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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: 4,291
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 Tdizzle
4.88/5  rDev +4.1%

Served to me in a Chimay chalice at Hollingshead's.

A- Clear orange in color with a moderate head that dissipates quickly and leaves a bit of sticky lacing.

S- Tons of piney and citrusy hops backed by some very sweet and fruity malts. Tangy tropical fruits and orange peel too.

T- Everything the aroma promises. The bitterness is intense, but the sweetness of the malt evens it out nicely. The phenomenal thing about this beer is that the sweetness never becomes cloying. This is the perfect balance of bitter and sweet. The alcohol is well-hidden too.

M- Oily, slick, and syrupy with mild carbonation. Just right for a beer like this.

D- The drinkability is exceptional for a beer with such a high alcohol content. Every sip leaves you wanting more.

The best double IPA I've ever had. This is ridiculously good.

Tdizzle, Feb 15, 2008
Photo of kleffman
4.53/5  rDev -3.4%

What can I say about this beer that hasn't already been said? I believe this is my third or fourth year having it, and it has always been incredible.

Grabbed a pint of this nectar of the gods at O'Briens. Pours a very clear deep orange color with a nice little head on top and just a bit of lacing.

Smell was not as over the top as I remembered and hoped for but still a rather nice citrus, lemon and slight piney hoppy sweet aroma.

Delicious taste that was actually quite sweet but not in a cloying way. Perfect amounts to balance the explosive hops and extreme alcohol levels. It all melds together so well you would have no idea it's so alcoholic.

A great full bodied mouthfeel with a nice prickly carbonation that makes for an easy drinking beer. I can't think of very many 11% beers that go down as well as a pint of Younger.

This is one seasonal offering that I'm very excited for every year. I can't imagine how crazy people are going to go for the bottles of it once the new production brewery gets up and running.

kleffman, Feb 14, 2008
Photo of seaoflament
4.65/5  rDev -0.9%

$5 pint at O'Brien's. Now, last night I started feeling congested and felt a cold coming but I was still able to taste/smell fairly well.

Served in a pint glass. Caramel color with a quarter inch of foam. Good retention. A few soapy spots of lacing.

Big juicy hops. Lots of citrus, lemon, bitter orange and grapefruit zest. Hints of toast and caramel malt, but quickly overpowered by the hops. Just a wonderful bouquet of fruits and hints of pine.

Holy hoppiness! Yep, that's it!

Damn, I think this cleared my sinuses. The most citrusy and yet balanced DIPA I have ever had (just ahead of Summer YuleSmith). Lemon, grapefruit, orange, and a bit of pine on the finish.

Most perfect mouthfeel. Full bodied but not syrupy. Soft on the palate yet a little aggressive on the tongue. Just a little alcohol on the finish, and I was surprised to find out it was 11%

While this one was great, I probably couldn't drink more than 2 servings before getting full. Definitely worth seeking out.

seaoflament, Feb 14, 2008
Photo of Overlord
4.97/5  rDev +6%

I enjoyed a half liter of this at Hollingshead today. I have never had a sip of alcohol at work for my entire life, but given that I expected this to be a once a year opportunity, I made an exception. Halfway through, the barkeep casually mentioned that they actually received five kegs instead of their usual one. So it goes.

Pours a bright burnished orange. Clearer and more uniform in color than I expected. Little to no head. Smells like grapefruit and pine. Some tropical pineapple/passion fruit notes in the aroma, but little to no malt. Oily, viscuous, and perfect mouthfeel.

The flavor is robust and awe-inspiring. There is definitely tons of sweet, pink grapefruit-y tropical-ness and caramel malt to balance out a truly explosive pine and grapefruit hop backbone. That's right: this the rare beer in which the dominating characteristic is hops, and yet it actually is balanced by sweeter characteristics. Very drinkable.

I'm not sure what else there is to say. This beer has been well reviewed. This has joined Dreadnaught at the top of my DIPA chart.

Overlord, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of MiScusi
5/5  rDev +6.6%

2-13-08
On tap at Hollingsheads, poured into a Chimay goblet, transparent rich golden orange with not much foam. The smell is earthy but mostly citrusy hops. Pine citrus leafy hop taste. You get a nice bitterness in the end but its not overpowering. The mouthfeel is really good as there's not too much of a syrupy feel to it. There is a nice level of carbonation that is just prickly enough. This is about as drinkable as any triple or even double IPA could be. The high alcohol hits me but doesn't stop me from ordering another. I'm going back for more in a couple days.
5/4.5/5/5/4.5

4-15-08
I was able to revisit Younger at Lucky Baldwin's Delirium Cafe and must say that it's now my favorite IPA of any kind out there. The aroma really hit even more today as fresh citrus and pine and it was again exceptional. I think it deserves a 5 overall.

MiScusi, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of jwolfie70
4.7/5  rDev +0.2%

An exeptional beer. It pours a deep red copper, with a small white head. The smell is dominated by floral hops. The taste is definitely sweet, but it is balanced out nicely by a very strong floral hop taste that keeps the beer from being too sweet. The aftertaste is dominated by the hops. The beer leaves a hop stickiness coat on your mouth. Definitely a beer that I would recommend trying.

jwolfie70, Feb 12, 2008
Photo of Floydster
4.85/5  rDev +3.4%

12 ounce pour at Hollingshead's Delicatessen in the city of Orange for a whopping seven dollars after tax, 16 ounce pours were nine plus tax though, expesnive but definitely worth every penny

A-Golden orange with a nice brightness, 3/4 fluffy off white head, stuck around for about two minutes, some of the best sticky lacing I have ever seen

S-Crazy amounts of hoppiness, both citrus and floral, pine aromas, wood scents, deep sweet malt notes, tropical fruit, and strong perfume

T-Bitter, dry, hoppy, sweet, tangy, chewy, you name it and this beer has got it, the balance of this was awesome, sweet malt mixed with unlimited amounts of hoppiness, sweet tangerine, lemon, orange peel, grapefuit, pineapple, green apple, and then a somewhat chewy malt backbone, finish was dry and sweet at the same time, seemed like a session beer the way it was going down until it just hits you immediately, this baby is strong and there is no doubt about it, more complex than I thought an India pale ale could be, one of the best tasting beers I have ever had the chance to indulge in

M-Dry and sweet mouthfeel at different times, definitely more bitter when it was cold and crisp, taste lingered for minutes, perfect level of carbonation, nice looking medium body

D-If I did not know how much alcohol was in this beforehand I probably would not have been able to drive home because I would have kept drinking it, scary drinkability, alcohol is hidden amazingly, eleven percent is strong though, smooth and goes down with ease

I have been wanting to try this for the last two Febraurys, I always seemed to miss it at Naja's and Hollingshead, best IPA I have ever had without question, would have been a perfect score if it was not for the huge ABV, between this and the Beatification I drank last night, Russian River is easily my favorite brewer out there, this blows Pliny the Elder away and that is an almost perfect beer in my opinion, my buddy next to me said this was the best beer he has tasted, very highly recommended

Floydster, Feb 12, 2008
Photo of sfoley333
4.88/5  rDev +4.1%

Poured off the tap at Pizza Port C'bad on 2-9-08. Poured into pint glass a golden color with no head by the time the bartender handed it to me but a lot of cotton candy lacing. Smell is like running through the NorCal forests of Humbolt while holding an grapefruit in one hand and in the other pineapple.( in other words giant forest pine aroma mixed with grapefruit, citrus, and tropical fruits.) The Taste was pine resin hoppy at first with a monster sweet malty backbone. But as it warmed up the bitterness took effect adding layers of citrus rinds to the pine flavor with the sweetness still there but not overpowering. The mouthfeel is as full as a TIPA could be without being cloy or overdone, it was sticky with a light creamy carbonation. Considering its 11% ,extremely hoppy and bitter, with a giant malt backbone this beers has a balance of those extreme features that keeps it from being a one hitter quitter beer.

sfoley333, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of yourefragile
4.93/5  rDev +5.1%

I was skeptical of the hype for this beer but cutting to
the chase, it delivers, especially as it warms up a little. Had this on tap first at RR brewpub, then at Toronado, review was from first tasting

A: 4.5: A deep, clear, golden orange color with a thin off white
head that quickly dissipates to a thin ring with moderate lacing
and a little carbonation with small persistent, rising bubbles
S: 5: Damn. Punch in the face. Citrus, pine, floral, everything
hits at once and in balance. I could just keep smelling this beer
T: 5: Perfect, at first while this was a little too cool there wasn't that much bitterness from the hops and instead was just a delicious semi-sweet citrus flavor then as it warms up a little the there is a stronger bitterness up front that never lets go but never quite devastates the palate like Hop 15 or Hopslam. Slight malt, chocolate taste hiding in the finish too. Also as it warms up there is a slight taste of alcohol in the background to remind you of the 11% abv. Basically, this is just too good.
M: Again, near perfect to me, nice medium to thicker body that is very smooth and in the finish remarkably creamy/silky with a moderate level of carbonation.
D: Considering the alcohol and ibu this deserves something higher than a 5. I have not had the Elder yet so I can't compare but of all the Imperial/Double/whatever IPAs I've had this is by far the best and easiest drinking.

yourefragile, Feb 06, 2008
Photo of bcm119
4.45/5  rDev -5.1%

Bright peachy orange color. Nice fresh hop aroma, leans toward ripe citrus but also some earthy/herbal notes too. Nose is clean, citrus hops, with a permeating but pleasant bitterness that carries some ripe tangerine flavors. Slightly viscous, full mouthfeel. Malt provides perfect vehicle for all the hops, without getting in the way. Really nice hop complexity with the perfect amount of bitterness to finishing ratio. Hop flavors are complex, with leafy earth and pine coming through after initially ripe citrus burst. While this IPA is a whopping 11% abv, it is not overly sticky, cloying, or too sweet, and the alcohol is almost undetectable. Probably one of the best versions of the strong IPA style I've had, and almost worthy of its reputation, but not the lines and inconvenience of many of the release events. Tasted @ Toronado 2/2/08.

bcm119, Feb 04, 2008
Photo of willjschmidt
4.9/5  rDev +4.5%

Served on-tap at the Toronado on 2/2/08.

A: Pours a bright orangish color with a thick white head. Tons of sticky sweet lacing all over the glass. Even the color in the brew screams out "citrus"!

S: The best nose in an DIPA that I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying. It bursts out with fresh hops. An absolute wallop of fresh citrus fruit in the form of grapefruit, orange, and other tropical fruits. Of course, the woodsy pine is also present.

T: An incredibly well crafted and delicious DIPA. The best I've ever had. An explosion of hops, but not at all over the top and always in perfect harmony with the slightly sweet and light underlying malts. It's really the perfect DIPA in my book, an explosion of citrus hops, a wonderful bitter pine aftertaste, and always in prefect balance and harmony with the malt backbone.

M: Another perfect, for the mouthfeel in this is sublime. Just ever so slightly thick with an active carbonation. Perfect amount of body.

D: Well, this beer sure did have a lot of hype and I wasn't sure if it could live up to it. Not only did it live up to the hype, it exceeded it. Probably my favorite beer of all time. It's really ever thing that I look for in my favorite style, the DIPA. It's a shame that it's only releases once a year but I would go the ends of the earth to sip this one again.

willjschmidt, Feb 03, 2008
Photo of Lothore
4.88/5  rDev +4.1%

A- Tangerine colored brew pours with a light head which dissapates fairly quickly with some lacing.

S- Smell is very piney, some deep sweet malt notes, reminescent of Pliny the Elder but much bigger with hints of alcohol.

T- Taste is phenomenal. A very complex IPA, a boquet of piney, floral hops, big malt backbone, hard to describe but everything you could ask for in a triple IPA and more.

M- Mouthfeel is thick with carbonation a bit on the low side which suits this brew.

D- I could honestly drink this beer until I passed out. One of my favorite beers, bar none, and I don't say that a lot.

Lothore, Feb 01, 2008
Photo of Murchmac
4.83/5  rDev +3%

WOW!!

I couldnt really see how clear this beer is because the toronado is really dark, and the new bartendress didnt put the neon lights on. But it looked very yellow citrus grapefruit orange peely.

IT SMELLED OF HOPS

IT TASTED OF HOPS

The mouthfeel left me burping up hops, and a shot of alcohol. There was a streak of alcohol and hops running from my tongue all the way down to my stomach, and i'm not bullshitting.

This beer is fantastic. WOW!!

Murchmac, Feb 01, 2008
Photo of largadeer
5/5  rDev +6.6%

Golden-amber in the glass with the faintest hop haze and a quarter-inch of white froth. Head retention is very good for such a high gravity beer, and the brightness and clarity are impressive.

The hop aroma is huge. Very resiny like Elder, but with a slightly greater sugary malt presence. Notes of pine and tropical fruit from the hops, the depth is outstanding and there's barely a hint of sweetness despite the staggering 11% ABV.

Plenty of juicy, resiny hops in the taste, but they're expertly balanced by the light malt backbone. Zesty and fruity hop flavors mix with notes of peach, pineapple and biscuit. A puckering hop bitterness comes out in the finish, overpowering the malt and drying the palate slightly.

Sticky, lightly oily with semi-crisp carbonation. Dry and bitter but displaying amazing balance, the bitterness never becomes wearying and the alcohol is hardly noticeable.

largadeer, Jan 31, 2008
Photo of klewis
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Thanks to weeare138 for this one.
Hand-bottled in a 12oz

A: Pours a slightly hazier, slightly lighter amber than the Elder with a bigger head as well. Lots of spiderweb-like lacing.

S: Big citrusy hop smell packed with grapefruit aroma.

T: Loaded with citric hop deliciousness. Not overwhelmingly bitter, per se, but tilting heavily toward that side of the spectrum. A slightly noticable alcohol presence.

M: Full-bodied, syrupy and thick. Light-moderate carbonation.

D: A great DIPA and significantly better than the Elder IMO. Worth the hype.

klewis, Oct 13, 2007
Photo of sideshowrob
4.83/5  rDev +3%

Had this beer a couple of times at some beer tastings in the East.
A - Pretty much looks like a big IPA. Lots of amber color.
S - Wow. Smells like Christmas from a couple of feet away. It's almost overwhelming, but in a good way.
T - Wow. Again. So many hops it's tough to take it all in. Very complex.
M - Very fresh. Very lively. Very nice.
D - This is a huge, hoppy beer. It's extremely drinkable given the agressive hopping and ABV.

sideshowrob, Aug 25, 2007
Photo of Halcyondays
4.45/5  rDev -5.1%

12 oz. pour, at Hollingshead Delicatessen,

A: Poured into a Chimay chalice, Pliny the Younger pours a vibrant, sparkling orange, with a creamy, billowy almost white head. Good retention with solid lace.

S: Very hoppy, with lots of pine and fragrant grapefruit. Smells like a freshly cut Christmas tree.

T: Magnificent, incredibly hoppy and complex. Hop city, if you want to know what American hops are all about, then drink this beer. Lots of pine, grapefruit, and a fair amount of tropical fruit like papaya and pineapple abound in its great taste, with a good amount of complex, solventy alcohol.

M: Robust, resiny, warming, fruity, and complex.

D: Another great beer from Russian River, I prefer the Elder to this one, but this is a great beer in its own right, everyone who can find this elusive beer should try it. Too drinkable for it's weight, a pint will get you buzzed and only make you want more.

Edit 2/15/10 - Having this beer on-tap, fresh at Hollingshead's at 10:10 am when your taste buds are at their best, I think I really know where I am at with this effort. Upped the taste and drinkablity a bit, lowered the appearance, 4.6 tells you really what I think. This is the new #1. This is truly world class. In the end though I can get a similar experience from PtE and I don't have to fight crowds and lines. The hype machine has truly taken this beer to another level. It's so good, I think I will venture to Beachwood on the 23rd, but in the end, I don't know how pumped I'll be about seeking this beer out in 2011. Pretty much check it out at Beachwood since it's close. But the easy days of PtY are over.

Edit 2/25/11 - Having this year's version, it wasn't anywhere close to last year's, just a solid beer. Dropping the score down since sometimes it's insane, other times just a "good" DIPA.

Halcyondays, Aug 02, 2007
Photo of gpcollen1
4.65/5  rDev -0.9%

Poured from a home bottled younger some months ago but never recorded. Recording on revisiting it this evening.

Pours a golden orange into my Smutty Big Beer glass. A decent little head rises up and fades away in minutes. Aroma is deep, and sweet with the rich resiny hops kicking in and rounding out the nose.

Taste falls in line with aroma. Hops hit syou but the sweetness carries it through the sip. Lots of sweeet and sticky conifer, not even pine so much, resiny pitch that sicks deep into the swallow and lingers till the cotton sets in and your mouth is so dry it puckers. This gets a bit hotter as the temp creeps up letting some alcohol shine through a bit.

Have to thoroughly enjoy when the hype holds up. This is obviously a winner when in the mood for a DIPA.

gpcollen1, Jun 29, 2007
Photo of far333
4.43/5  rDev -5.5%

Clear faded orange liquid with quickly rising bubbles. A frothy bright white head rises up thickly and settles down to a firm half inch cap.

Bright and inviting aroma of tangerine and honeydew melon, some honey and cinnamon.

Full and rich flavor of resinous toffee sugar and some oily and sticky citrus hops. Less sweet than in the nose, more orange flavored with some grapefruit rind in the finish. A piney warmth lingers and warms the mouth. That 11% octane is well hidden beneath the flavors.

Good mouthfeel and carbonation despite the ABV. Pretty full and satisfying.

Very drinkable for such a big beer. Many thanks to RedwoodGeorge for this fine selection.

far333, Jun 21, 2007
Photo of ReDave
4.9/5  rDev +4.5%

OH MY GOSH!! [sorry about the cap lock, intentional though]

This nectar is unbelievable. Even after some of the worlds greatest Double India Pale Ales, i mean the BEST, this stuff is exceptional!

Pours a very nice pale golden color, just what an IPA [double or triple in my book} Perfect head! great lacing! [OK sorry about the exclamation points, but come on this is the best!!]

Great hoppy aroma.

Perfect balance, [Huge beer of course but...] big malt to go with the bitter hops.

[My local brewer makes a great triple, that actually come pretty close to this and some day some how i need to get this Pliny the Younger and Buzzsaw together!]

The only fault is that of course, you can't drink this all the time, and even though it [especially] isn't available to me easily, this is probably for the better.
Great stuff!

ReDave, Jun 03, 2007
Photo of westweasel
4.6/5  rDev -1.9%

Props to Redwood George for getting a bottle of this to someone in the Chicago area!!!

The appearance was a hazy, bright gold color with about 1/4 inch of white head. A few initial whiffs brought scents of grapefruit and lemon rind. More careful sniffing brought out some alcohol and bready croissant aromas.

The flavor was all about hops. There is a strong hop bitterness made up of mostly grapefruit, pine, and lemon flavors. What is not there is a strong alcohol taste. The mouthfeel is full with a dry, bitter finish.

Overall this is an exceptionally easy drinking double (or triple) IPA. Much more drinkable than other examples that I have had. I could drink a lot of this... which is very dangerous.

westweasel, May 29, 2007
Photo of hero27
4.75/5  rDev +1.3%

Pours a pale, hazy gold. Creamy head of white foam sits steady.
I was caught off-guard by the sweetness right off the bat..but that being said, once the sticky sweetness fades, this is one hoppy mother#^!%er... The citrus flavors are simply incredible..grapefruit, pineapple, orange, peach, mango, kiwi, etc, etc.. leading into an equally impressive piney, floral hop bite...wow. I would need to drink a lot more of this to try and capture all the flavors..and I have a feeling I'd be up for the challenge.
The huge hop dosage leads to a dry finish that leaves you tasting hops long afterwards..and at 11%, this remains remarkably drinkable down to the last drop.

A unique, complex, and unrelenting beer that certainly demands respect.

Can't thank wcudwight enough for the chance to try this rare gem.

hero27, May 21, 2007
Photo of bradford
4.58/5  rDev -2.3%

Had on cask at Naja's Place on my 21st birthday.
I was excited watching the beertender pump this one out of the beer engine and my mouth was salivating as she handed me my first legal "good beer." The beer was a dark orange with very little active carbonation, but a uge white frothy head. The taste was... well it's Younger. It's fantastic. Hoppy, creamy, smooth, hoppy, delicious. This was a most fantastic beer, I wish I could drink more of it, but it was my 21st and I was at Naja's and there were way too many other beers I had to try that night. I might not have been the best "advocate" that night, but dammit, how many times o you turn 21 at Naja's? Fantastic stuff, highly reccomended.

bradford, May 20, 2007
Photo of BillyB
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

On tap at Capones in Norristown, PA.

Pours a bright amber/copper color with gold highlights when held up to the light. Nice fluffy, thick, two fingered, white head with great lacing on the glass.

Aromas of citrusy(especially grapefruit), zesty, lemony, piney, grassy HOPS, HOPS, HOPS!!!

Tastes of nice subtle, sweet malt and citrusy hops with a hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is slightly syrupy and a bit sweet but not cloying. Pleasant alcohol warmth with a sharp bitter bight.

BillyB, May 11, 2007
Photo of badbeer
4.9/5  rDev +4.5%

Nice golden color with an off-white head that retains well and leaves a decent lacing. Absolutely mind blowing aroma. Full of citrus; grapefruit and pine and other aromas I can't hardly begin to describe are not only blended perfectly, but are powerful enough to greet your tongue from a foot away. Amazing taste of aforementioned aromas with a strong, yet amazing bitterness. The bitterness seemed like it came in waves; extremely bitter, but only pleasant bitterness, not harsh at all. Mouthfeel was medium bodied with a dry finish, leaving you wanting more and more once the explosion of taste leaves your mouth. I would drink the hell out of this if given the opportunity.
I should note that this was from a growler shared at DLD, it was not a full glass, but I felt there was more than enough for a review.

badbeer, Apr 30, 2007
Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,349 ratings.