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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

Educational use only; do not reuse.

890 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 890
Hads: 2,792
Avg: 4.67
pDev: 13.06%
Wants: 5,989
Gots: 338 | 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: 890 | Hads: 2,792
Photo of chrisjws
4.94/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

10oz pour at Britannia Arms Almaden in late February. Served in a lowball glass.

A: Medium to dark orange in color. 1/2 a finger of head that dissipated quickly. Clear, not cloudy in the least. Great looking beer, very similar in appearance to Elder.
S: Malty sweetness right upfront with pine and tropical fruit. Passion fruit, orange, tangerine come through as well. No alcohol to be found in the aroma, the 11% doesn't come through even a little bit. Catty aromas from the simcoe are definitely present.
T: Sweet pineapple upfront, pine, and malts. Tropical flavors in the middle mouth and finish. Little bit of bitterness but not very much.
M: Big mouthfeel, this is the only place where the size of the beer really comes through. Medium carbonation and a clean finish.
O: This one lives up to the hype. An incredibly well crafted triple. Easy drinking, smooth and delicious.

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

For not being an IPA fan, this Triple IPA is something that I wish you could purchase in a bottle. Tap availability only makes it taste that much better, sucks for those who do not get Russian River.

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

Ok, had to find out what the hype was all about. Waited 90 minutes and was told I was a genius for going on a Tuesday. The nice thing is, Russian River only allows in as many as can be seated (none of the usual madhouse, quite civilized) and they charge the normal pricing for it (and are proud of it! Truly a labor of love!). Background: I'm not a hoppy guy. Doppelbocks, stouts, porters, ciders are where I live. This beer changed all that. Smooth, amazingly smooth with a hoppy finish at the back / center of the tongue. Not overpowering at all in taste but packs a punch at 10%. Very much worth the wait. Best beer I've ever had? Yes. Easily the best IPA. Got to enjoy seven (10 oz) glasses this year and I'll be back for more next year.

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

Simply the greatest beer known to man. If you can get a chance to enjoy Younger, you need to jump on that chance right away!

Uh Not sure what @GregSpeaksHisMind is smoking but I'll have what he's having. Protip: If you have to claim your taste is "impeccable", it isn't.

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Photo of Dawgboned37
4.8/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

FINALLY tracked this one down! 7oz pour into a tulip glass. Floral and light citrus nose. Resinous and a bit piney with some heat from the booze, but amazingly well balanced for a big 11% triple IPA. I understand the hype... this beer was very solid!

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.27/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

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Photo of Phishyninja
4.1/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wait was 2 1/2 hours, weather was perfect (as usual) and we got seated right away on the patio. I got an Elder to taste side by side, and was surprised to find Elder to be a better beer in every way. And Elder isn't even the best IPA on tap every day! Still, I had a great time and probably will too. Just don't expect to have your mind blown, Younger is good but this is an over-hyped release that owes its weeks of long lines to those who suffer from FOMO.

Row 2 however, is the bomb.

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Photo of MichaelPhiladelphiaBeer
4.1/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wine glass on tap, pre purchased to avoid crowds.

Surprisingly disappointing nose but hard for the beer not to be disappointing given all the hype. Nice, little fruity, not too overpowering.

Mouth feel standard, little less bubbles than average.

Light pretty pour with a small head

Taste was clean - reminded me a bit of heady topper. Couldn't really taste the alcohol - definitely a nice bitter clean ending which somehow reminded me of a stainless steal finished white wine.

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

3/2015 on tap at the Pour House. Fantastic DIPA, but now that I've had it, I wouldn't fight crowds and drive hours to try it again..... But, I certainly wish it was easier to obtain....

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Photo of 2dogbrew
4.49/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Happy to finally try this whale. It was damn good, but not one I need to seek out. Perfect balance of super hoppy and nice malt backbone. Great aroma.

Edit - had a second glass which was so much better than the first. Now I understand the hype.

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Photo of 31Sam13
4.75/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Worthy of the hype...the alcohol is apparent but seems part of the overall package that is not overly anything...bitter, but not too much so....well balanced...good hop kick with fruit notes from many angles...tropical comes to mind...

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Photo of Hop_God
4.63/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at a local spot in Palo Alto during the 2 weeks younger was available. Pliny the Elder on steroids. Yes it has more alcohol, but it is beautifully balanced. very easy to drink. This has an amazing aroma and great citrus to it. Would love this to made more often.

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Photo of jakewatt135
4.65/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This and the elder side by side made the elder seem like it had no hops it in. Amazing beer. Super light body, not painfully malty like you could expect at 11% and honestly not crazy hoppy either.

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Photo of minterro
4.32/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Got a chance to try this legend at the Euclid Hall's release on 02/22/15.

A&S: Very aesthetically pleasings. Fluffy white head with great retention, leaves a large amount of lacing. The beer is a transparent light orange, it semi-lively as far as carbonation goes. I was getting a little thrown off aroma wise being located right by the open kitchen area, but from what I picked up, it wasn't super powerful. I was mostly getting citrus, passion fruit, and floral notes.

T&M: The thing that stood out the most to me about this beer is the bitter profile. Very well balanced, with just enough of a kick at the end. Not super powerful, I was definitely expecting less subdued, but was similar to the aroma. Very velvety full bodied beer. Extremely drinkable.

Overall: A great beer. I was a little disappointed (in my opinion it didn't live up to the hype), wouldn't include in my top ten, but still extremely good.

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Photo of Micros32
4.88/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Easily the best triple IPA ever. Very smooth and not overpowering holiness. Can smell Pliny the younger from 5ft away. Get your hands on it. Lives up to its reputation.

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Photo of Ironstutz
4.91/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

oh what a beer! had 6 on tap out in the source on Saturday night! Had my 3 and my fiancee's 3 and they were so great

L- Similar to his Elder, clear and filtered, sort of a dark copper color
S- I mean it is all really its Elder squared, the citrus and pine stand out. maybe more pine than citrus even, but overall a wonderful balance.
T- Dinalingadingdong! citrus, mango, pine, loveliness
F- nice mouthfeel, crisp but still present, a good west coast mouth on this
O - I mean, we all know it is amazing, anyone who hates is obviously just a hater. If you ever get the chance to enjoy this beer, do it!

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Photo of mschantz
4.4/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at Small Bar - thanks to cuz for cluing me into this under the radar tapping. Pours a beautiful bright hazy mandarin color - much richer in color than Elder. The nose is huge citrus fruit and pine. Taste is citrus and juniper but drier than expected. Really interesting and complex. Crisp finish.

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Photo of Flip4beers
4.64/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The hype just got real. It was released from a few local bars and pubs that make this beer worth the effort to find . This makes it worth living in SoCal for the amount of good beer, but overall its pretty damn triple ipa. I personally don't crave ipas as my go to but having this opportunity to drink it, is a dream come true. Overall it's worth the hype. It's indescribably good, to what you imagine it would be. Balanced, tropical notes, controlled bitterness, easy to drink and so much complexity.

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Photo of Dreska
4.96/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had serious doubts that this beer would live up to the hype, but it did. First few sips started off a little slow for me, but after the first ounce or so this beer was close to perfection and only got better sip after sip. Ambrosia in a glass.

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

I have been attending the Pliny the Younger release for several years. I have never rated the beer before. It has always been very, very good.

2015 is the most balanced Younger I have tasted.

It is great. There are no competitors.


Hint - ask for a tulip glass, pour the Younger in it and let Younger warm for 15 or 30 minutes - it will be better than you even imagined.

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

Best beer ever. Had the 2015 edition. Drove 9 hours to the Russian River Brew Pub and got lucky with only a 2 hour wait time on a Saturday to get in. Totally worth all the hype. So amazingly drinkable its scary. It almost hurts to say but I prefer it over Pliny The Elder.

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Photo of RyanK252
4.71/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Onot tap at Russian River

A: Pours deep golden orange amber with a frothy white head that settles and laces nicely.

S: Tropical fruit and caramel malt sweetness followed by pine and citrus, especially grapefruit but some orange, a little dankness, and a touch of alcohol.

T: Tropical fruit up front, mango and pineapple, followed by citrus, grapefruit that lingers answer a bit of tangerine, a big hit of pine and little dankness, well backed with caramel malt sweetness, with a touch of alcohol.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation that keeps it from getting syrupy thick like so many other big IPAs. Dangerously drinkable for 11%.

O: Outstanding beer, I have no regrets about waiting in line for 6 hours to try this legend. That being said, and though it may be sacrilege, I think I like the Elder a little bit more. The whole experience that comes with this beer is unbelievable.

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Photo of SonnyK85
4.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally got the chance to try PtY after being shut out in Philadelphia last year. Relocated to denver this year and fortunately there are about 10 kegs shipped here yearly! Showed up at a bar around 3:45 PM, 60 guaranteed tickets were passed out at 4pm. I was one of the lucky recipients. Sipped on victory dirtwolf and Pliny the elder while we waited..

Firstly.. It was worth the wait. Poured into a 250mL chalice, with the pour easily exceeding the 250 mL mark.

Look: hard to believe, but very similar to PtE. A light orange color that is very translucent. Poured with about 1" foam that easily maintained its lacing until the final sip

Smell: had to wait a few sips to appreciate the smell in a chalice. Very citrusy, with the main fruit smell being Orange. Didn't detect any of the Pine odor commonly found in PtE. Very minimal, if any, alcohol despite being 10.25% this year. Capsule detect a sweet malt backbone. Incredible balance.

Taste: very similar to the smell. The only thing I would add is that this beer is drier than most DIPA's. This definitely keeps the taste stuck to your cheeks throughout enjoying this beer.

Feel: again, see taste. Drier mouthfeel. Very citrusy(mainly orange), some sweet malt backbone, minimal alcohol (if any), lacking any pine.

Overall: if you can get your hands on this.. Do NOT hesitate. I really enjoy PtE, but this is my preference. More of a full mouthfeel with a drier aftertaste. You don't get as many hop aromas, but the drink ability is unlike anything I've tried. Very, very hard to believe this comes in at 10.25%. Exceptionally well balanced. I was blown away.. Best of luck getting your hands on it!

Edit: Was able to get PtY 2 days later, this time in a 6oz Pour. The only critique I would change is the "smell and taste" portion. I read quite a few reviews.. You are able to smell and taste some very well balanced Pine in this beer. I can't emphasize enough how well balanced this beer is, despite being 10.25% abv. It's a testament to Vinnie's craft..

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

I used to live on the east coast and I've had plenty of cases of Heady Topper. Pliny the Younger is a different beer, but one that I prefer more than Heady. This beer is certainly worth the hype and four hour wait.

I could bloviate about smell, taste, mouthfeel, etc... But instead I'll just be blunt: this is a heavy, syrupy hop-bomb that is refreshingly clear and easy drinking. It is nothing short of poetry in a bubble glass.

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Photo of TychoNDC
4.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Exceedingly clean, well balanced. Transparent with a light head. Definitely a bit more of a kick than PtE, though not in the nose. Its a classic and deservedly so. But dont expect quite the same overwhelming hop bomb you may find in other imperial IPAs.

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 890 ratings.