Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

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Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

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2,459 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,459
Reviews: 845
rAvg: 4.68
pDev: 9.19%
Wants: 4,686
Gots: 141 | 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: 2,459 | Reviews: 845 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Philousa
4.78/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Imbibed on tap at The Bistro Double IPA Fest 2/11/12.

Poured a pale golden color, similar to Pliny the Elder with a nice thick head that laces well. Great clarity. Aroma is super piney with citrus notes. Not very floral. Tons of hop oil, but it's not too overwhelming. This beer is most definitely about the hops and it's not afraid to say so. Taste is nothing but hop bitterness at first and a bit of fresh hop oil. Then sweetness comes in to balance things out. The malt is sweet, but not sickly sweet. I got lots of honey biscuit flavor. This is surprisingly well balanced considering the amount of alcohol, malt, and hops that went into it. I could drink this all day.

Wow, this is one beer that lived up to the hype. I'm obviously a huge fan of PtE, so it should come as no surprise that I love PtY as well. But it did come as a surprise, because of all the hype. Even if you didn't know anything about the hype, the scarcity alone would have hyped this beer a little. It's inherent. I was hoping for more of a floral/nectar aroma, but the balance of this beer makes me not care much. This is definitely the best TIPA I've had so far. While I could drink an IPA every day of the week, I don't think I could drink this most days. It's a special beer. And at 11%, it should be treated as such.

Photo of tjfinkle
3/5  rDev -35.9%

Photo of shwillivanilli
4/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of afrokaze
4.78/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got to try the big one at The Rose & Crown on 2/15. SF Beer Week has been ridiculously epic thus far.

Pours a deep gold, almost amber color that has a nice glow and a finger of white bubbly head with oily lacing.

Smell is dominated by piney and citrusy scents of lemon zest, grapefruit, pineapple and a good bit more dank hops than Elder, with less prominent floral aromas. Alcohol is present but not nearly what ABV would suggest.

First taste is an explosion of pine, earth and spicy hops, followed by lemon, orange, grapefruit, crisp apple, pineapple and salmonberries. Malt imparts only a bit of sweetness. Finishes quite dank and resiny, less floral than expected. ABV is well hidden but noticable. Bitterness builds slowly until the tongue is destroyed but it keeps you coming back for more.

Mouthfeel is probably my favorite part. Nice full body similar to Hopslam but the alcohol gives just enough heat to back up the huge flavors. Finish is semi-dry, a bit slick with just enough sweetness.

It's hard to keep an open mind when trying the most highly hyped beer after spending 45 mins in line to get it, but it really delivers in different ways than I expected. Incredibly drinkable for its bitterness level and ABV. Hard to imagine a hoppy beer getting much better.

Photo of leschkie
4/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of HoppySuds
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of seanmonaghan13
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of RViator325
3/5  rDev -35.9%

Photo of mfavoino
4.78/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at the Parkway Tavern on 2/16/12. An awesome night for beer lovers with the Elder and the Younger on tap, and the Younger was free!

Appearance: Bright, translucent gold color with small white head.

Smell: Citrus hops jumped out of the glass with a sense of freshness that had me ready for my first taste of this elusive beer. No alcohol detected by my nose.

Taste: As expected, citrus hops jumped at me on the front end, with a bigger hop profile than the Elder and intense grapefruit/orange flavor. Despite the hop dominance, this mellowed rather quickly for me due to its superb balance. Finished crisp, dry, and left some bitterness on my tongue that wasn't puckering.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel that had appropriate carbonation for this style. The thing that sticks out to me is how well the alcohol is masked. It's drinkability had me wanting to pick the glass up right after I had set it down after each sip. Really had to pace myself and savor it.

Overall: While there is always going to be some degree of "hype" associated with something that is brewed once a year with extremely limited distribution, this beer does not disappoint. This is a special concoction that is worth getting a taste of, especially if you are an IPA lover.

Photo of bstave
4.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap 2/16/12 at the Parkway Tavern in Tacoma, WA. Customer appreciation night. On the house! I think the Parkway made a few friends.

A- Presented with a thin white head sitting on top of a bright semi-transparent gold body. Surprised that it is lighter than Elder.

S- Nice dank hop aroma with notes of pine and citrus. Not as big as I was expecting.

T- Big astringent hops profiling pine and grapefruit up front. Perfect amount of malt balances it out nicely, leaving a big bitter bite at the end. This is quite a palette wrecker. Little alcohol presence, especially one this big.

M- Medium to full body. More carbonation than expected, but this left a nice creamy mouthfeel.

O- This beer has eluded me the last couple of years. I was able to do a side-by-side with the Elder and it was amazing how Younger decimated my palette to the point the Elder did not have much hop presence at the time. Quite an amazing beer and on the house to boot.

Photo of kojevergas
4.25/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-draught into a 10 oz glass at Russian River's taproom during the 2012 release. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were through the roof given the brewery, site ratings, and how good Pliny the Elder was.

A: Pours no real head - but with a floater. Colour is a nontransparent gold. I'm disappointed by the lack of a head; you could blame the glassware, but the brewery chose it. It's vibrant and appealing, however.

Sm: A citrusy hop aroma. Quite powerful and fresh. Clean and inviting. Floral hops. Pine. Juicy citrus; grapefruit. Refreshing and appealing.

T: Hoppy, but delightfully well balanced with a citrusy body and relaxed mellow balancing climax. I really like it. Layered and complex for an IPA - surprisingly so. Some hop bitterness comes through in the aftertaste. Crisp and fresh. Pleasant. No alcohol comes through. Quite subtle. Really refreshing. Would pair well with food. Supple. Quite enjoyable. Orange peel comes through, maybe citra hops as well. The structure is nice, with a subtle body, unobtrusive open, and nice finish.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Just the right thickness, until the finish, wherein it's a touch too thin. Suits the refreshing feel of the flavours quite well, but not perfectly. A touch sharp on the finish.

Dr: Delightful. Well priced for the high quality, but evidently difficult to acquire. Very refreshing and enjoyable. Best served fresh - of course. I'd definitely have it again if I could find it. I'm shocked as how well it conceals its ABV. Certainly amongst the best IPAs I've ever had (not to mention imperial IPAs). The only IPA that comes to mind immediately that compares is Sculpin.

I was skeptical of the hype, but while it's not a perfect beer - nor the best beer in the world - by any means, it's a great beer worthy of any beer fanatic's time. Well brewed, Russian River.


2013 Batch: High A- (Consumed at Verdugo Bar in Los Angeles) 16 oz/$16

Photo of drewone
4.93/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the daily pint, served in a tulip glass.

Crisp orange color, medium head, super sticky lacing.

Oh! the smell! Really amazing! Very bright fruity with some grass - you could smell it from a foot away.

Tastes like liquid candy - rush of citrus hoppiness - amazing balance - super hoppy yet also sweet and some bitterness, left with a linger hop flavor in my mouth. Very little alchol presence - it would be easy to drink way to much.

Good amount of carbonation, get a slight burn.

As good as I remembered it, really outstanding.

Photo of grittybrews
4.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Free schooner (customer appreciation night) at the Parkway in Tacoma -- how awesome is that?

Poured a brilliant yellow-gold with just a slick of bright white head. Great blast of hops in the aroma; pine and citrus dominate with subtler floral and tropical fruit notes in there too.

Moderate carbonation and a oily, smooth, and full mouthfeel. My mouth did a double-take at first because I thought it was so similar to Pliny the Elder, but with a little time the pine and grapefruit hops opened up to reveal more tropical fruit and an emerging honey-caramel warmth on the tail end.

Couldn't believe this was 11%; tasted like a Pliny the Elder with more hops, more malt, and not a drop more alcohol. Great mix of hops that kept things bitter without being puckering, and a good dose of malt that didn't become too cloying.

Didn't seem absurdly hoppy at the time, but when I got home and went to munch on something else I realized how much it had overwhelmed my palate. While drinking it, though, things were in total balance -- what a great beer.

Photo of Topher78
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of bcook582
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of cinserrajr
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of gueuzegossage
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of sponch51
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of kk73
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of tomholland
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of bullywee
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Mahlik
4.3/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Apex in Portland. Poured into 6 oz glass.

A- Pours a clear golden color with a thin white head. Head dissipates quickly. Minimal amounts of lacing.

S- Glorious amounts of citrus, grapefruit, apricot, pine and floral hops. This beer really brings the hops for sure. I don't detect any malt presence.

T- Apricot, citrus and slight pine flavors become immediately recognizable. It's followed by some resinous and hop oils. Not much going on as far as malts go. So it's basically hops followed by more hops. This one is bitter from start to finish.

M- Medium-full body with a good amount of carbonation. Very dry finish. The alcohol does leave a warming feel on the palate. An odd syrupy feel to it that I'm not used to in an IPA/DIPA. Very drinkable for 11% abv.

O- Pretty damn good beer. While I do think this beer is hyped up too much, it's still well worth seeking out if you can. As a side note, I'm probably in the minority here but I think I enjoy Elder better than Younger. Elder has a little more balance to it. Regardless, get yourself some Younger if you have never had the opportunity to try it.

Photo of misterscooter
4.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured at Pete's Brass Rail in Danville, CA, on Valentine's Day. I'm in love.

Served in 10 ounce tulips.

A clear, golden hue, small but thick head that hung around but didn't stick to the sides.

Sweet, hoppy smell. Maybe a hint of golden raisin, although fleeting. Hops are there but not overpowering, enough to temper the light sweetness.

A lovely flavor, filled with the hops I want in an IPA but without any strong bitterness. Very smooth in the moth and goes down really well. I had to be careful to take my time because it just wants to slide down your throat and you can't wait for the next mouthful.

I wouldn't even know they were so strong except for how two makes you feel. And I felt great.

Photo of Rckmo10
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of AwYeh
4.55/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Rose and Crown in Palo Alto as part of their IPA/Younger day for SF Beer Week. Poured into what looks like a mason jar, but hey there's only so many glasses and so much beer to go around.

A: Has a clear golden-amber color, with a thin lacing of white head on top. It's got just a bit of an oily rainbow sheen on top, which I've never seen before in a beer and which I'm guessing is from some kind of contaminant in the glass– no points off for that, although it didn't even look bad.

S: Big pine and citrus hop notes, with touches of flower in there. Big and bitter, but the flavors lend it a good deal of complexity and diversity. Pretty big caramel malt flavors show up too, but with so much hoppiness going on, they serve much more as providers of balance than attractions to see.

T: Ok, this is where the beer meets the hype surrounding it. Unbelievably full and complex; the 8 ounces I had contained far more flavor than most 12/16/22/25 ounce servings I've had in the past. Huge rushes of pine, grapefruit, and orange alongside a strong, sweet malt backbone. Tropical and fascinating; this could quite possibly pass as some kind of bitter juice cocktail to someone unfamiliar with beer. No hint of the 11% alcohol either, and as such no flaws to point out. Near the end I started sipping on the pint of Pliny the Elder I grabbed along with it to compare the two, and Younger was far more intense in flavor.

M: Sticky, smooth, and creamy all at once, with moderate carbonation and a continued absence of heat from the high ABV; mouthfeel is very, very solid. Great bitter, flavorful finish.

O: If this was available all the time, I would probably say I got gypped on the $10 pricetag for half a glass. But since it's a once a year beer and so outstanding, I'll give it a pass. Pick it up, if just to say you've had it and to judge for yourself if it's worth the hype (I'm saying yes, even if a lot of beers around the same level don't get the same attention on a wide scale).

Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,459 ratings.