Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company
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Ratings: 2,319 | Reviews: 841 | Display Reviews Only:
3.6/5 rDev -23.2%
Served on Cask at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach.
This is the second time I've tried the younger, once on tap and once on cask. I've had the elder many times and will be drinking some tonight for MNF. I had to try the younger again before I reviewed it to give it a second chance. So many people say that it's better than the elder I thought it deserved a second go-around.
Pours a pale gold with a big head. Took the bartender a lot of pumping to get this one poured just right. The head subdues rather quickly. Not sure if that's the cask or the ABV.
The smell is of course hops plus a good dose of alcohol. The beer is 11% after all. The alcohol is almost dominant.
The taste is overload. Tons of hops and lots of alcohol burn. I'm sure there is sugar used in the brewing of both the elder and the younger. I like a good, strong beer, but the alcohol is almost to much.
If you are going to compare the Younger to something it might as well be the Elder. I had an Elder right afterwards and reaffirmed my preference. The Elder is perfection. Taste completely unique in a time when every brewer is brewing a DIPA. The Younger reminds me of several other DIPA's I've had. The hops are great in it, but I just don't care for the alcohol burn.
09-18-2006 23:22:50 | More by Callenak
4.78/5 rDev +1.9%
Wow! On cask this beer takes a different form. I love it from the tap, but I find it difficult to drink more than one. From the cask, the smoothness allows for many pints. The ABV does not.
I had a few pints of PLY at Naja's Place. The bartenders were working that hand pump.
It pours a beautiful dusky gold. A nice frothy head. The scents are crisp and fresh. A very clean scent. Some nice hops, but not too bitter on the nose. The scents are bold but not overwhelming.
The flavors are extremely clean. A great mix of bitterness, but not so much that there is no barley. There is a nice barley back-bone to this beer. I am very impressed. I don't find this IPA to be very fruity, which I am very happy about. It has more of a sour and bitter flavor. The flavors compliment each other and do not fight for dominance. The bitterness previals, but the malts find a way to exert themselves. This beer has no bad aftertaste.
From the cask this beer is perfect. It is silk and velvet down the throat. What a treat. I cannot convey how the cask has made this beer so succulant and easy drinking. It is smooth like a like pure ice.
From the cask this IPA is a great blend of flavors and smoothness. It is still bold, but the smoothness is just phenomenal. Drink it if you get the chance. Keep them coming Russian River.
09-18-2006 07:27:24 | More by Rumrunner
4.47/5 rDev -4.7%
Served on-tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia in a 10-ounce tulip-type glass.
Poured a clear and shiny brass color. Not too much head but was an incredible amount of layered, wedding cake-like lace. Nose is full of pungent and wet wood and hops.
Flavor was hop bitterness but not bitingly painful. More of a sour citrus suchs as grapefruit flavor. Little hint of vanilla. Where is the heat from the alcohol--very nicely concealed. Slightly dry but there were lots of oils from the hops. Amazingly simple but still complex DIPA. They don't try to do too much here but create a solid beer.
09-08-2006 18:49:34 | More by MuddyFeet
4.28/5 rDev -8.7%
I was lucky enough to have this delicious beer at the Grey Lodge in Northeast Philadelphia. Props to them for bringing in the goods. I must admit that I had a pint of the Younger immediately after a pint of the Elder, so my palate was certainly well worked over. However...
The appearance is beautiful, it pours a deep golden orange. Clear and thick with low lacing and a mild to no head.
The aroma is warm or alcohol and herbacious with hops. Sweet and spicy but not as piney as the Elder, more floral.
The taste hits you up front with a big hop bite and strong alcohol tingle. It's big, deep and rich in the middle and incredibly well balanced for the alcohol content. It has a deeper, subtler flavor than the elder with almost erverse characteristics.
The mouthfeel is thick with alcohol, slightly syrupy but pleasant all around. Good carb and nice mouthfill.
This is a big beer but could go for two in a row, sure another one!
08-27-2006 21:21:48 | More by NoLiberty
4.28/5 rDev -8.7%
This is based on notes from The Drafting Room and The Grey Lodge.
This beer came a very foggy simple copper and gold with a wide collar of head.
Smelled of a beautiful honey and oats with a slight marshmallow. There was also a slight candied apple, dehydrated pineapple, and grapefruit. The blend of smells here is exquisite.
Tastes of a sweet pizza dough, powdered sugar and honey which is engulfed in a long lingering dry crisp pine that stings my tongue. Where malt ends and hops begin, no one knows. I'm impressed.
The mouth feel is heavy and viscous with a tiny smooth carbonation.
This is a really impressive beer, but I wouldn't want more than one.
08-26-2006 21:25:05 | More by DarkerTheBetter
4.45/5 rDev -5.1%
Clear orange with a thin, cream coloured head. Spotty lacing was evident from the fine bubbles, which showed excellent retention. The aroma was all hops - powdery, floral, tangerine, pine, and grapefruit, not necessarily all at the same time though. There was a lot of malt sweetness up front, but a very strong bitterness hits at the same time. Floral and citrusy hop flavour fills the midsection, with mild pine, orange and tangerine. Spicy alcohol appears towards the end and grapefruit bitterness really lingers. Full bodied served with moderately low carbonation and significant alcohol warmth and numbing. Drying hop finish with slight stickiness. This is really good, really powerful. Highly drinkable for such a big beer. Everything is just turned up on this beer - a lot. I think I prefer the Elder as a beer I could drink on a regular basis - this one seems to be fit more for special occasions. I'd be a happy dude if I could get either on a regular basis...
08-26-2006 03:22:55 | More by DrJay
4.2/5 rDev -10.4%
I had this on-tap at The Drafting Room. My glass was filled with a golden copper color liquid with a thin white head. Some lacing was left but not like the amount left by the Elder. The aroma was filled with pine and citrus from the hops and a sweet caramel / tofffee scent. The flavor followed the smell. Hops were there but so was the sweetness. Somewhere in between a 90 min. and a 120 min. with the sweetness. Very smooth and not as bitter IMO as the Elder. The abv in this one (11%) limited me to only two glasses but they were tasty. Great brew, but I think the Elder comes out on top.
08-20-2006 17:21:07 | More by Imstillthegman
4/5 rDev -14.7%
Served on tap. Appeared copper color with a grapefruit smell and taste. The alcohol wasn't overwhelming at 11 percent and I considered it very drinkable. .
Advertised as a triple, I wasn't blown away though. There are local tripals in my area of SE Pa. that are on par with this in my opinion. I don't think it is that far above them. However, this is very nice to drink. Is it possible to give a review after drinking just one?
08-19-2006 04:42:16 | More by memory
4.83/5 rDev +3%
On tap at Tria in Philadelphia, served in a 13 oz tulip glass. The beer poured a vibrant copper color, clear and with a thick off white head that disapated slowly and gave way to a nice ring around the end and a swirly island in the middle. The aroma was a strong pine and citrus nose that was similar to the Elder but kicked up a bit and more pure and extreme but enjoyable. The taste was very similar to the taste. There was the initial hoppy, piney taste with some citrus, grapefruit and a touch of sweet caramel. The mouth feel was very smooth with a nice alcohol burn on the way down that tells you this is a 11% beer. What a smooth ride the Younger was. I was expecting this to be hard to handle but found this very enjoyable and drinkable. I had 2 in this sitting and will go back for more wherever I can find it. Another RR hit and it has been a long time that I have waited to try this.
08-10-2006 01:21:01 | More by ggaughan
4.3/5 rDev -8.3%
Poured a bright golden color with a medium sized, creamy, white head that left nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of piney hops, citrus fruits, tons of resin, caramel malts, and light alcohol. Strong pine in the taste, more citrus fruits, bitter grapefruits, with some sweet malts, and alcohol in the finish. Much more enjoyable than DFH 120.
07-11-2006 02:14:19 | More by egajdzis
3.8/5 rDev -19%
Despairing over not being able to get this on tap at the RR brewpub, I was overjoyed to find it on tap at Toronado in San Francisco.
A: An unmoving copper with a thin head. Still waters run deep, right?
S: Earthy hops--grass and cedar with a touch of sweeter fruit, maybe strawberry. This is certainly one of the strongest hop bouquets I've ever smelled.
T: An ode to the hop. The overall flavor is strong enough on malt and hops that it could pass as a barley wine (especially if Avery were making it), but it emphasizes on bitterness, from start to finish. The molasses like malty flavors up front give way to a dry and bitter finish, with hints of pine, grass, and alcohol.
M: I suppose that the quality of mouthfeel depends on how much you love the hop. The 'balance' is about as good as one might expect from a so-called triple IPA (which I will insist is not truly its own style); nonetheless, the residual bitterness is a little too much for my palate.
D: For sipping. 'Nuf said.
Overall, this is an ambitious and aggressive brew, significantly stronger than its (wonderful) uncle Pliny the Elder. It seems that RR isn't going for a beer that's going to please anyone other than the most die-hard of hop heads; while that may mean the beer won't be universally acclaimed, it's probably that kind of an attitude that helps make forward progress in the US craft brew industry.
06-14-2006 16:54:07 | More by benito
4.33/5 rDev -7.7%
I had this on tap at Naja's in Redondo Beach. It was presented in a tumbler, and had a pale orange color with a thin foam comprised of big bubbles. The beer was very clear which I guess I didn't expect.
The aroma is massively hoppy, and of course the flavor also. Actually I compared this with the Pliny the Elder and I prefer the Elder because it seems a little more complex, kind of more malt in the flavor it seems to me. But that's just what I took out of it.
Drinkability is pretty high, even though this is pretty alcoholic. I think the hops weren't so excessive as to kill my tastebuds.
05-21-2006 22:44:39 | More by TurdFurgison
2.88/5 rDev -38.6%
Thanks to Redwoodgeorge for the opportunity...I was part of the unauthorized bottling project he undertook. Pours a one finger white head over a nearly clear orange amber liquid. Smells clean grapefruit pith. Sugar sweet and cherry. Underlying caramel accompanied by buried apricot esters.
Tastes buttery (blech). Caramel. Acidic. Mostly piney hops with some softer citrus. Cotton candy. Brutally woody dry with a taste of fresh 'morning cobwebs' in the forest. Fruity esters are lost under the hops.
Md thick mouthfeel and moderately carbonated. I swear I could feel the hop oils on my tongue. What I didn't like was a prominent and unpleasant diacetyl (buttery) that I found completely distracting. Ruined the beer for me, and it's reflected in the 'taste' portion of my rating. I found this same flavor in the samples I had at GABF last year (2005). In front of the brewer (knee-jerk reaction), I actually spit the beer out and said 'pediococcus!'.
05-14-2006 07:49:14 | More by mentor
4.43/5 rDev -5.5%
Much thanks to hopdog for this hand filled bottle...don't know if/when I would ever see it on draft around here.
Appears a light gold with a small off-white head that slowly fades out. Scattered spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of bready, biscuits, citrus, rich resinous hoppy pine, and vanilla. Much like The Elder.
Taste is of the same and very delicious with a touch of caramel standing out.
Mouthfeel is slightly sugary and mildly piney, woody, and candy.
Drinkability is decent with some ABV that's noticable.
05-04-2006 17:56:46 | More by weeare138
4.53/5 rDev -3.4%
I was pretty excited when I saw this on tap at the Toronado towards the end of their barleywine fest. Pours a hazy golden copper body, with a white fluffy head. Tremendous aroma, delicious west coast style hops. peachy, grapefruit, intense. First taste, so smooth, you don't notice the 11% abv at all. Tremendous beer, probably the best DIPA I've ever had.
04-21-2006 08:07:52 | More by baiser
4.45/5 rDev -5.1%
From my notes on recent trip, poured into a sampling glass.
I have to say, I was excited about this one... a west coast double IPA straight from the source, went at it first.
Pours a fuzzy light golden amber with a decent head and lacing here and there down the glass. Aroma is floral with hops, grapefruit.. my favorite smell.. and piny as the hops dominate. Taste is likewise, and I'm not complaining, and covers up the ABV... 11%!... good mouth. I want to bring a case home!
This one hid the alcohol so well, I had to slow down after the first one.. I drank it so fast, I was so excited:)
04-19-2006 00:05:25 | More by objectivemonkey
4.68/5 rDev -0.2%
Appearance: Arrives at the table with a hazy light amber body, a solid head and lots of splashy lacing
Smell: A wondeful grapefruit and floral aroma beckons the drinker
Taste: Sweet biscuity foreground which is joined by a magnificent combination of bitter grapefruit and sweet floral flavors which persist well into the finish
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation\
Drinkability: A truly engaging and refreshing concoction
04-01-2006 22:28:04 | More by brentk56
4.1/5 rDev -12.6%
glowing orange and clear in my brooklyn snifter. cloudy patterns of bubble haze gather and swirl on the surface. lacing sticks all about the glass... romantic in its appearance.
smells harshly of orange liqueur.. oily alcohol and crystalline caramel sugars. opening of the nostrils allows a steady flow of near-noxious ethyl gases. citrusey and sweet but with consequences. rocket fueled ipa for sure.
feels silky and syrupy.. comforting and warming going down. taste is along the line of behemoth BW, but this beer manages to hop itself into next week and maintain the double ipa thing. a new dimension of hops dominated by orange essence does its best to mask the abv. very little tart grapefruity hops.. this is more sweet, sweet, and sweet fruitiness. nice twist on the style with acidic fresh mcintosh apple skin crispness. some elements of the spicing here are extremely floral, rose and honeysuckle accenting the final product.
this is good, but overall way too huge for my current tastes. that said, i can totally respect its uniqueness and think that despite my personal opinions this is a really fuckin good beer.
03-28-2006 01:52:51 | More by goodbyeohio
4.97/5 rDev +6%
22oz bottle obtained via trade with RedwoodGeorge. Thanks for the opportunity... Brewed 1/3/2006, hand-bottled via counter-pressure system 1/19/06.
Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/8" off-white head over the clear light amber brew. Head fades reasonably quickly, with plentiful lacing. Aroma is a twinge of tangerine, and then christmas tree pine aroma that dominates it all. Flavor is as the nose indicates, with a fruitiness upfront that is quickly shouted down by the piney-yet-somewhat-fruity hops explosion. I can feel enamel dripping off my teeth, and it's great! Mouthfeel is amazing, that for all the hops power, it still has discernable flavors, and drinkability is superb for the style, not just another bottle of hops with a grain hull or two for color. Worth the hype. Thank goodness for "George's Unauthorized Home Bottling Project".
03-20-2006 23:30:01 | More by ppoitras
4.83/5 rDev +3%
Thanks to RedwoodGeorge for this handbottled bomber, counterpressure filled from a keg and sent off to me. Pliny The Younger pours from the bomber an amazingly clear bright orange/peach color with a half inch of frothy bubbly white head on top. Slow carbonation rises up to meet some sticky lacing. Aromas of beautiful, vibrant hop cones attack my senses with bold citrus, grapefruit and pine needle aromas. A sweet, slighty doughy caramel undercurrent is present as well. Quite possibly hop nirvana. Green, leafy, floral and quite simply enchanting. Wow.
First sip brings a rush of intense piney and citric hop oils across the palate. Bitterness establishes itself from the get go as the resinous hops relentlessly attack the palate. The underlying caramel, mildly doughy maltiness does a good job of holding things together. Such an awe inspiring amalgamation of wonderful hop flavors. Green, intense and vibrant, like sucking on a fresh hop cone. One awesomely hoppy, incredibly tasty brew, no doubt about it.
Mouthfeel is smooth, medium bodied and creamy with the perfect amount of carbonation. This beer is a joy to drink. Honestly, the only hinderance to the drinkability here is the high abv, otherwise I could sit and enjoy this fabulously hoppy brew all day long. A hopheads dream come true, I only hope to have the chance to sample this again someday. Guess it's time to plan that trip to California, so I can sit and adore this one at the source. Russian River strikes again!
03-18-2006 04:08:01 | More by orbitalr0x
4.47/5 rDev -4.7%
1/2 Gallon growler. Mild peach color, bordering on orange. Unbelievable hop aroma, loads of fruit, particular grapefruit and orange. The aroma is very vibrant and fresh, but also extremely dry, emphasis of an enormous and ridiculous dry hop, which we all know Vinnie has trademarked. The body is very rich and full, giving not only malt balance, but a variety of rich malt flavors, especially caramel and toffee, along with a light fruit platter. The hop character is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous, but in such an unbelievably great way. Wow, such a hop monster, but still balanced in a completely maniacal way.
03-13-2006 23:16:57 | More by Crosling
5/5 rDev +6.6%
Received from the BA's BA, RedwoodGeorge, as part of his recent Home Bottling Project. Thanks a million George for bringing smiles to this hoppy beer lover, along with many others.
Electric tangerine with juicy pineapple edges. The French vanilla canopy is three fingers in height and looks incredibly thick, rich and creamy. There's been very little deflation in the several minutes since the pour and it appears as if the head will last forever. I don't have forever, though, because I'm dying to take a sip. It eventually melts just enough to reveal a thick, sticky coat of lace with a few dots of visible glass. I prefer dirty, hop-flecked DIPAs, but this one is more than superb.
The nose is, without question, one of the best in all of beerdom. I was pretty sure that it would be pure hoppy bliss... and it is. And then some. There's an incandescent, brain-filling explosion of the sweetest, juiciest hops imaginable each time I venture anywhere near the glass. Thankfully, the malt is buried without a trace, allowing the hops to work their incredible, lupulinirific magic. One of the best of all-time.
Pliny The Younger is a gorgeous, unbelievably delicious Double IPA. There's no question in my mind that this style should be all about the hops. Those that favor the caramel malty, more balanced side of the DIPA continuum, edging into barleywine territory, miss the opportunity to brew transcendent, explosively hop-centric beer, the likes of which is sitting before me right now. Make no mistake, this one is all about the hops. And hops. And more hops.
There's a solid, sugar cookie-like maltiness that lays down an unshakable base and provides support for whatever tonnage of hoppage that may be thrown its way. The trick is in laying off any hint of toastedness or caramel-like flavors that would dilute or mask the citric hoppiness. Lightly (and I do mean lightly) brown sugar-crusted candied grapefruit peel abounds, along with a blissful bitterness that is unrelenting in its pithy intensity.
I may be able to appreciate the slightest hint of bitter orange, but white grapefruit is front, center and side-to-side. I'd love to know what varieties comprise the hop bill, but it's pretty obvious that the best hops in the known universe (one or more of the 4-Cs) are represented in a major way. I just can't get over the liquid candy-like, sweet and bitter, unalloyed nature of the hoppiness. Pliny is everything that you've heard it is and is everything that I hoped it would be.
It's nearly impossible to completely bury a 10.5% ABV, but Russian River has given it a Hurculean effort. I'm not sure that I'd want the alcohol to be completely absent since it provides a power and presence that lets you know that this is a serious beer that must be respected. Hell, I repect it for the flavor alone. Maybe it's my elation at the out-of-this-world taste, but I'm halfway through the bomber and I'm barely feeling it. This is the most drinkable 10.5%'er ever!
The mouthfeel is simply perfect. Mouthfillingly full with an incredible lasting stickiness after the swallow. Lushly sappy is my favorite sort of DIPA mouthfeel and this beer fits that descripton to a 'T'. When it comes to the carbonation, I have to give credit to RedwoodGeorge for the amazing re-bottling effort. I had some qualms that PTY would be over-carbonated, but that hasn't been borne out in the actual drinking. It's perfect: enlivening without being the least bit spritzy, fading to muted by the second half of the bomber.
I held off on contacting RedwoodGeorge for a trade that would have brought me a growler of Pliny The Younger because I knew that I would love this beer more than any other that I've ever had and wanted to experience it in Santa Rosa, as it should (ideally) be experienced. When the opportunity came my way, however, thanks entirely to George's incredible generosity, I just couldn't turn down the chance to try one of the world's best.
Before cracking the crown, I told myself that there was no way I could give perfect scores to a beer that had been re-bottled from a keg, no matter how outstanding. I'm glad to report that I was wrong. Pliny The Younger is a remarkable beer that transcends any attempt on my part to put its magnificence into words. I still plan to make it out to Santa Rosa some day. When I do, I'm going to ask the Alstroms to come up with a rating scale that includes sixes, 'cause I'm gonna need 'em.
03-12-2006 23:40:54 | More by BuckeyeNation
4.63/5 rDev -1.3%
Sampled thanks to RedwoodGeorge and his most Excellent trade!
Pours a clear copper colored ale that forms a surprising amount of head in my Duvel tulip glass despite the alcohol level.
Smell is vast quantities of fresh hops, I can tell THAT 3 feet from the glass as I look at it. Big abundant hop aromas here. The first thing that hits your nose is a stiff aroma of bitter oranges and Meyer lemons, a very citrus smelling IPA. Lots of pine and spice scents are in this one. Black pepper, lemon grass, cardamom, fennel. Fruit scents of papaya, mango, pineapple and probably others, this stuff numbs up your sense of smell after a while.
Taste is surprisingly mild at the beginning and is dominated by fruit flavors, peaches, melon and passion fruit at the start. Spicy hops flavors join in next pepper coriander, lemon zest, angostura bitters, and a bit of juniper berry. Quite a tasty beer indeed!
Mouthfeel is quite good.
A super tasty beer here that I could almost give straight 5s for but I do think Pliny the Elder and Three Floyds Dreadnaught are just a little better. Having said that I will hit this stuff like a starving Mako Shark anywhere I see it offered. Word Class Beer! That sums this up.
03-04-2006 02:50:40 | More by Zorro
4.78/5 rDev +1.9%
I recently had the pleasure of enjoying this lovely beer in a lovely 2 liter Russian River growler. Shared samples with some friends at Bethlehem Brew Works, then revisited it a few days later so I could write about it.
Appearance was decent- on the first opening, there was a pretty lively fluffy ivory head which faded away after a few minutes, very aromatic. Nice sticky lacing too. The second time there were only a few bubbles on top that went away quickly, but the beer was still far from flat. Color is clear reddish-amber, deep yet bright orange, almost looks like a sunset. Very pretty.
Smell is Hop-City! A gang of hops smacks you in the face andfills your sinuses and lungs with a strong piny floral hoppiness. Not sure how else to describe it. Just mega-hops. Taste again, it's like drinking a hop-farm, yet this beer is far from bitter. It's really amazing how balanced it is considering how strongly hopped it is. Very floral, and a bit of a wheaty taste, it's just so good, you should just quit reading reviews and go taste it yourself. Can't really taste the alcohol either. Just extreme hops and almost too balanced it's scary.
Mouthfeel is well-carbonated but a little thick actually, it leaves a sort of hop oil coating on your tongue and throat- this would actually be a good thing to drink of one has a sore throat or a cough, as it's a tad bit syrupy. It would probably clear out your sinuses as well. The finish is very dry though, mouth-puckering and leaving you wanting more more MORE!!! Drinkability is excellent, as it is so hopped yet balanced, and the alcohol doesn't rear its head until it slides down your throat. Then you start to feel quite warm and fuzzy all over, inside and out. I was more than happy to share the wealth of this one but glad I had more to myself too!
Big big thanks to TheLongBeachBum for sending this to me!!
02-27-2006 17:03:40 | More by erica
4.95/5 rDev +5.5%
Pliny the Younger made the journey across the country in a 22 oz. bomber, bottled from a 5 liter keg using a counterpressure filler by BA RedwoodGeorge. While the bottling was unofficial, the beer coming out of bomber was in a very good shape. The head was one finger thick, which is a little small for the style, but it did stay put for a good little while. The underlying body was clear pale orange, and well carbonated. The looks were classic DIPA, while aroma took the style up a few notches. The smell was enticingly grapefruity, and peppery, with a very sweet smelling malt backbone. The juiciness of the smell was certainly mouth watering, and the taste did not disappoint. Quite citric and pungent, the hop laden flavor was cut by a lot of malt sweetness. The low perceived bitterness and well hidden alcohol made for an easy to drink brew. The mouthfeel was sticky, minerally, and thick, with a peppercorn zest in the aftertaste. With so much to enjoy in each sip, there was nothing to complain about the time that I had draining my imperial pint. The alcohol only became evident as the beer came near room temperature, but never did it feel like an obtrusive spoilsport. This drank much easier than the 10.5% strength it possessed would have suggested. A craft brewing masterpiece that deserves all the hype it gets. This beer was big, but still in a very delicate state of balance. Muscular, clean, and beautiful, there was none of the sloppy flab in here found in so many big beers. A Charlize Theron among beers.
02-25-2006 05:06:32 | More by rajendra82
Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,319 ratings.