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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,349 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,349
Reviews: 843
rAvg: 4.69
pDev: 8.74%
Wants: 4,290
Gots: 110 | 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: 2,349 | Reviews: 843 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.95/5  rDev +5.5%

so, after a couple of years of wanting to try this I get a growler courtesy of a gracious CA BA. Intense yet not brackish bitter piney resinous hop heaven! Smooth, so easy to drink. Wow. This one lives up to the hype. I don't know how they pack all that hop into one beer but it's well worth it. Funny note from day 2 on the growler. I popped the top and was greeted by the most insane rush of pine. It was mind boggling.

barleywinebrewer, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of locstir
4.75/5  rDev +1.3%

When I was lucky enough to get some of this beer it was a day old open growler. I liked the beer but I bet it would be better freshly opened.
It still had a nice piney smell with a hint of sweetness, and a little acidity. The mouthfeel was richer than the elder, becuase of the maltiness and higher alcohol. It had that hazey golden straw color in the glass. As far as drinkability it was easy to drink but a little to rich to drink alot

locstir, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of SickBrew
4.78/5  rDev +1.9%

Had this after the Firkin Fest at the Green Dragon. I would have rather had this early in the night but it wasn't an option. After drinking warm cask conditioned beers all day this was as an exceptional way to end the event.

The brew came in a six ounce serving in red wine glass. Color is almost electric tangerine, crystal clear and topped with about a finder of fine white head. Nose, is over the top hops all the way. After sniffing some big northwest IPA's all day, the Younger was much more intense. Flavor follows nose. In fact it's a bit hard to judge any of the other flavor components with such an intense contribution from the hops, but hey this beer is all about hops. Hopefully I'll have the chance to review this one again, earlier in the night. Damn Fine brew!

SickBrew, Mar 22, 2009
Photo of william5586
4.13/5  rDev -11.9%

Had on tap at the South Philly Tap Room. Served in a wine glass.

Golden orange/yellow with a small fluffy white head on top. The hop aroma of this beer was really great. Very strong smell of floral hops, some citrus, and pine.

Holly hops! I would say that is about the best way to describe the taste of this beer. This one is aggressive. It felt like my mouth was being coated. The beer stuck to the inside of my mouth as if it did not want to be swallowed. It was relatively smooth and left my tongue tingling. There was some pine flavor, citrus, orange, grapefruit. I also found a hint of sweetness. After the first few sips I felt the hops and alcohol in my stomach. For 11%, the alcohol was pretty well hidden until it warmed me up on the way down.

The drinkability on this one is not very high. A definite sipper that I probably would not have more than 1or 2 of.

Overall this is an amazing beer, but after having both the Elder and the Younger I have to give the edge to the Elder. The Elder still has a great hop presence and seemed to be much more smooth and drinkable. That's just my 2 cents however.

william5586, Mar 21, 2009
Photo of RomanW70
4.65/5  rDev -0.9%

3/20 @ Russian River. 10 Oz. glass. Pours clear caramel with a head that quickly turns into lacing. HUGE aroma of grapefruit, pine, caramel and sweet malts. Equally huge taste. Finish is extremely well balanced. Hard to believe it's 11%. Incredibly drinkable. Very gracious to try this tasty treat!

RomanW70, Mar 20, 2009
Photo of HalfFull
4.47/5  rDev -4.7%

Pours a golden orange into a Chimay-ette glass. Yes, that be a mini Chimay, a glass reserved for the heathens and the wannabees for such holier than thou brews! The rest of us, with permission, drink from a standard Chimay glass. Alas, we all fail. As this beer, and so many others are better consumed from a wine glass in my opinion, but alas, I digress. Brew looks good on the pour yet an off white head dissipates swiftly, leaving little lacing.

Nice hop nose which only improves with a bit of agitation later on. Floral up front, and going bombastic later on. Woodsy and rippin' when gassed. Very nice.

Taste is a bit of viscous orangey malts but not in the bad way I view many brews, somewhat typical of my experience within the style actually. Nice but nothing over the top. Lots of hops on the tongue and enough malt balance to hide the hefty ABV quite well. Nice feel and drink as the beer goes down reasonably well but gets a bit overwhelming in short order. A rare beer that actually lives up to the hype. Quite different, and superior, to the Elder in my view.

HalfFull, Mar 20, 2009
Photo of shark90576
4.88/5  rDev +4.1%

Just had this on tap at Monk's Cafe in Philly.

Wow! I have heard and read a ton about this beer and being from the East Coast was worried I'd never get to try this beer; luckily RR has sent some out this way and I was able to track it down.

Was a bright orange color when poured into the glass and had a nice sticky head that laced the glass throughout the drinking experience. The aroma was an inviting scent of floral and citrus hops that wasn't too overwhelming; sometimes these types of beer smell better than they taste, but this was not the case here.

The taste is where this beer shines as there are a ton of floral hop flavors bursting right off the palate. It took me a few sips to distinguish the other flavors, but after the initial floral hop flavors comes in the citrus, especially grapefruit, flavors and then finishes with a nice subtle, almost sweet, malt that is necessary to keep your taste buds from exploding.

The drinkability of this beer is what will get you; 11% and I couldn't find a trace of it anywhere. I don't know how they were able to put this much hop flavor and that much alcohol into a beer and keep it so drinkable. I tore through 2 glasses of this before I even realized it. Overall, this beer was just about flawless and I don't think I will see IPAs the same way again. Believe the hype.

2010 VERSION:

Appearance- 5.0
Smell- 5.0
Taste- 4.5
Mouth feel- 4.5
Drinkability- 4.5

2011 VERSION:

Appearance- 4.5
Smell- 4.0
Taste- 4.5
Mouth Feel- 5.0
Drinkability- 5.0

shark90576, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of BARFLYB
4.43/5  rDev -5.5%

On tap at Union Jacks in Glenside. Served in a 10oz serving.

A- Pliny The Younger came to me with a bright orange with some gold hints here and there. Holding this glass in my hand the color seemed to bounce on to my skin with the same bright color. Not much in terms of head just some white streaks scattered.

S- A nice mountain of hops that are quite subdued surprisingly. Cirtus scents left and right. A lot of grapefruit and some pine in there as well. Just so much juicy hops that I don't know what else to say. Tropical scents abound. My friend oglmcdgl said it reminded him of a powdered lemon jelly donut.

T- It's been about two years since I had this last and it's still the bomb. The hops work their magic giving off the tropic and floral qualities that they are known to do grapefruit being most dominate. A bit of piney essence as well. Some sticky sweetness presents itself as well. This is kick ass stuff!!

M- A bit thicker than the elder as the younger is pretty much medium bodied. Bittering hops on the tounge but not too much. For 11% alc it is hidden remarkably well with some sweetness coming from the some ingredient. The taste of this hangs around for a bit after drinking.

D- Dangerously drinkable, but at 11% dangerous in it's own right. Younger is limited so i'm glad I tried 20oz or so and will be looking for it again in the next month. After a month, my guess is that younger won't be around for another year or more, so in the meantime i'm enjoying living in SEPA.

BARFLYB, Mar 17, 2009
Photo of tubbnik
5/5  rDev +6.6%

On Tap at the Local 44 event.

A - Served in 33cl Chimay goblet. Georgous golden color, slightly hazy, with soft foam head.

S - Almost 100% grapefruit. I prefer my hops to lean to the citrus side of the spectrum, and I just couldn't ask for a better first whiff.

T - Ditto the smell. Fresh grapefruit rind. Sweet candy. Alcohol is superbly well hidden.

M - Creamy smooth. Not too viscous for such a high malt content. Very nice carbonation.

D - Very Very good. While 11%, Younger never forces you to take small sips. A half a mouthful or more is a very reasonable dose.

It looks like my quest to find the most citrusy-perfect IIPA has ended. Younger is truly the standard (perhaps unfairly) that all future IIPAs will be judged against.

tubbnik, Mar 16, 2009
Photo of jojox
4.93/5  rDev +5.1%

On tap at Local 44. Great event.

a - pale gold. Nice white head that lasts and lasts

s - holy hop aroma! Spicy, citrusy, pinappley aroma.

t - This is simply amazing. The blend of hop flavor and hop aromas contributing everything to the senses... the taste is so hoppy, but yet not bitter or too strong. It just makes you want more! It's 11%, but there isn't any hint of alcohol flavor. This is truely a brewing masterpiece.

m - well carbonated, good mouthfeel, the hop aspects are almost creamy.

d - exceptional. If not for the high ABV, I could drink this all day!

jojox, Mar 16, 2009
Photo of DefenCorps
4.97/5  rDev +6%

On tap at Local 44 and the Memphis Taproom yesterday

Pliny pours a bright golden orange with a thick, white head with good retention. Lacing was a little patchy but the way this beer glowed was rather unique. On the nose... well, it's just like I remembered. An explosion of hops - pine, citrus, hop resin, mild fruit. Dank hops. On the palate, it is just that, a riotous explosion of hops, semtex and hops. Medium-light in body with a mild sweetness to counter the hop bitterness, this is spectacular.
The past 6 weeks seems to have taken it's toll on the mouthfeel, the hops aren't as vibrant as I remember them being. That said, it's still a perfect 5 (fresh Younger deserves a 6) and drinkability? I had 4 glasses, over a liter of this stuff, and I wanted more. Fabulous stuff.

DefenCorps, Mar 16, 2009
Photo of John_M
4.97/5  rDev +6%

On tap at Local 44 and Memphis Taproom in Philly yesterday.

The beer pours a striking golden peach color with good head retention and lacing. On the nose... this beer is just heaven. There is a huge blast of pine and dry bitter citrus, with a hop presence so intense that it imparts almost a slight skunky, marijuana aroma. Have seen this in a few over the top wet hop bombs in the NW, but suffice it to say that such an intense, gorgeous nose is extremely unusual and impressive. The flavors on the palate replicate the nose, except there is an intensity of flavor that is just astonishing. Tried this side by side with the elder - the elder was almost light and watery by comparison!!! The finish just goes on and on in this beer, and there is an underlying creamy smooth mouthfeel to this beer that is, once again, astonishing.

At 11% alcohol, drinkability is of course a problem, but this great beer carries its alcohol very well. Ended up drinking three 10 ounce glasses of this great beer, before I was finally worn out. For a hophead like myself, this beer is a wet dream in a glass. Fabulous stuff!

Edit from 2/11. Was fortunate enough to have several glasses (three if the truth be known) at the brewpub on the release date (friday). Nothing really to add to my review, except to note what an incredible treat it was to have this beer so fresh. Fresh at the site; a couple weeks old in Portland; roughly a month old in SEPA... younger is consistently excellent and delicious.

John_M, Mar 16, 2009
Photo of HatTrick
4.13/5  rDev -11.9%

Was able to do a nice vertical of the Blind Pig, Pliny the Elder, and Pliny the Younger.

A: Nice garnet hue with no head. Swirling it around in my glass - it looks rather thick.

S: Smells sweet and syrupy, reminds me of stone fruit.

T: Nice sweet aftertaste of cherries. Overall it was very sour - you can taste the hops. Unfortunately the bar where I had this has sat on the keg for a few weeks before taping it. When I had this about a month ago in Portland it was really splendid - a nice and fresh taste of hops hops hops! The color was a bit lighter and the aroma very citrusy and fruity. Although it wasn't as fantastic this last time it still was an exceptional IPA.

M: Nicely carbonated. A good balance.

D: Not too bad to drink but the 11% abv was a bit much for me - can't drink too much! But in small quantities for those of us with lighter-alcohol tolerances it was quite grand! Personally I don't adore lots of hops but that is just me. I don't think this is the best beer ever and rather liked PTE better...now don't shoot me for it! But I can see why others think it is a gift from the beer gods. Great beer though!

HatTrick, Mar 16, 2009
Photo of callmemickey
4.83/5  rDev +3%

$7.70 for a full Chimay chalice worth of Pliny the Younger at Local 44 for their Russian River Philadelphia Beer Week Event.

A: Light golden, with some straw tones... solid white head, quality retention and lacing... when I walked into the bar they had just started pouring this... nearly everyone went right for the younger (also had elder, consecration, blind pig, damnation, salvation, and rejection on draft)... you can spot this beer across the bar and its so appetizing... ordered it up and waited for the keg to kick in roughly a half hour

S: Powerful citrus hop blast, mostly grapefruit but hints of tangerine... not as much pine as the elder, but certainly in abundance

T: Incredibly balanced... sure the hops are crazy strong with intense pine and grapefruit, with a nice resiny bite, but this beer has the smoothest flavoring ever... the malt is soft, slightly sweet, and has a real nice character to it...

M: Absurd. Super smooth. Crisp finish. Dry hop bite.

O: Out of this world. I looked down after about five minutes and I was halfway through my glass.

Edit: I've had this a a few times since my original sampling... I am down grading it a bit from what was once a 5.0/5.0 beer. The score reflects my current opinion.

callmemickey, Mar 16, 2009
Photo of SirChugsAlot
4.6/5  rDev -1.9%

Enjoyed this one several times throughout the week of it hitting seattle. First was at collins pub

Pours a golden orange-ish color with a small head that leaves a sticky lacing as i drink it down.

Smell is phenomenal slightly sweet with a huge hop nose and grapefruit

Taste is hops (of course), grapefruit, pine and slight sweetness. The 11% is well hidden, but i could see how a few of these could put you away. especially on an empty tummy.

Mouth is medium body with perfect carbonation. the aftertaste of the hops lingers on the tongue for a loonggg time.. =)

Drink is very high the only reason i didn't give it a 5 is becase of how damn hard it is to find this. (Some people might disagree with my reasoning but it's my review so screw you)

SirChugsAlot, Mar 14, 2009
Photo of neckarmueller
4.9/5  rDev +4.5%

Had on-tap at Belmont Station in Portland, OR (they had it on tap for only one day during their IPA week)

Wow, wow, WOW. I have to agree with the bros that it's one of the best brews on the planet.

A: Beautiful. Honey-amber color with creamy head that disappears after about a minute.

N: Three things: Hops, hops, and hops. Seriously, has some great pine and citrus notes; altogether, great fruity quality to the bouquet. Very bright and exciting.

T: Three things: Hops, hops, and hops. Same comments as nose.

M: Smooth, medium carbonation, just about right.

D: Hides the alcohol very well, but dang, you really feel it in the head after just one 10 oz glass!

A+. Gotta take a road trip to Santa Rosa sometime (with a stop at North Coast and a half-dozen other breweries on the way)...

[Note: PTY and PTE are very sought-after beers around here. I've been looking for both for weeks at every little local place that has a good selection of beers in town, and today is the first day I've found both. Belmont Station got in a small quantity of PTE bottles as well as PTY on tap. Within minutes of getting there, their whole stock of PTE was wiped out. Managed to get 2 bottles for later.]

neckarmueller, Mar 10, 2009
Photo of steadydose
4.47/5  rDev -4.7%

Served at Obriens $5 for a 10 oz. tumbler.

A: amber-copper, small cap white fluffy head, disspates quickly. High clarity, bright color.

S: lots of pine, citrus.

T: Large dose of hops. Piney, w/ a long bitter finish like eating grapefruit.

M: Heavy, silky, velvet. Very smooth.

D: Fantastic beer. High ABV kept me from drinking more than 30 oz.

Pliny the younger is a great beer. Have had it side by side with blind pig, and pliny the elder. To my taste the younger and elder have similar characteristics, in taste and smell, although the younger just takes it too the next level. The mouthfeel of the younger is creamier, and smoother w/ less fizz.

steadydose, Mar 09, 2009
Photo of julian
4.6/5  rDev -1.9%

Enjoyed on-tap at Uber Tavern in Seattle, WA as my first beer of the night (clean palate!)

A: Golden citrus in color with diamond like clarity. No skimping in the head department, this one yields (similar to Pliny) a huge fluffy off white head. Lots of curtainous "ringed" lacing.

S: Light floral hops, huge citrus nose!

T: Fantastic! Huge citrus blast, some candy like sweetness, floral hops, piney, but not as much as Elder...not nearly as much...which is GREAT. This is really a superbly refined and well balanced DIPA. Hats off you to RR.

M: Smooth, medium bodied beer that just wants to love your mouth.

D: High ABV will limit physical tolerance and overall drinkability, but damn if I don't want to risk it all and try anyway!

julian, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of GilGarp
4.47/5  rDev -4.7%

Served cold, in a pint glass, on tap at Catalyst in Fort Collins, Colorado.

It has a golden orange color with just a skim layer of white head on top. It has very good clarity for a beer of this style. Nice lacing is left behind but I can't stop swirling to get that great aroma out!

It's huge and hoppy with floral fruity goodness in the nose. One of the best smelling beers I've ever had.

There is big hoppy bitter flavors but not (quite) overpowering. It's very similar to the Elder but with the hops turned up to 11. Sticky resiny hops and just a bit of sweetness to offset the bitterness. It certainy has the same hop profile as the Elder.

Sticky mouth-coating stuff with big body and a sticky dry/bitter finish. The alcohol burn is more noticible as it warms.

Drinkability is limited simply because of the strength and bitterness. It's definately a great double IPA but I find the Elder to be more enjoyable overall. A great hop fix!

GilGarp, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of scottoale
5/5  rDev +6.6%

On tap at O'Brien's, once again. Served in 10oz. glasses, a brilliant yellow gold with pristene clarity and a pure white 1/4" foam head.
It looks so inviting, especially when you know what your getting into.

Sweet hoppiness greets the nose. Citrus nectar of grapefruit, tangelo, honeysuckle, pine and peppermint, permeate the nose. The best hop smell in an ale, ever!

The taste is unlike any 2X IPA, once you get to know it. Sweet hoppiness reigns with tangy citrus and somewhat sappy pine leading the way. In steps a slight malt note, followed by a fresh peppermint and lightly bitter finish. Balanced and clean throughout...best hop flavor ever.

Medium bodied with the alcohol burried within the complex flavor. The carbonation is subtle yet perfect...refreshing as cool spring water. This brew is way too drinkable...there will never be to much hype put on this ale, it's the best in it's class, bar none.

scottoale, Mar 07, 2009
Photo of MickeyHops
4.8/5  rDev +2.3%

3/6/09 10 oz pour at O'Briens (x2).

Dark golden appearance with almost no head.

Smells like a hop monster.

Tastes like a hop monster. Similar to Pliny the Elder but a little "thicker". That said, mouthfeel is full but as light as an 11% ABV beer can be. Alcohol is well hiddn but starts to become apparent after about half a glass.

Overall, an excellent brew. It is definitely the Elder taken to the next level. As one would expect, the high ABV limits drinkability. It may be overhyped, but this is still a great beer that any hop head needs to try.

MickeyHops, Mar 06, 2009
Photo of ElGordo
4.47/5  rDev -4.7%

10oz glass poured on draft at Bailey's Taproom. Color somewhere between golden and amber, without much in the way of a head. Aroma of sharp, floral, piny hops, with notes of pineapple and cannabis. Palate is a straight-up hop bomb, possibly the hoppiest beer I've had outside of fresh hop season here in Oregon. Grass, pineapple, and cannabis notes peek through the sticky, syrupy, hoppy backbone, while a touch of bready malt comes through to balance things out on the finish, only to be overtaken by a serious grapefruit character that lingers long after the swallow. A fantastic offering, although somewhat brutal on the palate. But, if you love hops like I do, you've got to try it.

ElGordo, Mar 03, 2009
Photo of rye726
4.78/5  rDev +1.9%

For sure one of the best IPA's in the world. Pours an orangish brown with a silky beige head.

The nose has a bouquet citrus and pine over bready malts, caramel and toffee.

A perfectly balanced palate features sweet malts and fresh bitter hops.

Body is crips yet full and compliments the brew very well. I could enjoy this any time.

rye726, Mar 02, 2009
Photo of olmatty
4.72/5  rDev +0.6%

Appearance- Orange Amber liquid with a fluffy off white head

Smell- Freshly herbaceous and flowery hops

Taste- Lush, verdant, piney hops up front, middle and last give this beer a uniquely "live" charatcter. Malt backbone is substantial, yet clearly overwhelmed by massive hops. Big alcohol presence is nicely masked by big flavor

Mouthfeel- Moderate smooth carbonation, medium bodied, but seemingly sticky with hops resins

Drinkability- A very big beer and quite extraordinary. High ABV detracts slightly from drinkability.

olmatty, Mar 02, 2009
Photo of sonicdescent
4.63/5  rDev -1.3%

Tons of cheers to Beerzebub for this one.

Pours a very nice golden with surprisingly thick and well laced head. Carbonation is active and this looks thick.

Scent is the elder on crack. Citrus out the ass.

Taste is...so bitter yet clean. Tropical but not really sweet. Fruity but only in spots. Bitey but not dry. Alcohol well hidden. Really great.

Mouth body and carbonation are medium, and this is very drinkable and good, but so so difficult to get. I'll savor every drop of this growler.

sonicdescent, Feb 28, 2009
Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,349 ratings.