch of alcohol.

M: Full bodied and very smooth especially for an IPA.

O: This beer hit a ceiling for me (I generally don't like IPAs as much as I like stouts, so I score them lower) that a few others (namely Blind Pig, Double Jack and Enjoy By) have hit. If I liked hoppy beers like I do bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts, I would probably give this a 100. To my taste, I'd give it a 95 or 96.

Note: Tasted four days after release. Go on a week day if possible. I only had a 20 minute wait.

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Photo of De_Nada_Brewing
4.98/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had this last year at Haven Gastropub in Orange. Was alittle skeptical at first when I had to wait 2 hours but it was well worth it!

The smell is amazing, a straight hop bomb.

Appearance is like pliny

Both taste and mouthfeel are amazing, not at all bitter.

Can't wait until next year when I try this again!

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Photo of Darth_Ryan
4.94/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Long live the "Younger". This double IPA is as smooth as good as it gets. The hops give this beer a refreshing taste. I didnt think the Elder could be duplicated, but this beer is a refined elder. The bitterness is perfect in this beer. Unfortunately unless you live by the brewery its pretty hard to get more than a pint or two in February. This beer should be tasted by all.

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Photo of xmorgan
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have enjoyed this beer at RR and the Bistro in Hayward. It is big bold and awesome.

For those that say it is not worth the hype, I disagree, it is the best of Triple IPAs and as such belongs at the top!

Pliny the Younger was born in Novum Comum (Como, Northern Italy), the son of Lucius Caecilius Cilo, born there, and wife Plinia Marcella, a sister of Pliny the Elder. It is assumed Pliny was writing about him being the first to write about hops. This is debatable as his "lupus salictarium" Willow Wolf, may or may not have been the hop plant. This description makes reference on how the mentioned plant can drag down a tree by it's weight, similar as to a pack of wolves dragging down a large elk, by the weight of t's numbers, a pack of wolves drag down the larger beast, so does this plant by growing up its sides and over time, dropping said tree or plant.

This beer is hop goodness and the smell is devine hop goodness with a bitter brite grapefruit and uber happiness that should be contemplative over time rather volume.

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Photo of MCG_WC
4.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had this beer in Folsom CA, and it did not disappoint. They don't sell this in my neck of the woods, so it was great that it lived up to the hype when I actually got to try it.

Great nose, better taste, IPA perfection! Looking forward to trying Pliny the Elder as soon as I can!

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 891 ratings.