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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

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2,592 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,592
Reviews: 891
rAvg: 4.69
pDev: 8.96%
Wants: 4,982
Gots: 213 | 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: 2,592 | Reviews: 891 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BigMike
4.77/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a slightly hazy straw yellow color. Not too much in the way of head but what was there was a bit soapy and almost pure white in color. It really clung to the sides of the glass.

Ok, in for the smell. WOW! This is up there with Hopslam as far as Mango and candied pineapple aroma. This thing sure smells like it's going to be amazing.

Lot's of sugar cookie sweetness. Tons of pineapple and mango. Some light caramel also. Very Tasty.

Great mouthfeel. Smooth, very easy to drink. Flavors linger long after the swallow.

This beer is real easy to drink. The 11% starts to show as it warms up. I see why this beer gets its accolaids. It's an amazing beer but the best in the world? Either way, i'm happy that i was able to try it.

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.53/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to the Hulmeville inn for this one.Limited to one per person but my wife who is pregant did not want any so WOOHOO!!! Two for me.

Poured a slighly hazy auburn color with a thin white heading. Lacing did stick around through every gulp and until the bitter end.

Smell is a little deceiving at first although the hops are clearly there in the taste there is more a lighter malty body in the nose. Bitter hops blast through with a nice hello.

Taste is smooth and malty as soon as the brew touches the tongue but a heavy citrusy - pineapple blast takes over.Very tasty indeed.

Mouth has excellent carbonation with a nice medium body. The pineapple grassy notes linger around for a long while. Again very alive on the palate.Alot lighter in the mouth than I would have anticipated not like a heavy syrup that you would find in other IIPA's.

Well this is good but honestly I don't know what all of the hubbub is about this brew with you CA folk. This is a very tasty brew but you can easily find other great IIPA's for less the hassle and wait but still a solid brew.

Photo of Gavage
4.57/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: light orange in color with a short 1/4" head that broke down quickly. No lace devlops.

Smell: grapefruit, loads of hop bitterness, and a hint of sweetness creates a nice aroma.

Taste: big malt profile with a finely balanced sharp bitterness. Loads of grapefruit, caramel, ripe fruit, and a bit of lemon are most dominant. The bitterness does not overwhelm. Alcohol levels are not even noticable.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp throughout with dryness late. Aftertaste is long as the flavors linger in the mouth.

Drinkability: this beer went down rather quicky despite the big flavor profile. Is this beer the best in the world ? I still think Westy 12 would be my choice in a heads up competition, but this is one great beer. Special thanks to the Hulmeville Inn for getting this beer in house.

Photo of jvanetten
4.87/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Blessed with this on tap Saturday at Tria Washington West in Philly. Waited in the rain for a bit, thank god they had a 1-10oz serving/person rule. Keg was kicked about 10-people after we were served.

A-More gold than I thought it would be, good head that lingered. Was poured from the tap into a goblet and then into a tulip. Thin lacing after each sip.

S-Incredible hop & pine smell. Smell was a great appetizer for the beer.

T- Big, but very balanced hop taste. Sweet as well, but not overpowering.

M-Perhaps my favorite part. I put off swallowing the beer as long as possible. Aftertaste was the most unique I've experienced. The hop flavor lingered strongly between each sip. It was like you were still drinking!

D-If not so rare, this beer would be permanently stocked in my fridge. I'm looking to order some of the elder now just to scratch teh itch!

Photo of ShadesOfGray
3.73/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at a "secret" tapping, Gray Lodge in NE Philadelphia. Poured into a stemmed pint glass, whatever that may be called! Was fortunate to get the first glass! Pours a bright copper/yellow color. Very small white head that dissapates to a thin ring, pretty quickly too. No real lacing to speak of, but could be due to the "bar-glass" washing methods.

Aroma was not as strong as I expected, but good! Piney hops, obvious grapefruit, and honey. Other than that, similar to most big name DIPA's.

Flavor was a little let down to be honest. It's good, but too sweet IMO. I hate to say it, but I prefer Elder better. The hops come fore front immediately, followed quickly by the intense sweetness, and finally followed again by another wave of hops and a dry boozy finish. I had heard that the grapefruit is very well detectable in Younger, they weren't kidding! Very carbonated and thin light, yet crisp mouthfeel. I actually enjoyed Younger less as it warmed up, it got even more sweet. Over all, a very good beer, but way too hyped! Again though, another good beer from Russian River!

Photo of Bluetick
5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Live review from the toronado (sf)

The younger is so smooth! Silky smooth. It smells good and is absolutely delicious.

The hops are exceptionly balanced; and the alcohol is too well hidden.

It deserves all the credit and hype!

A very welcome surprise, I didn't expect it to on tap. It the king of beers!

Photo of rawthar
4.44/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Just got back home from the PtY event at Tria this afternoon, was one of the lucky ones who got in before the keg kicked. Review based on my notes.

A- I was expecting red, but this was a nondistinct gold. The head was fairly impressive, a finger of very creamy white that hung out for a long a time, and when it was finally tamed, still left some pretty lacing.

S- Unmistakably hoppy. This was the first hint at the greatness of PtY. It was all citrus from the hops, with a subtle malty balance that kept it from going full on bitter. Impressive.

T- And this is where PtY becomes significant. Just the kind of citrusy, hoppy, well balanced flavor that the smell and the hype made me expect, but there was something else going on here that I had never detected before. Maybe it was umami, the fifth taste, maybe it was the hop concentration taking the flavor to a whole other level, but the middle of this beer's flavor was one of the most unique beer tastes I've ever had. Hard to put the finger on it, but in a blind taste test, I'll never have a problem picking this one out of a lineup. Bangin'.

M- As creamy as it looked, but with a light character, and a really sweet tingle on the tongue. Awesome.

D- There was a one per customer limit in effect (though I cheated with my wife's beer when she was in the bathroom) - wish I could have gone back for a second. Could I drink this all day? I think it would ruin my appreciation of just about every other beer. The rarity is definitely part of the equation here.

So did it live up to the hype? Yes, I think so. It was transcendental as far as beer goes, but it did not necessarily transcend beer. But who can really ask for anything more than that? Maybe I'll have it again next year, but in the meantime, I can't say that Nugget Nectar is much of a drop off.

Photo of Seanibus
4.47/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear with a slight head. Aroma is powerful , fragrant, with strong grapefruit and lily and jasmine. Flavor is huge: hops, grapefuit and lily, with a sugary malt backbone. The mouthfeel is prickly and sharp. The bitterness is slow and sweetish, like a bitter tea. Alcohol is totally hidden, making this a quiet killer.

Photo of JerryBullfrog
4.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank this on 2/15, two 17 oz. mugs at Hollingshead's in Orange, CA. From the notes I took at the time:

An orange, golden color with copper shades at the edges. A small, slightly off-white head that dissipates quickly.

Aromas of grapefruit, orange, tangerine, apricot, and pine needles. It's got a boozy kick to it as well, but it dissipates after a while. Everything I could want in an IPA.

Perfectly carbonated with a medium body, but the alcohol is definitely there. Like the aroma, it subsides after some time. There's a whole mess of piny flavors followed by grapefruit, apricot, and a hint of the finest herb. The bitterness lingers for quite a long time.

It's a hoppy, bitter, and just plain angry IPA. Damn near killed my taste buds and killed my appreciation for any other IPA for the next week, which hampered it a bit (hence my wait for the review)... can't drink too much of it. But the best IPA I've ever had? Well, I have a lot of IPAs left to try, but compared to the ones I have tried, this ranks #2, right after Exponential Hoppiness.

Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.4/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

after a year...finally we meet again.
this nearly clear golen beverage is wanted. a fine floral aroma like the garden of eden - BUT - do not taste of the fruit of the tree in the middle! oh dear god, i did. it is too smooth. an intensity of bitterness and hop flavor, but not quite the shapness of the elder. a little citrus fruit in the nose and mouth. so nice for 11, doesn't feel like it, so little sweetness for an imperial. i wish i could drink it, but i put the 8 oz glass in a museum instead. ahh, posterity.

Photo of mpensworth
4.97/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Beautiful in the glass, nice and golden orange with a slight white foam head. The lacing was perfect in my glass as well.

S: Powerful citrus and pine aroma, makes the knees weak.

T: Ka-pow! My palate didn't know what hit it. Lots of pine and grapefruit flavors here, super fresh on the hop taste.

M: Good bitterness, feels pretty light for the amount of hops and alcohol.

D: Amazing flavors with a light balance makes it hard to have just one. I was lucky and got 3 glasses... and definitely felt like I had 3 glasses of it.

Overall it is an incredible beer. I don't think it would be so popular if it were readily available every year. But honestly, part of the enjoyment of this beer was the hunt... and kill.

Photo of Domingo
4.8/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ah yes - one of the beer holy grail items. I might as well be a geek and review it.
Got this on tap at the Vine St. Pub in Denver. I lucked into actually getting two servings since it was a Monday afternoon.
Honey golden with a cap of white foam.
Smells like hops - lots of them. Unlike many others (even my favorites), there isn't much malt popping up in there. It's just straight ahead west coast hops.
The first thing you'll notice with a sip is that again, the malt takes a backseat. Hops add both fruity flavors and herbal ones. Resiny pine, pineapple, a little spearmint, even a little bit of a cannabis. Slightly sweet, but not nearly as much as you'd expect. Every sip is just great - and it avoids having too much going on.
This beer hides its 11% as well as any strong beer can. No alcohol smell, taste, or heat. It has the drinkability and texture of a beer half its strength.
I could've handled a pitcher of it (and yes, I did ask...) but obviously that isn't happening. Still, rarity is the only limiting factor.
Best beer in the world? Maybe! For a hoppy one I think this beats out Dreadnaught on my personal best list.
If you like DIPA's and American hops - I can't imagine them getting much better. Deserving of the hype. It really is THAT GOOD.

Photo of Arbitrator
4.58/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Rewriting my review from the ground up.

From a two-week-old growler. It was waxed and refrigerated after release while my shipped ones landed. From notes.

A: Carbonation held up surprisingly well. I'd attribute that both to the wax job and to Russian River's choice of excellent glass. This is the first time I've ever filled a growler at RR, since they're too far away to visit more than a couple of times a year.

The pours crystal clear in the glass: it's a dark amber body with orange hues against the light. The head is fluffy and off-white, filling the snifter with crackles and pops. It leaves some register marks down the glass. This doesn't look quite as nice as the tap form, but for an 11% TIPA, it's impressive it even has head at all, much less this much.

S: Starts off with tropical citrus (pineapple, oranges, tangerines) and grapefruit. There is a wet pine needle aroma behind it. Malt isn't that pronounced, but it does have a sugar cookie backing. Very simple, I guess, to let the hop flavors come out. I also detect -- and this is different from the tap version -- a hint of booze.

T: Citrus, citrus, citrus. Grapefruit primarily, but it's followed closely by pineapple, tangerine, orange. The mid-taste progresses into dank pine flavors and light, perfumey floral hops. The sugar cookie aroma I noticed is apparent underneath as an underlying, lightly bready sweetness; but it doesn't add much as far as flavors go. Light spice in the finish. This is simply an ode to the hop. As in the nose, it's lightly boozy.

M: Medium-bodied; with carbonation a tad higher than medium. That helps suppress the bigness of this beer, but I have to say I noticed that the first glass and a half out of the growler were hot, which I did not notice on tap. The finish is semi-dry, with light lingering bitterness and not much oiliness.

I had HopSlam next to this, since the tropical citrus flavors make for a natural comparison. The sweetness of HopSlam made it taste like a barleywine in comparison. And I LOVE HopSlam. It really speaks to how well-attenuated PtY is.

D: I'm not sure whether it was worth it to go up to the release. I found this on tap very easily at a number of places, and like I said in my other review, the beer is delicious on draft. Out of a growler it's still good, but if this were my only experience with the beer, I wouldn't (and will not) give it all 5s. Even with this one waxed and sitting in the back of my fridge, it dropped off noticeably in quality. I can only imagine how much unrefrigerated transit takes out of this beer.

Still, it's easily a top-tier Imperial IPA; I haven't had a better one.

Photo of WesWes
4.57/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer pours a beautiful golden color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is outstanding. It's your typical West Coast DIPA, but done to perfection. It has your standard pale malt base which seems to provide adequate balance. The hop aroma is sublime. It's citrusy with hints of pine. It's very bitter, yet not as much as I thought it would be. The taste is great; so smooth and drinkable. The alcohol is nowhere to be found. What there is , is a damn tasty beer that's relatively light and loaded with hops. This is a thing of beauty. The mouthfeel is great as well. It's a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. The drinkability of this beer is off the charts. There's not heat whatsoever, just heavenly golden nectar.

Photo of cbarrett4
4.8/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Okay... had FOUR glasses while they had it on tap at Henry's. Here goes:

Lighter it seems than Pliny the Elder. More complex, subtle... which I enjoy. Shows a gorgeous color, though slightly clear surprisingly. Good head retention and lace. Lots going on the nose. The pine and citrus from the hops are subdued, allowing more subtle fruit and yeast aromas. Has a slight bitter funk from the yeast used. Pretty amazing. Flavors are elegant with the pine from hops and funk from the yeast playing well together. Finishes with finesse and balance. Tannins, acids, and alcohol all in check and balanced. I thought this was 8-9% abv... it was well hidden.

I recommend this beer highly... though not getting drunk at the strip club afterwards...

Photo of Habmike
4.77/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to klevelandrocks, marshalzhukov, and craytonic for all sharing growlers with me this year!

reviewed 2/8/10

beautiful golden with great clarity, bubbles, head retention. White frothy head.

Wicked citrus and hoppy aroma. Smells like cali bud.

Invasive and penetrating hops ninjas entering my chest cavity. Tastes similar to hopslam after it drank the ooze. Little to no heat whatsoever. Great drink! Really glad this one wasn't a let down in flavor.

A bit oily in the mouth (expected). Syrupy and carbonated. Without the carbonation it would come down below a 4 in mouthfeel but it helps a bunch.

This one goes deep and stays there, great drink!

Photo of Kelp
4.59/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received this from sugit.

Pours forth an orangy color. Little whit head that stays and no lacing.

The smell is easily the best part of this beer. An overwhelmong amount of hops is the first smell. Followed by citrus and not just the normal grapeftuitiness. A finish of toffee maltiness and pine.

This a great beer, but I liked the Elder better. This is way to easy to drink for the ABV that it is. Hops right off the bat, then citrus follows orange and the grapefruit. Pine follows with a finish of malt and grapefruit left on the tongue.

A pleasant warmth to the brew from the alcohol. A bit thinner than i expected. Decent carbonation and very smooth.

This was way to easy to drink down. I am glad I shared this with a few people, because if I had kept it I don't believe I would have remembered much the next morning. A lovely brew, just not as good as the Elder to me.

Photo of iconoklaztor
4.62/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my buddy sugit for this sweet growler!!!

Pours a beautiful orange-ish, brownish color. Great, white, head that lingers for days but doesn't spring up on you while pouring.

The smell is duh, HOPS!!! Tons and tons of hops!!! Wish there was a bit more grapefruit but this is a beautiful smelling brew!

The taste was smooth and fairly balanced. There was a slight alcohol burn that took away from the brew but it wasn't terrible.

Overall, a WONDERFUL brew! Not my number 1 but its a damn fine example of a extremely hopped brew!


Photo of deapokid
4.54/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tried this rarity for the first time during a special 20-person morning session at Resurrection Ale House. Beer was served with a smile in a medium-sized tulip.

Packing a soft, short head and low carbonation, this brew is a nearly translucent gold, with flecks of red and orange. A bit more carbonation was excepted, but there's nothing on display here to take away from its hefty reputation.

Aromas are quite strong, walking the line somewhere between alpha hops and sour citrus. It's a pleasing and lively stink, reminding me of warm weather and summer fun, something which is miles away from the arctic tundra of Philadelphia. A beautiful bouquet of lovely scents.

The flavor is a bit surprising. I initially expected a pronounced hop scratchiness that would melt the taste buds right off of my tongue. Pleasantly, this offers up the best of both worlds, magnificently balancing a powerful hoppiness with a sunny and delicate amber sweetness. It's exceptionally light for its strength, masking the alcohol well and giving off a fresh and floral vibe. I also caught a mild roasted quality amongst the concluding flavors.

The liquid carries a warmth, despite the fact that it is rather thin and quite easy to consume. The hop character wakes up the tongue, but never overwhelms it, allowing other characteristics to poke out their heads. It's also dangerously drinkable, never even hinting at its raging 11% ABV.

This brew truly deserves the overwhelming acclaim. It's an exceptional DIPA and it certainly shouldn't be sequestered to holidays and special occasions.

Photo of regspeir
5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

- Based on 2 10 oz drafts at Resurrection Ale House in Philly:
I doubt I have much to add to the raving about this beer except to echo my affection. It pours a copper, golden orange w. good carbonation, a decent, albeit thin head and lacing all the way down the glass.
The nose is a floral, citrus, hoppy explosion with pineapple, orange, lemon zest but especially grapefruit.
The taste, while not what I would describe as complex, was just...well...perfection - bitterness perfectly offset by sweetness and malt and a peppery grapefuit fresh aftertaste. There is evidence of the alcohol in the warming finish but no hint of the 11% (so beware!).
In short, maybe there is a better beer out there somewhere, but I have yet to find it; This is an awesome beer.

Photo of hippityhops85
4.9/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had a full snifter of this at a tasting at Capones in Norristown, PA.

Appearance: This brew practically glows on the table. It's a bright gold/red with minimal head. This beer almost emits light.

Smell: Grapefruit, lillies and other wild flowers. Perhaps getting a slight smell of the malts but the citrius dominates the nose.

Taste: This beer is viscous while being still effervescent. Undoubtly the best beer I have ever drank. I took my time with this guy and let it warm up a bit and it got much more alcoholy and a little bit more malty but in an absolutely amazing way.

Mouthfeel: Fantastic mouth feel. The carbonation is SPOT on.

Overall: I'm sure I'm not the first to admit it but this beer is worth the hype that is around it. Definitely the best-of-the-best.

Photo of jzeilinger
4.72/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Someone from the East Coast with an opportunity to try and review this highly sought after beer, what an opportunity. I was beginning to compare this beer to the legend of Bigfoot (Sasquatch, not the Barleywine from Sierra), some people have seen it but it's so rare that it's more of a myth than an actual beer. (tongue in cheek, of course)

Pours a copper orange color, tight bubbled carbonation with a thin white head across the top.

Has a sweet pungent, oily hop aroma with pineapple, loads of citrus orange and grapefruit, and some pine. This beer is incredibly aromatic and I spent as much time with my nose in the glass enjoying the smell as much as I did the taste.

Taste is absolutely unreal, it's definitely the King of the IPA's. I've had many IPA's where the smell was outrageously good but the taste didn't measure up, and vice versa; the Younger has both characteristics. It's very bold and strong in flavor with huge amounts of grapefruit bitterness that dominates throughout the entire sip, has some sweet malt undertone to keep things a little bit in check but gets extremely beaten down by hop bitterness. Starts sweet for a brief second with some peppery sweetness on the side of the tongue. Malts re-appear at the very end for a brief moment before being slapped into submission by an army of hop bitterness. Finishes with strong grapefruit puckering, pepper, and orange rind that lingers for a LONG time after the sip. The back of the throat is coated with peppery grapefruit bitterness, and orange coats the mouth, almost metallic-like in nature. There's an ABV burn after the sip but that's the only indication of it's presence. As I work through the glass, the booziness becomes more apparent.

Mouthfeel is the smoothest I've ever experienced with an IPA. Drinkability is very good, you have to be a hop head to enjoy this, otherwise, forget it.

I only had one glass and I was begging for more but the bartender was the Pliny Natzi - One Younger for you! This is a world class beer, wish Vinnie would brew this more often and make it more accessible. Glad I had the opportunity to finally try this beer.

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.79/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- nice golden yellow orange. Small skin of head not a bit of lacing.
S- good god what a smell every year when I get my few glasses I can't help but think it smells just like a powdered sugar cover lemon jelly doughnut. Crisp citrus, sweet and bready.
T- well its just about the best ipa I've ever tasted huge hop oil and lemon zest, pine and sap. Touch of dry biscuit and bread. Mildly sweet but just the right amount. I love this stuff more and more every year. Livin in Philly really pays off if you can avoid getting shot. I kid I kid.
M- beautiful on the tounge like a good lady. It really coats the mouth but never too much, crisp carb that delivers the brew around the palete amazingly. Finishes with a nice clean linger that is much liked.
D- well I'm a beast but at 11 percent its not to be fooled with. If I wasn't driving and the keg didn't kick instantly oh wait it didn't I can get a second well then bring it on. I guess that says it all.
Well thank you scoats and all the fine folks at the grey lodge for doing a younger event perfectly. Ill be enjoying this blessed brew while it lasts. Oh vinnie what magick you brew.

Photo of mbudner
4.97/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

10oz pour at Monk's Cafe, tapped for their Russian River Mad Monday. I got the first retail pour (not to brag), so I'm kind of a big deal.

A- I have to say that it had a glow about it, sort of a halo, an aura. But seriously, regardless of how it felt to finally have a glass of this beast in my hand, it really did stand out in appearance. Golden with a slight orange hue, impeccable clarity, 1-finger fluffy white head leaving a sticky lacing, but not uncharacteristically think lacing by any means.

S- Great sweet citrus (more orange than grapefruit) with a slight fruitiness of another variety, possibly even bubblegum. It is slightly piney, but the other aromas stood out much more, especially when compared to the Elder, which I find to be dominated by the piney/forest aroma. This definitely has a more complex and layered aroma. Once you really get your nose down in there, the aroma is also of bitter grapefruit.)

T- Huge floral flavor with intense grapefruit and a slight bitter orange rind in the finish. The floral taste is much more similar to the piney ("f*cked in the face by a pinecone" as I have seen some term it) aroma that I expected based on its Elder brother. Really a sensational brew. I found it surprising that with some of the sweetness, it is slight more reminiscent of Hopslam than Pliny which lacks a lot of the citral aromas and flavors I have mentioned.

MF- Nice and sticky on the palate with a slick, oily finish. In some ways, I expected something different on the mouthfeel here, maybe a bit more "chewy," though I am not sure that would be desirable in an IPA. I guess it is equally impressive that it wasn't that much different than the Elder or other great IPAs, yet packed 10.5% abv and a hop profile that could demolish the rest.

D- This beer is absurdly drinkable. I think that is a lot of what makes it such a masterpiece. Granted, if it was 5%, I would like it just as much, but there is something to be said for a beer that drinks like every other IPA yet packs a decidedly greater punch. The closest comparison I often here is Hopslam, but this really does it without the slight residual sweetness making it that much more amazing. Really, a spectacular beer that I feel very fortunate to have sampled.

Photo of TexIndy
4.97/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had 8oz pour on-tap at Falling Rock Taphouse on 2/26/10 as part of their special tapping the night before the Boulder SourFest. Place was packed so glad that ummagum and I got there 1.5 hrs early and got a table. It was a slightly hazy golden orange color. Had slight carb streams. Couldn't tell how soon after pouring that we got it since it was a mass delivery but it still had a 1/8" foam cap that stayed there for the duration (especially as I kept swirling it to kick up the awesome aromas). My glass had good lacing and not much sticking but my friend's had great lacing and lots of sticking so I used his as the lacing reference and chalked mine up to washing issues.

The aroma was exceptional. One of, if not, the best hoppy aromas out there. Lots of pine, c-hops, grapefruit with a great malt backbone. Very well balanced. A constant sniffer. The taste matched the aroma perfectly. Loads of hop flavor from start to finish with the malt coming in at the end to smooth it out. Great balance and one of the smoothest hoppy beers out there. My buddy and I kept remarking on how smooth it was. The ABV never came into play. Couldn't smell it or taste it and didn't really feel it. I could drink this stuff all day. Mouthfeel was medium to full with good carb levels and a great finish.

Overall, this is one amazing beer. After having so many of the top ranked ones and being disappointed (and wondering if the rarity was making it high ranked) I was so glad that this one held up. Worthy of the hype, rankings, etc and most highly recommend. I'd need to try it again at least 1 or 2 times to say for sure but this might be my favorite beer of all time. If not it's still pretty damn close. Rotation - not avail here in TX and is tap only so road trips are only hope. If avail here, my fridge would always be stocked with this.

Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,592 ratings.