Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

889 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 889
Hads: 2,738
rAvg: 4.68
pDev: 7.05%
Wants: 5,500
Gots: 285 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 889 | Hads: 2,738
Photo of JRscott24
4.98/5  rDev +6.4%
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. (319 characters)

Photo of jdhowe
4.57/5  rDev -2.4%
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. (1,328 characters)

Photo of spark3148857
4.55/5  rDev -2.8%
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. (731 characters)

Photo of Wolberjs
4.83/5  rDev +3.2%
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 (747 characters)

Photo of Zaso
5/5  rDev +6.8%
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. (1,903 characters)

Photo of Trilogy31
4.9/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (524 characters)

Photo of smanrob
4.69/5  rDev +0.2%
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. (1,269 characters)

Photo of Jevers
4.84/5  rDev +3.4%
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

Overall-Awesome (349 characters)

Photo of BierJager89
4.78/5  rDev +2.1%
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. (650 characters)

Photo of De_Nada_Brewing
4.98/5  rDev +6.4%
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! (311 characters)

Photo of Darth_Ryan
4.94/5  rDev +5.6%
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. (376 characters)

Photo of xmorgan
5/5  rDev +6.8%
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. (1,035 characters)

Photo of MCG_WC
4.78/5  rDev +2.1%
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! (280 characters)

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

A: Filtered deep golden beer with frothy head.

S: Citrus, spice and honey.

T: Best in class. The flavor unfolds wonderfully, the hops and high ABV somehow not overpowering, the finish smooth but sharp.

M: Standard for a triple. This is one place the high abv can be noticed.

O: This beer's scarcity is its one (terrible) fault. Pliny the younger may be delicious but is not in the same league. (397 characters)

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

Better than Pliny the Elder, but very hard to get.

This brewery makes the best beer that I have tasted - hands down. The bar is full, day and night. It is so crowded, that it ALMOST takes away from the beer. I have never walked away without a smile on my face. (262 characters)

Photo of Smurf2055
4.29/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Uber, 2012.

Pours an amber color with very little head.

Lots of pine in the smell, grapefruit and citrus also present.

Taste is sweet, mellow, a bit chalky. Pine and grapefruit are present, as well as pineapple and mango. Everything about IPA’s rolled in to one. Very smooth, very drinkable. Only the tiniest bit of alcohol present.

An incredible beer, and right up there as the best IPA I’ve ever had. Is it worth the hype? No, not really. Is it a great beer? Yes, absolutely. Should someone seek it out? If you haven’t had it before, and you have the chance to, yes. (592 characters)

Photo of Celismisser
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Stood in line for 3 hours, got my ticket, and had this at my home brewery...Tustin Brewing Company.

Not many beers I would wait 3 hours for...and only waited that long because my beer drinking buddy was adamant that this is the best beer ever created in the history of mankind. Usually when someone tells you something is the best you end up disappointed...not this time.

Great beer, you can tell it has high content but it is still very easy to drink with a great high hop flavor.

Best thing I can say...I will be standing in line to get my ticket again next year. (569 characters)

Photo of JRO
4.97/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is one of the few that is worth the hype. Had it on a sample flight that included Row-two, Blind Pig, The Elder, and The Younger: all exceptional beers, but the Younger sort of blew them away compared side to side.
Incredible aroma, so smooth and well balanced....really hard to believe this is an 11% beer. Can't really say anything bad about it. If you get a chance, it's worth the wait. (399 characters)

Photo of IHeartE30s
4.07/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The release of the Younger the last two years was fun; waiting in line with good friends, bars having special food and "IPA tap takeover." That was the highlights though, the Younger is good but I wouldnt wait for it alone especially at 6$ for 4oz's.

It has a lot of complexity and doesnt have that west cost IBU BOOM but it just wasnt for me. At the bar we went to this last year they had plenty of other IPA's I enjoyed more, some of which were very rare in California, like Sculpin Habenaro IPA and Dogfish 120minute on TAP! If it were something readily available like the Elder I could see myself buying it every now and then but I probably wont be waiting in the long lines for a taster any more.

I'd say, its definitely worth a try and find a pub that has an event for the tapping. I wouldnt rank it in the top 25 though. (831 characters)

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

I had this beer about a dozen times in February and twice in March. I write this review now from notes I had written on my notepad app in my phone. I think this review deserves the complete journey I took from La Habra to Santa Rosa on a chilly evening in February. I drove seven and a half hours to get to Russian River and arrived a bit past 10:30pm. My girlfriend and I ordered a couple glasses of Pliny the Younger. What I saw was a small glass with a clear, obviously filtered, golden beer and a nice head. The aroma was enticing to me, not so much my girlfriend. "It smells like pine cones!" She was not a beer enthusiast like me but I agreed with her- "It also smells like citrus and in very good balance. Not one more than the other." So we drank. Poof! Like a memory it was there and it was gone- it vanished, it evaporated. It was so easy to drink I had to keep the second gulp in my mouth, swish it around and chew it a bit to get the complete experience. I was dumbfounded. "Isn't this supposed to be nearly 12%?" I asked my girlfriend. By this time she was done and ordered another. This was a woman that barely got the hang of Leinenkugel not two months before. As I watched her drink it, swish it around and chew a few times (like I told her to) she would close her eyes and "Mmmm! This is SO good." This was probably the fifth or sixth kind of beer she has ever tried. The aggressive amounts of ABV with the intense aroma and smooth flavor and the subtlety by which the flavors develop in your mouth which is such a rich dynamic from a hop punch in front to a sweet tang of citrus to the back which completely masks the amount of alcohol in addition to being filtered- this beer is quite frankly dangerously delicious and I can't wait for my next journey in February! (1,783 characters)

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

I had some at the brewery and liked it so much that I tracked it down at a couple places in San Diego (Hamilton's Tavern, SD TapRoom).

A - Rich orange-gold with minimal head.

S - Strong pine but citrus comes through as well.

T - It's an elevated version of PtE. There is a stronger citrus flavor that is able to hide the higher alcohol content. The overall balance is incredible.

M - Amazing smoothness that makes it so easy to drink.

O - This is my favorite beer so I am biased when I say that this is deserving of the hype. I probably wasted way too much time tracking this in February/March, but I imagine I will be doing the same thing next year. (656 characters)

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

This beer definitely lives up to the legend.

Appearance) Beautiful straw gold colour.

Smell) rich citrusy grapefruit aroma

Taste) Sweet citrus and grapefruit hops. Rich smooth malty aftertaste. High alcohol content well hidden.

Mouthfeel) Oh so smooth. Unbelievable smoothness considering the amount of flavor packed into the taste

Overall) The outstanding example of its style. For once the hype is justified. (417 characters)

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

Great brew, I wish it was bottled and year round. It taste like a concentrated glass of grapefruit and pine. I've had heady topper, and I know this would rank higher if it were more readily available outside of California. I also think that this blows heady topper out if the water. (282 characters)

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

Sampled at the pub several times in 2011 & 2012

Best IPA in every regard.

Pours with practically no head and is a perfectly clear, bright orange-gold color.

Balance is the key with this beer, nothing overpowers and the high abv is hidden very well - all the traditional west coast IPA notes with the citrus, pine, sweetness...just everything is bigger and yet so well balanced. Not enough can be said about just how good this beer is, I set this as my standard to compare all IPA/DIPA's against. (499 characters)

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

World Class Beer. I wish there wasn't so much hype around this beer because I really hate waiting in line to drink. I'm lucky enough to live really close to some of the best craft beer bars in the San Francisco Bay Area and there's always some place that has a keg once released.

The combination of hops, malt character and finish make this a world class beer. Well done, Vinny. (380 characters)

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