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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

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Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

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2,662 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,662
Reviews: 906
rAvg: 4.68
pDev: 8.97%
Wants: 5,111
Gots: 243 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,662 | Reviews: 906
Photo of socaltay
5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I will change the score when I find a better beer. I enjoyed this beer because it was sooo similar to pliny the elder, yet bigger in every way possible. the malts were not prominent and the hops smashed the pallet but in a very gentle way. The bar went crazy when they ran out. I am grateful for the people who were there early and appreciate the beer. I will be around next year.

Photo of MADhombrewer
4.2/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 10oz goblet.

Appearance- Slightly hazy and straw colored with a very nice white head. Good lacing on the glass.

Smell- Huge piney hop aroma. Not much malt smell. Some alcohol.

Taste- Big piney bitterness all over my mouth. Small malt taste and lots of alcohol. VERY dry as well.

Mouthfeel- This is a lot thinner than I remember. A lot thinner. I did not expect this.

Overall- Very good IIPA. When I first had this two years ago I thought it was good but too boozy. I stand by that now, but I like it better this time around. Could it be my palate or the batch? It is much drier and thinner than I remember. I was glad to get this at the Horse Brass. This tapping was under the radar to say the least. Slow night and easy to get and enjoy quietly.

2012. Better than 2011s batch. Much more of a mouthfeel to it but still not sticky like some big IPAs can be.. Crazy booziness.

Photo of tarheels86
4.25/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tap at PtY 2011 release.

A- Into a small nonic pint, the pour is a clear, deep orange with a small, white head that leaves some big sheety lace.

N- The aroma on PtY is a little hard to get at served in the miniature nonic pint glass. But once it warms up a bit you get some serious jackfruit, bitter mango, candied oranges, fresh blood orange.

T- Taste is fresh mango hoppy like biting into a raw mango. Lots of bitter mango skin and juicy mango pulp. Dank, fruity tropicals abound but the seriously dense body here is hard to get through. Some quick, spicy alcohol is present but a non sequitor.

P- Syrupy and dense. Spicy and full.

Obviously the king of DIPAs, but that doesn't mean it has to be my favorite.

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

On draught at Oskar Blue's Liquids and Solids in Longmont, Co. Poured into an 8oz snifter.

A: Deep gold with amber hues but more on the bright side of amber then the dark. Solid head retention that fades into a spiderweb like lacing on the glass.

S: Massive piney hops is the first aroma to hit your senses. It's as if you too a wiff of the biggest pine tree in existance and let the flavor wash over you. Touches of citrus grapefruit also take shape behind the chronic and pine notes.

T: Massive pine to match the nose. Comes across somewhat sticky and resinous but the bitter is truly there. Citrus fruit such as mango and pineapple are present but pine and chronic flavors are dominate. The malt is solid and doesn't subdue the hops but instead balances them very well.

M: Because of the prefect malt backbone this beer weighs heavy on the palate. Top of mouth is coated but the bitterness creeps from the back of the palate to the front. Citrus notes linger on the middel of the tongue and the finish just doesn't stop. Almost no booziness present.

D: Having the oppurtunity to taste this beer is up there with getting superbowl tickets. It's worth the time, effort, and money. It's exceptional in all standings for what an Imperial IPA should be. It's not over hopped nor is it over malted, it's perfectly balanced- just like all the beers RR does. I only wish it were made more often or in higher quantities because 8oz's is just not enough.

Photo of BieresDesMoines
4.54/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours with a small but solid head with a good effervescence. The beer couldn't smell more like pine, just wonderful like walking in a pinewood forest. I love aromatic beers and I could smell this one five feet away when the growler was opened. This is one of the driest hoppy beers I have ever tried, and now I fear I am going to crave it constantly. The beer is bracingly bitter and piney with some great complimentary mango and very mild citrus flavors that lend a hand in the complexity, this is not to say that the fruit notes sweeten the beer at all. There is just not a trace of the huge alcohol , just one remarkably well put together beer.

Photo of dmsohyea
4.33/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2/15/11 on-tab at San Diego Brewing Co

Spent about two weeks watching Facebook to actually get a taste of this beer. Luckily I found it at the SD Brewing, a fantastic establishment with good beer of their own.

A: Pours a deep orange with a small amount of head that dissipates quickly. Clear and crisp, little to no lacing.

S: Nothing beats the smell of this beer. Simicoe hops, pine, citrus that you can smell from several feet away. You have to get it right off the tap or the smell will diminish in a hurry. As the beer warms up you start to get a bit more of the scent when drinking. Edit: I stand corrected. The nose on this beer is somewhat muted compared to other DIPA and TIPA's on the market. It's still great, but the smell isn't as strong as it should be. Lowering this from 5 to 4. I have had this at four different tastings now, and my opinion only of the smell has lowered. Everything else is is accurate. Still extremely smooth and wonderful.

T: Sweet and malty with upfront bitterness and an alcoholic finish. Complex flavor without being too overpowering. That being said, I didn't give the taste a '5' because the alcohol is still there and so is some astringency that I wasn't expecting.

M: Mouthfeel is fantastic. Bar none. Creamy and sweet without feeling like you're eating a malt sandwich. Goes down smooth.

D: It's actually quite hard to session this beer. Besides being quickly intoxicated, the strong bitterness lingers on the back of the pallet for a long time. A great beer that I wouldn't want to have more than 2 of.

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

16 oz pour on tap at hollingshead deli in orange county. Waited in line for 2 hours at 8 am in the morning on a monday was well worth it. Drank side by side with a PtE

A- Appearance is a Dark Gold mostly clear of cloudiness from yeast.

S- Piny strong hop presence much like its elder brother.

T- Taste is amazing! makes the elder next to it taste like a coors.

M- Goes down smooth

O- One of the best beers I've ever had.

Photo of goldenmonkey1
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served at Blue Dog Tavern on 3/13. Thanks to the great people there who had such an efficient ticket system in place for the beer!

A - Poured into tulip glass with a solid two inch head, which dissipated into a thin lace around the top with lacing on the glass. A slightly darker golden color, slightly darker than my friend's Elder he was drinking.

S - Citrus and grapefruit hops

T - Hops come alive in this beer. The lingering piney hop bitterness is enough to let you know the hops are alive and kicking, but not in a bad way. The up front taste is of more of a citrus hop flavor. The malt is hidden beneath the hops, but definitely there, an almost biscuit taste to it, but again, behind all of the hops.

M - Just right, well carbonated with a full crisp mouthfeel

D - For 11%, it went down incredibly easy. No alcohol burn to it what so ever. Halfway through my glass I realized I needed to start taking smaller sips, as I was drinking my only glass a bit too quickly.

Overall, an exceptional beer, one that I could drink all day, as long as the 11% didn't knock me out. Definitely has more of a hop bitterness than the Elder, which seems mellow compared to the Younger. Looking forward to having another glass next year.

Photo of heartofgold
4.58/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I made a 2 hour road trip to Russian River a few days before the 2 week pouring "window" ended, in hopes of tasing the legend. I landed in the brewery by early afternoon and easily found a barstool. Score!

I was poured my 8 oz portion immediately. The color was a gold/bronze with a thin head that quickly dissapated to a thin lacing.

The nose was less than expected, given my PtE experience. The pine was present but not much citrus.

The taste was extremely balanced for such a big beer. It was BIG in hops and malt without being too toasted or sharp. The smoothness ended earlier than the hoppy bitterness, giving this one a bit of a kick at the end compared to its uncle.

The mouthfeel matched the magnificent taste...the hops provided a full experience and the subtle carbonation helped this big beer go down smoothly, something to watch for with a beer this big!

I loved the beer. I had an Elder taste during my session (of 3 8 oz pours) and found that while the nose of the Elder was superior, the overall impact (i.e. Lupluin shift) of the younger made the Elder difficult to enjoy or compare while in its "zone". I will enjoy PtY again if I get the chance. Meanwhile I continue to target PtE with my homebrew efforts.

Photo of bs870621345
4.8/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got an amazing tip, shared with a few with Brendan (afksports) and had a bunch of it...finally a beer that lives up to the hype.

Pours a beautiful orange color with a half inch of head. Leaves nice lacing down the glass...all IPAs should look like this.

Smells of citrus and pine, bread is far in the background...but its balanced...I cannot explain this. Its a little subtle for a beer this big, but overall wish it was more

Taste has everything...citrus burst on the tip with pine and citrus in the middle and finishes with pine...herbs are mixed in. The malt is an after thought, yet is balanced. Once again, I cannot explain it, its fantastic.

Mouthfeel suffers a bit from the full feeling. Its light and crisp with amazing carbonation, yet it fills the mouth like a stout.

Drinkability is amazing, had 3, could have had more, chose to walk away...did you know it is 11% alcohol?

This is an amazing IPA...really what it boils down to

Photo of afksports
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Notes for later review when I'm on a computer:

App: golden copper wondrous clear with beautiful lacing. Maybe a little brighter, more golden than Pliny the elder.

Smell: beautuful. Every hop note. Grapefruit herbs grass earth citrus and oooh the malts caramel and sugar, biscuit, grain, and beer beer beer

taste: epic. Knuckle sandwich be warned. Torn as to my favorite. The initial bites have water and citrus sweet hops with grapefruit, the middle is malty and bitter hops, and the finish dries with a ridiculous sweetness - how they got that pairing is beyond me.

mouth: same as pte, quality with wonderful carbonation and medium to almost full body

drink: a million. Forever. Desperately dangerous. I'm in love with knuckle sandwich but this is about its only competitor

summation: best vacation ever. On my third pour. Let's hope I hang on to sobriety.

Photo of hophopandaway
4.44/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

After trying the Elder and blind pig and being massively underwhelmed, I was not expecting much from this beer. What an incredible surprise.
The look is much the same as other DIPA's and there isn't much to differentiate in this department but from there on in it just got better.
Wonderful floral hops are the dominant falvour but they are well balanced with some citrus all coming off the head that actually stuck around.
My first sip revealed a wonderful creamy silk texture that I haven't had from anothr DIPA and the sweetness balanced with the turbo-charged bitter hops that linger and dance on your palate long after the gulp of beer is gone.
This is a real belter of a beer, it tastes fantastic and slips down nicely for something as strong as it is. The only problem for me is that the alcohol is still a little dominant and IPA is not my favourite style of beer so not the best beer in the world for me, but certainly one of the best in its class for sure.

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

On Tap at the Blue Dog in Chalfont PA on 3/13/11- thanks to a thoughtful ticket system that also benefited a couple worthy charities. Kudos, Blue Dog!! Served in a Tulip Glass.

A- VERY CLEAR Golden Color with a nice bronze hue. Foamy one finger head that was not quick at all to bubble away. Did eventually wear down to a small amount of nice sticky lace that left trails down the glass as I savored every mouthful of this brew.

S- Notes of piney hops- not as "in your face" as I expected given the press about this ale. In fact, I had this after a finishing a glass of Pliny the Elder, and would say that Elder's hoppy aroma was stronger and packed more of a punch. Younger is more subtle to the nose.

T- Hoppy bliss!! Full, full, (and did I mention full?) hop bitterness from the first splash through the finish. In fact, the piney hop notes seemed to linger and intensify a bit after swallowing. The amazing thing about this brew is that it's powerfully hoppy, but at the same time powerfully SMOOTH as well. Amazing!

M- Full Body; this ale finds every taste receptor in your mouth, including the ones you didn't know you had- but with a perfect balance of taste/feel/fizz.

D- Two or three of these would go down very easily, but more would be tough without food to accompany, or a cab ride home.

This is an amazing brew that I'm glad to say I had a chance to try- it lives up to the hype. That said, as rare as this comes out and as (relatively) easy as it is in the Philly area to get Elder, I'll let others have the chance to get tickets for this next year and stick with the Elder. You can't go wrong with either, and Elder doesn't command the premium or treasure hunting expedition.

Photo of Tucquan
4.47/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2011-03-12 at The Drafting Room. It wasn't a mad rush at the bar as the owner had thoughtfully arranged a way for folks to get tickets ahead of the event. Well done sir.

A - 9 oz of beautiful, golden-orange into a snifter produced a short, white head and minimal lacing. I had this side-by-side with an Elder and the Younger is quite a bit more orange.

S - Wonderful and strong. More aroma than the Elder. Lots of pine, pineapple, mango, passion fruit and sugar toast.

T - Frankly, the taste surprised me as it did not closely follow the nose. First impression was dry, malty and boozy but then the pine and tropical flavors kicked in. It's more bitter than the Elder. Not wanting to rush things, I sipped it over a 1/2 hour period. As it warmed, it tasted a little sweeter, which I was glad of. I also noted a little pepper. The aftertaste lingers more than the Elder and is well-balanced.

M - Medium body and light-medium carbonation. Resinous, prickly and surprisingly dry for this big a beer.

D - Well it's a great beer and I'm glad the quest is over to find and try it. I know I'll have it again. In a head-to-head with the Elder on this day, I liked the Elder a bit better.

Photo of MexicanSkittel
4.4/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is an amazing beer, there's not much to say that hasn't been said. I though in all honesty don't feel it's the greatest thing EVER. As you would assume it to be from all the hype. But the Russian River crew has again produced another gem to treat us eager beer drinkers with. OK OK the beer...

A very brilliant clear golden yellow with hints of off tan straw. A very thin head dissipates very very fast.

The nose brought out pine needles, fresh trimmings of the chronic, a little straw, with sweet hops all cut with a stinging alc.

There was a spiciness to the beer, that after lemon and green herb. The hops were more to the back of the pallet that all lead to a warm alcohol.

The drinkability of this beer is a personal opinion. I could drink this over and over again. Would it make me see triple? well yea! But there is an amazing balance that gives this beer nothing of a sense of un-drinkability.

See you next year Little guy!

Photo of BrewerDude707
4.43/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am lucky enough to work at a place called Hopmonk Tavern in Sonoma, CA. The owner Dean Biersch bought the last keg of Pliny the Younger for the year about 2 weeks ago. Two days ago, Tuesday March 8th we tapped the last keg of the Younger in the county. Guess who had to work all night? By the time I got off 7 hours later, there was so little left in the keg that it weighed as much as the empties. Nonetheless, I got a full 12 oz glass with Kary, our head chef.

Appearance- Light golden pour, slowly gathering into a frothy, almost meringue-like pillow top mattress of foam. Excellent retention.

Smell- Akin to the Elder, but with much bolder fruity citrus note.

Taste- Almost immediately after the initial shock of alcohol (11%)/maltiness, the HOPocalypse begins, crisp grapefruit and sweet piney flavors combine with a near bread-like finish that.. really shouldn't be called a finish it lingers so long on your palate.

Drinkability- At 11%, two 12oz. glasses is enough for almost anyone. Not to mention there are only a small percentage of beer drinkers who can appreciate a beer like this. The majority of folks simply think it tastes "too bitter"... BAH.. don't waste it on those people!

Photo of gpatt55
5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On Tap @ Father's Office Santa Monica 2/11(From memory)

After waiting 1.5 hours and getting denied at the cluster that was Surly Goat the night before, I was happy to catch FOI's twitter feed the next night and have 20oz of the 15 gallons they released rather quietly.

Whether all the hype added to my immense enjoyment of this divine nectar is inconsequential. Long story short I can't think of a better beer that's ever passed my lips.

Poured a hazy straw/light orange color with a thin head. Incredible kaleidoscopic nose that combines the powerful skunky simcoe dispensary nose of Elder with a concentrated, almost delicate note of pure bright candied apricot fruit. WOW.

On the palate this beer is even smoother than Elder, if I had to guess the ABV blind I'd say 7-8%, it's that well hidden. There is an incredibly zen balance to the taste of this beer that I can only compare to the best Grand Cru Burgundy. Absolutely etheral, even though it's more concentrated, I'd say this is more drinkable than Elder. IBUs are off the chart. I get what they mean by Lupulin threshold shift. Definitely more purely concentrated hoppy than anything I've ever had. But the balance of this beer just swaddles the bitterness in cashmere. The fact that Vinnie makes an 11% ABV beer this balanced is a high wire act that I've never seen surpassed. Cheers. See you next year Younger!

Photo of chumba526
4.79/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an eight ounce glass. It appears medium bodied gold with only a thin layer of white foam.

I get an herbal grapefruit like smell to the beer. There is a bit of a grassy pine like smell as well. All you can smell in this beer are strong fresh dank hops.

It tastes initially very citrus like. I get a bit of a grapefruit flavor. There is a strong pine like dank flavor. There is a grassy hop flavor as well. I detect almost no malt presence in this beer. Hops are the star of this beer (obviously). The beer attacks the palate with a strong but pleasant bitterness. The herbal, slightly citrus, pine like and bitter quality of the hops all linger on for quite a while. This is a very clean and smooth tasting beer. In many ways this beer shows constraint and is not over the top (though the craziness surrounding this beer is).

The carbonation is moderate. There is a crisp mouthfeel to this beer.

The drinkability for being 11 percent is pretty good. It goes down quite easy but due to how flavorful it is this beer is a sipper. I could drink a few glasses of this if given the opportunity.

Overall a nearly flawless beer. I think the hype surrounding this beer is insane but the beer really is amazingly good. The cleanest, most flavorful (yet restrained) double/ triple IPA I have had.

Photo of jimbomill
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Scoats and his Grey Lodge Pub for the special offering. I enjoyed my own pour and shared half of my sister's (thank goodness for diets) with another friend, Marty.
This beer did live up to its advance billing. It has a clearer, appearance than expected. The wafting currents from the pour alerted the nose to the grape-fruity flavors embedded within. The taste was clean. It was sharp and it was like a cross between Sculpin and Nugget Nector, fortified with the correct steroids.
Mouthfeel was medium, the sharpness of the hop cut like a fine carbon steel knife. Drinkability was way up there, but it was the last beer of the evening and it was an excellent evening.

Photo of kiddwhiz
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The chase is over and let the hype finally have some perspective. My finish line was a newer joint in NW Denver called Hops and Pie. A little place that does two things great: pizza and craft brews! No fiasco, no attitude, and no worries. Hops and Pie poured off their 5.5 gallon of Younger within 45 mins with no stress.

I was able to snag a 8-10 oz pour of Younger in a mini pint glass. With the delicate pour I procured very little head but what I received was frothy white that receded to delicate white lacing.

The aroma of the Younger is really wonderful. Piney hops, hops and more hops. It exemplifies what a West Coast DIPA is and should be. Not a chase for IBU's but a pursuit of the exceptional.

The Younger tastes like it should. Smooth hoppy, hoppyness with over/undertones of grapefruit, citrus, and lime. Wikipedia is in the process of updating their definition of "smooth" to this beer. No alcohol flavor is apparent but reveals itself later on...

Younger is full bodied and smooth. It coats the palate with bitter, hoppy fruit resins that lingers beyond the norm. Drinkability? I chatted with a H&P patron that we would peg this beer as a 7% ABV if not to know better. This is an exceptionally drinkable beer that you would never know is high ABV.

And we come full circle. The hype? probably too much. The beer? as expected and a total treat. Worth the effort? not something I will stand in line for but when presented with an enjoyable opportunity to taste this fantasticness I will take it every time. Cheers Russian River!

Photo of JonathanG
4.8/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in a Brussels glass.

Certainly on my "must try" list. However, with all the hype around this beer, I was a bit skeptical, but hey, a neighborhood pizza and beer place snagged a keg of this, so I figured I'd check it out. I'm glad I attended the tapping of Pliny the Younger at Hops & Pie on Tennyson St. in NW Denver. They tapped the keg at 3pm and it was kicked in less than half an hour. They used a ticket system for efficiency and to make sure we each only got 1-serving. Mind you, this establishment is a hole-in-the-wall, with maybe a dozen bar stools and less than 10-tables. Packed for the few hours I was there. Yes, many in-attendance for the tapping, but it was almost as busy the other time I went, and that was on a regular day.

A: A golden/orange color, with fairly good clarity. Minimal carbonation rising up through the ether. Also minimal head that had to be coaxed back up with a few swirls. Most people were getting their pours out of mini-pint glasses, so I actually felt fortunate when I was offered a tulip glass.

S/T: At first, all I got off the nose was fresh cut pine tree, and lots of it. We cut our own Christmas tree down every year, and it was reminiscent of burying your nose at the base of the tree when you're cutting it down. Fresh pine sap and resin. Wow, very aromatic, if not a bit one-dimensional upfront. Certainly not lacking in the freshly-cut pine bough area, which was backed up by some citrusy tart white grapefruit. There were hints of fresh bread dough hiding behind the bold pine notes that had to be coaxed out from their hiding place, as well as spiced peach and apricot notes with a bit more time in the glass. Once the beer was "comfortable" in the glass, estery/floral/grain notes also made an appearance. The last little sip at the bottom of the glass, after warming up, gave off dried tea leaf notes as well.

M/D: While waiting around for the keg to be tapped, I had 2-different IPAs of lesser strength than Pliny the Younger, so my taste buds may have either been warmed-up, or tarnished, depending on how you look at it. To me, this came across as an exceptionally balanced IPA, triple, or not. Yes, it was hoppy. Was the malt present? Of course, but it wasn't too sweet. Is a matter of fact, I would give this tremendous credit for striking such a balance for a Triple IPA, coming in at 11.0%-ABV.
This balance masked the 11.0%-ABV quite well. Yes, you can tell it's up there in alcohol, but it doesn't really let you know it's true nature on the nose or palate. It doesn't come across as being hot at all. If anything, the ABV comes through in the body.

Everyone was limited to one glass, which was probably a good thing, considering the ABV. With that being said, I would not have hesitated ordering a second glass of this to savor, if given the chance. Certainly a memorable tasting experience.

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

After countless attempts to get a glass of this in 2011, my diligence was finally rewarded with a couple glasses of the Younger.

A tulip glass sits in front of me with a half inch of egg-white frothy head over an almost iridescent, rich golden orange color body. A light stream of small bubbles cascade up the sides of the glass. Nothing overly-remarkable here as it looks like other quality double / triple IPA's.

A rich, almost concentrated, freshly pressed hop aroma spills over the top of the glass. The pungent aroma of weed along with a good citrus note lingers after a lengthy smell. Very similar to the Elder but a bit stronger.

The first gulp (have to admit I breezed through the first glass, the second was savored for awhile) fills your mouth with a mix of hops, grapefruit juice, and a mild malt sweetness. A sharp, bitter bite quickly follows, but doesn't linger and there's no sign of the 11% ABV. It seems that this years version is not as malt forward as in the past and tends towards a bit less balanced in terms of flavor. Reminds me of the Elder if it were on steroids.

Low carbonation works well, as it allows for more of the flavor to shine through with a good medium viscosity. Spot on for a beer of this style. What is really impressive about this, given the ingredients and ABV, is how easy it is to drink a couple (or more) of these.

Overall this is a really good triple IPA, but I don't think this years was as good as past, and I don't think that it's worth the hype and efforts to track down a glass. I am glad that RR keeps on making this every year (and changed the growler policy), but there are plenty of others which are readily available that can satisfy the hop enthusiasts out there.

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

Wow! I had my first Pliny The Younger yesterday at Abbey Pub in Bend, Oregon. I enjoyed it a great deal. There were about 50 people there when Geoff tapped the keg at Noon. At 12:23pm, the keg was empty. :-)

A - It has a light golden color that's clear with a light white head.

S - A wonderful hoppy smell with pine and citrus floating off the top with floral undertones.

T - Huge hops, piney and dry that finishes with a bitter touch. The alcohol is well hidden in Pliny tradition.

M - Moderate body with a touch of carbonation.

D - I can hardly wait until next year. Thanks Vinnie.


Photo of chicano4craft
4.22/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Falling Rock.

Pours a very clear golden,orange color. A small white head drops to a thin crown very fast. Good lacing. Looking at the beer it's hard to imagine the hugh flavor and alcohol it holds.

Nose is very dank. Big pine and some citrus. Resinous with sweet malt balancing in out. Alcohol is definitely present.

The first sip hit my taste buds with a bittersweet and hop oil feel. Really good. Very hoppy with the sweetness of the malt doing it's best to keep things in check. Not as balanced as Elder. The hops do scrap across the palate with the alcohol providing a burn. I love an in your face IIPA so I loved it. The only negative was that as it warmed the alcohol became hot and started to compete with the hops.

Good mouthfeel and drinkability for the style. 8-10oz is enough to satisfy with completely wrecking the palate.

Photo of beerfan99
5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Russian River Brewpub on 2/17/2011, the last day before Pliny the Younger left Santa Rosa.

A: Light amber/orange color with a faint white head. Only complaint related to appearance was the 10 oz. pour.

S: Awesome and unbelievable hop aroma.

T: Hop flavors and bitterness which match the smell. Excellent malt blending, not too sweet and does not mask the hop flavors.

M: Definitely palate pleasing. Residual hop flavors present long after each sip.

D: After drinking 3 sips, I flagged down the waiter and ordered another. Good thing, because they ran out about 15 minutes later. Surprisingly easy to drink at 10.% and GOBS of IBUs, though it is probably a good thing they ran out, it might have gotten ugly.

I had several glasses of Pliny the Younger last year during SF Beer Week at Toronado and really wasn't all that impressed. I thought it was overhyped and I came away thinking that Pliny the Elder was still the top rated IPA in my book. However, based on my recent tasting of the 2011 Pliny the Younger, I can understand why it is the number one beer, not just the number one IPA, or should I say triple IPA. Anyway, I will be seeking out this beer every chance I get.

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,662 ratings.